Not a sound but for the roaring of the wood stove, my little old calico kitty with the bad lungs breathing heavily, and the tapping of the keys on this tiny little machine that won't even download pictures. No morning news show on TV, no sound of my clogs rushing around the apartment getting ready for work - after morning chores that is. I love vacation. We can almost never leave the farm to travel so vacation means not going to our jobs off the farm. There are benefits to a working job, but right now I'm basking in the benefits of staying home with my grandchildren on a winter's day. It's not as cold today but Luke and I built the wood stove up anyway. It just seems like the right thing to do, to make the heart of the apartment start beating again. I've experimented with putting pots of simmering pot pourri on top of the stove in years past, but with my fire breathing dragon of a stove the pots boil down quickly and I'm left with a crusty pot that takes years of soaking to clean. Hannah and Luke are on the sofas reading from their little machines. Baby Boomer that I am, all these machines are a drag on my techno-phobic brain and I lump them into one category - machines. You would think that as a teacher I would be able to call them all by their proper names but I spend most of my time snarling "put that thing AWAY" and don't learn what brand they are. Luke and Hannah are trying to teach me how to use my smart phone but it's not going well. I only use it at sheep shows anyway. Last night we watched a lot of TV, with my Downton Abbey - sob - then Bones, then Red Riding Hood, then the Smurf movie. It was midnight before we turned off the box and all the lights and shut it down. I attempted to sleep in the marital bed with spouse and various dogs, but the desperate growling and snarling next to me (snoring from human, not dogs) was a little unsettling. Reba, who had turned in earlier with Matt, was catty-cornered over my side and would not be moved. When did she get so heavy? When she moved in with us! I lifted Izzy up onto the high colonial bed, which requires a ladder for me to get in it, and we both teetered a bit before I found a spot to park him in. Izzy is suffering from arthritis and I forgot to give him his aspirin yesterday. That error, combined with an afternoon hike to the pond in the severe cold along with chasing sleds, combined to give him fits of pain. Poor Izzy. He's my only purebred dog and he seems to be aging fast beyond his seven years. After getting Izzy situated I attempted to find a spot for myself but only could claim about ten inches on the extreme edge of the mattress which required holding on to the night stand. My legs could not stretch out and lying them on top of Reba was not comfy for her or me. Izzy was wincing and making little yelps in his sleep whenever he moved. I would have managed some sleep if not for the growling and snarling in my ear. I felt around and sure enough Matt's bulk was planted smack in the middle of the bed. No wonder I was bereft of space. If only the loud snoring was rhythmically timed I would have embraced it, but, no, it would hesitate then come back with a vengeance as if he was fighting some perceived enemy in his sleep. Funny thing about snoring. My mother snored like a bear, even more than Matt. I wonder if it's a smoker's thing? She did shift work at the hospital, and I was always confused about when my mother would be home at night. I hated when she had to work nights. When I heard the snoring I knew my mommy was home and I was safe. After a half hour or so I gave up on the marital bed and retreated to the living room where a lovely pad from Hannah's trailer was propped up against the sofa. I placed it on the floor and made a nice bed for myself in front of the wood stove. I think I got four hours or so, but I don't have to face colleagues and students today - thank you God - so I'll be fine. Annie is coming to collect the kiddies tonight and they'll be on their way tomorrow. That's when I'm so thankful for all the dogs, cats, sheep and critters that surround me and make me feel so needed and loved and I'm reminded why I have them in the first place.