Dilemma & Getaway (Odd Socks #10)
Resolving (?) a long-term nagging issue, another year-end getaway at a surprising find, plus the usual Reads, Laughs, and Insights ...
Welcome to Odd Socks Issue #10
I write here about stuff that interests me, puts a smile on my face, or could use some clarity amidst the noise. Each issue includes two original articles plus four bonus sections. Enjoy!
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The following is a highly personal essay, but not fully sanitized of my verbal emotions. Apologies for the salty language, but left the usual words signaling frustration. Thus, it’s a fair and accurate statement of how I felt when writing. Hopefully, some may find a nugget of help from sharing.
My execution of self-care efforts on a long-standing digestive issue have wavered from decent to poor. Despite countless episodes reaching tipping points that triggered serious pain and discomfort, every one a proverbial “2x4 behind the head” to get my attention yet did not fix things. (A dramatic, and hopeful, “until now” should follow that last statement.º Hits the point spot-on, but unfortunately, the expected bell-tone signaling a change for the better is, instead, a hollow sound, repeated too many fucking times to echo anything but silence.
One would think the aging thing would inspire me to correct behavior. Not so far.
Or the painful memory of past such episodes, scary moments when the body revolts to eating bad things or too much of anything. Nope.
None of these MFs have inspired change, no doubt from my mind’s self-preservation ability to forget these past painful symptoms mimicking a heart attack (yet emergency room visits and many doctors confirmed that wasn’t happening each time).
Intellectually, logically, and through every other fucking reasonable cause-and-effect awareness mechanism should, one would think and hope, be enough to make permanent changes stick. Yet, so far, no lasting change that breaks the pattern, now ongoing over the past 15 years. Sigh.
If there is a glimmer of hope, it may appear in the guise of finally had enough of it, paired with creeping mortality whispering “soon …”. Perhaps this will stick the right sense and presence of mind to a) recall now those bad moments felt, what caused them, and do anything to stay the hell away from them, and b) do the fucking right thing all day, every day, until my days are over.
Sounds simple enough, one might think. I’ve had these “come-to-you-know-who” moments looking in a mirror many times in the past. Each prompted temporary short-term change, but fell back to the old patterns. But we shall see what we shall see in the days ahead on this important quest. Hope springs eternal (or infernal) for those leaning to pessimism.
I wrote a few issues ago about a formal annual retreat to a cabin-house in upstate Michigan. There I spent several days reflecting on the year, then looking forward to next year.
Another opportunity arose for a second mini-retreat, this one to refine the previous findings. Spawned by my interest in renting a Tiny Home for a few days, one with a cabin-in-the-woods vibe and aptly named Getaway Houses, I took three-night, two-day mini-retreat. The cool part is, assuming my stay turns out to be good, these Tiny Homes are available in 23 locations across the continental U.S.
“We offer simple escapes to Outposts within two hours of major cities across the country.”
– Getaway Houses
As I write this, it’s near dusk on my first day here. Are they a good place to stay for a few days or longer? Is their setup conducive to “take very little, come back refreshed” (my slogan, not theirs)? Read on to find out.
Many readers know I spent a good part of two years living in a camper van and traveling the country. Those two vans were between 150 and 170 square feet. So staying in a cozy space with adaptations and do-withouts is familiar to me. Plus, I’ve looked at and fantasized about Tiny Homes,probably since they first became a popular notion, yet never stayed in one.
So what are Getaway Homes?
They are a typical Tiny Home, built on a trailer frame and towable. Designed and finished out with all the usual creature comforts: heat, A/C, hot water, toilet/shower, kitchen with sink/stove burners/refrigerator, queen bed/bedding, table/chair, and the usual kitchen plates/cutlery and bedding/towels. Placed on the site strategically, they’re leveled, then set up for a more or less permanent installation (meaning, connected to utilities, bottom skirt around for insulation, etc.). Outside, there’s a firepit, two patio chairs, and a firebox with wood and starter (wood/starter are extra $). They also have one- or two-queen-bed options (two stack bunk-bed style).
Incredibly ideal setup for a one-person getaway, or an intimate couple. For me, as a solo traveler, they’re perfect.
The one thing that struck me as soon as I turned off pavement on to the dirt road running through this site of 45 cabins/tiny homes, was the intentional minimalistic little touches throughout the site. From the discrete signage to each cabins setup and significant separation from other cabins, to the inside decor, utensils, and set up.
Glamping comes to mind as a descriptive term for these, since everything was top-notch quality, but in a minimalist design way. Nothing visually lavish, but suited to purpose in a classy simple vibe. The interior walls/ceiling of the cabins are unfinished pine boards, flooring all subdued commercial carpet. Bed has a down coverlet and four pillows, all in white (bath linens plain white too). Kitchen setup in stainless with high-quality utensils, pots/pans, and enameled dinnerware (including camping-style aluminum hot mugs and enameled drinking cups). They even provide a Tivoli radio with a bluetooth setting I used to connect my iPhone for some voice-less new age ambient background music as I wrote, planned, and plotted.
While this article sounds like a promo for the company, it’s only because (for me) it was that good of a setup and worth shouting about. I’m here in the early winter, where temps outside were high 30s daytime, low 20s nighttime. Not conducive to sitting outside, but I managed a nice half-mile hike through one of the two woodland trails cleared for guest use. Even their tasteful choices showed there, with trailhead pillars at entrances, and red triangular metal blaze markers frequent enough to stay on the trail. Nice touches. The whole site has a “feature nature, minimize signs” approach which I appreciate.
So, what’s my verdict? Not only will I come here again since it’s within 90 minutes of home, but expect to stay at one of these in other locations if it aligns with my travels. Rate-wise it’s comparable to AirBnB, yet unlike there, you can expect the same setup at each of the Getaway Houses locations. Anyone who’s frequently uses AirBnB has their own tales about inconsistent cleanliness, ambiance, and the dreaded “doesn’t really look like the pictures.”
The company also runs discount deals and packages frequently (or at least so far in the three months since I reserved this one under a 25% off deal), so pays to stay on their mailing list.
My two full days here were relaxing and unwinding. I accomplished a lot of writing and planning in two short days and benefited from the quiet location that was absolutely pitch black dark at night. My only regret? Cold weather kept me from spending much time outside and cloudy nights from the rare treat of having full stars in the night sky so close to home.
Think you want to try one of these? If so, please use this link to reserve. You’ll get $25 off your first visit and I’ll get a nice credit to on my next Getaway in the woods! Win-win.
The owl is probably my favorite bird/wildlife denizen. I thought I knew a lot about them, but after reading Jennifer Ackerman’s delightful and educational What An Own Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic Birds I realize I know comparatively very little about owls!
If you enjoyed Ed Yong’s books (e.g., An Immense World or I Contain Multitudes) and his deep dive into research and clear scientific explanations, then you’ll love Ackerman’s Owl Knows book. I find Yong’s books fascinating but hard to read except in spurts because he goes so deep and shares so many tangential nuggets. Ackerman’s Owl Knows is the same broad pursuit of science and history, but easier to read since she doesn’t quite go as deep at Yong.
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