Bob learns there is no Grand Escape from the system

I am a self-admitted city slicker who once succumbed to the lure of the land, only to discover that Mother Nature ain't a nice ol' lady!  We wanted to prune trees, make wine and gather eggs and do all the things that rural residents do.

We chose the wet weather state of Washington for our Grand Escape. We gave our first home a rustic, charming title because that's one of the things that one does on the fringes of Suburbia so that your address convinces friends far far away that you live on an estate rather than a mortgaged morass.

Our decision to move to the countryside was one of those visionary escapist things.  We would buy a little printshop and put it in the basementto run and when I wasn't writing I could make like Ben Franklin.  Maybe we could grow mushrooms or fish worms when we needed supplementary income to tide us over the rough spots.

What we dreamed about and what actually happened was as different as boys and girls.  Our boring retreat from reality turned out to be an experience in everyday living which kept us young, excited – and broke!

There were no gold nuggets in the tiny stream which cut our small acreage in half.  We never could get Texaco or Shell to discover oil on our property.

We had cut the umbilical cord to society and come hell or high water we were going to make it work.

The high water came first!

In spite of what the Chamber of Commerce said, it does rain in Washington State.  We got 10 days of downpour which would have unnerved Noah and the other inhabitants of the Ark.  It spilled over into our basement, and we noticed the first tiny crack in our rose-colored glasses. 

In a matter of a few days, we had borrowed beyond our means to buy a house that leaked, and an acreage half submerged and an obsolete printshop reposing in a pool 87 picas deep. 

Using a very bad choice of words, we decided to drown our worries in work.  If we couldn't drown them, we certainly soaked them up good.  With tears!

There was no time for boredom.

We had wondered where our septic tank was – and we found it when it bubbled up in the middle of our lawn.  I worked for two days digging a hole and erecting a fancy-type rural mailbox only to have a postman stop and tell me I had to move it to the other side of the road.  With a government mail carrier, you can't just say you'll take from somebody else.

Gradually, however, our blisters turned to callouses, and muscles beganto appear where the sore spots were.

As someone once wrote, "all's well that ends well" – but our tale of woe was just the beginning.  If we had known what would come next, we'd have tried a different way to beat the system!

© 2009 Robert F. Karolevitz

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