Getting Through

Saying “some days I’m all over the place” is like saying “I have a couple of tools in my garage”: an epic understatement.

This website tends to follow suit. You’ll notice I don’t post on a regular schedule, and nobody (including me) knows if I’ll be talking about building houses, living in the country, or hugging donkeys. All three are equally important to my sanity. The only guiding principle I have for what I write is to always tell an authentic story.

If it takes a day, or a week, or a year (and some of them do), my hope is that in the end I’m sharing a real story. And, if you see me go silent, it’s usually because I’m struggling with how to put something into words. And sometimes I’m struggling with wanting to.

What I’m struggling with right now is, well, more than one thing actually, but the primary twitch in my eyeball comes from how frustrating it is to try an find a nice, old, beat-up pickup that isn’t actually falling to pieces. Even harder? Being able to recognize whether or not it’s falling to pieces.

I used to feel this way about houses and it took me a decade to figure out how to build one for myself. If I want to buy lumber for the chicken coop, and haul the tractor up here to mow the field, and rent a bobcact to put in a fence before winter… ten years is probably not going to be fast enough. And I struggle a little with wanting to justify my need for a truck because I know so many people do things without an SUV or a pickup. But, those people–bless their compact-car driving little hearts–aren’t me.

I would also like to state, for the record, that I have not lost my shit over the truck situation yet. But I did very clearly enunciate to my father over the phone when the last prospective truck didn’t pan out, that “I. Am. Very. Frustrated. By. This.” Historically my relationship with my father has been such that regardless of how he responded my head would rocket off of my shoulders and spin around with steam coming out of my ears until I calmed down.

This time he was all, “I know this is uncomfortable, but you just have to get through the process.” And my eyes crossed for five seconds while my brain tried to process getting through feeling a little paralyzed and helpless. I would rather step on ten thousand rusty nails that feel than feel paralyzed or helpless. Actually, if I started keeping track I may have almost that many puncture wounds in my foot, but, unfortunately, none of them resulted in a new truck. So I took a deep breath and realized that this is the price you pay if you want to live by yourself in the middle of nowhere on a farm. This is the price you pay if you don’t know how to take a truck a part and put it back together again. This is the price you pay if you don’t have enough time to properly search for and research what you need.

That’s life, and that’s where I’m at right now. In a week, or two weeks, or– god forbid– a month, I’ll post a story about my new old truck and all the shit I’m going to haul around in it, and what a pain in the ass it was to find it, but it’s totally cool because it all worked out okay in the end. That’s what the story will look like then. But this, my friends, is what the story looks like in the middle.

Luckily it’s not the only story in my life at the moment, so instead of ending there, I tell you another one that has an awesome ending, and is a narrative I need to remember more often…

So, here it is, and it starts last week on a Monday morning. Do I really need to say more than that? I woke up late. Tripped over the cat trying to get downstairs to let the chickens out. Didn’t have time for a shower. You know this story because it’s the story of every Monday, everywhere, for all of time.

You also know that because it was Monday morning, and I just barely made it out of the house on time, that on the isolated middle-of-nowhere country road that usually looks like this…


I hit a traffic jamb.

For real? Maybe fifty cars travel this road every day, and apparently every single one of them was backed up on the exact route I take to the expressway. At this point in the morning, the frown-lines on my forehead were, uh, significant. Botox worthy. Possibly permanent.

So I turned around, headed the exact opposite direction of my office, and turned down the nearest unfamiliar dirt road that would take me South. As I’m driving, I catch a glimpse something yellow out of the corner of my eye. It’s not close– across a hay field, behind a tree line– but it’s so bright I can’t stop looking at it, trying to figure out what it is.

And because it’s bright, and I’m already late, and life should always have a little adventure, I detour down another side street. I drive up and over a hill, and just as I clear the top, I see this…


On the worst Monday I’ve had in ages, when a small child could literally crawl inside my frown-lines and hide, when nothing was going right, I got to start my day by dancing in a sunflower field.

I’m sure there’s a moral in this story about embracing the unexpected or some other such philosophical thing, but really? It was just freaking awesome. That’s all the moral I need when things aren’t going exactly the way I planned.

34 Responses

  1. Please accept the following words of wisdom from someone probably old enough to be your Dad: Take your time finding the truck. Far better to wait a few weeks than to jump on one, only to find out it needs thousands of dollars of work to make it dependable.
    Now, put your head back on your shoulders, stop rolling your eyes, and start checking those classifieds and Craig’s List again! When you find it, you will know it in your gut. 😉

  2. A flower farm, how glorious! The universe was trying to tell you something, that’s for sure.
    I’ve lived through the old truck search. Finally found one at an estate sale. It was an old dead mans baby. Keep your eye out on also carsabi is a pretty thourgh site. Good luck in your search.

    1. I will absolutely do that. I could totally use an old dead mans baby. <-- Not the weirdest thing I've written on this website, but close.

  3. “Those people, bless their compact-car driving little hearts, aren’t me.” LOL, nope that’s me! I can fit a boatload of stuff in my Cavalier, but my when all else fails secret? I have friends with trucks and jeeps 🙂 Keep your head intact and facing forward and you’ll find the truck!

    1. Um. That is so fucking weird that I don’t even know what to say about it…

      I actually checked to see if this person follows me personally on facebook (where I posted a short version of the story last week) thinking they might have ripped off my experience, but then I realized the date of her post was two weeks ago.

      So. That’s amazing.

      1. I’m with GG in thinking this is some sign of encouragement that the universe has thrown your way. You’ll get that damn new-old truck sooner or later.

  4. Gah!! My personal relationship with sunflowers is that they are signs from The Universe that I am on the right path…. In due time, exactly as you said, it will all be worth it and work out in the end. But the key is the letting go and letting things happen as they unfold and not forcing it. I love these pics and I am taking them as a sign for my own little drama of being stuck in the middle of a process as well…. thank you for sharing!!!!

  5. I was going to say the same about the truck. I am sure that it is making your life a lot tougher right now, but try to wait and find the right one. Buying a clunker will give you way more headaches down the road!

    And the sunflowers!?! Amazing!

    I have been trying to sit and watch my hummingbird feeder lately. Just trying to appreciate nature, and take some breaks!

    1. I’m not sure if I ever wrote about the time a hummingbird got trapped in my house and let me slowly put my hand around him in mid-air to carry him outside. That was pretty crazy too… those little guys are a great way to appreciate nature!

      1. NO WAY!! That is something to remember for sure! They are so peaceful, I love watching them! I laugh at the little petite one that chases off the big bruiser hummingbird the past couple of days at my house!

  6. I’m in the middle of this same feeling….this same “why can’t this just WORK OUT FOR ME” feeling, only in regards to selling a house and buying another one (at the same time, of course, because that’s how it often is). I really need a field of sunflowers right about now. 🙂

  7. Two thoughts for ya … 1) I just loved your sunflower field experience. I *may* have borrowed that picture for my desktop at work. I needed a little something happy there. 🙂
    2) Have you thought about getting a trailer in lieu of a truck? Might be a little more cost effective and would be so useful until you find a truck that you like/want. They’re so easy to hitch to a crossover/little suv and while they do ruin your gas mileage a little bit, it’s only a temporary issue. I think that budget and other rental companies sell them used for a pretty good price.

  8. We have one of those trucks…we call it our ranch truck, even though we don’t have a ranch. It’s perfect for hauling stuff and shoveling dirt out of the bed without worrying about scratching the bed. Dex loves to ride shotgun. It’s a stick. It’s old and faded and glorious. Yes, you need one. Take your time. Wait until you know. Or until you come across an auction that closes in an hour, while sitting in a bar.

  9. Where you live, it’s about impossible to find a “nice” used truck. The salt and winter crud will destroy just about anything that’s metal in reasonably short order. I feel for you….

    If you know anyone who lives south (like TX or thereabouts) where they don’t use road chemicals, you’ve got a better chance of finding something that has a floor or a bed you won’t fall through 5 minutes after you bring it home.

    Several years ago, I brought a 3 year old car from Illinois to California for my daughter. When a mechanic looks at it here, they always ask me if I park it by the ocean. I have to explain the corroded fasteners (and pay the extra cost to replace them all). I even had the couplings for the trans cooler lines corrode completely off – spewing trans fluid everywhere.

    Good luck to you.

  10. Have you tried looking at government auction sites for a truck?
    my husband uses them and find good deals on things now and then.
    Here is some info:

    this is the link for the Michigan Inter-Governmental Trade Network, If you go to the link and it takes you to the main page just click on Surplus Auction

    Here is the link to the main page:

    Currently they have this red truck for about $300
    runs but looks ugly and its up in traverse city


  11. Wow. I needed this post. Get through the process. I can do that. I can. Sleep deprived though I may be, I can get through the process. Even though I want it all done RIGHT NOW DAMN IT… I can get through the process.

    And those sunflowers … amazing. Amazing timing. Amazing sentiment. Just, amazing.

  12. Loved this post. We forget that sometimes we’re pointed in the opposite direction for a reason…to just go with the flow, when we’d rather be salmon. I was truly amazed by the sunflower picture. Stunning! I showed it to an older gentleman at the church where I work. He said “you can experience that for yourself nearby.” And so (thank you Kit & Google) we figured out where the nearby sunflower farm was in MD (Harford County). I’m planning an early Sept drive to see this beauty in person…so I, too, can dance in a sunflower field.

  13. Good luck with the truck. I am driving a repo truck I bought on Ebay for my farm truck right now. Keep looking and you will find the right truck for you. But also keep in mind that all that great stuff you learned by tearing apart, fixing and rebuilding houses can apply to your truck as well. You may not be able to tear one apart and put it back together now, but you do have the skills. You just need the knowledge. And, as with houses, the internet can provide much of that. So don’t worry, even if you do need to change a thing-a-ma-jig or replace the whatchamacallit, you can do it!

    Good luck.

  14. I just picked up a used pick up a few months ago. After six weeks of frustration, I started looking outside of the great state of Michigan. I ended up flying one way to Dallas (Land of 10,000 Used Trucks) for $200, buying a F350, and driving the quick 23 hours back home. Got a fantastic deal and an adventure.

  15. I knew the exact truck I was looking for (V6 Tundra)and searched Craig’s List for almost a year before I found one close enough to grab. I still had to fly to the Washington Coast to get it and drive it back home. I love it, its the perfect truck for me because its not HUGE. And I can haul ANYTHING with my contractor’s rack. Plus it makes good gas mileage even though I only drive it when I need to and up to my cabin.
    So just keep looking, it will happen.

    And I had just borrowed someone else’s local sunflower field picture for my profile right before I read this. Sure makes the day sunnier!

  16. I gasped out loud when I saw those glorious sunflowers!! What a nice way for the Universe to give you a little breather! Absolutely beautiful!

  17. I happened upon one of these fields, right here in my little town. No idea it was there. We were just out riding and all of a sudden blinding yellow. It was the coolest thing I had seen in a very long time.

  18. hm, just got rid of my truck. I thought to myself, Gee, I need to ditch this thing, and literally the next day some random dude knocked on my door and asked if he could buy my truck.
    Highball, lowball, deal and a handshake – truck is gone. That was my sunflower field moment.

  19. That’s a lovely story and great point: gotta work through things to get to the sweet, sweet payoff. I hope you go back and meet the farmer, and share the story of why all those lovely flowers were planted & where they’ll go next.

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.