Back to Work

Posted on: May 30, 2010

by Deborah in the UP

The first summer was filled with constant work and massive expenses. The idea behind us moving and living off grid was for both of us to ‘retire’, but the money was quickly running out and Pete didn’t want to tap into his retirement account until absolutely necessary. I was the one with the most lucrative and portable trade: massage therapy. The ’business’ is in me, my talent, my knowledge, my skill. So, it was decided that it would be me to go back to work to support us.

In our little town, mostly supported by tourism, I opened an office, in a room adjacent to the real estate office, for two days a week. Some days I would sit for hours, with nothing to do, some days I would have one or two clients walk in. One such day is when I met who ended up my best friend, Kathy. But that office was just for the summer months, and more on Kathy another time. Come that winter, another new friend, Maxine, needed help with her café, and still needing an income, I went to work waiting tables.

Friday afternoons, Saturday all day, and Sunday mornings, I would snow shoe out to the car and go to work, for what felt like pennies compared to what I was accustomed to making. I was an educated, trained person, and I had never waited tables before… this was going to be difficult. It’s a good thing it was going to be short term. It actually turned out to be fun. I got to meet many new people … local people, especially on Sunday, during after church breakfast. One such person, Tina, worked for a local, exclusive, private resort. That spring, she approached me, wondering if I would be willing to go to that private resort to do massage for one of the members.

Would I????

After that first visit, another member found out I was willing to venture the distance …and then another and another. Within six weeks I was on a regular schedule. I was back to work, full time, not what I had in mind, but it was bringing in a much needed paycheck. This resort was only opened during the summer months, but paid well enough that I didn’t have to go back to waiting tables during the winter.

The resort is breathtaking, and for their privacy, I cannot reveal the name, but it’s 22,000 acres of pristine woodlands, with numerous lakes and rivers within the boundary’s. All 5o of the resident cabins have river or Lake Superior frontage. Private ownership, guarded gate. A very nice, secure, safe place to work. Every May I would wait for the first phone call that signaled the resort being open, and every October I would regretfully leave on the last day. Regretfully, yes, but also thankfully. Massage is hard work, and by October I was tired and ready for the rest.

Working all summer had it’s definite downside. Pete was not interested in maintaining the vegetable garden, even though he had taken the Master Gardening class with me. All he wanted to do was his stained glass. The garden suffered greatly, and produced poorly. I did get enough to harvest and can for the winter, but I was buying more than I was growing, and that was NOT part of the plan. I couldn’t do it all though, and I had to chose. Days off were spent helping Pete cut firewood for the winter, or collecting kindling, or canning whatever the garden managed to produce, or, or, or…. Yes, by October I was very tired and in need of the rest.

This just wasn’t going as planned….

Fifteen years later, I’m still working with the members of that resort. We’ve grown very fond of each other and they have become my friends, even though our economic status is worlds apart.

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