Scene, Sunday, March 9, 2008

Last night, I set the alarm clock for 5 a.m. with plans to get up early and write this column. Seconds after it went off, I had already begun closing the bedroom doors so my early-morning noises wouldn’t wake anyone.

I made my way downstairs and said a quiet, “Good morning,” to Glory as I headed to the coffeemaker. She rolled over and went back to sleep.

Resisting the temptation to do the same, I began going over ideas of what to write about. Would I describe all the bizarre things that have turned up in my freezer over the years as the boys test the effects of temperature on everything from glow-sticks to Fritos?

Or perhaps I would admit that allowing Jimmy to buy a grocery cart full of fireworks to celebrate Martin Luther King Day was not the smartest thing I have done as a parent.

By the time I finished my first cup of coffee, the ideas were really beginning to flow. I turned on my laptop and went back to the kitchen for a second cup.

That’s when I noticed the clock on the microwave oven said it was 12:51 a.m. “Hmmm … The power must have been out last night,” I thought. Then, I wondered why the clock wasn’t flashing 12:00 like it usually does after a power outage.

A feeling of dread crept over me as I forced myself to look at the clock in the family room and face reality; I had just loaded up on caffeine after less than four hours of sleep.

Something should have told me things were a little bit “off” when I glanced in the mirror and didn’t see my curly hair transformed into its usual early-morning mess. I had told myself it was a sign of the Good Hair Day in store for me.

No amount of second-guessing would get the caffeine out of my system, so I decided the only thing to do was to write about my predicament. The reason the alarm went off so early is the best part of the story.

Usually, I depend upon Ron to be my alarm clock. When he gets up and heads downstairs for breakfast, I begin to stir and mentally go over our plans for the day.

Since I was planning to get up before Ron last night, I decided to borrow Ronnie’s alarm clock and place it within grabbing distance from my pillow.

Ronnie’s alarm clock is unique in many ways. It is a Pop Tarts alarm clock I ordered for him because it looked cute on the box.

Nothing could have prepared me for the alarm’s obnoxious voice saying, “Somebody’s gotta get up, and it ain’t gonna be me,” followed by, “Get up or I tell everyone you wear jammies!”

The numbers on the clock’s face are arranged in reverse order so that only 12 and six are in the right place. It has never made any sense to any of us, a problem made worse when I misplaced the directions that no one had read.

Still, it looks cute and comes in handy when Ronnie refuses to wake up on school days. Switching on the alarm and turning the clock’s hands until that irritating voice begins to rant is a guarantee my youngest will make it to the bus stop on time.

It definitely got me going in the wee hours of the morning!

There are so many lessons that could be learned from this experience, but I prefer to laugh at myself instead.

That’s what Life on the Home Front is all about anyway.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 17 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at

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