Decluttering, minimizing, and projects…oh my!

Recently, I joined a decluttering and minimizing group. They have been a tremendous help to me in that not only is it nice to feel not alone in my efforts to simplify my life, but people share some really great tips and tricks. I have also been able to share some ideas that have worked for me.

It’s astonishing how quickly I’ve been able to find a sense of community in a group I just joined last week. In fact, I’ve been inspired to get back on the decluttering horse, and have been successful in clearing out a few packed corners in my house.

Yesterday it was a book shelf. Today it will be some cube organizers that have been sitting in my living room, waiting for my spare room to get renovated. They have been a convenient place to put crap I haven’t had the time or will to deal with. Most especially pictures that need hanging up.

For those of you Faithful Readers who’ve been keeping up with my blog for awhile, you’ll recall that I painted my living room a couple of years ago. I still have not hung up the pictures yet. I have this strange fear that I will screw something up if I try to hang them myself.

Well, I just need to bite the bullet and get it done, damn the consequences!

Boy do I know how to live like a rebel, eh? LOL

Redoing the spare room is one of the many projects on the slate for this Spring. On the list are:

👉Repaint, reorganize, and declutter the spare room.

👉My china cupboard needs to be cleaned out and reorganized.

👉Repaint the bathroom, add new shelves and new decor, and recaulk the tub.

👉Paint and reorganize the pantry.

👉Prep the back yard for a new, bigger shed. We will then need to get rid of the old, small, crappy shed once the new one is delivered.

👉Once the old shed is gone, new compost bins will be built, and the ground will be prepared for a vegetable garden. The fence will also be repaired.

That’s quite a lot to get done this Spring, but I have some PTO to burn, so I will take time off from work to get the painting done. I can paint both rooms at the same time, so that will be fairly easy to knock out.

I feel fairly convinced this is all doable in the next couple of months, now I just need to keep a head of steam underneath me.

Now to go finish the laundry, and get started on the house work for the day. At some point, later on, the cube shelves will get cleared out and the pictures hung up. it’s going to be a good day!

Blessings all!

When your dreams get your attention

Normally I don’t remember my dreams, but the one I was having just before my alarm woke me up stuck with me.

I was dreaming that our local Air Force base got nuked, and I was trapped and unprepared in my own home. Getting caught short unprepared for any situation is never good, nuclear explosion notwithstanding.

Generally I find that my brain will take smalls bit of information and roll it up into a nightmarish story designed to get my attention. I have very few of these sorts of dreams, but they always stick with me. I can count a good handful of dreams I can remember, and none of them are good.

The last one I remember like this, someone came to me in the guise of Mad Eye Moody, and he looked me right in the eye and let me know bad things were coming. The time to do something is now. It wasn’t Mad Eye Moody, though. I have suspicions on who I think it was, but I’ll keep that to myself for now.

Needless to say, I didn’t heed the warning and I was caught very unprepared with a surprise divorce a few months later.

I’ve had this really weird feeling that something is coming. Time to get off my ass and get prepared for whatever.

For now, I will quietly re-stock my naked pantry with as much non-perishables I can, and this winter will be spent getting my basement workshop back into shape. I have a plan, and that is half the battle.

Here’s hoping you have a plan, for whatever needs it. Baby steps are good, and you have to start somewhere. Blessings all.

Home renovation isn’t for the faint of heart

It’s been in my To Do List to paint my entryway, kitchen and hallway for quite a while. I bought the paint, and it’s been sitting in my kitchen gathering dust for a long time waiting for me to get myself together and get going.

I have two days off in conjunction with 4th of July, so I took this as a great opportunity to get started. Last night, all things (and there were a LOT of things) were dislodged from the entry and put into my kitchen and spare room. Disgorged might be a better word. There’s stuff everywhere, and it looks like I’m going to be downsizing as I put things back. I can’t believe I had all that stuff stored in that little room!

Having emptied the room, I opened the can of paint and began. It felt scary and fantastic to put those first brush strokes of paint on the wall.

Holy buckets… the paint is called “washed denim”, but went on very purplish. Luckily it dried darker, but still has quite a purple cast to it. I like it, but both of my kids were put off by the color when I sent them pictures. Good thing I’m an empty nester…LOL.

There are a couple of crappy things about painting a room. First, the rest of your home looks like a bomb blew up in it for having the contents of the room you’re painting having to go somewhere else.

Second, there is the problem of heights. I am not a fan of ladders, and now that I have a bad knee, and terrible balance, things get a little dicey trying to reach high places like the ceiling over a stairwell.

There are some good things about painting a room. There is the obvious bonus of getting a boost from having a new color in your environment. Change is a good thing, and paint is one of the cheapest ways to make a big change without breaking the bank.

It’s a good opportunity to change the organization of a room since you have to put things back in it, once the paint is dry. It’s also a great time to evaluate what goes back in the room. If you haven’t used something, time to downsize.

So, as much as I love blogging, I must confess that I am really just avoiding getting on that ladder. I quit earlier than I wanted to last night, just because the idea of getting on that ladder to do the high places was so daunting. Sunshine streaming in the windows helps a little, and I’m not exactly sure why.

Home renovation isn’t for the faint of heart, so I best screw my back bone into place and get on with it.

Maybe I will finish my coffee first. 😉☕️

Here’s hoping you all can dig down and find that place where bravery dwells when having to do something that scares or intimidates you. The results will be worth it. Blessings all!

Shredding my way to a happier space

As discussed yesterday, I have a very long “to-do” list. There is so much to do that it’s difficult to know even where to start.

This weekend was supposed to be about getting my ceilings painted with a nice fresh coat of bright white paint. I also need to get a start on painting my basement floor in preparation to re-engineer what used to be the Man Cave, into my personal craft/project space.

I’m starting to understand that my “to-do” list needs to be more like my bucket list.

My bucket list is populated by some long term ideas, but also has plenty of space for things which appear in the moment. It’s very flexible, though for the moment somewhat dormant.

Yesterday, I began to move some things around in the basement, and discovered I have quite a lot of old paperwork stored, some of it going back to 2001. Good grief… there’s at least two large totes full, plus some other smaller containers. This is in the basement, on top of the tote I have stored in my living room.


So. I guess it’s time to shred. Not only does it free up space, but it frees up totes I can use to store other things.

I also found that in order to move things around to paint, I need to downsize. “Less is more” will be my mantra going forward. Getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve me comes first, and I feel like it will make the difference for all that comes later.

I so badly wanted to get the painting done, but decided to be flexible and put dealing with these needs before everything else. I cleared out a bunch of books and craft supplies, which I will donate to a local charity tomorrow. When Older Son was here yesterday, I was happy to gift him with several items I don’t use that he will find handy in his new apartment. He also helped me move some cupboards from the kitchen to the basement. Better storage downstairs, more room upstairs.

I’m not just making more room for things to be rearranged. I’m eliminating a whole lot of what I call pots of poison… old paperwork with my ex’s name on it. Just a lot of dusty old stuff from sadder days that no one needs anymore.

I’m making more room for me. I want to remake myself and expand into my newly rejuvenated space, at whatever pace I feel like.

As for the shredding, no time like the present. Last night I shredded until one tote was completely empty. One down, several more to go. It’s agonizingly slow, as I need to go through everything in case there might be something I need to keep. I’ve run into a few things, and thankfully they are just a few.

Baby steps… I’ll get there eventually, but it’s so hard to be patient.

Here’s hoping you all find ways to reorganize, and expand into your space, in whatever time you choose. It’s very cathartic, and highly recommended. Blessings all!

Blowing off productivity

Today I have many, many things to get done. The “To Do” list is more than a little overwhelming, quite frankly.

So, what do I do in the face of this daunting chore list? I baked banana muffins.

That’s right, this slacker chose to goof off in her kitchen rather than clean her house. I didn’t even bother to multitask by making sure I had laundry going at the same time. That’s what my programming tells me I did.

What really happened is that I used up some really ripe bananas before they went bad, and baked for me and my family. I also managed to clean up the kitchen in the process. And, no laundry got done because I’m leaving that open for Older Son to do his laundry when he stops by today. This is the truth that gets overshadowed by societal programming: productivity at all costs. If you aren’t producing something someone else thinks is worthwhile, what good are you?

Well… to Hell with that.

Now I’m sitting here in the sunshine blogging with my belly full of warm banana muffins and coffee. My depraved rebellion knows no bounds, it seems. So there, Society…stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

I have a three day weekend to do as I please, and I’m going to do the best I can to get things done in my own way, as I feel like it. And, I have banana muffins made from my Grandmother’s recipe to snack on and share with my family while doing so.

Speaking of my Grandma, I got to use something of hers today that hardly ever comes out of the drawer – her potato masher. It only gets used for two activities: mashing potatoes and bananas.

I love the things that I inherited from her and her sister, Aunty B. I have a lot of good memories of them, and I’m so grateful to use their things and be able to pass them down to my kids.

One of my many tasks this weekend is to make some hard choices about some of the crap I have laying around my house, and cull a bunch of it. There are going to be a LOT of things donated next week.

When Older Son stops by today, he and I will go through a bunch of stuff and clear out his old room. It will be storage and staging for stuff that I keep while getting other spaces squared away. It’s going to be a good weekend.

Here’s wishing you all the grace and space to do what you feel like doing, in your own time, rather that what society deems necessary. Banana muffin blessings all!

Where does one start?

I have a day off, and so much to do, I can’t even start. Well, I can…It’s just tough to know where to begin. Maybe I’ll hang out with all of you for a while and procrastinate a bit. 🙂

Really, if I had been super intent on getting things done, I would have gotten out of bed at 7, when my alarm went off. Instead, I chose to lay around for a few hours, listening to the radio and playing on Crack Book. It was awesome, but I have been doing that in the morning way too much. There’s a lot I could get done in the morning if I just get up an hour earlier, rather than laying in bed listening to the radio and playing on Crack Book. Hmm… a new goal/good habit to be met/cultivated by the 1st of the year, I think!

In other news, I did finally find a new home for my kitty, Harley. He has been with us for almost 5 years now, and he’s part of the family, but allergies have reared their ugly head. I’ve always been slightly allergic to him, but my Flirt is deathly allergic to him. Silly man can’t help but pet him on the rare occasion when he comes over, and within an hour, his airways are shutting down. This week he gets his shots updated, and then he is off to live with an old friend in my home town. I’ll miss him, but I think he’ll be happier where he’s going. I have no doubt my friend will spoil him rotten with all kinds of people food, let him outside, and not fuss at him for getting on the counters.

In other news…my new kitchen is coming! My poor old kitchen is ugly, falling apart, and needs updating badly. I was able to get a home improvement loan, and am spending the money on a custom built kitchen. It won’t be anything fancy, and I will have fewer physical cupboards, but the way the new cupboards will be arranged will actually give me more storage, and better ways to organize. The skinny cupboard to the upper right of the stove? That is a 12 inch wide spice rack. I’li also have a built in dishwasher, which will only be 18-inches wide. Excuse me, while I go mop up the drool….I’m so excited! I’ll take before and after pictures and post them here like when I had my bathroom remodeled. Oh… the bathroom is getting an update too. It’s been 5 years…time to repaint!

What else is on my to-do list? The basement. I have accumulated a bunch of crap that needs to be gone through and thinned out, so that’s got to be done. I also need to paint the ceiling and floor come the spring time. If I am lucky, I will have saved up enough cash to get new basement windows. This on top of just keeping everything going. My regular housework is definitely falling behind.

So many home improvement projects, and so little time to get everything done. Given my Two Year Plan, it’s time to get on the stick and get stuff done.

Speaking of which, my house isn’t going to clean itself. It’s a really lovely day outside… I need to go make a choice between mowing the lawn and working inside the house. Uff-da! I guess I better hurry up and pick something. My Flirt’s coming to get me soon, as we have a whole day of activities planned. One thing we are doing is looking at mobile homes. I think I like the idea of taking my house with me wherever I go…more on that later.

I hope you all have a fabulously restful and relaxing weekend. If you have to choose between 50 different tasks, pick the one that makes you the happiest to have it done. Me…I think I’ll go putz around my kitchen. 🙂

Be open to opportunities

I have a lot to do today…cleaning, laundry, yard work. I have baking and cooking to do. There are bills to pay and closets to organize. This moment finds me already having had a nice walk this morning and downed one cup of coffee. Another one beckons…and so I refill my cup.  I just need one more hour for me before my day has to really get started.

Younger Son brought in the last of the two surviving plumbs that came from our plum tree. It was quite a trip to see our tree covered with plumbs this Spring. Unfortunately only two survived. I shared the first one with him, but he didn’t like it. So, I’ll eat this last one by myself….it sure is sweet. With any luck, we’ll have more than two next year.

This last week has been quite a trip. The Cube Farm I work at has changed hands, and I am now with my third employer in this same building. There wasn’t so much upheaval the first time we changed employers, but if I couldn’t deal with change and upheaval, I wouldn’t still be working there after all this time. I keep telling myself that…I figure that if I make it my mantra, it will become truth. Over time, the dust will settle and life at work will settle back into a routine again. What that routine will be, I don’t know, but it will settle.

It’s getting time to prepare my house and yard for winter. We had a very mild winter last year and after having a run of bad winters, last year’s was a gift. Generally, mild winters and harsh winters come in groupings, or cycles. Just like everything else.

I’m struck today by the cycles of different things and I am reminded that even though nothing good (like my lovely Summer of Yes) lasts, nothing bad lasts either.  I will get through the upheaval at work, the court date that looms ahead of me, this coming winter, and all else negative that comes my way.  I will string together all the “Yes” moments together and create a cycle that may not have existed if the effort wasn’t made to see a positive pattern and grab hold of it before it evaporates. Because they do…if you don’t make the effort to be in the moment and grab the happy times when the opportunities present themselves, they are lost and you have to wait until the next one comes along.

Having said that, the coffee pot is dry, and my house is not getting any cleaner while I sit here. Time to jump back into the routine and keep things going. If I am really good with my time, perhaps I’ll have time at the end of my day to find something outrageously fun to do. What would that be? I have no idea…but I’ll make sure to stay open to the opportunity should it arise.

Here’s wishing you all many lovely opportunities to live in the moment. Grab them and hang on tight before they slip away.

A mish mash on a warm October day

Today is October 1st, and it is blessedly warm outside. The Weather Guy says it’s going to hit at least 80 degrees today, whereas in other years, we’d already been shoveling snow. What a blessing to have such good weather for a little while longer!

Since it is such a beautiful day, I am going to open up all my windows. throw some laundry in and power clean my kitchen. If I am really good with my time, I will leave myself plenty box opening time while I watch TV this evening. You see, I still have boxes sitting in my living room from when I brought everything up out of the basement before the flood this summer, and I just can’t bring myself to quite look in them. I know that there will be things in these boxes from my married life that I just don’t want to see or deal with.  This qualifies me as a gigantic chicken…Bock, bock, bk-ock!  Now, it’s just time to get this stuff taken care of and get it out of the house. Time to get on with it and move forward.

At the moment, Younger Son is cruising the kitchen, like a shark, looking for something to eat. He’s settled on a big glass of chocolate milk, which is just as well. I’m going to clear out the hall closet and he’s going to paint it.  What am I going to do when the boys have flown the nest? They have been really good about helping me out around the house, especially with the big stuff. I guess I’ll just have to find myself a boy toy who likes to shovel snow!

So, let’s talk about trolls. Not the living under the bridge kind, but the kind that maneuver around the internet leaving incendiary remarks on other people’s posts. I have a friend who recently experienced having to deal with one of these trolls for the first time. It’s never fun to have to kick someone off of a message board or a blog, but sometimes it has to be done. Trolls don’t just post nasty things, usually out of context, but they also feel that they can’t ever be wrong and will go to great lengths to prove to you that they are right. The thing is, they just don’t realize that being right isn’t necessarily what matters. What really matters is your behavior, because if you are well-behaved and post thoughtful, well-reasoned ideas, people will pay attention. If you behave badly and spam post people with ranting and crankiness, nobody will listen, except maybe for other trolls who live for arguing. The individual who posted on my friend’s blog, and then put comments on mine, will understand if I choose not to allow your comments to harsh the mellow that is my blog.  Enough said.

So, as I was cleaning out the closet so Younger could get started with the painting (wee!) I got a call from my best buddy, “C”.  Her brother has moved into town and they are going out tonight, and he wanted to know if I’d like to go out with them tonight.

Hmm. I do believe I’d like to do just that. It’s been a long time since a man was interested in my company so, even though we are just friends, I do believe I will go and have a good time.  “C”, her hubby and her brother are all good company, so a fun time is assured. However, if I want to not feel guilty about going, I’d better kicker ‘er down and get going. I’ve got a lot of work to do today, and looks like I have the perfect excuse to not have to look in those boxes again today. (snicker!)

Well, I guess there’s always tomorrow (wink). I am nothing, if not the Queen of Procrastination!

The Universe has a twisted way of making you move forward

I got a call from Older Son while I was at work today. Apparently, condensation from the air conditioner is dripping down through the furnace and all over the floor in a part of the basement we generally don’t pay much attention to.  It just so happens that this area butts up against Older Son’s room, and now his carpet is wet. Ugh…I will count my blessings that it isn’t a lot of water, just only enough to be a pain in our keesters.

Well, it just so happens that I have a lot of work that needs to be done in the basement, as you’ve read in many of my previous blog posts, and I have successfully avoided every single opportunity to get it done. It’s a particular skill of mine, avoidance. Do you know that I very craftily made my way through a four-year BA degree without ever once having to take a math course? I’m always on the look out, consciously and unconsciously,  for ways to avoid things that might be unpleasant, time-consuming, or might require tough decision-making (as is with my basement).

So, now I can avoid it no longer…the basement must be dealt with (cue Vincent Price’s evil, echoing laughter…we haven’t heard from him in a while!).  As with all large projects, I supposed a “to-do” list is in order, but I think I might have to take a more than cursory look at the issue before I drag out the dreaded “to-do” list.

The good news is that I have so much to gain by just diving in and getting it the heck done. I’ll keep you posted on the progress…

Confessions of a Lead Foot Annie

Older son and I went out to run errands today. We ran to the bank, returned some unused home improvement items, bought some other home improvement items, and had a load of river rock delivered for the edging I’ll be putting up around the house. A very successful morning, but one that wouldn’t have been possible without getting in the car and driving.

Even though we live in a small town (approx. 37,000) our traffic can be hectic, and fast-paced, especially around rush-hour times like Noon and 6pm. My problem isn’t with the fast drivers…it’s with the slow pokes. You know the ones I’m talking about; the sight seers and looky-loos. The ones who like to take their sweet time and don’t care that I have somewhere to be make me cranky.  Those who are driving ahead of me, seemingly without a purpose really get under my skin.

Today, Older Son commented to me that I needed to have more patience with people. This was said after I complained bitterly that “Farmer Bob will not get the lead out, and get of my way!”  It was obvious to me that the aforementioned “Farmer Bob” had plenty of time to go and was just gazing about, not paying attention. When I’m driving, I seldom drive just for the fun of driving. I always have a purpose and a place to be, and god help other drivers if they can’t get the lead out and get going. By that I don’t mean that I would exact any sort of vengeance, except for the rare occasion I have to blow the horn at a particularly oblivious driver. But, let me tell you about the chatter that happens in my car. The vitriolic commentary coming from my driver’s seat,  directed at bozos on the road, is prolific and merciless. Of course, I watch the swearing as I usually have kids in the car with me, but I am pretty creative with my descriptors and directives.

I know that driving with impatience is not good. It’s not good for the driver, the passengers or the other drivers on the road. It’s a bad habit, and I’m in the process of trying to relax when I drive and tone down the invective a little bit. In the spirit of changing my ways, I’ve put together a to-do list of driving habits I need to change:

  1. Anyone and everyone else who just can’t get the lead out should not be addressed as Farmer Bob. I actually know some farmers named Bob, and they are neither slow nor incompetent drivers. This bad habit of mine came from living on the Prairie my whole life and having been stuck behind my share of  farm equipment driving down a skinny road. It’s slow going…ugh.
  2. Breathe deep and be patient with the elderly who can’t help but go slow. I need to remember that it will be me driving slow when I hit that stage of life. At least I hope I’m still driving when I’m old!
  3. I have been a bozo in some other driver’s estimation, at various times in my life, so I need to get off my high horse and cut other people some slack.
  4. Perhaps, instead of hurling insults at my fellow drivers, I should just hum a tune to keep my mouth busy while I’m waiting for my turn to go… even if grass is growing underneath their car for going so slow.
  5. I need to be conscious of showing a good example for my kids to learn from. I have one son driving, and the other one will begin driving a year from now. You know it’s bad when your kid tells you to have some patience.

Wish me luck…old habits die hard!

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