Monday, March 12, 2012

Meet the Family

Everyone in the family wanted me to start by telling you about our pluming problems. But, I’ll save that for the next post, and instead introduce you to the players involved in this little endeavor of bringing the farm back to life.

The first thing I would like to tell you is that while I am a member of the media, and by default something of a ‘public figure’, my family has requested some small measure of anonymity. We love nicknames in our family, and everyone has a four or five, which describe the different aspects of their personalities. So, it has been decided that we will use our primary nicknames here.

Mom: That’s me! I think I did a pretty good job of describing ‘me’ in the first post. All I have to add (simply for clarification) is that I’m a freelance writer and special needs support facilitator for a living. I’m the only one in the family who is currently working full time, though that could change at any minute. My family would like me to make sure that you know that I am the designated... erm... ‘witch’ in the family. I have always had a terrible temper, and have, over the years, learned to use it to my family’s benefit.

Da Man: My husband was raised a Marine Brat, and moved around quite a bit growing up. He eventually joined the Navy and served for eight years. Since then he’s worked in the trades for the most part, with a small excursion into IT hardware support over a decade ago. He’s worked in HVAC for the last twelve years, which is a very feast or famine line of work. He is (technically) employed, but currently in a famine period. This is very hard for him, especially since he’s not really sure what to do with a ‘farm’, lol. He doesn’t like not having anything productive to do, and if left to his own devices will take up strange and unusual hobbies. His current hobby is blade crafting, as in making knives, metal work and all. He is exceptionally gifted in the realm of mechanics and engineering, though he would say he’s not. But machines he knows... plants baffle him.

Hippylady: My mother is a tried and true old hippy, and very proud of it. Not to be confused with ‘flower children’, who preached peace, love, and pacifism, a real hippy questions everything and makes a great ‘devil’s advocate’. This describes my mother well. She is also a woman of many talents. She’s been here on the farm for 35 years. Her formal education is in fine arts, and she achieved the level of Master the old fashioned way. But, her current physical condition has left her dependant on others, which is very frustrating for her, because she’s used to being extremely independent. She isn’t used to having teenagers at her beck and call yet, but she’s getting there. She has a vision for the farm, and I see it as our job to make it happen. She has always tried to practice green, organic, sustainable living, since before the current crop of young people in the world were born, much less knew the difference between cloth and disposable diapers.

VJ: Our seventeen-year-old daughter has sever-moderate autism and moderate-mild cognitive impairment. We started calling her VJ when she was ten because A) those are her initials, and B) she turned out to speak fluent VCR. She took great pride in becoming the official family video jockey. She’s one of those people that everyone immediately loves, even animals. She’s always been that way, since the day she was born. She is also a minor prodigy in art, which is more than an autistic obsession with her. She has talent that leaves even Hippylady, who formally studied the subject for 15 years, a little jealous. Emotionally, she is only just now becoming a teenager. She looks forward to living on her own someday, but no day soon. As far as the farm is concerned, she doesn’t like to go outside. It’s dirty outside. There are people outside. Still, we make her go outside. Once a new house is built and she has her own space, she’ll be happier. She just can’t see it right now.

Grossmond: Our twelve-year-old has Aperger’s Syndrome, and is very much a tomboy. She is very mechanically and mathematically inclined, but reading and writing leave her frustrated. She got her nickname, which means “full moon” in German, for the way she is around others and the way she effects them. She is beautiful, powerful, and yet totally disconnected. She has a very strong pull on the people around her, and tends to illicit extremely strong emotions from them. She is simple, and yet mysterious, like the full moon. She is also a tried and true city slicker, so this move has been very hard on her. In her opinion, the farm is a great place to visit, but living here sucks, and she lets us know it in no uncertain terms. No waiting for the teenage attitude with that one. It came right on schedule. Still, she is a very adventurous sort, and loves to go exploring. She examines ‘what is’ in great depth and detail.

Her Majesty: Our youngest, a nine-year-old who was born with deformed thigh bones and an oblique talus in her right foot, got her nickname for the way she commands the people around her, and how she sits in her wheelchair. It isn’t a wheelchair, as far as she’s concerned, it’s a throne with tires. She’s extremely ambitious and very assertive. She’s had to be in order to survive. She’s been dependant on others her entire life, and hates it with a passion. She may, someday, be able to stand on her own feet and walk, but that day is still a long way off. She is, however, an extremely determined individual, and has found ways of doing things that her doctors and experts have sworn she would never be able to do. One would expect that she would be the one person who hates the farm the most, but instead, she is the one who loves it the most. She is very forward thinking and goal oriented, so when she sits out on the ramshackle porch looking out upon 'her domain’ she doesn’t see a bumpy driveway that is dusty dirt when it’s dry and sloppy mud when it’s wet surrounded by dead trees and yellow field grass. She sees beautifully paved pathways surrounded by raised beds spilling over with blooming flowers, trees heavy with growing fruit, and hears the sound of laughter. She’s the kind of person who knows 'what is’, but focuses on 'what will be’ and takes joy in the journey there.

So, that’s us. We’re a somewhat motley crew, but we get along. We may not be the world’s most functional people, but we are very tight as a family. Where one of us falters another will compensate. We don’t make a practice of complaining about what we have to deal with, but instead try to deal with what we have. Every day is an adventure in our house, and here on the farm there are no shortages of surprises to get us started on those adventures.

Our goal, as a family, is to transform this dilapidated five acres of land into something attractive, sustainable, and functional. We plan to build a new house out of mostly reclaimed materials if possible, finish a rain collection system that is currently half finished, and much more. There are so many ideas, and we have so many projects planned and underway that there is sure to be something for everyone in our journey.

Next up: Possessed Pluming: How to Exorcise Pipe Daemons and Sewage Imps!

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