last updated 2.19.24

February 19, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
Well, all alone, again, and I'm actually relieved about this. I finished the porch on the outside of the tiny house this weekend which I had to complete before I can build the little shed. I love it. The fact that it's been super sunny the past few days certainly helps. I can put out some chairs and have little cook-outs out there. I could even turn the porch into a small greenhouse which would allow me to grow some veggies and this would passively warm up the house, too. We'll see. First, I need to get some rigid foam insulation so I can panel the interior walls in the section where I'm going to build the loft and small bathroom. The rest of the walls can wait til spring. Priority one is being organized and self-contained.

I, also, need to upload this year's blog. I can't believe it's already the end of February. As good as things are, right now, I should be feeling even better and I think it's because I haven't been using this resource for the reason I created it years ago. It's gotten me this far. I shouldn't abandon it now that I'm doing well and so close to my "destination." I thought maybe I was done needing it after having such an amazing January, but recent developments required me to clear my head and this is the best way I know how under the circumstances. I went for a long jog on the hiking trails in the woods that border the field, yesterday, and tried to run it out, but that didn't work so I guess I should write.

I realize now that I was approaching the problem of loneliness the wrong way, but a few months ago, on a cold night in November, I was still trying to fix it the old way. Surprisingly, finding people to be around isn't the answer. I still need to do this, but it's not going to fix me. Only I can do that, not that there's anything wrong with me or anyone else who battles loneliness. Some of us just didn't grow up in close families. Being around other positive healthy people who want to live like I do is still my goal, but I need to approach it from a place of giving, not taking. A place of offering, not needing. If we don't know how to make ourselves happy as individuals, we'll only try to take when we have others at our disposal whether we're conscious of this or not. I want to be a giver, not a taker.

Giving is better. MissButterfly gave me a book to borrow the night I went to the sauna potluck, but I could tell she wanted to make sure I'd return it so I bought her, Dragonfly and Firefly some books and I'm going to leave them along with the one she lent me by her mailbox. I'll do it in a fun way. Of course, I'll put them in a plastic bag to keep them dry, but I checked the weather and it's not supposed to rain or snow for the next couple days. I'll make a card and in it will be a little map so they'll have to find the books hidden among the trees not far from the row of mailboxes down the wooded dirt road near their driveway. It'll be like a scavenger hunt. I think the kids will love it. I hope they will.

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January 7, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
I need a sled. We got our first real snow of the winter this week and the field my tiny house is parked in has a gradual slope which gets pretty steep at the top where I am. I'm not sure if I can make it all the way down to the road from here, but it'd be fun to try. I could probably use the lid off one of my big storage bins. I'm sure I'll have a few empty ones by the time I'm all packed up and ready to hit the road. It's great that I even want to go sledding. It's been a long journey back to the playful happy person I knew I could be. The unforgiveness of the road makes me cautious to celebrate how good I feel, but I can do both, respect the road and celebrate the joy of being alive, if I do it with discipline. I'm going to try and write more consistently, too. I've gone without it long enough which is fine, but if I look at it as a form of work by documenting the social experiment that has become my life, not a crutch for a vain ego, it seems like a worthwhile effort. Not sure if I'll post it in the blog, though.

January 11, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
Eleven great days and counting. This must be some kind of record. At least, it is for me. I got some stuff done, today, enough to call it a productive one. I finished building 4 extra feet of deck space onto the back of the trailer to fit my 14.5' kayak so it's not sticking off the end. I like it when things look neat and organized, not cluttered. I loaded the kayak, generator, stock tank -that's a galvanized metal tub for feeding livestock or a bathtub for a redneck off-the-gridder like me, bike trailer and big deck box which I assembled this afternoon with most of my tools in it onto the flatbed section of the tiny house trailer and it all fits nicely and uncluttered with plenty of room for a motorcycle if I choose to get one. I'll build a rack for the kayak and my mountain bike next. Today, I just wanted to see if everything fit.

I'm still getting over a little cold that I got from my buddy, mr.Model, last week when I flew to Tennessee to look at some land with him. We spent three days driving around in a rental car together with him coughing the whole time. No biggie. I'll survive. He's back down there again, today, but I'm up here in western Mass sitting on my couch which I built just before Christmas in case I had any company, but I didn't. We had a couple sunny days earlier in the week and that's all I need to charge up my deep cycle battery in order to have the lights on in the house. It's a pretty simple life when being able to turn a light on at night is cause for celebration, but it is. Wouldn't have it any other way. It's a little after 5 so it's dark outside and the temperature is dropping. I just finished putting my tools away. It's nice and warm in the house so much that I just turned off the furnace which I, also, installed just before Christmas in case I had company, but I didn't. It has a built in thermostat so it will turn off once the temperature in the room reaches 70. I've still got layers of work clothes on so I don't need it that warm, right now. I keep it off to conserve propane. I'll install one of my mini-rocket-mass-mason stoves as a primary heat source once I design another one. For now, the furnace works great. It takes all of 3 minutes to make it nice and warm in here, one of the perks of living in a phonebooth.

I thought I was going to have company because when I drove to Maine earlier in December to register the trailer -I still have Maine plates and a Maine driver's license. If I got a new license and registration every time I moved, it would amount to thousands of dollars. Sorry, I'm not going to penalized for trying to live a simple and free life. Maine is where I've lived the most. Anyways, I realized that I'd be driving right past missFlowerchild's town which is about an hour and a half away from here so after a few minutes of contemplation I decided that I'd feel bad if I drove that close to where she lives and didn't say "Hi" so I texted her. It was a little too spur of the moment for her to have me stop by that evening, but she asked me to let her know when I'd be driving through on my way back so I did. I didn't realize until I was sitting at her kitchen table the next afternoon that I wanted to apologize to her for not being a better friend over the last few years. Now that I'm doing so well, I can see just how poorly I was doing when we met in 2020. It was a nice moment and I gave her a big hug as I went to leave. Before I arrived, she told me that she had stuff to do at 3pm so I knew it was going to be a quick visit. At that point, I was still sleeping on the floor of the tiny house at night which had no front door so I was eager to get back because I had plenty to do, too. Next thing I knew we were making out and she was stuffing her hand down the front of my pants. I've got to be careful who I hug in 2024. Those things are dangerous.

Before I left, the next day, she eagerly told me that she'd be in Montague the following week for the winter solstice which she celebrates with a group of women she meets with every year so I assumed I'd see her when she was in town, but I didn't even hear from her. Not sure why. She's definitely still living the polyamorous lifestyle so maybe she had a different dude lined up already. It's a little odd that she was excited to tell me that she'd be just down the road from where I live and then crickets. Oh well, easy come easy go, I guess. I'm definitely not living the poly lifestyle and never will be. It hurt for a couple days that she drove all the way out here and didn't even say "Hi" while she was in town, but that was last year. All better now. The way I look at it is maybe it was a blessing in disguise. The possibility of having company motivated me to build the front door and buy a furnace. Now, if I ever do, it'll be cozy and warm in here.

January 12, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
Before heading into Turners Falls to do laundry, I carried the deep cycle battery over to the spot in the field that slopes to the south and attached my little solar panel to it so it could charge while I was gone doing errands. It looks pretty funny sitting in the grass beside missLuna's giant array of panels that she has for her house. Picked up some paraffin lamp oil at the hardware store for the nights when I don't have electricity and a couple of 12 foot 2x4's at the lumber yard for a kayak rack. I've got to order a lift-spring for the small enclosed trailer's ramp door. It was missing one when I bought it this summer and a person can't lower the door to load stuff into it without one. The door would crush you. They're very heavy hence having a spring assist mechanism. I just used the front ramp door and the other side door all summer. Of course, I'm going to order one for the big door in the back and install it before I sell it. I'd like to find a little more work before I hit the road, too. I don't like spending money when I'm not making it, but finding short term work isn't always easy. Selling the enclosed trailer will help a little and it needs to happen before I leave anyways. I've already moved a lot of stuff out of it and into the tiny house, but I might have to part with a few things. We'll see. It's going to be close.

I've learned a lot from living as a happy person even if it's only been for a couple weeks. I'm sure I've been happy before at other times in my life. I just didn't realize or appreciate it like I do now. I remember an expression that I used to use when I was in my early 20's. "You won't recognize heaven unless you've been through hell to get there." I thought it was something deep and cool to say. What did I know then about either heaven or hell, a middle-class white boy from suburbia? Anyone who's been through their own personal hell knows that it's got less to do with what's on the outside and more to do with what's going on in the inside. Everyone's rock bottom is different. For some, it could be lying in the gutter down a dark alley holding an empty bottle in a paper bag. For others, it could be losing it all in the stock market. For anyone, it's what drives a person to consider making the kind of fatal decision that you can't take back. However, let's be clear. A poor child starving in Somalia knows a little more about hell on the outside than a spoiled rich kid in America. We can't judge one another based on the lot in life we were born into. If these two children switched places, the Somalian child would grow up a spoiled American and the rich kid would know the trials of living in a third world country without even basic human necessities. A great deal of our lives is decided for us before we're even born despite how much emphasis is placed on freedom and individuality in this country. Who we are on the inside is based less on where we start our lives and more on how we finish them. The journey is about returning to who we are supposed to be if we at some point lost our way. I'm a long way from who this world tried to make me and much closer to who Mother Nature meant for me to be. This is the task at hand for each and everyone of us no matter where we were born or how we grew up. Our life becomes our own when we have no one to thank or blame for what we make of it. I didn't grow up rich, but some families in my town were. We were definitely rich compared to someone living in a third world country. It's all relative and I used to judge myself for where and how I grew up when I'd meet those who were less fortunate than me along the road I've taken, but the day finally arrived when I paid a toll that allows me to laugh and smile like I do, now.

January 19, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
Three comforters, two sleeping bags and a heavy wool blanket. It's supposed to be in the single digits, tonight, but I'm as snug as a bug. I spend a good half hour every morning defrosting things and melting ice on the stove so I can wash my face and do the dishes after breakfast. #MLR. In the wintertime, the cooler isn't for keeping things from spoiling. It's to keep things from freezing, but even still the milk has been a little crunchy the last couple of mornings. I had to heat up a pot of water, yesterday afternoon, and float the eggs in them before I could crack them to make an omelette for lunch. The crazy thing is that I still couldn't be happier. I actually enjoy it all. Yes, it's definitely ridiculous, but it wasn't my plan to be here at this time of year so I have to make the most of it. I spend my days working on the trailer or the house. I'd love to get another job, but I know that I won't be here much longer so finding work for such a short period of time is tricky. I'm still going to try once the trailer is ready before I hit the road. I'm just doing all the things that need to be done first. The part for the other trailer should arrive tomorrow. Once that's gone, there won't be much more left to do. I finished the rack for the kayak and mountain bike, yesterday. There's countless other things that I'd love to build or work on, but I'll wait until I have a job and money coming in before tackling them. I'm going to miss this little field and the big maple tree I'm parked beside. The moon has been so bright the last few nights that I don't even need a headlamp when I go outside. It's much more beautiful without one.

Misery loves company and happiness is meant to be shared. Which is it? Maybe both statements are right. I think the lesson is that we're social creatures. Above all else, regardless if we're happy or sad, life isn't life without each other. I guess this is the best reason to keep writing. I used to write to save my sanity and maybe even my life when it got that bad. Now, I'm content to work outside all day long in the cold winter rain still alone yet with a dumb permanent smile on my face. I'm not always alone. Maybe once a week, missLuna's German shepherd will make an appearance with missLuna following not far behind. They'll stop for a couple minutes before continuing on their walk that runs the length of the field and into the woods at the far end. Not exactly a busy social life, but I'd be a fool to think it doesn't contribute to my present state even if just a little. I think I've only left the property twice in the last week and only for a few minutes each time. Today it was to bring my recycling to the recycle center in Turners and a few days ago it was to run to the grocery store and grab some milk and a few other things. That's it. The rest of the time I'm happy to spend the day working in the quietness of the winter. Ok, I've had an occasional dance party at night in the house by myself. Not ashamed to confess it. A little embarrassed maybe. Life's too short to not celebrate the simple things whenever you feel the urge.

January 21, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
Walking up the hill this afternoon, it dawned on me why I haven't been working on the book lately. The irony is that the reason I haven't is a perfect example of my biggest purpose for writing it in the first place which is to get people to listen to their hearts more than their heads. I've written enough pages over the years to fill 10 books, yet I haven't forced myself to finish my first and I'm someone who's forced himself to do plenty of other things so why haven't I completed something that I actually want to do? With the passing of the new year, I've barely written at all in the last three weeks. More irony is that I've never been happier in my life than I am right now. 25 years of hell and back and I've finally arrived. Somebody pinch me. Most people would have given up a long time ago. Most people gave up on me years ago. Girlfriends that said they'd always love me, good friends who believed without a doubt that I'd "make it", family members who once admired me. They, all, eventually had to move on. Wah. As much as it hurt, I don't really blame them. From the outside, there wasn't much evidence that I was getting any closer to an inexplicable goal. All it looked like to them was stubborn idealism and a lot of pointless suffering year after year, but I was making progress. Unfortunately, no one else could see it. No one even understood why I'd taken this path in the first place, but as I held the course year after year I knew that I was learning what a mainstream life could never teach me while still waiting for something. I just didn't know exactly what that something was, but I could feel it and I was sure that I'd know when it arrived. I wasn't passively waiting like one does a bus on a street corner twiddling their thumbs doing nothing. I wasn't sitting on my ass waiting for the world to hand me something. I was waiting like one does shoveling out a barn stall that has layers of straw, hay, shavings and manure packed down so firmly that you'd think it was solid ground if it weren't for the top of the fence protruding out by your feet. Keep digging. You'll eventually hit real dirt a few feet down. That's the kind of waiting you learn by having someone else push you harder than you'd ever pushed yourself like a coach, a teacher, a boss, a competitor, etc. that is until that person walks away, too, and you learn how to push yourself even though you're still waiting for the moment when someone finally says, "Ok, that's enough" but there's no one there to say it so the years keep stacking up one on top of the other like hard packed layers of sh*t.

Looking up the snowy field towards my little house on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I realized what I was waiting for. My ego has always had plenty to say, but that's not who I want speaking for me. My ego is an idiot, and so is yours by the way. I realized that for as honest as I've tried to be in most of my writing, my ego was still doing far too much of the talking.

It was 8 degrees last night and my laptop wouldn't turn on this morning. I knew it had plenty of battery life so I tried to defrost it by placing it by the furnace, but even after it was warm and dry, nothing. I was hoping that if I walked down to the barn where my truck was parked, plugged it into the cigarette lighter and started up the truck, it would come back to life and it did. I was a little worried because I hadn't backed up the book recently so the risk of losing everything I'd written in the last 6 months definitely had my attention. As a matter of fact, I'm going to stop right now and save it. Be right back.

What I realized is that I needed to learn to write a different way, from the heart. This is what I was waiting for. I don't mean from the heart in the sappy way someone (including myself) writes a love letter or an apology. As sincere as it can be, writing like this only uses a small portion of your heart, the part most closely connected to your ego. That's no good. That's still far too much ego. The majority of the heart, yours and mine, has got nothing to do with emotions and everything to do with an intelligence that is far wiser than our crafty little brains. It is part of an all-encompassing knowledge that you and I cannot fathom, yet we can still tap into. I don't know exactly what makes the wind blow, but if I sail properly I can let it carry me to my destination. I didn't know what this place would look like. I only knew what it would feel like. You can't see the wind. You have to feel it. I will give my destination a name, but not yet. I suppose it helps if you're going through hell because anywhere is better than where you presently are and even though I've gone through my own personal moments, that's not why and how I started this journey. I was totally free when I left and full of ambition. I wasn't trying to escape someplace, or so I thought. As outwardly geographic as this path has taken me, I believed that I was trying to reach a destination within myself even if I didn't know exactly where or what that destination was. This is the definition of faith.

How can a hammer build a house? It can't, but a person who knows how to use a hammer can. Are you the hammer or the person? Are you your heart or your ego? We've created this world that we live in, our minds have, but this world didn't create us. It certainly shapes many of our opinions and beliefs, but it didn't create us. An invention can't build an inventor, but "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Human beings have invented many things, the wheel, the car, the computer, the smartphone and the hammer, but who invented us? The Earth did. Mother Nature did. God, if you're a religious person, did. You were created with a different type of intelligence than your mind or ego can fathom. If you don't know God, you're playing god. If you don't know Mother Nature, you're playing god with the Earth. We're playing god with the one thing that created us. The very thing that gave us life. How intelligent is this? It makes about as much sense as a hammer trying to control a person. We're just smart enough to be dangerous to one another and to every other living creature on the planet. This doesn't sound like the most highly evolved species to me. Yet, any neuroscientist will tell you that we're only using a very small portion of our brains. Where does this larger portion of intelligence come from? How can we access it? I'll give you one guess.

Manure mixed with the right amount of carbon found in straw, hay and shavings makes the best compost. Compost enriches the soil, one of the building blocks of healthy life. You can't rush this process and my mind, my ego, has been in too much of a hurry to say what it's wanted to say. This is because it was motivated by something other than the truth. Maybe it was pain, fear, desire or loneliness. Regardless of what it was, I could sense that it wasn't coming from an unconditional source and this is where I should be writing from. The sun shines on everyone, good, bad, happy or sad. What we do with its warmth and power is up to us.

January 23, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
I should change missFlowerchild's name to "the Temptress." She sent me a pic of her ass in panties, last night, and then another one of her topless, this morning. I haven't heard from her in a month then out of the blue she wants to hook up. I don't have any bad feelings towards her, but I think I'm going to pass. I'm monogamous and she's polyamorous. I don't know how many other guys she's sleeping with. If all I'm interested in is sex, one could say that it's none of my business. "What do you care? Get laid and don't worry about it," I can hear some of my buddies saying. I'll confess that I love sex and she has an amazing body, but I trust my instincts more than my desires and my gut tells me that it's a bad idea. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but if I truly care about her, I should try to be her friend rather than just another guy she's f*cking. If I was weak and wanted to get what I can from whomever I can then I guess I'd be stupid not to jump at the chance, but I'm not weak. I'm happy and this is what happy people do, the right thing. I can't allow a woman who's not doing great drive an hour and a half just to have sex with me and then send her packing the next day. How is that going to help her? She's smoking hot. She can get any guy she wants, but maybe always getting what she wants is the problem. Whatever, she's a grown woman and it's not my job to do her thinking for her, but I'm not going to do something that I don't feel good about. I won't lie. The risk of getting an std is another reason why I'm going to pass. I'm very careful with my body, not because I'm a goody-two-shoes, but because I like being healthy and clean and that's the type of woman I hope to find. I'm trying to decide whether I should even attempt to explain all this to her or just say "No, thanks."

Thank you for the offer. I would love to see you, but I don't know how well you're doing, right now, and I wouldn't feel good about taking advantage of the situation if you're not. I'm so happy and I want you to be happy, too. Giving into physical desires is not going to help this (as good as it would feel in the moment). It's more than just physical when I'm with a person and I'm not going to reduce it to a vice or a quick fix. I wasn't strong enough to resist these desires when we first met, but after our last time together, I realized that I'm not helping things by just being another guy you're f*cking. You're a very attractive woman with an amazing body. I'm sure there's lots of guys who want to have sex with you. I just can't be one of them. You can always get my attention with your pics, but unfortunately I'm too strong to give in now. However, I will be your friend if you truly want one. I care a great deal about you. (sorry for the long text. I'd much rather talk. You know how to reach me:)

January 24, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
To my relief, missFlowerchild took my text very graciously. She even admitted that I was right, not about her doing poorly. She said she's doing fine, but in regards to her pattern of contacting me out of the blue for hook-ups. For the record, as much as the hopeless romantic in me has resisted arrangements like this for most of my life, there's nothing wrong with it between two single consenting adults. It's a messed up world and many people don't get enough healthy physical touch, which doesn't have to include sex, so if two people find themselves able to give this kind of affection to one another without any drama, God bless 'em. I had to learn this the hard way after years of punishing myself. She was the only person I was doing this with for the three years we saw each other off and on, but once she returned to the polyamorous lifestyle I wasn't going to risk getting an std by continuing anything physical with her. After I was with her last, I got myself checked out. They have home tests you can buy nowadays. They're not cheap, but a clear conscience and knowing I'm healthy is worth it. She still sent me more pics so I had to be more direct yet still gentle and put a stop to it. I'll wait a little while then call and check to see how she's doing. Saying you care about someone doesn't mean jack if you don't follow it up with action.

Today was drizzly and overcast, but mild and pleasant compared to the temperatures of the last week. My happiness is still amazingly maintaining itself and the novelty of its presence has not wore off. I monitor it like one would a cold, but for the opposite reason. I don't want it to leave. It's been a long road to get here so maybe it's a form of diligence to keep a close eye on any risk of losing it, but miraculously I haven't. In fact, it seems to be getting stronger and more enjoyable. Even melting ice on the stove in the morning to then use the warm water to defrost a bottle of olive oil in order to cook frozen eggs is a pleasure not a chore accompanied by laughter and poking fun at myself. I've contemplated how to proceed on my path with this new way of existing. My life isn't much different on the outside, but the inside is night and day. I hope I never take feeling like this for granted.

January 29, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
It's the 29th. The month is almost over and it's been the best month I've had for as long as I can remember. I feel so damn lucky. Nothing significant's happened. It's been outwardly uneventful actually. I've barely left the property and it's been bone-chilling cold plenty of the time, but nevertheless my happiness has remained a steady constant. It just bubbles out of me all day long. I decided to stop what I was doing this afternoon and do some writing. I don't need to write anymore. It's no longer the life line it was for so many years. I almost feel like, now, writing is a way of giving respect to what helped me for such a long time. Plus, I should continue with it regularly. It's good discipline and it will help me with the book. Now, writing can be a form of work and I like to work so I should stay in the habit of it until I find my tribe or at least my person.

We got some more snow last night so I spent the morning shoveling around the barn and clearing off the big solar panels in the field for missLuna then I left the property to do some grocery shopping and errands. I'm pretty much all done, now, but before I head back I figured it would be good to take advantage of being able to plug my laptop into the cigarette lighter so I don't have to worry about the battery wearing down. This is another reason why I haven't written a lot lately. There's a lot less sunny days in the wintertime so my little portable solar system isn't as effective until I upgrade with another battery and some bigger panels, but that's an expense I'm waiting to make once I'm working steady again. As a result, I haven't had the electricity to power my laptop because I haven't been using my truck that much either. I've been writing with a pen in my journal instead. We had a break from the cold the last couple days so the ground is pretty muddy at the moment, but it's supposed to drop back down below freezing tonight so I'll move the small enclosed trailer out of the field and park it by the road to sell it when the ground is hard again. I don't want to move it until then to avoid making muddy ruts in missLuna's field. I installed a brand new spring assembly for the back ramp door last week and I'm almost done emptying it. There's only a few bins and some odds and ends left, but I need to build a loft in the tiny house for those items so I'm going to have to store them outside temporarily until after it sells and I have the money for materials. The bins are plastic with snapping lids so they should be fine.

Right now, I'm parked down the far end of an empty parking lot away from all the strip malls, box stores and cars going way too fast. I should call missButterfly. She called me two days ago out of the blue and left a voicemail, but I haven't called her back yet. I usually do immediately, but then I stopped myself. The truth is I don't really want to talk to her. I haven't seen or spoken to her in months. I was pretty surprised to even hear from her. There's no hard feelings, but I figured she would have forgotten about me by now. I'm not sure what she wants. The last time I spoke to her was on the phone in early December and she told me repeatedly like she's done every time I've spoken to her that she's not looking for a relationship which is strange because I've never asked her for one. I've never asked her for anything. I've never even asked her out. She's the one who calls me so I don't know why she keeps saying that. The whole thing seems a little odd to me. Maybe she's looking for another hook-up, too, but doesn't want to come right out and say it. I think I'll pass on that as well if that's the case. That was a one time deal under extenuating circumstances. We met last summer, but I still don't feel like we know each other. We've never really hung out or spent any time together other than those two nights. If I wanted to get to know her, I would ask her out, but I unfortunately don't so I haven't. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for her and admire how she and her husband were living and raising their children, but she's never showed any interest in wanting to get to know me so I've just left it alone. Like I told myself when I first met her and learned of her situation, there's no way I'm going to be cavalier or irresponsible with someone who's been through what she's been through. I've told her that she can always call me if she ever needs a friend or someone to talk to, but she hasn't. She only calls to invite me to parties than keeps her distance the entire time. She has lots of friends and family so maybe she doesn't need another friend. Again, this is why I've left it alone. Anyways, I'm a little perplexed about hearing from her so rather than call, now, I think I'm going to wait until the enclosed trailer is sold which should be this week then I can use the money to make a few improvements to the tiny house like installing a bathroom in case of the rare possibility that I do have a guest. The finished house is going to have a big kitchen and a luxurious bathroom with a tub and shower, but I needed a place to live this winter when it started getting cold so these extravagances didn't make the cut until spring when the temperatures are milder. For now, it's cowboy baths and a compost toilet which is fine for this vagabond, but I wouldn't feel comfortable having a female guest with such rustic amenities.

January 31, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
I'm not sure what's going on. As December was coming to an end, I noticed a change. I was happier more often than usual. By New Year's Day, I was waking up with a "Whoohoo!" Literally. I actually said it out loud as I got out of bed on Jan.1st. I couldn't believe what was happening. Day after day all through the month of January, I became happier and happier. When you've been through hell and back and you experience this much prolonged happiness, it's a little surreal, but on the other hand, it feels right and natural. It's a crazy experience. For most people, no matter how difficult a person's life has been, they can recall at least a few happy memories, maybe from childhood. As we get older, we can remember being young and having older people tell us "You don't know how lucky you are." Hearing this all the time when we're young gets old, no pun intended, but they were right. I didn't know how lucky I was back then. I do now. I could barely stop smiling for practically the entire month. Then around the 30th, things began to slip. For the days that followed, it got worse and worse and I couldn't figure out why.

Today, I was working outside and went to move a plastic bin of miscellaneous tools and hardware that I keep stored on the ground under the tiny house trailer. I knew to be careful pulling it out because sometimes the bins will freeze to the ground so I have to be delicate when I break them free and pull them out to pop off the lid and get whatever it is I'm looking for. I've done it a hundred times this winter. Today, I was hurrying for no reason whatsoever. I didn't need to be anywhere. It was beautiful and sunny and I was planning on spending the entire day up in the field working. It was cold, but I was dressed for it. There's no valid reason why I impatiently squatted down and kicked the bin before trying to pull it out. It smashed into pieces. In my anger, I slammed the cordless drill I was holding on top of the bin sitting beside the one I just kicked and cracked the lid on that one, too. F-bomb after f-bomb I yelled as I stormed around in the snow likean idiot trying to calm down furious with myself all the while cursing how cheaply the plastic is to break so easily, but I knew better. My own stupidity was the real source of my anger, but why? Where did my new found happiness go?

Making improvements to my living conditions definitely improved my mental well-being. The tiny house became weather tight and livable. That's huge. Then I had heat and a full size bed, a stove to cook on, a bath tub to wash up in and I was still surrounded by nature. I was in heaven. But with time ticking away, my finances are getting too low for comfort as I'm buying one thing or another to continue working on the house and I'm starting to feel trapped.

February 4, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
I picked up a couple days work this week out of nowhere. A guy responding to one of my fliers that I posted in December texted me and he says that he's got plenty more work if I want it. When I was washing the tires and rims on the little trailer to make it more presentable, the valve stem broke on one of the tires when I barely touched it with a sponge probably because it was so cold so I had to fix a flat tire before I could move it, but that's all done and it's down by the road beside the barn this afternoon so whoever buys it can back up and take it away. It's nice to be up here in the field with just one trailer even if it has a lot of stuff under and around it. I spent the rest of the day reorganizing everything.

Sitting in my truck on Friday after work in downtown Greenfield not wanting to go home yet, but not wanting to go out either, I finally figured out what happened. It makes perfect sense, but it took me a few days to see it. It's the exact same reason why I began to feel liberated and more myself last spring when I was cleaning out the house in Marshfield. Right now, I have too much stuff. Plain and simple. There's no big mysterious reason or something so deep that you'd have to be a monk to understand, just too much g'damn stuff. Last weekend, I began cleaning out the remainder of what was in the small enclosed trailer beside my tiny house and by Monday I had finished emptying it. That was the 29th. I had bins and things everywhere, on the back of the trailer, under the kayak rack, under the trailer on the ground, in the tiny house, under my bed, on my bed and anywhere else I could stuff something. My simple existence had become a cluttered mess. I felt like I was living on a small island and the tide began coming in making my island even smaller until I had no place to even stand. Feeling trapped is the opposite of feeling free and this is what happened by losing my storage space. It's not the end of the world. Once the trailer sells, I'll have enough money to buy some lumber to build a loft inside the tiny house and a little shed on the back of the trailer. This will give me the space I need. Whatever else doesn't fit has got to go.

February 8, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
I'm still in the thick of it right back to trying to survive everyday. I get temporary glimpses of how it felt not too long ago like when I walked up the hill this morning with the deep cycle battery and my backpack solar panel to set up my little charging system on a bright sunny day like today. We've had three in a row this week so I'm soaking it in, but unfortunately my patience is shot. I'm quick to anger and I'm waking up over the grand canyon every morning, again. The only consolation is that I've got the whole month of January to refer to so I can hang onto the hope that once I sell the enclosed trailer and get paid by the guy who I did some work for last week I'll be right back where I left off.

For the time being, I'm in a slight holding pattern so I'm trying to figure out which projects I can tackle, today, without spending any money. There's plenty to do, but I don't want to just kill time with something cosmetic like adding more small blocks of wood to the jigsaw design I built my front door with. I can do that in my leisure anytime anywhere. The door works the way it is.

I could mount a light switch to the wall inside the tiny house. Up til now, I've just been plugging in the one light I have to turn it on because it's mounted on the wall up high close to the ceiling, but a switch would be a little more civilized. Waiting to do little stuff like this until spring when I make the house bigger seems like a form of procrastination.

February 9, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
Sold the enclosed trailer, yesterday. I bought and installed a new jack for it, first. The old one was a pain in the butt to crank. Then, I posted it for sale online that night, spent all morning answering emails and it was sold by the afternoon. The first guy who came and looked at it after walking around it and then inside after we opened both ramp doors handed me my asking price without even a conversation about the amount. I handed him a hundred dollars back for good karma, but he wouldn't take it. We both just laughed. I guess all the work I did over the last couple weeks paid off. I gave him the manuals to the new parts and we shot the breeze for a few minutes about other things, Maine, snow mobiling, work, then we thanked one another and said "Take care."

I'm still way too excited about the light switch I wired and mounted in the tiny house, yesterday, while I was waiting for him to get here. I feel so civilized. Watched a youtube video on how to darn socks then knitted a few of my big wool ones that had holes in them this morning and now it's time to make a to-do list in order of importance for what I should work on next. I've been neglecting the book mostly because I've been preoccupied with necessities like keeping warm and finding work, but with the trailer sold the money takes off the pressure for a little while so I can take a breath. I've got to head to work in a few minutes, but only for a half day. I texted the guy about settling up because he still owes me for last week and he asked me if I had some time today so I'll go by the big industrial warehouse that he's renovating, grab my check and put in a few more hours.

No grand canyon this morning. Just like that. I still have storage space to build into the tiny house to get what's under the trailer onto the trailer, but all in due time and I've bought myself the time.

Called missFlowerchild when I got out of work to see how she's doing. She was surprised, but very happy to hear from me. She wants me to come visit next weekend and do some winter work on her and her sister's property cutting back the thistles along the edge of their field before everything starts growing in the spring and then go into Boston with her for the New Year's celebration in Chinatown (their new year is later because it correlates with the winter moon cycle so lots of hippies attend the festivities apparently). I'm not sure about all that. She was actually in Montague, today, visiting her "friend". I think it's an actual friend, an older woman who's not feeling well, but I'm not sure. The fact that she didn't say "Hi" again while she was here makes me think that me driving an hour and a half to where she lives to do a bunch of work for her seems a little much, but I'll think about it.

February, 13, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
I'm still keeping my phone off most days, but I had plenty of slips in the beginning of the month. When loneliness reared its ugly head, I gave in and resorted to distracting myself by watching youtube videos or researching possible places to live online. The monumental difference between now and all the previous years that I've moved from place to place hoping that it will be different "this time" is that now I know what it's like to conquer loneliness. For almost the entire month of January, I rode a continuous high that I've never experienced before. It wasn't a fleeting glimpse that departed as quickly as it arrived. It was constant. It was my default mood throughout the entire day including the mornings. Yes, including the morning. I honestly thought I had finally arrived and I was almost right, but not quite. That euphoric feeling slipped out of my hands and I was right back to white-knuckling it all day long and waking up every morning to a dark cloud of dread that I had to push through to get the ball rolling and be productive. Because it's an existence that I know all too well, it wasn't difficult for me to adjust to it even though for those 5 or 6 days I was perplexed as to why I had lost my new found serenity, but now I know exactly what to do in order to get it back. It's not going to happen over night, but I'm almost back to where I was ealier this year and I'm chipping away at the projects that'll make me self-contained and then we'll see what happens.

February 18, 2024, Montague, Massachusetts
What a relief. For the past couple days, I've been dreading the conversation I just had, but it's over now. I just got off the phone with her. I feel so light and free. Thank God. On the other hand, I feel bad, too, because she may not be feeling as good, but, unfortunately, it's a situation that I can't get involved in. I'm not the one who created it. Way too complicated.

In the mornings, I turn my phone on for a few minutes to check for messages. I usually don't have any, but on Wednesday morning I got another voicemail from missButterfly. She had called around 7:30am which seemed a little early, but I felt bad about taking so long to call her back last month which took over a week and I only left a quick voicemail that this time I called her back that day. She invited me to a sauna/potluck she was having that night. I hesitated and stalled a little asking her what time she was planning on having it. Around 5. I told her that I might be working and we usually don't finish until around 6 which was somewhat true, but honestly I didn't really want to go. I was tired of the guessing game with her. Plus, I had stuff to do which I didn't get to the previous day because the guy I've been helping out texted me that morning and asked if I could come in and work. I didn't feel like rearranging my schedule, again, on short notice. She told me that even if I can't make it over for the sauna I was welcome to join them for the potluck afterwards and we left it at that. I didn't really want to go, but as I worked all afternoon, it dawned on me that it was Valentine's day. Even though it's a joke of a holiday, I eventually came to the conclusion that I'd be a dumbass if I didn't go. "When a pretty girl invites you to come take a sauna with her on Valentine's Day, you go, ya moron."

The evening was fairly uneventful. Like a ding dong, I got there late and missed the sauna. By the time I was done working on my projects for the day, got cleaned up and ran to the store to grab some stuff to bring, it was around 6. They were already sitting down eating when I got there. It was all women. I felt like I was intruding actually because they all looked pretty surprised to see me when I walked in. For a second, I thought maybe I misunderstood what night she was having it, but she hugged me when she saw me and assured me that it was the right evening. She told me I could still take a steam if I wanted. The sauna was still going and her neighbor, an older gentlman, was down in it. I haven't done a lot of saunas especially with perfect strangers and I've stepped out of my comfort zone plenty of times when it comes to attending things she's invited me to so I opted to just sit down and join them. Getting to be around people and have some dinner was good enough.

After everyone left, I lingered a little to help clean up. Dragonfly and Firefly were still up and we began goofing around in the kitchen and playing games. I got the feeling that missButterfly wanted to sit and talk with me, but I could tell that my being there was only going to prolong the kids going to bed so I said "Good night" and headed home. Still have no idea what she wants from me.

Two days later I got another voicemail. This time she was inviting me to go ice skating with them. She learned I was a hockey player earlier this winter.

First of all, I'm not telling a story. I'm trying to process what happened and this is the only way I can seeing as I don't have anyone to talk to #orbitless , but if this is going to be of any use I need to back up and include what happened in late November the night after I had my little moment on the roof in the rain. I detest drama and this is why I've refused to write about it or maybe it's just my pride because I don't like feeling like a fool, but what happened that night is a major reason why I've decided to pass on anymore of her invitations. I know she's been through a lot and I've tried to be understanding and flexible, but I can't allow myself to be played even if she doesn't realize that's what she's doing. I've had a hard time believing she doesn't, but I've still been patient and open-minded with her.

I can't believe I'm going to waste my time writing about such nonsense, but I need to move forward with a clear head. That night on the roof when I, yet again, resolved to stop spending so much time alone, I decided to go out the following night after working on the house all day to grab a hot meal and be around people for a little while. I choose to be trusting and somewhat naive. It's a conscious choice, not a clueless mistake. I'd rather give people the benefit of the doubt than become cynical and jaded, that is until they make it clear that continuing to trust them would not be a wise decision. It's not about judging others. It's simply about judging what kind of situations I put myself in. Being able to take people for their word is the kind of world I want to live in so that's how I treat them. Maybe this is why I live the way I do because living deeper within the system makes it harder to trust what's going on in the world. The planet and the world are not the same thing. The planet is this big beautiful rock with an ecosystem living on it. The world is what we've created on top of this.

Anyways, I can barely get through a play by play, but the blunt version is that when I went out that night I ended up bumping into a guy who I recognized from the bonfire parties that missButterfly kept inviting me to this summer. He was one of the dudes lingering in the driveway when she jumped my bones the night before I left for Costa Rica. He was now livng with her. I remembered his name and invited him to join me for dinner. Turns out he wasn't alone. She was on her way there, too. When he told me this, I tried to get out of it telling him that I didn't want to impose on their dinner together, but he wouldn't hear of it. This poor sap who I could tell really liked her had no idea about her and I. Sorry, I shouldn't call him a sap, but I'd call myself one if I was in his shoes. He had her son with him and she was around the corner at gymnastics class with her daughter and they'd be right over. I should have just left, but I chose to be naive. I didn't care that they were now in a relationship. More power to him. He put in the time and wanted to be with her. I had my doubts all along and never pursued that possibility. You snooze, you lose. No worries.

When she arrived, she gave me a big hug and sat on my side of the booth with her daughter because her son was on the other side with mr.Man-bun. He and I had a cool conversation before she got there. He even asked me for my contact info so we could keep in touch. By the end of the night, I'm pretty sure he'll never use it. I was polite and social all through dinner. We had fun with the kids and even played a board game right on the table after we ate that missButterfly broke out of her bag. The kids' grandmother was across the room having dinner with some friends so the kids ran back and forth visiting with her. It was a nice night, but I had to basically lie for missButterfly and not let on anything. I'm not trying to sound self-righteous, but this is just not the kind of person I want to be. I didn't care that they were together, but I'm pretty sure he would've cared if he knew about me. The poor guy was starting to get flustered by the end of the night because we were all having a little too much fun. She tried to hug me, again, before I left, but I wished everyone a nice holiday and got the heck out of there as quickly as possible before she could.

Hopping in my truck and heading back to my freezing ass field sucked, not because he got the girl and I didn't. He could have her, but having to lie for her and then return to my lonely existence was a kick in the gut. The grand canyon swallowed me whole as soon as I walked out of the restaurant and stepped onto the sidewalk. I could hear her saying something behind me, but I didn't stop to listen. I just looked back and waved and said "Take care." I hate drama and I could've made a bunch of it that night. I could've made some the night she invited me to another bonfire potluck, too, after I got back from Costa Rica because no one knew about us, but I played it cool because I was trying to be considerate of her situation. Why did she keep calling me and telling me she wasn't looking for a relationship? I never asked her for one and I never even called her except to be polite when she called me. Anyways, going out that night definitely wasn't a cure for loneliness, but I got over it and focused on the things I needed to do. Then she calls me, again, a week and a half later and invites me to go to a hockey game with her and her brother. I politely passed. I didn't even bring up the whole dinner thing. It's none of my business. She doesn't have to explain herself to me. I still barely knew her. She can get involved with whoever she wants. I just didn't want to get mixed up in it.

So that was last year, I came out on the other side doing awesome and I'm keeping it that way. Needless to say, this is why I wasn't eager to call her back in January when she called, again. At this point, I didn't know the details of her relationship with mr.Man-bun. I just knew that he was living there with them and naively left the possibility open that they were just friends, but I'm not stupid. Like I said, it's none of my business. After I went skating with her and the kids, after she invited me to come in and have dinner with them when I was dropping them off, after dinner when we all watched a movie together, after the kids were in bed, after she asked me to join her downstairs on the couch and after we hooked up, she made it my business. This is when I found out everything. Man-bun was no where to be found, but it's interesting that she waited to tell me that they were more than just friends after the fact. That they were sleeping together. Wtf. Time to go.

I didn't overreact. In fact, I barely reacted at all. I sat there and listened patiently. She was on top of me. What was I going to do, stand up and let her fall on the floor? She explained that it didn't work out between them because she's not looking for a relationship so he moved back to Pennsylvania. I didn't bother stating the obvious that having someone live with you who you're sleeping with is a relationship. I had no right to be upset. I'm a big boy. If it was that important to me, I should have made us talk before we did anything. We didn't go all the way, but came pretty close. When I was convinced that she was done telling me everything that she wanted me to know, I politely said good night. She told me that the ball was in my court. Tonight, I called and we talked. I gently told her that it just wasn't a situation that I can get involved in.

This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are the product of the author's imagination and are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.