My favorite moment of the day

Every weekday, I climb out of bed at 7:50am. I stumble towards to bathroom, where I wash my face, and brush my teeth and hair. Within the next few minutes, I toss on make-up and clothes, and walk out the door with my husband at 8:20. This is a study in efficiency, because the more minutes I can shave off of my getting ready process = the more minutes I have to snuggle under the blankets. Know what I mean?

We walk down Thorndale towards the El red line stop, swipe our fare cards, and push through the turnstyle. At this point we’re listening carefully for the tell-tale rumble of the trains on the rails above, and if we hear the train approaching it’s time to run up the stairs, taking them two at a time, breathing quickly by the time we reach the wooden platform.

We catch the train in opposite directions, me Southbound towards my job and him Northbound towards school. Usually I can find a seat on the train unless there’s been some kind of funky train delay, so I find a place to sit that doesn’t have any weird-looking splotches or stains, or a piece of gum.

I settle in and snooze during the 20 minute ride, leaning my head on the window if the train isn’t jostling me too much. I frequently have full-fledged dreams, but haven’t once missed my stop because of this little habit–my brain knows to activate when I hear the automated announcer saying in his even voice “Belmont is next. Doors open on the right at Belmont.”

Belmont is a busy station, with three different lines coming through (purple, brown, red), so I jostle my way off the train and down the steps to street level, to the #77 bus stop. I see familiar faces–the short girl with the curly black hair and the snappy eyes, standing next to her very tall husband. The large woman with the baby-blue coat and her Starbucks coffee, doing a crossword puzzle in the paper. The old woman–or man?–with the shag of greasy grey hair held back by a colorful headband, with appliqued flowers on her cane, crumbling nail polish, and bright red lipstick smeared too generously over thin lips, listening to loud heavy metal on a pair of white headphones. We all look to the left, searching the traffic for the telltale orange lights that tell us the bus is coming.

The bus rumbles to a stop; we all get on, swipe our fare cards, find a seat. Fifteen minutes later, I’m walking into my office.

As I swipe my fob on the grey sensor pad and unlock the door, the powerful smell of punch greets my nose–though after a few seconds, I can no longer smell it. By this time, the guys have already been working in the factory area for a couple hours, but I’m usually the only one in the office. My boss travels a lot, and when he does come in, it’s not always first thing. So when I enter the silent space, I breathe a sigh that says “here we go.”

I leave the lights off, choosing to work by the natural light from the windows instead.

 I slip off my shoes. I sit in my chair. I plug in my cellphone and start recharging it. I log in to the computer and pull up my email. The screen glows brightly as I consult my list of things to do, organized on a tangerine colored pad of post-it notes (one per day). If it’s cold, I switch on the foot heater under my desk and wiggle my toes with pleasure when that first blast of warm air hits them.

Then it’s time to take care of business, and deal with whatever is in my inbox. I may write emails to clients, do a check run, process order confirmations in Quickbooks, or make a quick call to touch base with our Logistics Manager, Brian. I may scan a bill of lading, or FedEx an envelope with export papers to Haiti. Or the phone may ring, and I’ll find myself transitioning to Spanish to have a quick conversation with our enthusiastic, fast-talking customer from Guatemala and trying to keep up with him as he opens the call with his traditional “Hooooola, mujer!!”

After I get through all my pending emails and prepare all the documents for the orders shipping out the next day–then it’s time to get out of my chair.

Slowly walk, barefoot, to the kitchen area. Turn on the Keurig. Do 30 squats as it heats up. And I brew that first cup of coffee–Caribou Breakfast Blend, or Green Mountain’s Dark Magic, or maybe the Hazelnut flavor I’m trying out. While the hot liquid splashes into my cup, I do a few vertical pushups against the wall, and feel the blood flowing through my arms. I mix in a little creamer–or virtuously go without, if I’m feeling particularly health-driven (or if we’re simply out of creamer).

I head back to my desk with my hands cupped around the mug, absorbing the comforting heat through my palms, feeling the warmth relax my muscles. A sigh of happiness moves through me, and I sit down again, propping my feet up on the tower of the computer lodged under my desk.

I look out the window at the swirling, abstract, colorful shapes created by the rows of brick glass panes, and my head fills with prayers. Prayers of thanksgiving for my comfortable job, the warm office, my beautiful marriage, a God I can rest in no matter what’s going on in the crazy world.

I lift the cup to my lips . . . and take that first sip.

19 thoughts on “My favorite moment of the day

  1. Joanne

    I love how the rush of your morning ends with a peaceful cup of coffee! That first sip is basically the best moment of my days as well.

    I’m also kind of in love with the fact that you do squats while it’s brewing. My kinda gal!

    1. Jenna Post author

      Poor sweatsuited lady–she had no idea her picture was being taken. I didn’t realize it myself–I was so focused on getting a really really quick picture and being inconscpicuous.

  2. Suzie

    Your morning sounds alot like mine including the heater, checking email, exercises and then time to put my feet up on the computer tower and praying. No coffee here though, after years of drinking it I woke up one day and did not have a taste for it anymore. I do like the occasional iced coffee though 🙂

  3. Liz

    I’m jealous that you don’t have to get vertical until 7:50. That’s the time I turn on the electric kettle to start boiling water for my tea (which is then poured into a travel mug, splashed with milk and stevia then packed away in my lunch sack so I can drink it on my drive into work). Very impressed that you wake up before your stop. When I lived in Seattle I’d set a 20 minute alarm on my phone so I could snooze during my bus commute.

    1. Jenna Post author

      I know–7:50 isn’t bad at all! I count my blessings about that one, especially when I hear Adam’s alarm go off at 6:30 and I get to stay under the covers, heh heh.
      And I love tea with milk! Especially Irish Breakfast tea or Vanilla Chai. Mmmm!
      By the way, I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but . . . I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET YOU AT NEW YEARS!!! =)

  4. Carrie

    What a sweet ending… or beginning? 🙂 Wow, I really felt like I was going through your morning routine with you. Thanks for taking me along! As for me…? Well, I’m just now having my first cup o’ joe and, although I’ve been up for about two hours, I’m still rubbing the “early morning” out of my eyes. sohardtowakeuponmondays….

  5. Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon

    Isn’t it funny how ingrained our morning rituals become in our lives? I remember my commute naps back before I had a car and was one of the regulars on the bus. Yup, I was “that girl” sleeping on the bus on her way to work.

  6. Giselle

    That was so fun! I would too be the girl napping on the L and the bus. I can’t believe you have to walk, then take a 20 minute train and then a 15 minute bus to get to work. What time do you have to be at work? Living in a big city is so different. I have a 6 minute drive from my driveway to the parking lot downtown. And thank goodness for it because I can hardly manage to make it to work at 8:45 (many a times 9..) when I should really be there closer to 8. Oops.

  7. Kimby

    Jenna, it was fun to follow you around for a morning and wonder what your favorite moment was going to be! I loved how you led up to it… aaahhhh!

  8. Skippymom

    I love the mosaics in the metro station. I would smile everyday seeing those. And how sweet that you get to say goodbye at the train station. Sort of romantic.

    So true – you have many blessings. Thank you for sharing them mujer! 🙂


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