The ground below me has liquified, And the path no longer exists. The voices of caution behind me, warn of danger outsides of this. Through the mist and wind I sense him Standing just out of reach But the ground below me has liquified And a clear path does not exist. He could have calmed the surf He could have stopped the rain He could have warned me ahead of time, But that is not his game. I’m stepping out of this sinking boat and leaving familiar behind. The ground beneath me has liquified And there are no footings close by. I feel the warmth of his hand on mine And my fears melt away. He greets me with a gentle smile That tells me it’s Okay. The safety of my boat is gone Along with the voices of danger The wind, the rain, the raging surf Threaten to take us under. But He and I walk step in step and I squeeze his hand a little tighter The ground beneath me has liquified And I am walking on water.
Tonight I find myself the lowly farmer on the hill. I have the title because my youngest offspring loves to fill every crack and crevice of her life with things she can take care of. Couple this with her desire to travel and it is why – tonight, I find myself the lowly farmer on the hill.
My other-half (better-half is up for debate and incase you are wondering, I’m winning), he is laid up with the gout – oh god it’s the gout – and is currently not very useful. With wine in one hand and list in my head, I am well prepared for what is to come.
Rain is forecasted and the chick-lets need to be moved. Chick-lets are the newest arrivals that are now somewhere between cute little balls of fuzz and big fat hens. They currently live in a small caged area that won’t keep them dry, thus the relocation. One by one I grab the small feathered frenzy and gently carry them to new safety; transfer their water and food and secure the top to avoid any escape. There is so much to think about as the lowly farmer on the hill.
Now it’s time to feed the Girls. The hen house is a bit down the hill, there’s no rush tonight, so me and my half filled glass of wine enjoy the walk. Feathers, heads, beaks, and squawking greet me. I scoop and sprinkle food on the ground for them and they respond like a bunch of old ladies at the dessert end of a buffet. I leave their quaint dwelling, secure the door, and look over to see the goat and sheep, otherwise known as The Boys.
Buddy and Shaun have been working diligently on clearing the hill. There is an entire side that we’ve yet to explore because of the underbrush. New areas are coming to light every week and these two are making it happen. I set my glass down and determine which of the hoses is designed to reach their water bucket. They watch me and make their way over as soon as the water fills. I turn to quench the thirst of the olive trees planted along the path. I’m pleased and surprised to see they are surviving.
We have a guest on the hill and I figure this lowly farmer should say hello. She too is a writer, so we sit and talk about writing, and being creative, and life and death, and growing older, and it is delightful. We make plans to do it again. We say goodbye, and my empty glass escorts this lowly farmer across the driveway, past the Fairy Hole, and back home.
As I walk, the night lights have all illuminated. Their glow is a blanket of peace that hovers over us. It’s magical. It makes me wonder, how did I get so lucky to be the lowly farmer on the hill…
“And now I know you’ve lost your mind!” my friend replied to my text.
But I had been looking for my Sadie dog for some time. Even the grandkids knew that Sadie was coming to our house. “Neenee, go get Sadie!” Liam would say. “I’m looking for her,” I’d reply. “She’s coming, she’s just not here yet.”
I had an image of what Sadie would look like. Big, fluffy, loving, happy, the Old English Sheepdog type. Sadie would be our next great dog. When friends asked Jeff about the new dog, he’d laugh and say, “We’re not getting a dog.”
On Thursday morning I opened craigslist as a distraction from dealing with life’s drama, (you know – when it feels like good never wins and the crazies are taking over the universe!!!) I clicked on community and found pets. I scrolled down the list and the words Lab Puppies Ready Now, caught my attention. I hadn’t considered another Lab but it was worth a peek.
The post said that 5 puppies were ready for their new homes. I opened the images of puppy #1, puppy #2 and the moment #3 opened I proclaimed, “Sadie, there you are! I’ve been waiting for you!” I stared at her. Those sweet sad eyes looking right through the camera and sucked me in. Her brown paws gently folded in front of her. “I’ve found her, I found Sadie!”
I clicked on puppy #4 and then #5…
How could I possibly leave #5 behind?!?
I began texting; are they still available? Is puppy #3 a girl or boy? When will they be ready? Are they a mix? Is puppy #5 still available?
Yes they are available, #3’s a girl and #5’s a boy, they are ready now, both parents are black labs, I’ll send you their picture, do you want both, when would you like to get them…
Give me till 12:00, I need to get a few approvals…
A few approvals? Ha!! There are five other adults living in this house, two of them have an eight-month old and one of them is convinced he’s not getting a dog!!
The next two hours were filled with;
I don’t really like puppies but you do what you want.
Is this really a good time for puppies. (Is anytime a good time for puppies?)
At 12:07 I replied, I’ll take both!
Where would you like to meet?
I’m coming from Pismo and not sure if I can come until Sunday.
I’ll be happy to deliver them.
That would be great!
I’ll be there in 3 hrs, around 3:30…
She may have been right, I may have lost my mind!
Meet Sadie and Charlie – the newest additions to our Prickly Pear Family!
Yes, Charlie loves beer…
I spent time imagining what this new living arrangement would be like, being in the same house that our youngest grand daughter would learn to walk in, she’ll go to her first day of kindergarten from this house and some day move out. I’ve tried to picture how having a space like this is going to make the holidays different. I’ve tried to calculate what Oktoberfest, Purim and Passover might look like?
It was never our intention to have regular family meals but in our first week of being here, Megan’s mom and grand-mother brought us two meals which were wonderful and allowed us to stop unpacking and gather around the table for dinner. Then we had a pizza night, a Megan’s Cooking!! night and Liams Surprise Dinner night and soon we were checking with each other about what we should do for dinner.
While the ten of us sit around the table enjoying the meal, the kids talk about their school day and the adults about what’s the next project. It didn’t take long to realize that this time of the day provides an abundance of unexpected fun. Amelia can now join in as she can sit in a high chair. She laughs at us and we laugh at her and when we forget that she is the center of the universe, she squeals and let’s us know we’re ignoring her. Emery comments on the spiciness of the food and Liam usually has made desert for us to enjoy later.
Our kitchen/dinning room is almost a third of the size of the entire house. In fact, it’s almost the same size of the condo we owned in Chicago. It has 2 refrigerators, a new sparkling oven, a table that seats 12 and is becoming the hub. The place we gather to eat and drink and stay connected.
The other night Austyn read a short story that Emery had written. The assignment was to write about a time when you felt lucky or unlucky. This is her story…
I feel lucky for living in this house.
We live on a hill and have more space to play and walk around.
It is beautiful.
We can see lots of things like hills, palm trees and lots of sky.
I am lucky.
That night we all realized just a little bit more how lucky we are.
Today I repurposed a Jade plant. It’s most likely the largest succulent plant I have every seen. It took hours to thin it down and load it in my new Gorilla Wagon, the coolest wagon in the world!
I took my awesome wagon down the hill to replant the pieces I had removed and trimmed. I dug small holes, gathered two or three stems and carefully placed them in their new home, patted the soil back around them and with each new planting said, “Today, I give you new life…make it amazing!”
We’ve had a lot of comments about this multi-generational living thing. Many who think it’s wonderful. Others who wish they could do the same. Some who want to movie in with us. And several who say, “I couldn’t live with my kids.”
I get it. Jeff and I would have said the same thing a few years ago. But our kids have been through real life. They have had trauma, pain, difficulties, success and they made it through. If we were really faced with the situation of having to choose who we’d be stuck on a deserted island with, it would be our kids…including their spouses.
“I couldn’t live with my parents. They are too controlling,” is another reason we hear of this impossibility. If you’re in your twenties and figuring out life, you most likely shouldn’t be living with your parents. But usually, I’m not talking to 20 somethings, rather, forty and fifty year olds.
Why as parents is there the need to control our kids? The common commands that are barked out such as, “It’s my way or the highway!” or “If you live under my roof…” or the tough love thing that says, “Live my way if you want my approval!” are the acceptable ways of raising kids – even when they are adults. As parents, why is raising obedient children the focus over raising kids to become amazing adults who know how to control their own lives?
One reason our multi-generational adventure is working is because this isn’t Jeff and my house. It’s truly our house. Our son-in-law and daughter-in-law have as much ownership as we do. I love that! I love watching them making decisions. I love having them take control.
In twenty years when my newly planted succulents have spread across the bottom of the hill and have made a new amazing life for themselves, we will be watching the next generation of adults making choices, a new generation of toddlers figuring out life and I hope I’m still saying, “Today, I give you new life…make it amazing!”
When you put three households together you quickly figure out where everyone has spent their money. We have a dozen bikes, this is more than the amount of people residing in our home. It’s also about 11 more than get used. We have 3 jeeps, 2 sedans and a Subaru in the driveway, and yes, they all get used regularly. We have 2 TVs in the storage room since every room that could possibly contain a television has one.
We did realize that the kitchen is one of all of our favorite places. We have 4 food processors, 3 blenders, 4 crock pots and more spices than Trader Joe’s. In fact, we tossed out 1/2 of the spices and still have too many.
Not only do we have the supplies and equipment to prepare mega meals, we have enough dishes, glasses and silverware to set a table for 50 with complete place settings.
If you are having difficulty envisioning this, here’s some images…
Just in case we decide to open a meat market, we’re set with carving utensils…
Best of all we have our very own greenhouse, minus the house. There are citrus, avocado, and almond trees, succulents, and starter plants for our garden. In the multitude of citrus trees there isn’t one lime tree on the lot. This clearly means we aren’t done, who doesn’t need limes?
Best of all, a few years back Jeff and I took all the grandkids to a local store to buy baby succulents to be planted in the “Neenee Garden”. Each succulent has been cared for and some have grown so large they required a house of their own. The rest of the collection have been cohabitating in this, now over-grown, planter. The “Neenee Garden” is coming soon.