August 03, 2019

Heidi Never Switched Time Zones

Every day seems to start with me waking up in the dark, barely light outside the southern window and the sound of basset hound ears flapping as Heidi shakes her head to start our day. Our day? Yes, because I am awake and this will also wake up Stella sleeping in the opposite corner of the bedroom. Once they gain clear consciousness they have one thing on their minds .... breakfast.

While they eat breakfast anywhere from 4:30am (7:30am Indiana time) to 5:30am if we sleep late, I make coffee and open the windows to get that cool early morning breeze moving through the house. The word 'humidity' is no longer part of our vocabulary.

While the coffee brews I am sitting outside enjoying the sounds of different birds, looking at the sky and feeling like I have just stepped out of my tent on a camping trip. Stella likes to check out to see what has been in her yard while she sleeps. I ALWAYS scan the yard for spiders or snakes before letting the hounds outside, even if I have to use a flashlight.

In a "sick" way I enjoy the plain stone yard. I have thought about having it landscaped with someone else doing the labor but when I think of plants I think of mice from the field, or scorpions or tarantulas and of course rattlesnakes enjoy any kind of rodent for their diets. Looking at photos from other people in this area on Facebook we may be the only people without landscaping in the yard and we may be the only people that have not seen at least one scorpion, tarantula or rattlesnake during the monsoons.

Of course the hounds make wake me up early so they can eat breakfast but that doesn't mean they stay up. Usually within 20 minutes after that last piece of kibble is eaten, they are both sound asleep in my computer room. Yet, I have become so use to getting up early like this since I have moved that I like getting up this early and I don't mind getting to bed early. The days of me staying up past midnight until 2am or 3am in the morning are long gone. A distant memory.

I am only in that room a short time before I walk back out to the patio to have another cup of coffee. Stella always shows up about 5 minutes after I move to check the daylight and see if it is time for her morning walk.  She will whine to go if I am lagging behind 'her' time.

She likes to make sure she stretches before she walks. She is trotting and running now, something she did not do a lot of before the move. We have ran into too many mountain bikers, bicyclists, walkers with or without kids and a car or two at that time of day so she always has to wear the 25' retractable leash for her walk.

There was the time we turned the corner across the street where we walk and were eye to eye with two coyotes. They stared, turned and ran away after seeing her. Where as those two yapping small "ankle biters" we met one morning almost home from the walk at 5:30am, broke free from their owner and their leashes and chased Stella all the way to the front door. If I had not closed the door when I did I have no doubt one of those dogs would have come inside the house.

So the retractable leash is a must when we walk. Heidi has a 15' one that she uses.

Once Stella lets me know she is stretched out and ready to go ... we head out for a walk between .56 to .75 of a mile, depending on where she leads me and what the apple watch tells me. By the time we get home the skies have brightened up a little.

This morning as I was leaning and looking over the fence Stella walked out staring at me as if to ask "what now?" ... she was back to sleep in the computer room within minutes after that pose. Normal routine. It was a few minutes before 6am when she looked at me.

Every morning is bright and sunny, going from the 60's to the 90's by early afternoon. By late afternoon the monsoons get into formation which might lead to some rain on us but most of it has been around us. Great light shows though and the thunder is the loudest I have ever heard.

Besides having gas stations, grocery stores, a dentist and bike shops all within 2 miles of my house ... one fine eating establishment delivers pizza if I chose not to visit their building less than a mile away. It's good that I ride a bike most mornings otherwise I would be adding some serious weight.

By the way that is a thin crust, just like the New Yorker's make with the best cheese, pepperoni, italian sausage and mushrooms. No, I don't eat all of that ... I save about half of it for the baseball games I'll watch later or my after bike riding breakfast the next morning. Speaking of which, I always knew my body worked better with Pacific Time than Eastern Time ... the ballgames are always over about the time I would be starting to watch them back in the Midwest. Getting to bed by 9pm is not a problem since the games are all finished.

The rest of the days are spent taking short exploration road-trips, staying home and reading books or an occasional siesta when needed.  I have a lot of free time now, more than I did before.

I didn't realize how much time I spent on yard work, minor house maintenance or a 'to do' list until I got away from that. Another big difference is the lack of noise from a highway. It is so quiet here, it's almost too quiet at times. Again, I did not realize just how much traffic noise I had grown use to living on the highway.

I am in a good central location where I can see old friends from my time in Southern California by noon if I am on the road by 7am. Or I can even check out some of the other places I considered moving in Arizona, New Mexico or Nevada a short day drive away ... some not even that. I have cities I can get to when I want but that is low in the list of things to do. I have plenty of things to do here and see near me I might never have to leave.

The hounds and I are good here in the 'wild west'.

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