This past week has been a roller coaster of me learning to trust myself.
I have spent the past week taking care of dogs (and a cat), keeping a wood burner going non-stop (and starting it back up again one cold morning when it went out), and waking up at odd hours of the night because, heaven forbid, a squirrel came onto the property (thanks dogs..)!
But despite all of that, this week has also been a big step for me. It has been the longest I’ve been on my own without my brother, parents, or anyone else around. *Last winter I had spent two nights and three days all on my own at my grandmother’s house while she spent Christmas with my Aunt. Up until now, that had been the longest I had been on my own!*
I have always had my brother with me every time my parents would leave for a day or two, and I always took comfort in the fact that he was always around. (So much so that I threatened to take him with me when I move out!) But with the non-existent internet at the lake house, my brother declined the invitation to house sit with me.
So this was my big scary adventure.. Filled with loud barking dogs, many walks through the woods to the beach, and a big empty house all to myself. (Needless I say, I was slightly terrified!)
But like every great adventure story, mine ended with a great moral, and the feeling you get from any great story; the feeling that you can do anything!
It started out as a warm, sunny day (quite odd for Christmas Eve in Michigan). My parents had just left Virginia and were on their way up to Michigan to spend Christmas with the family. My bags were packed, but I had a lot I had to get done at my grandmothers before I could go over to ‘my new house for the week’ to check on the dogs.
I spent the morning making German Potato Salad, Melting Moment Cookies, and Rice Crispy Treats. Thankfully, my grandmother had left in the early afternoon to go to a Christmas Eve party, so I could make all of these goodies secretly and then surprise her with them on Christmas morning. While I baked, my brother was outside decorating the yard with Christmas stuff. (We hadn’t had time to help our grandmother put Christmas decorations out in the yard this year, so this was another last minute surprise we were doing for my grandmother.)
After all the baking (and the decorating), I loaded everything in the truck and my brother took me over to the house that I would be watching for the next week.
The dogs were excited to see me, and given the fact that I had taken care of the dogs before (many times now), I quickly got to work getting them their food and water for the night and checking to make sure the wood heater had enough wood in it for the night.
The next day was Christmas morning! I had planned to go over to my grandmothers house with my parents (who were just down the road at their house), but I found out that they had to stop over at my other grandparents house before coming over to grammas.. I quickly called my brother for a ride, and off to Grammas house we went. (He has kindly reminded me that I ‘really’ need to get my license..)
*My grandmother was ecstatic when she came home to Christmas decorations the night before. And when she thanked me over the phone Christmas morning, I had politely told her that it actually wasn’t me who had done it. She didn’t quite believe it wasn’t me at first, but eventually she thanked my brother and told him that he did a great job (he’s not one to really do that kind of stuff, but I secretly asked him to).*
Christmas morning was spent just hanging out with my brother and grandmother and opening my huge stocking from my grandmother. It was almost as tall as me! (That’s a lot of candy..!)
Eventually when my parents showed up later in the day and we decided to open gifts first, and then eat dinner. (My mother is famous for taking forever to open her gifts, so we thought that it would go faster if she wasn’t drowsy and full of delicious Christmas food..) The hard part was getting my mother and grandmother to stop chit-chatting in the kitchen long enough to tell them that it was time to open presents. (I think it took them about an hour before they actually made their way into the living room..)
Skipping over the many presents that we exchanged, Christmas dinner was excellent! I honestly couldn’t recall half of the food that was there because I was so tired from the night before (sleeping with a dog laying across my stomach) and full from all of the candy and food that Christmas provided. I do, however, recall some turkey and some REALLY good rolls, and some pretty good German Potato Salad! 😉
After Christmas dinner, we sat around for a bit, before finally all going our separate ways..
I realized with a pang of sadness that this was how it was going to be when I moved out.. My parents going home to their house at the end of the day, and my brother and I going home to our houses at the end of the day, and my grandmother there by herself. It actually made me sad to think about the fact that we would just be visitors in my grandmothers house one day. Not getting to stay up late comparing gifts with each other, or looking at each other’s gifts more closely, or seeing who was the last one to go to bed on Christmas night. That was all going to be gone someday. In fact, that was probably all going to be gone from now on..
But putting the sadness of the holidays aside, I went back to the dogs at the beach house (with enough candy to last a normal person a month) and went to sleep. Again, with a dog laying by my side.
The next few days after that were kind of a blur.. I fell into a routine pretty quickly. I woke up every time the dogs barked (to make sure that it wasn’t an intruder they were barking at). I fed the animals and swept the dog hair off the floor every morning. I made myself breakfast, lunch, dinner, and tea every day. I walked down to the beach almost every day (and sometimes a few times a day). And when it got dark at 5pm, I sat on the couch (with a dog curled up right beside me) and read a book.
Since my parents were here for a few days, I did go down there twice to help them work on that pole barn of theirs that has taken over a year for the stupid contractor to build (trust me, there will be a very heated post about that later..). It was hard work helping them there, and my poor muscles weren’t used to lifting heavy pieces of wood up those stairs (just heavy backpacks in and out of a truck). I went home feeling very sore, worn out, and tired those two days..
After my parents left, the weather turned nasty.. A storm blew through bringing wind, rain, and colder temperatures. Snow followed not long after that.
(Literally one day to the next.. ⇑)
Sadly, this whole ‘week without internet’ thing had its bugs. Because of the no internet at that house, I had found out (while I was at my grandmothers house one day doing laundry) that I had made a sale on my Etsy shop! And the package I was supposed to send, was a ‘little’ late. After apologizing to the person who had ordered something off my Esty, and thanking them for being patient while I quickly sent the package that very day, I felt absolutely mortified that I didn’t know I had a sale pending! I thought for sure that I had checked my shop before I had left on my little holiday, but it hadn’t shown that anyone had purchased anything! I’m wondering now if it was a glitch in the system, or my own stupidity that had caused this. Either way, I feel terrible that I had not caught the mistake sooner.
When the snow appeared, and the days grew colder, I had to focus my attention more on the wood burner. The first day/night it snowed, I hadn’t put enough wood in the furnace, and it went out! When I checked it at four in the morning (because I noticed that the house felt a little chilly), it was completely ash and a few embers. I had filled it up with wood, hoping that the embers would be enough to start it back up again, but when I woke a few hours later to the house being a chilling 59 degrees, my heart sank as I checked it and seen that the wood had not burned, and the embers were all gone.
I’ll be honest with you guys.. I’m great at starting campfires, but I didn’t think I could get this thing going again. Two inches of snow covered all the wood in the yard (kindlin and all), and I had to frantically go around the yard and do my best to find small kindlin that could get this fire going again. After wrestling the wood away from the dogs (who insisted that it was play time since I was ‘playing’ with sticks), I finally had enough kindlin to start a decent fire. I then ran around the house gathering up every piece of paper, cardboard, and dryer lint I could find from any and every trashcan, and took those out to use to start the fire with. When even that wouldn’t start the fire (I know right?!), luck was on my side and I found some homemade fire starters by the garage door (egg cartons filled with dryer lint and wax). Thankfully, those did the trick, and I was able to start the fire again! HAZAH!
I can’t tell you how accomplished I felt when I got the fire going again. Sure, it was a simple task to most, but to me, it was like I was reminding myself that I could truly do anything I set my mind too! And it was also reminding me that I could do things on my own.
With only a few days left of my ‘vacation’, I was excited to get home where I belonged.. I wanted to sleep in my own bed, I wanted to eat my own food, I wanted my loud crazy family, I WANTED INTERNET, and most of all, I wanted to not feel so isolated..
I don’t keep it a secret that I hate the idea of living alone. Everyone knows that I would rather live in a tiny house with lots of people, than a big house all alone. But this past week has only solidified that in my mind. Sure, my grandmothers house can be quite loud sometimes, and the house can feel very small with everyone right there in one section of the house, and we DO live in the middle of no where (which can feel isolating at times).. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah! But despite all of that, it’s my home. It’s warm, it’s safe, it’s full of life, and it’s full of people who I love. ❤
Only one thing delayed my visions of sleeping in my own bed again.. The people whom I was house sitting for called and informed me that they wouldn’t be home until late at night on the 3rd of January.. I was missing home terribly by then, and I was being told that I would have to stay ANOTHER two nights there?! Sigh.. There wasn’t anything I could do about it. So I sucked it up and settled in for another two nights of sleeping with a dog at my side, checking the wood burner throughout the day/night, walking down to the beach several times a day, and waking up every two hours to the dogs barking at any squirrels who had the nerve to come on this property..
Despite all of my troubles this past week, It’s good to be home.. ❤ I’ve missed this house, and my comfy bed, and my crazy cats. (Oh yeah, and my family too..)
Although I was without internet there, I did get a lot done mentally. I actually worked on a few projects without the internet (which was hard when I needed to look something up and couldn’t) and I’m happy to get to work on them some more now that the internet is back in my possession! Hurray!
If you’d like to see more breathtaking pictures of the lake, and hear more about my holiday at the lake house, click here!
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