Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Heat. Despair.

I got nothin'. Not much progress on the land. Not much progress with the architect. Lots of money spent on hay bales. Not enough money spent on credit card debt. Nothin'.

Today I stopped by the land for my midweek, brief, visit to make sure there are still five warm bodies wandering around the place, that water's full, and some vestige of a hay bale still stands. After the animals get over their first few moments of shock and awe at the appearance of The Human Feed Bag, they generally swarm around the tiny purple shed in anticipation of a few handfuls of sweet feed and range cubes (or "breeder" cubes as the fancy pants professional farm people would call them. By the way - there tend to be a minimum of three names for everything agricultural which is awesome, because it gives one three whole opportunities to look stupid when requesting something.). Their expressions seemed particularly shocked and awed today, which I tried to imitate for Jeremy who unimaginatively stated that animals (especially cows) do not have expressions. They are either awake or asleep. Dead or alive. There's no gray area. I tend to disagree since I am positive that Seamus' eyes popped out of his head a little and his mouth made a tiny round shape like "oh!", and Rooney visibly hung his head and frowned after getting a swift kick from Chula. Unfortunately I was the only witness to this array of bovine emotions so I'll wait to press this point home when I have some pictures to prove it.

But that's it folks. There's been almost nothing by way of land activities. Our feeble attempts to get work done are continually ruined by temperatures that hover around 150 degrees and humidity that makes it feel hotter.

Unless you count Saturday. This was just an extended version of an earlier weekend in which we staked out the footprint of the future house and started cutting down and dragging trees and shrubs that got in the way. I really wanted to kick the heat's ass and dragged the hell out of more than my usual number of trees, so much so that Jer commented on my super-human amount of clearing. Jer also pushed it to his own personal limit and, in retrospect, I think it was our way of shooting the bird at the weather. But really we only screwed ourselves since I've been feeling a little off ever since, and Jeremy has been bedridden with a nasty cold for days.

(Witness the many stumps. The bloody massacre. It makes me feel a little dirty.)

So two things have got me to thinking. Why is it that many of us assume challenges for marathons....or, say, hand-clearing 15 acres of nasty, assorted vegetation (decayed tires, glass, bathroom appliances)? Is this living life "to its fullest"? Or should we just call it what it is (masochism)? The two things that make me question our motives are: a) our painful over-exertion on Saturday; and b) The Devil Queen.

The over-exertion point requires little explanation. But it's worth questioning. I recently had a co-worker comment that our weekends spent chopping, hauling, cutting, and dragging must serve as a pleasant visceral respite from the weekly grind of traffic and computing. I thought of her this weekend while I leaned over a log trying not to vomit from the heat. No, the visceral activities aren't the draw...

And The Devil Queen represents the depths of my paranoia and fascination with all things tragic and sad. I stumbled on this blog due to a recent (and probably long lasting) obsession with house building and renovation. You probably didn't know this - but I desperately wanted to buy an old farmhouse, plop her down into the woods and fix 'er up with my own two hands. I grew up in an old Victorian and somehow old houses will always feel more like home. Also, it seemed incredibly romantic and wonderful until I checked the price tag for moving old homes and converting them into energy efficient buildings. I satisfy this craving now by reading about others going through the experience themselves and it's hugely gratifying to realize a common theme which is that these projects never end and are a constant source of heartache and frustration. (Jenna wipes brow and is thankful for dodging the bullet of assuming never-ending, painful tasks).

The Devil Queen is the most fantastic of many wonderful blogs, not only due to the author's sardonic wit and self-deprication, but because it chronicles the demise of a dream. This is a couple who fell in love with an old Queen Anne, moved her into the country and spent years (literally, years) restoring her, patching her, pouring all of their money into her, but eventually selling her. The "dark mistress," as she is called, assumed control of their lives. I am reading the blog obsessively, starting from year one (2001!) not only because it is hugely entertaining, but because I am sickly attracted to hilariously sad stories.

In this case, it's a story of a dream that doesn't exactly come true despite planning and hard work - it just never quite comes together. And I'm left feeling a little dark. And pessimistic. After every tree we chop is another tree, another pile of trash, or nest of wasps. Septic needs to be dug and dropped. Electric poles need to be hammered down and wires strung up. And water lines have to be trenched in - thousands and thousands of feet of them.

Normally I would try to wrap this up in a way that doesn't make me sound completely pathetic. But I got nothin' today. I'm not giving up by any means, but I'm having a little trouble picturing a liveable plot of land that doesn't instantly make one yearn for bug spray, a hot shower, and a lot of hired help. So, thank you nausea-inducing heat and spiny mesquite trees! Thank you Devil Queen! Because of you both I choose to wallow in the fear of eternal land clearing: the-project-with-no-end. Until I can once again embrace this masochistic endeavor, I will focus only on planning the interior of the house.
And now for an arbitrary picture of LuLu, who is ridiculous, and makes me feel slightly less downtrodden:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can do it! And when you do, we'll throw you a nice house warming party complete with all the Makers you could ever drink and perhaps a splash of Rock Band.