Choices Part 3

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Image taken from the artforadults Instagram page. Not my work.

Several previous posts have outlined the events that have lead up to the mess my life is in right now. None of it is pretty, lots of it makes me ashamed. I am stagnant and depressed. I keep saying I have no hope, but if I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be writing this, I wouldn’t even try to get up in the morning and the dreams I have would go away and leave me alone. It’s been brought to my attention that I have choices. I CAN change my life no matter how impossible it seems. I NEED to change my life, or at least my outlook on the life I have. I have always gone where the wind blew me, until it blew me into pregnancy and marriage, which seem like a dark corner where the gusts can’t reach and so I stay here damp and rotting till someone comes with a broom and sweeps me out. The thing is, I don’t want to depend on anyone with a broom! I want to sweep myself out! Maybe not even out of marriage, and certainly not out of motherhood, but out of this stagnant depression, this groundhog day like existence of doing the same things day in and day out. Get up, take kids to school, go to work, come home, eat, help with homework, go to bed and do it five days a week and then clean and prepare all weekend for the next week to be exactly the same. My life isn’t horrible. I have three beautiful kids who love me, a husband who cares deeply for me, a job that pays the bills and feeds us all even if just barely, a car, clean running water, this computer, all things that most of the world doesn’t have and many yearn for. It’s absolutely unfulfilling, boring and enslaving. I have no time or money to LIVE. I only exist and I MUST do something about that. So here I plan to list my dreams, plans to make them happen, obstacles to overcome, pros and cons of each including the effects they may have on my family, in the hopes of being able to choose a pathway to freedom and happiness, or at least less depression. getting them all in order is going to be tough, so please bear with me as I struggle.

 

When I think of the ultimate happy life for myself from this point on, this is what it looks like:

I could somehow magically quit my job and still pay my bills, no, pay them completely off except maybe the mortgage and I could stay home while my husband worked at whatever amazing job has magically presented itself.

I would still have to wake up Monday morning at the ungodly hour of 6:00am to take my daughter to school, but once I got home and saw my boy off, I could start laundry, do dishes, clean the downstairs and then the upstairs. In the summer, I’d tend my garden before cleaning the house, before things got too hot. That all should take maybe two hours. Then I would shower and dress and shop for the week. I’d get home, unpack groceries and head upstairs to Blog for the remaining two hours before it was time to pick up my daughter from school. We’d come home and I’d help kids with homework before starting dinner. We would eat, and clean up together, then I’d either hang out with them or go upstairs and read articles and watch vlogs on how to homestead, permaculture, how to raise animals for food, how to build treehouses, how to navigate the art business…

Tuesdays, up at 6:00am, off to school, home, garden, clean, shower, then go to some art studio like The Generator for four hours to work on some massive project till it was time to pick up my girl. Then home, homework, dinner, clean up, and hang with kids or watch more vlogs and read more articles on beekeeping and woodworking and outdoor survival…

Wednesdays, 6:00am, school, home, garden, clean, shower, Generator for art, school, home…well, you get the idea. All that till I could accumulate a big enough body of work to show my art at as many events, galleries and contests as possible up to and including Burning Man. Hopefully that would allow me to make more money and connect with people who could actually show me how to do all the things I have been trying to learn about through blogs, vlogs and articles. I would be able to keep up with housework and homework as well as having my own time to do the art, building and gardening work I’m passionate about. I would have time to plan the healthy meals which I love to find and prepare for my family. I would make meals and snacks that I know would help heal their minds, bodies and spirits as well as my own. We would use essential oils and other 100% natural products to clean our home and treat ailments and keep us healthy. I would have the TIME and money and energy to decorate and prepare for holidays and vacations. I would have TIME to clean up after our adventures and get the home back in order. On weekends I could afford to take the time and money to go on adventures with the family and bring them to my shows and exhibitions.

With the money I’d make from my art I would continue to fix this house up. I’d be able to put new floors in, update to energy saving appliances, make the murals and decorate the rooms the way I envisioned them. I could finish the ocean mural in my friend’s home and all the other projects I’ve started for friends but haven’t had the time or energy to finish. Once it was all done, I’d stay for two years enjoying it, making art, making connections and getting the kids through school as happy and healthy as we can be within this system and within this marriage.

Then we would sell this house and buy unimproved land somewhere and build ourselves a homestead where we could get EVERYTHING we need from our own land and be independent of the system except for property taxes, insurance, and the smallest necessities needed from town or other homesteaders. We’d go to music festivals and sell our wears and grow our own meat and veggies. I KNOW it’s not impossible! I can SEE people out there DOING it!

 

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Again, not my image. Taken from Instagram username wendyortizart.

 

All of that is how I WISH things could go from now till then. But where is the money going to come from? I have to face the fact that my husband is probably never going to get a job that could support us all and provide enough money to actually live life like that. No one is going to just GIVE us money to make that happen, and I’m not sure I’d even want them to. I hate feeling DEPENDENT on anyone. I hate being dependent on my husband for his half of the contribution to everything right now. I don’t want to ever feel obligated to anyone except those less fortunate than me. Maybe this hang-up with obligation is why I have a hard time opening up to my husband physically. I hate that I feel obligated and that it’s not my own not passionate choice in that moment, especially since there is only a small window of time between other obligations to get it done. I also HATE going to work outside my home and having to bend my family’s life around it. My kids are alone far too much of the time. I just don’t see any way around it. I make art whenever there are no other obligations and there is time before bed or I can afford to stay up and work when the inspiration is there. That happens maybe once a month, if even that. But I still do it and I will hopefully be able to come up with a consistent body of work at some point. Right now it feels like it’ll never happen. I’m struggling to come up with any kind of plan to make even small parts of this lifestyle come to be. Here are things I think I should do:

Meal plan on weekends and give a list of groceries to my husband. I don’t do the shopping, but maybe I should start doing that on weekends. He would scream about the bill, but maybe I can get him to trade the mortgage bill I pay, for the grocery bill he pays and then I wouldn’t have to answer to him for the amount of money it takes to feed a family of five an abundantly healthy diet. I’m not sure I’d even have the money or energy to pull that off, but I can look into it. I don’t get home till almost 7:00pm and I still have to help kids with homework, so he does most of the cooking and I’d have to depend on him to stick to the meal plan. Sometimes he’s not home till late either and then it’s even harder, but I enjoy cooking, and if we are eating right, the kids might not have as much trouble in school and I might be able to spend less time having to help them. I have no idea when we’d have time to fix up healthy snacks that so often require putting together instead of just opening a plastic package, but we can try…

I need to make a budget. How much we make vs. how much goes out. I already know it’s pathetic. I’ve done it before and got scared, so I put it out of my mind and hoped for the best. I need a PLAN for paying off all this debt that wasn’t a problem when I was getting paid a lot more. I can’t ignore it anymore. I MUST put in more effort to stay on top of my bills. I must get my money organized. I need to accept the possibility of bankruptcy or at least call the creditors and ask  for options to lessen the burden. When I think about this I get terrified. I’m no good on the phone even with friends and family. Seriously, the phone SCARES me. I know it’s irrational and after I do take care of something like that I feel better, but I’m literally terrified of paperwork and legal stuff and talking to people on the phone, or asking for help, or accepting defeat and fault. But it’s time to suck it up and act like the adult/parent that I am.

I need to stop complaining and be grateful. My kids aren’t sick, my husband isn’t sick. I am sick, but it’s fatigue and depression, not some life threatening, expensive hospitalizing disease. I CAN still get up in the morning and I CAN still go to work, I CAN still help the kids with homework and let them vent and talk to me about whatever they need. No matter how much I want change and adventure, no matter how much I resent my life as it is now, I DO have a lot of things to be grateful about.

Lastly, I guess I need to ask for help. I don’t know who to ask or how to ask or even really what to ask FOR. Anyway, enough for now. Thanks for reading. Really just typical American woman lifestyle stuff I guess. Advice and encouragement welcome.

 

 

Help?

img_9154Help. It’s such a hard thing to say, harder to accept. It’s hard to even know what you’re asking for or who to ask. I’ve been navigating the world alone for the past two years, fighting depression, debt, lost dreams, lost love, family issues. I don’t want to ask anyone, even if I knew who to ask. I don’t want to depend on anyone. I don’t want to even dare to hope that there is help or that anyone would help. Why should they? Everyone has their own struggle, their own debt and lost dreams, their own responsibilities. I have effectively cut off all my old friends. They don’t have the knowledge or recourses to help me even if they wanted to, which they wouldn’t because I shut them out. I don’t have any close family that can help me and those that could, I can’t ask. I wouldn’t even know what to ask for. I wouldn’t even know how to implement the help or advice because time and money are so ridiculously tight.  I don’t want to be bailed out, I want to EARN my hopes and dreams, not have them handed to me. I feel trapped, strapped down in the bed I made. I’m still struggling to break the bonds though. Trying with every spare moment that my body will let me be productive to plan and THINK my way out. My last post was a list of things we’d need to go off grid. But first I need to get out of debt. It seems hopeless and here is why. This is the list I made about my income to debt:

 

Average income is about $1,700/month

Bills broken down by how much should be paid/month – if they are paid quarterly I divided into how much it would be/month. My husband makes just a little less than I do and he handles the groceries, power, sewer, water, car insurance and upkeep as well as his own credit card bills. Just as a side note, we haven’t charged anything except small vet bills in the last two years at least.

Mortgage – $640

Student loan – $50

Chase – $100

Home Depot – $100

Gas – $180

Property Taxes – $110

HOA – $20

New York Life – $30

Kids Insurance – $25

Cigarettes – $60

Fast food – $100

DoTerra – $60

Make-up – $50

Clothing or other necessities – $100

TOTAL = $1,625

 

Which means I should have about $75 left over every month.

Time to start keeping track of EVERY PENNY!

The FIRST step to independence is getting out of debt so I can start saving for the dream. As it is, it looks like I should be able to put away almost $75 every month, but I’m left with less than $10 at the end of every pay period. I need to know what the heck I’m doing with my money.

I can quit buying DoTerra all together. I can try like hell to at least cut down on the cigarettes. I don’t think I actually spend that much on makeup, but I can’t quit wearing it, cuz the bosses told me I had to. I don’t spend that much on clothes, but the “other necessities’ that I’m not even sure what they are, a kids field trip here, a bottle of wine there, pick up this or that at the store over there… Some of that is late fees too, cuz I can’t freaking keep the fuck up. Paying my mortgage late again this month which brings it up to $674, and I have to turn right around and pay it again out of this paycheck if I want to avoid another late fee. The property taxes will be due again in a month and how I’m going to save $450 by then I just can’t fathom, which means another late fee. I’m drowning and I don’t know how to keep my head above the water. How the hell do people do this? I see all kinds of new cars on the road and ours are on the verge of falling apart, even though we both wake up at the ass crack of dawn and work our asses off at the expense of raising our children. I want out. I hate money and the money sucking machine that robs people of life.

So I’m screaming, whether I want to or not, whether anyone will hear or answer. SOMEONE HELP ME GET OUT PLEASE!!!!!just-start

Planning an Off-Grid Life

You haven’t, but, if you want to, you can read a few blogs down about how my heart’s desire is to eventually go off grid. WAY easier said than done. Way easier to dream than to actually jump. The absolute first step is to get out of debt. That is a whole other plan. This here is a list I hope some of you who are planning on going off the grid will find helpful, and I hope that those of you who are already there will leave comments about what I’m planning wrong, with advice about things I’m forgetting, and encouragement where I’m thinking right. I promised myself I’d keep working on this even if the possibility of it becoming a reality is very low. So here are my plans so far:

Homesteading Tips n Tricks

A List of Tips, Tricks, Advice, Ideas and Resources

 

EQUIPMENT:

ATV – $500-$800

ATV Trailer – $150

ATV plow attachment – $400

Underground water catchment tanks ??? Maybe $600??

2 inch stainless steel pipes – 4 ft long, up to 40 ft of them with threads. $60 each?

Well pump – $150

2 shotguns, 2 rifles, 2 handguns – $1000

Bullets – tons of ‘em – $1500

Wood stove for cooking and main room heat $3000

Possibly 3 more small wood stove heaters $600 each

Go pro $300

Google glass $1200

Video editing software – $60

5 longbows of varying draw and accessories – $200/each

Heavy-duty wood chipper – $500

Chainsaw – $100

Good ax, wedge and sledge hammer – $100

Gas generator $150

MIG wirefeed welder, gloves and mask – $100

Brushcutter – $200

Come-along – $50

2 ton pullys – $30/each

Steel Cable – $50

Router – $200

Table saw – $200

Drill driver – $100

Mill saw – $3000

Miter saw – $200

Composting toilet – $1000

Tankless water heater – $200

Solar panel system – $3000

Wind turbine – $300 ???

Hydro power system – ???

Hole saw drill attachments – $60

Build our own beehives – plans on internet

Beekeeping equipment like hoods, smokers, brushes and scrapers – $100

Portable Manual Washers. Two of them with modified cranks so they can be placed on either side of a stationary bike like pedals. $55 each.

 

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Upstairs loft with railing all the way around. I picture our wet laundry hanging all over that! Lol! Three sleeping chambers for kids and one master loft for adults.

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Main floor of my dream treehouse. The problem with that is that I have no idea what trees will be where on my future property. I just hope that it might be able to have a layout somewhat like this.

 

 

 

REGULAR MONETARY COSTS THAT CAN’T BE AVOIDED:

Insurance – auto, property, medical, life

Savings – should have $5000 to start and put $50-$200 away/month

Groceries – for the first two or three years actually MOST of our food and the animals food.

Once we start producing we’ll need:

flour, sugar, rice, pasta, peroxide, rubbing alcohol, alcohol for consumption and tinctures/extracts and cooking, spices that can’t be grown, natural ingredients for personal care products, feminine products, supplemental animal feed and small things to supplement our diet.

Gas

Propane

Hay

WIFI

Phones

Cloth or clothing

Vehicle and equipment maintenance

 

IDEAS ABOUT HOW THE HOMESTEAD WOULD BE RUN:

Two to four acres of land, with a spring or stream and water rights. Hopefully on higher ground. $150,000 WITH TREES!!!! Preferably in mountains.

Try to purchase and close in late winter- early spring

1st order of business is water and shelter. Maybe have a trailer or two or a yurt or two that are fit to winter over in and can be lived in for two to three years.

dig well, or install water filtration system or both, figure out transport, pumps, pipes etc

2nd food storage for first two years and plan for getting and storing perishables. Safe from animals and elements.

3rd storage of critical equipment

 4th plan out the land – where will permanent dwelling be? What will it be and how will it be designed for the most self sustaining and efficient use of resources? What are our biggest advantages/disadvantages? How much can we do to be as comfortable as possible before next winter hits? Where will garden be? Chickens? Goats? What needs to be done to protect all those from elements and predators?

Clear spaces for each aspect.

Build temporary shelter if that’s needed.

Build permanent animal enclosures.

Clear land for garden

Start composting right away.

Clear a road (defensible space) all the way around property. Plant hedges and berry bushes around perimeter inside the road. Regular barbed wire fencing around perimeter and once a week/month (as we determine it’s needed), drive around whole property with trailer full of fencing supplies to inspect and repair fencing and irrigation system supplies to repair irrigation to shrubbery.

Clear defensible space around dwelling, garden and animals, leaving as many trees as we can and still feel safe from fire and have enough sun for the garden while keeping the forest feel.

Yurt or travel trailers for first three years while working on real house.

About ¾- 1 acre for garden and animals, let the rest be wild but taken care of.

Plan for power. Solar, wind, and hydro are preferable, to be supplemented with propane and gas as little as possible. City power, maybe for the first two or three years.

Composting toilets only.

Goats and chickens only for the first three years. Maybe ducks and quail. Consider rabbits, a dwarf cow, and maybe a pig or two later on.

Spring is for planting and building, summer is for maintaining/cultivating, building, and selling arts, crafts and homestead products off property, fall is for harvesting and winter prep, winter is for maintaining animals and household, resting, planning, schooling and creating arts n crafts.

Early mornings are for animals, late mornings and early afternoons are for building and maintaining, late afternoons and early evenings are for cleaning and food prep, evenings are for family time. Not sure how to fit school in there yet, or if the kids would go to public schools. I want them involved on the homestead, but not at the expense of their education.

Beginning of each year is a family planning session where we try to map out our yearly goals in a realistic timeline. At the start of each season we go over the goals that must be reached in the next three months to help us stay on track. Break those down into weekly goals, and break those into daily goals.

Trip to urban area every other weekend for shopping and for kid’s sanity. Visit family once every season. Those can be combined if needed.

School would be reading, comprehension, history, science and writing (which could all be combined), computers, archery/shooting, physical fitness, Homesteading/sustainable living practices/home economics.

Kids get two hours of screen time/day if chores/schooling is done.

We each will have minimal necessities:

One fork, spoon, cup, bowl, plate each and everyone washes their own. And we take turns on the pots, pans and serving dishes.

Two pairs of jeans, shorts, sweatshirts, long sleeves, short sleeves each. Two to three bras, five pairs of undies and socks. One heavy jacket and one light jacket each. One set of nice clothes and we will maybe buy nice outfits to go to events, but donate them after. This will cut down drastically on laundry.

I want to rely on fossil fuels as little as possible, but I have reservations about wood heat as well. I want our permanent dwelling to be a treehouse, so a wood burning cook stove would be ideal, but I don’t want to use too much wood either. It is too much work, and it pollutes as well. A rocket Mass Heater seems ideal, but I fear it may be too heavy for a treehouse and too difficult to construct up in a tree.

 

RECOURSES:

Choices Part 2

I cut him off in November and tried to concentrate on my new job and catch up on bills with an income cut almost in half. I had to try to get ok with the fact that this is where I was stuck now, that art and building, sculpture, gardening and sustainable living weren’t where I was gonna be for God only knew how long. I wasn’t doing well. My last boss was so encouraging, told me I was the fastest learner he’d ever encountered and one of the best jewelers he’d ever known. I felt stupid and inadequate here though, I was struggling hard, knocked down more than I was lifted up no matter how hard I was trying. I was a prisoner in my own home, unable to keep up with bills or housework and certainly unable to continue fixing the house and yard. The kids were and still are being left at home alone while we both work and I had told myself I’d NEVER let that happen. There was and still is zero expendable income and me and my husband were irritable and stressed out with no way to relax or blow off steam. No outlet for our frustration. Then in July, he messaged me, my Trailer Trash Skater Boy. He said my husband was in his dreams, he missed him and was confused about why we had cut him off. I told him to message my husband and leave me out of it, but my heart was pounding out of  my chest and I just wanted to talk to him like we used to. He asked more questions, and I told him I’d message him after work.

I went home, ran a bath, poured myself a glass of wine and spilled my guts. His response was something like, “We never flirted or said anything inappropriate to each other ever. I was just happy you would talk to me. We never did anything wrong! But it’s pretty clear now, that you love me and I love you, and we can do something about that without hurting anybody.” And for the next four months we talked every single day about hopes and dreams and our lives as they were right then, about our kids and projects he was working on. What we did for dinner and how we missed each other being right there beside each other doing daily things like laundry and shopping. We talked about art projects we’d do together, what we’d have in our garden, how we’d build our treehouse and how we’d travel with next to nothing but the clothes on our backs. He’d write me poetry that was the perfect blend of romance and raunch, love and humor, things that would make me sigh with delight and laugh out loud and ache with lust. He was at once lovingly romantic and disgustingly dirty and playful. I would tell him all my flaws and he’d come back with perfectly logical and loving responses that told me he wasn’t dismissing my imperfections, but embracing them. He was ready for them.

Once I asked him what our first fight would be and he said, “Period panties in the sink.” and I was like, “Gross! I’d NEVER do that! Put some Spray n Wash on those shits and throw ’em in the washer! But I DO loose a lot of hair in the shower that I don’t want going down the drain, so I collect them in a pile in the corner of the shower and then I forget to throw them out. It gets gross.” and he said, “I’d collect them and cherish each one like they were strands of gold.” Like, who says shit like that??? But I believe him, because I always paid attention to how he talked about his friends and family, his kids and his ex-wife, and it was always loving sentimental shit like that even before he thought about trying to impress me. Plus, he’s an artist and we do crazy stuff like that. He’d probably make ’em into hair on a weird artsy doll or something. Did I mention he sews too?

It DID eventually get inappropriate, very very inappropriate at times, and like I said, my body responded. I had thought that part of me was dead and it scared me and excited me and had me totally addicted right quick. I felt sexy and beautiful for the first time in years, like he was making love to my being before he had ever seen or touched my body, and though he’s seen me now, he still hasn’t ever actually touched me except for brief hugs back years ago when he and my husband were still friends. He has seen my body now, through pictures and videos. The first time I sent him a picture was after his dog died. He had come home with a huge gash in his side that would need extensive surgery to fix and my Love had to have someone come help him put the poor thing down. he was sad and panicked and I did it to cheer him up, to prove to him that my feelings were real. After I sent it, I threw up. I threw up almost every day for about a month after that. Even though I loved and still love this man, I was and still am married to a different man, a good man who is the father of my three children.

After that picture it was on and crackin’. We did some really shifty shit besides the pictures and videos. I made a fake Facebook account and a Twitter account so we could talk. I opened a PO Box that he paid for so he could send me little things, and I called him once in a while. It was wonderful and awful.

 

I thought I would leave my family for him. I thought they wouldn’t care much. I was thinking about love and freedom, but not money or logistics. They don’t like the things I like. They don’t think the things I think are important are important. I’m a dirty hippie at heart, my husband and girls want to live in a city with a nice car, stainless steel appliances and modern décor. I still haven’t seen Yosemite or Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, and I haven’t been to the Redwoods since I was little, let alone anywhere out of the country, and they want to go to San Francisco to Japan and Korea Town and to the big malls. I have fun doing that too, for them, but my SELF is being smothered. I don’t even have the time, money or energy to make master tonic or chicken soup or natural lotions and salves or to tend the small garden I do have. I want to build my own sustainable home and sit out on the deck I helped build smoking weed and drinking tea and sit by the fire snuggled up to my loved ones reading aloud or watching a movie. I want to build and create and raise my own food and cook from scratch, can and preserve shit, make crafts and art to sell at festivals, go backpacking across country and live amongst the trees. But even that life requires an abundance of money that I don’t have. Even if it was possible, my fear is that this fatigue, this heaviness, this depression wouldn’t leave my body and I’d fail at that life like I’m failing this suburban one. I know that diet and exercise and creativity are all essential to fighting depression and that lifestyle lends itself to all those things where this one sucks them all away. Changes must be made, but how? Going away to depend on another man for those things, and one on a fixed income at that,  may not be the best way and I’m aware of that.

When my husband ran across my fake account and came to the realization of my deception, he went ballistic. He screamed and yelled and threw things, understandably. He found the stupidest picture he could of Trailer Trash Boy, one where the idiot had shaved the top of his head like an old man and made a face at the camera after having a spray paint fight with his son, and showed it to the kids telling them, “This is gonna be your new step-daddy! You like that? Huh? You’re GROSS Jen! You disgust me!”. He called me every name he could come up with, and I just sat there and took it while the kids cried. What could I say? It was my fault this was happening. He went through so many emotions. He told me I had been his pride, that he loved me and never thought he’d have to worry about anything like this, that he had always thought he had the best wife of all his friends. When he went through my phone and saw all the pictures and conversations he cried. It was the first time I’d ever seen him cry over anything but death. I wanted to comfort him, but how? He wanted sex from me more than anything after that, but my body responded the way it always had and worse, by closing in on itself and shying away. I love him, but I don’t want to make love to him, I can’t and it’s not that I haven’t tried or that he’s bad or anything. My body simply refuses to go there, and I hate it.

My oldest kept telling me she loves me no matter what I decide, but she doesn’t want me to leave. My middle daughter refused to talk to me for months and wouldn’t let me touch her till just recently. She’s having trouble in school and stopped caring about keeping her room cleaned or helping around the house like she used to do. My son cried and told me he loves me, asked me questions about Skater Boy, never judging either of us, he was incredibly understanding and forgiving, but said he doesn’t want me to go. My husband kept wanting to talk about it, but I’d close up. I don’t know how to talk about it. We can’t even keep one household afloat, how could we possibly keep two?

I got caught talking to him again a couple times till November of 2015 when I cut him off completely. I still miss our conversations with every breath. I still hate this existence, still can’t get to a place of craving my husbands advances. I still loath getting up in the morning to leave the kids and the house I so desperately want to keep clean and transform into the vision I had for it when we bought it. My husband still wants to talk about it, still can’t let it go, and yet, still tries to make me happy, to take care of me. He just can’t. Sure he works and pays bills, but he’d do that with or without me. He takes care of our children, but he’d do that no matter who their mother was. He cares that I am depressed and miserable. He’s even said multiple times that I should just go, but I can’t leave my kids and I can’t afford to live here in a place that would have enough room for them. I can’t stand how every single night he looks at me accusingly and says, “You’re missing.” meaning my Trailer Trash Boy, and he’s right, but I always deny it. I can’t stand how he insults him every day, calls him Busta Boy and makes fun of how small he is, commenting about his little hands and feet, sneering about how he lives off the state and doesn’t work, telling me stories about how he had wronged him in their youth and telling me that anyone they grew up with would tell me what an asshole this guy is. He doesn’t understand that insulting someone I love is insulting me. He doesn’t get that I’ve probed this mans heart and mind for years and come to my own conclusion about him. He’s had fifteen years to learn and grow just like we have. He’s not a kid anymore. Insulting this man is not going to make me love him any less or love my husband any more. As a matter of fact, it may have just the opposite effect. Even so, I DO take many of these things into consideration, not because my husband points them out, but because as much as I hate being an adult, I am one and I HAVE to think rationally instead of like a love-struck teenager.

 

We spoke briefly through messenger about a month ago, reaffirming that we miss each other, that we love each other. My husband caught us talking, again, I’m really bad at this sneaky shit apparently, and the whole thing blew up again. Now I’m here, writing this because I have to make changes in my life. I HAVE to. I have to decide what routs are open to me, what I want, what can be done, which way is going to make the most sense and make me the happiest, or at least the least sad. I cut Skater Boy off for now despite how much I miss him because it’s obvious that we have said everything we can possibly say to each other from this place of indecision. He knows I love him, I know he loves me, but unless I’m willing to pack up and leave my kids, what’s the point of talking, of torturing ourselves? He’s only going to beg me to come and I’m going to resist leaving my kids and it’s going to ruin us. So, unless I figure out that going to him would be the best thing for me and my family, I’m not going to talk to him anymore no matter how much I miss him.

The last time we talked, he helped me understand that I have nothing but choices ahead of me. I have to weigh pros and cons of each possible choice, make lists, make plans, decide which ones to follow and then actually DO it. He said he understands my position and the difficulty of it, that he’d never be mad at me for not choosing him, but that he’d be there no matter what, no matter how long it takes.

 

Now I guess it’s time to start writing out my options, my dreams, think about what I can do in the near future to drag myself out of this darkness and start on a path to happiness, or at least less depression. Stay tuned.

Choices

Choices. I have some to make. I don’t want to make any of them, so I just stay here, struggling, sad, hurting. It gets increasingly harder to get up in the morning. The pain runs so deep. My head hurts and feels heavy, my thinking isn’t clear, my neck, shoulders and back hurt, my energy and passion for… pretty much anything I used to have passion for is gone and the thought of leaving my bed to do the same thing I did yesterday, and the day before and the day before makes me want to die. I want to sleep for a thousand years. But I know I can’t because people need me to do the things I’ve been doing, you know, so we can eat and pay bills. I don’t know if I have ever woken up consistently feeling refreshed, clear headed and excited for what the day will bring. Something has to change. I need change, to make the conscious decision and plans to change. I’m not sure exactly what I want or how to make anything I want happen. My fear is that things will change and I’ll hate that too, because wherever I go, whatever I do, I’ll still be me.

 

My husband thinks I’m not in love with him anymore…

I guess I’m not. I’m not sure I ever was, not in love the way I want to be, not the way he wants me to be. He wants to know if there is any point in him trying anymore. I’m not sure there is. I HURT over this. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. The man is beautiful. I enjoy watching him walk around with his graceful long lean muscular body, the savagely beautiful dreads hanging over his shoulders. I like the way he smells and the way it feels to wrap my arms around his waist and bury my head in his chest. I like seeing him stalk through a crowd of people because he is always hands down the most beautiful person among them. Maybe it’s a good thing he doesn’t know it, my god he’d be so cocky! I also feel safe when I’m with him. No one can harm me, or do me wrong in any way. He assesses situations and knows how to handle himself. He has never had a spending problem. He ALWAYS handles his shit. Bills are paid, even if just barely sometimes. He does freaking dishes and laundry and anything else that needs to be done, for God’s sake, WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? He’s an AMAZING man. He makes sure the kids get to school and that their homework is done. He’s a good dad and a good husband and here I am…not loving him. I can like and admire him all day, and be so incredibly grateful for all he does and then, when it comes down to OUR time, I reject him. My body refuses to open to him. My mind refuses to open to him. We never reduce each other to gails of laughter or engage in deep soulful conversations about anything in which we are both enthralled with. We don’t PLAY, and I think it’s because I don’t get his type of play, I’m never in the mood to play when he is or one of us (usually me) takes it too seriously. We just don’t really “get” each other. I don’t feel like being dirty and naughty with him. I’ve tried, and his reaction always somehow falls flat for me. When I open up for him to love me physically, its because I know I can’t keep denying him, I MUST open up, for HIM, and sure I get off about half way through. He’s always made sure I was satisfied before he is, but I don’t feel CONNECTED to him mentally or spiritually or physically. I’m never aching for or excited in anticipation of his physical love. No, it’s worse than that. Sometimes, when He’s trying to touch me in a way that I know means he wants my love, my body shrinks in on itself. I tighten up and can’t stand the thought of letting him have my body. My breasts are actually irritated at his touch and my legs clamp together, when his touch should bring warmth and tingling excitement. My body should instinctively want to move closer and want to rove all over his body, not shrink away. It’s involuntary, I can’t help it, God knows I’ve tried. I’ve prayed and prayed and tried to “get my head in the game” for YEARS, but it’s not working. It’s not because he’s not good either, he is, he knows exactly how to use what he’s got. I wish I knew how to change this. I wish I knew how to get that feeling back if it ever was there at all. I don’t know why it ended up this way, or how, or if it can ever be fixed. I used to think that it was because I was a mom now, because I didn’t like my body, because I was getting old, or because the stresses of life killed my libido, but the truth is, my body and my mind have responded to someone else and I don’t know what the hell this is all about.

 

Now I have to think really hard about all of this. I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing. What I have done is something I never thought I would do. I thought I was a good person. I thought I was one of the most loyal bitches on the planet. I cut friends off for having affairs because I didn’t agree with what they were doing. I judged relatives and strangers alike for doing what I’ve done. And that with his FRIEND! This person isn’t some rich good looking stud who can make all my dreams come true either! Oh no! He’s a short, skinny, tattooed, little punk rock skater, snaggle toothed troll who lives off of diss-a-freaking-bility in a TRAILER like 1000 miles away! What. The actual. Fuck Jeanette???

 

How did this happen? Well, read all my other blogs and see the progression. I was doing kinda ok till I lost my job last year and I had hope. I thought I’d be able to pursue my passions and make a living that way. I really REALLY thought that it was going to happen, but all the doors got slammed in my face. The sex problem has been there almost the entire marriage, and I have wanted out before, but always chalked it up to depression. Maybe it IS depression, or depression is a part of it, or maybe just plain dissatisfaction with society and this way of life leads to depression. I don’t know. I just know that me and my husband are not one of those couples that you see around who you can tell are not only married, but also best friends who vibe off each other, finish each other’s sentences, love to play with each other and do things together, have inside jokes, find adventure going to the grocery store, feed each others passions and lift each other up. I feel like we don’t know how to make each other feel better, but instead get bitter when the other is down and resent having to pick up each other’s slack. I feel like when I’m sick, he doesn’t care so much that I hurt, but more that it makes more work for him. I feel like he’s killed my passions, stomped them out on the rock of reality more than he has ever encouraged them. Don’t get me wrong, reality is a thing, I know this. It’s not his fault that bills have always had to come first if we were to feed the kids. We’ve never had good paying jobs and therefore never had the money to pursue passions. We MUST have steady paychecks no matter how small. Risks are all the more risky when you have three kids. I get that, and he IS trying now. I just feel like it’s fake. The trying and wanting to make it work is real, but the actual passion for the things I have passion for, just isn’t him, and why would I want to MAKE him feel passion for anything that isn’t him? That’s like me sitting through hours of football games trying desperately to love it and then sitting with him going over all the stats and trying to participate in his Fantasy Football Leagues. Uuuummmm no thanks! That’s not fair. And it’s not fair for him to keep getting rejected when he’s not worthy of rejection. I WISH I knew how to love him. I wish he was capable of loving me the way I need to be loved. In these times that are so hard and so scary, I really want to curl up into him and let him comfort me and to comfort him back because I know that out of all the people on this earth, he cares for me the most right now and I truly care for him. But what good is that going to do when nothing is ever going to change and when it comes down to sex (what I know he looks to for comfort from me), I just can’t get to that place? I truly don’t know why he’s still here after all the times I’ve rejected him physically. It’s not fair to either of us. But I don’t know how to leave, and he doesn’t know how to let me go.

 

How can I leave fifteen years of marriage, of building, struggling, raising kids? My kids. I can’t leave my kids! I’m their MOM. No I’m not happy. I’ve been in the deepest, darkest depression of my lifetime this past year and a half. It’s literally all I can do to get up in the morning and keep putting one foot in front of the other, to do my work and try to pretend that I’m fine all day, to come home and try my damndest to do ANYTHING after work, including helping kids with homework, then go to bed hoping he won’t try to get on me and knowing that I have to do it all over again the next day. I really REALLY hate life right now. I feel like a slave to society, like I’m going nowhere, like nothing will ever change. There is no hope of ever paying off any bills, there is no hope of travel, of seeing anything new, of making this house into what I had envisioned for it. It’s a struggle when I have to get new clothes for the job I don’t even want, we have no savings, no cushion, no way of getting the kids their teeth fixed or lessons they want or vacations… no way to even help them make their dreams come true, no hope.

My feeling like this isn’t helping my kids, but my presence is still better than my absence. Sometimes I pray for death to release me from this world, and then I can just sleep for ever, get the rest I so desperately desire, but my kids need me in whatever capacity I can be there for them. They all talk to me in a way they don’t talk to anyone else. When my oldest sees the struggle and sadness in my eyes she says, “Oh Uhmma! I love you!” and hugs me tight. She tells me all about everything going on in her life with friends and boys and music and school. She follows me around when she’s home and insists that I watch her videos with her, she craves my company, which I love and hate. My middle girl is the sensitive one who HATED me for doing this when her dad found out. She would barely talk to me, refused to hug me or touch me, and it’s taken her this whole year to get to a place where she’s started to hug and cuddle and talk to me again. I think it’s not because she’s ok with what’s happening, but because she sees me struggle personally but also still love her. I never stopped trying to love her even as I gave her space and the right to hate me for what I’d done. She also talks to me about EVERYTHING in a way that she can’t talk to anyone else, like how kids tease her about her hair at school, how she struggles in her classes, what her friends are doing, who she likes and I can’t leave her. And my boy, my youngest, he gets good grades by himself and plays flag football. He’s one of the best on his team. He just gets how to play the game and blocks like no other. He still has a passion for everything. Holidays especially. It hurts so badly to see him so excited about those things, the decorating and the spirit of the thing and I can’t get there now even though I was the one that gave him that fire in the first place. I don’t WANT to do anything. I used to want to carve my own pumpkins while helping them with theirs and bake pies and roast the pumpkin seeds. Christmas literally threw up all over our home in a big tacky mess of glitter and bows. But that’s all dead to me now. I want it back, but there is no time or energy left for that after working so much for nothing. Holidays bring more depression now because there is no money or energy or time left to do the things I used to. Even when I had the energy and the passion (There was never any money.), I remember feeling like it was dampened by my husbands lack of enthusiasm. He never understood my passion for it. Not his fault, it just is what it is. But the boy still has it, and he’s bright and funny and loves me. He always wants me to go in his room to say goodnight and spoil him with a massage or scratching his back while he talks to me about silly stuff that little boys talk about. They all three want me to do stuff with them that I would do if I had the time energy and money, but they also like just going for walks once in a while or watching a movie or just cuddling up and talking, or fighting with each other over me while I scream at them to keep their hands to themselves.

And through all this, I miss my Trailer Trash Boy and all the excitement and passion he brought back to me that I’m now having to reject, and I hate him for existing, and myself for loving his stupid ass. I miss him. He made me laugh every single day, like, out loud, with his stupid messages. He had passion for art, MY art, his own art, and not just lately, but ever since he met me. He understands who I am. My husband does too, but this asshole LIKES it. He’s not just tolerating it and hoping I’ll grow the fuck up, start adulting and stop complaining. Of course that’s easy for someone to do when it isn’t THEIR kids needing the food and shelter, when YOU’RE not the one who needs help with the bills. GOD! I’m so fucked up. I tried really hard for a whole god damned YEAR to stay away from that fool, to let him go, to not think about him, and I fucked up again. Let him back in. I fuckin miss his dumb ugly face. What. the fuck. is WRONG with me?

I met him fifteen years ago. He was married with two kids, and I was dating my now husband. I’ve always liked his energy and he and my husband have always had this weird love/hate thing going on. Well, now it’s pure hate on my husband’s end, but that’s understandable. He saw what I could do with art and was so excited and impressed that he talked to people about it. I got pregnant three months into dating my husband and we decided to make it work and were married four months later. Trailer Trash Boy was actually AT our wedding. not long after, he and his wife started having trouble and they split. She took the kids and he rarely got to see them. Then he was hurt on a construction job and had to have multiple surgeries. He never could go back to work. It sent him into depression. He drank a lot back then, but I still liked him. He was always so positive about everything that was me whenever we interacted. He was heartbroken over his wife and worse over never getting to see his kids and every time we talked, I could see it, feel it. I never wanted to cause anyone that kind of pain. Once, I got a call from a lady who said he’d been into her art store, that they were looking for artists and he had talked me up so much that she wanted me to come show her my work. I did, and that was my first art show. It happened to be in Tahoe in the middle of December during one of the worst winters ever, so it wasn’t so successful, but still. He was this crazy little drunk going around selling my talent to people for literally no gain. He’d call me drunk looking for my husband and we’d end up on the phone for hours. Never talking about anything shady or inappropriate, just talking about life and how it should be and art and kids and treehouses. I have to admit he used to drive me a little nuts cuz he was drunk and wouldn’t shut up, but I liked him. Every time he was around I gravitated toward this little fucker who irritated the shit out of everyone else. I thought he was funny and I got where he was coming from with most of the things he said. I didn’t WANT to like him. I saw how his energy was too much for most people and I saw how my husband could never decide if he liked him or hated him. Regardless, I always wanted to see him. I DID keep my feelings in check every time I did see him and even after. I tried not to let my head go where it wanted to. I loved my family, and I still do.

The little twerp makes art of his own because he saw ME make art and talked to me about it all those years ago. He helped his brother build a mother fucking TREEHOUSE in the mountains in Colorado and spent a summer carving the tree stumps around it into totems and planters! There is a fire pit and an outhouse and an outdoor kitchen. I guess his brother has ten acres out there and he has an unfinished platform that he never completed because…well, why when it’s just him? He also has a lot in Costa Rica in a place called Finca Bellavista, which is a sustainable treehouse community. He never built because, well, I don’t know why. I guess the money and time wasn’t there yet. I just don’t know. He has two trailers, one he’s remodeled and is leasing, and one he is living in and fixing. His adult son lives there right now too, but has a good paying welding job and won’t be there forever. So yea, a fixed income trailer trash boy, but he makes art and knows how to fix/build things including livable TREEHOUSES and he makes me laugh, like a LOT. I think about him trying to play with me and instead of wanting to get away, I want to lick his ugly face. GOD I’M A BITCH!

So, he had started talking to both me and my husband about a year and a half ago. I still don’t know what went down with them really, but he wanted me to make a sculpture for his daughter for Christmas that year. I was about to loose my job of 6 years because the owner was going to retire. This was a paying art commission, and one I was very inspired to do, not because it was him asking, but because the subject appealed to me so much that the image came to me quickly with no struggle. I had just learned about this place called The Generator here in Reno where artists make a lot of the Burning Man art. I got in with their ceramics room and started creating. I was in heaven! I was creating something that no one I told could believe I was gonna pull off, in a space FULL of other creatives! I’d send pictures to him of my progress and we’d talk about life and kids and treehouses and art like we always did and just be silly and excited about the project. He was also messaging my husband and I guess they got in a fight. My husband forbade me from talking to him, so I wrote him and told him I didn’t know what was going on, but that I wasn’t going to talk to him anymore. I wrote more than I should have about things that I shouldn’t have and then cut him off completely…and cried like a baby about it alone in my closet.

 

More of this story to come next time I have time and energy. I just need to get it out and write out all the options I have. Like I said, none of them are good, but choices need to be made, no matter what, if I’m to move forward with my life and not be stuck in this damned purgatory I’ve been wallowing in the past year and a half.ezekiel

 

The Imperative of a Wisely Prioritized Budget

he puts into words what most of us know. We are waking up to it, many of us anyway. We just don’t know how to get OUT and DO anything about it. I work for a small business that gats nailed all the time and live in a two income household that still doesn’t even bring in $40,000/year. We don’t overspend on any of the luxuries mentioned, but we are still stuck at the mercy of the elite, shopping at Wal-Mart and feeding the other big corporations because we can’t AFFORD to do anything else. We are literally STUCK in it

kendunning

in-the-pinkWe, in the United States and elsewhere, are very much in need of a new economic model.  One that supports and maintains healthy individuals and healthy communities.  If the United States is/was a great experiment, in terms of establishing an economy which is both sustainable and sustains a healthy, thriving nation, it has failed miserably.  I’m sure some statisticians and/or economists can produce numbers on GNP and/or corporate profits and say that calling the U.S. a failed experiment economically is false.  However, lets face it, statistics and corporate profit figures, numbers on paper, alone don’t give the millions of real people who make up our nation the financial well-being, the stability we need.

We should not be living to work, but working to live.  Our lives can and should be truly satisfying lives, ones that afford sufficient time with family, reasonable recreational possibilities, the time and ability to engage in…

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Dead

I have no passion left. I don’t care about anything I once cared about. Organic healthy food, gardening, exercise, making my own health and beauty products, hiking, camping, art, building, writing, fun, adventure, sustainable living, TREEHOUSES… Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest don’t inspire anymore, they only make me sad and angry now. It’s all so worthless. No one else cares who I am, or who I once was. those things don’t matter, who I was never mattered because I was the only one who cared. No one shared in those passions with me. I can’t care anymore. It’s too hard to keep up with all of that. There isn’t time nor money to care anyway and it hurts too much to give a shit when no one else feels my passion, no one else feels joy in doing those things WITH me, always telling me why we can’t, or why they don’t want to. No one cares to lift me up to a place where I am ABLE to care about those things and pursue them. No one is proud of my passions, and now I’m not either.IMG_6101 They are dead, and I might as well be too. I wish I was. I wish I could lay down and never wake up in this stupid world. But I can’t. I would leave and find like minded souls, but THIS is my family. I have an obligation to feed and clothe them, to keep them alive and moving forward. So I stay. I try to love them. I DO love them, even though it means losing myself. I’m trying. I wake up every morning, I pull myself painfully out of merciful sleep and I put one foot in front of the other, living the same drudgery over and over and over again. I work every day instead of doing the things that I once loved, and every cent I make is sucked away  by the money sucking machine. No passion, no hope, no joy. I hope I can keep trudging long enough to get them through before I die. I am dying. Slowly. I’ve failed the child that I was. Not a single dream has come true. I’m tired of fighting, so I won’t anymore. I surrender to this bondage, the enslavement to the machine. Fuck it all.

My First Step Toward Homesteading. Help? Please?

I have all these passions inside me. Things that grew from … probably my childhood living in Oregon and Tahoe, I don’t know, but as I have become an adult, the passions grew but so did all these circumstances that have prevented me from actually perusing them. So now I find myself, almost 40 with this weird “American Dream” (More like nightmare!) type of lifestyle with a pretty ok job and a husband with two pretty ok jobs, barely making our bills, living out in suburbia (A.K.A. hell, ok maybe it’s not SO bad…) with our 2.5 kids (Three. We have three kids. I guess we are the rare family that made that stupid point five, like you can have half a kid…whatever.). Our cars are on the brink, and the boy has a nice medical bill from THINKING he MIGHT have broken his arm,that we can’t pay thanks to medicaid cutting the kids off every other month and having to re-apply which is a torturous process (I loath paperwork!) and I’m about to take the family dog to the vet next week because he’s limping, has stinky ears and seasonal allergies that cause him to scratch himself bald.  So I know you’re kinda sorta supposed to start these things with some kind of “budget” (Watever that is), but yea, our budget right now is negative nothing. So all I’m left with are these passions, and my head is gonna explode one of these days and I’m gonna go postal if I don’t do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to start moving toward them. So I’m making lists. Things to research, to learn about to do in order to get us closer to the actual DOING of the things. I’d love any insight any of you homesteaders have regarding this list (I need SPECIFICS people!!!) and I’m going to work on each thing at least three times a week (God and Family willing). So here’s my list, my first tiny baby step, me, throwing it out into the universe (A.K.A the internet) in the hopes that if I keep stepping and keep throwing, it’ll all come back to me somehow.

 

Homestead check list.

 

 

How much wood will we need for approximately 2000 sq ft of structure (Not nessesarily one big house, but maybe a network of tree-structures for the family, a small barn, a shed and a wood shed?

What kinds of wood will we need?

Will we need steel beams or other components, what kind and how much will they be?

What types of widows will we have?

What type of insulation will be best?

Composting toilets. How do they work, how much do they cost?

What kind of bathing system will be best for us?

What other supplies for building will we need?

cattle panel

What kinds of tools and equipment will we need?

come-a-long

hand tools -screwdrivers, hammers, hand drills, saws, crowbar, ropes, chains, pullys

power tools? cordless or non? how much power would we need for the running of such things?

Wood burning stoves. What are the best kinds, how much are they?

Rainwater cachment systems?

How much does it cost to dig a well?

What should we look for when purchasing land as far as growing food and having enough water and wood?

Can we use water from nearby lakes/rivers/streams? How?

Plumbing to and from a treehouse?

Water filtration?

Water heater?

What kind of power and how much will we need?

How much storage will we need?

How will we make money?

What will we live in while building and implementing our plan?

How much $$ will we need initially?

What is our plan for getting that $$?

Internet/WIFI? We know we need it, how will we get it and how much will it cost?

How much food will we need to grow to sustain our family = How much land will we need?

Best growing/harvesting practices?

Food preservation practices?

Wood storage shed.

Hoop house for growing during winter months.

10-12 chickens.

One milk cow.

Four or five goats.

link to article I read on arched cattle panel animal shelter DIY:

http://www.valhalla-project.com/2013/09/valhallas-quick-and-easy-arched-cattle.html

 

A dog.

Several outdoor cats.

Maybe a llama for wool.

Best composting practices?

Keeping critters out of the garden.

Bees! Types of hives and best beekeeping practices.

Treehouse building practices and techniques?

How are we going to gain that knowledge?

Fruit trees, how to prune and take care of them.

How much money will we need each month for things we can’t grow or make from the nature around us? Like castile soap, borax, hydrogen peroxide, essential oils, flour beans and rice, gas, clothing etc. as well as bills like property taxes and insurance etc…

What exactly WILL all those extra expenses be?

A small barn/coop for the few animals.

Clothes washing? In winter?

What will our daily schedules look like?

Weekly Schedules?

Monthly Schedules?

Yearly Schedules?

What laws/regulations/codes make life harder/easier for homesteaders?

recipes:

Cinnamon Bourbon Cherries

useful hacks for homestead living:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51702/10-lifehacks-100-years-ago

http://www.homesteadingfreedom.com/the-worlds-simplest-and-oldest-chair-design/2/

 

So that’s it. My baby step.

Today I pushed you from me. 


  

For the second time in history.

In reality I can’t count how many times I’ve pushed you out.

But this time…

Oh this time it’s as sweet as it’s been bitter.

Cuz you’ll think of me too as time grows thicker.