by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
In this chapter, we get a series of stories and anecdotes about what living with a Prophet/Visionary Man is like. I am certain 90% of these stories come from Debi’s actual life with Mike Pearl…and that’s depressing.
I’m just going to go sequentially from the beginning of the chapter where Debi has spoken about how an unbalanced Prophet/Visionary Man can get the whole family upset over issues.
“You will hear them going on and on about issues like whether or not we should celebrate Christmas. Should we accept a license from the state? Should a Christian opt out of the Social Security system? Why go to a doctor? No birth control!”
Many opinionated people go through a phase like that. I remember when I was a new teacher going out to a local watering hole after work with friends and having wonderfully heated arguments about minor life issues.
I still enjoy having conversations like that.
The important bit, though, is that you need to be able to turn off the academic, pedantic arguing side of yourself when it comes to real-life decisions like getting medical care or opting out of Social Security. When the stakes are high, rhetoric needs to stop.
“If you marry one of these wild-headed fellows, expect to be rich or poor, rarely middle class.”
Another moment of truth from Debi. Keep that in mind that if you follow her advice, you will be poor.
“He may invest everything in a chance and lose it all, or make a fortune. He will not do well working 8:00 to 5:00 in the same place for thirty years, then retiring to live the good life. If he works a regular job, he may either not show up half the time or he will work like a maniac 80 hours a week and love every minute.”
- If your spouse is wiling to risk EVERYTHING, be sure YOU are comfortable risking everything. In Debi’s world, the wife is going to have to pick up the slack – and since women have no real marketable skills in CP/QF, that means you better enjoy grinding poverty that never lets up.
- If you work at a “regular” job and only show up half the time, you will not have that job for long.
- Question deeply why someone cannot hold a job or is a repeated, epic failure at entrepreneurship. I dated a man who kept losing jobs – even jobs that “no one had ever gotten fired from before” in the pointed words of a mutual friend. After a brutal break-up, I realized that I had been deeply in denial about how severe his depression was and was ignoring the fact he was an alcoholic. That relationship hurt me and I needed to spend a lot of time working on looking for red-flags. Thank God I didn’t marry him.
- Work-life balance is important. Be sure you understand what an 80-hour work week looks like – and that you can handle being alone much of the time.
Now we get a real-life story that I am sure comes from Debi’s life:
“He may purchase an alligator farm in Florida or a ski resort in Colorado, or he may buy an old house trailer for $150 with hopes of fixing it up and selling it for $10,000, only to find that it is so deteriorated that it can’t be moved. He will then have his wife and all the kids help him tear off the top and carry the scraps to the dump, saving the appliances in the already crowded garage, so he can make a farm trailer out of the axles.”
*Laughs and laughs and laughs*
If your husband comes home with a plan that nets 6500% profit in real-estate, be sure you have the property appraised before you buy. Be sure that you can move the house safely before you fork the money over.
Good idea on keeping the appliances – if they work. You might recoup the $150 that way. I’d have asked if the local fire department wanted to burn the trailer as a practice drill before tearing it apart – you’d save the money on the gasoline used to haul the scraps and the time of ripping it apart.
How exactly is he going to make a farm trailer out of the axles? My husband and I agree that it is theoretically possible, but you’d need welding equipment and welding skills plus sheet metal.
“Now that he has a farm trailer and no animals, expect him to get a deal on three, old, sick cows and …. he may never be rich in money, but he will be rich in experience.”
*Thumps head against desk repeatedly*
I live on a dairy farm. Take a wild guess what is the least important piece of equipment on a small farm. If you guessed “farm trailer”, congratulations! You are smarter than Mike Pearl!
Interesting fact: “Old, sick cows” don’t live long enough to be sold – even to your gullible neighbor. Once a cow is “old” (which is usually after her 3rd lactation or 6 years of age), an illness will kill the cow in really short order. The older cows just don’t have that much metabolic reserve left.
So how did the Pearls end up with three “old, sick cows”? I have a theory. Their oldest daughter, Rebekah, recounts:
When my family first moved near the Amish community in TN, I was 14 years old. The first winter we had cabbage, wheat, raw milk, and canned cat food or poor quality tuna (the cans were missing labels when we bought them and we couldn’t tell for sure if it was cat food or tuna.)
Imagine you are the neighbor of this new family. A family of 7 move in nearby and are clearly in bad financial straits. They’ve got nothing and the kids are looking too skinny already. The husband is a jerk, but the wife seems reasonably intelligent and you remember what it was like being a hungry child. You have a good size dairy herd and had a few low producing cows that you were planning to sell out of the herd once their milk production dropped anyways. (A low-producing cow can still easily produce plenty of milk for family use for really long periods of time.) The wife could probably figure out how to sell some of the extra milk or make cheese or something. The family could graze the cows on their land during the warm months and you can find something for the kids to do on your farm to ‘earn’ enough to cover forage during the cold months. All you need to do now is figure out a way to get the family the cows without hurting their pride because pride might be the only thing they have left right now. You offer the jerk of a husband a deal on your ‘old, sick cows” and drop off food when you can.
Why didn’t the neighbors call CPS? I don’t know. If they were Amish, they may not have known about CPS. Even the “English” neighbors may not have known that not having food for your children is neglect…I don’t know. I wish they had called CPS. But I am glad that the Pearl kids got that milk.
Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide