I'm generally an early riser and, as a rule, I'm up and out of the rack much earlier than the HLDW*. As a Rhino of habit I have a couple of morning rituals. The first ritual is that the dogs and I go outside - they sniff about conducting dog investigations of overnight squirrel incursions while I drink my tea and have the first cigar of the day (generally a mild Oliva with a Connecticut shade wrapper) while reading something from the pile of books I keep on the table by my custom made, rhino-sized Adirondack chair. It centers me for the coming day.
After tea and cigar the dogs and I go back inside and we stand in the foyer at the bottom of the stairs to begin the next ritual ... whereby I proceed to whip the dogs into a frenzy by saying "Who wants to pounce the mama? Who wants to pounce the mama?" over and over in that excited tone that dogs equate with "OMG HE IS GOING TO GIVE US STEAK!" When I have whipped them into the appropriate level of pounce-ready frothiness I open the baby gate and let them streak up the stairs and into the bedroom. Well, that is 50% correct, as only Hamilton the schizophrenic labradoodle streaks ... Sydney the overweight golden retriever sort of galumphs up the stairs ... but I do have to say that it is a determined "I will be in on the pouncing of mama" galumphing.
I wait for it ... the sound of running paws on the wooden floor, the sudden silence when Hamilton leaps and the inevitable cries of a pounced upon HLDW saying, "HAMILTON WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" - even though this happens pretty much every day. Sydeny finally makes her way into the room and executes her, albeit delayed, part in the pouncing ritual. She doesn't leap so much as trundle ... much like a belabored, oxygen starved climber making the final ascent on the summit of Everest. This is followed by the plopping down of 100 pounds of dog on a now awakened HLDW and her cries of "OMG SYDNEY GET OFF ME I CAN'T BREATHE". I follow-on and make my way into the bedroom to enjoy the spectacle while proactively declaring my innocence in the entire affair, "I'm sorry honey I didn't realize the gate wasn't up - I don't know why they do this."
The HLDW generally gives me a baleful stare and says, "Uh huh, sure. You just happen to forget to put the gate up EVERY MORNING. And wipe that stupid grin off your face it is way too early for you to be enjoying yourself this much."
At that point I climb into the bed and we snuggle and discuss the coming day. Ritual completed.
Today I added something new to the pouncing ritual. Well, actually, it isn't new, just something that I haven't done for awhile. I joined in on the pouncing. However, I'm not suicidal so I felt that fair warning was appropriate and as I came through the bedroom door I advised the HLDW that she was about to be Rhino pounced and that she should prepare accordingly. I stalked over to the bed in slow motion while doing the Steve Austin bionic man sound effect and proceeded to pounce. OK, to be honest, it was more of a smothering than a pounce but it had the desired effect which was to make the HLDW giggle uncontrollably. When she could catch her breath she did, of course, offer a critique of my pouncing abilities.
HLDW, "That was an interesting pounce. You used to pounce like Tigger but that was ummmm way more sedate."
Rhino, "Well, that was a middle-aged pounce. There is an unwritten rule that when a man enters his forties he is no longer permitted to pounce like Tigger. He might dislodge a hip or something."
HLDW, "I see. Well, you are getting rather decrepit being on the downside of your forties so I can see where that might be a concern for you."
Rhino, "Not me, I meant OTHER men in their forties. I could pounce you like a Tigger in its prime. I was just following the other unwritten rule."
HLDW, "Which is."
Rhino, "That a man should respect the potential frailty of a Pouncee if they are in their latter thirties."
HLDW, "Those potential frailties being? And I caution you to be very careful here"
Rhino, "You know - breaking of brittle bones, muscle pulls from loss of flexibility, possible cardiac issues from over-excitement, etc., etc."
HLDW, "I thought I warned you to be careful."
Rhino, "That was me being careful. I didn't even touch on any of the really terrifying possibilities."
HLDW, "Such as?"
Rhino, (Realizing that, once again, his mouth has outrun his common sense and survival instinct and that he needs to back-peddle as quickly as possible) "Well, we have no need to go there as it, quite obviously, wouldn't apply to you."
HLDW, "Really now?"
Rhino, "Oh yes, absolutely. As a matter of fact I would estimate that you have a relative Pouncee age of approximately 23 and could withstand multiple 'Tigger in its prime' pounces with no ill effect."
HLDW, "That's much better."
Rhino, "But you should still fear the Rhino pounce."
HLDW, "Oh, yes, I do. You know that I do."
Somehow I don't think she was serious about that last part. My first clue being the eye-roll. However, I decided to do the prudent thing and pretend I didn't see the eye-roll and take her comment as an offering to assuage my ego and declare it a victory. So, I proceeded to roll off and begin the snuggling.
Oh, yes, it is good to be the middle-aged but still able to pounce like a Tigger in its prime Rhino.
*Hippie Liberal Douche Wife