1994-09-16 Woozle writes Rebekah

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Dear Rebekah,

Thank you for writing back! I wasn't sure how you'd take my sounding off, but I'm glad that it didn't deter you from replying. Believe it or not, that's what I was trying for -- I wanted some dialog going, and we seem to have accomplished that.

Now, on to some misconceptions. (This is all probably going to be a bit disjointed as I reply to the various connected and unconnected parts of your letter, so bear with me...)

The letter I sent was my letter; I showed it to Livia so she could help me with it, but it was never intended to represent her point of view. Though I don't think she has any major points of disagreement with it, I'm sure she would have phrased her thoughts very differently -- and they are probably rather different thoughts. (I did use the first person plural a lot, but that was just because I didn't want to take all credit for shared efforts.)

"Trapped and exploited" -- yes and no. You could also say we've been given a challenge, and I often think of it that way. What does bother me about it is that sometimes, someone (you? Mubbie? Livia's imagination? All of the above?) seems to be telling us that we're not doing enough. Adversity I can handle; adversity plus disparagement can be more difficult, especially when the disparagement is from those who control the thing that one is working on. (Did that sentence make any sense?)

Yes, I sort-of came to understand that the reason why the five-acres-etc. wasn't happening had something to do with our not having found adequate jobs. However (and this is more or less the point), nobody actually said so specifically, much less actually explained what we would need to accomplish in order for that plan to be back on track. This goes back once again (in case the point isn't obvious) to my preference for direct communication. If you or Mubbie feel I need to do more (or differently), you must talk with me about it; otherwise how can we ever come to some kind of mutual agreement about what is fair?

"So Mubbie fixed up your little house as well as she could..." Well yes, and it is greatly appreciated -- but it happened pretty much without any input from us. By the time we heard about it, it seemed the decision had been made, and there was no way for us to say 'no, Mubbie, save your money1; we should pay for this ourselves' -- which is what I wanted to do, not only for the A/C but also the deck and the remodeling. Yes, all the changes were very much needed, but at the same time I was willing to live with the circumstances and spend the time working on my career (programming) rather than vainly trying to help reduce costs by helping out with the carpentry. (As I said before, I'm not a carpenter; I can generate far more income -- and much higher-quality work -- sitting on my butt typing than I can by picking up a handsaw.) I spent many hours "helping" Thomas & Son with the addition; I don't think it reduced Mubbie's costs any, and it killed weeks of time I could have used... well, you know the story. If you don't believe me about my earning potential (or whatever it is that causes you to seemingly dismiss out of hand any activities of mine that aren't either carpentry- or college-degree- oriented), then you must say so and we'll talk about it.

I'm still willing to deal with2 what we've got now, even with the baby coming. I'm not saying it'll be easy (though the remodeling, the deck and the A/C certainly do a lot to bridge the gap between "not easy" and "not possible"), but I think we'll manage for now; the idea being that if we just keep plugging away, we'll get that $40k income. If the five acres will be ready for us, then that's great and everybody's happy.

In case I didn't mention in the last letter: the "noble savages" are gone. The sweat lodge has been discontinued, and the people associated with it will not be hanging around.

Future control of the property: I hadn't understood before that you were more interested in a three-way partnership than in L&I taking over. At first glance, it makes a lot of sense, and I'll try to rethink my long-term plans in that light. If it is going to work, however, we need to at least sketch out informally how we're going to resolve differences of opinion. (consensus? scrabble tournament? best 2 falls out of 3?)

None of us want you to have to move down here (and build ghastly duplexes etc.), and I don't think it's come to that point. We just need some communication. There are some things about this situation that I really like (I hope I made that clear in the last letter); the main source of my rage is not the situation itself, but having people coming down on me for not trying hard enough on top of that. All I ask is a little latitude; if it seems that we don't get much done, remember that we don't have much to work with, and that we're trying to solve that problem as well as all the immediate ones. If you really think we haven't given fair return, then I'm dismayed that you should think so, and we must talk about it (but it still doesn't mean we have to call a halt to the whole thing right there & then).

"...I suggest that he take his party-venue idea, whatever a party-venue is, and go straight to hell with it." This is an example of what I mean about communicating. You have dismissed the idea out of hand, and you don't even know what it is. I'm willing to explain the whole thing to you, reasons why I do and don't (!) think it's a good idea, and we can discuss it and come to some kind of sane decision (at least about what you, Livia, and I think; Mubbie, of course, can veto the whole thing for no reason at all, and that's fine). Also, you should know that I told Dan about your reservations (!), and he said he was quite willing to drop it if people were against it. The recording studio is much more important (and certainly needs to make some headway before we start taking on additional projects).

(Yeah, the auras and vibes get to me too. Sometimes I think if he mentions Kundalini again, I shall scream. But he's okay, really he is...) --- That's about it for this round, I guess. Thanks for the (future) L birthday present -- I hope Joe Mailman doesn't accidentally take it home, or send it to Athens Greece...

All the best,



Note 1

If you don't think I understand how badly she needs/needed it, I can go off at length about that as well. At the time these decisions were made, I hadn't yet understood how firmly one must say "no" to Mubbie, and I suspect I'm still learning. I was also trying to be nice and not upset anybody by refusing hospitality offered. ( -- isn't that a Southern thing? It's all so confusing.)

Note 2

"deal with" isn't right either; if I could get to the point where I wasn't constantly worrying about how to manage everything, I'm sure I would enjoy being here. There have been stretches of time when this happened, even. Then some new imperative (intended or unintended) makes its way down the wire, and Livia gets in we've-got-to-do-something mode, and playtime is over.

I'm a great believer in enjoying life (or at least trying to), by which I do not mean sitting around all day doing nothing. I do mean that one should take some time out (an hour, give or take) once a day (or so) to just stare at the trees. Lately, this happens maybe once a month, for about five minutes... Reduced stress levels make for more productivity when one is working, so it isn't wasted time even in purely fiscal terms.

Note 3

The two exceptions are Brian (Pope) and Frank. Brian is doing what you wish I was doing, i.e. finishing his doctorate. Frank, on the other hand, makes tipis for a living. He understands the value of craftsmanship and making things which last and forming communities of people who work and/or relax together and look out for each other (ask Beth about the importance of this if you need convincing). I wouldn't consider either of them great friends, but I don't really see how they're muddying any waters. Perhaps I don't really understand what you mean by the phrase -- ?