Category Archives: Humor

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.

 

Saint Patrick’s Day Hike!

Started the day out with pancakes at ‘our’ restaurant.  It’s riddled with black and white photos of Laurel and Hardy, Shirley Temple, old movie sets and Charlie Chaplin.  Plus, evidently, very large cups of orange juice.  I didn’t hear my guy’s drink order, but when a ginormous odd-looking cup arrived at our table I asked what it was.  Turns out it was O.J.  Remember ordering orange juice and it came in a thimble?   That justifies my confusion and I immediately coveted it.  I know, I know, ‘Thou shall not covet …” But, I think that only applied to a neighbor’s wife?  Maybe not, but I coveted all over his drink and into a straw and away from my iced tea.

HIKE TIME!

We are so lucky to have SO many locations at our disposal.  Almost makes up for those 120 degree summers.

I’ll just start sharing photos and mumble on about them eh?

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First pic – (and I took my ‘good camera’ which, while quality was better, I couldn’t really see what I was capturing due to sun on my preview)  We had a storm ahead (and a part of me hoped it arrived, although, I don’t think my backpack is water proof and I had my phone in my pocket tracking the hike).

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Me trying to be ‘artsy’ even with a good camera, nothing compares to the actual view.

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I was truly hoping for ‘wildlife’.  And to be honest, if I heard a rattle, I’d be grabbing my camera versus carefully avoiding the source of the serpent sound.  Also waiting the moment I turn over a beautiful rock, and find a scorpion under it that will stay still for a National Geographic worthy pic!  I mean c’mon!  I’ve had them in my home a dozen times, WHEN am I going to see one in the wild?

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Pi or Stonehenge?  You decide.  But, as you’ll see in the next pic, was located right next to a mining excavation.

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We didn’t go in this one.  My guy had already explored it on another hike and there wasn’t much to be seen.

 

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Now comes my favorite part!  Went down into a river bed that is obviously a water source for desert animal dwellers.  Plenty of scat and prints to prove that.  Yes, it did dawn on me that we were literally delicious things walking through an area that many predators visit for protein.  But, the naturally washed rocks and amazing terrain trumped those thoughts.

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Mini waterfall.

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This rock reminded me of a fish.  A fish that evidently has a stick up its nostril. LOL!

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Snake stick, attacking a rock.  We did have to jump down into some brush from quite  a height and MY rock was checking all brush for snakes.  I had snake guards on (he didn’t this time) so I so unselfishly said, “Just go!”  I know.  I’m a giver.

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A storm was threatening the entire time – but, did not come to fruition.

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A vein!  With vugs.

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Just gorgeous!

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“Life, uh, finds a way”  Said in my best Jeff Goldblum voice.

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Okay, he stops for rocks, I stop for close up shots of flora and fauna.

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The colors in this rock was unreal!  Again, better in person.

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Where we came from to flat land.

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Hoof proof.

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A wall that once contained something to do with mining.

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This guy continued to watch us for what seemed like forever, protecting his family. Bless his Burro heart. x

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The family.  When I took this photo, I only saw the darker burros.  Was happy to discover the other two after downloading.

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A thick stringer!

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Almost back to the car.

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The local gold mine.  It’s for sale for $2,500,000.  We were going to offer 2. lol.

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We did not disturb.

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Pay dirt!  Sitting RIGHT THERE!  We still did not disturb.  Although, during the hike, one side of my jacket may or may not have been hanging VERY low due to there certainly NOT being any rocks in my pocket. 😉

We ended the day with a stop at a pub after burning over 1,300 calories on the hike!

AND!  That ended in a Snakebite. The only kind you want!

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HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY ALL MY ‘SOUPER’S’

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Mother /Daughter Hike (without my better half *AKA Compass*

My love is currently hiking the Warner section of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Me?  I had plans with my mum to hike a route previously done with him to show her a mine hole.  Yeah, okay, probably a better word for it, but that’s what I’m calling it.

I woke up to his photo of where they slept last night.

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Yeah, OK hearty hiker and Naked and Afraid contender.  I do NOT want to dig a hole to um, ‘do my business’ and what the heck would be crawling off that rock in the night?   I’m just jealous lol.  But, also kinda serious.  Would love to camp anywhere if there was at least the amenities of a toilet and running water.  Whimp right?  I don’t need much. But, splashing water on my face, brushing my teeth and hair with a mirror is the last of the vanity things I care about.

ANYWAY!

SO!  Mum and I were going hiking.   I wanted to show her an easy hike that culminated in a mine shaft.  (AKA: Mine hole. lol)

I forgot that my tiny car was a tiny car and once we got to the turn off I was a little worried about making it to the spot to park. Guess how I knew we were there?

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The C+A I left behind when I went last.  Can’t believe it was still there!  Had to park carefully, a lot of soft sand.  (Whole other story, but first time I came out to my guys house, had to have them tow me due to THEIR soft sand.)

Parked and ready to go!  I totally knew where to start.

What I didn’t factor in was that when hiking with my gold mining guy, a hike takes 10 times longer due to “See that?”  “Do you see this vein?”  And constant and adorable samples taken.

As for my mum and I?  We just hiked.  So … got thrown a little off course.

Began normally.

Oh! And I now have a new rule!  If you aren’t seeing Burro shit on your hike, you have no business going that route!  (IE:  the fucking mountain we went up last hike.)

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So, clearly on the right path here.  LOL.

We got to a point when we could circle back, but, didn’t seem right.  I mean, when my honey and I went, it was hours … so we kept going. (I was not factoring in the geological stops and lessons and samples.)

We kept going to the point we found ourselves in what we labeled a ‘residential area’.  Very over grown, and lots of nooks and crannies, we went back.

My mum has now multiple times asked me, “Do you know where you’re going?”  Yes, I knew.  But, wasn’t entirely sure how lol.  I was looking for that ‘mine hole’.  We tracked back – we took other routes – because, I was CERTAIN the first time my guy and I went out, we walked FOREVER.  We had not.

We eventually found a place I thought was my original grotto, and was certain we were on the right path.

Um, Was NOT original grotto. Spoiler alert – we found that later.

We were having too much fun to care.  Just being out there – together.

We tracked back a bit and decided that we should mount a mountain to get to the trail we were looking for.

Found it.  BUT!  unfortunately, passed the mine hole in doing so.

This happened instead.

First time my guy and I did this route, there was ONLY the boat.  My mum said, “There’s a car?”

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Sure was – and apparently an old police car.

The closer we got, I dug into my backpack for my knife and pepper spray.  The car was tagged with graffiti on the hood and I have NO clue how it got there in such a short time since my last hike there.  This became more of a concern when we passed it and it had clothes inside.  (My mums words, “Hope there isn’t a body in there” didn’t go unnoticed.  I was more concerned with a walking talking one.)

Wanted to take a pic of the inside of the car, but honestly had that ‘gut feeling’ we needed to keep moving on.  Someone was obviously living in that car.  We had my mum’s steel toed hiking boots and my knife and pepper spray.

Wind was blowing so I would have been like, “Keep kicking mum!  Keep kicking!  I’ll slice him and when the wind dies down spray him.”   Dramarama imagination.

We pass the car and keep going … all the way home.

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And, for a joke, here is me finding THE golden nugget!

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Sent that to my guy lol!  The golden nugget of today was actually getting to spend one on one time with my mum and that exceeded the hike.  So great to go out.  So great to be with her.  So great, ANY day to wake up and get to do anything.