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I know y’all are gasping and picking yourselves up off the floor, you know, from the shock of that admission. ūüėÜ

I’m coming clean-¬†I am picky.¬†Most of the time, I’m pretty laid back and easy-going; however, in some particular regards, I am way too picky.¬†That means that I like what I like, and I don’t what I don’t, for those needing clarification.

Today, I once again faced my nemesis and ended up wasting an entire afternoon. I am pretty sure, though, that victory is mine. (muwah ha ha ha)

Yesterday was a bad electronics day.¬†Firstly, the left side of my headphones stopped working.¬†Then my iopd¬†went all wonky; skipping, repeating, randomly shuffling through settings (including the radio and basically refusing to cooperate.)¬†This was after mile 3, and I wasn’t going any faster at that point than I had been. So, I commandeered my oldest dds¬†ipod, and had the same result.¬†????

By this time, Iwas past¬†mile 4 and steam was coming out of my ears, I was so ticked.¬†I really need to listen to something while I’m running! I settled for listening to the random, thankful that the voice-over lady hadn’t turned on……

Anyhow.¬†My task for this afternoon was to stop at Target on my way home and replace my headphones.¬†This should have been a no-brainer. For years, I suffered with ill-fitting headphones; headphones that would come flying out once they got sweaty; headphones that would come falling off repeatedly.¬†I have heard of those who use sports¬†tape to tape them in- I’m allergic to the tape.

Several years ago, hunny was tired of my constant complaining secretly went on a headphone search for me, and found me an awesome pair for my birthday. They were *exactly* what I was looking for- lightweight; sweat/water-resistant; and over the ear adjustable. I had gone through numerous clip-on (over the ear) headphones and never had any real luck with getting them to fit right, which then left me annoyed.

He found a set Target and¬†picked them up.¬†Granted,¬† if it was me shopping, I would have not spent that amount on myself, but wouldn’t have batted an eye at spending it on him. (This reminds me of that part of Ron White’s standup where he’s talking about diamonds. “Diamonds.¬† That’ll shut her up.” :lol:)

My plan for this afternoon was to swing by Target on my way home and get a new set.¬†That’ll teach me to plan!

Do you think they had them? Nope. “No problem,” I thought, “they are Nike’s, so I’m sure the sporting goods store will have them.”

Nope.¬†So I thought, “Well, I guess I’ll check Radio Shack, then.”

Nope.¬†So then I thought, “Oooook, I guess that leaves the sporting good store in the mall (yes, I know, we actually DO have a mall, although our only local Hallmark store is now out of business, and we don’t have the leather store in there anymore, either….) as a last-ditch effort.

Nope.¬†So I wandered down to Foot Locker, thinking¬†certainly they wouldn’t have them, and I wasn’t disappointed.

That’s what I get for thinking! “Easy enough,” I thought again (even though we know how that turned out just a bit ago- apparently, it takes a bit for me to learn….), I’ll just go home and find them on the internet.”

Two hours later, I had emailed hunny to ask him if he could remember what he paid and which ones they are.¬†Even once he got home, I was still debating which ones to get. His response was to say, “Christmas is coming.¬† They always have stuff like that at Christmas…..”

“But that’s eons away!¬†¬†I can’t suffer with regular ear buds until then!¬† I’ll go crazy!” {and mumble mumble, we could count them as my birthday present, she says quietly}

After hemming and hawing, I finally went for the ones that I am pretty sure are the same ones I already have.

Here’s my gripe: PEOPLE. LISTEN UP!¬† If you have a product that you LIKE, please leave a review online.¬†Because otherwise, people like me will waste spend hours of their lives, swinging back and forth between cost and the one product they think they had success with, only to find there is no review for that one at all, and so now it’s like a shot in the dark, for all practical purposes.

*Sigh*

My Nike Vapors are totally adjustable.¬†These are the ONLY pair of headphones I’ve found that I like.¬†They fit well. They sound good. They are water/sweat resistant.

My¬†headphones should be here in a week or so.¬† I hope I survive. ūüėÜ

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If you’ve been reading along, you know of my great, and sometimes detrimental, love of books.¬† ūüėÜ

The question was a posed a bit ago: would you rather be deaf or blind? I used to answer this question without hesitation.  Why, of course, given my background in music, I would MUCH rather be blind than deaf.  I could not imagine a life without my music! 

Classical music soothes my soul.  So much so that time escapes and nothing else gets done while listening.  I know people (like my guys) who can listen to music while studying and doing other things.  Not me.  Once the music captures me, the world can cease to exist and I might not notice.

I can paint (as in, the walls) and listen to music; I can clean and listen to music.¬† I run and listen to music.¬† It’s not classical music, though, and that’s what allows me to get things done.

But, the classical comes on and I am lost.  I take great joy in identifying parts and seeing the weaving and the artistry of the composition, all the while recognizing I will never have that vision and divine gift. It makes me love it all the more.

Wednesday, however, gave me a new answer. We’ve been on vacation this week, and even though it’s a staycation¬†-our first in years – I’ve done a bit of reading.¬† The last vacation we took was the first with my Kindle, and I admit, I barely crawled out of the bed the entire time because I was reading.

There is nothing better than having an unlimited amount of books to read. Always in the past, I had been limited to how much I could take by the amount of space available.  I even left yarn behind to take a few extra books!

But not this time, for I had loaded my Kindle with 40 some odd titles. Titles that were free!

One of the reasons I chose¬†a Kindle over other e-readers was the amount of freebies I had stumbled on prior to purchase. Being married to an engineer has taught me the concept of payback.¬† In this case, it is initial cost of the Kindle vs. space and cost of e-titles. I figured I’d have to read enough free titles to cover the cost of the Kindle, and then I would be home free.

We’re now months later, and I’m still reading freebies. I don’t have magic; I don’t have psychic ability to predict which titles are free when.¬† I do, however, have Facebook. A friend shared a link and I’ve been hooked ever since.

In my I’m Drunk ¬†post, I shared how a friend on FB posted a link to Ereader¬†News Today, which sent me into overload.¬† I immediately joined, and have been loving it since.¬†

On Wednesday, there was a post simply stating, ‚ÄúThere is some big news for free Kindle books today. There are over 200 new freebies! I’ve created a link to a list of all the free Kindle books instead of making a post for every one.‚ÄĚ (insert drooling smiley here)

Over two hours later, as I finally finished page 9, I realized that getting through all those 584 titles (which is now 606) was not for the faint of heart. Some titles I already had. Some I didn’t want (like textbooks). Some were short stories. Some were sneak peeks of the first few chapters. On the Amazon site, the titles are just listed and you have to click through to get the description.  That’s time consuming, but the freebies are worth it to me.

I stopped at a suitable place (somewhere after 100) because, after all, I was eager to get reading. Another thing I really love about my Kindle is the light in the case.  I debated about spending the extra money on the light, but I will tell you, it was WELL worth the extra $$.  I have read while everyone else was in bed; I’ve read out by the campfire.

It was in bed, around 1 am when I finally finished the one book. I was surprised at the time, but it‚Äôs fantastic to finish a good book.¬† I remember thinking, ‚ÄúI could live here forever.‚ÄĚ Meaning, I could live in the book world forever and do nothing else; taking minimal time to eat, reading all the while.

And then it hit me. I have changed. My Kindle has caused me to change! Instead of my default setting of being blind instead of deaf, I would now rather be deaf. (And this is in no way to make light of or make fun of disabilities, but thinking along those lines from time to time can help a person better understand themselves.)

Books captivate me; they take me to another place, where I get lost. And now I’m getting them free! 

I have something like 15 pages of unread titles.  And I haven’t gotten through the list yet.  I’m trying to work my way through it, but books are calling me……..

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Fly LadyStuff.  I have it.  Too much of it.  Really, thanks, I have more than enough.  Do you want some?

Here’s the clich√© –¬†cluttered home; cluttered mind.¬† I’d love to test this and see if it’s true.¬† There’s just one problem with it – I have too much stuff. It’s not a matter of cleaning; things here are generally clean.¬† The adults are clean.¬† The children are clean.¬† Shoot, even the dogs are clean, as dogs go.

We’re not hoarders, so don’t think in terms like that.¬† And I’m not one of those people who IS a hoarder but is in denial, just a person saying they are “collectors” of things.¬† Nope, don’t do that, either. Except books, which was largely unavoidable, until my Christmas shopping resulted in a much-loved Kindle so that I don’t continue to add to the¬†boxes¬†but I digress.

We are very good, in general, about throwing broken items away and donating¬†outgrown clothes and whatnot.¬† I regularly purge my closet, although I confess that since I despise shopping, I would rather wear clothes¬†something¬†I’ve had for years as opposed to going and buying something new.¬† I’ll save that for another post.

“So, what’s the problem?” you might be thinking.¬† My conclusion, which remains the same, is the house.¬† We’ve been in this house for over 8 years, and almost immediately, I knew we would have problems.¬† We lost a ton of storage (and a great garage) for a house with more space.¬† Problem is, we lost necessary storage space and gained things like living¬†space –¬†in all of the *right* areas, I might add.¬† It’s not a total bust.¬† I love the spaces we DO have; we just need more of the other kind of spaces.

When we left our other house those eight plus years ago, we were minus a cat, a dog, and a child.¬† While the bedrooms are bigger and have better closets, having three children of the female variety in one room – one of whom is a tween –¬†the medium-sized walk-in-closet has not come close to solving the chronic issues with having three girls in one bedroom. I, in my naivet√©, thought that having another baby that could be a girl would not be too much of a problem, at least until the time came where we sold the house to solve the problem.¬† So here we are, six plus years after said third girl, and having tried to sell the house for nine months in a failing market, feeling a bit at the end of the rope, and up to my ears in stuff.

If anyone is to blame, I blame myself.¬† Not so much for having another baby; or for having “too many children” for this house (I mean, who does that, right?¬† Live your life based on how many you can fit in a car you like or take a chance that you might not fit back into your clothes post pregnancy, requiring more money spent on a new wardrobe?); or even for the amount of stuff this many people require.¬†

Nope, I blame my lack of inner Martha Stewart.

Back in the olden days, when I had just the one and then just the two kids, I was making all kinds of things.¬† I made things for their walls, for their beds, and things for other people.¬†I made wall hangings¬†with cute little decorated frames that were painstakingly hand-decorated; I made bedding, including sheets, bedskirts, pillowcases and curtains.¬† I even made a crib skirt and matching curtains for the nursery.¬† I made clothes; I sewed clothes and crocheted everything you can imagine – and those things are taking up space, too.¬† I thought of myself as being generally “crafty,” and was well pleased, feeling like my life was progressing as planned.

By the time baby number three arrived, kindergarten for the oldest was underway, and everything changed.¬† I didn’t have so much time anymore for making new stuff, so the projects tended to linger for days at a time, on the dining room table, while we moved it aside or ate in the living room. We talked about adding on to our existing house, but decided a different location would probably be better.¬†It wasn’t long¬†until¬†we¬†decided to find a different house, with more space.¬†

I had been looking off and on for several years, but then I found this house.¬† And I knew it was a home run –¬†less the storage issue.¬† I convinced myself (and probably my better half, too) that we would find a way to get through the loss the of storage and everything would work out just fine.

Eight years later, and I am still trying to find a way to fix, treat or solve the storage issue. (Aren’t you proud of me?¬† I’m trying not to habitually use the Oxford Comma, just to shake things up a bit.¬† :D)¬† Yesterday was a day of complete frustration; knowing that not only have I not resolved or adequately treated this issue, but am quickly losing ground.

Yes, this means I –¬†rather,¬†*we* –¬†are trying to put the Christmas things away, including newly added items to the overwhelming stuff problem.¬† And part of this overall problem is that,¬†really, these are things that are needed, like socks and underwear (indeed, I’ll wrap just about anything, so long as it’s not alive). And¬†other clothes.¬† And then the more fun items, like a few toys and books.¬† Did I mention we have a book problem? ūüėܬ† In our defense, we’ve been homeschooling for the last eight years, so that endeavor has justifiably added substantially to our ongoing dilemma.

Yesterday, in an effort to combat my overwhelming stuff problem, I grumbled and griped heavily¬†at the kids – who, being kids, are generally unwilling to put good effort into helping clean things up, like putting clothes away appropriately, i.e, hanging in the closet, when it’s much easier to pitch everything¬†on the floor. Logically, I know griping backfires, as does giving praise ;). We’re still working on the concept of children gaining inner satisfaction for things being put away where they belong, which is still a big part of the overall problem.

I got started cleaning the things I can control, like my file boxes, which are organized.¬† If you know me, you know I am anal when it comes to organization. ūüėĬ† Yep, that’s me, known in my work world as a person who has a gazillion files, but can find anything – unless it doesn’t get filed. I *love*¬†‚ô•‚ô•‚ô• being organized.¬† It helps me feel calm, and feel a sense of “all is right with the world and I don’t have to struggle to find what I need,” which let me tell you, is a HUGE thing for me.¬†

My desk is now mostly free of stuff, and contains my Swiffer, so I can dust my electronics as many times a day as I want.  This will require me to buy another one, but this is a step I am willing to take. If something small like that can help me not to explode while trying to find the one thing on my desk that has sprouted legs and gone wandering off, that is a little bit of progress I am willing to count as a victory.

I go out of my mind – literally – when I can’t find something, particularly when it was *just* right in front of me. In addition to that “Not Me” person who lives in my house, there is also a gremlin¬†that follows people around, snatching up recently set-down items, just for the point of infuriating them. While I know he visits many of you as well, I think he finds my house to be a particularly comfortable environment in which to thrive.

I have a constant battle with stacks. I’ve tried using the Fly Lady¬†method of spending “x amount of time” every day sorting/purging¬†or taking¬† “x number of items” off¬†the pile every day.¬† I’ve even thought about getting my shoes on first thing in the morning. Do slippers count?¬† If they do, then I’m good.¬†¬†

But shoes “to lace up?”¬†Nope.¬† Not for me.¬† One of the things I do the mornings I’m home¬†during the week is run on my¬†treadmill.¬†¬†The shoes go on pretty early – just not when I first get up¬†with hunny before work.¬† I get dressed twice as it is.¬† I don’t think I need lace-up shoes on my feet¬†by 6 am. ūüėܬ†¬†Since I’ve now¬†delegated the dish-doing to the kids, the personally shining of¬†the sink every day is off the list, too, although I do¬†try to nag them to shine the sink every day.¬† That’s not going so well, as you can imagine.¬† ūüėČ

But, I do ok with the stacks, even though they tend to pile up.¬† I have come to¬†realize that my nemesis in this category is not the junk mail, which I am faithful about shredding, but the magazines I don’t have time to read.¬† Yes, I read books.¬† Magazines not so much.¬† I used keep the pile so I could take my own magazines to the doctor’s office, or when getting my hair done.¬† I used to have great enthusiasm for the topics in my magazines, mainly Trailer Life¬†and the Good Sam Club’s¬†¬†Highways.¬† I also enjoyed reading gift subscriptions to Better Homes and Gardens¬†and Reader’s Digest¬†¬†for a while.¬† I think the reading in public while waiting is a task that now goes exclusively to my new Kindle.

What I’ve learned, interestingly, is that because they come, I feel obligated to read them.¬† The RV camping magazines were good when we were new at it all, and it was great to¬†get educated about¬†RV/camping¬†and find suggestions for¬†good places to go.¬†What I came to understand, however, is that many of these¬†places often weren’t set up to accommodate busy children or were too far away to get to and back on a week’s vacation.¬† Plus, through the years, I’ve found my own good ways of searching for campgrounds and destinations that will fit our evolving family,which largely involves using the forum accessed by either Woodall’s ¬†(linked from the Woodall’s site) or RV Net. I’ll share those in another post that is more pertinent to camping.

Back to stuff.¬† Other magazines have involved crafts; crafts¬†which I don’t seem to have time or space for anymore. As a result, reading my magazines no longer has a top spot¬†on my¬†“things I like to do” list, which is getting shorter and shorter these days. Clearly, I resolved a long time ago not to renew these magazines, but one comes as part of a membership (which gives discounts that we regularly use), and one I ordered for several years, several years ago, that I keep hoping “this is the year it expires.” As you can see, the magazines coming into the house will continue to come into the house, and will continue to be a topic taking up gray matter.

The kids’ magazines, on the other hand, like Kids Discover¬†and National Geographic Kids,¬†are considered part of our homeschooling curriculum. This qualifies them as a necessary evils.¬†The kids really¬†like them and get knowledge,¬†so who can argue with that?

The one set of magazines became “bathroom reading” once I was done with them, but it didn’t take me long to realize that I had moved one pile to another pile, and into a place in the house I desperately try (notice I said “try” ūüėČ ) to keep as “stuff-free” and as¬†“serene” as I can.¬† Given the stack of books on the dresser, I know I’m not doing so well in that category, either. At least now I have a¬†Kindle, and therefore¬†some hope for that situation.¬† Moving one pile from one room in the house to another room in the house is not what I would call “solving the problem.”

For years, I have tried not give the kids stuff that has a lot of pieces. Hum. At least most of the incoming items relate to camping, education or have a box to contain the pieces (like puzzle pieces). Progress? The jury is still out on that one.

And I have food stuff, too.¬†While I am lucky to have a large kitchen with more-than-the-average-number-of cabinets, I have learned that once you get hooked on canning your own food, you will never have enough space.¬† And I mean that genuinely, with great love. ūüėÜ ‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•¬† There is nothing more satisfying than filling your cupboards with your own food; food that you know how it was processed and food that isn’t loaded with other stuff.¬† I am unabashedly a canning junkie.¬† The problem here again, is space.¬† I don’t have enough space to contain all the stuff I would like to can; therefore, I don’t can as much as I would like to.

Stuff, stuff, stuff and more stuff.¬† It is oozing out of my ears! I used to keep boxes in the garage, so that I could pack away stuff (like clothes that weren’t ready to be used by the next child) and keep the room organized.¬† When we tried to sell the house, I purged –¬†and¬†used –¬†the boxes I had saved.¬† See the problem?¬† I had a span of nearly a year without new boxes to store stuff in, which meant………stuff piling up the room. Since I can’t justify buying plastics (which my attic is full of –¬†containing mostly yarn and miscellaneous other craft stuff) because eventually the stuff will either be used or donated, I’ve had to wait for the cardboard boxes which usually only come during this time of the year.

Now, unfortunately,¬†I find I am terribly¬†overwhelmed with the task set before me.¬† This is primarily why I am sitting here writing instead of trying to sort through all the stuff.¬† ūüėܬ† My real world consists of a days that are packed full of stuff to do –¬†schooling every day, running every morning I’m home, being someplace where people count on me the morning I’m not home, and¬†least two¬†afternoons a week at the job. This schedule has to work¬†around being chronically ill, which in-of-its-self¬†is a never-ending¬†guessing game of “how much can I get done today?” It is no wonder that, come the weekend, I am not interested in doing much besides kicking back and trying to do something I enjoy and find relaxing.¬† Organizing stuff is not relaxing.¬† ūüėÄ

While I know it needs to get done, and probably will get done someday, I am not in a hurry.¬†Logic dictates that the longer the stuff goes unaddressed, the more it’s going to accumulate.¬†This isn’t an untested theory, either. ūüėÜ I know this to be true, because the stuff is oozing out of my ears. Next week is back to normal, and if I let myself think about it, I could get worked up into a real panic. I try to remind myself that, as the Fly Lady¬†says, “….your home did not get this way overnight and it is not going to get clean in a day.”¬† I have the clean part down ok; it’s the stuff getting organized in a place that it will stay that is the issue here.

What am I going to do today?¬† I am going to doodle online and then tackle the stack on my dresser, which includes movies I haven’t watched yet.¬† This, I am confident, will help my overall goal of finding a home for more stuff, since we actually do have a place to put the movies.¬† Once I’ve worked my way through the pile of “unseen,” I can move them to the “seen” pile, which can then be put away.¬† See how easy that is?!¬† If I apply this thinking to other things, I will surely end up with more books read, jewelry made, and magazines thrown away.

But in the back of mind, I know I’ll be thinking about how to tackle the storage problem in the one bedroom, and¬†thinking about whether or not perhaps a storage cube can be of help.¬† Will it help the containment issue? Do we need to put another bookshelf in there for the growing collection(s) of books? How much will it cost?¬† How will it wear?¬† Will it be durable and look good in a month (a year, two years – dare I ask – five?)?¬† Will it actually get used, or will things still be scattered from one end of the house to the other?

My desk is clean, so I am feeling lighter, at least in this space right here. I’m going to cut myself some slack, and do something more¬†that does not involve tackling the¬†stuff. All the while, though, I’ll be thinking about the stuff, and what to do with it and how to combat and it and wondering if my efforts will make a difference long-term.

Stuff.¬†I’ve got¬†it. And it needs to be organized.¬†Less thinking; more doing.¬† I guess I’m off –¬†to try to tackle one small pile of movie stuff.

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