It’s another 5-degree-day.
My generator won’t start. I have no backup generator, a situation we will soon remedy. It is late afternoon, and before I know it, early evening, in what has been a cloudy day. A cloudy day (or a snowy one) means the batteries are low before I even try to start the generator, and it will be later still before I am certain I have a problem.
I have a problem.
This particular problem I find is beyond my capabilities—not just rewiring a plug or bypassing a bad battery or equalizing the whole pack, not resetting the inverter or flipping the switch to the back up one, and the expletives that spew out of my mouth at that point would wake the bears from hibernation. My husband is, of course, downstate. We call D & D Home center in Newberry 30 miles away and ask if there is anyone who could possibly help out—put in what my husband surmised necessary from his downstate location: a new battery.
There is a young man standing at the register in the D & D Home Center and he volunteers to come out. It’s a good 45 minute drive on winter roads, but he arrives within the hour, and I watch him taking the thing apart in that frigid weather, fearing that at any moment he will come in and tell me it is no use, I am on my own. But instead he advises me that he has to take the whole thing apart to get that “damn” battery in.
I put him in his late twenties maybe, wiry and capable-looking, someone who appears has grown up in the boondocks and has “skills.” So I keep my fingers crossed. I offer coffee, of course, and he says he is hungry (I find out later he is diabetic and his sugar plunges at times) and though my cupboard is nearly bare that night, I make him a fried egg roll-up with uncured bacon and tomato—along with a quick garlic/mustard Aioli sauce. I am not sure if he’ll like this fare—I mostly eat carnivore (at times Ketogenic) but keep a few organic tortillas around for times like this—the key to a properly cooked egg for the roll-up is plenty of healthy oil, cooked slowly, flipped once, soft, never cooked hard, enough “runny” to it to mix with the seasoning and yet not run all over your chin—some green onions or avocado or both, cucumber maybe.
The challenge on my 35 acres off the grid is not just to eat but to eat well.
He finishes the roll up and heads back out. I am watching the moon, waxing about 90% out the south window and thinking as I often do of my mother gone many years and what she’d think of my life now—she was drawn to life at its most basic. “I think we both lived another life,” she told me once. “Simple, with horses in it.” Reincarnation? She thought so—or is just some atavistic memory? Past, present, future all the same.
Maybe she’s right.
The moon glints through the red pines and out over the snow drifts, over the young man’s head as he furtively huddles behind the “power hut,” the hunching and looming shadows making him look like one of the weird witch sisters in MacBeth. Behind him the snow swirls. The only light comes from the moon peeking out between clouds and the flashlight he is using to see his work.
Land like this asks nothing of anyone, is indifferent to anyone crazy enough to live here and this is one more reminder of the fact. It’s not the brutality that gets to you, that would feel personal—it’s the indifference.
I’m working today. I’ll post some other excerpts as time goes on.
One of the bloggers I follow–an extraordinary poet–reminded me that I better get on with things, get my memoir/cookbook self published and get on to my fantasy/literary novel. Who knows how much time I have, eh?
I’ve also exercised today, ten minutes of HIIT on my exercise bike. I’m out of shape and have been cheating on my diet. I’ve allowed myself a week to slide back into perfection on that diet as I map out a schedule for the “new normal.”
But I make progress.
The stocking up is done for a few weeks and it’s just about collecting mail once or twice a week from the post office box (done with gloves and masks).
But it’s got to be life goes on. I think our President is going to have to arrive at the fact that the economy for young people will have to plow on–and we’ll have to isolate those of us at risk. Yes, it’s riskier for my son and my dad, but I can’t see any alternative. So this is going to be life for us for over a year–masks and gloves and a hermit lifestyle. It could possibly be that way forever if the therapeutics don’t improve on this virus because vaccines on the flu are only about 40% effective. Right? So get acclimated if you are older and/or in poor health.
I have Swiss steak going for those guys and will stick mostly to the meat, maybe have some oysters, but then again, I’m not going to be perfect this week as I get emotionally erect once again…
Tomorrow, a picture and comments on my other cheat meal: a French cassoulet that turned out more than lovely.
Happy Monday. We’ll be ok, folks.