There’s Shade; Then There’s Shade

An empty parking lot covered with yellow flowers from a palo verde tree.

This started off as a newsletter that I didn’t send last week and finished as something different. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Enjoy!

It’s been in the upper 90’s with some regularity so the super sweet spot of spring is floating away. “Cooler” has become even more subjective around these here parts. It’s steering toward hair splitting territory akin to what constitutes “shade” in Phoenix. If you’re from another part of the country and that confuses you, let’s put it this way: what I would’ve considered more of a “shadow” in the PNW I now deem “shade” in the SW. 

I’m not the only one. 

I swear ( she whisper-shouts). 🙋🏻‍♀️

A parking decision here becomes, what’s worse? The scorching sun and volcanic temps inside the car or merely hell-fire hot and the crap falling off the tree onto your vehicle. 😒 (There are a lot of summer pollen-y trees not to mention birds–it can be a right mess)

An empty parking lot covered with yellow flowers from a palo verde tree.
This is the parking lot where I work out–those blooms are from one Palo Verde tree.

The trees leave a dusting over your car, among other things.

If you hate constantly washing your car, there’s always the first option:

Movie still from Indiana Jones. The Nazi who grabed metal and burnt his hand is showing the imprint on his palm, screaming in pain while smoke filter in from the upper left corner of the frame
That’s what I felt like for the first summer here: I would put hand lotion on, go out to the truck and put my hands on the searing hot steering wheel. That was a long-term lesson for me. 🔥🙄 I finally succumbed to learning it.

On most days, questions like this are one of the ways I bring gamification into my life or as my mom would say, my stubbornness (I am a taurus, after all–I have doggedness and tenacity). Case in point: the air conditioning. I was holding out as long as I could with all the selective window and door opening and closing to collect prime cooler air and shut out heat. We didn’t turn the a/c on until this past Tuesday evening. Chief was the one to finally do it and I totally understand–his office gets the evening sun and it’s hotter than Hades in there. It’s always the hottest room in the house. He also had a three hour meeting so I can’t blame (shade 😉) him. 🥵

Granted, we have a big trees on either end of our house providing shade and our house is entirely Saltillo tile–that helps. Our situation allows us to hold out longer than most folk. It almost feels like cheating when people ask, “Have you turned your air, yet?” That’s the SW’s version of the Midwesterner’s benign weather talk (although, let’s talk about those tornados! 🌪️😳). It’s all about the a/c and the heat for us. At our house, we can only leave the front door open for a few hours in the day because of the dogs (we have to close the gate to our property and when we do that things aren’t delivered and meters can’t be read). There’s also a certain time of evening the front door needs to be closed because flies and other little annoying air-bound creatures invade the home. 

Totally not worth the fresh air for that exchange. 

The front windows have to be closed if we think someone will be delivering something because Finnegan is a large dog who throws himself against the French doors. He can be intimidating and an open window would just amplify his ferocity. It’d become his personal megaphone signaling–Get out. Go away! He either temporarily frightens or terrifies some delivery people. Others? He just makes them laugh. I know this because I see them from my office window and the former makes me sad. However, the protective and suspicious part of me (perhaps the shadow/shady part) is thinking, and tell your friends! because I don’t want people poking around our house which has happened before.

I like people and talk to strangers all the time. But I also send “go away” vibes like Finnegan while I’m at home. We’ve been robbed and had a car stolen from our property. There’s no reason for someone to “happen by” our place as many people don’t know we’re back here.

I watched some older man march across our yard with his dog, heading for the back (you have to purposely walk up a long driveway and past the large opened gate to get to us–one way in and one way out. Just the way I like it 😉). When I asked him if he needed help (he was determined and looked like he was on a mission tromping through our yard), he startled. He had the shocked look of “busted” on a face that looked like it wasn’t used to getting caught. I’ll give him credit: I didn’t think he was doing something nefarious he was just odd and he was quick to come up with an “answer.” There were a lot of lookie-loos when we first moved in because our house sat vacant for a short period before we fully moved in. The man looked around then held up a poop bag, “I’m looking for a garbage can.” 

Hello! You cannot be serious. (He passed a couple of his long trek here, folks)

Another time, I pulled into the driveway and an older woman with the look of the Old World had her hands clasped behind her back and was leisurely sauntering up the drive. She noticed I was idling behind her when she looked over her shoulder, smiled, and waited off to the side. I pulled forward and rolled down my window, smiling in return.

Me: “Hi! Do you need help or are you looking for someone?”

Her: “No.” Still smiling.

We looked at each other for a moment before she continued (like I was the crazy one).

Her: “Just taking walk.” She points to our yard.

Me: “Oh, well…that’s my yard.”

Her: “Sorry!” Waving and nodding as she walked away.

She really was sorry as well as surprised. I’m not sure if someone gave her directions to the canal and she diverted or how she could even think the driveway between two houses could lead to a park I do not know. I thought she might be connected to our neighbors, whose Eastern European parents/in-laws come to visit (but they know that’s our house and who we are). Maybe another relative or someone else’s babusya. 🤷🏻‍♀️

The answer is no, but that was my first thought.

We had a good laugh over it unlike poop bag man who was angry and marched off–walking past the garbage cans he passed on his way in, trespassing. (It sounds so horrible to say that, trespassing 😬). I was left perplexed by him.

Hey, I’m all for novelty and checking things out, things I wouldn’t hate to do, but I found all this a little–odd. You honestly cannot “just wander” onto our property. OMG–some delivery drivers can’t find our property, so there’s that. I will say there’s something magnetic about our yard because stray animals and general wildlife occasionally show up here, too. We had some kittens crying at our window (when it was open) last week. I actually saw one but I couldn’t coax it out of the very pokey bougainvillea.

When I asked Chief if I could keep the kitten if I caught it he just looked at me, gave me a kiss goodnight, and walked away. I did not catch the kitten and it was gone the following morning. I was both sad and glad.

Why do I keep talking about the weather? I think my brain is melting and I’ve been in kind of a mood which was punctuated by actually feeling better after having a root canal 😳🤯

The other interesting thing? I hadn’t planned on talking about the most recent weirdness happening here at the Ranch, but I had another incident with a distressed stranger when we were leaving a restaurant last night. I decided to leave it.

Give me a shoutout! 🤠

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