Friday, January 21, 2011

Blue Jobs, Pink Jobs

After a week on the homestead, it's a flashback to living on the boat. (For those not in the know, before moving to the Tennessee mountains, and before our Minnesota stint, we lived on a 37-foot sailboat for two years and sailed from L.A. to Ecuador to Bora Bora to Hawaii  before going broke.)

In the cruising life, jobs are clearly defined. If it has to do with generating power or anything to do with the head (that's toilet talk, you landlubbers), it was Mason's job -- a blue job. Meal planning, cooking, organizing and cleaning? The second mate stepped up to the job.

Now on Flat Top Mountain, when I wash the daily dishes, just like on the boat, it's a challenge to see how little water I can use. (We're still restricted to using just bottled water -- today we finally got a local bank account (that's another story to tell), so we can call the well-drilling guy on Monday.)

Mason got the toilet functioning, but armed with baking soda, vinegar and Lysol wipes, I was the one who truly made it usable. Still, flushing isn't possible without filling buckets with rainwater from our rainwater collection system. And that routinely involves chipping through the layer of ice that forms on the rain barrels every night.

On my hands and knees, I scrubbed the filthy cabin floors with heated rainwater. But I couldn't have done it unless Mason knew how to rig the house lights up with a generator and battery bank system and keeps the kitchen stove fueled with propane.

I've put myself in charge of fire safety (which includes two extinguishers and lots of fretting), but it's Mason who must split the firewood daily to keep us warm at night. (Note to concerned friends: Chimney inspector coming in a few weeks to make sure we don't set fire to ourselves. Until then, pray for us.)

In the dark of night, when it comes for Nick the Dog's final pee for night and bears may be on the prowl, that's Mason's job all the way. I go on Nick's morning jaunt, thank you.

See? The division of labor is clear, and it works. But there's just so much labor ahead...

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