Wednesday, November 30, 2005
To begin the journey over the river and through the woods, Thursday morning we woke up to a mini snow storm. It had snowed 4-5 inches and the wind was pretty gusty. Our driveway is on a hill. We have to go UP to get out. We almost didn't make it. We had to open the garage, back all the way into and get a running start. We still barely made it out. The roads were bad and we didn't eat before we left (duh) to save time. We figured we'd get something on the way. NOTHING is open on Thanksgiving. Well, except Dunkin' Donuts...like we need that!? The rest of the trip went smoothly. The kids were great. I don't think either of them cried during the whole trip. So, we get to the property. The driveway actually has a name, so I guess it is technically a road but because the county doesn't take care of it maybe it is still a driveway. It is called Blackberry Lane. In the summer there are blackberries everywhere. There is one very big hill in the driveway. Like I said the drive is a work in progress. Our van almost didn't make it up the hill. Two driveways in one day that we struggled to get our van up. Does this happen to normal people? We finally got there and had a great time. The food was delicious. We used fancy plates and drank wine. Indulgence. We cleaned up the dishes and when things were almost done, the water line froze. WHAT? Yes, the water line froze. You see...the water they have is from a temporary source. Hopefully someday soon they will have city water. They dug and layed the pipe but now they have some legal stuff to sort out before they get permission to finish it up. So, for now, they have a huge tank up the hill and the actual pipe is laying out on the ground. It had been warm enough, up until then, that they didn't have to worry about it. But it was cold on Thanksgiving. So it froze. Here we go...The Miller Way. ARGGGGG. Imagine life without water. We did have water to drink and brush our teeth with. I did wash my hands and face. But other than that...no water. Paul assured me it would come back on when the sun came up. A few days earlier he had referred to this freezing and thawing process as "kinda neat". That is when I preceeded to call him "Amsih". He loves roughing it. I, however, do not. I used to think I was adventurous until I met the Millers. Well, the next morning came and no water. The afternoon passed by and still no water. Let me take a moment to talk about going to the bathroom with no water. You can't flush. We had to pee and not flush. I know that is what people do to conserve water but I am sensitive to smells and gag just thinking about it. There was a little water, in jugs, that could be used to flush if absolutely necessary. I have to get a little personal here. I HATE pooping anywhere other than my own bathroom. In fact when I move I have a little difficulty adjusting. I don't poop at Walmart. I don't poop at McDonald's or at work. I can't. While in college and living in the dorms I would use the guest bathroom because it was always private. I am often constipated while on vacation. I especially did not want to poop in a mobile home with 12 others around. I really didn't want to poop and then have to ask someone for water to flush it down. So, I just held it. I was getting pretty grumpy. Jake, Paul & Tim were outside trying to bury the water line until they broke the ditch witch they rented from Home Depot. They are always breaking the heavy equipment. I think they just like working on the stuff. So I tied on my hiking boots and I was off to tell Jake he had to take me into town so I could go poop ANYWHERE besides where I was. I was even considering a hole and a bucket. I did see Tim walking outside with a roll of toilet paper. But the Millers are backpackers. They are used to pooping in holes in the woods. I am not. When I get outside (to talk to Jake), I see Tim and Paul sitting on the ground with the water line. Tim had a blow dryer and Paul had a torch. They were trying to thaw the water line. It took a while but they finally got things flowing. And yes I went to the bathroom. I know you were wondering. They were too, and everyone kept asking, "Did you go yet?" I have lost all dignity. I was happy to take a shower and feel clean. All the dishes got washed and they started the laundry. I am not sure what happened, but the washer died. It wasn't draining water. They had to switch it with another washer. I don't think it worked either. We ended the night by all piling into the living room and watched "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" while listening to Paul snore. It (the snoring part) is kind of a Miller tradition.
The next day we went on a hike around the property. I had Elise in a sling and you can't believe what they had me hiking up. It was crazy. It felt good though. It was nice to be outside. I don't go outside enough. We usually hike at least once while we are down there. It does give me the itch to join the family in West Virginia. It is really beautiful. I think we will wait until they get all the kinks worked out. Ha.
Some people have asked me a few questions about my series. I wanted to try to answer them. First of all, I did initiate the idea of us all living on the same property but I can't take credit for what has transpired. I think Paul and Linda had toyed with a similar idea before. I just brought up the notion. Paul really ran with the idea. We go along with him. Jake and I aren't in West Virginia yet for a few reasons. We didn't have much luck in the job search, not that we weren't trying, Jake actually found Tim's job for him. Maybe we were afraid to make such a huge change. I don't know...maybe someday. Also...I know 3 almost 4 kids aren't really A LOT of kids but it sounded funny to say it that way. I don't think there is anything wrong with many children. I want to have a few more myself. And lastly, I want to Thank the Millers for being good sports about my blog. I love you guys very much and I don't consider myself an outsider at all. I wouldn't trade you or the free entertainment for anything. By the way, we'll see you for an Amish Christmas (Jan. 7th).
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Everyone agreed we wanted to go South. We had two guidelines to meet. 1. To be closer to Tennessee and my parents. 2. Keep Eric within the same distance of his kids that live south of Columbus. We were talking about Kentucky. Well, when we started looking Paul found land was much cheaper in West Virginia. Paul and Linda went back to North Carolina the next day. They stopped and looked at a property on the way home. The next trip up they looked at another. That is were they live today. Paul took the idea and ran with it. That is what we love about him. He is a mover. By July, 100 acres of West Virginia hills belonged to the Millers. We went out and hiked the land several times. After a trip or two we were camping on it. There were no existing buildings on the land. There never had been. There was a logging road into the property but it wasn't a good road. They neighbors let us use a road from their property to get to a more place we could drive in. I remember the first time Paul took out the chain saw and started cutting logs that were laying across the lane, so we could drive back. I had never seen him like that...truely in his glory. It still wasn't a good road by any standards. During one of the first camping trips we decided to get up on Sunday morning and go to church. There wasn't running water. To go to the bathroom we had to sit on this bucket covering a hole in the gound. The rule was, if you went poop you had to cover the hole with some dirt. When the hole is filled up you dig a new hole for the 5 gallon bucket (with the bottom cut out) to sit over. Our "bathroom" was just over the hill...out in the open but away from camp. We didn't have a shower so Paul hung a tarp up by the canopy where we ate, etc... That morning while Linda cooked breakfast we took turns going behind the tarp and sponge bathed. No one could see you but I will admit, it was weird to be naked and cleaning my body while I talked to the others. It is awful to be that so exposed but there is probably some life lesson in trust/ honesty in a situation like that. Either way we piled into 2 vehicles and off we went to church. I can't recall for sure but I think it was Tim & Steph's van and Paul & Linda's brown van (the nicer of their two vans). I was in the 2nd van. So as we are driving the van bottoms out (we had A LOT of people crammed in the van) and the road was rough. It broke the brake line. That same trip the blue van had a tire popped down the lane. It is always something with the Millers. We did make it to church. I think we all pooped while we were there. It was nice to have a real bathroom with seats and running water. That church will probably shut the doors if they see us coming again.
Since the beginning things have progressed nicely. Paul and Linda moved to West Virginia last spring. They bought a mobile home that was just moved to the land last week. Tim and Steph moved in August. They live in a double wide mobile home (it's nicer than where we live now). Tim got a job that suits him well. The kids are happy to play outside (most of the time). Eric lives there part of the time. After his 3 week long bad marriage, he moved in with Paul and Linda to "get away". He still works in Akron but looking for something closer. The land has a driveway (almost a mile long...a work in progress - trust me) and electricity (a lot of trees and one crushed chain saw later). Linda tried to burn the forest down once (we have a few black trees to proove it). They do have running water (we will talk about that tommorow). Paul has some very big toys; an excavator, tractor, bull dozer & dump truck. He bought most or all of them on e-bay. Linda works for the power company and Paul digs holes.
Tommorow I am going to tell you about our Thanksgiving with the Millers. It's gonna be a good one. See you then!
Monday, November 28, 2005
Today I am going to give you a little "background" on the Millers, hence....Setting the Stage. Let me introduce you.
Paul and Linda are the parents. Paul says he doesn't read my blog because I never talk about him. You can thank him for this series. He is the Miller Leader. Paul was born Amish. He says he decided he would leave the Amish way of life while in the fourth grade. He has lots of great stories about being Amish. Sometimes he even speaks Pennsylvania Dutch...just a word or two here or there. When he was 16 he ran away from home and lived with a family in Akron. He did keep in touch with his family and I think he even sent them money but either way...he made his break. Now is time for a little "amish" lesson. When you are Amish, you don't join the church until you are an adult (I am pretty sure that is when you are 21). If you choose not to join the church and leave the Amish, you can still talk to your family. If you join the church and then later decide this just isn't for you....well, then you are excommunicated. You will be shunned by your family and friends. At least that is the way it is supposed to be. I have learned there are good Amish, just like good Christians. Not all Amish follow all the rules. Either way, because Paul had not joined the church he was not shunned. He still talks to some of his family. Paul likes to give me a hard time. He is always saying things just to annoy me. I think he likes the attention (ha ha). We often banter back and forth. Linda was never Amish herself, but her parents were Amish and left. Linda is a special person...afterall, she has put up with Paul's ways all these years. Linda and Paul owned a insurance agency for many years but sold the buisness to work with troubled teens. They have been youth leaders and houseparents. They even started thier own non profit buisness called Adventure Plus. It is an outdoor program for teens. One teen they met by doing this line of work, is Tim (a.k.a. Applehead). I don't think he was actually troubled. I think he was in the youth group or something. Either way, Tim married Stephanie (Paul & Linda's daughter). The way I figure it, Tim spent enough of his formative years with the Millers that it is just part of him now. He is a true Miller. Tim & Stephanie have a lot of kids - Kellen, Lydia, Nolan & baby on the way. Stephanie home schools Kellen, uses cloth diapers on her babies and went backpacking in Alaska when she was 4 months pregnant with Lydia. Eric is another son of the Millers. He has very bad luck with women. He has 2 kids, Miles and Ashley. Eric is deaf. Jake is my husband. He is the youngest of the Miller children.
So here are some fun facts about the Millers. Especially, Paul Miller. He has to do everything himself for a couple of reasons. 1. To save a buck 2. Independence/ Self sufficeincy. The Millers drive vehicles until they just stop going...then they drive them some more. Paul Miller, just recently, drove a van to Ohio that no longer goes in reverse. The Millers love the outdoors. I am not talking about sitting on your back porch chatting with friends. I am talking about rooting around in caves and pooping on holes in the ground. When talking to the Millers, all conversations, if talked long enough, lead to one of three topics - Sex, Poop or Shelter Care. The Millers don't care if they have heat, water or TV... but they have to have cell phones and the internet. And last but not least - They all live in West Virginia (except for us). Stay tuned and tommorow I will tell you how they ended up there.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
- My husband.
- Jude and Elise.
- My other family members.
- My friends.
Okay...so you expected me to say those things. Here are some things you may be suprised to hear me say.
- My Name is Earl (I LOVE that show! Funny and pretty deep all wrapped in one!)
- Tom's of Maine toothpaste
- Insomnia (so I can have the time to do things like type in my blog)
- Willie Nelson
- My Job (although I would rather be home...at least it is meaningful & entertaining)
- The movie "Love Actually" - I watched it tonight for about the tenth time.
- Other people's blogs.
- People who challenge me to be a better person (although I'm usually not that thankful while they are actually challenging me!)
- Baby Carrots
- Skinny White Mocha from Arabica's
- Cookie Exchange's
- My Pink Fuzzy slippers
- The Snow...it makes everything look pretty
- The United States
- For the old letters I saved
- For the old letters I threw out a long time ago.
- I am THANKFUL (and probably a little lucky) I am alive.
- I am very thankful God didn't answer all my prayers (I would have married the wrong person, had the wrong job, lived in all the wrong places and would have had a lot of regrets).
- Frosted Mini Wheats
- One True Fit Jeans
- My cat, Molly
I am thankful for more stuff but I may be getting tired. Maybe you guys could post a few things you are thankful for...
Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
With all that said...since I listen to the station pretty much all day long, I recognize the regular callers. Yes, I know I am a big dork. Either way...some pretty weird people call WNIR. I never called for fear of being one of the weirdos. The morning show always has contests and great prizes but I don't dare call. They do have an emailer of the day prize. Yesterday I was listening and thought...I know I can win. So I sent Stan an email. I told Jake I was going to be on the radio. He didn't believe me. But, as soon as the commercial was over, Stan says "I just recieved a very funny email from Delilah". Of course the rest of the gang all repeated my name and then one of them sang that delilah song from that radio lady. (Like I have never heard that before ha ha). Either way...I won. I crossed over. I am one of them.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
We had a McDonald's birthday party. It was okay. I am not much for loud, crowed places with lots of kids running around. But it was for Jude not me. I had prepped Jude for the event. I told him his friends would be there and he'd have a cake and candles to blow out. I told him people would bring gifts and he needed to be polite and thank them. Well, apparently he already has that ailment lovingly called "selective hearing" and all he heard was Gifts... When the Loomans came in Jude looked at his friend Jacob and said, "Where is my gift?". So it begins...
When I was pregnant and while Jude was a baby I had big IDEAS about parenting do's and don'ts. I promised my kids would not ever eat hot dogs, french fries, candy or the dreaded Chicken Nuggets. They aren't healthy. They are awful. I also said my baby would not sleep in my bed and I would NEVER think of using formula. I planned to make all my own baby food and used cloth diapers. I did most of these things and wish I did more of them for Elise. But I did say one thing that has really back fired in my face...I said NO CHARACTERS! Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sesame Street, etc.. I wanted Jude to play with educational toys and wood blocks. Well, I realized early on it is a losing battle for a few reasons...1. Have you ever tried to buy kids clothing? It is crazy. Characters everywhere. 2. You can't control what other people buy for your kids. If you try to you will be labeled as a control freak. Hmmmmmm. So, it began when Jude was around 9 months old. He fell in love with Elmo. It was a mini obsession. It then moved to Cookie Monster. At least he was learning his ABC's, right? Last Christmas he watched to Wiggles Christmas special and he was hooked. He wakes up asking to watch the Wiggles (didn't I say no TV?) and goes to bed begging for the Wiggles CD! When Jude learned his colors he didn't call them by their name...he called them the name of the Wiggle that wears that particular color (i.e. Purple Jeff, Murray Red). But it didn't end there. He loves ALL characters. Sponge Bob, Batman, Spiderman, Dora, Higgley Town Heroes, Pooh, Elmo, Big Bird, Nemo, the list goes on and on. He hasn't even watched some of these shows before! Yet, he knows who they are. His latest obsession is Toy Story. He loves Woody, Buzz and the gang. I mean he really loves these guys. He watches the movie and has the toys. He acts out the movie with his toys. He dressed like Woody for Halloween and he asked for Woody for his birthday. He takes Woody to the grocery store and sleeps with him in his bed. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? It just did. I could make it stop but that would be so mean. I don't think there is any harm in it. I wanted him to be a little hippie that shunned all the comercial stuff but...that was before I actually had kids. HA.
Have a good day.
Friday, November 11, 2005
I read a book this week called Crank. I couldn't put it down (sorta ironic isn't it?). It was written by a mother of a young woman with a drug addition. It is so scary. Working with teens and watching the news I hear about this drug all the time. Do you know about it? Do you know anyone it has touched? It is so frightening. For those of you that don't know exactly what it is...I will explain. Crystal Meth is a type of speed. You could even call it super speed. It comes in a few different forms. It can be snorted, smoked or injected. I guess each way gives you a different type of high (and low). It can be made at home with fairly common household items. I have heard people use all sorts of things including rat poison, laundry detergent, drano or other poisonous substances. Everyone has their own recipe. The dealers who make is are called Chemists in the drug world. It is very tempting for teens because it is everywhere...in every school, in every community, rich or poor, black or white, rural or urban...it's there. Don't be naive, it is in your back yard as well. I haven't tried Crystal Meth. It wasn't really part of the "scene" when I was wild and crazy. I am thankful for that. But I do know it has effected so many people I know. From what I have read Crank gives you an amazing feeling of euphoria...well, at least the first time. You never really reach that again. A lot of teens do it to get the speed effect. It also increases sexual appetite. So you get a teen who is tweaked out on crank and chances are they are also sexually active. Very sexually active. Either way it is extremely addictive. People lose everything they have because of Meth. Others just lose their minds. Some lose thier lives. It is really awful.
If you are interested in reading the book it is called "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Doctors...Or should I say DOCTOR! I have not been feeling well, so I went to the doctor for a few tests. I have some 3 weeks ago. I suppose because they came back okay the doctor decided I was making my symptoms up. No one from his office even called to tell me they were normal. Or to schedule a follow up appointment to figure out what my problem is. So...this week I go and tell him I want more tests and want a few answers. He told me he would personally call me with the results. Do you think he did? No. I called today and he wasn't even in. I called and made an appointment with a new doctor for Monday. Adios Dr. Kedia. I have had enough. I understand I am not the only patient in the world but I want someone who will get to the bottom of my ailment.
Christmas Gifts...I vowed that I was going to have a more frugal, thus meaningful, Christmas this year. I plan to make all (or most) of my Christmas gifts. Afterall, I am a self proclaimed artist of sorts, so why shouldn't I create for those I love? Because it takes sooooo much time. And I can't find the pedal to my basically brand new sewing machine!!!!!! I hate moving. It is here somewhere...who knows when I will find it.
I am going to try to post a letter or two today.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
1. What was your favorite moment as a teen?
2. If you won 225 millions dollars what would you buy first?
3. What is your favorite book?
I'll give you my answers later.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
So after working all day I went to Wooster to do a Discovery Toys party. It was really nice. But I have HORRIBLE night vision. I was driving for an hour on these very dark country roads. I am suprised I made it there. I know Jake was worried for my safety. I called him, lost and frustrated. Either way I made it there and home in one piece. And I must admit it really stunk driving back to the city after being out in the open country air. There wasn't traffic and it was quiet. Just when I think I am content where I am...I see "the other side". So, before I left I stood outside in the dark and talked to LeAnn for a few minutes. We haven't seen each other for a long time and lots of catching up to do. I was standing there admiring the stars (the are amazingly bright in Wooster). Just then...I saw a shooting star. Have you even seen one? I remember the first time I ever had the pleasure. I was driving down a country road in Vermilion. I was 19 years old. I looked up and there it was...I made a wish. I wasted my first shooting star wish on a boy. Ahhhh youth. Anyway, last night I didn't make a wish. But later, as I was driving home I saw 3 (YES THREE) more shooting stars. That is 4 in one night! I actually saw two at the same time. Isn't that so cool? I told Jake I think it meant something serious was going to happen. Like God was trying to tell me something. Jake said to wish for money. Then we started talking about the lottery and how it is up to 225 million. The next thing I knew I was back in Akron with the traffic, bright lights and noise. I could barely see the stars...not that I stopped to look for them. Isn't that something?