The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


The Color for Today is Red – Part II

…and off to Hannibal we went.

It was hot, both inside and outside the Concord.  And when I say hot outside, I mean hot and moist.  St. Louis is a “sweat in the morning, frizzy hair, don’t touch me, peel your moist skin off the vinyl” place most of the summer.  I don’t know why God thought, “sure the Midwest gets hot, but it’s just not sticky enough, let’s put the source of all things humid right there where those two rivers come together….muuuuhahahahahahahaaaaa” but he did.  St. Louis’ summers are the result of his fine work.  However, we had our goal in mind and we were determined to spend the day in watery, cool fun.

We took turns driving the 90 minute trip north so that no one person had to endure the licking tongues of flame on the passenger side for too long.  After a long car ride.  We arrived, hot and sweaty, and ready for cool.  And it was a great day.  We slid, dunked, lapped, submerged, sprayed, splashed and rode the waves…for about 12 hours.

We also scoped.  Anyone know what that is?  I’ll let you guess, but I’ll give you a hint that pasty white skin on a half naked, very thin dude doesn’t help…at all.  Anyway, we had a great time until it got too dark to see and the lifeguards escorted us off the premises.

We threw our stuff back into the kiln and headed off to get something to eat.  Again, we spent the 20 minute ride back to Hannibal in dreadful heat.  I mean it was really hot, “Holy crap balls, does it seem hotter in here?  It’s supposed to be cooler now that the Sun has gone down.”  “Yes, it’s hot, and you’re not the one sitting in the hot seat.”  “Yea, but man, it’s hot anyway.” “It’s this stupit car that we drove all the way to stupit Hannibal.” “Shut your stupi-ndous face, there’s Ponderosa man, let’s eat there.”

We got out of the car and walked into the entrance of Ponderosa.  About three steps into the joint we stopped.  Everyone in the store, including the employees, were looking at us.  It was more of a slack jawed stare filled with wide eyes and horror.  You know, the look that always follows an intense record scratch and a gasp of breath…that kind of stare.

It was at this point that I turned my head and looked at Todd.  Todd, the only one of us that tans, was beet red.  Stop sign red.  Candy apple red.  Sun-freakin’-burn red.  I stared at him for a second, turned my head back to the Hannibal Ponderosa community and gulped.  If tan-man Todd was that red, I was pretty sure pasty-white Clay wasn’t going to survive the night.  I immediately felt my skin begin to suck all of the moisture out of the restaurant.  As we approached the counter all of the ice melted in the soda machine.  I also think I heard someone cry out “IT BURNS!!!  FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, IT BURNS!!!” but I can’t verify that.  I was a little preoccupied and trying to act like every pore in my body wasn’t shooting flames into the atmosphere  We ate with very little conversation and a couple of times I had to scream, “I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!!”  But I really can’t blame the people, Gary and Todd looked like human heat lamps.  I think a few people reheated their meals under our chins.

After we finished eating we sizzled back to the Concord and drove the rest of the way home.  It was a long, hot drive where we took turns hanging our heads out the window and then pulling them in because the wind felt like needles.  I spent most of my time hovering above my seat to avoid being burned at the stake while trying not to let my shirt, that felt like 30 grit sandpaper raking across my fried skin, touch me in anyway.  The conversation was thin due to the open window and the heat and the 3rd degree burns, but we eventually made it home.

It was a few long days of blisters and Aloe Vera and feeling sick.  Sunburn sick is not fun.  For those of you who know, I’m sorry I had to bring it up.  For those of you who don’t, think of a flu where you spend a lot of time in a cold bath and there is a need to have a fan constantly blowing a cool breeze across your smoldering flesh, but not too much lest the air begins to feel like knives stabbing at your well done carcass.  After the sickness passes, you get to enjoy the blisters and the peeling skin, large transparent sheets of yourself peeling off not once but twice or three times before your skin decides it will heal only to leave you four thousand more freckles in honor of your summer adventure.  Fun stuff.

That was the end of my severe sunburn days.  After I had healed, I vowed to become an avid user of the sunscreen that comes in a pink bottle with a baby’s butt hanging out of her swimtrunks and wouldn’t you know that even a thick coating of 50+ sunscreen is not enough to protect me from a burn if I’m in the sun too long.  Why I don’t live deep in a cave with the walking undead is beyond me.

HumanTorchThen again, I am pretty hot.

My Ike

I have a little boy.  His name is Ike.

100_8769He asks a lot of questions about this world.  He’s trying awfully hard to figure out what and why and how come things do the things they do.  I found myself explaining pressure to him the other day and then volcanoes and then he asked me if he came out of my belly button.  Sometimes I have to tell him he can ask two more questions and then he needs to find something else to do, mostly because my ears need a break and my brain hurts from working so hard to answer his difficult questions.


I never know what’s going on inside that giant light bulb shaped head of his.  Sometimes he gets upset when he can’t get his big head out of a shirt, but then he starts laughing when the shirt is pulling his upper lip over his nose and willingly admits, “I’ve got a big honkin’ head!”

100_8777He’s a very sweet, gentle, laid back kid…..with lots of questions.  I like my Ike.

How to get rid of a friend or watch it jiggle see it wiggle.

Are you tired of being friends with someone?  Then I would suggest my good friend Mrs. Mama’s strategy to sever the relationship.

First, you are going to need to be the most generous person on earth.  This means doing things like:

-saying yes to feeding and watering four stinky, muddy pigs that bury their feed trough deep in the bowels of the earth and try to avoid letting them slime you with mud, which is impossible.

-taking care of thirty some chickens and one mean rooster that attacks your leg when you are innocently looking around wondering where the rooster might be hiding.

-driving twelve miles to pick up your friends little boys and watch them all day while your friend works.

-baking homemade bread for your friend and while you are doing this you might send a sweet email to your friend telling her that you want her daughter to go on vacation with you.

-taking lots of great photos of your so-called friends family.

-now that you have your friend sufficiently buttered up, you need to ask if she will join you in an exercise program.

-the program begins at 6:00 in the OH DARK morning.

-you have been doing Kung Fu and Chai Tea and Krav Maga and Fuji Film Fighting classes and are in pretty darn good shape.

-you love to get up early in the morning and you know your friend likes to start her day a bit later and it will be very painful for her to get up so early and drive to this OH DARK exercise program.

-the first day you greet your friend with so much enthusiasm she has to ask you to please stop smiling and could you also turn the radiant beams of light down a bit that are emitting from every pour of your sweet face.

-now you are going to need to be super encouraging to your very out of shape, lazy, late-sleeping friend by saying things like, “Come on April, you can do it, just forty more squats!” and this one is pretty good, “Slow and steady wins the race!” or how about these great uplifting words, “We are going to be so fit and trim!”  all while your bouncing around and wearing that sickly sweet smile.

-your friend keeps glaring at you and telling you that you don’t need to be so happy, but remember the goal here is to get rid of this friend, make her despise every inch of your chiseled triceps and charming demeanor.

-now you have your friend exhausted, sweating, stinking, on the verge of puking and she is wondering why on earth she agreed to do this with you.

-as you both walk to your car you need to again use that precious smile and say, “Golly, I hope your not too sore tomorrow.”

-when you get home send your friend a perky email asking her how she’s doing and if you are still friends, because you want to make sure your evil plan is working.

-you are happy when your friend replies, “You are no longer my friend.  You are the producer of pain and agony.”

-you are successful, but just to make sure you check on your friend the next day and discover she can barely respond to emails or lift the phone because every muscle in her body is ready to explode.

-you send her one more email to make sure she’ll be there bright and early the next morning to be the subject of your torture session.

-you have successfully ended a friendship.

If I lose any weight or become fit it’s all her fault!