Weekly progress report

We’ve had a busy week here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere.

We finished that shower job, finally. That job convinced me that I am headed in the right direction with my ideas for our bathroom in our small house. I want a wet room shower, no curbs no benches no glass no doors no nothing. It makes for less work/tile cutting during construction, and it makes for a whole lot less places for dirt to accumulate/mildew to grow once it’s finished.

We butchered the last wild pig that Sunshine killed. Most of this one is being made into jerky, because Christmas. Seriously, his family has all requested more of his wild pig jerky, so that’s part of what they’re getting for Christmas. Instead of grinding all of the small bits into meat for tacos/spaghetti/chili/whatever, we bagged it all up and froze it for Mollie.

side note: yes, I cook for the dog. I have to cook a bit of chicken or something to mix with broth to hide her dry food in. Otherwise, she doesn’t eat the dry food that has all the good nutritional stuff she needs.

Mr B has been out here trying to get the place ready for the arrival of the family B. He has gutted the kitchen and half of the bathroom. Trust me, those rooms needed to be gutted. The problem we ran into (when I say “we” I mean Sunshine) was Mr B’s ADHD and its aftermath.

side note: some might say it wasn’t ADHD that caused the problem. Some might call it ego, or say he’s inconsiderate, or any number of negative things. I’m going to blame it on his ADHD, because I love Mr B enough to give him the benefit of the doubt and I also believe that the vast majority of humans are basically good people inside, just messy outside sometimes. Mr B’s a nice guy, he just forgets to focus on the task at hand sometimes because his mind is so busy exploring other possibilities.

Quite some time ago, there had been some discussion of adding a walk-in bathtub to the bathroom of the pink house. Let’s ignore what it does to the future resale value of the house by limiting your target market to senior citizens and the disabled. Let’s look at the immediate problems with a walk-in tub. Namely, plumbing. If one wants to actually take a bath in a walk-in tub, one has to walk in, close the door, and sit there naked and shivering while that beast fills up. The same thing happens in reverse when one is done, except worse because now one is naked, WET, and shivering. In order to alleviate some of the wet, naked shivering, one should beef up the water lines that feed the tub, and greatly enlarge the drain pipes that empty the tub. When this discussion occurred, I made it very clear to Mr B that the next time the plumbing was touched, he really needed a professional plumber to come in to do it. See, the plumbing in that house was a nightmare: whoever plumbed that house used whatever scraps of anything that looked like plumbing material that they found in ditches on “free day” before garbage pickup. There are multiple sizes of PVC pipe, something called “schedule 20 thin wall” PVC pipe (which is total crap), galvanized pipe, and probably some copper. Did Mr B call a plumber when he started gutting the kitchen and bathroom? Fuck no.

That wouldn’t have been a problem if he had stayed to help unfuck the mess caused by cutting the water lines throughout the house. But Mr B? He had other plans, something about borrowing one of Sunshine’s trucks and trailers so he could go pick up the new kitchen cabinets.

Which meant that Sunshine had to deal with the clusterfuck that ensued. At 8pm. When the local hardware stores are closed.

I was pissed, to say the least. I had just spent a day helping Sunshine process the piggy meat, after which I had to go grocerying because we had no half and half and that is a fucking crisis of extinction level event proportions around here. We were also out of almost everything else that we have to obtain from a store, so it could not have been avoided.

I didn’t even get to unpack all of my groceries. I had to go hold flashlights and tools and pipes to help Sunshine try to deal with this clusterfuck. We wound up having to go buy more plumbing parts, which involved a trip to the neighboring town to go to their big-box home improvement store before they closed. Sunshine talked to Mr B for half the trip, during which time Mr B could hear me in the background being very unhappy.

side note: to his credit, Mr B knew that some parts would have to be obtained, and he had stopped on his way out of town to buy what he thought was the right shit. Too bad it wasn’t.

We finally got the problem solved at almost 11pm, and got the water turned back on so we could bathe and eat so we could fucking sleep. It was midnight before we were able to get in bed.

Ultimately, the plumbing clusterfuck gave us a good opportunity to grow and to practice some conflict resolution skills. I had to apply a lesson I learned from my sponsor (who is a very very wise woman), and remember that “honesty without compassion is cruelty”. I had to wait until I had calmed down enough to TALK to Mr B about how bad it hurt my feelings that he didn’t listen to me about a plumber, and how angry I was that Sunshine (and I) had to deal with such a stressful thing without the help of the individual that caused the problem (which is bad for our physical health issues), and about how not-fun it was to do all that while I was fighting exhaustion and sickness. I had to wait to talk about how angry I was until I could do it without name-calling and personal attacks. I had to wait until I could talk about it without saying or doing something I couldn’t unsay or undo (another bit of wisdom from my sponsor). I could tell that Mr B really felt bad for leaving us with such a clusterfuck (like I said, he is a really nice guy), and he says he’ll try to listen more in the future when we say things like “the plumbing is a nightmare, you might want to call a pro”. He explained how he really didn’t think it was going to be a big deal/issue/problem, otherwise he would not have jetted off to pick up cabinets. And I believe him when he says that he would have stayed and helped us with it if he had known what a problem it would become; the man isn’t afraid of physical labor, he would have helped if he had been here. He is going to be the one to reassemble that “beam me up Scotty shower” when he puts it in the bathroom (in place of a walk-in tub), with some help from Sunshine. (No walk-in tub, the cons outweighed the pros.)

Once the plumbing issue was resolved, Mr B was able to get out here the next morning and begin installing the cabinets he had gone to pick up. I will say that I like what he’s planning for that kitchen, it’s going to be nice and fresh and new and clean, which is a nice metaphor (or something) for what we’re hoping people find when they come here.

final note: I don’t tell that plumbing clusterfuck story to air any dirty laundry. I tell it because this is the reality of trying to build a community. There will be conflict from time to time. It’s the nature of being human–we won’t always agree, shit will happen, and people will make mistakes. I tell the plumbing clusterfuck story because it proves that people can disagree and still love each other. I tell the story because it’s proof that people can get angry without spewing hate. I tell the story because it it an example of how people can come together in spite of differences and disagreements.

It’s an election year, and it has been a very very ugly campaign season, filled with hate and accusations and recriminations and all kinds of the ugliest of humanity. That isn’t what life is about, that isn’t what building something is like. That isn’t how change happens. What we’ve seen this election season is an amplification of everything we don’t want to be a part of.

I tell the plumbing clusterfuck story because it is proof of progress. It is proof that people are not ugly, even when they feel ugly emotions. It is proof that love is a strong bond, that love is about patience and forgiveness. It is proof that conflict is an opportunity for us to grow or heal or both. It is proof that there is always a path forward when we listen to each other and work together.

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