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Adjusting to Civilization- part 1

Sorry about the “Part 1, Part 2” thing, but it’s been so long since I’ve had the opportunity, sanity, or time to blog that there is just so much to say! So after I wrote ridiculously long blogs, I decided to split them up. I’m very glad that life is normalizing somewhat so I can get caught up. It feels good to be able to tell you all of our end-of-the-ride stories. Hope you enjoy them and feel caught up on the latest McGrath news.

As we watched our last driver pull out of the driveway and head back to Colorado, we didn’t waste any time getting to work sorting out our life. First project: pull the vehicles out of the snow banks! With Teton Mountains and our purple blanketed horses playing in the pasture as our backdrop, we got to shoveling. Thankfully there was only about a foot and a half of accumulated snow- about half of normal for this time of year. A local mechanic had volunteered his time to get our vehicles running again before we got home, so at least they started. The truck was out of the snow, so the car was the main priority. In the process of trying to pull it out, we managed to get the truck quite stuck and had to cut the tow strap. Then we went at it from a different angle with a new strategy and were able to get it out that time. It stuck like dead mice though, had a very flat tire, and a pretty noticeable knock in the engine. Vehicles parked neatly in the driveway, we got to the next project.

The shed. All of our horse equipment that was neatly stored in the barn had been moved into a big heap in the tiny shed while we were gone. We were not happy about this to say the least and it was clear indication of issues that needed to be resolved. Guess we get to start our new life with trouble on the home-front already. “Lord, please give us grace to deal with this situation as You deal with our own failures. And since you have proven to be a God of details, would you please go before us and resolve this situation?”

So the shed ended up being about a two man, 18 hour project. It was a mess. Several things were broken, several were missing, and there was no room in that tiny space to sort it out. We had to take most of it out in the snow just to sort it out. Hours and hours of intense labor later, we finally had it stored in a somewhat organized fashion- as best we could do in the space that was there. Why, you say, would we start on the shed first instead of the house? Well, half of the gear with us was horse stuff that had to be stored outside, and our camping equipment couldn’t be put away either until we were able to organize it out in the shed. Thus, the shed was holding up the whole party!

That project finished to our satisfaction, we moved our efforts to the house. Upon first glance, the house was in order and cleaned up for our arrival. Many thanks to our friend for cleaning before moving out, and for leaving us with a comfy recliner! But for all his efforts, it still wasn’t ‘home’ to us. They had the house organized and to their cleanliness standards the way they wanted it to live in- which of course is no problem- but we needed to make it our own again. We decided it would be silly to unpack our gear and put it away when we had no idea where anything was anymore. So rather than moving things twice, we decided first to go through every cabinet, drawer, shelf, closet, dresser, – absolutely everything- and clean it and put it the way we wanted it. Think spring cleaning- or worse- moving. What a project!

I have to insert here our amazement once again at God’s timing. You know how we had said that we wanted to stay in Colorado to go to the cowboy church but our driver had to leave on Saturday? Well, had we left on Sunday afternoon or Monday, we would have had a serious problem. Not 30 hours after we arrived home, we were absolutely dumped on with snow! Two and a half feet in 24 hours then several inches each day after for a week! Not only would we not have been able to get in the driveway, the drive would have been dangerous especially for John’s return trip to Colorado, we would have had a very hard time pulling things out of the shed, and we definitely would not have been able to get our vehicles out of the snow banks! We arrived on the very last day of beautiful weather for the next week plus! So while we were unpacking, it was snowing and snowing! We did eventually have to give in and start shoveling in between the unpacking, but at least we didn’t have to drive in the mess to get to work.

We started on the kitchen so we would be able to cook. It was almost kind of fun actually. We listened to our own music as loud as we wanted to, spent time talking, and it was almost like Christmas discovering what we owned! The bathroom was next. My ulterior motive was that I wanted to be able to find my makeup and hair stuff! :) We began in small increments to put our gear away- anything that would find its home in the kitchen or bathroom was removed from its temporary place on the tarp in the livingroom.

Then we headed for the bedroom. The closet was a thing of beauty. All my clothes! Dresses and skirts and cute jeans and high heels and classy coats and purses and belts and jewelry and and and….! :) Not that I’m a material girl. Far from it. But to have choices of what to wear again! It was overwhelming actually. I think I changed three times the first few days! I couldn’t remember what went together, how to look stylish, or even decide what I wanted to wear. I figured I better start practicing how to dress nice again before I go to work or it would take me five hours to get ready! We pulled Richard’s clothes out of the boxes we had stashed them in out in the shed (so Mom could have room in the closet), and got them hung up. I didn’t mind putting most of our gear away, but when it came time to dump out our dry bags and put our trail clothes away, I got emotional. We’ve been living out of those bags for basically two years now. It was very weird to put them away.


  1. Oh. My. Goodness. I want a mess. I love organizing! Sounds like it was cleansing. Speaking of cleansing, go buy coffee grounds, I’ve used the gourmet type and right now I’m using Folgers Chocolate Silk. Open up the container and put it in the truck overnight. Ta da!

  2. The magnitude of this situation never occurred to me. Let me see if I understand. when you left home 2 yrs ago, you had “just enough” stuff. After two years, you rturn home and find you have more “stuff” than you can deal with sorting and arranging in a day or do. I’m guessing the amount of “stuff” has not changed much–just your perspective. Is that close to right?

  3. (ref: private email)
    I confess: I’m busted!
    I had reverted to my IT “narrow focus” reading.

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