Monday, January 26, 2009

Are you a creature of habit?

Are you a creature of habit?

I got inspired to write this post by Profoundly Inarticulate, because it made me realise that my whole life and the whole life of mum and Uncle Hugh is governed by rituals and habits and routines. Mum is the worst when it comes to habits and rituals and routines. Uncle Hugh said she would be really easy to assassinate, if she were President, which she isn’t – ‘cause that’s Mr Obama. I think he was just making a point.

Every morning, it’s the same. Mum and Uncle Hugh get up at different times. Uncle Hugh (7.00), Mum (8.30). Uncle Hugh’s morning ritual is to have a big mug of tea in his old, trusty mug that he’s had longer than I’ve been alive (the one on the left of the photo), and then read his book whilst I snooze in my night-time bed under the table with my head on his foot. Then mum gets up and has a big mug of coffee in her own mug (the one on the right) that she’s had since she moved to France (her old one broke in the move and it made her anxious until she got a replacement). Then she reads or catches up with some blogs whilst she drinks her coffee. After mum has had her coffee in that mug, she has to have a tea in another mug – a plain white one. They take their mugs wherever they go. Even on holiday. Yes, they are sad bastards.

Then, they have breakfast, whilst I beg. Then I have breakfast. Then I snooze in my mid-morning and afternoon bed whilst mum and Uncle Hugh do things on their computers and talk to folk in the UK

Than Uncle Hugh and mum shower (not together).

Then Uncle Hugh goes to do things with his flying car.

Then me and mum go for a walk.

Then I come back and snooze in my afternoon bed whilst mum does more stuff on the computer for Uncle Hugh.

Then mum goes to the Supermarket to buy stuff for dinner and takes me with her for a ride. Whilst there, mum ALWAYS parks in the same place. ALWAYS. It’s nearly always free too ‘cause it’s about a five mile hike from the Supermarket itself. But mum doesn’t seem to mind the walk. It means that HER space is nearly always free. It’s a little space right at the end of a parking row and it’s a big space so it also means that mum’s car doesn’t get dented by people opening their car doors. (Borderline OCD if you ask me – this parking obsession thingy).

A digression - it’s obligatory in France to open your car door onto someone else’s car door and leave a little dent. Same as when you’re parking, it’s obligatory to ‘kiss’ the bumper of the car in front or behind. That means you’re parked. Mum doesn’t like this French custom. In fact, mum hates it. Which is why she chose a parking space far, far away from anyone. Now don’t think that mum is ‘precious’ about her car. Far from it. Mum doesn’t give a damn about her car. Mum’s car is the messiest, dirtiest car you’re ever going to see on the road. Mum never, EVER cleans her car. That’s why she always has silver ones – she says they never look absolutely filthy. Uncle Hugh says that mum would rather buy a new one than wash one. However, saying that, she hates those little dents that sometimes happen when folk open their car doors.

Mum always drives to the Supermarket on the big roads, and always comes back on the little ones (the scenic route she calls it). She never, ever does it the other way round. Why? (Again, borderline OCD methinks).

Then after mum gets back from the Supermarket, Uncle Hugh gets back from the aeroclub.

Then they open a couple of bottles of grape juice and start drinking that whilst Uncle Hugh cooks.

Then they eat , whilst I beg.

Then I eat.

Then it’s more drinking and ‘play with Henry’ time.

Then mum sits on her sofa, Uncle Hugh sits on his sofa, and I sleep in my evening bed whilst they watch TV or read.

Then we all go to bed after nighttime pee, which me and Uncle Hugh do together.

Then it starts ALL OVER AGAIN, the next day.

Why do folk have routines? Do you have one?

I can’t imagine mum or Uncle Hugh ever varying theirs.

Even when they go on holiday. I’ve heard mum talk about how they quickly set up a routine – when on a City Break, Uncle Hugh finds a bar to sit in whilst mum goes sight-seeing and she walks and walks. Or, if they’re doing a ‘beach holiday’, Uncle Hugh finds a bar to sit at whilst mum finds some shade and reads or walks and walks. Especially when on a ‘beach holiday’ they find themselves eating lunch and dinner at exactly the same time every day. After one holiday mum said that the folk at the resort were setting their watches by them. “I’m sure they were. Whenever they saw us heading for the restaurant in the evening I saw them glance at their watch just to check it was 7.30.”

Other little idiosyncrasies of mum & Uncle Hugh – they have ‘their’ side of the bed (and I know other humans do that too), they have a sofa each, and they’re exactly the same but even so, they would never swap – unthinkable.

Mum has all her toiletries laid out in her bathroom in the order she uses them and she KNOWS if Uncle Hugh has been in and touched anything.

Uncle Hugh can’t go to the loo for a number two without his mug of tea and a book - too much detail, I know, but hey! I'm a dog.

There are more but too many to list.

I do think you humans are a peculiar species. Saying that, since I first posted this, I've had time to ruminate and I wonder if mum & Uncle Hugh's routines are a result of them living in chaos for many, many years? Perhaps their routines make them feel safe? More secure? I don't know.

Talking of peculiar – here is Uncle Hugh doing ‘farting hands’ and scaring me. He puts his hands together and makes a strange farting noise and he gets me EVERY time. He always makes me think he’s holding something horrid in them - a horrid farting creature. Deep down I know he isn’t, but I can’t help myself. I get all hyper. It's short and it's a bit dark, sorry.


Braja said...

Hey Henry my man! We're online together...

Yep, I've got a routine...but you read it in the Truth About Yogis posts I did. I'm a regulated kinda gal and I love it....

Mickle in NZ said...

Hi Henry

Zeb has a couple of weird ones. When he goes all "cutiepie", rolling onto his back, if I rub his tummy then he washes his face. And when he goes the other way up and I rub or brush his back he washes his front paws.

Don't think this is a cat thing, just pure Zebedee. Oh - both ways he purrs very loudly.

At least you get your own beds (pural!) - I have to share the bed and the sofa, and even the floor with Zeb.

Have a great Monday - mine has only 1.40 minutes to go. xxx and huggles

Mickle in NZ said...

pural? Plural!

Oh Henry - maybe too much grape juice for Mickle.

(Zebby now sleeping in his cutiepie position)

Indrayani aka, Indi! said...

Hey Henry sweetheart..
thanks for the comments on my blog.. :)
I would really love if you came and read it more often and left your paw prints all over it.. ;)

About being into the routine thing...
now that you wrote about it...I am thinking, that theres absolutely nothing I am 'regular' about!!
Eeeggaaaaad!!! :-o

Except,ofcourse this recent bloggin and blog reading thing...
Phew! There I have my own quirk to be anal about!! ;)

Self-Proclaimed Editor said...

Side dents -- oh, that's also an American tradition. My lady was sitting in her truck one day at the post office and someone next to her opened their door and banged our truck. Her face turned so-o-o-o red! She jumped out and walked around the truck to see if there was a mark and the other person just fluffed her off. How rude! Since then she parks away from others too. I like it because then we walk more when I'm along. :) KC

Henry the Dog said...

Braja - we love you too xxxx

Mickle - Zebby doesn't sound like your regular cat. He is one peculiar guy:):) And he must love you lots to stay so close to you. Too much grape juice? Pourquoi pas? As we say in France.

Indi - somehow I didn't imagine you being a 'routine' type of gal. Wonder why? xxxxx

KC - mum simply HATES it. She thinks it's SO RUDE.

KAREN said...

It's funny because my mum used to criticise my grandma for rigidly sticking to her Tuesday and Thursday morning shopping routines, and yet she's exactly the same now! That'll be me in a few years then....

Seriously though, there's something comforting about certain routines. I can't seem to start the day without a weak coffee, for instance!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Henry, I think, in general, we are all creatures of habit. Routines can be a very steadying thing, and sometimes it's nice to break out of them - As you do a little bit when on your hols, and so on...

I love the clip of you, Uncle Hugh is such a tease, and I can see you love it! x

Mickle in NZ said...

Dear Henry, as I might have written elsewhere, Zebby is a "rescue" cat - this means he had other home/s that were bad. A very nice man found and rescued Zeb. Only the nice man already had a cat that would beat Zeb up. Then the nice man (after a while or so) moved into the flats next to where I am.. Even more cats hung around (cos of the postie's feeding them - a whole story in itself) and Zeb was in a sad friendless, attacked and chased away way state. We met, we tried each other out for a week or so - and it became a mutual adoption. Sorry to take so much space on the comments of what is YOUR blog.

Next Up Short version - Other cats were very nasty, Zeb beaten up then had and hid an abscess until it busted, and I took him to a vet. Yes - needles and thermometers and spcial medicine through a needle. Well - Zeb was mended with medicine and much tender loving care, and being given a safe home from and with Mickle.

We don't know his age - maybe now 10 human years? Whatever it is, he is spending the rest of his life with me. And he has some Burmese in him which makes for a loving darling that seeks out my company - coo!

Zebby is now mine, and I am his, and he is snore-purring to prove this.

Dearest Henry - from sad stuff happy things happen - Lady Jicky and Rosie, Mickle and Zebby......

Zebby C now snoring ....... I still love him coz he loves me anyway.

Henry - you can have your comments back now.

(has Mum has the Kitchen floor heating fixed? or are you relying on the heat from the dishwasher and breadmaker for overnight warmth?)

Lady Fi said...

As every parent will tell you, routines create a sense of peace and security for kids because they reiterate that sense of the familiar. And when we are kids we need this sense of familiarity as this is what helps us make sense of a world that is frightening to us when we are so small.

So, it's no wonder that we tend to keep to routines that work as we get older. Unfortunately, this can sometimes stop us from trying out new things and going on new adventures. It's called stuck in a rut sometimes... So, yes - we humans are very strange!

I recommend that everyone should try out something new every day: a new food, a new magazine, sleep on the other side of the bed or why not with your feet at the pillow end and your head at the other end and so on?

I do have one ritual though: I must must drink my one cup (well, bowl is a better description) of coffee first thing in the morning.

Henry the Dog said...

Karen - I think my mum would agree that it's also something to do with getting older - you've got a long way to go yet:)

Mickle - I think Zebby's very sad story has a lovely happy ending and he is one very lucky cat to have found someone like you. No, mum hasn't fixed the floor - it will never be done. Mum & Uncle Hugh only get things fixed if they are absolutely essential to life (like dishwashers). I now have much more fur than I did before and luckily the underfloor heating in the other living area still works. The kitchen is quite snug and the heater from the cooker keeps it fairly warm. So, life goes on:):):)

Lady Fi - you are a very wise person. I think I might call you Lady Wise from now on. YOu say a lot of very sensible things. Mum says she loved routine as a child. It made her feel safe. She came from a very loving and steady environment. She was lucky. Mum loves to try new things too, but mainly of the food/drink variety. She agrees with you, it is easy to get stuck in a rut if you're not careful.

Lee said...

Some habits - eg: sitting in bed in the morning, with coffee and paper. But I also try to change things around, variety being the spice of life and all. Breakfasts vary, routes to places vary, meals vary, music varies...

Blu said...

Hi Henry, yeah I have some routines but not as fixed as you describe here. I call them ruts, and I like some of my ruts. I always try to sit in the same part of the room for my French class, dont know why but I do! When I am on my own I love throwing some of ruts outa the window. its fun. Lots of hugs Blu xx
PS. I wish a had a rut of opening my post box I keep forgetting to open it!

Parisgirl said...

Henri, I'm with your mum on parking, all that nudging bumpers and smacking the wing, door, side, front and pretending it doesn't matter drives me mad too.
Just one word of advice for when Mum's gone back to the UK, and you are talking about 'habits' to all your lady friends...don't be tempted to use the English word with a French accent as I once did because everyone will think you are talking about willies and will fall about laughing. x

Braja said...

AND...I know what you mean about Mum and hubby and I are exactly the same. In fact we're so bad I do holidays alone now!!

Stubby said...

I think I would probably be assassinated along with your mum, Henry. Isn't that sad?

Dad gets up about 6:30, but depending on the day, Mom usually gets up later, so I stay in bed as long as possible. Breakfast varies depending on how long I sleep, but my little internal alarm clock goes off at 4:30 pm exactly for dinner.

Most weekdays I work with Dad in his office, but occasionally if Mom is home I work with her.

I love my routines, but now I am worried about an assassination attempt. Who would want to knock such a good looking pug off?

Frankie Furter said...

Hi Henry, Something hinky has been going on with your blog. I could not get in yesterday to leave you a note. I had a very much difficult time agin this morning. Hummmm, do you suppose it might be related to your subject matter???
I just want to tell you that I can truly relate to today's subject matter. My mom is a BE-TIRED Elem. school LIBRARIAN. The first thing I had to learn when I moved in here was, A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE. Even before she started to obsess about where I pottied. Whoooie, talk about rituals... my dad is the king of those... worse that me at Christmas, when I was making my list and CHECKING IT TWICE. he he he But I do love them, in spite of their nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Hi henry! And happy monday to you.

I'd say I'm definitely a creature of habit, and a might OCD as well. It's familiar and makes me feel comfortable. When things are out of place or if my routine is thrown off a little, I feel uneasy. And, sometimes, even grumpy.

Tenshi - he is definitely a creature of habit! Circles three time before he plops to lay down. Runs back and forth between two spots at least four times before he does his business.

A little regularity and familiarity is safe.

Have a great Monday!

Mickle in NZ said...

Henry - your Mum had better be careful if she plans to send you to the clipp the fur lady anytime bfore May.

Your furry furr is there for a good porpoise (oops- Mickle's been watching too many Marx Bros fillums).
huggles and xxxxxx to Henry and H's Mum. Hello to Uncle Hugh.B. and his slippers.

French Fancy said...

Do you know what, Henry - this has been one of my favourite posts of yours. I adore finding out about people's daily routines. I see that yours includes a lot of begging and dozing -there's two little girls here who do just the same thing. In fact when playing the little film of you just now they both picked their heads up and did that sideways turn with them- you know 'what is she listening to now?' turn.

I'm so glad mummy got her camera because now we can see what you get up to.

More routines please

Juliet Colors said...

Henry, I understand your mum completely. You might find her behavior funny, but really, if you've figured out the best way to do something, why change? It saves thinking. And there is something very comforting about routine. Plus you can't have the fun of "mixing things up" every now and then if you don't have a standard to change.

I didn't mention in my post, but I also like to park in the same place, and I have my own side of the bed and the sofa and get mad if anyone dares invade my territory. I also get mad if Alex accidentally rearranges the order of my toiletries in the bathroom. *Sigh* Sometimes it's hard being borderline OCD. But somebody's got to keep things in order!

Thanks for the bloggy mention. :-)

Csquaredplus3 said...

What a lovely post. Satisfies the nosy in me. I think the routines sound perfect.

Henry, you are absolutely adorable. Mary doesn't look quite as cute as you with her hair long. We try to keep it shorter, with a bit of an eyelash like Liza Minnelli. Your hair is so attractive!

detroit dog said...

Henry, you are too funny and cute - and therefore handsome!

But Quasar wanted to respond to the question about routines. Quasar says:

Dad and I are the only ones with routines. Thanks to your post, Mum is now suspecting that her "problem" is that her only routines are forced upon her by others. For example: Regardless of what shift Dad is working, his alarm clock goes off at 5:45 every morning. At 6 a.m., we all get up. Mum lets me outside for a pee, then lets me back in, wipes my paws, and feeds me. Mum goes back to bed, and so do I after breakfast. If Mum is not up by 8:30, I bark at her until she pulls her lazy self out of bed and we go downstairs. She must then shower. When Dad comes home from work, Mum lets us out the door and we go bonkers jumping all over him and he plays with us. Later, the 4 of us will go for a 2-1/2 mile walk. Then, Mum gives us dinner, then she and Dad eat dinner while I watch. If I watch quietly, they talk about how I am a "Good Boy" and I will get a treat when they are finished. I sleep next to Dad in his office, or nap on the couch while Mum is on her laptop in a chair. I feel pretty much knocked out by 8 or 9. Dad will make fun of my by lifting my legs and letting them drop. I'm too pooped to respond to his mocking behavior. Dad and I will eventually go upstairs to bed. Mum will come up in a while. They tuck me in (cover me with a blankie). Then Dad snores and I snore, and Mum stays awake reading or with the laptop until 2 a.m. Then everything starts over again. I think Mum needs more training.


Mum once bumped the rear of another car while parking, and the other lady (who was standing on the sidewalk) yelled "Did you just bump my car?!" Mum said "Yes." The other lady just looked at Mum then dropped it.


LadyFi said...

Tis I again... I have told you all about The Wiggles on Lee's blog - in the comments under the post about it being very very hot... Hope this is enough info for you! ;-)

Lisa said...

I laughed with recognition at this lovely post that is so full of fun details.

I do best when I have a routine, but I do find that sometimes I shake things up just for the sake of feeling alive, I guess. There's no good explanation for stirring the pot as I do, but that doesn't stop me.

Still - when things are chaotic, I absolutely crave the comfort and structure of routine.

Jennysmith said...

Excellent post, Henry, so full of humourous detail. All i can say is if i don't get my first cup of coffee and fag by a quarter to 7 in the morning I am like a thing possessed,

Yes, i like to park in the same place too


lady jicky said...

G'day Henry. Well I have not been around all that long here so I can't see any patterns but .... I tell you this - if Mum was the Prime Minister and someone wanted to bump her off they would die of boredom before they got her! She is not very interesting Henry --OH - except when the food stuff starts to get dished out!! forgot that.
What with Fingers of Fun and now Farting Hands - that Uncle Hugh is a bit of a worry Henry! LOL
See Ya!

SSQuo said...

I love your mum and dad's routine - and I love your tiresome day, sleep, eat, beg, walk, pee, :)

Here are some of mine -
Quirky/OCD: Try my best to avoid different foods mixing on my plate. I have sections!

When I sleep on the side, my ear HAS to be covered at all times. ( i have a reason, but I dont want to share it!:))

Habits: Enjoy my morning cup of coffee, I have to have that every morning other than the 40 days of lent when I give it up. Cup of tea in the evening.

Cannot seem to sit quietly when there is a catchy song playing..EVER!

La Belette Rouge said...

I am trying to set routines for Lily( my puppy) and yet she seems to be resistant to my plans and changes up when she does what every day. I hope I can get her on a schedule soon. Perhaps with more treats I can get her on a schedule.

Now that Lily has seen you in action she has a bloggy doggy crush on you in the way only a 11 week old puppy can.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Habits? Nun I want to confess to.

Nigel, Sola and Co. said...

Ahh yes - many a dog has been done in by the hand fart...

Ruby Isabella said...

My people are creatures of habit but they change their working times which keeps things different. At the moment Tim works afternoons so I get a morning walk with Tim and an afternoon walk with Mandy. Yippeeee!
Tim has definite habits but he can change them quickly. When he comes back from holiday he has forgotten all the old ones and has to start from scratch.

Henry the Dog said...

Lee - you seem to have a very balanced view of life. I think mum should start making little changes too. Perhaps her route to the Supermarket????

Blu - yeah, I suppose they are ruts, but mum seems to be enjoying them at the mo. Maybe she could start developing new ones. I think it's good that you're not rushing to the post box - that means there's nothing that you're worried about in there:)

Parisgirl (Henry laughing) - yes, we know what you mean. NO, that WON'T happen hee hee hee...

Braja - sometimes mum thinks she ought to go on her own too. She has done in the past. She often went without UHugh, 'cause he was always too

Stubby - I don't think there's anyone out there who would want to assasinate you xx Like you, I love staying in bed as long as poss too.xx

Frankie - I was having probs getting into other folks' blogs a couple of days ago, so don't worry. I don't think it's just mine. If you have a mum who was a librarian you're lucky. I bet she's very VERY organised. Mum once worked in a library when she was very young. It made her realise how messy she was in her head xxx

Kathryn - I'm laughing 'cause I do that circling round business before lying down. Must go back to the wolf in us. Mum gets grumpy too if her routine is put out. Also, she can cope rather stoically when major things go wrong in her life, but if the electric goes off (as it does here often) or the dishwasher packs up, she's pathetic and gets all stressy.

Mickle - she's having me clipped in two weeks when she goes on hols but she's having me done with a 'winter cut', instead of the summer one. So she's leaving some behind. Kisses to you and Zebby (me sending kisses to a cat????)xxxx

FFancy - why thank you. Maybe I ought to reveal more about my everyday life. Thing is, I always think it's a bit tedious, but saying that - I love to hear about what other folks do with their time. Perhaps mum & me can take you on a walk with us one day and show you what we

Juliet - you sound very much like my mum. Perhaps there are 'types' of humans, just like there are types of dogs. I feel a post coming on....We like your blog very much xxx

CSquared - mum and me think Mary is very pretty. My hair might look ok on photos, and it is soft, but I hate being groomed, so mum doesn't do that very often. So amongst the soft bits are huge lugs that she ends up hacking out with a pair of scissors - there, have I burst the bubble now? Silly me!

Detroit/Quasar - it sounds as if you have a good time with your mom & dad. It's lovely to hear how other folk live and interact with their dogs. You sleep in the same room as them. I am SO jealous. Mum has never let me sleep with them, even when I was a pup. Saying that, there aren't that many rules in this house:)

Lady Fi - THANK YOU. AT LAST. Will pop over there

Lisa - I can imagine you shaking things up now and then. One feisty lady:) Yes, I think it's the chaotic and unconventional life that mum & Uncle Hugh led before that led to all these habits and routines;)

Jennysmith - (Henry laughing) before mum stopped smoking she loved that first fag and cup of coffee, which she'd do outside whatever the weather (she never smoked in her house). She said it was bliss, and nearly five years later she still misses that first ciggy. xxxx

Kenzo - ha ha ha. I laughed at your comments little one. Believe me, your mum is NOT boring. She is one special lady. Fingers of fun and farting hands are great, believe me. xxx

SSQuo - you are a funny sweetie. Uncle Hugh's big pup has the same quirk as you - not wanting to mix foods on her plate. She has sections too. Trouble is, her own little pup is starting to do it. Is it genetic? Or copied? Do you dance around your house when a song you like comes on? Mum does if she's on her own.xxxx

Belette - it sometimes takes some pups longer than others to get into a routine doesn't it? As for having a crush on me (Henry blushes) well these young pups are forced to be a little in awe of us older guys from time to time, n'est-ce pas? More clips of Lily on your blog please:)

J Cosmo - that would have been lost on a lesser dog:):):)

Nigel, Sola & Co - they can be deadly can't they?

Ruby - when mum & Uncle Hugh go back to the UK, they'll have to change their routine too. But I know they'll simply end up finding another one. You're lucky having two walks. xxx

French Fancy said...

I'd love to come on a walk with you, Henry as would Misty and Poppy.

One thing about routines is that I regularly try and mix everything up - apart from the girls' routines that is, dogs must do things more or less at the same time each day (like kids I guess).

I often like sitting in a different chair in one of the rooms and getting a new perspective on it. It's quite good actually 'cos you can see new bits of dust.

Henry the Dog said...

FFancy (Henry & his mum laughing their heads off) You come out with some 'beauts.

"I often like sitting in a different chair in one of the rooms and getting a new perspective on it. It's quite good actually 'cos you can see new bits of dust" ....

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Daisy said...

Henry, your mum's got her camera working and all your new pictures are fantastic!! I love this video, you are so very like my darling Otto, even the little noises you make!! I think your mum and Hugh have a very enviable routine, especially as a lot of it involves playing or sitting with you!
(ok, the mugs on holiday is crazy, but still...)

Henry the Dog said...

Daisy - why thank you sweetie. Watch this space - there are more on the way. Yes, they do have an enviable routine at the moment. But, sadly, all will change - c'est la vie, eh? xxx

LadyFi said...

Henry - I hope you and your mum got enough information about The Wiggles!

Braja said...

Well, maybe you can tell your mum that in January 2010 I'm going to have an Ayurvedic retreat here: walks on the beach, a lot of fun, treatments daily (twice a day), facials, etc. I will rent a big house on the beach, and we'll have someone come and clean, cook, and wash for us. We'll be here for about 10 days. How does that sound? I would love for you to come but maybe you and Hugh could get some man-time in and your mum could come on a break?

Henry the Dog said...

Lady Fi - yes, great info about The Wiggles. Thank you. I should have posted, but didn't - very remiss of mexxxx

Braja - mum says it sounds IDYLLIC and exciting, will there be fizzy wine???? Or is it alcohol free over there? It would also depend on the state of her plastic - 2010 could be a difficult year for her. She says please keep her posted and she will keep in touch too.