Sunday, December 20, 2009

Starting Over

Visualize this. The game is baseball. The batter is warmed up and ready. He steps into the batter box, first the left foot and then the right, grinding the toe of his shoe into the dirt to get the right grip. The pitcher is waiting, leaned slightly forward one hand tightly gripping the ball behind his back and staring straight ahead with extreme focus. The batter takes a couple of practice swings to find his grove then sets back ready for the pitch. He has studied this pitcher for many years and knows without a doubt, this pitch is going to be a fast ball. Here's the wind up, swing and a miss. It was a curve ball. This is the best way to describe what life just did to me a couple of months ago.

At age eighteen, I promised my new wife a life of ease. Fifteen years later she finally called my bluff. We started out in a two room shack I built pay check by pay check on the family farm. This place was temporary, just for a year. I will describe the farm and many adventures in later posts. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos. Our temporary old farm house turned into fifteen years. I added on to it at least four times. The house covered the whole hill side when we were done. It was so loose you could have thrown a full grown mountain lion through the walls and never hit a stud.

We were so broke we could not afford propane or electricity. We cooked outside in the pits for most of the year and when it was to cold or the rain kept us from starting a fire, we would cook off the pot belly stove in the living room. For power, we tapped into my dad's shop over 1000 feet away. All we could run was the small ice box (refrigerator) and a couple of lights. Anything else would pop a breaker and I would have to make the long hike down the hill the turn it back on. So we ran oil lamps at night. When the kids started getting older and asking questions, we would just say we are play camping. I ran a water line from the nearest barn after figuring out hauling water was really not my thing. The girls refused to use the out house after a small insident with my mother and a raccoon. I swear, I did't think anyone could run that fast with their pants around their ankles. We still laugh about it today. So for the sewer, I dug a hole and put some concrete culverts as my tanks and ran the lateral line on top of the ground back in the woods. Out of sight, out of mind. I never did tell my wife where all those tomatoes came from.

Even with all the fun, all I could think about was getting off the farm. I wanted to buy a real home giving my family something better and to be proud of. It broke my heart to see my little girl cry when one of her friend's mom would not let her daughter get out of the car for fear of the rednecks. I was embarrassed. We as a family were embarrassed. This happened all the time. Every where we went, we were looked down upon, outcasts. I tried my best to keep up with the Jones. My wife kept our house clean. The front yard looked good. The house was painted. What else could I do to gain the favor of those people. I even started collage to learn how to talk and act like them. After awhile we started becoming people we weren't.We were becoming them. I just wanted to fit in. So at age thirty five, I moved for my very first time. We bought a brick home in town and moved off the farm. The house in the picture is the house we bought and we were going to retire there.

Now the important thing here is to know this was the first time I ever had neighbors. The very first weekend in the new house we threw a house warming party. All my redneck family and friends came up and we had a great time just like on the farm. You can tell from the picture the parking is limited to about six cars. Before long, we had our front yard full of cars and then both neighbors yards full of cars. I did not really see a problem in this due to the fact I had invited them over for BBQ and beer. They did not see it my way. Needless to say made a great first impression. I told them I would fix all the ruts in the yards and pick up all the beer cans. We never did find the missing dog though.

It only took about three months before the newness of the house wore off and I started thinking this might be a bad deal. Now all the sudden, I had a 1500 a month house payment with all the bills to go with it. The good news was I had a good paying job and worked seventy hours a week. Thirty hours a week of overtime made for easy living. I told my wife one day while sitting on the back patio, I think we have arrived. Little did I know.
In later posts, I will tell some of the stories that happend while we were there.
Like I said, little did I know just four years later my overtime would be cut off and my wife would not be able to work. Life lesson, never budget for overtime. We could not keep the house. The choice at work was for me to go to another job location with no overtime or go home. I did the budget and made the decision. We needed to get out before the sheriff threw us out.

We found this little place out in the country and moved in over Thanksgiving break. Yes it is a mobile home. It has two acres and a 30 x 50 barn on it. It's by far not the farm, but I can make it work. I will be posting my new adventures as I go along. So far all I have done is build the dog pen and put up one of those little metal buildings for a tool shed near the house. I could have build a heck of a barn with the time it took me to put that stupid little thing together. Never again!
Looking back now, life on the farm was great. It is hard to think I wanted to get out so bad. I was free. I was off the grid. It was paid for. I can look back and see now in the past four years I have been trying to recreate my life on the farm. Even while I was in the city. I had a rain water harvesting system, chickens, green house, gardens, cooking pit. I heated the house with the fire place and not Central heat most of the winters because you can't back up to a vent blowing hot air out of the ceiling. I ran oil lamps some of the times because I love the light it gives off. Now, I can have it all back. It will take a while to get everything the way I want it, but the key thing is, who cares what those city folks think. I am home and I am a redneck.


  1. Oh, Man! I hear you. City folk just don't appreciate the good parts of a simple life. Ever since I left Maine, I've been trying to figure out how I can recapture some of that. And somehow I've found myself stuck in Los Angeles for almost 20 years now.
    You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy.

    I plan to keep reading your posts in chronological order and see what happens...

  2. My husband and I have enjoyed visiting. Please tell your wife we are right down the road and rednecks are always welcome. Speaking as one redneck to another. Ok, back to reading.