Moved! Steep Grades and a Special Neighbor.

Well, it’s been a week since I’ve moved into my new home!

Yes, I had that exhale moment.

Still have a lot to do – but for all intents and purposes, we’re moved!!!

I’ve been adjusting to the longer commute, that just happens to be on a road they literally test vehicles on.  No kidding – Ford brings their trucks covered in sensors and hauling tons of weight and drive up and down the grade.  (Here’s an old article about this HERE.)

On the side of the road there are jugs of water that good Samaritans have left for struggling vehicles of the non-test type.

Regular commuters know that the air conditioning needs to be off for the majority of the trip, which, in triple digits can be quite taxing.  And when I say taxing, I mean, sheets of sweat, wet undergarments and complete loss of electrolytes.

Once that hill has been taken though, it’s worth the while.

Let’s get onto introducing you to one of my neighbors.

I say neighbor, but, it’s more like … um … a land mate?  Pet?

I’ll begin with our introduction.

I was sitting on the porch, enjoying a light breeze in the early evening.  Rose bushes were rustling, pine trees pining.  I had a hose running to water the length of the thirsty trees and looked over to check on the progress.

To my surprise, atop the picnic table was  – well … take a look yourself.

I slowly got up and put my dog inside the house.  I then calmly stated, “Um, honey?  There’s a snake on the table.”

Now, I have been aware in my 15 years in the desert that the territory comes with desert creatures.  I’ve had my run ins with an assortment of them.  But, not a snake.

I’m actually quite fond of them.  Had wanted one years ago.

But, considering our location, not all snakes want to be your friend.

My honey came out and we watched from a distance to make sure there was no rattle.  Then, got a little closer to assess the head shape.

He went in as my fascination grew.

Snake (I’ve since named Yogi – because, c’mon, pic-i-nic table!) came closer.  I grew braver.

And, closer still, into the rose bushes.

I followed Yogi around for a while, until it moved off into another lot.

 

I reached out and posted photos to a snake site.  I was informed it is a non-venomous gopher snake, good to have around!  I was also taught that if I needed it to scoot, I could spray it lightly with a hose.

I fretted a little about it interacting with my pup.  I certainly don’t want to have my time outside or hers dictated by our new friend.   Still haven’t quite worked that out yet.  (Any advice is welcome!)

Following night, we were outside when my guy announced, “Your friend is back.”  Sure enough.

 

 

This is such a low-key snake.  I mean, you can literally walk next to it.

But, the issue of the dog.  So, with Butters inside, I decided to try the spritz method.  It worked.  Yogi went back under the fence and curled up and cut its eyes at me.  Had a look of complete inconvenience and indignation.  To add insult to moisture, two sparrows alighted upon the fence and looked down upon Yogi.  I entrusted them to keep watch.

 

SO!  What to do, what to do?!  I’m an animal lover so definitely harming one is out.  Relocating it would be useless as it’s bound to be replaced by another – I mean, we have nothing but desert next to us and own 2.15 acres of it ourselves.

Must find a way to cohabitate.

I guess I’ll have plenty of time to consider just how to do that during my commute.

 

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Moving. (AKA: Where the F%$* did I put the tape???)

Oh. My. God.

Well Soupers, I can officially share with you that I am a home owner!  With my partner of course.

It happened on May 25th.  Close of escrow.

Our one year anniversary came on the 28th, one day before my birthday.  Which, was almost eclipsed by our new official situation, but, not entirely.

Yeah, yeah, I see the dust too, I live on a dirt road, I can’t wash my car without coming home and being completely undone in that arena.

So hush. LOL.

I didn’t pack a thing.  Not a thing.  Because, I didn’t want to ‘jinx’ anything. (I lived to regret that.)

We’ve done runs up and down, and, let me share now that it will be a 40 minute commute to work each way – but, well worth it!

I didn’t completely understand the gravity of this situation until … today.

My honey is out-of-town to be with his kidlets, (who arrive on this month for 3 weeks! 🙂 ) and I went up today to water the trees and set up a shower curtain and take up my kitchen island.  Ah.  How relaxing.  And, it was!  While I was there.

Past week was spent juggling work, initializing utilities, cancelling current ones in the future …

Here’s us, the ‘public view’ of this experience.

(Obviously taken before he left town)

Aaaand, here’s me now.

I have learned that … A) I am getting what I deserve after dropping so many things on my parents after I moved!

This is my son’s room …

We have what is called a Quonset hut which is HUGE!  And almost all of the shelving is currently occupied by ‘Nic Barn’.

I’m sorry mom.

B) I kept too much stuff!

I am the Queen of nostalgia.  Every card, every note, every memorabilia of an event I participated in!  Because why?  Is any one going to care after I pass?  Is it the Holy Grail?  NO!  My sentimental things are bordering on MENTAL!

I had a hard time throwing these out!  These are old food containers people!  But, because my son wrote such sweet things on them, I kept them!  I took a photo, because I’m still not over such things, then tossed.  (With a little whimper.)  You can understand what I’m up against.

C) This shit.  And, I swear I said out loud to my DOG, “Where the fuck did I put the tape????” at least 20 times today.

I haven’t even started on my bedroom, which, of course, contains my ‘most special things’ AKA: pouring over stuff for too long and reminiscing and not getting anything done!

There needs to be a service.  Someone who will literally just sit there and crack a whip when you’re getting tired, or taking too many breaks.

D) I will be SO happy when this is over and I get to read THIS and laugh.  I so hope for that moment, while my back is killing me and my space is a disaster.

There WILL be a time, in the future when I’m reading this and will tell myself, “You did it!”

 

Cold Feet in 100 Degree Weather

Well!  Big news.

1) I’m in escrow

2) I’m in escrow with that guy I hike with

3) I have a ring on my finger

4) I’m having a nervous breakdown

 

And I swear to God, if one more person tells me ‘worrying won’t fix anything’ I’m going to end up in the news.  Yes, yes I AM aware that worrying will not help anything.  I however, AM a worrier.  Kinda had to be raising a son completely, physically and financially alone.   I’m also that person who you share a sad story with and I’ll cry FOR you.  An empath through and through – so, imagine being alone in my own head unattended!

I am stressing the hell out.  And I would be lying if I said that there is a small part of me hoping the house does not appraise.  Horrible, I know.  But, I’m nothing but honest.

This is a HUGE commitment!

It all began because my guy and I have some distance between us.  This month will be a year since we met – we needed to find a solution to our 45 minute drive.  That solution was apparently moving somewhere where I’ll have a twice daily 35 minute drive.

“I don’t mind.”  Said cheerful, dreamy, smitten me.  “I’ll commute as long as we’re together.”  (Insert fingers down throat and go ahead and gag now.)

 

Now, I’ll have to hop in here and interrupt myself by pointing out that in fact, the ONLY thing I’m certain of right now is my unwavering love for this man.  No, not the guy in the pic above, my guy.  So yeah, I am willing to have a tedious commute in trade for sharing a home with my future husband.  (Gulp.  Hold on.  Dizzy.)

 

“Tell us Amanda!  How did you get engaged?!”

Well.

We went looking at a house that actually happened to have EVERYTHING we both wrote on our ‘wish list’.  Acreage, HUGE ‘hangar’ ‘shed’ whatever.  Completely fenced.  In the area my honey is in love with.  (Me, not so much.  I could leave the desert tomorrow and be just fine.)  AND, an actual house with a wood burning stove and in need of LOTS of projects and fixing up.

We checked it out – stopped at a local place for a beer and a chat deciding whether we make an offer or not.

We both knew we loved it.  We both knew what our answer would be – but I had knots in my stomach.  Share a mortgage with someone and then what?  Can’t just walk away if you have an argument from a 30 year loan.

Well, not without serious repercussions.

So I asked the most important question:

“Most importantly, are you sure you want to do this with me?”

Him: “Yes, I’m never going to meet  anyone like you.  Maybe we need to go to Vegas.”

We went to my place and his response kept ringing in my ear.  He’d dropped other hints.  Like, when he bought into a claim put me down as ‘spouse’ and told me that.  No guy who doesn’t want to put any thoughts in his girlfriends head would say that.  Nor would they mention marriage at ALL or discuss anything close to the topic.  LOL!

So after the Vegas comment – I just straight up said, “Look, you keep mentioning things, and I’ll tell you right now, I’m not doing Vegas. IF that’s what you meant.”

(I hurt my parents once before by eloping – so that wasn’t going to be an option.)

I then approached him, got down on one knee and I popped the question.

Romantic as hell huh?

So that was out of the way.

We’ll most likely do it at a courthouse.  No guests, (except my parents).  Just quick nuptials and onto life.  We’ve both HAD the fancy, flouncy, over the top weddings.  We don’t need all that again.

So here we are.

Then on Mother’s Day, I learned that my parents are moving.  Leaving the area totally.  And, doing it very soon.  I NEED my ‘mummy’.  Truly.  There is just SO much going on and the last thing I thought could add itself to that pile would be the departure of my rock.  My number one fan.  We’ve never lived far from one another.  This was a huge blow for me.

I’ve downed an entire box of M & M’s today – yes, a box.  I’ve been spontaneously weeping.  I haven’t packed a f$%#ing thing (our close of escrow is the 25th).

My stress level is at an eleven.

Am I going to be that girl at the altar, or more fittingly, the signing table that blurts out, “I’m sorry – I just can’t do this!”  and runs dramatically out of the building?  Probably not.  I’ve got this ‘love’ thing going on with the other party.

But I needed everyone to know that it is TERRIFYING!!!  And this is with a guy I love more than any other guy!  This is with the person I WANT to spend the rest of my life with.  It’s not all smiles, handshakes and keys being handed to you ya know!  It’s “Oh shit, this is big.”  It’s “What if my car breaks down now I have this insane uphill desert commute?”  It’s “What if we move in together and hate it?”  It’s “Does he truly love me?”  It’s insecurities and fear and taking a leap when you’re sure there’s nothing to break your fall.

And being willing to regardless, because life has handed you something amazing.

 

Defining Forgiveness

Ah, Eva

Debauchery Soup

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Forgiveness.

Through processing how to authentically achieve this, I became so stuck on the definition I had in my head, I all but decided there were some people I could never forgive!

I knew I had to change my definition.

It’s easy for me to forgive someone when they’ve owned their responsibility,  changed their behavior and are not repeating the same patterns and ceased to harm.

It’s also easy for me to forgive when I can understand that something in someone is broken.

And to be honest, it’s easy for me to forgive when what they have done reflects my own past indiscretions.

If I am guilty of having once caused the same harm to another, I have empathy which goes a long way to my original definition of forgiving.

Or perhaps, if I’m really being honest – forgiving those who have perpetrated a wrong doing that I have been…

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Trekking Poles and Guilt – also, ‘leg day’

To say our hike Saturday had its ups and downs would be a pretty fair assessment of the adventure.

I was excited about where we were going for a few reasons, one of them being it was the place I saw my first tarantulas over 15 years ago.  (Still very hard to believe this fair English native, then Central Coast California transplant has been in the desert that long!)

And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.

We’ll touch back on that in a while.

Anyway,  I’ve been chomping at the bit to capture wildlife on my camera.  So far, lizards, butterflies, burros, cattle and long-horned sheep – but my secret deep down wish was to snap a close up of a scorpion or an arachnid and yes, even a snake.  Oh, trust me, the zoom lens would be the key there!  I’m wishful but would also not like to trust my snake guards that we wear to such an extent.

We arrived at Grapevine Canyon and my first mistake?  I wore a cotton t-shirt.  (Why oh why do they give those away at 5K events?  Cotton is not conducive to a comfy hike or run.)  I am usually sporting wicking wear, and I’ll have you know that I’ve successfully completed all previous hikes sans sweat.  So, that either means that I didn’t push myself hard enough or … seriously, cotton is not the ideal choice.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m the Queen of Tangents, you’ll have to bear with me.

We arrive.

I don my pack and my snake guards and … my gift from my guy, trekking poles.

Another tangent.  When we return from hiking, he’s sore. He, with the Popeye calves.  He who can not only put his hands on the ground in a straight legged position, but also touch his forehead to his legs.  I, on the other hand, feel no pain upon return – nor the following day.  (Also can’t do any of those things.)

This weekend?  It hurt to squat to reach the toilet seat lol!  ‘Leg day’ happened.

We started out past the tourists who were there for the petroglyphs and the waterfall.

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Surpassed them and began our trek.

Me, clumsy  and awkward with my poles.  My honey a little frustrated because he’d put so much thought into buying them for me.  And, no, it does not escape me that he bought them for me because he wants to spend time with me.  It also doesn’t escape me that he bought them because he loves them and wants me to have the same experience.  So, I felt like an asshole and here’s why.

The terrain he fell in love with them for was the Pacific Crest Trail, so not only was that ideal for that, but he had MILES to become acquainted until they were like additional limbs.  Me?  I’m trying to snap pictures, which meant holding them in one hand or putting them down, and it seemed every time I did that, he happened to turn around.  I felt awful.  A gift not being utilized as intended.

We carried on.

Now might be a great time to mention that my guy also has experience rock climbing.  Serious rock climbing.  And, after the birth of my son I was suddenly scared of heights.  And we were high.

I say this because he was like a freaking mountain goat and I kept being told, “Stay perpendicular!” This, after a particular steep rock with nothing to cling to.  Thing is about such a rock, once you’re half way up, you’re kinda screwed.

It’s either, A) Have faith in  the experts and just keep scaling without looking down and pray you don’t fall to your death or B) Get chastised for wanted to be on all fours.  OR C) F#@* this, I know my limits and THIS isn’t happening today.

Well, it happened.

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I am not going to lie (again) I was terrified.  Literally.  What I wanted to do was that dramatic, “Go on without me … save yourself with this hike and I’ll wait.”  What I did?  I kept going.

And the psychosomatic part of it is that if a hand is held out, you tend to suddenly become invincible without putting too much weight on said hand.  It’s just the knowledge that someone has your back and is there to assist that tends to erase a majority of the worry.

Okay, so now I’m up.  And ‘height’ phobia cracks in.  I swear, I couldn’t even count how many times I heard, “This part is steep, but after this!  It evens out.”

I always want to impress my guy, I also always want to live.

We kept going.

And, OH. MY. GAWD.

The day was perfect.  The juxtaposition of desert meets … rustling trees … meets water?  lol, was awesome!

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An egg … I didn’t touch.

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Crunching on leaves was bizarre!

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Look easier than they were to navigate – but I nailed it.  Thought of the Olympics and wanted to do a back flip and land it – then remembered I couldn’t even touch my hands to the floor straight legged lol.

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The rustling tree.  Was breezy for a bit. (Thank goodness for my pits lol!  Remember, cotton … not conducive.)

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Just … beauty in everything.

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Zoomed in – this was my elephant rock.

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This was my heavy-headed person resting their forehead on the peak.

 

This was freaking AWESOME!  The curves get slimmer and slimmer to the point that yes, (OH, Yay!) You have to climb out of it.  I think this, and the slides back down due to complete water smoothing (imagine a rock slide!) were my favorite parts.

We ended our hike on a flat rock and chatted.

Here’s where I touch on the beginning.

“And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.”

Begun.

I said to my honey at one point, “You’re really good at a lot of things, but I’m just a beginner.”

And as we sat on that rock, he apologized for any impatience.   But, the truth of it was that he was NOT impatient.  Or, I didn’t read it that way.

He pushed me for sure – seeing things in me I didn’t.  Seeing me capable and cheering me on the whole time.  Mostly during our exit when I took a total (on purpose) slide down a steep rock – and it was fun!!!!!

He doesn’t coddle me.  But, he does pay attention, even with his back to me.  (Dad eyes in the back of his head lol!)  And always has just the RIGHT way to encourage me to be a better version of myself.

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Extras!  Me the next day with my burros!  (With the right gear on, but we ended up napping at his home. lol!)

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This was Sunday, and we violated a mine – NOT ON PURPOSE!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s for sale!  And, um, saw this a little too late.

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Lastly, some fun pics.

Wait!! Wouldn’t be complete without those trekking poles. xxxx

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Thanks Soupers for continuing to read my journey through life!  I love each and every subscriber and reader!

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