Finally, I am here in Central Oregon and in the process of settling in my new hometown of more or less 80,000 people. In my previous posts I told you all about the stunning beauty of this place, my relief and joy to be far away from the over-populated even more overly-sinned Washington D.C. – No more daily exposures to the Pentagon and Capitol buildings where the sinners-criminals-crooks-charlatans and the utterly corrupt operate.
I briefly told you about the natural beauty of this place, combined with many independently operated fabulous coffeehouses, cafes, and retail stores, topped with impressive art and music scenes.
Okay, I briefly shared all that with you, but there is another important facet to my move that I haven’t told you about. Not yet. Of course shortage of time (as always) was one reason for this delay. But that’s not all. My reluctance to share this facet of my move also had to do with one of my characteristics-being a very private person. And add to that: not being used to humiliating myself-publicly.
Ordinarily I’d stick to my being ‘me,’ continue being ‘me,’ and keep this side of my daily life and journey private- private is good; very good, indeed. However, since there is major significance to this new aspect of my new life’s new journey (or at least I believe that to be the case) that may, and possibly should, apply to others, including ‘you,’ I have decided to share some of my new discoveries and experiences with you, publicly, here at Boiling Frogs Post; this, despite humiliating myself publicly. I am telling you, this doesn’t come easily for me!
One of my objectives (goals?) in my recent major relocation was, and is, to begin the process of becoming more self-sufficient. What do I mean by that? As a woman who has lived all her life in major over-populated cities, who’s life style has always been ‘typically metropolitan,’ who’s never acquired a single practical survivorship skill, and finally, as a woman who has been clearly seeing all the signs of soon-to-come ‘disasters,’ I decided to ‘learn.’ Learn to survive and help my family survive without all the things I’ve been used to having, using, and relying upon.
I guess you get the idea, right? You know what I’m talking about. Of course, I don’t intend to make this change very quickly and drastically. I intend to learn slowly, and put things in place gradually and based on common-sense. I am not talking about going ‘Amish’ overnight. And I am not talking about roughing it. Well, even if I wanted to I couldn’t- I ain’t that capable!
All right. I am going to start with the recent beginning of this journey … which was … only a couple of weeks ago. You see, this is why I am going to share some of these experiences and discoveries with you as I go. During this process I want to learn from you and your experiences, and by exposing myself and my somewhat humiliating experiences, you may take a point or two from these posts. I have yet to decide whether to make these posts all public, or, open to my irate minority BFP friends with access. Well, we’ll see about that …
The Bitter Realization: I am Utterly Useless
A few weeks ago I was in an indoor soccer field, sitting by myself on the bench, and watching my 4-year old daughter and her classmates practicing soccer with their trainer (okay, I’m exposed- I’m a ‘soccer-mom’!). There were a few moms and dads around watching and chatting with each other-completely outside my interest and attention, so I intently watched my girl. Until …
A crisply and energetically walking lady in her mid-thirties entered the gym … followed by 5 adorable-looking kids from 6 down to 2, including a set of triplets in their 3s. She competently guided three of her 5 children onto the field for their late start, and after that, changed the other two’s clothing, and took them to a play station in another section of the gym. She did all that efficiently, with a smile, and then came and sat on a bench a couple of rows behind me; looking calm and serene. She had my attention- my full attention. Without realizing, inside my head, I was engaged in comparison: I sometimes feel overwhelmed, most of the time over-tired and under-slept, and all-the-time overstretched with only ‘1.’ Here was this lady handling 5; all under 6, and she didn’t seem either overtired or frantic. You know me, there are times when I can’t contain myself, so despite my reclusive bashfulness, I turned around, faced her, and asked:
‘Simply wow. How do you do it? How do you manage and remain, at least appear sane?’
She said: ‘Actually after 3, something happens. You get expanded and it actually gets easier; at least it comes easier …nature works it out. Personally I think it is harder with one or two-easier with more.’
Huh. Usually, the mom-talk between moms doesn’t hold my interest for more than a few minutes. Don’t take me wrong. I love being a mom-a full-time mom. It is just that ‘usually,’ not always, after a few minutes of being surrounded by mom-talks (usually includes TV stuff and personalities- I don’t even have a TV) I zone-out and start longing for air-Oxygen.
With this lady I was all attention. Within a few minutes she was down sitting next to me, and we were talking. I was asking, she was answering. The topic(s)? Not only kids any longer. It was about moving to Central Oregon-relocating, the reasons for the move, the highly-likely-coming financial collapse and the already-here police state, the constant devaluation of the US dollar, the importance of preparation, different types of preparation work …
Now you see why I was suddenly all ears! Granted, this was not the first time I’ve come across ‘aware & awake’ people who have been engaged in taking precautions and getting ready for a highly-possible meltdown and or an even-more-expanded police state. By all this I don’t mean over-the-top doomsday and Armageddon buffs. There is a difference. There are degrees. There is pure unfounded paranoia, and then there is common-sense and logical awareness. I know my enemies will be ecstatic to take this post (and those to come) and comments, and slam me and like-minded people with their adjectives: doomsday kooks, radical doomsday buffs, mountaineer looney-tooneys … you name it. I bet none will come from those utterly devastated in the North East …
Anyhow, let me continue.
What a day it was-my first meeting and talking with ‘J.’ First it was my fading in comparison in handling motherhood with such ease. Oh, but that was nothing. I realized all the mistakes I’d made during my ‘change and settling’. Let me give you a few examples:
We talked about ‘heat.’ I said: ‘we haven’t installed solar panels yet.’ She said: ‘Well, if you have a fireplace and stored wood you could manage easily.’ I said: ‘Ah, our new house is a new building and it has one of those purely decorative and useless gas fireplaces.’
We talked about ‘water.’ She said: ‘We put in place a decent/deep well.’ I said: ‘Ah, in our community they don’t allow digging wells.’ She said: ‘There are these canals where you can get to and collect and carry water back.’ I said: ‘It is 5 miles from us, and if no gasoline how do I get there?’ She said: ‘You can use your electric bike with an attached carriage.’ I said: ‘Huh, I’ll have to look into that- ain’t got one.’
We talked about ‘protection,’ ‘growing food,’ ‘having seeds,’ ‘alternative communication’ … you name it, and I failed it-every one! That bad, ey!
Anyhow, that evening, after I put my daughter in bed, I printed out a list of 50+ must items and preparations. I went through that list. Hey, I actually found 2 items I actually owned. Yay for me! Flashlights & a Swiss Army knife. But wait. I went to check on my two items, and … My daughter had been using the flashlights as toys-they’ve been in pieces for who knows how long. And, I couldn’t locate my Swiss Army knife. Was it still in one of my dozens of unpacked boxes? Possibly. Did I still have it? Who knows.
That list was printed, placed on a board above my PC, with a marker to check off items as we obtained them. I still have 43 items to go! No worries-I will. Hopefully in time;-)
Another important topic I later got into with several families here in Oregon had to do with the importance of establishing a community, call it a network within the vicinity. This way each person would bring a skill, or set of skills, into the community in the face of possible disaster(s)-situation(s). Doesn’t it make sense? Of course it does. So I went through my extensive list of qualifications. I went through it several times. Devastatingly I came empty-handed each time! Talk about realization of my utter uselessness! I don’t think I’ve ever felt this incompetent, or, useless, in my entire life. My husband tried to console me, he said: ‘Oh, you have many qualifications and skills.’ I said: ‘Oh yah, how will my linguistic skills help? How would speaking Farsi or Azerbaijani contribute in the face of those ‘situations’? Or my Masters degree in Public Policy? Or my psychology BS degree (not bachelor of science, the other BS I’m talking about!)?’
I continued: ‘I have never chopped or cut trees/wood. I don’t even know how to start a fire-except turning on the electric switch for the gas fireplace. I have never set up a tent. I panic when I can’t brush my teeth using a faucet and sink-in front of a mirror-fog free mirror!. ‘
He thought about my list of skills. Poor thing had to think about it again-very hard … to come up with the following:
‘You are a great cook!’
Almost in tears I snapped: ‘Aha, right. I am a gourmet cook. One of those who chops every item and puts them each in separate bowls. One with an extensive collection of exotic spices and herbs. The kind that takes several hours to create a meal … and panics when she is out of smoked paprika! Not one of those hardy practical ones who create things with almost nothing! Elite cooking doesn’t count!’
Of course my depressive self-realization’s depressing effects lasted only a few days. I comforted myself: Fine. I ain’t got any skills. Currently I am utterly useless when it comes to survival. But you know what- I’ll get it. I’ll learn. I may suck at it, but I shall try-try hard.
There went another list on top of my PC; next to the other list: Things to learn-skills to acquire. I have had about 15 items on that list. So far none has been checked. I still have 15. Hey, it’s been less than two weeks! Still, I have a long way to go to cure, overcome, even if partially, my uselessness and inadequacy when it comes to self-sufficiency.
With that, I truly would love to hear from you on this topic. Please feel free to add to my list(s). Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas. Or, feel free to consider me over-reacting or over-board. As long as you chip in with your takes and ideasJ