I have been quite the last few days. Feelings of weakness and anger, inadequacy and sadness have been filling my mind. I have been told many times that I am strong for doing what I do. But I don’t feel strong.
Living off grid demands a kind of toughness you don’t know you have until you have no other choice but to breath and find a way to make it work or give up.
Here’s what’s been happening my world this week that begs the question: What is Strong?
Last Tuesday I got the house ready for a visit from my dad who I hadn’t seen in about 7 years. What get the house ready means in my world is this: Fill all the water jugs, pick up the combined dog and child mess left outside, hubby gives composting toilet a freshening, and shower bag a fill up, plus all the “regular stuff” like mopping, cleaning the kids room, etc. It also comes with a lot of disclaimers to my Dad like, “we are in the middle of a lot of projects so things are still in the works.”
We met him in Medford on Wednesday where we had an ultrasound apt. (Kiddos were watched this time.) All is still looking great.
Thursday I was gone all day. I gave 7 piano and 7 guitar lessons. I was running late when I was done so rushed home to get my oldest, 7, to a birthday party. I wasn’t able to find my phone with all the rushing around but it was in the car…some where. Once we were close I stopped to find my phone to get the address. Well I found a text waiting for me that said the party was moved back an hour. Of course it was….now I have an hour to kill…my Dad is at home and the next morning Jason had plans to go out of town so killing an hour in the car wasn’t what I had in mind. But we made the best of it. Brooklynn and I looked at homes for sale in the area. $425,000 for a nothing special home. Brooklynn was shocked by the cost. I love showing her new things about the world we live in. Ok, then it was time for the party.
I get home, we eat, I lose track of time as usual then head out to pick her up.
On my way home I get a call from my husband, Jason. “Seattle has a red rash on her body. Are you almost home?” “No. I’m just pulling onto the hwy. Does she need to go to the hospital?” I ask. “I don’t know. Get here as soon as you can.”
I rush home to see my 5 year old covered with a rash. Blotchy, red patches covering her chest and neck, and the rest of her body. Our biggest fear was it moving into her air way. So into the car we went. My Dad and our friend stayed with Seattle and Phoenix. Jason got us to Mt Shasta hospital very fast…scary fast. We pulled up and he carried our little champ into the emergency room. They are already seeing her in the minute it took me to park and join them. It was terribly scary. We were lucky it didn’t travel into her air way. She did amazing. My kind, sweet and mischievous Seattle was fine after a few hours and some benadryl. My night ends finally after midnight back at home. By this time I was just grateful she was fine and fast asleep.
Friday. I wake the next morning to my husband asking me to go with our friend to his new place so I would know the way. (The dirt roads don’t have street names marked). I get up and head out the door at about 8 (early for me especially with the last few full days). It’s just 15 min down the road. After I know where he is and what I need to do for his cat we head out. We reverse and then as we pull forward the car get stuck in two gears…of course it breaks down. Perfect timing. See my husband and him are taking a trip to Colorado together to fix up his rental home and get it ready for new renters. His car that broke down was going to be my ride while they used our car for the road trip. Nope. No car for me…kinda. He has a truck that’s non-op’d so it’s not street legal.
This is so my life.
But I decide it’s not so bad because my Dad is in town, so we can get around fine. I think maybe I can persuade him to stay a little longer before he heads out to see my brother in Washington. I last remembered him saying he would be leaving on Monday.
Nope. Wrong again. I was assuming…I didn’t even realize I was assuming. I blame pregnancy brain. Come to find out he had a plane ticket to leave Monday 5am. Also meaning he was leaving on Sunday.
We had a nice visit and I took him to the lake, he took me to the store, that was super helpful. I think my kids however took it upon themselves to be the worst versions of themselves. For example my 3 year old threw a rock at Seattle (5) and bruised the side of her face. Don’t worry though she got her back by throwing a pine cone a Phoenix’s face, after I had already disciplined Phoenix for the rock throwing. That was the worst instance. So glad the first time got to be with my Dad and his first meeting of them. Good job Mom.
So Dad leaves on Sunday and I am stuck at home. No sitter. No Car. So I had to cancel lessons and loose more money.
Now I am not a home body. At least not in a home that is over 100 degrees. So I keep the fan on. I have filled water with the help of a few friends (THANK YOU!) and the rest is up to me.
So we stay in front of the fan and watch shows cause it’s been between 105 and 110 all week and playing outside is horrid. Did I mention I can’t go to the lake? Or grocery shopping…
I finally couldn’t take it and used the non street legal car to drive down to the local convince store/gas station. There isn’t a/c in the car but with the windows down we all cooled off a little. My tightly gripped hands on the steering wheel and constantly looking over my shoulder for a cop was worth the popsicles and smile on my kiddos face and mine.
Then…the refrigerator stops working….good by cold drinks…and well, everything in the fridge.
Now it’s Thursday again. I had to push my luck (with the truck at least) to drive to my music lessons 45 miles away. I’m banking on rural back roads to be empty. I have 7 piano lessons and 7 guitar lessons and I wanted this day to be better then last weeks rush around and hospital visit. My girls are able to come with me and play with all the kids in air conditioning and well water ready for water fights. So I was happy we chanced the drive to escape the heat as well as make some money. We stayed for a while and went to the pool with them after their lessons. We even got the treat of one family having heifers (that’s a cow before it’s had a baby). They show them. That means they wash them twice a day to keep them pretty. The kids got to help scrub, rinse and scratch them. So they had an incredibly memorable day. I made it home with out a ticket by the way. (Yesss!)
So in between being angry for getting the short end of the stick in this deal – losing my only saving grace – transportation and the ability to go and do as I please while my hubby’s out of town, I have tried to be very engaged with my kiddos.
Even in over 100 degree weather we have done art projects, diy projects, cooked together, and have gone on sunset walks every day enjoying the cool air that it brings.
Some have said I am strong. But I feel like I am only trying to keep my head above water, just barley. But hell, if that is strength then I can do this. My kids are worth the hard, my land is worth the hard, my husband and friend are worth the hard.
I don’t think being strong is a feeling, I think being strong is getting the job done when you hate it, when it’s not how you planned, when it’s not even what you want, but there is nothing but to continue on when things are unbearable. No matter how ungracefully done. I have to remind my self to look on the bright side, tell myself it’s just the way things are for now, not forever and be strong no matter how I feel.