I woke up this morning to the sound of an electric sander. Someone, close by in the neighborhood, was obviously sanding something. Several men around the block have workshops where they do little projects and tinker. Good Lord, I thought, "What time is it?" It was light out. Yeah, I'm that observant in the morning. But waking up in lightness is something I have to get used to all over again every summer, as I normally get up at 5:30 every school day. Even on weekends, I am usually up early as I have been trained by the cat to feed him in the morning. The alarm going off is not a wake up call, after all, it is a "Feed me " notice and is accompanied by the walking of the prone body (mine, trying to ignore him) and loud assertions that yes, that was the alarm going off. He wouldn't want mom to mess up the schedule. That's what alarms are for, aren't they? So now, since I refuse to set an alarm for the morning, because it is summer and all, the cat sometimes lets me sleep an extra hour or so before demanding his morning repast of 1/2 can of cat food; on a salad plate, next to the water bowl, please, thank you. This morning I did get up at 6:30 to feed him and thought to myself how nice it would be to climb back into bed and see if I could sleep another hour or so.
I was surprised to find out that the clock in the front room was chiming (a polite word as actually it bongs more than chimes) 10:00. That was almost at the same instant the sander went off. Good timing on the person's part I must admit. But the whole point of this conversation is that I wouldn't have known what time it was (other than day time) unless the clock had not chimed. The cat had been fed and was happily sleeping between my knees; none of the surrounding neighborhood noises bothering him, no sir. (I must say that the ability to sleep totally undisturbed is one of the cat's more enviable talents.)
Several days before the end of the school year, my little travel alarm I have had for years, finally decided to not work. Well, let me back up a little here. It did work. It went off in the middle of the night. It went off when the alarm was turned off. Sometimes it even went off at 5:30 p.m. instead of, or in one case, in addition to, 5:30 a.m. As you can probably tell, this was not going to work for me. It was a little high tech thing my husband had gotten me after my last little alarm died about 6 years ago. High tech being the problematic word here. It had two alarm settings on it so that you wouldn't have to change your regular alarm if you wanted to get up at a different time, say on the weekend or something. Well, that's all very well and fine but every time you wanted to change the alarm or set up the other alarm or, heaven forbid, change the time, you had to get out the instruction booklet and follow about 8 steps that included pressing buttons twice rapidly and holding them down and going through the day and date and time zone. It made me tired. I put up with all this for all the years I owned the stupid thing. So, finally when it started acting up I took advantage of it and tossed it to the Goodwill pile. And it rang there the next morning which was a royal pain in the butt to have to get out of bed at 5:30 in the morning, on a Saturday, and dig for the stupid thing to turn it off, which, by the way, I had already done twice the day before. The last couple of days of the school year, I used my cell phone's alarm which is a much more pleasant noise anyway.
When school finally ended, I decided to just go without an alarm, or even a clock by my bed, for the summer. If I had to get up for anything important, which I tend not to schedule anything too early, I could use my cell phone again. All this means that, at some time this summer, I am going to have to search for another alarm clock to put beside my bed. You ask why I just don't use my cell phone. Cell phones, even though you turn all the ringers and sounds off, still flash lights and such during the middle of the night. There doesn't seem to be a way to turn off the lights, or if there is, I haven't found it. And I don't particularly want to spend the time to do it. So, I will return to the conventional alarm clock by the side of the bed. But I am going to do the buying this time. I have been looking in every store and every catalog I get, which is a lot of places; trust me. No fancy stuff. No high tech instructions. Something simple. Just give me the time. Just give me an alarm that works that has a pleasant sound. Something in shabby chic green. With a pretty face and nice numerals.
Yeah, I hear you laughing and thinking "good luck"...