On-grid -vs.- Off-the-grid Mornings

Since the onset of cold weather, I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between on-grid (OG) and off-the-grid (OTG) morning routines. I thought it would be of interest to compare them.

When I lived OG, my alarm would go off around 6, I’d snooze it as long as I could, then get up, trip over the cat, and head to the bathroom. Then I’d zombie into the kitchen, push start on the coffee pot and pop some toast into the toaster.

While impatiently waiting for that, I’d shuffle into the living room, flip on the TV (if it hadn’t been left on the night before) and stare at it until I heard the toast pop and smell cooked coffee.

I’d head back into the kitchen–open the fridge-get butter for toast and milk for coffee–fix it up—then shuffle back to the living room.

On the way, I’d pass the thermostat and crank it up a little–70 degrees F, just isn’t warm enough on a winter morning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After a few minutes, I’d realize that I was running late, and run to the shower-but not before grabbing my clothes, and tossing them into the dryer to knock some wrinkles out of them.

I’d take a super-hot shower then dry off-robe up-run down and get my clothes out of the dryer. Get dressed…hair dry-straightened/make up. Grab another cup of coffee–because I’d still not be awake—to the car–off to work–and probably be a little late to yoga.

The whole process took about 45 minutes to an hour. If I goofed and really overslept-I could pull it off in 30-minus any toast or TV.

OTG mornings look like this:

Alarm goes off and I still snooze it–but it’s set for 4:30am. After one round of snooze–I’m sitting up, pulling on my socks, fuzzy hat, and sweater. It will be 40-50 degrees in the cabin. I flip on the solar single bulb that lights the down stairs and proceed to ooch (meaning sit on the top stair before descending as opposed to standing up and stepping down) my butt down the stairs with 2 dogs and 2 cats in tow.

Shoes on, scarf on, jacket on and off to the outhouse. (The distance I used to walk from bedroom to kitchen OG is about the same from the front door to the outhouse.) Temperature gauge on my butt tells me the toilet seat is about 20 degrees…a little chilly…Out of bed less than 5 and I’m now fully awake.

Back into the cabin–time to boil water for coffee and get a fire going. We use a french press to make coffee-so the process is to light the propane stove, boil water and then pour it over coffee grounds. Takes about 20 minutes.

Getting a fire going is fairly important AFTER going to the bathroom and starting coffee (gotta get your priorities straight). Getting a fire going takes about 10 minutes–for that fire to warm the 200 square foot space a few degrees takes at least 30 minutes.

Fire going, water boiled and poured. Time to make breakfast. I have no fridge and no toaster—so no butter or milk either. Breakfast is raw oats, peanut butter and cinnamon mixed up in a bowl.


Everything is ready–it’s 5am. Time to sit in front of the fire, sip coffee, eat breakfast with my furry friends, contemplate the universe and start a blog post.

Warmed up and fed-I have 30 minutes* to do some exercises while I drink my second cup.

*(There are showers available at my worksite–which is what I use during the week. On the weekends I bathe here at the cabin–if I were to factor that into this scheme-it would add 30 minutes.)

At 5:45, I wake up my better half-get him caffeinated, warming and waking up by the fire and then leave for yoga at 6:15–it takes me 20 minutes to get there.

I’m done with yoga at 7:15–into the shower and at work by 8…and on to another cup of coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚

Those two mornings contain the same elements but leave me with very different feelings.

When I was OG it would take less time to do the essentials, but I would still have to rush to get them done. I would start most days sleepy and out of sorts. Everything was last minute–there was no time for relaxing and spending time with my family in the morning–I’d start my day aggravated and grumpy–wanting to just go back to bed.

OTG mornings require a bit more time. There’s no rushing boiling water or starting a fire. I don’t run out to the outhouse in the dark–I don’t run downstairs–there’s no space for auto-pilot behavior.

When the coffee is ready and the fire is finally warming the house–I find myself thankful for those small things. I find myself smiling and wishing for more of those moments every day.


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