Finding my new footing and keeping up with the wood stove

Jan 11 2018
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With temperatures plummeting into the negatives I am learning how to keep up with my wood stove in my new reality after a divorce. I saw a meme on Facebook the other day, it asked: “If you could have anything in 2018 what would it be?” My immediate answer was: PEACE. A million dollars would be great too lol but my heart is still just utterly and completely exhausted. In the last month I’ve devoured over 30 books on my kindle and there is no hope of that slowing down any time soon, thank goodness my family purchased me several more books for Christmas!

Winter in Minnesota after a divorce while heating with a wood stove. Finding my new footing and my new reality with wonderful friends, loved ones and people that support and flock around me. Keeping the house warm, the horses fed and finding peace.
Winter in Minnesota after a divorce while heating with a wood stove. Finding my new footing and my new reality with wonderful friends, loved ones and people that support and flock around me. Keeping the house warm, the horses fed and finding peace.

My little farm yard has slipped into the harsh reality that is winter in Minnesota. On Christmas day we had a high temperature of eleven below zero which dipped down to twenty eight below zero that night. I was a bit worried about managing to keep the house warm (and rightfully so – that is some serious cold!) but I shouldn’t have worried, I spent a lot of money paying for spray foam insulation in this old farmhouse. As long as I get back home within nine hours of filling the stove the house stays just fine. Is it a balmy 80 degrees? Heck no! But it is just fine.

Winter in Minnesota after a divorce while heating with a wood stove. Finding my new footing and my new reality with wonderful friends, loved ones and people that support and flock around me. Keeping the house warm, the horses fed and finding peace.

I have already cut my electric bill in half compared to last December which is something I am incredibly proud of and grateful for. I still need to figure out how to better cover and insulate my horse’s water tank to help cut back on power there too. If we get some more snow I’m going to go out there with a shovel and pack it around it! Next year I have lots of plans and, fortunately, some good friends and family to help me execute them. My mind has been turning to the harsh reality that is the fact that my grandparents’ old barn is not going to last forever. I am going to need to abandon it for the sake of my horses (sooner rather then later) and, hopefully, get it done this coming spring/summer/fall.

Winter in Minnesota after a divorce while heating with a wood stove. Finding my new footing and my new reality with wonderful friends, loved ones and people that support and flock around me. Keeping the house warm, the horses fed and finding peace.

In my last post I told you guys about how my cousin mentioned something so obvious when it came to my wood storage: I have a 3 1/2 car garage right in front of my house, why not keep it there!? So next year, that’s the plan, to move my wood to the back of my garage and then move my hay storage to my old wood shed. It is plenty of room for the hay and, three sided, it will keep it both out of the weather but well aired out so it doesn’t get musty. The next step will be the water and the electric. I will have to dig up the water line that currently runs underground from the house to the barn, find it, cut into it and run it over to the old shed. Then I will need to take power down from the barn and get that run over to the old shed too. It will be a load off my mind when I get this done as then I will face no repercussions if the barn does go down besides the obvious emotional horror of losing it.

Every day I drive home and look at my grandparents’ old barn and my heart clenches with the idea of losing it. They certainly made things to last 100 years ago and there’s a part of me that believes that barn may very well still be standing decades from now. Still, it will be a relief to get what I need to take care of my horses out of it, just in case. Another good thing about it will be that I can tuck my water tank most of the way INTO the back of the old shed so I can insulate it really well then in the winter.

Winter in Minnesota after a divorce while heating with a wood stove. Finding my new footing and my new reality with wonderful friends, loved ones and people that support and flock around me. Keeping the house warm, the horses fed and finding peace.

So, I have something to look forward to next winter: Wood a whole heckuva lot closer to the house! Every weekend since we filled my wood closet up under my staircase in my kitchen I have been replacing the wood that I burned that week. Before it snowed it took me about an hour and 6-7 trips with the wheel barrow. Now that it has snowed I am using what can only be called an Awesome Gift that my cousin made for me! My very own wood sled ๐Ÿ™‚ Do I hate this chore regardless of how much I appreciate my new sled? YOU BETCHA!!!! But, as I said, next year will be a whole lot easier and I remind myself that, even in Minnesota, we only have two truly hard core winter months left and, goodness knows, 6 loads with the sled and an hour pretending that I’m a sled dog, once a week, is not that bad and it is certainly some good exercise!

I have been asked over and over again from friends, colleagues and family if I’m OK. If I’m lonely. If I’m going crazy. If I’m keeping up. And I have been faced with the real sad truth that my life has changed very little. My married reality was one of loneliness and a life spent almost totally alone. I saw that quote by Robin Williams the other day and my heart break for what felt like the millionth time. “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

The grief I’ve faced in the realization that I am far less lonely now then I ever was during my marriage has been something I’ve only just begun getting past. In the last six months my life had narrowed down to my day job and getting home as soon as possible. If I was ten minutes later then usual I was reprimanded and had better have had a good excuse. I could not make plans though he would throw me a bone from time to time, take me to a restaurant, do something flamboyant, take me to see my family etc. I had become a sad dog allowed out of the kennel every now and again and oh how that was such a chore for him and oh how he threw every little thing he ever did for me back in my face.

Isn’t it amazing the things we let the people we love do to us? When I was scared to go home because of his anger – that was when I knew. When I was crying quietly by the window and he screamed at me, “No one gives a f*ck that you’re crying!” That was when I knew because that little voice all of us have inside of us piped up in my heart and said, “That’s not true, there are people that care that I’m crying, there are people that love me!” And I knew then that he couldn’t love me no matter what he said. Not at all.

There should never be a moment when someone makes you scared to go home. Ask for help, go to your family. It was when I finally got past my shame and told my mom and best friend what he was saying and doing that I realized that my life was making excuses for his actions so desperately that I couldn’t see the elephant in the room. Controlling behavior and anger like that does not get better: IT GETS WORSE and there are many women that are not here anymore because it escalated into physical violence.

Since the divorce (and my final breaking point when I told him he had to go) it is as though my emotional cushion has been completely rubbed away. I described it to my mom using the metaphor of break pads: I don’t have any left. It was my loss of brake pads that made it possible for me to finally be done though, to be able to ignore him when he begged for me to reconsider. To be able to turn my back when he tried to tell me I was the most important love of his life. All those words. But the spark of fear in my chest is still there, the spark he gave me when he screamed at me because a guy I didn’t even know liked one of my Facebook pictures. When he threatened the lives of complete strangers because they dared to look at me. It happened a thousand times in a thousand different ways and my instincts wouldn’t let me pretend I wasn’t scared anymore.

I have been told that I am brave but it seems to me that letting him stay would have taken a lot more courage. Rage that is not based in reality is a truly frightening thing. I feel like I just had the closest call of my life and even thinking about it now still gives me the shakes. I am relieved that I am alone and I am so glad to go home again.

I am finding my peace now too.

Sitting by my wood stove in my Grandma’s rocking chair and feeling like the sole crew member of a little boat that just survived the perfect storm. All I want to do is stretch out on my boat’s deck and feel the peace of finally still water and just REST. I have no idea how long emotionally I will need to rest but I’m willing to let my heart lay there for as long as it takes… meanwhile I’ve been keeping my hands busy working on projects.

It is strange the things we reach for when we need healing and I’m sure it is unique to each and every one of us. It is a damned good thing I don’t have a roommate because they would have killed me by now for playing the albums American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown by Green Day over and over and over again for the last month straight… And I’m going to go home tonight and play them on repeat again even though I have no idea why it is simply one of the things I need right now.

I have made about a million little changes in the house. I have painted furniture in my kitchen at 3am, swapped paintings around, moved chairs and tables and desks, and completely re-thought my entire house plan. It is wonderful to not have anyone telling me I’m crazy for doing not only what I want to do, but what I need to do for me right now. So, cheers to 2018 and thank the universe for Green Day. I hope you all find peace, love and happiness this year!

(Breaking my silence here was a very hard decision to make – you guys know I am a very private person and I don’t think our personal lives belong anywhere near social media… but someone very close to me said something the other night that hasn’t left me alone since, “What if there’s another girl like you out there? What if you can reach her and tell her that she’s loved and she can get out and everything is going to be OK?” My embarrassment is really nothing in the face of that statement. No one who truly loves you will ever make you afraid to go home to them. No one who actually loves you will ever make you feel all alone. No one who ever loved you would lie about you or try to hurt you.)

Winter in Minnesota after a divorce while heating with a wood stove. Finding my new footing and my new reality with wonderful friends, loved ones and people that support and flock around me. Keeping the house warm, the horses fed and finding peace.

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43 Comments on "Finding my new footing and keeping up with the wood stove"

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Sandra
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Tarah – If your horses are not in your grandparents barn and if the barn is now empty (or soon will be) why can’t the barn be disassembled? You could save some of the wood (walls, beams, etc.) for your own personal use (and as a keepsake of your grandparents) and then sell the rest. Based on what I have been reading on the internet, there is a big market for “old/salvaged” wood to be used in upscale (read expensive) custom homes. Just a thought. ๐Ÿ™‚ As for your thoughts regarding how you feel now that you are divorced. It… Read more »
Tara
Guest

I’m so sorry things have been so rough. Like your friend, I’m so glad you shared it in a way that will help someone else.

Thanks for your posts! Looking forward to many more!

nancy
Guest

Oh, god bless your sweet heart! I was once where you were. I ended it and he died a year later. I was sad, but relieved. I was too ashamed to ask for help at the time, but I somehow got out. Now I’m married to an amazing, loving husband and Dad/Granddad. Hang in there and do whatever you need to take care of yourself. Good for you!!! Nancy

Bruce
Guest

Have you thought of having an Amish crew (I know there’s some good ones in the Wadena area) come and look at restoring your barn? They work inexpensively and amazingly fast. Just a thought. Sorry for your struggles. Seems the entire country is in a shambles in one way or another these days. Take peace in your animal friends and the wild country around you. Chop wood, carry water.

Lace Faerie
Guest

You have been in my thought of late. I was a long time before I learned my sisterโ€™s first marriage was to a selfish and controllling man and I now realize how hard it was for her to endure silently until she was ready to take a stand and remove him from her and her sonโ€™s life. She regained her footing and I am sure you will, too! Iโ€™m thankful on your behalf for your loving family and friends. I hope you can gain strength knowing how many out here in blogland are rooting for you! Blessings!

Kathy from CT
Guest

God bless you. Your strength is amazing. Thank you for sharing such an intensively private and painful situation. I am sure you have saved more than one person. Hugs & love from Kathy in CT

susan maclean
Guest
I too have been thinking of you. When someone says “I had no idea!” it’s usually the truth – we hold things inside so that no-one finds out. Now that the strings are cut you are finding out how to live in a different way, and it matters not how many times you play that song, how you cry when you want, how you deal with life now because it is all part of the healing process. I have never had to go through what you are currently going through, but have had two friends who both in their own… Read more »
Dianne
Guest

Tarah, I know it must have taken a lot of courage to write this post but you are a strong person. All of us in bogland are rooting for you. Sending prayers and hugs to you!

xo Dianne

ann daley
Guest

My prayers are with you. I did not have the guts to go for divorce but after 56 years of becoming an ‘IT’ rather than a person my husband died. I have been free for almost two years now and love it. Looking back I cannot remember a single golden moment but I am busy making them now. Go for it girl. And you will
Love from Ann (in the UK)

Melissa
Guest
Hi Tarahlyn, Love reading your blog- I have been following for about a year ๐Ÿ™‚ So sorry to read about your divorce and truly sorry to read about the details of your relationship with your ex husband. His loss for sure. I find comfort in hearing about your supportive family and friends. You said you desire peace- I have found peace in any situation in my life because of my relationship with with Christ. I know where I will spend eternity and there is no storm too big for Him to handle. i am confident that it took incredible courage… Read more »
Ann
Guest

You are headed in the right direction, Tarah. It takes time, but you will get there – trust me! It’s a shame the barn can’t be restored, but I just know you will find lots of projects for all that salvaged wood! Heck, you’ll probably build another barn with it!
In the meantime, play your albums over and over again, work on projects at 3 am, and do what brings you peace…the rest will come!

Lady Locust
Guest

God bless you. I have been in a similar situation. It will be small miraculous realizations here and there, the silliest things that will help you heal. You’ve been trained and now you get to retrain yourself in a much healthier way. May that process find you happier, healthier, and better than ever.

Cindi
Guest
Many years ago, I was in a situation much like yours. It took joining the Army and living hundreds of miles away to finally divorce him. He got everything but the land we lived on (I eventually sold it) and then, he was killed in an accident. I found a wonderful man and we married, raising three wonderful daughters. I truly never thought I would marry again, but, this time, it has been a warm, loving experience. You were right to “get out” when you knew it was time. It’s so easy to talk yourself out of that need to… Read more »
Jan
Guest

I’m glad you shared this as we all know there are others out there in the same situation who believe “no one cares” … it’s sad because you fell in love and married that person and that’s the way he chose to be ๐Ÿ™ … and dang, that IS cold!

Michelle Leslie
Guest

I’m so sorry things didn’t work out Tarah. You’ve always been such an inspiration with the way you tackle things head on and live by your heart. You’re strong, beautiful woman and one day you’ll find that someone who celebrates your strength instead of trying to tear it down. In the meantime, rant, rave and dance wildly as often as you can. And if you break something while you’re doing it, so what, you’ll turn it into something awesome as you always do. Sending much love

frugal hausfrau
Guest

What a tough decision, but it sure sounds like you made the right one! I haven’t been by in ages, it seems, not since I was doing the Throwback Thursday thing. I’ll visit more often!

I have a similar story, and I’m glad you have family support! Hang in there.
๐Ÿ™‚

Mollie

Laura
Guest
I understand and empathize with your heartbreak having ended a nearly lifetime relationship myself. And I truly also understand that there comes that one moment of clarity when a person realizes they’ve had their head down, enduring, and it has to end. What is also frustrating is when you haven’t been a whiner, even close loved ones can have a hard time “believing” it has been so bad…it’s not our problem to make anyone understand. So glad you have a good support system and are such a strong young lady. Re: the barn … I hope this link works. I… Read more »
Mary
Guest
Ohh Tarah my heart bleeds for you and at the same time I am beaming with pride and happiness for you. Because yes, you had the courage to get out of a bad marriage and to stand up for yourself. There are many people out there who care if you are crying even if we do not know you in person you have become our friend through this blog and we do care. Thank you for talking about this very real issue and I’m positive you have helped someone right now by expressing yourself. Long live Green Day and 3… Read more »
Kari Wagner Hoban
Guest

I am stalking you now because of the last post I read about your divorce. So it makes sense that I missed it as I was in FLU HELL for all of winter.

You are so strong, stronger than I was when I went through my divorce.
I am rooting for you Tarah. Even if you don’t need rooting. Because you seem really kick ass.

Giselle
Guest
Never feel ashamed or embarrassed by what you have experienced. It is what shapes you as a person. When my husband and I decided to divorce people repeatedly mentioned how shocked they were because we had the perfect marriage. While there was no abuse involved, our marriage was far from perfect. The best thing I did for myself was to take five years (your timeline of course may be different) before I started dating. I was incredibly lonely but I am so glad I didnโ€™t rush into another relationship because I would have probably settled for any man that came… Read more »

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