Let There Be Water… Or Not!

After realizing that there were major issues with the plumbing the plumber was hired and he worked diligently to get the water running. He had been there for a week fixing cracks and leaks in the pipes, changing faucets and making everything work perfectly. I was so excited to get to the cabin and actually CLEAN! I arrived at the cabin early on Saturday morning. The first thing I did was go into the kitchen and turn the knob on the faucet… like magic, the pure bliss of the perfect mix of hydrogen and oxygen came flowing out of the faucets, the sound was like a thousand angels singing a song just for me. I was happy! And more importantly I could clean!

My better half was at work so I spent a large part of my day clearing the kitchen out and then scrubbing with bleach, I took apart the stove and soaked it with cleaning products I set up my coffee makers and my toaster oven and then steam cleaned the wood floors! This kitchen was looking adorable and I was so excited to be able to have our first meal in there! We definitely wanted to be able to enjoy the cabin, stay overnight that Saturday and have a nice relaxing peaceful Mother’s Day on Sunday. I didn’t have my son until later that evening so what better way than to spend it with my other favorite guy! We were very much looking forward to it.

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After completing the kitchen I decided to use the leaf blower/vacuum to clear away some of the leaves create pathways and clean up the outside a bit. There is a lot to do out there as well and the weather was incredibly nice so I wanted to spend some time outside.

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After a few hours I came inside and decided to go wash my hands, this is when all of my excitement turned to disappointment. The water just STOPPED. It was trickling out and then seized to work. Once again my cabin had no water! After pouting, cursing to myself and flopping myself down on the couch like a pissed off teenage girl, I went under the house to check and see if the breaker for the pump had tripped or maybe it was off and I was just using the residual pressure. Unfortunately it was still on.  I went upstairs to check the breakers in the fuse box there, and they were fine too. I called the plumber and he came right over, he was literally there in 10 minutes, he tried everything and came to the conclusion that the well pump was shot and he didn’t have the capability of fixing it because it was underground. CABIN WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKE ME!

What I find to be hysterical about this cabin is that each time something great happens, or one hurdle has been jumped, something else comes about and puts me right back on the level. I have a feeling this is how the cabin will always be. At this point I am not sure if there will ever be a time where I can just sit back and enjoy being there. I look at the clock and realize that it is getting late, We are going to a baseball game later that day and I need a shower (which clearly I can’t get at the cabin) so I have to shut everything down and leave. There goes our weekend plan of a quiet little getaway.

Defeated, exhausted and completely filthy, I left the cabin and informed my better half of what was going on, hearing the disappointment in my voice he suggested we go there anyway after the game, we can get a 5 gallon jug of water for toilet flushing and various other needs and we will be just fine. I immediately started to feel better. We went to the game and had a blast, stopped at the store got our water and food for the following day, armed with super hero movies and snacks we were ready to enjoy some peace, water or not! We ended up having an AMAZING stay at the cabin, enjoying our time there, enjoying our peace despite having no water and enjoying each other. The feeling I had earlier that day, of never being able to relax there quickly diminished and I realized that every situation is what you make of it. There were many moments as I was sitting there enjoying my space and my company that I felt perfectly at peace. I realized how lucky I was to have a place like this to spend time in and a person like him to spend time with. It’s all about making memories remember? And we have a ton that we have made. So cheers to an amazing Mother’s Day weekend, cheers to a boyfriend who is super positive even when things don’t work out as planned. And cheers to a cabin that will forever test my patience. We even had our first meal cooked there!

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To all the mothers who have worked so hard to create a special life for your children I commend you. Thank you for being strong role models, thank you for showing us that life is something you fight for every day, and it is what you make of it. Thank you to all the parents that play both roles for your children. Thank you to all the Step Mothers who loved you because they made the choice to do so. I hope that your Mother’s Day provided you with a lesson on life, love and perspective. Because that is what it is all about.

We are hoping to have the well pump fixed on Monday… maybe we will have a new adventure next week.

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Water? Who Needs Water?

Winter is finally over, spring is setting in nicely and I am anticipating the amazing times we are going to have at the cabin this year. When I first started this journey I assumed it was going to be me solo, working on the cabin and making it a memorable place for my son. When the New Year began I decided this was going to be the best year of my life, having no clue where time would take me. Fortunately time has taken me to amazing places. Time has allowed for me to meet a wonderful man with whom I can share my experiences (handy or not). It has allowed for me to see a totally new path that is setting out in front of me, and it’s a beautiful amazing thing. I knew this year would be amazing, and so far it has been just that.

It is easy for people to look at the cabin as a daunting task. For me the cabin is a reflection of what life puts in front of everyone’s faces. It’s a challenge. Challenges are set in front of us every single day, they are presented to us in many forms whether its work, struggles in our relationships with friends families or loved ones, sickness, or raising our children. Challenges come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing remains true… challenges will always exist and it is up to us to figure out how we are going to tackle them, and how we are going to allow them to affect our life. As I look at the things that I have been able to make it through and I look at the lessons I have taken away from each and every one of these challenges, I have realized how strong and powerful one simple thing can be, and that is the power of positive thinking. I try hard to stay positive in every aspect of my life. I try hard to stop and think about how I can handle something without flying off the handle and “hulk smashing” everything around me. This one simple act has helped me conquer all of life’s challenges, and it is going to help me conquer this cabin.

The water at the cabin has been turned off for the winter, and now with the weather finally turning it was time for me to learn how to get the water back on. I was so excited for this day! I wanted nothing more than to turn this water on and be able to use the bathroom, or fill up a great big bucket with water so I can scrub every inch of the cabin clean. I have learned with the cabin that nothing is going to come easy, and that includes water. My amazing “cabin family” came to show me how to get things moving, I learned so much and then came the moment of truth, we were going to turn the water on. As we turned the water on we saw a giant leak at the water pump… and absolutely no water making it into the house. There was nothing we could do at this point without a plumber.

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Jen “teaching” me how to open the cabin for the spring

Yes of course it is a bummer to be so excited about something and have it shot down with the literal flip of a switch; however, I was not going to let this deter me from positive forward thinking. My friend John came that weekend, he’s a plumber and he took a look at things for me, it turned out I had a nice size split in the pipe, and also the pipe connected to the rest of the plumbing in the house had popped right out so there was no water supply to the rest of the house. Unfortunately he was unable to help me at that time because there would have been too much work. We had a plumber out on Sunday, and he was able to get the split and the T back on, and when he did, it was like it was raining under the house! Each thing he fixed turned into another leak further down the line. We were looking at pretty much replacing the entire plumbing! He spent hours working on things, and by the end of the night, we were unable to get the water back on. But on the bright side, My dog and I had a bunch of nice walks, we we even met a new bulldog friend for him who lives right down the street!

Gambit  spending time with his new friend Ella.
Gambit spending time with his new friend Ella.
Gambit enjoying porch time while mommy fixed the steps
Gambit enjoying porch time while mommy fixed the steps

I know that to some of you this would be a frustration or headache that isn’t worth it, but to me, all the work that goes into this little piece of nature is worth it. You see, this cabin is going to make memories for a lot of people. Those memories are invaluable; they are ingrained in the amazing minds of the kids. They are etched in every frustration that we will be able to look back on and laugh about. They are forever immortalized in photographs that could literally bring tears to my eyes when I look at them. Soon we will have water, and when we do, there will be 5000 other things that will challenge us, because life is about challenges and it is about embracing them in humility.

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And just look at the moments we have already had!

Let Me In!

Oh the winter, it’s a beautiful time of year because it’s not blazing hot, and quite frankly I love the cold, well I love the reasonable cold. I don’t love the wind, and the freezing rain, sleet and snow. I am terrified to drive in weather like that and I don’t like being outside in it either. All of these things have made it difficult for me to go to the cabin and get anything done. We have had some substantial storms and I was beginning to worry about the state of the cabin after the storms, so I decided it was time for me to go there and check on things. Last week I got hit with a sickness that I could only compare to the plague, WebMD suggests that I have various life threatening diseases, so I decided to refrain from online health searches, and just take over the counter medicine to get better. My plan was to go there Saturday, at which time I would likely feel better, and just check it out, sweep and vacuum and then lock her up and feel at ease. My plan, didn’t go quite that well.

As you may remember from previous posts, I am trying to learn how to shoot a gun, I finally went shooting, and I actually did quite well.

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I intended to go shooting with my dear friend Scott Saturday afternoon and then head to the cabin. Saturday came; I woke up and still felt absolutely awful. I regretfully contacted Scott to tell him I wasn’t going to make it shooting and decided to head to the cabin at that time. I was hoping I would be able to make it back to the cabin since our roads back there are dirt and gravel and I wasn’t sure if they were icy or if my front wheel drive car would even make it. I was pleased to see that the roads weren’t too bad. And I arrived safely. The steps were covered in snow, my normal parking space was now covered and plowed in, so I trudged through the snow up the scary snowy steps and put my key in the knob. That is where this quick trip to the cabin turned into a ridiculous comedy of errors.

The key wouldn’t work. No matter what I did this key would not unlock the door. I jiggled this key six ways to Sunday, I did little dances, I shook it like a Polaroid picture, I did everything I could possibly do to make this key engage and unlock the door. It was FREEZING out, I was sick and definitely delirious enough to just laugh at myself. I began to come up with solutions in my head, maybe the lock is frozen. IMG_3896I literally breathed into the door knob for about 15 minutes trying to thaw it out. I used my lighter on my key until the key was super-hot, and then tried to make it work, none of this even budged the door. I attempted to break into the door with a credit card, I even tried to break into the window with a credit card but to no avail. IMG_3897I contemplated breaking the window pane on the front door, but the thought of getting that replaced made me crazy, so I thought maybe I just need to bust this doorknob off, I will run up to Lowes and simply replace the doorknob and everything will be better.

I went back to the shed to look for some type of smashing tool; the only thing I could find was a huge old monkey wrench, and some sort of metal impaling device. At this point my feet and fingers were freezing, I had been her for over an hour trying to get in, I could have left, but that wasn’t going to help me get in. I started to smash the doorknob with this monkey wrench and it still did nothing. Finally like the hulk that I am, my anger kicked in and I literally ripped the handle right off the door!IMG_3898 I felt a sense of relief, until I looked inside and realized, this was not going to help me get in. I now have the knob in my hand, all the guts of the lock removed, and I still can’t get into this cabin. Time is running out, Sunlight is waning in the distance, I am freezing and sick and I am running out of options. Hours have past, I was determined and persistent but persistence is only good to a point, when you start just doing the same thing over and over again, you are moving from persistence to insanity.

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I called a locksmith. Luckily he was able to come out on a Saturday at night. I was becoming increasingly anxious because I had very important plans later that evening and I needed to get home and get showered and ready and my time was just ticking away. I waited for over an hour for the locksmith to come. He informed me that it was going to cost a billion dollars and my first born, but he could definitely get it done. I agreed and he opened the door within a minute. Had a brand new shiny doorknob on the door within 10 minutes, handed me a bill the size of Mount Fuji and went on his merry way.

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I learned a lot from this little journey. I learned that I am a terrible burglar, I learned that I have a lot more patience and persistence than I ever thought. I learned that I should never try to do anything quickly at the cabin, because I don’t think that will ever exist. And I learned that locksmiths probably make a ton of money.

Being Both Mom and Dad

Being a single parent is not always the greatest thing in the world, I am very lucky because in my personal situation, I get along great with my ex-husband, and we do what we need to do for our son. It’s a win-win situation and I sometimes wish I could magically make every single divorced couple do things exactly the way we did so nobody needs lawyers and no child is used as a pawn, but I digress. Being a single parent can actually be such an incredible blessing, I know that sounds insane but let me tell you why, and let me explain to you what this cabin has done for me and my son.

My son probably has no memories of his father and me together. Sometimes I feel that is why he has turned out to be the caring, sweet and sensitive little guy that he is today. I have done my very best to play the role of mother and father in his life. Not because he doesn’t have an amazing father, but because I want him to end up with the kind of woman that has no gender boundaries of what she can accomplish. When he was very young, I allowed him to play with dolls. (I realize people think this is a very weird thing) but to me all that was doing was showing my son how to be nurturing like any good father should be. I let him watch me put on makeup, I held him and cradled him as any mother would do when he was sick or hurt. Still to this day, I sing “You are my Sunshine” to him every night before bed. And though I did all of those “girly” things with him, I also went outside and played ball with him, I got hockey sticks and played basement hockey with him and one of the greatest and most bonding experiences I have had with my son has been teaching him how to fish and teaching him survival skills in nature. I think it is awesome that when something needs to be fixed in my home, my son just assumes I can do it, because mom does it all. I think it’s even more awesome that when someone asks him how he learned to fish, he can say that his mother taught him.

One day we were at one of our favorite fishing spots, when my son caught a blue gill. I quickly grabbed it, showed him how to hold it so he didn’t get poked, and took the hook out to throw it back in. Down the pond a bit was a father and son fishing, when we got the fish, the little boy yelled down “Do you need any help”? I politely said no thank you and baited his hook and we proceeded. Maybe it was the fact that I was fishing in a dress, with my Coach purse resting on a muddy rock, or maybe it was because I was a woman, but that little boy assumed I wouldn’t have been able to take that fish off the hook. My little boy would never assume such a thing and that makes me proud. The father of the young boy who asked me if I needed help proceeded to tell me his son turned to him and said “My mother would never touch a fish”. I took that as a very huge compliment. These are some of the benefits of being a single parent. The one on one moments, raising my boy to be a man, raising my boy to respect that a woman can do anything she wants to do, just like a man can do anything he wants to do.

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When my little guy saw the cabin for the first time, he explored every nook of the place, he confidently made suggestions on décor, on placement and on repairs that “we” needed to do together, and trust me, we will do them together. This will be my time to show my son how to change light fixtures, how to paint, how to decorate. Each and every thing I do in the cabin will be an opportunity for me to teach my son skills that will stay with him forever, from building a fire, to picking paint colors, this experience is going to be this single mom’s greatest achievement, because he will always remember what we did together in this cabin. As he grows, he will learn to appreciate the different gifts his father and I have given to him, the difference will be that we gave him these gifts separately, I may have been more inclined to allow his father to show him how to do all the “manly” things if we still had a traditional family, just because those are the traditional roles. Being a one woman show affords me the opportunity to not only empower myself but to empower my son. Bring on the repairs; I have a son to mold! I can’t wait for us to fish on!

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The First of Many Overnights.

It has been a very busy time of year, My son’s birthday, Christmas and then of course the New Year, so I apologize for not having written about my adventures at the cabin, though I have had many since the last post. I will fill you in on all the adventures in this post.

I decided that I wanted to attempt to stay at the cabin overnight. I realize this may seem absolutely insane to many of you, I have no running water and no other heat source other than the wood burning stove, but I assure you I am not new to “roughing” it. The temperature has actually been a bit mild for this time of year, we really hadn’t had evenings colder than the high 20’s and I figured I would be able to handle staying over in this environment. I did however need a few things, I needed a way to watch movies, I needed a way to keep the squirrel out of the cabin during my stay, I needed a way to make some coffee, I needed to keep warm, and I needed a way to protect myself should Jason Voorhees decide to show up at my window during the evening.

Before the TV and DVD Player
Before the TV and DVD Player
After the TV and DVD Player
After the TV and DVD Player

I packed up my big computer and used that for DVD watching and Netflix streaming using my cell phone as my hot spot so I had that part squared away. In order to keep the squirrel out of the cabin I actually took some boards and covered up the hole, I didn’t even bother to nail them in, because that is not going to be my permanent fix to this problem, so I just pushed a humidifier up against the boards and somehow this kept the little jerk out. I bought myself a little one cup coffee mate brewer that uses K cups for the cabin and I can tell you right now, that was the best 50 bucks I spent in my life. To keep warm I brought a ton of thick blankets and of course as much wood as I could for the stove. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to protect myself from Jason Voorhees, or the boogie man, Bigfoot or the chupacabra. During my cleaning of the cabin I did find a bb gun but it was broken, and I am pretty sure a bb gun wasn’t going to keep me safe, I would have to use mind over matter to get me through the night.

      Look how warm we got it!

Look how warm I got it!

I am not going to sit here and tell you that it was the most pleasant of all experiences, trying to tend to a fire all night long can definitely deter your ability to get an actual good night sleep. And when my squirrel friend did come knocking at the 2×4 and scared the life out me, I contemplated gun ownership and target practice, instead I went over there and banged on the wall, I think he got the picture because he stopped trying to get through (for now).

The mornings are BRUTAL when the fire finally dies, and the temperature of the cabin goes back down to the 20’s you feel like you’ll never get warm, the idea of going over to the stove and starting a fire is the most daunting task you could ever have, but you know if you don’t do it, you will obviously meet your death by freezing to the sofa bed. So you get up, and forge ahead, and eventually it gets warm again. I decided that making the bedroom functional and actually using the electric radiator heat, and keeping the door closed was the only way we would continue to survive overnight trips. You may not think so, but that little radiator is a TOTAL life saver!

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The one positive is that I didn’t feel a fear staying there overnight, I didn’t see anyone peeking through the window, I didn’t hear anything crazy (except the squirrel). So I felt pretty good about the experience, though I do know what you are thinking… how in the world did you go to the bathroom with no running water? You see sometimes when you are roughing it you have to come up with creative ways to do what you have to do. there is a shed on the property and I decided that I was going to temporarily turn that shed into my out house. All I did was bring a bucket into the shed and like magic a bathroom was made. I will spare you any further details, but this works out for now.

My favorite part about the whole weekend was when I grabbed a little cup of water and headed to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I was scrubbing away and had my cup of water for the final rinse, after swishing around and spitting into the sink I heard the sound of water gushing to the floor. I looked under the sink and there was everything I just rinsed right there under the sink, as if it wasn’t even attached to a pipe. Needless to say I will have a lot of Pipe repairs once the water gets turned back on and I can see where everything is leaking from.

I have spent a lot of time there since then, cleaning and re-organizing, trying to find a place for everything, and making a list of all the things I am going to need to do come spring. The list is getting longer and longer and longer, and I realize that this is going to be a huge financial investment; of course this scares the daylights out of me but I feel like the return on this investment will be years of memories I will have for myself and my son. At least this is what I keep telling myself so I don’t lose my mind in a whirlwind of panic.

It’s funny as I post photos of the cabin on social media, and show my progress, everyone always says it looks “warm” and “cozy”. And while it may look that way, I promise you it is in no way, shape or form WARM! But it is starting to become pretty cozy. Right now is worker bee mode, I can’t wait until the work dwindles down and I can actually really enjoy some of the time. For now, I will leave you with some photos and you can see how I have gradually progressed over the last 3 weeks.

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Squirrel Problems

I love most animals, especially if they are cute and fluffy. One time when I was in my early 20’s I was sitting on the campus of West Chester University, when a little squirrel just walked right up my friends leg and sat on his lap. We figured something must have been wrong with this little fella so we took him back to my friends house (don’t ask my why we thought this was a good idea). I decided that he needed to be rehabilitated, and I called the AARK foundation, they weren’t open until the following morning so our squirrel friend was spending the night with me. At first he seemed completely kind. I had this old hamster cage with one of those little water bottles, he drank a little water and seemed to really enjoy his little temporary habitat… until I woke up later that evening.  I herd a strange noise that startled me from my sleep, I look over at my cute little friend and he was staring at me with eyes of death and making some absolutely insane little squirrel sound. I was terrified, I had never heard such a noise from something so cute and fluffy. This animal was Bi Polar, and I was not going to be the subject of his wrath. He was charging at me through the cage like a tiny Hannibal Lecter, I could sense he wanted to eat my face with a side of fava beans and a nice chianti. It was time for my cute yet psychotic little friend to go.  I have pretty much been terrified of squirrels ever since. He made it to the foundation the following morning, and to the best of my knowledge was rehabilitated.

I never want to be friends with a little squirrel again. I also don’t want one living in the walls of what is now my peaceful sanctuary, unfortunately there is a furry little squirrel who has a totally different set of wants and needs as I do.  Remember the holes in the walls of the cabin, with the leaves billowing out onto the floor, well Hannibal is back and he’s made a home inside of my insulation. I guess this is to be expected when you have a place in the middle of the woods. I know how he is getting in because I watched him grab a little acorn, and mosey on into the wall through this little hole by the window. Now this whole entire window frame has to be replaced, it is rotting out, I still don’t think this gives Hannibal the right to make my home is own. I have no idea how I am going to get him out of there, yet alone how I am going to repair the damage to the wall. I think he may have messed up some electrical wiring in there as well because I can’t get a light on in my kitchen, and the outlet right by the holes doesn’t work either.

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With this peace,  is going to come some seriously hard work. I guess that is true in all aspects of life, at least as I have experienced it so far. Nothing in life comes easy, or without road blocks and speed bumps along the way. I will be doing a lot of research watching you tube videos on repairing walls and electrical wires. I will also be trying to figure out the best way to get a squirrel out of my wall. I am thankful for my friends who have stepped up and offered help to me, because I KNOW I am going to need it. Just like I said in my last post, this will definitely open me up to accepting help wherever I can. So friends, do any of you know how to get rid of a squirrel?

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The Saturday I Met My Fate

It was finally Saturday, I couldn’t wait to get up and get moving. I slept very little the night before, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest which is something I rarely do, looking for ideas for a cabin I have never even seen yet. I woke up bright and early, grabbed some coffee, and paced around my house until it was time to go. I knew that it was going to take exactly 20 minutes to get to the cabin, because of course I had already driven it just to check the time. I tend to be overly prepared for almost any situation, and one thing I do not like is to be late for anything.  As I took the very short drive I felt myself giddy with anticipation, each minute of the drive felt like an eternity. Nearing the cabin, I realized Jen and her mother were right in front of me, and in we pulled to the beautiful white gates of the most peaceful place on earth.

I had no clue what state this cabin was going to be in, I had seen many of the cabins already, but they were all in varying degrees of condition. Some were pretty much uninhabitable, some were like tiny perfect homes that looked almost brand new, and the rest were in many different phases in between. I envisioned this one to be somewhere in between because I knew the family had spent significant time there, but it had been over a year since they even visited.  As we took the little road between two ponds and rounded the corner, I watched them pull up to the cabin that would be mine… my feelings at the time were not as excited as I initially thought they would be. I saw before me a cabin that needed a lot of work.

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I saw a roof that was bowed in the middle, I saw rotting wood, and a ton of painting that needed to be done, and I couldn’t imagine what the inside was going to look like. Immediately I was brought back to the moment Val and I were walking up to her cabin, and she was prepping me for what I was going to see on the inside. I was brought back to the emotions of understanding that what I was about to see was beautiful in its imperfections, it was a sea of potential. My feelings immediately shifted and I began to look at this cabin as my own personal diamond in the rough.

I could see the faces of Jen and Lynne (Jen’s Mom), they both looked horrified. They hadn’t seen the cabin in a long time, and I think they were shocked at my positive outlook on things. we rounded the house and were already seeing some pretty major issues, rotted out window fixtures, holes in the wood siding, this diamond needed some TLC and I was going to be just the person to give it what it needed. Jen and Lynne, they weren’t so enthused. Jen kept giving me these eyes, I am not sure what her eyes were trying to express at this given moment, but I could tell they were not the positive reassuring eyes that Jen normally shows me. We decide to go inside.

As we open to the door to the cabin the first thing I noticed was that it was so cold, at least 20 degrees colder inside than it even was outside. The thermometer read 19 degrees, and it felt every bit that cold. As we walked into what I call the great room, I saw a beautiful wood burning stove, I saw exposed beams and lots of windows. I also saw two holes in the wall where an animal had clearly gotten into the wall and began to chew to the inside, leaves that the animal had been using for nesting were pouring out of the holes onto the hardwood floor. This was definitely going to be an adventure, and I was willing to take on every second of it.

Roughing it is not new to me, I have been tent camping more times than I could ever count. I had just spent many of my summer weekends at a camper that had no water or gas turned on and sometimes we would be greeted with the stench of dead mice. It doesn’t phase me, it’s part of loving the outdoors, it’s part of the whole experience. To me, the inside of this cabin was absolutely perfect, it just needed some paint and some cleaning and it was ready to go. It is quaint and cozy and clearly the majority of the work on this cabin is on the outside. I was in love with this place and I was definitely going to make it my own. Jen and Lynne’s faces continued to look horrified as we walked through the inside, but eventually I saw Lynne’s face start to get nostalgic as she told me stories of the fun that the family would have here, I could see the beautiful memories flooding back to her, and I couldn’t help but begin to imagine all the memories I would make for my son in this little peaceful diamond in the rough.

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It may be hard for you, my readers, to understand the allure of this cabin to me. It may be hard for anyone to truly understand why I would take on such a project. The reality of this journey is finally tangibly being able to work on fixing something that needs me. I have spent so much of my life trying to be the person that fixes everything and everyone. I have  so often pushed my own needs and wants aside, just to make others happy. I have spent countless years trying to help friends, lovers and family members get back on their feet, feel confidence to do great things. It is my time to do great things, it is my time to reap the benefits of fixing something. Fixing this cabin is going to be symbolic of fixing myself. It will be a journey of accepting help from other people, not always being so wildly independent and often stubborn. It will be a way for me to show my son, that if you want something bad enough, there is always a way to achieve it. It will be a way for my son to see that his mother, is a fighter, in every sense of the word and I will fight for us to have peace and memories that will be a part of him through his entire lifetime.

Welcome to my cabin.

How it all began.

Being so incredibly skeptical and being a self proclaimed atheist, I would obviously be the last person on earth to tell you that fate led me here. Spending so many years in the paranormal field really took me down a path of non-belief, training myself to be a critical thinker actually ripped any sense of magic or mystery from my life. When I had my son, I found that I was trying to give him what I was missing from my life, a sense of magic, while still trying to teach him critical thinking (big thanks to Scooby doo). It was almost as if I personally was longing for some sort of magic in my own life, but my logical critical brain was not allowing me to see the clues that were surrounding me every day.

I never really believed the whole cliché “everything happens for a reason”, I generally would find that when I was hurt by friends or a significant other, I would think quite the opposite. If I was wronged or hurt I would always get down on myself for not being smart enough to see the signs and bail before I was bailed on however, in this journey, I am starting to see why each player was given a role in my life and how their role helped me to get to where I am today. I know, don’t be shocked by this. Just remember that everyone has an opportunity to evolve as a person intellectually, and my intellectual evolvement has gone full circle at this point.

I was in a relationship that was less that ideal for me, I knew this, yet I kept it going with a lot of very hard work on my end. I found myself putting my own wants and needs on the back burner just to make him happy. I found myself turning my world into his entirely which was not a common characteristic of me. The one good thing I did get out of that relationship was a common interest in the outdoors, someone who was finally just as comfortable being outside surrounded by nature as I was. We had a lot of amazing adventures in our short time together, and I finally felt at peace with that lifestyle. I knew this relationship wasn’t going to last very early on, but our adventures kept me from ending things, because we did get along with ease, we did have fun, and this is exactly what I needed in my life. I couldn’t let that go. In reality all I needed to do was find my own way to make that lifestyle more permanent for me, and to make it more permanent alone, with nobody else being attached to my peace. This is why I feel I was put in that unhealthy relationship, it taught me a lot. It taught me that I don’t need to be with another soul to be at peace with me. And it brought me back to a friend I have known for over 2 decades.

Some friends can be separated from you for years, and when you see them it is like you had never left them, this is definitely the case with my friend Val. I had been posting photographs of my outdoor adventures on instagram and she had been looking on and realizing our lives were very similar, she reached out to me to go hiking in the near future. I was so excited for that opportunity. After my relationship ended I was looking for a new adventure buddy, and she was too. She spoke of a cabin she bought and was renovating on her own, I was so excited to see this cabin and to catch up with her and talk about her adventures. We made plans to meet that Saturday at my house and drive to her cabin only 20 minutes from my home, little did I know this was going to be a life changing experience for me.

Val showed up right on time and we hopped into my car for our 20 minute journey. The two of us could not stop talking, there was so much to catch up on and we were quickly finding out that our lives have been greatly  intertwined despite the years we have spent apart. As we pull up I see a gate and an old stone house. As Val pulls out her key card to open the gates my heart starts filling up. I have very little words that I could use to describe what was going on inside of me as we navigated down the gravel roads, through the woods lined the with unique tiny cabins leading to hers. The best way to explain it would be that I felt a peace overcome me that was almost spiritual, and that is huge for a woman who believed she was not spiritual at all. We got out of the car and made our way into her cabin, she explained along the way all of the things she was working on, almost as if to say – don’t judge it yet, there is potential. When we entered I just smiled. It was perfect in all of it’s imperfections, I saw more than the potential that the cabin had, I saw my dear friend creating a beautiful life for herself through the hard work, sweat and tears she has put into this amazing getaway. I saw her life, her struggles and her love in every single detail. She had done so much, and she did this on her own. I looked at her, and my eyes just filled up with tears. This isn’t typical for me either, I am not a huge cry baby but I was so overwhelmed. I was proud of her, and her accomplishments, I was impressed and envious, I was in love with this place and the feeling it gave me. I knew I wanted to be part of this journey with her. I just didn’t know how it would ever happen.

I spent the rest of the weekend thinking about this place and how much I needed this in my life. I was not in the greatest of financial situations to make something like this happen but if there is anything I can say about myself, it is that if I want something bad enough, I will do everything within my power to figure out a way. I had a lot of trouble sleeping the rest of that weekend leading to Monday morning. I was doing a lot of daydreaming, mauling over all the possibilities for myself, I must have drifted off eventually because all I remember next was the sound of my alarm going off for work. I dragged myself out of bed and went into work excited to talk to my friend Jen and tell her all about this crazy almost spiritual experience I had this weekend. Jen knows so much about my life, she is more than just a “work friend” she is a true friend and a kind soul, one of those incredibly genuine and real people that are so hard to come by.

As I was describing this place to Jen I could see her brain working, I know her well, and I know when she has something on her mind. I wasn’t entirely prepared for what she was about to say next however. She asked me where exactly this place was because her parents had a cabin in that area that they were thinking about selling. When I told her where it was, she just looked at me and said, that is exactly where their cabin is. I was in complete shock, as if the universe was telling me that this needed to happen. What are the odds of any of this? Jen and I had a lot of discussions about how this could happen, we talked it out, she talked with her parents and together we came up with an incredible solution that works for everyone. It turns out Jen’s parents are just as genuine, sweet and kind as Jen is. The apple clearly didn’t fall far from the tree. Though I haven’t seen their specific cabin yet, I had driven with Val through the community, so I knew mostly what to expect, to be honest it was less about the cabin and more about where the cabin was located that had me enraptured and enthralled. In my mind, this cabin, sight unseen was already going to be mine. We had plans to see it together that Saturday.

The week went by so slow, all over the place I was seeing signs and clues telling me that this was the next step I needed to take. Not only for myself but for my son (I am a single mother of an amazing 8 year old boy) and for our memories together.  Things as ridiculous as fortunes from a fortune cookie were screaming to me.

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This was finally going to happen, the universe wanted me to have a peaceful place to work on, to put my very own blood, sweat and tears into. The universe wanted me to join in this journey with Val and all the players in my life, from the ex-boyfriend, to my coworker and friend, family and life events all led me to this place in time right now. This serendipitous chain of events is taking me on a journey of a lifetime.