Simplicity Sunday, Uncategorized

Simplicity Sunday – No such thing as “simple”

I am quickly coming to the conclusion that there really is no such thing as simple.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, simple is:  easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.  Not much about my life seems easily understood or done.  Much about my life presents some difficulty.  But, I’m not sure this is all bad.  As the saying goes, nothing easy is worth pursuing.

The last few weeks have been tough.  I didn’t sleep particularly well before leaving for the pre-hospital trip, getting grading done and the house cleaned up.  Then there was the hospital, where I didn’t really sleep at all one night (in the CVICU), barely slept the next night and slept on and off the next couple of nights.  I slept a bit better back at home, but Bean was still up every few hours complaining of pain or needing to move.  My husband left for five weeks a few days after we got home and soon after I left my DD at my in-laws to go to a conference in San Diego.  The first night, my MIL called me with Bean scream crying in the background, saying she was upset because she had forgotten to call me to say goodnight.  That was obviously not the reason she was scream crying.  She was scream crying because she wanted me THERE, with her.

My mom guilt was extremely high.  I should not have left her so soon after she went through so much.  I’m afraid her anxiety will come back due to this craziness.  How important was this conference (well, it was pretty important because I need it to work on this year-long project I am working on)?  Could I have figured out a way to bring her here (tough one…it is expensive and difficult logistically)?  Should I just give up on making it all work (probably…let’s face facts)?  From there, things got much better and she was fine.  So, on the roller coaster of mothering, I was on the short, fun drop instead of the upside down, traveling way to fast to be comfortable part of the ride.

We’ve been home now for a little over a week and things are going pretty well.  Although, she missed two days of VBS this past week with a fever, so there was a bit of panic for that.  But, it must have been some 24 hour bug because it was quickly gone.

I also didn’t get one of her medications in the monthly delivery, but when I called the pharmacy they said the doctor had not sent a refill.  When I called the doctor, it was a problem with pre-authorization.  And it turns out, we can just buy this stuff over the counter for about the same cost as the copay (maybe cheaper if I can catch it on sale).  So, we took care of that issue.

So, this is what I mean by NOTHING being simple.  But, I think that gives me all the more reason to simplify whatever parts of my life I CAN simplify.  So, decluttering my house (I feel like I have rid myself of VOLUMES of stuff in the past six months, but we still have VOLUMES AND VOLUMES of stuff left.  What is with that?!?  Decluttering my schedule and establishing routines so I don’t have to constantly think about what I should be doing next.  I want to surround myself with things I love and enjoy and that make me feel peaceful and content.  Then, when the inevitable complexity of life pops up, I can not only survive, but thrive.

I am quickly approaching my 48th birthday (what the heck?).  I want to live up to what this blog title suggests…being more in my 40s.  I have a limited time to achieve that though.  A very limited time indeed.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday on a Saturday

Well, I missed yesterday’s Five Minute Friday, so I’ve decided to do it on Saturday!  I am not sure why it didn’t get done yesterday.  I’ve been feeling pretty blah the past couple of days (very exact description, I know).  I think it is one of those things where you imagine how wonderful everything is going to be when X happens (my hubby gets home after seven weeks), then X happens and nothing really changes.  I mean, I’m glad he’s home and we were happy to see him, but there wasn’t that dramatic shift, that WOW factor or, really, more like the there wasn’t that weight lifted from off my shoulders.  I realize it isn’t his weight to lift, but I had still hoped that his absence was a big part of the weight, but in reality, it was just a small part.  And everything else is still here, weighing on me.  I’m still sighing…

But, I’m excited to be reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life by Crystal Paine over at Money Saving Mom (one of my favorite blogs).  A couple of things in the first dozen pages that jumped out at me.  First, the fact that she obviously crawled inside my brain and reported what I felt like on the first two pages:

With my feet glued to the sticky kitchen floor, I scanned the perimeter of my messy house.  The dishes.  The towering pile of laundry mocking me from the bedroom corner for the past week.  The dust.  The carpet needing to be vacuumed.  The bathroom screaming for a good scrubbing.  I looked at my hopelessly long to-do list I had scribbled on a scrap of paper…I wanted to run away from it all.  I was exhausted.  I was stressed to the max.  I felt stuck…

Things are a bit better at this moment – the house is a bit cleaner.  I’ve cleaned out my gmail inbox from 8000 emails to under 500 as of today and I’m still going on it.  But, it is one of those things where I know it is just a matter of time before Bean goes back to school, I go back to teaching and traveling and hubby goes back to traveling and everything is going to start to crumble.  Small chunks of organization and cleanliness falling off, ready to smack me on the head at any time.  It isn’t well put together.  It isn’t stable.  It isn’t set up to be maintained at this point.  And I KNOW that. And it terrifies me.  Absolutely terrifies me.

So, yeah – I’m reading the book.  Which I will be reporting on/reviewing in the next few days.  But, today is Five Minute Friday on a Saturday.

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Yesterday’s topic was “Here”…so, here goes…

Here is where I am right now.  Whether I like it or not.  I am not always happy with here – there are dirty carpets that get cleaned and then have mystery spots once again arise a week or so later.  There is an annoying puppy who is actually a very sweet dog, but has way too much energy and wants to chew everything in the house up including the cord on my husband’s beloved smoker and my DD’s favorite toys.  There are neighborhood kids constantly knocking and ringing the door bell during the time I am trying to find peace and quiet in my day.  There is a pile of dirty dishes in the sink and throw pillows that have been, well…thrown.  There are crayons here and there and everywhere and laundry that needs to be put away piled up in a basket.

But, there is also a ton of love.  There is love between our family members.  There is love between the dog and our family members.  There is not so much love between the dog and our cat, but even they are entertaining at times.  There is love for coloring and painting and art hangs proudly on our walls – not evenly or in a planned way, but proudly all the same.  There is love between the neighborhood kids and my daughter.  There is even love between our neighbors.

So, despite here not being perfect or even pretty most of the time, it is full of love and laughs and yes, longing for…more or better.  But, it is probably the case that no matter where we were, that would be true.  So, here is where I will stay.  And here is where I will try to be present and appreciative.

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There you go – a day late, but hopefully not a dollar short!  Enjoy!

 

Tuesday Truth

Tuesday Truth

Considering my “slow” goals over the weekend, my week has started out pretty darned busy.  Although, not overwhelmingly so.  Yet.  I do have a few Tuesday Truths to share this Tuesday.

Tuesday Truth

Simplicity and minimalism is not simple.  I’ve been watching some “Tiny House Nation” lately because I am fascinated by people’s desire and ability to live in a space that is the size of our living room.  My biggest question is WHERE IS ALL THEIR STUFF?  Why do I have so much stuff?  And why do I have such a hard time getting rid of said stuff.  I pick up things, look at them, ponder whether I should get rid of them or not…some are easy to toss in the give away box or the trash can, but most take a lot of emotional energy to do so.  And there is SO. SO. SO. much of it.  Where did it all come from?  I am sure that it gets easier as you pare down your stuff.  Upstairs, I have a bookcase in the hallway that was piled with books and other stuff.  I mean, it was full of books and then I had books piled up in front of the books.  And on top of the books were some photos in frames and some little trinkets, etc.

I cleaned it out last week.  And now there is open space.  Open.  Space.  It is crazy how much that makes me happy.  So, now I realize how great it would be to have that same feeling looking at other parts of our house.  My Sister-In-Law and I joked about our Mother-In-Law because when they cleaned out a cabinet at her house they found 13 salt and pepper shaker sets.  But, I need to joke about myself.  Today, I was going through some more books and found two hardback versions of the The Bonesetters Daughter (a book I have yet to read) and two paperback versions of Sarah’s Key (another book I have yet to read).  And that is in addition to a bunch of other books that I’ve been storing on my bookshelves that I know I will NEVER read.  So, now I have a pile of books to decide if I should take them to the used bookstore to try to sell them, list them online or just pile them in the thrift store box and be done with them.  That will take some time to figure out.

We are a messy family.  That’s the only way I can explain us.  And I can’t point my fingers at others with a halo over my head, because I am just as guilty a lot of the time.  I do a lot of cleaning.  But, I think the reason I have to clean so much is because we don’t do any maintenance.  I have piles everywhere.  Right now, sitting on the couch, I can look to my right and see a pile of receipts and ads from my purse that I took out to find something.  My DD’s key chain collection (which is all tied on to a single string).  A deck of Littlest Pet Shop cards we were playing with the other day and never got put away…to my left is the scary, scary dining room table.  This one is actually worth a photo:

dining room table - mess

So, yeah.  I got home from my mom’s a week ago tomorrow.  The ice chest is from that trip.  The cone is from the dog coming home from the vet today.  The black bag is my work bag.  The green bag is another bag from the trip that is empty, but hasn’t been put away.  The Amazon box came yesterday and I didn’t open it yet.  There is cleaner that was left out.  A Build A Bear that someone was playing with and the dog took from them and I put it on the table to keep it from becoming covered in slobber.  There are coloring books.  The papers from three (yes, three) purses that I cleaned out when moving them from one closet to another and/or getting rid of them.  The same thing happens in my car.  I will get it all cleaned out and within a week, there are piles of books, clothes, food wrappers, possibly food…it is RIDICULOUS!

So, I’m wondering.  Can we overcome this messiness?  This lack of care and concern for our space and our things?  Because we are all the same.  It isn’t just one of us. It is all of us.  So, here is my take on things:

  • We have too. much. stuff.  There is not a place for everything because…well, there is literally not a place for everything.  So, decluttering will help.  BUT…
  • We are also lazy.  I can’t think of another word for it.  When it is easier to LEAVE something than to pick it up and take it back where it belongs, it gets LEFT.
  • Finally, we are pilers.  We love to pile things up to be dealt with “later”.  Unfortunately, later often comes far too late…

So, there you have it.  No solution.  Just the truth.  I am hoping that decluttering will be helpful.  Doing away with laziness is a little more difficult, but if we can just have a place for everything than we can maybe we can pressure ourselves to actually put things back where they belong.  And the piles.  Well, pilers pile.  But, we’ll pile less if we have places to put things.  Maybe.  Just maybe.

So, those are my two BRILLIANT truths for today (sarcasm aside).  What are your truths on this Tuesday?

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Need to Purge

Purge Organizing

I have the urge to purge.

Looking around my house, I have the urge to get rid of everything.  Literally everything.  Just start over.  I’m so over all the stuff.  And so much of it has zero purpose or necessity and I keep moving it around from one place to another.  Storing it.  Displaying it.  Hiding it.  Piling it.  Filing it.  I am DONE. WITH. IT.  So, this is going to be my summer of purge.

I’m going to use this Silver Lining Organization chart and their 52 Week Organizing Challenge which should have started in January, but with a summer off from work, I should be able to play a bit of catch up and I’m going to work my way through the house and purge, purge, purge.  Then I want to look at redecorating to make it look nicer and more inviting and cleaner (not just decluttered, but actually cleaner).

We’ll see if it comes to fruition.  But, that is what I’m feeling on THIS Saturday.

 This was part of Six Word Saturday over at Show My Face!

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday

Will I ever get it together?

That, my friends, is what I feel like this week.  And, in reading some of what I wrote three and two and one year ago, it is what I feel like a lot of the time.  I try to do self-help, organizing, decluttering, etc. projects constantly and nothing sticks.  I feel like I can pull it together short term and then I just get tired and can’t follow through.  What is my problem?

I know I need the following things in my life to truly get it together:

1)  A routine/family schedule that includes the following items:

  • Exercise
  • Meal plan
  • Chore list

2)  A budget.

Really, those two things would do wonders toward me getting it together, whatever IT is.  I have a calendar hanging on our wall that no one much checks other than me and often I will forget to write things on there because I put it in my Google calendar or something.  I’ve been trying to follow a plan where at the end of each month (so today for example) I sit with the wall calendar and my Google calendar and “sync” everything so-to-speak.  But, mid-month, things fall through the cracks.  I don’t really exercise.  We are constantly eating out despite having tons of food in our fridge, freezer and pantry – often a lot of that food goes bad before we eat it.  I am the only one who does stuff around the house on a regular basis.  And I get bogged down in other things or leave on a work trip and the whole house becomes a $#%* show.  I’m not kidding.  Garbage piles up on the floor and every flat surface (because Lord knows that walking the five feet to the garbage can to throw away a fruit treat wrapper or a fast food wrapper would be overly onerous).  Clothes are EVERY where – on the living room floor, bathroom floors, bedroom floors, piled up in the laundry room.  I don’t even know what is clean and dirty sometimes.  Dishes get left everywhere.  It is seriously like I live with people who were raised by wolves – and I’m currently raising one of them.  So, what does that make me?  So, I need a new plan.  I need a new determination and discipline.  I need some motivation for myself and others…ideas would be appreciated.

The budget thing is a whole other beast.  Both my husband and I are impulsive spenders.  We have some things we plan for, but nothing is ever budgeted out.  We just spend money until we run out pretty much.  And we end up with a lot of stuff we don’t need/want.  So, that contributes to my overwhelm in the first department – cluttered living conditions.  But, every time I try to set up a budget I realize just how much we overspend, get depressed and just give up.  I vow to stop spending, but don’t really do it and so, here I am. I must admit that I’m also one of those people who feel like I “deserve” things because I work a lot.  But, I don’t realize how many “things” I have/get.  So, yeah.

I need a counselor…that’s what I really need.  Or a life coach.  A serious, kick-me-in-the-butt, make-me-do-what-I-don’t-want-to-do life coach.  Volunteers?

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Break

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I’m participating in this week’s Five Minute Friday.  This week’s word is “break”.  Here we go:

Break…I need one.  Badly.  As I type this, my 6 yo daughter is whining from the bath that she wants to get out.  My house is a total disaster.  My husband is eating ribs that he made on his smoker while almost burning up the smoker.  He is saying to leave her in there because she has been so whiny today.  His frustration and her whininess feed off of each other.  Our puppy is out back, but she will soon be in and mauling everyone and everything in sight.  I talked to my  mom today who is in hospice and she was crying.  My life is currently exhausting, frustrating and completely overwhelming.

I know this is just a temporary thing.  I know that my mom will not be here forever and I have to appreciate the time I have with her.  I know that my daughter will grow up and instead of whininess, we will get attitude and slammed doors and silence.  I will miss these days, not because of what these days were (I will never miss that), but because they will have gone by and people will leave us or change.  But, when you’re in it, it is really hard to appreciate that.  So, I keep trying to remind myself that this, too shall pass, and I will wish for these days back, despite the difficulty and the sadness and the frustration and the mess.

But, for now, I would just like a break.

—-> That’s it, five minutes is up.  What about you?  Consider joining Five Minute Friday and sharing your five minutes of thoughts with us!

Tuesday Truth

Tuesday Truth

tuesday truth

Welcome to my Tuesday Truth.  Here are some things I’m putting the capital T, Truth to this morning:

I’m up early this morning (got up at 5 a.m.) because I woke up at 5 a.m. and thought to myself, later this week, this will be 8 a.m. and I will have to not only be up, but dressed, looking decent and arriving somewhere other than where I slept.  Sigh…I really think that events that involve both East and West Coast participants should start later – after all, most people don’t go to sleep at 8 p.m. but NO ONE gets up at 4 a.m. on a regular basis.  Okay, maybe not.  I’ve read about some of you out there who get up everyday at 4 a.m.  But, we can all admit that isn’t typical.  And its hard to go to bed early when you’re on the East Coast because 11 p.m. is only 8 p.m. your time.  And then, just about the time my body starts to adjust, I’m on my way home to the old time zone.

On an up note, I am feeling slightly better this morning.  Not nearly as stuffy and my throat isn’t scratching.  So, I either beat it back or it was just bad allergies.  Who knows?  I guess next time, I should just try taking some allergy meds and see if it solves the problem.  For now, I’m just happy to not feel like total @$$ before leaving on a plane tomorrow.

Another truth for today: my house is never clean.  I can clean and clean and clean and clean, do laundry on a daily basis, clean some more and the house will look clean for a moment in time and then BAM! everything is strewn all over again and we’re back to looking like we live in a dumpy toy store where some second hand clothing store dumped what they didn’t want in their store.  Sigh…I really do try to make everyone pick up their stuff, but inevitably it gets picked up and then put somewhere else that it doesn’t belong where it starts to pile up and people think that the pile is where stuff goes and it grows and grows until there is no space in that pile, so another pile has to be started.  Really.  That is they way my house works.  I admit that I sometimes contribute to the piles myself.  But, I feel like we need to get rid of all flat surfaces in order to keep the piles from building.  But, how do you get rid of floors?

To end on a positive note this week – my third and last Tuesday Truth is that thankfully, I am shown grace on a daily basis.  Both by people and God.  Because, sometimes that grace is truly needed.  This week, I want to make sure that I show others that same grace and that I am able to appreciate the grace I have been, am being and will be given.

Tying this Tuesday Truth together:

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