Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday morning blues

From the time that my mother and father got me my very first clock radio in the fifth grade, I have set my alarm every Sunday night with a hint of sadness. After all, this ritual marks the last few waking moments of my weekend, and the rapid descent into the most dreaded day of the week. Monday.

Waking up on Mondays is always the harshest of the rise-and-shine rite. After a two-day hiatus, the alarm ushers in some insanely early hour with a far-too-loud-for-that-time-of-day alternative rock song from my fave radio station. Hubby, who sleeps furthest from the alarm, always seems most surprised by its obnoxious ring on Monday mornings, which makes him more prone to reaching across my face with his arm - elbowing my nose in the process - to shut it off. And every Monday, without fail, the first word that pops into my head is an expletive, followed by "I am sooooo not ready for this...." I can honestly say that there has never been a Monday morning where I have sprung out of bed, excited about life and about the week that awaits me.

And if I ever meet someone who is that excited about the start of the week, I will clock them, so help me God....

Nonetheless, rise-and-shine I must, particularly since in the division of the Beast's a.m. exercise, I somehow drew the short Monday stick (along with Wednesday and Friday, while hubby takes him out in the wee Tuesday and Thursday hours). So like it or not, I have no choice but to get up-and-at'em. (Insert a second expletive here...)

Now unlike humans, dogs have no concept of time. They don't know that there is a difference between, say, Monday morning and Friday afternoon. They have no concept of the weekend as fun time and the week as responsibility time. So they obviously can't be affected by Monday morning blues...

...Or can they?

(Cue dramatic music...)

Lately, it would in fact appear that the Beast hates Mondays just as much as I do...

Take this morning as an example. Just like every other Monday, my alarm clock went off at 5:00 a.m. Hubby jumped three feet out of bed and hit me in the face in a vain attempt to hit the snooze button. I cursed at him, shut off the alarm, and grumbled something about not wanting to go to work. After a few more grumbles and curses, I slowly got out of bed and rolled my sorry body downstairs to let the Beast out of his crate.

About halfway down the stairs, I realized that there was something amiss. Normally, the Beast would be roused by the sound of the alarm clock, and would start rustling around in his crate, eager to gain his early morning freedom. But not this morning. He made absolutely no sound as I made my way onto the first floor, not even when I punched in the code on our house alarm. When I lifted the blanket that is over his crate (placed there to stop him from waking up with the sunrise... although admittedly not so important at this time of year...), he was not in his usual downward dog stretch position. Instead, he was still curled up in a ball. Even opening the door to his crate barely stirred him. He just wanted to laze around in his bed, as I had wanted to do just a few moments earlier.

A couple of minutes later, I cajoled him out of his crate and to the back door so that he could step outside for his morning constitutional. Normally, he happily stays outside for a few minutes, taking the time to explore the backyard (even though he has seen and smelled it a million and five times before). Not today. He did his stuff and then came right back inside. And instead of following me upstairs to patiently wait for me while I don my running gear, he went right back into his crate, curled up in a little ball, put his head down, and let out a great big sigh.

I actually thought that something might be wrong....

And then hubby said, "Maybe he's bummed because it's Monday..."

"Don't be ridiculous!" I said. "He's a dog! What does he know about the days of the week."

"Well," said hubby. "You're always watching those dog shows. Maybe he's sensing your unenthusiastic Monday morning energy and mirroring you."

(Note to self - stop watching dog shows when hubby is home...)

Admittedly, I found this theory slightly interesting. So I went to my journal. Since bringing the Beast home, I have kept a journal that chronicles our successes and our failures. I keep track of his exercise, his feeding, his playtime with dogs, his barking, and so on and so forth. And I always, always comment on his mood, as well as mine. The purpose is to see if I can find any patterns that account for his behaviours, both good and bad. And so I looked back at the last few Mondays. And low and behold, this is what I found:
  • Seems more sluggish on our run than usual;
  • Went back into his crate when I brought out his leash;
  • Not as playful at the park with his best friend this morning;
  • Barely barked at all this morning.

Oh my god! The Beast really does hate Mondays as much as I do!!! I mean, he never willingly spends time in his crate, especially not when it is time to go for a run! And when he sees his best friend at the park, he usually goes nuts! And he barks all the time because he is always excited! Could it really be that, like me, he just wants to hide away from the world a little bit longer on a Monday morning? Is he as unwilling as I to face another (potentially stressful) week?

Then it hit me. The Beast's Monday morning mood has nothing to do with it being Monday. It has to do with Sunday.

You see, Sunday is the biggest, most fun filled day of the week in our little family. All three of us sleep in (until the oh-so-late hour of 7:00 a.m.), but that is where the laziness stops. Once we are awake, we hit the streets - hubby and I on our bikes and the Beast pounding the pavement alongside of us. We cover a distance of just over 4k, the first 3 of which are at the Beast's all-out-top-speed (because in his excitement, he pulls me) before we arrive at our destination: the farmer's market. The market is scintillating enough on its own, with a million different scents to stimulate a young pup's senses. Including a breakfast tent full of bacon and sausage ripe for a mooch like the Beast's pickings. But right next door to the market is a fenced-in dog park, where we let the Beast run around with his friends for at least 30 minutes before we even hit the stalls. Then hubby and I go shop, while the Beast tries his best to look charming in the hopes that another market-goer will give him one of said pieces of bacon. After wandering the aisles of the market, we hop back onto our bikes and, albeit at a slower pace, make our way home over another 4k. After these two hour outings, the Beast can be counted on to nap for most of the afternoon.

But of course, the day doesn't end there. By the time the afternoon winds down, the Beast is ready for another walk, and so we usually take off together for a nice long but easygoing stroll. To end off the weekend, we almost always end up at one of two neighbourhood dog parks, where the Beast will spend some time burning off the last vestiges of his energy reserves before heading home for dinner. Then he spends the rest of the evening watching me as I cook Sunday dinner, chewing on an elk antler (purchased at the farmer's market), and patrolling the front window as he watches all of our neighbours put their garbage out for Monday morning pick-up. By the time my bedtime rolls around, he very willingly runs into his crate, and is more than ready for Doggy Sandman to take him off to Doggy Dreamland.

And then, a mere seven hours later, there I go waking him up before he has had the chance to replenish his vast reservoir of puppy energy. I'm the obnoxious alarm clock. But not because it's Monday. Simply because he's still recharging his batteries.

So maybe he doesn't mirror my Monday morning blues. But it's still kind of nice to know that in this house, at least on Monday mornings, he and I share the same low key energy.