my mornings and caffeine
Thursday, March 9 2006
Let me give you an idea of what my days have been like for the last few years and then explain what they've been like for the last few days. For dozens of months now, most mornings have begun with me getting up at some time between 8am and 11am and then immediately disbursing lumps of wet food to the two male cats of the household, Julius (aka Stripey or Julio) and Clarence. Once that excitement is over, I usually ram a glucosamine gelcap down Sally's throat (she's nearly ten years old and supposedly glucosamine is good for aging joints). If it's the end of a can of cat wetfood, I give the can to an always-waiting Eleanor to lick, while Sally gets to lick the scooper spoon. Otherwise they get treats, a reward to Sally for tolerating the gelcap and one to Eleanor in the interest of appeasing her sense of fairness.
In the winter I get the fire going. Only rarely does this not involve starting it up from nothing. Then I get my coffee going, which I usually drink while reading the New York Times online and Salon's War Room (which by then has a few new postings helping me with my fantasy that George Bush is finally getting all that he so richly deserves, things that one can only get away with articulating if it is done to total strangers through the window of a moving car, perhaps in response to something read on a bumpersticker).
That's pretty much how every single one of my mornings go, unless (and this does happen occasionally) Gretchen gets up before I do, in which case she deals with the animals. But I am the only one who brews and drinks coffee. And, unless Gretchen is not around, she's the only one who gives the dogs their morning walk. (They are not the sort who take themselves on their own walks; though they are free to come and go as they want through the pet door.
For the past few days I've spent the bulk of my waking hours in front of my computer writing code. Today, though, the kind of work I was doing was far more basic. As simple as HTML is to grasp, it's amazing how few people are skilled in working with it. I can understand why I'm the only person in any group who is capable of making a for loop cycle through a MySQL query result. I don't understand why it still always ends up falling to me the task of repeatedly cutting and pasting from a Microsoft Word document into an HTML template.
All this computer work is done under the influence of caffeine, most of which comes in the form of Red Rose Tea after my morning pot of coffee is exhausted. I toss the tea bags out of the laboratory window when I'm done with a cup and the deck is littered with them, and several hang suspended on their strings from the branches of the Mockernut Hickory growing nearby. Another measure of how much tea I drink is the army of porcelain Noah's Ark figurines that stand gaurd on on the upper window sill. With each of those I drank either fifty or a hundred bags of tea.
It's hard to imagine I'm not a living checklist of caffeine side effects, but the only one I can think of offhand is heart palpitations. Today, though, I had an additional one, a classic caffeine side effect. My right eyelid started experiencing uncontrollable spasms, particularly when I'd be doing something particularly unpleasant.
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