Today my landlord stopped by.
He lives in NYC as a city planner. He bought the home I am currently renting, online, and for quite a bargain. Some day it will be his retirement home. Until then, I am free to rent it.
The place is beautiful, open floor planning. Windows and open spaces, high ceilings, bare refurbished beams.
I couldn’t be more thankful to rent such an incredible place.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I needed to take. A 2 year break, living off the grid, away from crowded living spaces, depressing shabby apartments with paper thin walls, and poverty stricken neighborhoods with shouting, angry neighbors, where people sell their medications just to help pay the bills and buy groceries.
The environment was making me sick. I was stressed, exhausted, and in pain. I no longer felt safe in my own home.

My current landlord responded to an ad I posted. I told our story, talked about what we were looking for and how much we could afford. Like my son’s father, he also served in the military. He told me about the place, explained it was a little unusual and not for the weak.
I drove out to see the house with my dad, my son and his friend D who calls me her second mom.
The road was frightening. Ups and downs, quick turns and a huge drop!
My dad looked at me, clutching the “oh shit” handle on my Saturn and said through clenched teeth
” There is NO WAY you can live out here!”
I knew he was right. How could I live out so far in the middle of the woods? My car was on its last leg (even though it had JUST had $4000 in repairs) and I am not exactly the most fit individual.
Silently, however, I held close hope that the house would be perfect and everything would work out.
Just down the road from this place I was looking to rent, my son’s paternal grandparents had lived. I had lived there for 3 years. This was the house I lived in my entire pregnancy. This was the house my son came home from the hospital to at 3 months old. This was also the house that my son’s father would die in unexpectedly.
The house is now for sale, his family moved from it almost two years ago now.
A part of me wanted to be close to him, where we lived together first.
The other part wanted to be as far away as possible.

We pulled into the driveway and immediately had the same reaction, the one every person who has come to visit for the first has had. Jaws dropped.
The open space, the huge, towering trees, bright skies, the flowers, giant windmill and solar panels, we all thought the same thing.
And so, the little blue house got its nickname: Paradise.

I have now lived here, in Paradise, for 6 months. I have lost 60lbs. I have less stress and certainly handle it far better. No more panic attacks or stress seizures. I feel happier surrounded by nature.
Make no mistake, I adore tall buildings and people watching. New York City may be my favorite place in the world. My landlord and I spend quite a lot of time talking about Manhattan. My mom grew up there and spent the Summer in Lake George or Long Island. My landlord grew up quite the opposite from my Mother. He lived in Hell’s Kitchen, around the Irish section and the pubs. We talk about our favorite sites. He tells me what I can skip and what not to miss. He also offered me a chihuahua named Summer. I said I’d think about it.

I needed a reset. A place to get away from the chaos and misery that is slowly breaking down society. I needed to get in touch with myself again.

My son has also blossomed incredibly here. He loves to climb trees and run around outdoors. G has been obsessed with gemstones, minerals and fossils from a very young age. He loves finding and bringing in beautiful or unique stones. Our house must have stones and rocks in every room that G has found during a walk.

Now, there have absolutely been issues with living off the grid. It is not for the faint. There has been many a morning where I wake up freezing at 3 am and need to turn on the generator to get the power back on. Hauling wood is a daily activity. I also learned quickly that its easier to keep a fire always going than it is to keep starting a fire over and over.
We burn everything paper because it cuts down on garbage but also is useful for kindling. We can’t throw out food because it attracts wild life.

There have been hard times. I once slipped on black ice and broke ribs because I was too busy telling my son to be careful and to not slip on the ice. Try lugging wood with broken ribs! Ouch.

That’s the only downside to mountain living when you are the only adult. If you get hurt, the house still needs to stay warm or you all freeze. All those chores, hanging laundry, stacking and lugging wood, keeping the solar panel batteries filled with distilled water, this all needs to keep going no matter what condition you are in.

I will most likely never live like this again, at least certainly not on my own.
For now though, this is exactly where I need to be.

Peace to you all from this hermit on a mountain top,


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