Category Archives: desert
Today, I was productive.
Yesterday I was constantly convincing myself it was okay to do NOTHING. Be a human being, not a human doing.
I watched Russian Doll, I watched Sex Education (both amazing). I snacked and I napped. I consider it the equivalent to plugging myself in to recharge.
What prompted this was my husband being out-of-town.
I feel guilty just ‘being’ otherwise.
That’s not on him. It’s a psychological glitch.
I can’t even pee at work without telling myself, “Just get this one thing done, then you can go.”
So, in spite of doing nothing of import yesterday (production wise) I accomplished so very much in allowing myself to DO nothing.
This is not the topic of my post though.
I have been COLD! It’s been freezing at night and our home doesn’t exactly remember the sunlight hours.
We have a wood burning stove and a (what seems to me) a circa 1970 hall heater.
Said heater has been groaning and moaning and whirring pathetically. If it were a pet, I’d be doing what it trusted me to do.
However, shivering on Friday, I decided to try to ‘fix’ the heater.
I figured, it probably just needs cleaning. I mean, I could clearly see dust abundant.
I unscrewed it – (after shaving the caulking off the edges) and to my surprise, it wasn’t independent of the grate.
Grab something, hold it up while I work on it.
Scooted to the bathroom and didn’t want it hanging from the wires too long – first thing I came upon was a soap dispenser.
Back to my task. Cleaned the fan – dusted the wires turned it back on and … flames.
After I closed it up, I tried to turn it on again thinking (in my official capacity as not only a HVAC professional but also an electrician) that it would work.
Didn’t even turn on.
Was chatting with my husband while he was at the airport.
Me: I f***** something up, I guess when I was messing with the heather it blew the fuse in the bathroom
Me: Only just realized it, I tried to plug something in
Me: NVM fixed it.
Yeah – I only had to press ‘reset’. *groan*
I shivered the night away and spent my lazy day bundled in bed with Netflix.
Today I was determined but depleted.
I scavenged the land for twigs with a bucket like a babushka. Hunched over, head covered, layers upon layers – selecting the choice sticks.
No newspapers or firestarters.
Into the ‘office’.
Twigs and file folders!
Got that started and inserted the wood that doesn’t ‘catch’ alone and …
This is what I’m looking at now. SUCH a relief!
That being said, I used to think I could do Naked and Afraid. After a weekend of freezing temps and no ability to light a fire IN A WOOD BURNING STOVE, I acquiesce. How the hell do they manage to start a fire and keep it going in the rain???????? How do they survive nights completely naked in freezing temps????? As I mentioned to my friends, if I WERE on naked on afraid, I would have tapped out in my own living room completely clothed that night.
But, I kept trying. And hung in there. (Like, where am I going to go? lol)
And the fire is still roaring and I still feel rested. Win!
I share this not for a pat on the back, but to point out how attitude is everything. I have found myself slipping in that area and must be mindful – today was a reminder.
Ran out to our local Dollar General (you know, that place where nothing is a dollar) for some bits and bobs because I did not want to go into ‘town’.
I’m in line and to my right it became clear, was a man (with three little ones) having issues at the register.
I hear, “Sorry” a few times and step in.
Me: How short are you? (Because we’ve all been there right?)
Him: Oh, it’s not that – they can’t change a hundred.
Me: I can do that for you. (Because for one day I could after receiving a recompense.)
Him: Thank you so much!
I return to placing my items on the counter and hear him talking to his checkout person.
Them: Sorry about that.
Him: No worries, I had an opportunity to be blessed. Everything happens for a reason.
Wow. An opportunity to be blessed. I’m so stubborn, I don’t allow such opportunities. I DO count my blessings. But, to hear it put that way – just – wow.
He had three very patient, well-behaved kidlets who now didn’t have to be dragged to one of our rural gas stations to get change then return to the shop for their suspended sale.
He wasn’t inconvenienced. He was calm and kind and ushered his little herd out the door with a “Thank you again.”
Now I’ll share a little about the drive to the shop.
I’ve alluded to how rural we are – and how dangerous the highway that splits our town in two is.
Apparently a little more dangerous further you go up the hill according to this sign. Yes, it’s real – yes, I took this pic. (I was a passenger at the time, let’s not dilute my ongoing rant with ‘But you took a pic while driving).
Back to the route at hand,
I mean, you have to be on point! Guessing what the ‘non-locals’ may potentially do. (Unfortunately, locals too.)
There are OH so many crosses up and down the road, the pass and the grade, I’ve memorized most of them. You’d think that would serve as foreshadowing to the drivers that I encounter, sadly they don’t.
So, ‘heading out to the shop’ is not as simple as it might be elsewhere.
If you so much as see a rabbit running across the road in front of you – there must be a thought process.
- Is it running FROM something? Should I expect to break for a coyote?
- Is there a car behind me? (Okay, that should be number 1 probably)
- Can I brake in time to avoid a collision, or do I need a plan b and where may I swerve safely?
We literally have signs.
BIG highway signs lit up asking the driver to take: CAUTION! CAUTION! CAUTION! Watch for animals!
That’s just when encountering a critter.
Then comes the actual road – and bonkers traffic. Timing is everything.
I’ve learned to turn off my ‘give a fuck’ about people behind me at a stop sign. I am NOT going until I am certain I can safely navigate the turn onto the highway.
I’ve been honked at once, and wanted to bolt out of the car and remind them about the crosses. Go ahead, go around me – take your chances, and chances are when you’re hit, I’ll still stop and help you. But, let’s avoid all of that and just chill the heck out!
Back to the animals, says the Queen of Tangents.
I seriously need glasses.
On the way to work Friday I saw someone switch to the left lane for no apparent reason ahead of me.
I squint and think to myself, “Is that a person?” (On the side of the road, not the lane switcher LOL).
Now, I’ve known for a while I need glasses. But when you have a laundry list of things you need, somethings that are important start sliding down that list.
I squint harder … “Is that a bush?”
I squint harder, now practically on TOP of the ‘thing’ – “Oh … a cow.”
A large, uninterested, grass filled mouthed cow. In the ‘bicycle’ lane (I don’t know what it’s technically called out here) of our very dangerous highway.
I would love to tell you there was a great amount of distance between my first guess and my realization, but there was not.
Obviously doesn’t help my commute that I can’t SEE – so I may have to bump that up the list.
But, what I did see today – gratitude and calmness – was enough to open my eyes and return me to a mindset of the same.
Maybe that needs to be on a sign too. Although, some would probably pay as much attention to it as they do the others.
I’ll just keep my eyes on my own paper and try to practice it myself.
There are days I wish we lived closer to ‘town’ – but mostly, I’m so grateful for our privacy, land and peaceful hearts.
I see beauty in everything. I look for good everywhere. Even the most simple of things stun me and fill my heart with appreciation.
Without further ado, (okay, a little more ‘ado’ because this meme cracks me up whenever I see it).
I present to you the scenes and views that captured my eyes and heart today.
Bottom line is that there is not a direction I can turn without feeling awe and gratitude.
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.
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!”