6.05.2010

Centipedes, Dead Bunnies And Scorpions, Oh My.


Honey, this ain't Kansas no more. Has the Malibu honeymoon worn off yet, no, not yet. Have I stood on the desk chair with hands clasped to a gaping mouth for five minutes or even more at the 8 inch long centipede sighting on the sofa? Yes. Have I sat in the middle of the coffee table with all of the lights on not moving a muscle until Dean came home at midnight from work after spying a scorpion snacking on an earwig in the corner? Yes. Have I nearly hurled my morning coffee after Noah and I witnessed the landowner's dog corner and maul a baby bunny--not leaving a hare to spare? Yes. Yes. And, Yes.

My devoted family, friends and readers, this is it. This is the post that you have been waiting for. No more happy, smiley collages of life on the ranch or frolics on the beach. This is our life, so far on Milagro Ranch, revealed, raw and uncut for the very first time.

In summation, life for the last two months here has been hard. It's been sprinkled with moments of enjoyment--the stunning scenery, the fabulous flora and fauna, the solitude, the quiet, the star-lit night sky, the sandy rocky shore just 5 miles down a beautiful canyon road. Sure, we've even played with Julia Robert's kids down at the local playground (that's kind of cool, right?). But the rest of the time--it's been downright difficult. I have shed a tear or two of frustration, terror and exhaustion. City life is not missed at all, but sometimes the conveniences are. City life, we have determined, is easy. Sure you have to move your car by 8 a.m. on street cleaning days twice a week. Sure the sounds of helicopters and sirens at 2 a.m. wake you from your slumber and the dumpster diggers startle the baby awake daily. But it's easy dammit. Compared to this.

It took over a month to get the washer and drying properly hooked up--converting a gas dryer to run on propane, installing a hot water line, setting up the waste water pipe to properly run off into the garden down the hill, building, from scratch, a clothesline pole--painted a cheerful yellow. We finally have clean, dry clothes.

A brief but terrifying earwig infestation was thankfully nipped in the bud by an organic solution of various essential oils.

Sightings of the kinds of spiders only for science fiction comic books and the size of small dogs have been fewer and fewer--thanks to diligent weather stripping of doors and windows.

This past Saturday evening at dusk, an unwitting Dean left the screen door open while he and Noah went to hang something on the line. A few minutes later while eating dinner, it was discovered that a tiny field mouse has gained entrance. After a sometimes humorous and terrifying chase ensued, Dean successfully trapped the live but battered mouse (thanks to our worthless cats) in a mason jar and released it back into the wild night after allowing Noah a peek or two.

Snakes sunning on dusty painted steps, lizards lurking on sun-warmed rocks, gigantic vultures playfully picking at fresh roadkill, crows carrying off chipmunks for snacking and owls blocking our way on the windy narrow mountain pass at night . . .

This is the other side of the desert country coin--the side I haven't managed to capture in picture collages. Perhaps it is these time that I am too terrified to cross the room to retrieve the camera or just plain frozen with fear.

We will survive here. I know we will. And we will have grand stories to tell when we are older. Noah will have an adventurous early-life narrative. It's just the getting through the now part that's trying, as we adapt from life in Los Angeles to life on a ranch in the middle of nowhere Malibu.

5 comments:

j e n n i f e r said...

oh, wow. an adjustment indeed. i must admit, my entrance into nature study hikes with my homeschool group- although not the same at all- has had a similar effect on me. i have been eagerly working to turn my eeek into a wow. i have been trying ever so hard to present my son with a no fear response of wonder. IT IS DIFFICULT. i have found that buying many/various field guides to identify such creatures as well as having a nature journal & quality watercolors and pencils to sketch our findings, not only for my son, but for me too... has helped tremendously. ok, ok... i know this is to be expected on the trail and not in your home. quite different indeed. but if you can find the sunny side, especially for the short time you will be there... i know you will COMPLETELY fall in love. and look back upon a journal rich in memory and delight. embrace the wild dear joni. you can do it! :)

Carrie said...

I have a serious case of the willies thinking abut your centipede. Gah! You sounds like you're doing a commendable job of adjusting to all the changes, critter-related and otherwise. The ease of seeing friends is what really keeps me attached to the city, but there's something to be said for your kid developing a horse obsession instead of a trash truck obsession like Mr H.

I won't lie, I totally miss you. I know you guys are making a beautiful life out there but I hope the city calls you back...maybe just for brunch one of these days? Much love, and here's some advice from this country kid: shake out your boots before you put 'em on in the morning. XOXO

Johanna said...

sounds like a real adventure. we are embarking on an adventure ( a big move to the Great White North) and I can already relate to the idea that it will not be all easy peasy and such. Take care and learn from the new and not so comfortable situations that arise.
all the best to you!
oh and Julia Robert's kids??? that is kinda cool...they had a nanny right? or was it her with them???

j o n i said...

WOW, thanks mamas. Your comments mean so much to me. Some moments I really wonder what the hell we are doing here...and others I am in awe of the beauty.

I really needed your kind and supportive words. I will come back to them whenever I am in doubt--probably tomorrow. lol...

Jennifer, those are fabulous ides. I think that turning the blasted critter sightings and run-ins into an opportunity for education AND creativity are great distractions from my otherwise dire phobia of bugs...lol. I am really going to give it a try.

Carrie, I cannot even put into words how much we miss you guys. So, I am going to call. And, real soon. Let's set a time to meet, no?

And, yes Johanna, they were with their nanny and Grandma! And, p.s. good luck with YOUR move!

xxoo

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