We don’t have any projects to undertake yet on the blue house, and have so far conquered the ones that were needed in this house, so I’ll be the first to admit that we have a pretty soft schedule these days. Here’s a rough approximation of what a day here is like.
Ray, as usual, gets up at some ungodly hour of dark thirty. He’ll check the battery and inverter panels to see where things stand with power, and if they’re good, he might get on his computer; but more often he’ll sit outside on the porch, have a cup of coffee, and watch the sky lighten as the birds wake up. He remarked the other day that it’s “like a fricking aviary” which is actually kind of funny since he’s the one sitting in the screened enclosure, and all of them are outside flying around.
Anyway, that’s what he tells me he does – I wouldn’t know, since I’ve usually taken over his side of the bed by then and am enjoying what’s left of the cool night air while I still can.
By the time I get up – maybe 6:15 on a good day (and that’s not by choice, it’s because the sun through the bedroom window hits my face if I’m still turned that way), though usually closer to 6:45 – Ray is ready for human companionship.
I am not, so I appreciate that on at least a few days a week, Hector arrives shortly after, and he and Ray can catch up while I brush my teeth and get what-amounts-to presentable here (hair clipped or pony-tailed up, and the most breathable clothes possible). We usually forego AM showers since we’re low on power then (the water pressure pump will kick in and cause a power surge) – but “Navy showers” as Ray calls them work fine, since we’re already clean from evening showers the night before, and it’s been (relatively) cool as we slept.
The sun gets high enough to hit the solar panels and start the day’s charge around 7:30 or so; since satellite radio doesn’t use much, switching that on is usually the first order of business (also sometimes dancing, together or separately – actually this happens randomly all day. Ray’s already been caught by the neighbors busting a move, ha ha). Then we’ll usually sit on the porch for awhile, Ray will have more coffee, and I might do a word search puzzle to kick-start my brain. We watch the neighbor dogs going through their morning routines, while our adopted cat yowls outside to be fed (which he ought to know by now won’t happen until the dogs finish their rounds, since they’ll run him off and eat from his bowl). We might talk about something newsworthy that Ray read about before I got up, or whatever wildlife he’s seen (an owl, the other morning; our sneaky little croc out in the bay again yesterday).
Eventually one or the other of us starts breakfast – usually fruit*, scrambled eggs or omelettes, toast, sometimes bacon, sometimes potatoes (or sometimes just Honey Nut Cheerios since, pleasant surprise, they have them here). Whoever didn’t cook does dishes.
*Ray heard from our friends in Costa Rica that if you eat papaya on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, you can eat anything else you want all day and not gain weight. He is starting every day now with papaya (thanks, Judi and Howard!). Probably soon to be followed by a rib-eye (see previous post – and thanks for the encouragement, Adrian).
The sun eventually rises enough not to produce a glare at the dining room window, and we take to our laptops to check email, Facebook, and general news of the world; look at stocks online and take care of bills and other business (Ray); and apply for telecommuting jobs or draft blog posts (me).
I invented a cat toy for our deprived cat (who at first did not seem to realize what a toy was – he’s so feral!). Oh man, I’m writing that and thinking crap, that’s what I should have called him: Will Feral, right?! Although Ray just calls him Cat (or Furby), and I’ve taken to calling him Julio lately (yeah, because I heard the Paul Simon song – I’m easily suggestible). No wonder he’s confused! But I digress…
Anyway, he’s been fed by this time – and Ray started giving him milk, which seems to be making him particularly frisky – so he (the cat, not Ray) usually has a manic moment or two attacking the toy, our feet, or whatever else gets in the way as he caroms around the house like a small terrorist. Then he comes to a complete stop, slumps on the floor, and stares at us through slitted green eyes. Freak!
It starts to get hot in the house, which means Ray will usually go outside and finds something to putz with or talk to Hector if he’s here. I might do laundry if it needs doing or sweep the house or make the bed or otherwise tidy up. Or I might just grab a pop and head under the beach palapa to read on my tablet (I’m working through the Game of Thrones series – and becoming more of a fan of e-books than I expected).
Throughout the day, we’ll chat with Bill and Jenny next door when we see them, and also take note of resort visitors who come in by car (fairly often, they’ll come down our drive first and we’ll direct them back the other way) or by boat (several regulars stop in from Corozal). There’s also construction work happening on a lot nearby so we can hear / watch the work going on over there. In a pinch, there’s always cloud watching or bird watching or getting back on the computer to noodle around.
Actually, I’m surprised at how perfectly happy we can be doing nothing for an hour or so, just listening to music. Ray says it’s his zen kicking in, but I say the heat helps, because you really don’t want to move if you don’t have to (or are moved to by a good song). Unless you’re Hector, who works tirelessly out there on the property – we at least make sure he’s well-supplied with ice and cold drinks, and when we learned it was his birthday recently, we surprised him with cheeseburgers and cake for lunch. He’s a good guy.
If we get restless, we may go off on an explore somewhere in the near vicinity – the other day we scouted potential fishing sites at the end of our peninsula. Or we might drive in to Copper Bank if we forgot something on the last Corozal supply run, or to get ice.
By about 2, it’s usually time for a swim. Although the water in Corozal Bay is always some exceptional color – shades of blue or green or both – it gets a lot of wind this time of year so it’s quite silty right now. Some areas are also rocky underfoot so you have to tread carefully or risk banged toes or knees. But frankly, who really cares about that when it’s one big AHHH at midday! And that view in to the beach remains breathtaking.
We learned pretty quickly that the yellow flies (Belizeans call them “doctor flies”) like to attack as we leave the water, so Ray usually heads back up to the house. Sometimes I’ll dry off and stay and read some more. Or I’ll hit the hammock for a short nap.
What was my daily walk has become my mostly-every-day walk. I thought maybe I’d be a morning walker here, but I don’t really do mornings so I don’t know what I was thinking. I prefer the 4-5 pm time frame, which is usually when Bill and the dogs go for a bike/romp, respectively, and there’s also usually still some car and bike traffic on the back roads from the cane field and construction workers. What I hope that means is that whatever else might be out there will have already been alerted and will be staying clear.
Although I haven’t encountered anything dangerous yet, I’ve decided to take the Bowie survival knife with me when I go – might as well be better prepped than not. When the locals pass me in vehicles, I can tell by their expressions they’re thinking where did this crazy gringo come from, and why the hell is she walking out here? (or maybe it’s the knife, I don’t know). But I like the exercise, and it’s a nice way to unwind at the end of the day. Whenever we find an air pump in Corozal, Ray (aka my Belizean body guard) says he will join me on one of the bikes. I will believe that when I see it.
Moving on: If we’re not juiced up as Ray deems appropriate for the evening, he may run the generator for a short while. Then we’ll each take a shower and sometimes head down to the beach to watch the sun go down. But you have to be quick about getting inside once it’s over, when the wind usually dies altogether and it’s mosquito heaven for a while out there.
One of us cooks dinner, and the radio is turned off in favor of TV (national news and a program or two). Chances are we’re also second-screening on tablets (games or Facebook). Or we might go back outside to stargaze and/or start a fire (with a breeze again, the skeeters aren’t bad); but usually we’re in for the night at that point. Then it’s off to bed, and wake and repeat! As that country song goes, it’s a helluva ride, isn’t it?