birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


The alarm goes off at six (on weekends, the alarm is the toddler). I get up, go to the bathroom, sit there and just sort of wake up for fifteen to thirty minutes, depending on when my wife needs to wake up (on weekends, I just pee and then throw on some shorts, a T-shirt, socks, my worn-out running shoes, and my earbuds). I wake her up, then take a shower, then get dressed. Underwear; two pair of socks, one white, one black and inside out -- they rub against each other to prevent blisters; dress pants, except Fridays, that's blue jeans day at work; wacky T-shirt; more nearly formal dress shirt.

This is where things synch back up with weekends, even though the times will probably be different. I go across the hall to the toddler's room, get her out of the crib, change her diaper, and take her downstairs for breakfast. Her breakfast is a cup of orange slices -- I get to drink the juice -- and a sippy cup of milk and a carb, more or less at random, such as Teddy Grahams or Goldfish or Kix or Cheerios.

In the meantime, her mom has finished her ablutions* and set out a toddler outfit (on weekends, mom gets to sleep in most days, so the toddler gets into the stroller in her pajamas and we go for an adventure, which takes an hour or two, and often includes my daily run). After breakfast (after the adventure), I take her back to her room and get her dressed while my wife does her hair and makeup and whatever.

We all three head back downstairs, and the toddler enjoys a little bit of second breakfast with her mom as I pack up to go to work. My commute is 75-90 minutes, so I try to be out by 7:15-7:30 to give myself some buffer time.

That doesn't include when we have the boys -- my wife's sons from her previous marriage -- but they're pretty autonomous at this point, so even during the school year, it's mostly just shooing them out the door at the appropriate times.

The toddler hates changes to the routine. She very much gets that from me. I don't expect things to be at the exact same time to the minute every day, but I like the process of this, then that, then the next thing. It makes it easier to get up and moving in the morning without having to be awake awake. I'm not a morning person, but with a good routine, I can fake it until I'm actually awake. And oddly, I don't drink coffee. It makes me jittery. I have a Vanilla Coke nearly every morning when I get to work, and have been known to drink six energy drinks in a day, but one cup of coffee makes me quivery all day.

* "Ablutions" is a word I picked up for daily use when I was overseas. Our facilities / logistics manager was a Brit, and he referred to showers and toilets collectively as "ablutions". I like the sound of it even in my head. Ablutions.

Still Monday.

The Newspaper