Almost Wimping Out

For a while there, it got hard. Really hard. I almost wimped out. I went so far as to tell Mauricio that I wanted to rent an apartment for the winter.

Not sure what I was really expecting out here, but I didn’t expect myself to wimp out so quickly. I mean, I spent two years on an island with no running water or electricity in the Peace Corps, so what could be so hard about this?

In one week, it went from being all sweat, all the time, to freezing at night with two down comforters on.

And suddenly, our “school” year started, and I was driving all over tarnation to get the kids to their classes. My writing work picked up drastically. And now, all of the chores that used be quick, have become events. Throwing in a load of laundry has become a half day trip to the laundromat. Getting dinner on the table has become a juggling act between cook, prep and eat space. Throwing everything in the dishwasher has become a few trips to the spigot outside to fill a basin for handwashing a pile of dinner for 5. A quick trip to the grocery store for milk has become at least an hour-long odyssey in travel time.  And showering (now that it’s too cold in the outdoor shower) is a trip to the rec center we joined.

Add to that a terrible, awful, horrible case of systemic poison oak for Stella, and yeah, an apartment started sounding really good to get through the coming winter.

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Poor Stella, my outdoor woman warrior. She can identify more native plants here than any of us, including poison oak sticks without the leaves, now that they’ve fallen off. So we don’t know at what point she got poison oak, but one Friday night she started itching and by Sunday, she was covered, COVERED, in hot red welts. She was having a systemic reaction, and she was miserable. And when Stella is miserable, she makes sure the whole family is miserable. I tried every natural remedy I could find on the internet. Oatmeal baths in a barrel (see photo), calendula cream, chamomile tea, coconut oil, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, Tecnu wash and cream. Oatmeal baths gave her temporary relief, but only for an hour or so, before the itch fest began again. Finally, on Monday, our lovely homeopathic doctor took one look at her and said, “Steroids.” Which finally gave her relief.

And me, too. I finally got my heart back in it. Mostly, it was Mauricio, hanging in there just fine, who gave me the courage to stick with it. And then we kicked in on getting that dome up, which is taking WAY longer than we thought. I’m downright excited about it. More about that, next.

6 thoughts on “Almost Wimping Out

  1. So excited to here an update from you, friend! Wow, your daughter is a chip off the old block–a woman warrior!! Hang in there, New Pioneer Woman…we are all rooting for you and your amazing tribe.

    xoxo, Leigh


  2. Hey friend- That sounds super hard! Systemic poison oak. Sheesh! You know it’s bad when your homeopath suggests steroids. So glad Stella’s on the mend. I’m grateful that you’re letting us into your journey. Change is in the air for Casa Simpson as well. Miss you!!!


  3. Poor thing! I know what that’s like, because I had systemic poison ivy as a child. Had it so bad my neck was so swollen and scabbed over that I couldn’t turn my head. It even went internal, and I ended up with stomach problems (or so the dr. said). I was miserable with it for weeks. Like her, I was raised in the country and knew all the plants to avoid. But I’ve since been told that contact is also possible by touching other people’s clothing, pet fur, and all kinds of things, so it can be hard to avoid. But so glad she’s doing better!

    I know what you mean about how things seem so rough, when we’ve had it so much worse. But you know, I think it’s just because we get used to creature comforts, and it’s easier to gather courage and carry on when we know there are no alternatives, and everyone else is doing it. But when we know a life with comfort and ease is just around the corner, it’s somehow harder. Glad you’re doing better, and remember you can do it!


    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to send such lovely words of encouragement. Good point about picking it up from clothing and pets. Wondering if you used any Western medicine to cure your poison oak as a child, or if you just let it run its course? I hated using steroids for Stella, as we generally just let our bodies cure themselves without medicine, aside from the restrictive use of ibuprofen for Giovanni’s night growing pains and my annual migraine. But I have to say, those steroids had a near immediate effect and I was relieved after we made the decision to use them.


      1. No, I know the Dr. gave me meds. I was only 8, so I’m not sure what they were! My folks didn’t use herbal remedies. I don’t think they were popular back then.
        We generally use herbal or natural remedies in our house. But sometimes, you just have to have synthetic meds, despite the side effects. But I do think that if we limit their use, that should be minimal.
        Just glad she’s better! I really felt for her! Give her a hug from us, even if she doesn’t know us!


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