May 3rd -- That’s so it. I’m done doing the salvaging thing. This is so nuts and it’s too hard. I think I’ll just figure stuff out on my own. I finished getting stuff out of the fourth house but it was depressing doing that. It makes me feel so bad. And seeing how alone that last lady was made me really take notice of how alone I am. I am NOT being a wimp. I can do the work, it’s not that. But I don’t know if all of that is worth it. I’m not finding the kind of food I need, mostly just junk although the soups were good. And trying to transport things uses up time and energy that I’m beginning to think I’d be better off spending on other things.
One of the things I remember Daddy always telling me when I complained of something being “too hard” was that I need to “work smarter, not harder.” When I was little he would have to explain what he meant to me, now I have to figure that out on my own. The further away from Sparkleberry Ranch I have to go the more work there is going to be to transport anything I find back. If I don’t find anything – especially if I don’t find food – then that work will be wasted. I think I would be better off spending that time and that work on going over Momma’s notes about when things are supposed to ripen around here and looking through Daddy’s books to find out how to do and make things that I need.
All of this would be easier if there was someone else here besides me. They wouldn’t have to be my friend if they didn’t want to, just someone to share the work with. I didn’t have a lot of friends in school but I had some; I even made some friends when we were all stuffed together in the warehouse even though some of them died and the rest changed and some even turned on me. I can live with that if it happens, I don’t like it but I can live with it. Part of me has always felt alone since the wreck but there were still people around. Doctors, nurses, hospital staff; counselors, therapists; Aunt Wilma, Uncle Charlie and the parade of other foster kids. Teachers, coaches, kids in the hallways at school. There were people walking, driving, playing, fighting … there were warm bodies taking up space all over the place. But here? Where did everybody go?!!
It’s like I stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone or maybe that old Vincent Price movie The Last Man on Earth (only without the vampires).
Fraidy is cool but she’s just a cat. She’ll listen to me when she is in the mood but she doesn’t talk back. I pray and stuff like you are supposed to but I’m still lonely; maybe I’m not doing it right. Even Adam had Eve and Noah had his family during times there weren’t too many people on Earth; you’d figure there has to be someone around here someplace that is as lonely as me. And this loneliness I feel is a different kind of lonely from what I felt after the wreck. Before, even when I drove people off or they didn’t want to hang around because my emotions were too big I could still turn on the radio, tv, or even pick up the phone and talk to whatever therapist I had that week if I wanted to (or needed to) but there is nothing here, no body to turn to, no voices but my own. Gah! That makes me sound like a drama queen or some kind of Goth Girl; I don’t know how to say it any better.
It has been since Williston since I talked to anyone and had them talk back. I saw the best of people and the worst. Here … it is like, I don’t know what, but it isn’t like I imagined it would be. I never thought I needed people, not really. I always said I wasn’t a “people person.” Sometimes being around people was OK but I never thought about needing them. I’ve tried really hard not to need people since my family died; it didn’t seem loyal somehow. But now … now I’m feeling like that again. Like I need someone or I’m going to turn into that crazy lady with the house full of junk that never gets used. I don’t want to be that person.
I spent most of today hauling everything that might be useful back to my place. It is all sitting in the barn waiting to be inventoried but just the thought of all that is depressing. It’s an awful mess in the barn which is making me itch to do something about it but I have to clean everything before I bring it into the house and put it away. I’ve always had a lot of chores and for my work experience credits at school I worked at the “Good Eats” restaurant but I’ve never worked this hard in my entire life; as soon as I wake up to when I go to sleep. I don’t exactly see that changing anytime soon either. Gather wood, pump water, cook, clean, haul stuff back home, inventorying, take care of Fraidy, yada, yada, yada. And I need to start reading more of Momma’s notes and looking at some of Daddy’s books but I don’t have the time for it.
Time is another reason I don’t want to look through any more houses. I think anything else would be too far away and I could only carry so much and have to walk a long time. Maybe when I am more settled I can take my bike and ride places but the bike doesn’t go as fast on dirt roads as it does on black top. There were two houses on the other side of the fourth house. I walked over to them both but it was a waste of time. They were even more picked over than the four houses that I’ve already looked through.
And while I was out walking between those houses I saw that mean dog again or it was one that looked just like it. It barked at me but didn’t charge me. I thought I was going to have to climb a tree there for a second but it stayed a long way off. I’m carrying a baseball bat now whenever I leave the house. I don’t want that dog chewing on me. I’ve been dog bit before and it hurts! The dog that bit me was only playing, can’t imagine how much it would hurt if a dog bit me when it wasn’t just playing. That’s another reason why I don’t want to go so far from home much anymore.
One of the things I’m going to try and see if it helps me with my work load is to go to sleep when it gets dark and wake up when it gets to be day time. The waking up part isn’t hard; Fraidy is a pretty good alarm clock even if she doesn’t have a snooze button. The going to bed though is going to be harder. I’m used to staying up as late as I want, even on school nights, so long as I was studying and not disturbing whoever my roommate was. It is going to be hard making myself go to bed early like I’m a little kid but I remember Momma saying that a schedule was important. A schedule also helps you get your work done by dividing it up into manageable chunks so that you don’t get overwhelmed or start running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Less frustration sounds good to me.
From here on out – well, at least for a little while – I’m going to focus on making my place better. There may not be anyone to help me but I can help myself by making a plan and getting organized. I started by making a list of all the things that I think I want or need to do and trying to put them in some kind of order of importance. There are some things I have to do every day but they shouldn’t take up all my time. Then there are things I should be doing; I’ll spread some of those things throughout the day. Lastly are things that I want to do but they aren’t needs; I’ll try and do one of those or part of one of those every day.
Tonight I was too tired to do much more than look at Momma’s notes. It is really cool, she has this calendar and she wrote in there the times when she first started seeing fruit get ripe and when she started to see enough fruit get ripe to really call it harvest time. And on each page of the calendar is a list of gardening chores that needs to be done that particular month. In her gardening journal … the one that she used to keep for our veggie garden and flowers at our regular house … she used to go on and on about the Farmer’s Almanac. I wonder if one was published for this year and where I could find one. I bet if I could get over to the library they would have one there but I can’t remember exactly where the library is around here, only that it was a ways by car.
While I was looking at Momma’s notes I saw that I only have about two weeks before the blueberries should be ripe. It’s not like all of the blueberries get ripe on the same day; I’ll have to pick blueberries every day and what I don’t eat fresh I need to figure out how to preserve them. I’ve set aside two hours tomorrow to look at Momma’s books for ways to do that. I would have started on that tonight but I wanted to get some of my other notes in order. I think if I take this on like a really big school project I’ll be able to wrap my head around it better. Just instead of a grade I’ll have a better life … hopefully.
My big chore tomorrow is that I’m going to wash clothes. If anyone sees me doing this they are going to think I’ve gone crazy but since I’m going to try it first in the bathtub I don’t have to worry about being embarrassed by an unexpected visitor.
First I’m going to put one of those extra shower curtains on the floor so that if I make a mess it will be easier to clean up. Next I’m going to get a load of like clothes together and I’m going to start with whites cause I need to wash my under things out. I’ll put a couple of layers in the bottom of the bathtub. I’ll pour bucket after bucket of water into the tub (with the drain closed) until the clothes are covered by at least a couple of inches of water. I’ll put in a little soap and next will come the silly part. I’m going to stomp on the clothes like people used to squish grapes for making wine. Stomp, stomp, stomp. I thought about using a spoon or a stick but it is just easier to stomp them down with my feet. Then I’ll let them soak for a bit and then stomp them a little more.
Then I’ll open the drain and let the water out. And stomp on the clothes to get as much water out of them as I can. I’ll close the drain and then pour rinse water over them and stomp them some more to get all of the suds out. Then I’ll drain and stomp them again. Once as much water has drained out of them as I can get I’ll pick up one piece at a time and wring it out by hand. From there I’ll hang them out on the clothes line that Uncle Charlie strung up a couple of years ago for Aunt Wilma to use. If I make too big of a mess I’ll have to move things outside but it sure would be easier on me if “the stomp” washer works.
Tomorrow I also need to make myself keep going on the inventory of stuff I have stacked in the barn so that I can wash it, bring it inside, and find a place to put it away. Once I get my inventory done I will see what I have and what I really need vs. what I really want. I hate to keep harping on need vs. want like I’m some old granny but since I don’t have an old granny around to tell me these things I need to tell them to myself. Somehow it is even worse to lecture myself because there is no way to walk away when I’m talking to myself. Too weird.
I also found a way to clean the rugs. I was trying to sweep all the dirt and stuff off and it just wasn’t working. Everyone time I turned the rug over to do the other side I would just turn it over into the dirt I had just swept off. I got mad and slammed the broom down on the rug and the dirt and dust puffed up and I could see it in a sun beam. That’s when I remembered. To clean rugs when you don’t have a vacuum you beat them. I threw the rugs over the clothes line and started hitting them with the broom. Dust and sand flew everywhere. The rugs are clean but my arms are sore and tired.
I carried the rugs upstairs and it already looks nicer up there. And I also took a couple of the mattresses off of the bunk beds in one of the bedrooms and put them up there. What a pain that was but it is worth it. With the mattresses moved to the dormer room I can dismantle one of the eight bunk beds and move the pieces out to the barn or shed. I can use the wood for something else later on down the road. I’ll take two more mattresses up there tomorrow; I’ll stack the mattresses two on bottom and two on top, add an egg crate I found at the lonely lady’s house and then use king-size sheets to cover everything with. That will give me a nice big bed to roll around in up there if I want to. A storage cube will be the “night stands” and will hold my upstairs food stash.
The other thing I want to do is empty one box – just one box – of my family’s stuff from the bonus rooms. There should be more of mom and dad’s stuff in those boxes and I know the picture albums have to be in there too. I’ll start with just one box at a time rather than trying to do it all at once. Besides, I have to find places for everything I unbox and I still haven’t figured out where to put everything.
And I also promised myself that I would spend twenty or thirty minutes looking for those hidden things that I know are in the house. I can picture Daddy’s face while he was telling me about them but I can’t quite remember what he said. I hate what that coma did to me. Where ever that stuff is I hope there is not some secret key or code I’m supposed to remember to get unlock the hiding place. That would be awful!
But right now I’m putting myself to bed. The sun is almost finished going down and I have to make sure that I have everything put away and locked down for the night before I have to use a flashlight to find my way. I didn't hear any more gunfire today. I would say I imagined it but I know that I didn't.