Mornings with Karen

The ping of my iPhone is what wakes me up every morning. I reach out to my nightstand blindly and knock down the TV remote and my reading glasses before I find my phone.

“The word is ALERT.” I read her text.

I smile because, ironically, she has chosen a word that is the complete opposite of what I am feeling at the moment. And then, I put the phone down and immediately fall back to sleep.

A few minutes later – another ping and next to me, my husband growls, “Tell her to stop texting so early in the morning or put your phone on silent mode at night.”

I get up because our poodle, Chloe, is wide awake and patiently waiting for me to take her outside. We both head downstairs in complete darkness, but for the flashlight on my phone. I let her out in the backyard to do her business. She takes no more than 30 seconds to run out the door and find her spot to get the job done.

Meanwhile, the phone pings again. “You up?”

I text back. “Coffee first.” I feel a set of eyes staring up at me. It’s Chloe’s way of asking me for a treat. I oblige and then proceed to make myself a cup of coffee from the Keurig before opening up the NYT Wordle to type in ALERT. I hope I can add another win to my 122-day streak.

The coffee starts to kick in, so I text back. “Okay, I’m ready.”

This is how my sister, Karen, and I start our day. She picks the word we start with, and we see how many guesses it takes us to arrive at the answer. We text each other as we play.

  • Is it a Spanish word?
  • “Do I know this word?”
  • Did you get it yet?”
  • “I hate it when there are too many options.”
  • “I can’t get it, and I have four yellow letters.”
  • “I have no clue what this word is.”
  • “Do you want a hint?” (The answer is always – “ABSOLUTELY NOT!)
  • “I need more coffee.”
  • “What the fuck is guano?!”

One time, the winning word was duvet – which turned into a 30-minute conversation on why we hate them and how she introduced two people who loved duvets, and it turned out to be a match made in heaven.

Anyway…this has been our morning ritual for over a year. For me, it goes Chloe – Coffee – Wordle. Sometimes it’s Chloe – Wordle – Coffee, but I tend to break my winning streak on those days.

Spending quality time together in the early hours of the morning – even if it is over the phone – is our way of showing how much we care. We take the time out of our busy schedules to spend 10-15 minutes Wordle-ing and texting each other. And Karen and I share more than similar word choices in our daily matchup. We have the same sense of humor, taste in 80s movies, and political leanings – and a love of word games.

If I don’t answer her or she doesn’t answer me, we immediately think something is wrong and demand proof of life. I really do worry if she doesn’t answer me back right away. It’s silly, But to prove my point – for Hanukkah, she bought me a Wordle-themed coffee mug that reads, “If you don’t get my Wordle text, call the hospitals.” I almost bought her the same mug.

I know, we are weird. But, wherever we are in the world, I don’t think we could start our days any other way.

Happy Siblings Day, little sis.



9 comments on Mornings with Karen

  1. vidya
    April 12, 2023 at 4:33 pm (2 months ago)

    Oh my! This post warmed my heart and made me smile!! My brother and I do not have a daily ritual at this time, with him in india and me here in the US but we try to talk a few times a week and exchange texts and photos of happenings and meals and such over Whatsapp..
    and also reminded me that I did not attempt today’s Wordle.. so doing it right after commenting here ..

    • Elisa
      April 12, 2023 at 6:31 pm (2 months ago)

      Siblings are the best! No matter how far the distance…

  2. Glenda Cates
    April 12, 2023 at 10:06 am (2 months ago)

    How fun and I love how close you are. My sister and I spend days together as well and try and go walking which allows us to chat and catch up. The funny thing is we hardly get to go by ourselves because my husband and son want to spend time with her. Or my niece and nephew want to come be with me. Which is fine as it keeps us all close.

    • Elisa
      April 12, 2023 at 6:31 pm (2 months ago)

      That is so nice, Glenda. Enjoy all of those moments while the kids still want to hang out with you!

  3. Diana Walker
    April 10, 2023 at 9:07 pm (2 months ago)

    Oh, I love this! Family is so important, and what a wonderful relationship you have with your sister. I haven’t tried Wordle yet… maybe I will soon! Beautiful photo of you and your sister. Diana

    • Elisa
      April 10, 2023 at 9:39 pm (2 months ago)

      Thank you!

  4. Grace+Clancy
    April 10, 2023 at 9:06 pm (2 months ago)

    Two of my sisters and I do much the same every morning! It’s a treat!

    • Elisa
      April 10, 2023 at 9:39 pm (2 months ago)

      I love it!

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