Sometime shortly before I turned seven, my family moved from Colorado Springs to Glendale Arizona. I have very few retainable memories prior to coming to AZ. I do remember seeing snow, slipping on ice.. but other than that, that's where my memories end.
I guess I was destined to be a desert rat... probably more so a desert bitch cause I'm grossly allergic to the cold. Snow rhymes with No for a reason. :)
As a small kid I'd visit my grandparents in Tucson. Then as a pre-teen through a teen I'd spend countless full summers in TC with them. My GP would always harass me saying that someday when I would be older that I wouldn't have time to visit him. Knowing that about him I made it a point to make my way out there through college and even as an adult. :)
The joy of working with my grandparents was that there was always work to be done... and GP wasn't afraid of waking up early. I recall him dropping a collection of small dogs on my body and face to wake me, or even pour water on me cause I wasn't getting up.
In my senior year of high school, I quit my job as a pool guy to take the summer off and be in Tucson with my grandparents. Looking back, and with the absence of GP, that was probably decision I could have ever made. :) While at that time though, he wouldn't wake me up. He'd simply dig outside my bedroom with a tractor... or give me shit when I wandered out at 9am - meanwhile he'd been after it all morning since 5am.
When Chas and I were long married and had both boys he needed my help with a project at his home in Tucson. I got up at 4am that morning and first drove to Walmart because it was the only thing open at that time. I bought a new headlamp for my old ass 1990 Honda Accord..
(we sold our 2005 Toyota Tacoma because we couldn't afford it anymore and were broke as shit!.. like had no money, sold the Tacoma for extra cash kinda broke as shit)
Side note... Since I didn't have a truck anymore, I would end up beating the hell out of the old accord.. I drove her gently... but buddy! boy I worked her...
(Chas being an asshole trying to photo bomb me... hahhah!) Knowing the truck I drive now... boy?!... with that kind of perspective I sure do appreciate the moment of today so, so much more! Talk about grateful! "slow and steady" GP told me.. damn.
full circle right there! thanks GP!
Forgive my tangent!
I ended up changing out the headlamp in the dark parking lot under a shitty ass parking lot light.. sucked... but I got it! It was a wonderful drive that morning. I had about 150 miles and a 2hour commute in. The radio on the car did not work... three of the four windows were inoperable... two of them had wood shims holding them locked... so for 2 hours it was me and the sound of the road, and wind cutting through the poorly supported windows as I headed West to Tucson. The sun would find its way up just over the mountains as I neared closer to my offramp, Tangerine Rd. There's a time where the sun is at the perfect level.. almost too bright for the eye to absorb but dull enough to tolerate. Depending on the time of year, the sun will be just to the left or right of the eye... I love that time... for me it's being plugged into the morning.. to the universe... such a recharge... damn. I just love that shit. Chas thinks I'm batshit for liking the sun like that.. boy I tell you. it deeply warms the soul.. I vividly recall pulling up to their house... it was now about 6am. The sun had creeped up over Mount Lemon now.. the one window down, I could hear the crackle of the gravel below the tires as I approached casual and slow... the shadows retreated backwards while things lit up the as desert was awakening... Damn it was pretty. :) I can smell that morning as I type.... creosote bushes mixed with undertone of surface dust that only the desert can bring. I shut the door quietly behind me not wanting to disturb mother nature as she stretched out her arms to the coming day.. As I walked towards the home I was taken back to just how damn nice it was.. it was uniquely quiet... similar to what I imagine snowfall sounding like in the mountains... but this was desert quiet. so I paused to be there for the moment.... shit, I'm still there now.
My GP was expecting me that morning, so there was no foul in knocking on the door that early. When the door opened he was genuinely surprised that I was there...
He had barely came out of bed and was still waking up when he greeted me. The surprise on his face was priceless... but damn! talk about showing up to work, ready to work, at start time... 150 miles or so, 2 hours away... I felt like a total badass. :) completely made up for getting up to work at 9am as a graduated high schooler back in the day. It turned out to be a very nice productive day working with him. I'd like to think I proved him wrong by continuing to show up and see him over the years. One thing about GP was that he loved, loved the desert. In the mornings as the sun would rise and we'd be out there getting after it, he'd say loudly!
"Boy! It's great to be alive in the West!"
He'd only ever need to say it one time.. but sure'nuff! if it was a great morning and it hadn't been said, it would be said. As I tell this story I can see, I can feel the sunlight cut through my office window cascading down the face of my Camaro hood reflecting a mild glare on my computer screen right now... almost like a placebo affect, the left side of my face feels warm. The sunlight beckons my attention to look to my left, West. The clear blue sky contrasts to my neighbors tan roof top.. It might as well be a desert morning, with my GP, shoveling dirt and gravel.
"It's great to be alive in the west" fills the heart...
I'm brought to reality as we hear of the incredible cold throughout the country.. even weirder, hell-sent snow has blanketed places that do not deserve such weatherly torture.. Pics sent to us from our family in Texas... Side of the home.
In Texas man!
These past few weeks have been incredibly stressful on me. I don't talk about it as I'm a stress-processing kinda bitch.. but it's there. When shit like this happens in life or even in the moment I try to slow down and give myself perspective. Perspective maybe not so much as detachment... shit.. ok, "detached-perspective"... (okay Josh?!..) (yes, that works, thank you.. please go on) Anyway! :) hahahah! In trying to detach from the stresses I cannot control or more importantly, can control I will suddenly stop what I'm doing and go outside. Take a walk. Walk and breath. Think about nothing other than walking. or I'll sit. sit and plug into the outside. think about the sun. The detached-perspective (great word btw Josh) (thank you... carry on please! you ADHD asshole) ... the detached-perspective really helps my vulnerable stressed out spirit. As I process the perspective of others whom I care about to what we're facing brings a sense of calm over me. again, perspective to my circumstance. Our side of the house
trying to decompress outback...
The sounds of my grampa fill the mind, fill the soul...
"It's great to be alive in the West"
There's a lot to be grateful for... Sometimes you (I) just need a change of perspective and to detach from your (my) situation to see it.
Our deepest hearts go to Texas and other parts of the country that are getting their asses kicked by the weather.
Have a grateful weekend friend :) I legit stumbled upon this picture... this is the kind of spot the sun is just perfect for the soul... Ironically from Tucson no less... RIP Grampa! The West misses you! <3