funny one minute and thought-provoking the next. Stories range from
Schmidt’s experience living off-grid as the only English woman in
an Amish neighborhood to family trips that are remarkably similar to
National Lampoon’s Vacation. Through it all, she manages to rise
above the many challenges she faces—inspiring and entertaining her
audience along the way. Filled with animal antics, gratitude,
mishaps, and madcap adventures, Not a Perfect Fit’s tell-all,
single-girl-gone-country, down-home stories give readers permission
to laugh and cry—and, most important, to carry on.
Blindsided on a Date
Dating in a small rural area can be a challenge. Most of the men I meet are happily married or happily single. That doesn’t leave much opportunity for the single woman.
When I moved here, alone and very much single, I was ready to follow in the footsteps of one of my few heroes, Henry David Thoreau. I wasn’t really thinking about finding a partner. And yet the fact of my singleness was never too far from my thoughts. (Honestly, I think I was more interested in finding someone who would do the daily cleaning, organizing, cooking, and such, as I’ve always loved the work that I do to make a living.)
From the very beginning, all the kind people I have met here have taken an interest in my single status and have tried, usually without success, to set me up with their brothers, widowed friends, and in one case their father. And I thought it was all rather endearing . . . sort of.
My very first blind date turned out, thankfully, not to be blind at all. He was a gorgeous local farmer, and we hit it off right away. Imagine my surprise when, on our very first date, after three hours of nonstop talking and walking, I ventured the question, “So how long have you been divorced?”
“Well, I reckon a week now,” he replied.
I just about passed out right there in his cornfield. Really?! I mean, personally, I think that’s a little bit too soon for dating, and I wasn’t interested in being rebound material—although my dad did always tell me, “Janie, you bounce well!”
My next real blind date just about had heart failure, along with a major adult breakdown, when I casually suggested a ping-pong date at my neighbors’ home.
“Ping-Pong!” he exclaimed. “Ping-pong?!” he practically shouted over the phone as I sat breathlessly, wondering why the drama. He went on quickly and loudly to say that he was not interested in playing some competitive game with me on our first date, and why would I even think that would be acceptable to him?
Needless to say, no first date.
I love ping-pong. My family had a table in our basement, and it was a never-ending source of family fun, togetherness, and laughter. I would not let Mr. Poopy Pants ruin that memory for me. Surely there must be single men out there who love a friendly game of ping-pong. So onward I bravely marched.
Sometimes, when we least expect it, miracles happen, and so it was for me. I was invited to a friend’s party, and it was a wonderful mix of people—some of them strangers, and some my newfound friends. We played a challenging game of croquet, dined on a smorgasbord of healthy organic foods, and ended up sitting around the campfire with various instruments in one big, happy sing-along. And I met a man—a single man. Good-looking, kind, gentle. We talked long into the night by the fire as the embers cooled, and when I left, we exchanged phone numbers. I had recently moved into what I used to refer to as the “White House”—a small, plain house without any frills—and had gotten my first telephone since moving to the area. I left the party feeling good and, yes, with a bit of blushing-bride anticipation.
He called two weeks later, and we decided on dinner cooked over a campfire in my new backyard as our first date. I waited eagerly all week and kept adding dry logs to the fire pit in order to ensure a blazing fire when the big night came.
That evening I went to my neighbors’ house and borrowed their shower (still no running water at the White House), used their mirror, and tried hard to remember how not to poke myself in the eye as I applied a touch of mascara. My neighbors kindly gave me a thumbs-up on my way out the door. I drove the 3.7 miles of curving single-lane road home in two minutes flat and waited . . . and waited. . . and waited.
One hour later than our appointed time, there were lights, followed by a car door closing, and then a curious click, click, click on the wood slabs I used as a walkway. I answered the light knock on the door and there, dressed to the nines in full drag, was my date!
Not only was his makeup better than my rushed mascara job, he looked disconcertingly like a slutty version of my best friend, Janet. Without hesitation, I pulled him inside lest the neighbors drive by, being careful not to catch his stiletto heels in the slab wood and make him topple over in his tightly padded corset.
“You may get a run in your fishnet stockings by the campfire,” I managed to say.
This was the end of my blind date streak for a while.
Choices and Turtle Adventures. When not teaching her fitness classes
or encouraging women to get outside, she spends her time backpacking
in places like the Grand Canyon, Superior Hiking Trail, and Isle
Royale National Park; biking across Wisconsin; hiking and kayaking in
the Kickapoo Valley Reserve; or just hanging out with her animal
family in rural Viola, Wisconsin.