The moving crews and kinder-spirited family and friends pile all of our belongings in the living room of the baby blue trailer on 80 acres (where we will call home until we can find our direction). The boxes, bags and children make me feel like I’m in a twisted corn maze episode of the show Hoarders. I play Tetris with it for a short amount of time and try to carve out a space in the kitchen which emulates a pre-school play area with a 70’s color-shade vibe; It’s seeming impossible.
I am persistent in finding a spot to set up a dreaded play dough station and pretend like we are “ok” and this is a normal day of fun. My positive enthusiasm is quickly jaded by my obstructed thought of:
“What a momentous opportunity to turn on Pandora- ‘Raffi Kids station’ and unpack.”
But “No” (sounding as immature as possible), the internet is not available to us at this time way out in the boonies and by choice, we decided not to purchase fancy smart phones! Not only am I an hour away from my family, I’m out here without music, Facebook, Netflix, and most importantly, Google. I can’t even check the weather or identify spiders or look up what the song is that I keep singing the lyrics to but have misplaced the name!
My tantrum/beginning of a nervous breakdown is immobilized by the discovery of a radio that was in a box in the closet. The only station I can locate is an old twang country station. The slow, gangly songs make me feel like I am in a music video as it rides perfectly with my feelings of stepping back in time, where things are dull and living is uncomfortable. Sitting still in this ironic moment, I go right where my brain has been unfortunately trained by social media:
“This is a funny status update”- but I have no access to post this beloved thought on the world wide web- I only have a pencil and a notebook with a kitty on the front of it. So I take a moment and write.
What is my problem? Why do I feel like I need to share everything I am doing or need to post every witty thought clamoring in my mind with others? What do I get out of sharing? This is messed up- I’m officially addicted to the internet and I realize that my coping mechanism for handling stress is using the internet. So here I am, sitting in an un-organized trailer, trying to put on a tap show for my kids of normalcy and listening to slow country music. I begin to write down every thought, while simultaneously hounding down a bag of Doritos.
My friends and family are thankful that I start writing because they are tired of getting strange texts at 7 am:
“Corbin just said ‘bam’ while I was making breakfast lol lol 🙂 “
“Morning! I just saw an elk in our back yard and it looked like it was checking out the new renters. Haha. So cute. #wildlife#outdoorsie#cuteness#middle of nowhere”.
I take my addiction a bit further and start to write down my own status updates (I realize how insane this is, but I am making fun of myself by writing down things and then laughing at how funny they are- I need some human contact and maybe a session with a psychotherapist).
Day 2 without the internet:
I killed 15 wolf spiders today while unpacking and wrangling children. It was like that game smash a wheezl and it actually kept my attention for most of the day.
We saw 15 elk today on a walk with the kids and then watched a person shoot on our property from the road up towards where we were just walking. Country life may be more dangerous than the inner cities of Chicago! Killed only 3 spiders today!
After locating a funky smell coming out of a heater vent, I didn’t wait for my husband to fix it. I flat out busted out the plastic wrap, duct tape and popped a few staple caps up in there. Boom, I’m awesome. My 6 month old can maneuver him-self from one side of the trailer to the next- so cute. He doesn’t sleep at all, but he is still cute and I probably won’t sell him on craigslist like I think about at night (joke).
I let the kids play outside all morning and when I didn’t see them for a minute I ran out to make sure a wolf had not got them. My dogs are awesome protectors, but I am awkward in understanding the boundaries here. Could a wolf actually come to our house and snatch up my kid or is this just in the movies? They are safe on the trampoline right? #little boy that cried wolf #google, I miss you! My mom came out and helped me clean today and my neighbor brought us dinner. God, you know I wouldn’t make it without people helping me.
We went to town today and I found a local movie rental/pizza parlor place and I have rented the entire first season of Friends because I miss having Netflix and I can’t see my close friends so I want to envy what people hanging with close friends looks like. I take the kids to the local library, and we have our first exhibit of what are quite possibly local KKK gang members… The library is a little bigger than my trailer, notices my 5 yr. old.
I clean the house super-fast at 3:30 and put on jeans so that when my husband comes home it looks like I have been high functioning and working all day. I blame the missing pizza pockets on the kids and the missing cookies on their dad when they ask… and then realize that I have an eating problem.
Our city cat, Tina, which came with our last house, is missing. I’m thinking about joining her today since the snow is packing in around our little trailer that feels like a boat in the arctic. I do dishes in my mini sink and feel like that is where the captain sails its ship. The wind comes up strong and I sort of hold on, feeling like the tin can might end up in Bayview or my ship might roll over. The dogs bring a deer leg to the front door- turns out the neighbors deer carcass has made its way over. I look out and its spread all across the yard. I think about how in the spring it will be like an Anthropological dig site to determine what was buried by the snow. Can I use that for a home-school project?
Sick kids and in quarantine. 0 wolf spiders today. I watched almost the entire second season of Friends during naptime because in the trailer you can’t do anything without everyone hearing. Sometimes I just sit on the couch in silence because it’s better than being productive and waking the rascals up! Tina has not returned and I tell the kids she is a traitor for leaving us for another family. I hear the coyotes singing loud every night; somewhere tucked in my mind I know she won’t be coming back…. My husband brings flowers and wine home and I kiss him. We have a family dance party to “Dimonds in the Sky” and go to bed early.
I’ve decided I’m going to rally and make the best of this; after all, it was our decision for me to not go back and get a high paying job so that I could be with my children. I decide I am going to work out. So today I put my kids in a sled and tied it to my waist and did laps around our driveway. I looked like the crazy person I might be becoming. For lunch, we had a snow picnic up on top of a hill with our cousins. The kids really had fun sledding and sitting in the snow while eating a pb&j and hot chocolate.
I snuck ½ a squash in the kids mac and cheese today and I’m over excited about that. It was like Lloyd and Harry on the movie Dumb and Dumber: “why don’t you eat up and I’ll tell you”. Haha. I started the day so full of energy and optimism and then crashed after nap with a nagging desire to go anywhere on adventure, alone. Despite my minuscule fears of being eaten by a pack of wolves, the second Eric got home I left out of the back door to go for a hike by myself. The snow makes everything so quiet and peaceful. I watched the sun set and felt thankful to have such a beautiful setting to reflect and find some time to pray.
A Jehovah witness pulled into my driveway today and my dogs came unglued. I had just got my 3 little angels to sleep and was going to attempt to do taebo in my tiny living room. I stuck my head out the door and kindly requested that they not even get out of their car and to just keep pulling through the roundabout driveway. There you go…keep driving; this is my only time to gain some sanity. There you go. These people are so brave to be bouncing around to houses out where people enjoy shooting folks that step on to their property!
I made an awesome pancake breakfast this morning and read my bible at the table while the kids ate. We had a hilarious time together making up stories and visiting. I’m starting to feel thankful for the silence and the lack of fillers that consumed my time.
Fell off the band wagon today and went to my mom’s to look at my Facebook account. Turns out no one missed me and I wasn’t even that interested in it. The people that meant the most to me I actually started to talk to on the phone more. Interesting….
After Day 30, something began to happen.
Status updates turned into pages and pages of journaling ideas and stories. I started to look forward to nap time as an opportunity to write vs drown out my negative thoughts with TV and chips. By not having my coping technique of social media to see what other people were doing creatively with their lives, I was actually doing something that I had forgotten I loved to do. It was all just for me- and it forced me to grow in a way I didn’t realize was creatively halted.
My last update before I moved on to better things:
My baby crawls up and over my feet as I sit comfortably on the floor with the silence of snow falling. I realize that quite possibly never again will my life be so uncomplicated and simple. Even though we moved into an incredibly small trailer, without the comforts of the internet or cable TV or even a dishwasher, I feel like today I am probably the happiest I have been in a very long time.
I am privileged to spend quality time with my children, cook for my family and focus on taking care of what is mine versus rushing off to work. It was so scary at the beginning, but now that we are on a roll, I know that despite my uncertainty, God knew this was just what I needed. I am very surprised, humbled, and hopeful for what is to come next. I don’t need the internet to be happy! I don’t need Facebook status’ to make me feel like I was living or what I was doing was important!
And the bigger topic, that I spent a lot of time writing about, is the fact that humans can live with much less than what most Americans believe. We can adapt to less! It may be even better for us to live with less?
Adventure is sometimes what rips away our comforts so that we can be able to change in ways we otherwise never would have understood that we needed. I have many more stories from this time in my life that I am sure I will share…maybe! I hope you enjoyed my brief awkward mama adventure of the Facebook status addiction!
#Country folk #Creative living #Life is messy #Life is amazing #Deal with crutches #Live simple #Have faith