Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Autumn Upon Us...

Although I hate the darkening days, I love fall. I love the smell of fall. I love the crispness in the air. I love the shadows of the lowering sun thru the trees. I love the rustle of the leaves in their colorful dying beauty. I love seeing the fruits of the harvest. I love tasting the vegetables that will no longer grow in the field. Winter is coming, but let me bask in autumn for just a few more weeks.

The house hunt is on. I have spent every weekday driving around to each and every house I found that sounded even a little bit like one we might spend a year or so in. One is too small, another on too busy a street. One smells of cat urine and another has creaky floors. One has no windows and another in a bad part of town. We finally put an application in for a cute little house with a cute little yard. It has a big bay window that overlooks nothing in particular, but at least lets the sun in. A spot for some tomatoes in the spring, a dishwasher to save my hands and a gas stove for perfect cooking temps. It's on a dead end street which makes it a quiet one, even if it IS on the not-so-great side of town. The floors are tiled and there is a wood stove. The bedrooms are small, but the open spaces and high ceilings help make up for it. I would like to have this house. We will see if they take the application. Sigh...

On the homeschool front, we made it up to The Nature Conservancy one day last week with the Unschoolers/Project Wild bunch.
Great place. I didn't even know they had a local piece of land. We found wooly bear caterpillars, voles, praying mantis', birds of all sorts and BEES. Lots and lots of bees. The boardwalk takes you around about a 1 mile loop through the wetland marshes of the eastern shore of The Great Salt Lake.
Make the trip to Layton if you want to see why we NEED the wetlands & marshes.

Mandatory adorable kid picture...
Look at that brilliant baby! She wants in on the homeschool action starting.... NOW!!!

So what else is going on? Well, we still live in a camper on North Temple... The neighbors hate our cats per usual.
I sat down and looked at some of the financial stuff for the first time... EVER. I was appalled of course at the mess it is. We couldn't possibly afford all that we had acquired OR spent. I then proceeded to make an actual budget. Starting Saturday, we do not spend more than Mark makes. EVER. No more blowing money at a whim, no more "oh I'll find a way to pay for it later". No more "yes, of course we can afford it" (no we really can't but I won't tell you no)'s. No more lying about how much money there is or where it's coming from. No more too many features on too many phones. No more $200 sets of legos that never get touched. No more $100 dinners out, four times a month. No more WAY too expensive truck, which means no more camper. This budget is one that will be adhered to if we are to continue to live together. Money does not come in an endless supply, no matter HOW BADLY we wish it did. It never had to get this bad. All he ever had to do was ask for help. Now it's bad, but it won't get worse. Now we have a budget that is do-able. Well, it's do-able if we do it. I've been poor. Mark has never been poor. I have spent plenty of years not traveling and not going to dinner because I couldn't afford it, let's hope he isn't miserable doing the same. He has an open door and his freedom if he would prefer a different life. I won't make him stay and "be poor". He does, however, make WAY too much money to be this broke. Although I hate taking "charge" of "where the money goes", I'll be glad to get off this revolving credit line runaway train bound for a derailment. It was bound to happen sooner or later. I only wish he would put his arrogance and pride in the garbage can where it belongs and realize he doesn't know it all... can't do it all... and learn to ask for help.

When all the money is gone; what ELSE will you have to offer? Hopefully something with true value. Hopefully a seed of compassion is planted. Hopefully you will be grateful for what you DO have. Hopefully in your crisis, in your darkest hour thinking of what others will think of you, you will think of something else. Hopefully you will realize you were never poor. You are not poor now. Hopefully you will embrace the things that DO make you rich. Perhaps you will offer your hand to someone in need when that is all you have to offer? Perhaps you will realize that you can't take it with you. Hopefully you WILL realize that you are worth more than your paycheck or credit score. So we won't get to eat sushi every time we feel like it or go to Hawaii "just because"? I am a very wealthy woman. I eat well, my kids are healthy. We have more than most. We need for nothing. We do not worry about life threatening disease, famine, war or clean water. The fact that we don't have a truck and camper is nothing. You always said you hated the attempt to keep up with the jones's... how about let's not even try?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Life goes on...

Well, for some anyway...

So the spot we are parked now is actually IN the city. It offers electric and sewer service without the sterility of the last campground we were in.
We are located right along the Jordan River Trail, which is really nice, and I haven't suffered from generator blues in at least 2 whole weeks.
I am kind of glad we are parked here. For one, I'm tired. It offers me a chance to recover from the summer in virtual luxury. Two, I get to go do "city stuff" like go to the FARMERS MARKET.
Strangely enough, there is no farmer's market in the middle of the desert. You have to go to the city to get your veg.
I love the farmers market. I always buy too many veggies though. I bought fresh basil this time. It made the car smell great. I then made fresh pesto. It made the house smell GREAT. Then I slathered it all over a pizza, because my kids (sagan and mark) LIKE pizza.
My tummy thought it was GREAT. I also bought lots of cucumbers, which mark hates, and beets, which he also seems to think he hates. And I bought okra... which he also hates. My taste buds and colon are NOT going to suffer just because he chooses to eat broccolli and carrots ONLY. I happen to LIKE variety (in my veggies anyway) and I figure if I'm the one that does most of the cooking, I'll choose what I cook. I'm just glad that most of what I cook is HEALTHY. Maybe someday, somebody will thank me. Riiiiiiight. Well, maybe their colon will. ;-)

Just a quick bit about ELIMINATION COMMUNICATION, also known as EC'ing. When Ember was born and for months afterwards, I was just too busy to practice this, but she was pretty good at it on her own. She poo'd AFTER the diaper came off. She fussed horribly if her diaper was wet or soiled. Once she was big enough to sit on her own though, we introduced the Little Potty. She LOVES IT!
I catch at least 1 poo a day and 2-4 pees. YAY for fewer diapers! YAY for natural baby hygiene! YAY FOR DOING THINGS THE WAY NATURE INTENDED!!!
What did people do before the invention of the disposable diaper? They used ECing. Now don't get me wrong. My baby isn't "potty trained" in the traditional sense, however she will be by 2ish. The others were. HOW? HOW can a baby THAT YOUNG use the potty? Well, let's hear it for EC. You give them the OPPORTUNITY to sit on the potty, in a position that is NATURALLY conducive to elimination at logical times of day and let them sit. Sometimes she goes, sometimes she doesn't, but she HAS THE OPPORTUNITY. I don't force her to use her diaper. She doesn't like the feeling of having wet or soiled herself, why would I insist she put it in the diaper? Why would I WANT her to associate a covering on her body with elimination?
Cloth diapers are amazing in that they are soft, environmentally responsible, healthier on baby and inexpensive. The added bonus of cloth diapers is that they teach the baby about body functions and when they go, they have IMMEDIATE sensation of having went. When they wet, the diaper is WET. When they poo, the diaper STINKS and feels icky. When you raise a baby in disposables, you DIAPER train them before you POTTY train them. You train them to GO IN THE DIAPER. When it comes time to potty train, you then have to re-train them to go in the potty, after teaching them to go in the diaper. Sounds awful to me to have to potty train twice. I use disposables from time to time. I use them if we are going to be in the car for a while, or sometimes at night. Of course Mark would RATHER use them because he doesn't CARE about the environment and they seem "easier" to him. I end up changing all/most of the diapers. I'm good with that. I hate disposables. There is a place for them, I guess, but honestly I feel better when I NEVER use them. Disposables keep the baby SO DRY that they have no idea what the feeling of urinating is like.
They are perfumed and processed in a way that makes me say ICK! They are awful for the environment. They contain KNOWN carcinogens (what doesn't?) but most of all, they keep our babies in diapers for 3-4 years and the pockets of diaper manufacturers FAT. -End EC preach session.

Beware September cuteness to follow...

So what did you do in school today Sagan?
"I climbed the rock that I've wanted to climb now for a year."
We stopped by the Great Salt Lake to hang out for a bit.
Mark votes that we re-name it "The OK Salt Lake". I still refer to it as "The Great Sea".
Pelicans on the lake.

So we are looking for a place to live. We don't have any money, but we look anyway. Seems nothing has been paid but the car, truck, camper & insurance for some time now. Did I know this? Nope. Does it upset me? OF COURSE it does. Do I mind that all the things that I own, which are in storage may be gone because Mark neither paid it, told me he didn't pay it NOR did he move it? You bet. I'm stressed that my phone will probably be shut off any day and that maybe both the truck and the car will be gone by morning. Anything I can do about it? Well, since I don't work, I have no money to pay for it. I'm not going to get a job and leave my kids until every single resource has been used up because I believe they belong with me, not some stranger to raise them. I'm not selling my engagement ring to pay for it because I may need that to pay for my livelihood and a way out of this mess. You know, survival. What can I do? Well, I can hope that it gets dealt with. If it doesn't, I'll mourn the loss of many of my personal belongings just as I did when Bayleigh's dad allowed himself to be evicted while I was in California. Along with the only quilt my maternal grandmother ever made, he let them take it all away. It is said that attachments are what causes immeasurable suffering. I can agree with that. I'm tired of suffering. I would like to be more detached. If Mark doesn't find a way to get my stuff back, I guess I'll have to manage. :-(
It makes me sad that things have become so messy. So much I could have done if only I had KNOWN. I guess there are lessons here for us all. I sure hope I'm getting them. Be more proactive? Be more nosy? Be more BOSSY? Yeah, I dunno. I guess the lesson is NEVER DEPEND ON ANYONE BUT YOURSELF. That's really the only thing I can say that would have made this different. I just thought after 2 years of knowing the guy and taking care of myself and watching him that I was in a safer and more secure situation than it turned out to be. *sigh* That's what I get for thinking, huh?

Fall is upon us and I have visions of a bright, sunny kitchen and lots of windows that face SOUTH. A fireplace would be icing on the cake. I fear the winter and the darkness that it brings me. I'm hoping in spite of it all that I can find comfort in cooking, mothering and overall winter adventures. I still don't know what the future holds, but for now, I am holding strong in the things that actually ARE STRONG. What is THAT you ask? Well... me. I guess that really just means my ability to survive and endure. I don't know where I will be this time next month. I just hope for the best for us all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Burning Man & Beyond

I started not to publish this blog because it's a little embarrassing to admit just how ROTTEN things are and just how LOUSY my relationship feels... Leave it to a woman to feel GUILTY for the stupid, thoughtless and dishonest behavior of her HUSBAND...
I can't seem to get past it, and my husband is sick of HEARING IT, and I WILL NOT be silenced.
If you are of the camp that believes HONESTY and TRUST are important, I could use a little emotional support. If you are of the lah de dah so what open relationship/swingers camp I would like to refer you to the HONESTY AND TRUST portion of "what went wrong" as well as the FACT that I have not agreed to a non-monogamous relationship with my husband at this time. I happen to know that when things are shaky at best; it's probably not a good idea to complicate matters.
So here goes:

The American Dream.
What could be more American Dream-like to a woman than piling in with your unschooled kids, a house on wheels & a 15 year her junior husband and taking off to BURNING MAN?

Day ONE: The generator broke. We all came down with atrocious colds.

Day TWO: Sagan did face painting for anyone who would sit. All sick.

Day THREE: Husband comes home at 7am insisting his bike was "stolen" sporting a hickey and plenty of lies. All sick.

Day FOUR: Still no generator, sink & toilet are broke. Wife goes out, finds nothing exciting OR unusual; been there, done that. Realizes husband is no different than ANY sorry lying sack of a man, good for ONE thing and ONE thing only; decides she'd rather be home with the kids; not so secretly hopes husband burns in hell... too bad the only hell is HERE. Wonders why she married "that geeky fat kid" anyway. All sick.

Day FIVE: Dust storms and searing heat. Still no generator.

Day SIX: Climb 10 story tower of Babylon to view Black Rock City. DSCI2211
Mom is glad she brought the kids. Wishes she would have brought them last year. Decides three times is enough pain in one lifetime and is never coming back with present husband. Married one year, pregnant & mistreated the next, cheated on and lied to the next. Feels like it has come full circle. Mama is sickened by papa.

Day SEVEN: Colds are breaking, Go home... Realizes she doesn't really HAVE a home. Wonders what to do next.

So there it is... Burning Man in an instant.

They build it, they celebrate it, then they destroy it. A metaphor for everything we do. We build it up, we dance around it, then we burn it down. Build, dance, burn. Build, dance, burn. Build, dance, burn. Wow... kind of like a phoenix. Being a phoenix is exhausting.

I try to play along. I try to be optimistic, hey, I'm always down for an adventure; yet after the summer of generator blues, eternal camping, unfixed camper parts, looming financial burdens, apathetic, unsatisfied, vacant, scattered husbands, and Burning Man's American Nightmare, Mama is sad and Mama is tired. Mama wonders where all the money goes. Mama doesn't want to live in a trailer park. Mama wonders what papa did all his life that he missed all the important lessons about relationships and ethical behavior.

Mama ponders what she gave up. Mama ponders what she gained. Mama wonders what she will do next...

Mark has a story and he's sticking to it. Mark's story has little to do with what I believe to be true. Trust was trampled. Faith destroyed. Security shattered. Honesty a joke.
Why yes, it is in fact very much what the American Dream wakes up to.
Each and every day. Good Morning, America. Your Dreams? They change every second. Nothing is ever enough for the American. Nothing is ever good enough for the American MAN.

Burning Man was 10 times better than it was last year for me. It was a joy to bring the kids and to share something I love with them. I LOVED the time spent with them. My husband was the same old story of actions and inactions that have hurt me more than once. His "acting out" behavior has often troubled me, no longer surprises me but still hurts me. I believe Burning Man magnifies everything, both real and imagined. It toys with the truth and pours salt in open wounds. It makes you question everything, believe nothing and forces you to step outside your box. EVERY box. It is what you make it. It comes with good, bad, indifferent. But it IS what you make it. We choose that we go to Burning Man. We choose WHO we go with. We choose how we spend our time there. We choose how we live when we return.

Burning Man is a great paradox.

I told Mark before we left, "what's good for the gander, is good for the goose." He said he'd never heard that phrase before. It really goes, "what's good for the goose, is good for the gander." Geese happen to be monogamous, ironically. Seems Mark couldn't care less what I do. That's his take on it anyway. All this loneliness I've carried over the last couple of years was pointless. Seems I could just go out and find someone to talk to, spend time with, and if the whimsy hit me, be physical with. All that time I wanted those things from my HUSBAND. Go figure. All this time I was staring down an empty well. If I continue to go to the empty well, I suppose it serves me right that I die of thirst.

I went to Burning Man and found that I'm happiest living and experiencing life with my kids. WHEREVER that is.

My role as a mother doesn't stop when the sun goes down and the music comes on. When boys are out being boys, moms will still be there being moms. It's not a martyrdom, it's not dramatic, it is the TRUTH. Biology dictates that we behave in certain ways. Does that mean we are slaves to our biology? No. Fortunately we can be a thinking species. I don't believe that we are slaves. We CHOOSE. Some choose more wisely than others. Some let the winds of whimsy choose, which is a choice in it's own. We are animals, but we are also HUMANS. I think we can KEEP the biology that is useful and work AROUND the biology that doesn't serve us. Just because men were put here to inseminate as many females as they can get away with, doesn't mean they SHOULD. In our society, in the modern, overpopulated world, we don't NEED that kind of biology. We NEED two loving and devoted parents to raise our children. We aren't geese, unfortunately. Geese make wonderful parents. Ask me sometime about my ex-husband and non-monogamy. We get along great... NOW.

My American Dream is that I continue to live the way I want to. Maybe "partnered", maybe not. Always a mother. Always searching. Always learning. Always making my choices and always living with the consequences.
How will I live now? Same as every day... one at a time. :-)