Every morning the Kids and I head out early for our "leash aerobics workout." Actually, they are quite good on leashes - so it isn't nearly as much of an aerobic workout as it was when The Baby first got here. [Those were Kodak/YouTube escapades!] The Kids know what the routine is. I get up and do a couple of "morning things" like unload the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, go outside and scoop any poop that is in the yard and take the trash out while the coffee is brewing. Then I hit the computer with my breakfast [coffee and a cigarette] before I get dressed and ready to take them for their morning jaunt through the neighborhoods and parks, here. I cannot deviate at all from this; if I so much as open a drawer or brush my teeth both Kids immediately spring into high-gear alert "WE'RE GOING FOR A WALK" mode and assist me in the bathroom - it is small - there is NOT enough room for me, a Great Dane and a Standard Poodle - and then assist as I struggle to get dressed - just try putting shoes with a Great Dane AND a Standard Poodle hovering ON TOP of you...
We headed out this morning - it is another beautiful day in the Sandbox. Weather today? Same as yesterday, same as the day before, and same as tomorrow. Hot and sunny. The climate, here, is one that perfectly suits me. I will, at some point, if and when we ever leave, truly miss hot and sunny days! Yes. Really. I will. [I've acclimated. If it is not 80 or 90° out, I need a sweatshirt!] There are "routes" that we walk, but I try to add variety to this and go down different alleys and walkways, or go to different parks - there ARE a lot of "smells" out there that have to be "read." [Sniffing and smelling are a four-legged Kid's way of reading a newspaper...] As The Boy is watering the cement corner of this privacy wall:
The Baby is pulling and tugging - which is a "no no," but she is bound [ha! no pun intended] and determined to get beyond the six feet of leash I have her attached to get to this:
Yuck! Don't you know that Pretty Princesses DO NOT eat mangled dead birds?!? Good grief, I make food for you, I spend a small fortune having food from The Honest Kitchen shipped here and you want dead pigeons [doves?], instead? What happened to these two birds is a mystery. Did one of the bazillion stray cats get to them? I doubt it, there is far too much remaining, it looks more like they got into an accident with a lawnmower, but birds don't sit still for lawnmowers, do they? Actually, we see a LOT of dead birds on our daily walks. Bird flu? Or is it that the poison boxes - I'll find a photo to post of these red boxes that are cage-like structures placed throughout the compound - that have the white skull and crossbones on them and say "P O I S O N." The red boxes contain some deadly substance and are for the purpose of controlling the flies. Are birds eating the poisoned flies and then dying? A mystery...
We've also seen a lot of dung beetles lately - a lot. These are HUGE beetles - no clue what their scientific name is - that CRUNCH if they get stepped on. I avoid them - not sure what purpose they serve in the food chain, but if they somehow get flipped over on their backs then they can't right themselves and they lay there and die a slow painful death as the little teeny tiny ants devour them.
These are "dung beetles," and I've set my keys next to one just to give you an idea of how big they really are:
This "dung beetle" is [was?] live - crawling down the trunk of a tree - and hadn't yet plunged head-first onto her back to meet her demise:
We see the little workers as they are getting off the buses that transport them from wherever it is they live to our compound in the morning - early... The Kids and I are friendly and say, "Hello. How are you?" Or, "Good morning." And other greetings to all of the workers we see. Many faces we see are familiar ones - day in and day out - and all respond in kind, to us. They see me scooping the Kids' poop, and know that we are not culprits who leave crap on common areas for them to take care of [there are a lot of guilty four-legged kid parents, here!] and it is a pleasant, mutual sort of respect we have for each other - me and The Kids - and the little workers in their yellow and brown and blue coverall suits. So, this morning, we see a young man that I didn't recognize, but that doesn't mean we've not greeted him before, and I said, "Good morning." And, he gave a big smile, and said, "Good morning, Madam, how you are?" Kind of like he is practicing his English with me, and he was proud to be able to use it. It was sweet. I told him "I'm doing very well, thank you. How are you?" And he said, "I am fine. Thank you." Big, big happy face. Like he knew he had just aced the response, even if he did as me, "How you are?" instead of "How are you?" I didn't even think to correct him, and wouldn't have. I give these guys a great deal of credit to come here from some other country where they do not speak either English or Arabic and they learn to communicate with all of us - much more so, than I have done!