The Awakening……in which I spend my first night at the cabin and feel the need to make a list.


I do my first overnight at the cabin when Mike is out of town.  I do this on purpose.

Every visit prior to this has been about some form of trash out or clean up and, at the end of the day, when we can’t take it any more, we make a hasty retreat to a clean hotel room at the local casino (ch ching!).  Because, remember, we trashed the beds during trash out and no effing way am I sleeping on that floor.  That’s where the wild animals have their parties in the middle of the night.

During these trash out / clean up days, the cabin is not fun.    It’s not the relaxing sanctuary we envisioned when we handed over Liam’s college money for the keys.  It’s a lot of work and a fair amount of discovery, much of it in the “oh shit” category.  And it threatens to rub the shine off our new baby.

I want to replace some of the shine for Mike while he’s gone.  I want to make it quasi-habitable with places to eat and sleep and sit down, so that next time he comes here, he can relax just the teeniest bit and maybe have a little bit of fun while we work toward making her completely ours.

And If I can do this successfully, maybe the memories of trash out/clean up/oh shit discoveries will begin to fade……which means that we have not made a horrible mistake.

Ironically, as I work to make the cabin comfortable, my awareness of my discomfort builds.  I”m making beds with brand new Ikea sheets, I’m laying down rugs (clean ones!) and placing floor lamps in dark rooms.  I set up a chair with a fluffy sheepskin throw so we can take turns sitting down (note to self:  get more chairs).  I’ve packed paper plates and cups and plastic utensils and filled the fridge with lots of finger foods and easy no-bake dinners.

But still, I am not even close to comfortable.

In bed, I lie there in the dark listening to the bats overhead walking around and crabbing at each other in their chirpy little voices all stomp stomp stomp and chirp chirp chirp;  they sound like they’re at a bowling party.  I’m grossed out.  I’m freaked out.  It’s only a matter of time before one of them swoops in here and gets tangled in my hair.  And for the first time ever in my life, I say the words,  “I want to go back to the casino.”

I’m not crying but, if I were a crier, I’d definitely be crying.  I have visions of Mike saying “Let’s go to the cabin this weekend!”  and me saying “Ummm…….I can’t.  I have a yeast infection. Or something.”  For the first time, I’m worrying that I won’t want to come here.  That maybe the cabin isn’t for me.



But then, just like in the movies, the plucky heroine dries her fake tears and jumps out of bed.  And I do what I always do when I need help.  I make a LIST!

I open my yellow cabin notebook

photo 1

to the first blank page and write “DISCOMFORT” at the top.  And I write down every little thing that is causing me to lie awake in my new bed with fresh Ikea sheets.  I will list them and I will conquer them and then I will CROSS THEM OFF because that’s just how this girl rolls.

Let me just preface this by saying that Mike and I had agreed that we would replace the toilet, the tub and the shower and the rest would probably be fine with a thorough cleaning.  Let’s see how that pans out when I’m done with my Discomfort List.


“Kristin’s List of Reasons WHY She is Uncomfortable”

Discomfort #1:  Cold at night and in the morning.

Fix #1:  Bring a robe and slippers (hello Garnet Hill catalog!).  Bring more blankets (and hello to you, too, Faribault Woolen Mills).  Space heaters in bedrooms.  Search Pinterest for kickass micro-wood stove.

Discomfort #2:  Why am I always using plastic and paper instead of the cute plates I brought?

Fix #2:  Dishwasher.  Lame?  Perhaps.  But if this is supposed to be my sanctuary, why would I choose to do more work than I would do at home?  I should do less work.  I should get two dishwashers.

Discomfort #3:  Critters.  In the “real” category are the bats having bowling parties and spiders that look like tarantulas.  I shit you not.  I don’t hate spiders but when they look like tarantulas, I get pissed.  And they teleport.  They are teleporting tarantulas.  When you throw the Pringles can at them, they suddenly disappear  –  and then reappear across the room.  How did they get there?

In the “imagined” category are the mice that get caught in my bed sheets and the raccoons that have babies in my closet.

Fix #3:  Call 1-800- GET-THE-FUCK-OUT

Discomfort #4:  Why am I wearing shoes inside?  Because the Nixon-era carpeting might give me herpes.

Fix #4:  Rip it.  I am too good to get herpes from carpeting.  I deserve better.  Hardwood floors, bitches.  And not just here and here so we can save money but everywhere.  I will sell myself on the street so I can walk barefoot in my own sanctuary.

Discomfort #5:  Smells bad.

Fix #5:  See fixes 3 and 4 regarding herpes carpet and critters having babies in my closet.  And maybe a scented candle.

Discomfort #6:  My coffee got cold.  Do I pour it back in the pot to reheat?  Make a new cup?

Fix #6:  Microwave.  I know the cabin should be more basic than this……but it’s about comfort.  And work.  It would be a lot of work to reheat my coffee without a microwave and that does not jive with my cabin philosophy.

Discomfort: #7:  There is nowhere to sit near the water so I end up standing on the dock for a few minutes and then turning around and going inside.  Beach is blocked by brush and thorny-ass bushes.

Fix #7:  Beach chairs.  Get some.  Bring the loppers and the round up and your game face because Mama will not abide thorns.  That is MY beach, y’all.

Discomfort #8:  There’s nowhere to read.

Fix #8:  A couch.  A  comfy one.  Not some here-we-don’t-want-this-one-anymore couch.  And beach chairs.

Discomfort #9:  Water tastes like sludge.

Fix #9:  Water filter.

Discomfort #10:  Mosquitos.  Deer ticks.  Lyme disease.

Fix #10:  Buy EVERYTHING THAT PROMISES TO REPEL BUGS!  Try them all.  Research, research, research.  And then, build a screen porch.  Like stat.

Discomfort #11:  I brush my teeth in the kitchen.  Why?  It must be the peeling linoleum and the tub that is being used as a bat toilet.  It could also be the mousetraps by the toilet.  What do I do if there’s something in the mousetrap?  Is that mouse fur?

Discomfort #11b:  I get an uneasy feeling before I pee.   I notice that I look up before I sit down.  It takes me a while to figure out that I’m checking for bats hanging from the ceiling.  I don’t want a bat tangled in my hair when my pants are down.

Discomfort #11c:  Not showering doesn’t bother me that much but someday I will want to wash the bug spray off before getting into my clean Ikea sheets and I will need a shower.  And right now I would choose sleeping in bug spray over bathing in bat poo.

Fix #11, 11b, 11c:  Tear the batpooroom, I mean bathroom, out.  All of it.  New floor, new toilet, new tub, new shower, new sink.  Hose it down and get the pope to bless it.

Discomfort #12:  I don’t put anything away in the kitchen.  When I open the utensil drawer, the drawer front comes off in my hand.  When I open the cabinet under the sink, I see something move;  I don’t know what it is because I close the door and walk away quickly so I can go to my happy place.

Fix #12:  Tear out cabinets,  ask squatters to leave,  and install new.

Discomfort #13:  Feel like I need to wash my hands all the time.

Fix #13:  Just renovate it, already.


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