1:00 – 5:00 am: Dog periodically wakes up, dry heaving, causing me to periodically wake up. He has gotten into the landlady’s compost heap again.
6:15 am: Alarm goes off. I sit up in a fog. Room spins. I feed dogs, one of whom is predictably not hungry. Let the dogs out, watch them head straight to compost heap. Too tired to protest, I go inside and make oatmeal. Drop can on toe. Break toe. Heavy can of stew, not light can of consommé. But fully awake now.
6:30 am: After weeping in agony, I realize I’m not sure toe is broken. But I am known for breaking foot bones without knowing it, so jury is still out. Tape up toe, put on shoe, hobble around kitchen making breakfast.
6:45 am: Get dressed in extremely unattractive uniform. Have breakfast. Spill hot oatmeal down front of shirt. Put bowl in sink with the mound of dishes already residing there. Change uniform. Muttering, attempt to get dogs back inside. They prefer company of compost heap. Cursing, hobble to far corner of yard, pick both dogs up bodily and carry them toward house. Step in hole created by dog. Fall flat on face in a fresh pile of doggy doo. Now ankle hurts. Same foot. Of course. Round up dogs, hobble into house, take off shoes and nasty uniform, take tape off toe, take shower and tape toe and change uniform again.
7:00 am: Leave house for 15 mile commute in rush hour traffic. Within mile of bridge, discover train parked on tracks. Take 2 mile detour. Cannot, but CANNOT be late! Departing bridgetender cannot leave until I arrive.
7:36 am: Limp up bridge, which has doubled in length overnight. If boat traffic is light, plan to get on internet and job hunt.
7:45 am: Arrive on bridge. Offgoing bridgetender assures me, a trifle too stridently, that all is working fine, just fine. Really. Everything is fine.
8:00 am: Offgoing bridgetender departs.
8:25 am: First bridge opening of the shift. Close gates to traffic. Push button to release locks so span can open. Nothing. Attempt to raise gates to let cars back though. Nothing. Extremely annoying gate alarm bell will not shut off. Call FDOT, shout over alarm bells to explain situation. Calls from everyone and his brother and copious amounts of paperwork ensue.
8:51 am: Workmen arrive on bridge. More paperwork. Attempts to do the exact same thing I’ve informed them I’ve already done come to no avail. Alarm still clanging away. Pedestrian knocks on door and suggests that we raise the gates so cars can come through. Slowly counting to ten in my mind, I politely explain that we would love to, but can’t. Pedestrian leaves.
9:15 am: Gates are manually raised, but traffic light will not turn to green. I stand on the sidewalk and flag traffic through with mixed results, and am treated to much cursing and rude gesticulations.
9:34 am: Gate alarms are turned off. Hallelujah. Small sense of sanity returns.
9:34 am to 11:30 am. Hobble around on sidewalk, trying to stay out from under foot as much head scratching by the workmen occurs.
11:30 am: Discover I’ve gotten a sunburn. Go back inside. To hell with being out from under foot.
11:30 am to 12:11 pm: As experts come and go and various people call for status updates, and each visit and call is logged in two places, I long for the day of job hunting that I had envisioned.
12:11 pm: Bridge fixed. Every boat on Eastern Seaboard now wants an opening.
12:37 pm: Workmen leave bridge. Between openings I use the bathroom and realize I’ve forgotten my lunch. Can’t leave the bridge.
2:15 pm: Driver pelts tenderhouse with eggs. Wishing he’d given me the eggs to eat instead, I attempt to wash windows with inadequate supplies.
3:00 pm: I am scheduled to mop floors, but think to myself, “Screw it,” and read a book instead.
3:45 pm: Relief bridgetender arrives. I inform her of my day. She is very critical of the way I did my job, especially in terms of cleaning tenderhouse. I count to ten once again. Then I assure her, a trifle too stridently, that all is working fine now, just fine. Really. Everything is fine.
4:00 pm: I limp back off the bridge to discover someone has let the air out of one of my tires. I call AAA.
5:20 pm: AAA arrives and confirms my suspicions and puts air in tire. I head home. I remember that I planned to make tuna casserole, but think to myself, “Screw it,” and go through the Popeye’s Chicken drive through instead.
5:45 pm: I remember I have to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, and while there I get pain medication for foot.
6:10 pm: I arrive home late, and predictably there is poop-henge on the carpet, fallen pillars and all. Oh, and vomit. I let dogs out. They head straight for compost heap, and I scream, “NO!!!!” Sensing I’m on the ragged edge, they do an abrupt u-turn.
6:20 pm: Carpet cleaned and dogs fed, I eat my now cold chicken and fall into a deep coma-like state until the dogs wake me up at 8:00 pm needing to go out.
8:00 pm: Dogs head for compost heap. I scream, “NO!!!!” and they do an abrupt u-turn yet again as neighbor gives me the hairy eyeball. He has no idea the level of my self-restraint. Ushering the dogs inside, I barely miss the hole that I tripped in this morning.
8:20 pm: I treat my sunburn, take a pain pill, decide that toe is only sprained, not broken, put the can of stew on the lowest shelf in the pantry, give sink full of dirty dishes a passing glance, realize I’m out of uniforms for the next day thanks to the oatmeal and the dog poo, put in a load of laundry, and fall into a deep sleep full of frustration dreams.
10:00 pm: Dog wakes me up with his snoring. Being a dog is hard work. I put the wash in the dryer, then climb back into bed, pull dog close and fall back to sleep.