I drove up late, arriving after midnight, but was treated to a gorgeous orange half moon rising as I headed east on 62.
Next morning the guys arrived at 5:30am and by midmorning the trash bin was full.
And I did... nothing. The heat sapped my strength, my normal energy was zero. I considered abandoning ship, but instead sweat and slept the day away, and sat under the mister in the evening, after my ritual run to the grocery to cool off. My car said 115 at 6pm. That is hot.
Next day, though, I felt better. Went to yoga at the 29 Palms Inn (outside on the grass, I think we need grass somewhere on our property), and came back to paint a few walls.
And I began to appreciate our dirt, getting cleaner with each bin filled.
The desert is not a neutral place. I either feel intense happiness and wonder, or I'm pretty discouraged.
I'm learning to wake up early, in the 5am hour, both to see the sunrise, and to begin working when both the house and outside are relatively cool. Getting up so early makes for a very long day. I can get lots done in morning. (See cross-offs on lists below--I live by lists.)
Then around 11am, I begin to wander in circles and get overwhelmed. Because I'm heating up and don't think clearly when hot, it's time to crank up the AC in one of the rooms and rest. The afternoons are not usually good. I get crazy and feel like we'll never get the place in any kind of shape. The trash still on the property weighs on me. The large projects we can't seem to get started (electricity repair, for example) hit wall after wall. At least we have water.
Besides psychological highs and lows, there are the physical ones. Earlier this week we created a temporary outdoor shower, using a table top (found on property), garden house and sprayer. We set up some old metal doors (found on property) for a bit of privacy, but in reality, there's no need. We are totally alone, and could run around all day naked if we wanted to--not a pretty picture! It's so beautiful to shower under cool water and puffy clouds!
The day's true low... when do you install a window AC unit? At night when it's still 102 and you're sweating, and a biblical swarm of bugs flies in the open window, landing all over your bed, that's when.
Next day is a new day, though, and I'm high again, and looking forward to my midday shower under the tamarisk trees.
I arrived back in SoCal from being away in Sweden and France, and within two days was driving back out to our desert property to see what had survived the first month of real heat. And although Ted said we now have water, we do not. The well is fixed, the bacteria in the water shocked, the electricity flowing. But we have a broken pipe between the well and the house (probably caused by the trash pickers). Our contractor can't convince any of his workers to return to work in 107 degree temperatures, in a house with no water or AC.
So... I bought a portable AC to keep at least one room cool. And it worked! Kid .02 and I were able to work and sleep in that one room. And what to do when you can't go outside? Paint!
Here's my beautiful lad pulling hardware from the bedroom walls, which used to be a dusky pink and now will be bright white (for the time being). As I work in the house, a picture forms of the previous owner as a woman who was once happy, but later lost control of her life. She had three locks on the bedroom door, very sad.
Saturday night we went out to an opening at JTAG and a Pride show at Art Queen. Also popped into La Matadora, great embroidery show, very smart.
Next morning I got up early (yay for jet lag!) and painted part of the living room, white and green. Ted hates green paint, but was willing to do it if we can eventually make a cactus wallpaper here. Fine with me--patterns will help hide all the large holes that must have held up a mirror.
By 1pm it got too hot to work. A friend brought out 100 gallon tanks to water the two olive trees that are looking bad (like on their last leaf). It was definitely old school, hooking hoses up to the tanks in the back of his truck, and sucking the water into the hose with his mouth.
Next weekend will return, and have appointments with the electrician to start to update the house, a solar company, an AC company, and a couple friends who will come by to view the disaster. AND a handyman to dig a trench to fix the broken pipe. I hope, I hope, I hope.
I've never really watched the weather, except maybe the surf report. Hey, I live in San Diego, which has the best weather, anywhere. We know it, but we also take it for granted.
So, enter the desert. I now know not to fully believe the weather forecast, because 85 in San Diego and 85 in 29 Palms are not the same beasts. Firstly because of elevation (I live basically at sea level, and 29 is at 1800'), and secondly because of humidity. The desert is DRY. DRY and the sun BURNS. I will never go out for yard work or a walk without a hat and covering.
So how will I deal with 100 degree, 110 degree, maybe even 120 degree weather? I do expect to get used to some of it. But also, we just have to learn not to do anything outside between noon and 4pm. We have to get up early and take advantage of the sunrises (which are gorgeous), work for a few hours, then head inside. Then go out at dusk and at night.
I will learn.
Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.