another day in the life: prego winter edition

Several times I’ve written day in the life posts—one of the purposes of this blog being to depict what it’s like to live in a tiny caravan in an intentional community—and several times you’ve responded with enthusiasm. (If you missed it, you can read another “day in the life” post here.) So I thought I’d write another. The details of life are different during every day, but they are even more diverse seasonally. And especially now, with the added challenge of being pregnant. So, here you are, a pregnant winter-y day in the life of Click Clack Gorilla…

one day in november

As I empty out the wood stove’s ash drawer in the bushes outside of my Bauwagen, I imagine archeologists of the future reconstructing our lives here from these little piles of ash, from the bits of plastic and debris that so quickly become compacted in the dirt. But archeologists will probably never excavate the remains of our little community. One day the university will force us to move (our land is hot real estate for them, and they make threats about once a year), and then they will remove all of the dirt here to put in the foundation of their latest Borg ship. And so it goes.

Tempuratures have been dropping, and it’s chilly when morning finds the Beard and I in our sleeping Wagen. I wake up hungry and try to ignore my growling stomach for as long as possible so as to steal a few more minutes cuddled beneath the blankets I dumpster dived across the street. But my growling stomach and the cramps in my legs (the latest prego-symptom, only happens when I lay down for too long) drive me into the crisp air sooner than I would like. Some mornings I manage to stay in bed reading for hours. But these days I would need a breakfast delivery service and a masseuse to make it possible. I dress quickly in the chill, reminding myself that chilly though it may feel in here, it is still much colder outside.

Outside I can see my breath, and I waddle between Wägen putting together breakfast: to my Wagen for the bowl full of oats and chopped apple, to one of the tiny kitchen Wägen for the raw milk to pour over them, and then into the house where I retreat whenever I need a warm place to collect the energy to light my own wood stove. People drift in and out as I eat: the day’s vokü cooks arrive with backpacks full of produce for the lunch menu, Platz-mates wander by looking for a fresh cup of coffee. I am gone by the time the first vokü guests arrive to begin filling the house up with cigarette smoke and backpacks.

Then I trudge to my Wagen where I have been putting off doing the dishes for days. I stuff crumpled newspaper and kindling into the wood stove, and light it with a match. It’s a sweet little oven with good air flow, and soon it’s crackling merrily while I put on fingerless gloves and clear off the counter to make room for me to do dishes and lay them out to dry. Then I put off doing them for a few more hours while I write blogs and e-mails and put a load of laundry into the new machine in the house. Slowly, it gets warm enough for me to consider taking off my jacket inside.

I’ve been unmotivated lately, feeling the first grip of winter doldrums wrapping around my limbs. But I have so much time right now! I remind myself. And I’m not using it in ways that will make me happy about it later, I frown. So I sit down, and I make a list of things I’d like to accomplish between now and February (baby arrival date). 1. Read as many books on the to-read shelf as possible. 2. Continue writing the au pairing series for autoposting on the blog for the first months of baby. 3. Work draft on the history of our cultural obsession with throwing things away into an article, and pitch it to a few magazines. (I haven’t been feeling the trash book lately, so I have been thinking I would rather try to work some of the best parts of it into articles and call it a day. That way I can abandon the project without feeling like I’ve given it up. Besides, a bunch of good articles are just as likely to lead to a book should the muse find me afterall.) 4. Compile and layout issue two of the Click Clack Gorilla zine.

No matter what the season, I always spend a good part of any day sitting at my little table and staring at my books. It’s a meditation of sorts. I let my mind wander, process past events, hatch schemes, plot projects, compose sentences, and think about how fantastic that shelf will look once I finally get all the books I still have in America onto it. Then I take another look at my to-do list and take the throw rugs outside to air out while I sweep ash and fire wood dust and leaves out the front door.

It is four o’clock before I finally force myself to take care of the dirty dishes. Doing dishes has become complicated. I can no longer carry a full tub of water to my Wagen from the faucet in the house. So instead I carry several loads of dishes into the house and wash them there. Then, finally, I fill my wash tub to about a quarter and use that to wash the little that remains. Everything seems to take longer these days, every activity requires more rest afterwards. I feel like I’m doing chores in slow motion, and I write detailed to-do lists so as to have small things to cross off, so that I can feel like I’m getting something done. Sweep, take out compost, and rinse out milk bottles have all become seperate bullet points instead of the over-arching “clean up kitchen” that might have stood on one of my to-do lists seven months ago. The baby kicks on and off throughout the day, and I sing “You Are My Sunshine” and “I Send My Love to You” to my stomach. Bonnie Prince Billy makes lovely winter soundtrack music.

By this time the sleeping Wagen has reached a lovely sauna-like tempurature (where the Beard has already lit the wood stove and spent the afternoon playing the fiddle) and the drying laundry hanging from the ceiling has made the air appropriately damp. We eat dinner sitting in bed (a big salad and baked camembert cheese with jam) and play Simon the Sorcerer 2 (point and click adventure games are a favorite winter pastime of ours—last year we played Monkey Island and Full Throttle is next on the list). At 7 o’clock I waddle over the the other Wagenplatz where we eat eggs with mustard sauce with cold feet around a big table in their communal kitchen. There are already three kids living there, and we joke about the little gang they are going to form once they all get a bit older. After a bit of chatting and a lot of baby gurgling, I waddle back to our Wagenplatz through cold, fresh air where I fall into bed next to the Beard and quickly fall asleep.

0 Comments on “another day in the life: prego winter edition

  1. Some years ago, a friendly old woman introduced me to the concept of using a shopping trolley (without the bag) instead of breaking down under the weight of stuff I carried (by foot, having no car) from the DIY shop 2km away. She gave me hers, saying I should bring it back when I get the time, and I was very touched and also very amazed at how easy life can be. Now I never go shopping without my trolley (I bought one a few days later). I know it looks rather uncool, but I know than when I can barely walk for back pain I look much more uncool. If you find a sturdy one (which I have) it can even accompany you on rough terrain; I can’t count the times I have dragged mine uphill across the woods, with provisions for two for 3 days including water.
    Just a thought.

  2. Sascha: I have been looking for one of those at the flea markets for months!! They look like a dream. Haha, dorky maybe too, but a dream for my back and all the veggies I am always attempting to cart home from the market. Fingers crossed that I find one soon, esp given your good report on ’em.

  3. How come you play these ancient games? Old laptop?
    I am a fan myself, especially of Indiana Jones 4, which is probably my favorite computer game of all time (love the crazy-exciting mix of smart archeology professor meets macho adventurer meets exotic places meet Nazis meet mysterious ancient cultures).
    Highly recommended!

  4. Fishie: Exactly.

    Jan: Because they’re fun! 🙂 We’ve played that one too, though I think we got hung up on a puzzle somewhere along the way and didn’t end up finishing it. Monkey Island is my all-time favorite. Though I quite like Maddog Williams and Laura Bow as well.

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