You don’t have to be a feng shui practitioner to know that this house has bad energy. Its awkward layout, faulty electric wiring, tenuous plumbing, and overall air of neglect make a not very auspicious combination. Sometimes the house reminds me of certain examples of Russian civil engineering I have seen, wherein the aim seems to have been to put things together in the most inconvenient manner possible.
And we are still living here.
I will not harrow up my soul by detailing the trouble we have had with a surly subcontractor, another source of bad energy, whose poor work habits and lousy attitude have occasioned anxiety, loss of sleep, and bad dreams, in addition to postponing our move into the new house by several weeks and costing us another month’s rent. Such troubles grow when you dwell on them, and this trouble is already big enough. I will say that this particular subcontractor is the exception rather than the rule. Everyone else we have worked with has been competent, prompt, and pleasant. For that we are grateful.
So here we are in the rent house. Cold weather has begun but is by no means here to stay; we have brought our winter things out of storage without putting away our summer things. Limited closet space makes it necessary for us to live out of boxes. The extremely hard well water has taken a toll on some of our clothing and cookware. Hunting season is fast approaching, and hunters come and go regularly on the land, readying their blinds and so forth. I am no longer allowed to walk our well-behaved dogs on leashes, lest they frighten the deer; so the dogs, too, are confined.
I find that I am postponing a lot of things until after we move, when they can be done more thoroughly or conveniently. Several times a day, I think about the water softener we will have in the new house, the washing machine with hot-water hook-up, the big kitchen with full-size range, the space. I want to be on the land, able to really dig into all the work that needs to be done. We really don’t have enough work to do out here. We have shelled all of last year’s pecans and processed all of this year’s pears. Because of space limitations, I have not attempted to begin the school year in earnest.
Maybe our work right now is just to remain cheerful, and discharge faithfully the few duties that do present themselves. I am thankful to have a roof over our heads, such as it is. I’ve enjoyed being with the kids, who have remained pleasant and cooperative through our less-than-ideal living situation, and have been grateful for treats such as trips to the library and visits to Nana and Grandpa’s house for Monday Night Football. We are partway through a read-aloud of Pride and Prejudice; we all know the ending, but Jane Austen doesn’t wear out.
Greg is working at H-E-B today. The kids and I will give the house a thorough cleaning, and then I really must make some fine-grind salt for baking. I buy Celtic sea salt, which is far superior nutritionally to store-bought table salt, but also pretty expensive, especially the finely ground kind. To keep costs down, I ordered a twenty-two-pound bag of coarse crystals from Radiant Life and do the fine grinding myself. The way that seems to work best for me is to take two cups of coarse salt and run half a cup at a time through my food processor. The resulting fine salt is very moist, so I spread it out on my stainless-steel baking sheet and dehydrate it in the oven on a low setting until it feels right. For sourdough bread and for any recipe involving boiling liquids, I just use the coarse salt.
I have bought a new slow cooker. I hope it lasts longer than my last one. Greg says perhaps the manufacturers don’t expect people to use them as much as I use mine. He may be right. Everything is made to be so disposable nowadays; it makes me mad. Maybe some enterprising Amish family—the kind that uses electricity—will step up and make a more durable slow cooker that costs three hundred dollars and lasts sixty years or so.
Note: Flameface, one of the kittens profiled in an earlier post, has shocked us all by turning out to be a girl. It is always disorienting when an animal turns out to be a different gender than you thought, but I think we are all over it now.