When I resigned from the Matrix I had a plan that was pretty simple. My plan was to grow as much food as possible (using permaculture principles that I had yet to learn), keep some animals, and take care of my son, wife, aunt in-law, and self. This fall marks the fourth season that we have been here on this domestic homesteading expedition outside the bounds of the American hologram. We've had mostly successes but the cost has not been free. There has been no shortage of craziness and much psychological warfare with those who have not been happy to have us around. I had no idea what I was getting into with this particular situation...although I thought I had one at the outset. I was wrong. I've decided to do a series of posts about the journey thus far. This is the second of those posts. I don't know how many entries it will take, but I'll try to keep each one around 3 or four pages long.
It's unfortunate that a career that I'm perfect for has been ruined by corporate/government bureaucracy. When I started work as an EMT, I was certain that EMS was the life for me. Nothing that I saw in the field in the eight years I was on the meat wagon gave me pause for longer than a day or two. I was impervious to the gore and high tragedy an EMT must witness. Even now, when I see an ambulance, I miss it. It's ironic that dead babies, amputated limbs, body decompositions, and complete disrespect from the majority of our clientele had nothing on the amount of stress that was generated in me due to bureaucracy. In fact, the bureaucracy brought me to the point of near insanity. It was either medicate on fukitol or quit my job. I medicated on fukitol because I had a wife, one year old, and a house to pay for. My wages paid all of our household bills. There was no feasible way out until my wife came home from a Christmas visit to our hometown. While she was there her aunt Bee offered my wife a place for us to live if we ever needed it.
Every family is dysfunctional, but my wife's is exceptionally so (and she'd tell you the same). This is what I knew about her aunt before we moved here. I knew that she had been married to her husband, John Who, for 19 years and that he had passed about a year before we were to move in. I knew that Wendy's (Wendy is my wife) family considered aunt Bee to be crazy. I had met her a few times in the nine years I had known my wife, and I had no reason to believe that she was crazy. I knew she was on psychological meds. These days all that means is that she's been seen by a general practitioner who's protocol is to increase his big pharma kickback money. I also knew that she was Christian but doesn't go to church because she can't afford the 10% of her income tithe her preacher requires of the members (it's not the preachers fault that the bible requires this of it's followers). Because the family considered her to be crazy, and therefore never talked about her other than to say that she's crazy, my wife knew very little about aunt Bee herself. What I knew was from a couple of conversations with her over the last nine years. Suffice it to say, I knew little to jack. I especially knew nothing about the people in her life (which has been the source of nearly all our frustration). My understanding was that she was dying of loneliness and grief from her recently passed husband. This was true on one level. That level was the first of many.
We decided that before I put in my resignation it would be a good idea to go pay aunt Bee a visit just to make sure we wouldn't uncover anything we couldn't live with. It was January of 2011 when we went to Whoville, where aunt Bee lived. The visit was mostly too good to be true, but we had made a decision to follow our bliss and just chalked it up to that. What I saw was 50 acres or so directly behind the house of pasture. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Aunt Bee informed us that it was all in the family and that 14 acres of it belonged to her dead husbands brother, Jack Who. It all belonged to Aunt Bee and her husband before he died, but he left only the house and a fenced in two acres to his wife. The rest of the land was left to his brother and son. Aunt Bee informed us that we shouldn't fool with the land belonging to John Who's son, Tater Who. She informed us that Tater Who was the type of man whom opened a credit card in his father's name, while his father was on his death bed, to the tune of 10,000 dollars with no intention of ever paying it back. However, Jack Who was a good man, and he would have no problem with us tending his land. I couldn't believe what I was being told. I had 16 acres of land at my disposal to do with what I wished. I started plans to keep goats and chickens. To further add to the layer of unbelievable good fortune, aunt Bee informed us that we would need to pay no rent or utilities. She owned the house and two acres outright and only had to pay 100 dollars a year in taxes. Due to John Who retiring from the Airforce as a Master Sergeant, and her disability check, money was not an issue. This meant that my wife and I would have to come up with 600 dollars a month to pay our bills. It looked like everything was falling into place for me to drop out, resign from the matrix, and homestead. We went back to Suck Hill, where our house is, and I turned in my resignation followed by signing up for a cutting edge permaculture program in Ashville NC for the spring.
We were prepared to simply walk away from our house. I wasn't going to stay in a job I couldn't remain working without fukitol just because of a mortgage. We decided that my being present and unmedicated for our family was more important than good credit. However, we weren't going to just leave it without at least trying. My wife posted our house for rent on FB and within one day we had renters. One of my wife's colleagues had a daughter that was in her early 20's and just out of her first trimester. Her baby daddy was trying to do the right thing by manning up and getting a job and a home for them so that they could leave their parents homes. He had no credit and her's was destroyed due to medical bills for cervical problems. It would seem that the baby was a miracle baby seeing as how she was not supposed to be able to conceive. They were unable to find anyone that would rent to them without a very hefty nonrefundable deposit. All we wanted was for them to pay the mortgage. They joyfully agreed and so it was. We knew we were taking a risk with them due to their age and lack of experience in life, but we were prepared to walk away and it seemed like a much better path to take. So he looked me in the eyes and agreed to rent for a year and we shook hands on it.
I didn't start packing up our house until after my last day of work. When we got married in 2006 we didn't even have enough stuff to fill a one bedroom apartment. We had to buy a couch to put in the apartment. We lived in that apartment just at a year before we bought our house. We lived in our house for five years and my wife managed to fill just about every inch of available space with stuff. You have no idea how much shit you have until you start packing to move. While I packed our house up my wife busied herself with hustling all of our junk via a local network of rednecks on facebook called "Just junkin'." I was amazed at the amount of money she made selling shit that we had laying around our yard. The last meet that she went to she managed to make 500 dollars off of junk, some of which was literally laying in our yard having been forgotten about. She must have had a secret portal to another dimension that she housed all of this junk in because I had never seen half of it. I didn't even know we had this stuff. Five years of thrift stores, Goodwill, photography business equipment, plus a consignment business where she took photography props and supplies from local photographers and sold it for a percentage, stuff that had simply been given to her, stuff she pulled out of dumpsters and off of the side of the road, and most importantly stuff from the galaxy's stuff generator. I thought I was going to lose my mind trying to get all of this junk 70 miles down the road to our new home.
Let me just say that it was a good thing I was keeping myself on a strict drug regimen to keep my mind limber (cigarettes, coffee, alcohol, and marijuana to be precise). It's been eight months since the move and we still have shit in the attic and our garage back in Suck Hill. A large part of my job has been organizing and stowing all of the junk that we have since started calling "inventory," due to my wife's gypsy magic abilities. I suppose she knew something I didn't while she was amassing all of this junk. We make a good team because I am hyperOCDanized where organization is concerned and she is not. However, I hate money, and it hates me, but it loves her. She gets the money freely and I organize it. Without me, she'd spend the money on more junk and therefore have no money, but without her I would just have no money. Together we usually get what we need. In the next post we'll take a closer look at the inner workings of my corner of Palookaville known as "Whoville."