I'm clearly long overdue for an update. My apologies. The last couple weeks have been a normalization period, in a manner of speaking. Boxes are (for the most part) unpacked, almost all of the rest of our furniture will arrive tomorrow, and we're settling into our respective employment schedules. Life can best be described as the same, but different.
It's the same in the sense that we have very much the same type of routine we had in the Midwest. Like I've said a dozen times, we aren't different people. We tend to stay near home, still feed our news junky habits, and go to bed pretty early. The different part comes in during the between times. Rather than starting our weekend together by the pool or the fire, we go to the beach. Instead of walking Miss Monster down to the church and back, we take her to the beach. On the way to or from work, the scenery has changed from endless strip malls to the beach. You may be picking up on a theme here. Not only is the beach a place of pure happiness, it's right there.
The pace of life has slowed and we're loving it. Long gone are the days of an endless to-do list and all the anxiety that accompanied. The to-do list still exists and things get done. Some things just may take longer than expected. Our lanai, for example. About three weeks ago, the materials came in to finish the landscaping and the job was estimated to take about three days. Three days is now three weeks. We've been in similar situations as homeowners - a job taking longer than expected. Mostly by days, not weeks mind you. And it was fertile ground for a whole lot of drama. For whatever reason, Mainland Us would focus on these kind of issues, put them at the center of life until the problem resolved. We could stomp around and raise all kinds of heck about it. But why? Instead, we could go spend some time in a different beautiful place and enjoy time together. We choose the latter. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of waking up to the sound of a tile saw. But rather than stressing about the work on the lanai, we just acknowledge that it will get done when it gets done and go about life as usual. There are so many other wonderful things to be doing, it seems a waste to spend all our energy on something as silly as the lanai.
I've never been happier with my employment situation. I'm also not sure I've ever looked forward to a day at work the way I do now. Sure, the paychecks aren't the same, but the training period is now over and my commission structure starts tomorrow. I'm optimistic that it won't be long before I'm making more that I did for 3/4 of the almost decade I spent at the last gig. If I can grow the freelance writing stuff just a smidge more, the two combined will put my income level about where I was when I left in April. Potentially higher. And, I'm putting in less hours a week than I was on the mainland. There's less stress. I'm not a slave to my inbox or phone. I don't have one portion of my brain constantly dedicated to what is happening at the 9-5. That portion is free to return to creativity. My only semi-regret is not doing this sooner. I don't dwell on that, though. Perhaps I needed every minute at the last gig to give me the ability to do this now and have a real appreciation for the intangible benefits. That's how I prefer to think about it. Husband is also excited to start his new career adventure in the next few weeks. We hope his makes him as happy as mine has made me.
The pups have adjusted well to the condo lifestyle, although Old Dog probably more so than Miss Monster. Old Dog still spends majority of the day napping with the occasional game of chase with a lizard, snuggle on momma's lap, or giving the TV a good talking to. And, of course, eating. That's still his favorite. We've (fortunately) been able to keep his weight down though. He's moving much slower now and I don't want him developing a pot belly that makes it more difficult or painful. Miss Monster has no issue with moving. She's always on the go and ready for another romp at the dog park at any given moment. I think the condo is a nice compromise considering her previous options.
At the house in Indiana, she had a big ol' yard but opted to spend most of her time in the house with us. At the mini-house/room in Haiku, she spent most of her time outside because there was no space for her in the house. Here, she gets to follow us around inside again, but we can also take her to a space where she can really stretch her legs. Even at the house in Indiana, she never had the space to really run the way she can here. I'm still counting the hours until the disease that is puppy brain is fully in the rear view, but she's doing well considering the mass quantity of changes she's experienced in a short time. We keep her dog park visits to times when there are fewer distractions (read other dogs) and her recalls are getting better. We keep her on leash at all times at the beach unless she's approached by an off-leash pup. Even then, we only drop her leash rather than remove it. She still behaves like a puppy and wants to make friends with all the people. If she were 7 pounds, I doubt her greeting every beach goer would be much of a problem. Or if she looked like the golden retriever she acts like. But she's 70 pounds and scary looking to some people. Having her enthusiastically bound up to terrified people isn't an option.
Even at the dog park, some owners of small dogs will scoop their pups up when they see her coming. Those that don't are wary until they see she's not into rough play. She's quick to offer a play bow, especially to the little ones, and try to start a game of chase. This usually puts wary owners more at ease. Still, she can be a rude girl, especially with people. Friendly intentions or not, when she gets too stimulated she stops listening and we have to interrupt play time. Which I hate. Because more play time equals a more tired pup. More tired equals more peace. Yes, I'm ready for the puppy brain to fully dissipate and leave us with a much calmer, but still very friendly, girl. GSDs aren't prevalent here, either, so there are far fewer people here willing to approach and help us practice. In fact, most who do approach us are tourists missing their own GSDs back home. I'm always thankful for these people because when I ask if they would mind helping us practice people greetings, majority are not only enthusiastic, but need no instruction on what to do. Don't get me wrong, the dog community here is awesome and generally accepting. There just aren't a lot of other GSDs. I don't fault people for being cautious. I am too.
So that's the update on all four of us! We're happy, healthy, and in love with life. I'm struggling even more with the time difference now that work is a factor. There are so many people I want to call, but the opportunity always seems to fall when friends and family are asleep or likely to be doing more important things. Sorry Moms! Some day I will find the right balance. For now, know that we think of our mainland friends/family often and send much aloha.