Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not Keeping Up with the Joneses

My last post was my best effort at focusing on the positive. I really do believe that positivity has the power to make my life and the lives of those around me better. But sometimes the Pollyanna Sunshine well runs dry, and I find myself irritable and somewhat behind the eight-ball in terms of my life's forward progression.

Well, I'm kinda there right now.

My girls are amazing, but this Summer vacation has been rather taxing on my relationship with them. We haven't been able to do a lot of our Summer norms, like cabin camping, fishing and going to the beach, because I was physically very weak and unable to drive for most of the Summer. That alone has thrown us all way off our game. On top of that, I'm struggling with a pretty heavy case of post-concussion syndrome, which has affected my memory and my ability to organize my thoughts. Add a highly emotional tweenager, a sensitive 9 year old girl, an emotionally needy, 75-pound pooch and a small working farm to the mix and you have the ultra hot mess that is me right now. Blurrrrg...

So I'm a little extra irritable, a little more raw than usual. I am looking forward to my girls' return to school with unparalleled joy. I just need a little quiet time to hear my own thoughts, you know? And as soon as that is done, or maybe while that is being done, I also need to make up for 3 months of not doing much. This house is a wreck.

Now, to be fair, my husband kicked butt while he was at the helm during my convalescence. He took care of the girls, the farm, the day-to-day odds and ends that are too numerous to name, and me and my very specialized needs, completely. Honest to God, I have no idea how he did it. He assumed the role of me, while also continuing to be him, and caregiver to a mostly disabled (albeit, temporarily, thankfully) adult. That is a tall effing order.

As a consequence of the hubster having a VERY full plate for 3 months, and my varying stages of disability/inability, a whole lot of stuff fell by the wayside, and neither of us had the energy to spare to give a crap about any of it. Laundry piled up, the vacuum sat idle, the weeds grew and grew, and we were just too busy trying to get by to pay it much mind.

To be perfectly honest, my house would probably not pass Martha Stewart's muster on it's finest day. Firstly, because I really do believe that an immaculate home is the sign of a wasted life. I have a million more worthwhile things to do than dust baseboards or flip mattresses. Secondly, because I don't believe that a sanitized home is a healthy home. We live on Boggy Hollow Farm, for crying out loud!  Mud, straw and a little bit of critter poo coming in on shoes and dog paws are just par for the course. Jars and crocks of homemade vinegar, pickles, sauerkraut and wine scattered here and there throughout our house offer proof that friendly bacteria and yeasts are welcome in this home.

We also are very into the up-cycling and re-purposing thang, which means that we hang on to useful objects, rather than throw them away, which can create a problem of its own - epic clutter.

But being able to logically rationalize having a non-sterile, occasionally-cluttered household doesn't negate my desperate, mental need for order and simplification. I wish that I didn't care at all that there is a mountain of laundry with my name on it, stains on the carpet (who in their right mind puts off-white carpet in a FARM HOUSE?!?), or over-filled junk drawers that hardly close, but I do, damn it, I do.

It isn't for the sake of keeping up with the modern ideal of what a "nice" home looks like - I forsook that pipe dream a looooong time ago - it's that I occasionally see my own environment with fresh eyes, as a visitor might see it, and am embarrassed and stressed out by my surroundings. I've said it before, physical clutter equals mental clutter in my head, and so I have a really hard time functioning in a chaotic environment. By the same token, it's also mentally and physically exhausting to even think about attempting to sort through four humans and forty(?) pets/animals worth of crap and deciding what stays and what goes. It's frugal/upcycling/we-might-need-that-again-someday! girl vs. emotionally-divorced crap-purger lady. Nobody wins. :(

So, I'm ok with a messier, less sterile, slightly more devil-may-care home environment than the average household seems to be, but I'm at a loss for how to reconcile that with the comfort that an organized and clean house brings to it's inhabitants. The promise of simplicity in urban homesteading is occasionally a bit of a tease - real food, real work, real experiences - all good things - at the "expense" of convenience, free time and rest. The more homesteading things that we make a part of our daily lives; home cheese making, brewing, garden-to-table cooking, animal husbandry, etc., the further away from convenience, free time and rest that we grow. I know that it's worth while. But - it is just exhausting. The whole "having a foot in two worlds" business - being a farmer and an urban mom - regularly kicks my ass.

We aren't keeping up with the Joneses. We aren't keeping up, period. We're getting by, sometimes, barely. I have a lot to think on about how to make our home/farm life mesh better with our city/social life, and the reasons why I need to impose some amount of order on this semi-chaotic life that I created.


This is why I need thinky-quiet time. And wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Plethora of Good Things

Life has been wacky for a while now, so I'm going to focus on nothing but the positives today. I've got a heck of a lot to be thankful for!

*I just found out that we've been accepted as doggy foster parents! We get our first foster pup next weekend.

*I got SO HOOKED UP with garden goodies by my sweet and generous friend, Lisa, that my kitchen runneth over with garlic and beans.

*Three of my four apple trees are loaded with fruit, as is my one and only pear tree. Pies & cider... nom.

*It's been 3 months since my accident, and I'd say I'm, 80% back to normal. My broken arm has healed, my scalp wound has finally closed, and my cognitive issues seem to be dogging me less. :)

*The girls go back to school in two weeks and three days. But who's counting?

*Fritzen & Oreo, two Lamancha does that we sold to a friend earlier this year, are here for a romantic getaway with our guy, Buckley. I get extra goat nuzzles this week!

*The vet got back to us re: Anabelle. It seems that she had something like cancer, which sucks, but the good news is that the rest of our flock is not at risk. Trying to see this as a good thing, even though I know her last days were hard.

*The heat wave seems to have passed, temporarily at least. The difference between 75 degrees and 95 degrees is too beautiful to describe.

*I have an awesome giveaway in the works! Stay tuned. :)