I was home when the painter first came by. I knew someone was at the door because the dog was barking. I opened it and out she went. She greeted the visitor by leaping to his waist. People who come to the door have to deal with this, she's the security system. I say this to the painter but it doesn't matter. He's scratching her behind the ears. He says my landlord's name and mentions touch-ups. He steps back to take in the house. He compliments it like I built it, and pulls out his wallet for a business card. They're stuck together, a stack of them. The dog has taken off into the neighbor's yard. I wasn't paying attention, now she's not responding to me calling her back inside. I admire that about her, that carefree attitude, her negligence and disrespect for me. I actually admire it. But right now it's annoying. Even more so than this painter. The painter says, You better get your dog before she goes too far. What this property needs more than exterior touch ups is a fence. I can't see her, I can't hear the jingle of her tags. She is not responding to me clapping, whistling and name-calling. I get out the leash and jangle that around. With a soup can I scoop  dog food from the bag and rattle that around. It's a sound she salivates for, and not just saliva, bubbles normally form on the sides of her mouth when she hears those pellets in tin can. But right now, she's out of earshot, she's onto this trick. The one trick I need my dog to do right now she won't.
For 8 a.m., it seems dark to me. I must have been asleep when she left for work. I was up early, maybe four, and did some reading until my head hurt and I could fall back asleep. Now I'm awake. It's the ratcheting—rick-a-tick-a-tick-a-tick—the sound of ladders on the back of the house, that wakes me. The painters are here.