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The Month I Got 4 Days Off

I finally have a chance to sit for long enough to properly collect my thoughts, and I figured it was time I wrote an update. This month has by far been the busiest month of my summer, and last week was my busiest week. I worked close to 60 hours last week and the week before, and haven’t had a day off since the first of the month. I felt overwhelmed and exhausted for several days last week, but now that the end of it all is in sight I’m feeling almost optimistic. In the midst of all of that work I found a place to live just five minutes from school. I get to share a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom, house with 5 other people, and my room is 15×20. I had to go see the house one day after work, and the owner seemed very interesting. I still have to send him a check to cover my first month and deposit. I filled out the paperwork but don’t have the right sized envelope to fit everything in.

As work continues to slow down for me I’m starting to realize how much of my summer I completely wasted. I grew a few things in my garden, and my new rain garden is starting to look better. I just feel like I wasn’t home enough to play with my dogs. When I get home I’m too physically tired to want to go and play, and this year our lawn seems to have withered even more than usual so that it really is just sand in some places. I’m going to be off in a week, so I might try and get some compost to spread out on top of it. I was hoping to reseed it this year, but I’m not sure if I’ll have time. I hate lawns, but it really would be better than the sandpit we currently have. I just feel sorry for my dogs. They’re honestly the only reason I consider not going to school. Once I leave they pretty much won’t be played with at all. My mom never has the energy for them, and with winter coming up they won’t get to be outside much anyway.

All of these changes are starting to make me feel a kind of melancholy. I’m sad that things are moving me away from my dogs, and regret not getting them out of the house more. There were just some nights where I could barely get myself from my car to the house, let alone sit outside and play with them for a few hours to get them tired. I’m also a little nervous about what the future will bring me. I’ve never done anything so drastic before, but I’ve certainly never been more prepared to do this than I am now. I always told myself that 19 would be the hardest age for me. I made it a kind of ‘curse to be broken’ when I was younger. The impossible age. And it was. My depression and anxiety were at their highest, and most days I could barely function. There were few days I didn’t contemplate suicide, and spent most of my time thinking about how I might commit it. I told myself if I could get through that year then I could get through anything. This year has been easy by contrast, and my exhaustion is now from working hard instead of battling my inner demons. They still rear their ugly heads occasionally, but somehow they aren’t ever as scary as they were in years past. Now my biggest issue is doubt. I often hope for the best, but I’m always filled with doubts about the success of the future. And I’m always concerned about whether I’ll ever be good enough.

Even with the worst of my depression behind me, I still feel like there’s something wrong with me. There’s something lurking just around the corner in my brain, something I’ve always struggled with, but haven’t yet faced. I can’t figure out what it is, so I’m not sure what to do to fix it. I have started meditating maybe once or twice a month. Its a nice way to stay grounded during all of the chaos that my summer has been. I just feel uncertain. Lost, confused, overwhelmed, inexperienced. Like every part of me shifted an inch to the left while I was sleeping, and now I can’t find anything. And probably worst of all is that I don’t feel like I have the time to deal with any of it. I have the first week of september off. I think I’ll spend most of that time moving, but I’ll also have to do a lot of driving, and the silence of the car is as good a place as any to sort out ones immediate life I think.

Anyway, I have to go get ready for work now. I’m so tired of working. Starbucks has taught me a lot, and certainly worked wonders bringing me out of my shell, but the people I work with are starting to drive me insane. The ‘office drama’ is wearing me down, and with the end in sight I’m letting it get to me a little more than I should. I just need to learn to appreciate what I’ve got I think. My life hasn’t been easy, but things aren’t going horribly for a change, and the future certainly looks bright. And I suppose I really am grateful for that. 

Somehow another week has gone by. This summer has been the fastest of my life. I wish I had gotten more done, but there just hasn’t been time! I worked yesterday, and today is the only day off I get for the next two weeks. I still haven’t found a place to live, and I’m running out of time. I feel like I blink and all of the sudden another day has gone by. I’m getting a little worried about what I’m going to do for a place to live, so today I plan on spending a fair amount of time just writing letters to ads online.

Anyway! I just wanted to post a picture of the sunset last night! My mom and I decided to walk to the grocery store and this is the view we got on the way!

photo 2 photo 3

The Housing Hunt Continues

Part of going away to school means that I now have to find somewhere else to live. I opted out of life on campus because I really don’t like the idea of living with 4 other people who I know nothing about, and who, more than likely, are several years behind me maturity wise. I sent out a couple of emails to listings I found on craigslist last night. For my non-american readers, its a website where you can list anything and everything you have for sale/are looking to buy. I heard back from one of them today, and he asked if he could give me a call. He had a hyper masculine deep voice, and sounded really slow. The first thing he told me was that he was “recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning from the night before” and that he hadn’t eaten all day so he was a little loopy. This pretty much told me right away that I wasn’t going to be living here. He proceeded to cook himself a meal made from potatoes that were growing in his garden while he asked me a few questions, and we spent a good 10 minutes talking about beekeeping. The main reason I responded to his ad was because he talked about gardening as one of his main interests, and even reducing rent each month if I was willing to do consistent yard work, which I absolutely am. He also wanted to get bees and had even built his own top bar hive, so naturally I talked to him about that.

After I finished giving him all sorts of tips about beekeeping (though he barely understood the difference between his top bar system and a traditional vertical hive setup) he wanted to ask me “a personal question”. He wanted to know if I was gay, since I do have a pretty feminine voice most of the time, and when I told him I was he confessed to being uncomfortable with the idea of me living with him. The way he talked about it you’d think I was lying next to him trying to coherence him into having sex with me. I politely sat through his very ignorant speech about how uncomfortable he thought living with me would be, and said I completely understood that living with someone who made you uncomfortable wouldn’t be pleasant (I was talking about how I felt about living with him, but he was too stupid to know that) and that I would just keep looking for a place to live. I thanked him for getting back to me quickly and wished him well with his beekeeping endeavors.

Honestly, during the conversation I was completely calm about everything. But things like that always drain the energy right out of me and really shake my self confidence. I’ve been doing really well these last few months. I’ve only had a few pockets of depression here and there, and I’ve come to really enjoy working at Starbucks. I’m just as good as anyone else who works there now, and because the person who used to train people moved to a different store, I might be the one to train new hires. Which I kind of find exciting. I’m looking forward to going back to school to earn my BA, but finding a place to live just sounds so daunting. And I’m gonna miss my dogs terribly. I really want to bring one of them down but I’m not sure if it’s going to be an option.

I often forget that people aren’t as nice as they seem when you’re handing them a cup of coffee. I wish I could just live alone somewhere. People are so exhausting. 

I’ve almost finished my rain garden! Tuesday and Wednesday were days I had off, so I spent all of Tuesday hauling compost. I brought in 3 pickup trucks full that day (I borrowed my uncles truck), which means a total of 4 have been brought into my garden. Everyone assures me that there’s no way the pickup truck is a full yard, but I had the office woman at the compost facility come out and look at it and she assured me it was. Anyway! Here are some pictures of the rain garden so far!

I really really like it! And it’s actually been really cheap so far. Here’s a little list to give an idea of what this project involved.

Plants: $5. I only bought one plant for this garden specifically, almost everything else was relocated from around my garden. Some plants (a couple of red flowering currants, a sedge and a bunching grass, some sea holly, and a plant called serasiformis) were collected from/donated by the garden where I intern. 

Compost: 3 yards. Cost: $90.

Rocks: Large rocks were donated by my grandpa and transported by my cousins. All small rocks were collected from the excavation site.

Decorative branches: donated by my aunt

Use of uncles truck: $73 in gas (I didn’t use that much gas to haul compost, but that’s what it cost to fill his tank since it was almost empty when I got it). $5 carwash.

Time: honestly I haven’t been keeping track of the hours very much simply because I was working on this every spare minute that I had. I would guess that I spent probably 100 hours on this so far. Digging up the lawn took several days, and getting the dirt out took a couple of weeks. I spent all of tuesday working on it, and several hours on wednesday.

Total cost? $173. 100 hours of work.

All that I have left to do is cover the raised edges with wood chips and fill in the shallow area with the pebbles I collected from the excavation. I was reading through my rain garden book and it said that rain garden soil has sand in it, so I might mix in a little bit of the old dirt that I have still. It’ll help get rid of it and improve drainage. I think I missed that page on my first read through, haha.

Oh, and here’s a list of the plants I used, incase you’re interested.

Mock orange, lady fern, red osier dogwood, red flowering currant, several varieties of sedges, a bunching variety of grass I don’t know the name of, oregon iris, costal strawberries, common camas, salal, hardy fuscia, sea holly, and a small flowering bulb I believe is called morning star.

The majority of these plants are native and will provide food and shelter for dozens of species of birds and insects. I’m hoping the increased shady “wetland” will also encourage frogs. I don’t really expect to see those until I get a pond set up, but that’s a different project that might have to wait for a year or two. 

I’ll post more pictures once the project is completely finished!

Oh and here’s a picture of Buttercup impatiently waiting for me to finish my breakfast this morning.

That picture also shows our newly refurbished couch! The darker purple on the arm is the real color of the couch, with the lighter stuff just being some sheets we through on it to protect it while we get a real slip cover. My mom really likes the color purple. We currently have a purple house, a purple couch, purple drapes, and purple asparagus, purple brussels sprouts, and several variety of purple flowers growing in the garden. My mom also has purple nails at the moment, haha,

 

A Rain Garden!

After years of talking about it, I finally have started installing a rain garden! When it rains for any period of time at my house the water from the down spouts runs into my lawn and pools there for an hour or two. The dogs get muddy and the lawn erodes. Its gone down about an inch a year since we’ve moved in, and there’s almost no grass in certain spots because my dogs are constantly running on it. This rain garden is designed to help capture anywhere from 80-95% of the rain water coming off of my patio cover (1/3 of the rain water that’s been going into my lawn) and filter it/ slow it down so that it goes back into the earth instead of running out into the street. Rain gardens take native, water loving plants, and utilize their ability to grow in wet conditions to help reduce water run off and erosion. They tend to be around 100 sq feet, but can be larger or smaller depending on the area you’re working with. Generally the larger they are the better they’ll filter the water out.
Here are some pictures of what I did on the 4th of July yesterday!

I did most of the digging a week or two in advance, but the compost was hauled in yesterday because yesterday was the only day I had off/time to do it. I’ve only hauled in about 3/4 of a yard, but I’ll need another yard and a half before I’m finished. The trench that you see in the middle of the dirt is where water will pool/flow, and the raised edges allow the water level to raise up about 4 inches before it overflows into the lawn. There will be a larger ponding area in the wide side of the garden, and I’ll be hauling a 6 ft mock orange tree over from the other side of the yard. It will provide shade and its larger roots will help filter the water as it soaks deeper into the ground.
Other plants in the garden include several species of fern, iris, strawberries, sedges, bleeding hearts, common camas, lily of the valley, and either an oregon grape or a nine bark.
If you’re interested in learning more about rain gardens I highly advise you look into them! Here’s a link to a local project to increase the number of rain gardens in my watershed!

http://www.12000raingardens.org

Work has become the thing I live for recently. And I don’t mean that in a good way. Two weeks ago I worked a 50 hour week with no weekend, and I was close to a break down because I was so exhausted I couldn’t function. I work all week at starbucks and have to be on my feet and catering to crumby customers, and then on the weekends I get to waste my time at a booth and tell people which bin their ice cream cartons go in. I was so hopeful that my second job teaching people about composting and recycling was going to be fun, but its been a complete drag so far. Every event I’ve been to has been exceedingly slow and boring. I get paid a decent amount of money but sitting around doing nothing is definitely starting to drag on me. If I could at least bring a book it wouldn’t be so bad. And you know its bad if I’m saying I prefer working for less money at somewhere like starbucks than at a company I’ve been volunteering with for over a year and which pays half again as much as starbucks. Today was the first day I’ve had off in 2 weeks. Next week at Starbucks I get two day off, and I’m excited about that! My paycheck will be pathetic but I’m going to enjoy being able to sleep in so much I don’t think I’ll care. 

I’m going to school in the fall and its going to cost me (personally) $9,000 to do it. My mom and dad will be paying the rest of the $30,000 tuition. I also need another $9,000 for living expenses and car insurance for the next year. Where I’m going to come up with $18,000 I don’t know. The first $9,000 will be student loans I can pay back in 2016 once I’m done with school, so its not terrible but it does mean I’ll be in a bit of debt once I graduate. Let’s hope I find a high paying job quickly!

On top of finding money for school I also have yet to find housing. I don’t really want to live on campus because I want to bring one of my dogs with me. Housing is annoyingly expensive, and I don’t really have any idea where I’m going to live. The cheapest I’ve been able to find is $450 a month, which is cheaper than school but is still more than I’d like to pay. I don’t know what I’m going to do. And I only have 2 more months to figure it out. 

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