Adventures in Inadvertent Homesteading

So, as you may be aware, I am on vacation. 9 days in the mountains! In my parents’ nice, quiet cabin! Just me, the pine trees, and Dumbcat!

What’s that loud noise from next door?

That’s the best-laid plans of mice and men going astray, ladies and gentlemen.

I am presently sitting at the picnic table, trying to beat sunset to write this. Because when it gets dark, well, that’s it. You can’t blog well by flashlight. I tried last night.

But, I’m jumping ahead.

Yesterday I came home from work, threw everything in the car, and immediately almost passed out from heatstroke. It was 95, but the handy-dandy weather app on my phone said it felt like 105. (I’d put the degrees sign in there, but I don’t know how with the WordPress app. Sorry. We’re bare-bones until my brother brings me his mobile hotspot thingy tomorrow around these parts.)

It was probably not best to travel under those conditions, but what can I say. I’m stubborn as hell, and I wanted an extra night of vacation.

I put an icepack in a towel for Dumbcat, prayed to the gods of weather that it would cool down, and took off. (I also packed a ton of cold water and ice for myself and some cold wet washcloths in a baggie in case I needed to swab myself off, guerilla-style, while driving. I’m awesomely planning-ahead like that.)

We got about an hour and a half from home (with Dumbcat melodically alternating between yowling and panting the whole way, which scared the shit out of me, even though when I’d pet him he was purring, weirdo) when I realized he was soggy. “Why are you soggy, buddy?” I asked. He yowled. I thought, maybe the icepack is leaking?

The smell in the car made it immediately apparent it was not a leaking icepack, but a Dumbcat TAKING a leak. In the carrier. All over his fur.

So I pulled over at a rest stop, praised all the random deities I may or may not believe in for the planning-aheadness of the wet washcloths, and swabbed off my cranky-as-hell pee-soaked cat. And his carrier. He then looked like a drowned rat, and while I cleaned the carrier he ran around the car saying “Meow meow MEOW” very cheerfully because he thought he’d escaped. (I’d let him ride without the carrier, but he’d fall out a window. He’s not called Dumbcat for shits and giggles.)

Back in the carrier. Hit the road and BAM! Thunder! Lightning! The way you love me is frightening! Oh, wait, that’s a song. No! HAIL! All the hail! And rain! In the ten minutes to clean Dumbcat’s mess, AN APOCALYPSE HAPPENED!

I drove in the terrible rain with my windows only cracked a little so as to not get soaked and grumbled about my lack of AC.

I FINALLY arrived at camp, Dumbcat yowling the whole way, and the lights weren’t on. “UGH!” thought I. “Why did Mom and Dad not turn the lights on?”

I called them. “Where’s the breaker box? You guys didn’t turn the lights on for me.”

Dad was silent. “Um. Amy? The power’s been out in the whole area for about three hours. The lights are out. REALLY out. We had a huge storm.”

This means no water, no showers, no toilet-flushing, no lights, no television, no phone-charging, no laptop-charging, no Kindle-charging…


So I unpacked the car with a flashlight, was VERY pleased to see I had cell service so I could tell my people I wasn’t dead, tended to a very smelly Dumbcat as best I could, and went to bed early. What the hell else am I going to do? It’s not like I could do anything else. TOTAL DARKNESS.

When I woke up today, the power was still out. (The loud noise mentioned earlier? The neighbors’ obnoxious generator. SO LOUD. Yet I want one, because I WANT A SHOWER.) So I tried to call home. House phone was out. “How lucky my cell works!” I said. Nope. No coverage.

No power, water, phone, or cell.

I did what anyone in this situation who hadn’t showered in 36 hours, was covered in sweat and cat pee and sunscreen, couldn’t have breakfast because the milk had gone bad and hadn’t eaten in 15 hours would do.

I started to cry and threw on clothes and headed to my parents’ house.

Yes, I’m almost 40 years old, thank you very much.

On the way, I stopped at McDonalds. SHUT UP I AM ON VACATION. That Egg McMuffin was like manna from on high. I HAD NOT EATEN IN FIFTEEN HOURS.

I also emailed people because I couldn’t when I woke up and called Mom and Dad and said, “I AM COMING HOME I AM DISGUSTING AND SMELL TERRIBLE I HATE VACATION RIGHT NOW.”

They very wisely agreed this was a good plan.

I got home. I showered. It was GLORIOUS. I felt like a new woman. Until I spilled iced coffee all over my clean clothes, but we can pretend that didn’t happen.

THEN I got to spend a few hours with The Nephew! That was unexpected. We played Lego and raced cars and he showed me all his toys and he was SO HAPPY TO SEE ME! And listen, if you haven’t heard the person you love most in the whole world say, “You’re funny, Aunt Amy” and giggle? (Well, substitute your name in for “Aunt Amy,” unless you, too, are an Aunt Amy.) Then you have not LIVED, my friend. He makes my whole heart hurt with the happiness of him.

(Tomorrow I get to hang with him for all the daylight hours. ALL OF THEM! We will be watching Finding Nemo and reading books and playing games and blowing bubbles and playing with Play-Doh and I am MOST excited. I cannot wait!)

I got to meet my brother’s cat, Abby, who is the teeniest calico you have ever seen and who I wanted to hide in my teeshirt and bring home with me, and cuddle with his dog who I love very much and she went “haroo! HAROO!” when she saw me because she is a beagle and that’s how she rolls, and my brother made me lunch! WITH A FRYING PAN AND MEAT AND VEGETABLES! “I’m a grownup who cooks now!” he said gleefully. (I’m apparently still a kid, because when he wasn’t looking, I put my carrots on his plate so he would eat them. Blech, carrots.)

Then I braved it and came back to the mountains. Where there is still no power.


There are 178 people without power in this town, and 180 people live here and are serviced by National Grid.


Better still, where do they live, and can I come take a shower at their house?

(I told Dad I thought it was the mayor and his mistress; Dad said “That town doesn’t have a mayor. It’s too small. Stop making up things.”)

Also, on the drive through town, I saw many funny things, like:

A sign that said “wood ahead” and I yelled, “EUPHEMISM!” (Really, they were just selling wood. FIREWOOD. Not “wood.”)

A lot of houses that had just collapsed from neglect; I kept saying, “Well, THAT fell down.”

A deli named “Shat’s.” Is that not the worst named thing you’ve ever heard of? When I told Dad that, he was all, “That’s a good name. You city folk are so weird.” YOU DO NOT NAME YOUR DELI SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE POO.

Now I am going to publish this, and read on my Kindle for a bit because it’s too dark for anything else, and go to bed early because what else can I do, and also, The Nephew will be here early! (Also, supposedly, the power will be back on around 10pm-midnight. WISH ME LUCK!!!)

Oh, vacation. You certainly are turning out to be more work than was intended.

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

35 responses to “Adventures in Inadvertent Homesteading

  • mfennvt

    Yikes! I’m glad you’re okay. Poor Dumbcat. Hope the power comes on soon!


  • cynthiaw

    OMG – I would cry and go to my parent’s house, too, and I’m 46. But I would have left a long time before that, like in the middle of the night, because I cannot survive more than 3 hours without eating. Unless I’m asleep because getting up in the middle of the night to eat would be weird. Also, I cannot sleep when I’m too hot – I would basically die if I had to live in any country that is not America. So… I’d be staying at my parent’s tonight, too – because no power is sucky.

    I want to give you a hug just for driving without a/c – that sounds horrifying. Also, you don’t have cat pee on you anymore, so I can hug you. :-)


  • elaine4queen

    Other people would call that CAMPING! (For the record, I hate camping, but mainly because I like to sleep in a bed.) Go buy a normal book, that’d be my advice. Analogue is the way forward with no power. Also bbq. Annoyingly, people tend to behave like it’s the apocalypse when there’s something like that, and buy up everything useful in bulk so the shelves may be empty. DO NOT STARVE, AMERS!

    Sad to say, but cats also purr when they are stressed or ill. Poor Dumbcat.


    • franhunne4u

      Yes, cats try to comfort themselves by purring, when they feel insecure or when they feel pain.
      Travelling with a cat is not the fun part of a cat’s life.


      • lucysfootball

        Staying where he was for a week wasn’t a good plan, either. This was the lesser of two evils.


        • franhunne4u

          Sure, and he is Dumbcat – none of my cats would EVER have stayed near my car, if I ever let them loose out of the cat carrier! They would have dashed into the next hiding – and I would have seen the last of them! They should offer cat carriers for travels – like a big box with an extra-compartment like a cat toilet, plus in the transport stay part some genius way to store water that won’t get spilled etc. And – soft, easy to clean or one way cushions. I think I would build a cat-carrierbox like that myself. I would need a big car to transport it, but I would really need such a thing if it was for a longer transport.


    • lucysfootball

      Power is back! I ate like a queen. People kept bringing me food! As if I was ill!

      I couldn’t leave Dumbcat behind for various reasons. He’d be worse off back at home. (He’s settled in nicely here. I think he assumes we’ve moved again.)


      • elaine4queen

        Oh, I didn’t mean you shouldn’t have brought him!

        Only that the purring is self comforting.


        • lucysfootball

          I kind of beat myself up over bringing him…but I keep telling myself he’d be miserable at home, and he seems to be enjoying himself so far now that we’re here.

          The trip home…not looking forward to that.


          • elaine4queen

            Kitty tranquilizer dart?

            We just had a thunder storm here, woke me and Poppet up. And the birds. ALL the birds. They’ve quietened down now, and P is snoring, but I am now AWAKE at three in the morning with internet and tea. *sigh*


            • lucysfootball

              Boo. I am also awake here, but that’s because it’s not even 10.

              Aw, poor Dumbcat! I’ll just put a towel in the carrier and hope for the best!


              • elaine4queen

                I had such a busy day, I’d love to be asleep, but at least I don’t have to do much tomorrow. I’m away to Delft on Thursday, so deliberately made this week as empty as possible – still managed to totally overdo it today, but at least I have SEEN the place now… but I did wake up worrying about it, hence the tea and internetting.


  • Corvidae in the Fields

    Hilarity! Hijinks! Murphy’s Law! I smell a vacation afoot!

    P.S. – “Shat’s” is such a questionable name, it’s perfect.


  • becomingcliche

    Poor Dumbcat! And poor you! I knew someone who didn’t drive with their cat in a carrier, and it leapt over the seats peeing and pooping. You were wise to contain it!

    And don’t listen to your dad. Keep making things up. Your imagination’s one reason I love you so!

    Hope you get power and shower back soon!


    • lucysfootball

      Power is back and shower is imminent!

      When I drove across the country with a much-younger Dumbcat, he was so chill! He’s more nervous now. Or older, I guess. Silly boy. I love him so.

      I could never stop making things up. I wouldn’t know how!


  • Heather

    Oh holy awful way to start a vacation. :(

    Poor smelly Dumbcat. :(

    Shat’s is the WORST NAME EVER. Especially for a deli. Just…no.


    • lucysfootball

      Power is back! Yay!

      Dumbcat smells nice again. I think he bathed himself clean?

      I told Dad you agreed about Shat’s and he was all “of course the female truck drivers agree with you!” If it was sj, he’d reconsider, though. He loves her. He calls her “that nice girl in the south.”


      • cynthiaw

        I’m a nice girl in the the South (well, I’m in the South anyway) and an elementary school teacher and Shat’s is a terrible name for anything, but especially anything having to do with food.

        It’s so cool that you’re getting to spend time with the nephew. My niece is moving down here in the next few weeks and I’m so excited that I’m beside myself with glee.


      • Heather

        Haaaaa! I still love your dad. That made me laugh.

        Three cheers for electricity!


  • Samantha

    I think that at any age, it is appropriate to cry and say you’re going home to your parents’. Sometimes, it’s just necessary.

    (I say this after spending a weekend at my parents’, and getting sick on the last day. Of course. )


  • livesinstone

    Shat’s Deli? Mwahahahaha! Sounds delicious…uh not! Ha ha ha! I’ve had to take my cats on long trips a few times this year and always travel with a clean covered kitty litter. When they get too vocal, and the meowing intensity goes up a scale I stop and pop them in it. If the yowling is bathroom related your golden…or not so…uh, anyway, it isn’t for every cat as one just sits there with a “What is this indignity?” look on her face when I put her in and refuses to use it. It’s clunky to carry with you, but it might help for later trips. :)


    • lucysfootball

      Oh, that’s a good idea! I wish that would work for Dumbcat – he’s got major shy bladder. If I even walk past the litterbox when he’s in it, he bolts. Poor, weird fella.


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