Thursday, November 20, 2008


My first renters left yesterday. It looks like this plan is going to work out, renting my house out short-term to travellers. It's a lot of work and worry, though. I worked so hard getting ready for this first group, the stress like to killed me -- and that's with paying people to help with cleaning, paint touch-up, and yard work. Even two days with the Trappistines hardly made a dent in the built-up stress.

Let me say this right now, in case anyone should mistake it -- I would rather do this a thousand times over than ever to go back to my old job, or ever be a bureaucrat anywhere in a big corporation. BLECH. Self-employment is hard work, mentally and physically, but I am ALIVE!

Of course, hospitality is a very appropriate activity for a monk, even a hermit. It matters very, very much to me that my activities be consistent with my values and my vocation (as I discern that vocation day by day!). But I guess it will be a lot easier when I have another place to live permanently, myself. Moving all my own stuff into and out of storage, and mooching rooms off relatives for a week at a time, is not ideal.

Although, the storage exercise, repeated often enough, might very well help me to SIMPLIFY my belongings. Already this first time I gave the cleaning lady a big bag of clothes and handbags -- she's about my size, and has a church-based charity to pass on anything she couldn't use herself. I need to lose more clothes, and coats, and shoes. And groceries! Man, my pantry is just -- back to that poverty and fasting thing. Variety is good, and healthy even (different foods have different nutrient balance, etc.), but I do not need so MUCH of it. I must have two dozen different grain products, between whole grains (rice, quinoa, barley, etc.), flour, hot cereals, pasta, etc. TOO MUCH. Simplify! Simplify, simplify, simplify, and then use up whatever's in the pantry, it is a SHAME how many expired cans I threw away in the course of packing away my groceries. OK, no more grocery shopping for a while, well unless I absolutely need something for Thanksgiving.

I'm going to have to get over the yuck factor. This first group was comprised of about 8 Ivy League grad students with their young professor, in town for a science conference. I think they were all men. They behaved themselves, they didn't burn the place down or like, mash potatoes into the living-room carpet or anything (I haven't found anything like that yet, anyway!). But they misunderstood about checking out at 10 AM, and when I got here at noon they were out but all their stuff was still here, clothes piled all over the pool table, pizza boxes on the kitchen counter, empty potato chip bag on the desk, shoes, laptops, ...... They didn't end up leaving until around 5 PM, so I didn't get the house cleaned up before moving back in myself. I still haven't taken a shower yet this morning, because I am just too grossed out. I have always thought of myself as something of a slob, not a great housekeeper, but I guess I do clean up after myself ... just, you know, toothpaste smears and ... toilets, and OK, I won't go there. Time to get up and work. Sorry to leave you on that note, but UGH.