My alarm went off at 3:40 AM, and as usual, I hit the snooze bar. I was tired today as I had been out late last night. Julie took me out to the fancy Waterleaf restaurant in neighboring Glen Ellyn. She made the reservations at least two months earlier. The meal was a celebration dinner for my semi-retirement.
The five-course feast had an Eastern European theme. I love this kind of food, but almost never eat it. It was even more interesting to have an upscale slant on what typically would be considered peasant food. Dumplings, duck, pickled fruit, the list went on.
A big meal served late at night tends to make me want to sleep in, and I was eager to continually hit the snooze bar this morning. Instead, I put my feet on the ground and weaved my way to the bathroom.
Downstairs I checked my phone for the weather report. Twenty-one degrees and snow! I dropped a Keurig capsule in the coffee maker and cut up a Honeycrisp apple. On the cut up fruit I smeared some peanut butter. Breakfast.
We have had unseasonably warm weather in the Upper Midwest, and the thought of walking in 21 degrees was a bit daunting. I employed a simple psychological tactic to get me out the door; I wrote that I would go walking on Facebook. I’m a responsible guy who tries to honor his commitments, and I knew that such a post would get me moving.
I was already wearing a heavy Woolrich plaid, but also threw on one of the few sweaters that I own my navy blue cardigan. Then scarf, hat, coat, and gloves. The ducks came out of the hall closet since my running shoes are not good in any precipitation.
Out the door I went looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I was bulky but warm.
There is something magical about walking in the dark after a snow. Even a dusting quiets the streets. Everything looks clean and new. My thoughts ran on as I tried to redirect myself to pray and meditate. This was a losing battle, and I gave into the moment and allowed myself to savor the frigid air.
I’m now at Starbucks, my usual morning haunt. My friend Tom stopped in to chat, but only for a few moments as he has to supervise a kitchen demolition this morning. He looked at the photo of the menu that I sent him from yesterday’s Eastern European feast. “Mike, there should be an accent on this letter, and that h should be a z.” Tom is the Polish version of me, and like me, he is a little OCD. My mornings are always brighter after a little kaffeeklatsch with him.
And so my day starts. In a moment I’ll pack my computer in my leather messenger bag, put on my layers, and head out the door for the walk back home.
Today is a day of telepsychiatry from my basement studio. Tonight I’ll make dinner with my kids; Swiss steak, corn, mashed potatoes, rolls and butter, and a salad.
I am a fortunate man