I can’t catch a break

Or maybe I’m just not giving myself a break.

Yesterday, I fell at work. I tripped over something, I’m just not sure what. It might have been the dustpan, it might have been the pig, it might have been my own two fucking feet for all I know. I know that I narrowly missed the pig and landed on my right hip, with my feet on the dustpan. That little pig can run when he needs to save his life!

side note: the right hip is the one that still hurts from the great septic system debacle, which is the same hip that got smashed so hard it bruised bone at an arena gig one night, and the same hip that got all borked in a car accident right before I got clean. That motherfucker is sore today.

My hands are cramped and sore from all of that weeding and grass pulling last week. My fingers are covered in small cuts from fuck knows what (I’m going to guess weed pulling, since the cuts appeared right after that).

And I am covered in mosquito and chigger bites.

I wish I could just sit here and be a couch potato, but there is too much that needs to be done. I need to clean the bathroom, but that is just going to have to wait. I absolutely must pickle these turnips that I harvested late last week before the beets I bought go bad.

side note: the pickled turnip recipe is Armenian, and calls for beets to pickle with the turnips. Because I love Sunshine, I am trying to find ways to preserve some of the three rows of turnips his goofy ass planted (and hasn’t eaten) because he says he loves turnips. Next spring, when we go to plant the garden, if he hasn’t eaten some of the turnips stored in the storm cellar and all of the pickled ones, WE AIN’T PLANTING NO FUCKING TURNIPS.

I’ve got peas and beans to shell and freeze, tomatoes to can or give away, and zucchinis the size of baseball bats to do something with. I’ve got some backdoor fruit that I need to flash freeze. I’ve got laundry to do. I’ve got to make a run to the big box store in town and then go make a deposit at the bank.

I’ve got so much shit to do that I don’t know where to start so I’ll probably sit here all day making lists ad flowcharts to help me decide what to do first.

final note: here’s a picture of the strawberry vanilla jam I made last week, for your viewing pleasure

strawberry vanilla jam

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Chronic…

It’s one of those weeks when I’m really reminded that I have a chronic condition. My COPD and anemia have me feeling fatigued. The overabundance of things needing my attention combined with my job and the heat/humidity have me exhausted on top of the fatigue. I’m also STILL hurting in my back and hip from the great septic system debacle, which only serves to drain me further.

I can’t drop dead just yet. My boss is going out of town for the weekend, so I have to work all day for the next three days. In the heat and humidity. 

I had planned on resting today. Ass, meet couch. Ass and couch, meet Netflix.

I really need to stop making plans.

Last night, Sunshine made a shitty comment in a shitty tone of voice: “well you could help me out sometimes” (referring to our house construction). I ignored it at the time.

Today, I tried to watch Netflix. But I couldn’t get that shitty comment in that shitty tone out of my head. So I dragged my COPD/anemic/fatigued/exhausted/hurting ass down the hill and sanded the exterior door to prep it for stain and sealer. Then I sanded the exterior door casings to prep them for stain and sealer.

Of course, the hours I spent sanding on those doors will come off the end of my life. I spent spoons I didn’t have to help Sunshine realize his dream of building a house. 

I’ll probably wind up resorting to steroids to get me through the next three days at work. I’ll probably have to resort to steroids to get me through learning to can jam on Monday, too. 

Side note: my neighbor is some kind of canning and cooking genius, and has graciously offered to teach me to can jam.

I’m exhausted, I’m fatigued, and there’s no rest for the wicked this weekend.

Final note: I have chosen what to name the house and Sunshine gets no say in it. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. “El descanso del diablo”. Or “la Paz del diablo”. Either/or. They each mean “devil’s rest” in Spanish, with subtly different nuances. I shall name that house Devil’s​ Rest, and I shall name it in Spanish. I just haven’t yet decided which subtlety to use.

Weekly Progress Report: The Saturday Edition

I’m tired. It’s that time of year, when heat/pollen/dust all work together with my COPD and anemia to leave me really tired. I’ve been doing my best to power through it, and most days I do OK. Some days, I just stay my happy ass on the couch and allow myself the luxury of rest and healing (since my back and hip still haven’t healed from the great septic system debacle because I’m mostly on my own with the fucking garden).

Sunshine got a new compost heap containment fence put up. I took this week’s “backdoor fruit” and put it in there. Now we can let the original compost heap turn into compost so that we can use it in our garden next spring.

As soon as it quits raining, I’ll be using some of the leftover roll of fencing to make trellis for my new beans to cling to for support as they grow.

roll of wire fence for beans

I have beans and things sprouting up all over the place, and they are going to need some support.

We got the tomato plants tied to stakes so that they don’t die under the crushing weight of their fruits like my snap beans are trying to do because they had no support for so long.

staked tomatoes

Yes, I know. Our garden is growing in the middle of a field of grass. Mr B has been too preoccupied with moving dirt to create a place to build a shop, and hasn’t been back to the garden with a tractor since he created the extra rows where we planted beans. I’ve got enough on my plate with work, household chores, and preserving what DOES manage to grow in the middle of that field of grass; I can’t be everything all the time. Maybe after we get the house finished, Sunshine (and perhaps even Biff) can help more with the garden.

We are out of room in the freezers. Thank heaven Mr B’s mom has offered to trade us her large chest freezer for the small one she donated to us a few months ago. Now, if I could just get someone to take the small one to her and bring back the big one, I could get started on some serious reorganization of our already frozen vegetables and blackberries. The situation has gone well past the point of being dire, and is only going to be exacerbated by all of the fruit I’m going to freeze this week to make jelly or syrup or something. Eventually, I’ll be pulling the fruit back out of the freezer; until then, I get to teach myself to play an awesome game of tetris.

It’s been a busy week out here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere. And it looks to stay that way through Thanksgiving at least. I’ll eventually get it all figured out, or get some help, or something. Until then, I’ll do the best I can.

 

Harvesting and Planting

As things run their course out in the garden, I am removing them and planting new things in their places. Almost all of the cauliflower has been harvested, and an entire breed of lettuce went bad in the rows. I planted peppers in the spot vacated by the cauliflower, and lima beans in the spot vacated by the lettuces.

Yesterday morning, Mr B got out there and dug up all of our potatoes, as they were planted close to the pond that is about to be filled in and he didn’t want them destroyed by the bulldozers. When Sunshine got home from work, he and I went out there to gather them from the ground where Mr B left them to let the dirt dry so it knocked off easily.

Mrs B snapped a couple of pics to entertain you with.

All of the bending and crawling and stooping aggravated my hip, so today I am doing a lot of nothing. Except binge watching. I’m doing a lot of binge watching Netflix today. Because I don’t want a repeat of the excruciating pain I went through after the great septic system debacle.

final note: I went to the back of the property this morning to look at the blackberries that grow wild out there. They’re blooming, and most of them have little berries starting to form. I’ve done my research, and learned several methods of preserving them. I will probably freeze the vast majority of them, but I have found a recipe for blackberry syrup that I’m eager to try. And Tia has found me some recipes for blackberry breads and desserts, which is one of a million reasons that I love her.

I’m still on strike

I’ve taken myself off of most of the meds they gave me for my back injury. It still hurts, sometimes a lot, but I can at least function (more or less). However, I am not attempting to go back to full function with my fingers in all of the pies. I’m not cutting grass, I’m not taking food to the compost pile, I’m not planting things in the garden, and I’m not even doing a lot of physical labor on our little house build.

However, somebody isn’t on strike around here. Two days ago, I was surprised to hear the sound of a lawnmower in my yard. I wandered outside, and I discovered that Sunshine had gotten out my trusty freegan lawnmower from last summer and gotten it cranked. It wasn’t cutting the grass very well because the grass was as out of control as it has ever been here.

side note: saying that the grass was as out of control as it has ever been out here is saying a lot. This place had been abandoned for a couple of years when Mr B purchased it. It LOOKED like it had been abandoned for several years. It was gross and I am very disappointed in myself that I don’t have pictures of the jungle that was growing here back then.

Just for a bit of proof that I’m not making this shit up, this is what the grass looked like while Sunshine was cranking the lawnmower.

very tall grass

I should have snapped some pics of the giant, bushy, very tall clumps of clover and shit that were in the middle of the backyard. Alas, I forgot. Take my word for it, it made the shit in this pic look small.

The lawnmower wasn’t cutting the grass, and Sunshine was getting frustrated with it. I don’t know why on earth he dicked with it for so long when we live ACROSS THE STREET FROM A GUY THAT FIXES SHIT but whatever, Biff got tired of watching Sunshine scowl as he rode the lawnmower around the yard and took it from him.

Biff finally got the lawnmower to cut grass (don’t ask me how, I went inside because my back was hurting).

somebody cut some grass

Of course, he ran out of gas before he could finish the job, so now the lawnmower sits abandoned under my clothesline. And as usual, no weedeating got done. The grass around the magic bus is even taller than the grass around that propane tank. Because everybody wants to ride the lawnmower but nobody wants to use the weedeater.

final note: there’s a whole comedic post just begging to be written about the lonely neglected weedeater, but it won’t be written by me. I’m still on strike. I’m seriously on strike, and I don’t care if I get chiggers or if the grass gets taller than me. My back STILL FUCKING HURTS from the great septic system debacle and I’m not eager to put any more hurting on my body. It’s peak “I have no spoons” season, so I’m having to focus all of my energy on simple respiration.

I’m supposed to be on strike

Seriously. Don’t y’all know I’m trying to binge watch “continuum”?

All jokes and binges aside…

Lately, there have been entirely too many days when I’m the only one out here to deal with the minutiae. Mr B travels a lot, buying shit and going to seminars about intentional communities and such. Sunshine has been working a lot to pay for the construction of our house, and much of that work is out of town. It was exceedingly pleasant to take a break from it all and go on our whirlwind road trip last week.

side note: I’m not saying that Mr B’s purchases and seminars have no value to the community; nor am I saying that Sunshine’s work is not necessary and helpful to our home building goal. I’m just saying that these things keep dragging them away from things that need to happen here in this community they’re trying to build. Isn’t it ironic, doncha think?

When I got back from our trip, I resolved to be kinder to my body. See, even though I was stuck in a fucking car for a large portion of our roadtrip, I could feel the pains lessening in my back and hip. So I resolved to do less so that I could finish healing.

Then along came the urgent need to plant the sprouts in the garden. Sunshine’s employee is here for some work, and he is always willing to help with things around here in addition to the masonry work he does with Sunshine. Except when he’s sickish, like he was yesterday when it came time to plant things. Which meant that I had to get up off the couch and go help; otherwise, it would have taken Sunshine and Mr B several days of working at it in the evenings. As soon as we were done for the day, I stood up to head inside and realized that I had just undone several weeks of healing in my back and hip.

side note: we’re completely skipping over the fact that crawling around on my hands and knees in a dry and dusty garden did absolutely NO FAVORS for my COPD and allergies and that I’m in desperate need of cough syrup and steroid nose spray this morning.

This morning, Sunshine is at work again. Mr B is off to almost Mexico with his tractor in tow. The compost bucket was full to overflowing and desperately needed to be dumped in the compost heap. Since there was nobody else here to do it, of course my dumb ass picked it up and headed to dump it.

Once again, the fucking chickens had scattered the compost heap to the four corners of the earth. It was less compost heap and more vegetable carpet for that corner of the property. Naturally, I started scraping it back up into a heap, because it needs to be in a moist heap to decompose into something that can be used to fertilize a garden. As I scraped that shit back into a heap, I got to thinking; as I got to thinking, I got disgusted.

side note: the chickens came pecking around while I was scraping that shit back into a pile. I stopped scraping so I could throw sticks and hickory nuts at them. I don’t feel bad about it at all. I should probably call my sponsor or something.

When I came back up the hill to the magic bus, I hid the compost bucket. Until somebody does something about the compost heap so that the fucking chickens can’t scatter it to the four corners of the earth, there is no point in trying to compost anything. All food waste now goes in the trash.

side note: I’m sure that this situation will cause complications that will cause some sort of mandate to be issued, and I don’t fucking care. If I don’t have help, I can’t do this shit anymore. I’m sick of the day-to-day minutiae being unimportant and left undone while Sunshine and Mr B do all their “big picture” thinking and planning and ignoring things like the yardwork (which Sunshine did all summer last year and Mr B has done this year with those tree branches he knocked down everywhere weeks ago and has yet to pick up).

So, this morning, with new pains piled on top of old pains in my back and hip, and knowledge of an extended day of work in my future on Friday, I am serious about going on strike out here. We are headed into spring pollen season (and storm season), and my COPD is always so extra this time of year. I will barely have the spoons to take care of what needs to be done inside my home, so anything outside my home has to be stricken from the priority list.

12 step recovery taught me to guard my spiritual, mental, and emotional health. It taught me to guard it like it is more precious than the contents of Fort Knox. It’s long past time I started doing the same for my physical health.

So, I am seriously on strike. When anybody comes at me wondering about the compost bucket, they’ll get told what you’re getting told. Trying to compost our food waste is a total waste of time and energy out here until somebody does something about the compost heap so that it remains a compost heap instead of a vegetable carpet. As for the cats, well, if they get fed then it won’t be by me; those little bastards are supposed to be eating mice and shit anyway, right? The paper we’ve been saving to make logs for the wood stove? Not getting saved and stored by me anymore since we are running out of room and nobody seems interested in making logs out of it anyway. The weedeating around the RV and the pink house? I am not the one. If one of those two lets the chickens out in the morning and forgets to lock them back in the chicken house at night, then the coyotes are gonna have themselves a feast because I’m not trekking down there in the dark to lock the chicken house.

I am done wasting my time and energy on trying to do shit that nobody else seems to care about. I’m going to concentrate on doing shit that I enjoy, and if that means shopping for shoes then I’ll just take on as many hours as I can at work so I can shop for fucking shoes.

final note: I’m sitting here crying. Not a bad or sad cry. Just a gratitude cry. I’m so damn grateful for my girl Tia right now that I have no words to express it. She has been trying to teach me that if I don’t take care of my physical health, nobody else will do it for me. Well, Tia, I’m finally honestly trying to heed your warning. Thank you for being my teacher and my friend.

I can’t sleep

It’s not just the fact that my mind has too many tabs open in its browser or whatever. It’s Sunshine. That man makes more fucking noise in his sleep than most people do when they’re wide awake and screaming. It’s gotten to the point where benadryl doesn’t help anymore, which means I am really truly screwed.

It wouldn’t be so bad if Sunshine didn’t get pissed off at me for being frustrated that I can’t sleep because he makes so much noise while he’s sleeping. It’s not like he doesn’t get it, either; he’s been out of town with Mr B and had to sleep in the hotel lobby because Mr B apparently makes a lot of noise when he’s asleep, too.

This is one of the major drawbacks to living tiny. There is nowhere to go to escape the horror in my RV when Sunshine is making all that ridiculous noise while he’s asleep. I go to the living room to try and sleep on the couch and I can hear him through all the doors between us and over the two heaters or air conditioners that are running (depending on which season it is; and for the record, our air-conditioners are loud as hell).

It’s even worse when we have a houseguest. See, we don’t have a guest bedroom, so his kids have to sleep on the couch when they come visit. Which leaves me stuck in the bedroom listening to all that infernal noise.

I’ve tried tapping him and asking him to roll over. If it actually succeeds at waking him up, it pisses him off to no end. Generally, though, it has no effect at all.

I wake up in the morning, and I am already tired because I haven’t gotten enough sleep. I also wake up in pain; because without proper, deep, and restful sleep my neck and back muscles can’t relax enough to start the healing process and to allow my neck and back to pop back into alignment.

side note: I don’t want to hear any crap about popping my own neck and back. I’ve discussed this with my chiropractor, and he is all for it. Because I am far less likely to cause injury while self-adjusting than he is likely to cause even with all of his training. My chiropractor highly encourages self-adjustment, and I trust my doctor. He is the subject matter expert.

So I start my day tired and in pain. My COPD and anemia combine to make sure I am beyond exhausted by lunch. My lifestyle means that my pain goes from bad to excruciating before I get halfway done with my tasks for the day. It sucks to start each day with a deficit and have no hope of recovering from it. And that is exactly where I am most days: at a deficit with no hope of recovering from it since I have no hope of actually getting any quality sleep, or enough oxygen, or relief from pain.

I suppose the moral of the story is: make sure that you’re ok with having nowhere to escape to before you start living tiny with anybody. Because if your somebody snores, there’s no escaping it in a tiny house.

final notes: Mollie snores too. Which wouldn’t be too bad except for the fact that she likes to sleep UNDER MY PILLOW. Also, I’m trying to figure out a way to insulate me from the noise when we build our little house. Because I can’t continue like this–I need sleep. I need quality sleep that lasts more than a couple of hours.