We’ve been here five weeks and there are some things that are beginning to bug me. I knew there would be trials that would come up from such a drastic lifestyle change; but I wasn’t prepared to go through such a massive amount of culture shock.
1) Internet sucks here. Really. We get 10G a month. That’s it. For downloading, uploading, watching movies, and anything else we regularly do online. That’s it. We don’t have cable, so we usually watch Netflix streaming to catch up on our favorite shows and watch movies. We can watch about 1.5 movies a week and hit our data cap.
2) There is no trash pick up. Well, scratch that – there is trash pick up. It costs $8 a week and they will pick up to 8 bags of trash. That’s $1 for each bag of trash. Crazy, right? Luckily, DH can throw our trash in the dumpsters at his work. It is forcing me to pay attention to how much trash we accumulate.
3) Mice. Mice are a problem I (wrongly) assumed was due to poor household management. I learned my lesson when I woke up to a mice infestation (i.e. two mice) a few days ago. They are fast little buggers. I don’t run around screaming whenever I see one, but I do try to avoid whatever room I know one is in. We have some traps set up, so I hope they work. I’ve also heard of a few deterrents I can try (peppermint oil and dryer sheets), so I’m going to try that as soon as I get to the store.
4) Snakes. I guess the mice would be more of an issue without them, but the snakes we have here are poisonous and nasty. Someone ran over a copperhead a few feet from our property line last weekend. We keep the grass mowed around the house and barn; but we need to make sure we are always vigilant when we are outside.
5)Stray dogs. There is a pack of three stray dogs that roam the neighborhood (our surrounding streets . They haven’t shown any aggression towards us; but, one of them was in our barn pesting my rabbits today. Grrrr. The city will not do anything about it – all they say is that if there are animals or people on my property without my permission that are threatening to me or to my livestock, I can shoot legally shoot them. Crazy, eh? It’s a completely different way of thinking.
6) Lack of city services. We have really slow internet with a data cap. I have more books on my personal bookshelves than the library has available for me to check out. The local police does not police my area, we have to call the county sheriff for any issues. The fire department is all volunteer and it would take them 30 minutes to get here. No one picks up dead animals out of the street (except the vultures). The closest hospital is 20 minutes away. My oldest twin cut himself with a pocket knife and needed stitches at the end of August. Luckily, I had a great first aid kit available and I was able to temporarily doctor him up until I could get him to the ER. It could take up to an hour for an ambulance to get here.
7)Roads. Our property sits about a mile and a half down a dirt road. When it rains, the road turns into a slick pit of mud. Luckily, there is a black topped road that leaves our property from the other direction. It’s a little out of the way to take the black top road, but it’s safe to drive in wet weather conditions. It’s a pain to have to explain that to people coming to visit though. Luckily, UPS knows the route and always calls me in advance to see if the road is clear.
8)Everyone knows your business. We went to church with my neighbors in a large town about 20 minutes away. After service, the pastor stopped me and said, “You must be the twin’s mom! My wife teaches at their school. She doesn’t have them in any of her classes, but she told me that they are such great kids. How do you like living in —-Insert Name that Locals Call the Area We Live In—–?” It’s hard to get used to everyone knowing your business, when you aren’t even sure of anyone’s name yet.
9)Animals in the middle of the road. Usually these animals are dead, but sometimes they are alive. You know you live in a small town, when you give directions to someone and you say, “pass that area of main where the three chickens hang out in the road, swing a right by the crazy roadrunner and it’s behind the parking lot with the orange tabby.” (And people know exactly where you are talking about.)
10) Paranoia. I know this is just a part of getting over culture shock. But, it’s pretty abnormal for people to drive by our property. I think we get about 2 cars a day that drive by, and most of them turn around before they hit the mud road and go back in the other directions (the big kids are vastly entertained by people turning around when they see the “pavement ends” sign). I’ve gotten to the point where whenever I hear a car, I have to check to make sure it’s not a mass murderer driving to my property. Isn’t that a little crazy? When we lived in the suburbs, I felt like I was suffocating by the sheer amount of people that were around us at any given time. Now, I’ve got 2 neighbors within a half mile of me, and I can’t see either of their houses. I feel so much more relaxed, knowing that we have so much space around us. But, I also feel like I lost a little bit of a safety net. We aren’t completely on our own here, we have great neighbors that I know I could count on. It just feels like we are alone. Sometimes the sense of quiet is overwhelming.
11) Dirt. Sand. Mud. Muck. Poop. Guts, Blood. Dust. Hay. Grass. Everything else that comes into my house on boots, shoes, sandals, socks, backpacks, hair, and clothes. I could sweep and vacuum all day long and still never get it all. I’m not an obsessive neat freak; but I still like to have things tidy. It’s very hard to keep things clean here. Especially carpet.
12) Money. Our homestead is proving to be expensive to set up. We have had two flat tires in the last five weeks. We spend almost twice as much on gas as we used to. Our tap water is so salty tasting that we buy in drinking water. We have a huge property that has fencing that needs to be maintained. We had to truck in gravel to build our driveway. We have a lot of projects that will save us money in the long run that cost money upfront to get started. We are taking our time and waiting to buy things until we get great deals; but it’s still much more expensive than I was expecting.
I know that we are doing the right thing for our family; and I know that I am happy here and I don’t ever want to move away from this place. This is home. I just wish I would have been a little more prepared for some of the things we have encountered. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because I’m not. I signed up for this craziness and I wouldn’t change it for anything. But, I also don’t want to sugar coat anything. It’s going to be a hard adjustment period for me.
Luckily, despite all of the annoyances, I’ve found something that makes it all worth it. I’ve found a deep sense of contentment and peace. Life is good.
P.S. The puppy’s name is Rocky.