Friday, October 25, 2013

Dealing with a case of Crabs

Sincere apologies for the title. Yes, I'm giggling. I know it's gross but I just can't resist playing with words. In this case, when I say crabs, I'm referring to the mood commonly known as crabby. When one is crabby, one has a case of Crabs. And yes, if you are crabby around me, I'm going to tell anyone that asks me what your problem is that you have a case of Crabs. Your welcome. I like to help out in any way I can. An alternate title I was batting about was When the Honeymoon is over. I think a case of crabs sounds more scandalous and read worthy.

This picture has nothing to do with today's conversation but I just wanted the whole world to see why one should not burn paraffin candles. Yep, that is soot on the naked wood ceiling. Now imagine your lungs. Yep. Not doing that again. That is the last time I succumb to buying an awesome scent unless it's soy or beeswax and phthalates-free fragrance.  Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program.

I recently had an opportunity to share some of our off-grid experiences with someone. Let's call her Katie. Katie asked me a couple of questions and and it’s prompted some thinking. And remembering. Remembering why, on a deeper level, that we wanted to go on this off-grid adventure to begin with. I told Katie the whole "we watched too much Little House on the Prairie, romantic, writer/artist in the off-grid cabin in the woods" reason because that’s what I remembered off the top of my head. The question has hung in the air since Katie asked and it goes back farther and deeper than that. The only thing I had ever done was ride and show horses.  I also felt my small town school provided an inferior education experience. Yes, I put myself through some college but I’ve always felt completely useless and like I didn’t know how to do anything. I wanted to be self-sufficient. I wanted to be able to take care of myself and call my own shots. Make my own decisions. Live life on my own terms. Have my own life.  "I'm going to go out and see the world," I swore to myself. How could I forget something like that? I guess a case of Crabs will do that to a person. Katie asked what was next. Again off the surface of the grey matter, "Garden. If it were up to our garden, we'd have starved," I admitted. Upon further reflection, yes, garden. Successfully. Put food up. Can. Pantry. All of a sudden, I feel myself slowly, reluctantly, waking up again. Reluctant. Yes. I’m not sure I want to go down that road again. It's like as soon as Mike retired, I parked my behind on a large boulder along this off-grid journey. But now I remember and it’s about more than the cabin and living off-grid. I've been stuck between this anger/ disappointment/fear cloud and the present. I don’t know if I want to step into the present. When I was here by myself and Diesel was attacked by the hot water racks, vulnerability rose up like a giant monster roaring right in my face complete with stinky spittle spraying my skin and blowing my hair straight back behind me. We shifted from productive members of society to retirement and loosing half our retirement savings on the farm. I waited all those years. A slave to Mike's job and the feLIONs. "When I retire, when I retire," he kept saying. Enter mid-life crisis. Thoughts of roads not taken and opportunities passed. Mourning and grieving. And still feeling like I haven’t done anything. Definitely, nothing in society’s eyes I assume. I am thankful I have a roof over my head. It just that I had more dreams and I'm still drawing breath. Fear has me wondering if I get wrapped back up in the off-grid thing is it going to cost all my other dreams. And how in the heck did I forget my dreams of self-sufficiency and being useful. For someone that's allegedly bold enough to leap off the cliff and live off-grid, some days I just don't wake up and join the rest of the class. I’ve always said that I would love to share the real information we’ve learned about off-grid living. Now, there's been this shift. The honeymoon is over is what I’ve been saying but there’s more to it than that and it’s not as bad as it sounds. I'm finally understanding this shift. Just like when two people move forward from the honeymoon stage, they are moving into something deeper and more real. It’s the same with off-grid living. It’s not this new, all consuming toy any more, it’s a lifestyle that’s so engrained it’s part of who I am now. It's in the background. It can be a foundation for where I stand in the present and I can build from there. It's like everything is normal again. I just have to decide and/or remember what I want to build and it doesn't have to be either or. It can be and. It's waking up again and getting off one's parked butt and moving down the path again. I can deal with the monsters of vulnerability when they pop up. So what's next? I think knowing that at some point one is going to shift from being completely consumed by all things off-grid back into life again is useful. I am hoping for the opportunity to share our off-grid lifestyle and what I know with more people. I know I want to paint my bathtubs and put them in my garden. With the exception of deer staring at me, I do enjoy bathing al fresco. The word integrate floats around my brain. Art and writing do not need to be segregated and protected from off-grid living; they can be built on top of off-grid living or alongside. Integrated. Whole. The garden needs an artful overhaul. My garden skills need a lot of work. I've always wanted to learn to can. In my recovery from Crabs, I am currently taking steps to build up a food pantry. When I lived here by myself I could go three days without dragging the generator out and running it in the Winter so I've been thinking about energy conservation to cut down on generator usage. I could re-start my riveting cooking experiments in the heater. Baked potatoes sound good, don't they? As I reported yesterday, Mike is venturing into making our own firewood. Of course, Mike would still like to add a wind turbine. The system we have was originally designed to have one but....well, you've heard the horror stories....

One of my favorite things to do is come up with diabolical plans so I'll have to think some more about what's next. I do think we're witnessing a new chapter here in off-grid living at The Secret Cabin. Something deeper and more real.

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