Where do I begin? I have been extremely remiss in my postings of late. So I guess it is appropriate to start up again with an update on the state of affairs at Kapalai Farms after the wave of storms that we experienced this past week. Hail (the size of golf balls) did not make it to Kapalai but was reported in Kailua town, a first for me in my 19 years here. I have been reminiscent of last year’s thunderstorms that hit as soon as we decided to make the move into our new dwelling. We were faced with many challenges. The cliché phrase, “When it rains, it pours” was to put it lightly. I felt like I was in an extreme test of character. How would I respond especially to display an air of peace to my children who were dependent on my reactions for their sense of security? We experienced a host of problems including leaks, mud, flooding, loss of power, a broken generator, a malfunctioning toilet, the list goes on and on. To say that we had ventured out of our comfort zone was, to put it mildly. Well, after a year I thought we had fared pretty well. Glitches come and go. We know how to problem solve most of our issues. Or so I thought. Then Sunday’s storm hit. I have to say I have not seen this amount of rain ever come down so quickly here.
After weathering the storm for the past five days I have come to realize that this has all been core fitness training. All the buzz these days in the fitness realm is how we need to strengthen our core. That would be our abs and back in the physical, right? It has occurred to me that I also need to strengthen my core in the spiritual. What would that look like? How am I doing at my core? How is my patience, perseverance, faith, and resolve? When the storms of life hit, how do I handle it? This journey my family has been on has been extreme core fitness training. For a while, there has been a nice comfortable rhythm so I thought that I must be doing very well. This past year strengthened me to the point of feeling a bit overconfident. Then the storm arrived on Sunday. Once again we were reminded of our vulnerability to nature. We experienced about 6 months of leak free-living and thought all problematic areas were resolved. The downpour came in full force and showed us we were wrong. Water coming down at such a rate will find its way in no matter what. So we tried to deal with it with as good of an attitude as we could. We figured the lo’i will drain, the cupboards will dry out, and the mud will dry up. It’s really not a big deal. Well, I guess after about five days of getting pounded, my nerves were a little on edge and then the toilet plugged. Oh, here we go!
Whenever something goes wrong with the toilet (which is very often) I know I am in for another level of fitness training. I have learned over the course of the year how to fix almost every problem with our composting toilet. But it is not without extreme pain to my core muscles. It is normally just a light workout requiring some troubleshooting but if I can’t resolve it within 20 minutes, I know I’m in for it. The issue this time, is plugged and the air is leaking causing the vacuum pump not to work, a very important component to our wiz-bang, state-of-the-art, top of the line, electric flushing, composting toilet. I will not mention any brand names at this point but if you are ever in the market for one, and we all should be now as raw sewage continues to pour into our precious ocean, please call me first!
Some of you might say, why me. Where is my husband? Why isn’t he the one wrestling with this thing? Well as many of you might know, my husband has many gifts and talents. Dealing with technical difficulties is not one of them. If he were to handle it that thing would have been to the dump over a year ago. He is perfectly happy with his perfectly functioning, non-electric, non-flushing, just bare-bones basic composting toilet located in the outhouse down the hill where he frequents often. It has never caused us a single problem. No smells, no leaks, no plugs, it just gets the job done. But I had to have the Cadilac. For the girls and I, we had to have the refined flushing model. I can tell you it is not refined at all. It stinks, it doesn’t work, it is always out of balance and it is just a plain mess sometimes. It has taken me to places in my core I never imagined. After assessing the latest issue, I very begrudgingly was asking myself, “What now?” What part of my character needs to be worked on now? As I was pulling out poop and a roll of toilet paper my blood was about to boil over. Okay, so it is unplugged, let’s put it back together. It should be working right? Wrong. Air leak. Cannot flush with an air leak. Okay, so let’s take it back off. Now I must scrape off dried poop so that I can lubricate the phalange to hopefully resolve the leak. That should work. Put it back on. Nope, take it back off. What now? Please work, please have mercy on me and please work before I lose it. Oh, so that’s what it is, RESOLVE. How can a toilet take me to my core? I felt like Captain what’s his name in Forrest Gump who climbs to the top of the mast to curse the storm. That’s what I felt like doing. I had fantasies of a sledgehammer taking care of the whole business for me. Okay, gather myself. Last time. Try one more time. Thank God. For today I am spared a complete breakdown over a malfunctioning toilet. And I think I might have a little more resolve. Or at least self-control because the sledgehammer remained in the shed.
Why do I share these struggles with such detail? Isn’t this real life? Don’t we all have something like my toilet that takes us to our core? How we respond is our choice. Do we allow it to mold us, shape us, humble us, or do we fight it to the bitter end? These are the lessons I am learning living off the grid. I never imagined that my toilet would be a life coach. I wish I had some great wisdom to share or some tremendous breakthrough that would give all you readers some relief. The truth of the matter is that I need a lot more training. I have ways to go before I can befriend my toilet and face the next glitch with unshakable resolve. I am a work in progress and will be re-visiting my core many more times in the future. Now that I have had a few days to get my logical mind back, dry out a bit, and have a functioning toilet, I can say I am ready for the next training session. And outside it’s beginning to rain again…