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Yep. I am. Now I’ve said it out loud and you know.

I really didn’t intend to end up like this. I’m hoping I don’t stay this way for long, either.

I have entirely too much do and I’m feeling overwhelmed.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of painting to be done. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of blood spatter in this house. Seriously. {Kids, this is a prime example of why not to do drugs- you’ll lose your house and the new owners will be totally grossed out when they clean and paint it to make it livable……..}

I haven’t really run since we left. I feel like it’s a guilty pleasure that I can’t allow myself to indulge in when I have so much other stuff that needs to get done.

Honestly, I’d be happy to stay curled up with a book and look out the windows……

I did, however, make my son some curtains. He was tired of having to change his clothes in the closet because he didn’t have curtains. At some point, I’ll take pictures of the whole room, once I get the last set of curtains made and he’s gotten it painted. In the meantime, here they are:

curtains3

curtains2

curtains1

You may remember me complaining about the bird nesting happening when I was making my girls their sundresses last spring. I’m glad I didn’t pitch my machine. It worked just fine. Hmmph. I’ll have to diddle with it some more when I get back to the dresses.

Once we get things painted, I am not sure how much time I’ll have to be online. Life is changing, and in a really good way.

Have you ever been somewhere where you know that’s where you were meant to be? Like deep down in your soul you knew you were where God wanted you to be?

Ya. It’s like that here. If I have to be buried somewhere, I’m changing my mind. I’ll forgo Tin Cup, Co, for being buried on the farm here somewhere. {Which is legal here, too- one of these days, I’ll write about that, because it’s fascinating!}

Anyhow. What’s taking up my time? Life is taking up my time; mostly in the form of creatures.

We had been here for about a week before we realized that the 5 horses in our front yard were only being fed by neighbors, sporadically. And they had no water.  th_rant

You can see where I’m going with this…… not only are we feeding them, we’re rehabing the mama horse that was near death from starvation. Turns out, she’s a champion barrel horse. As in, big $$$$$. Out of the 5, she’s the only one saddle broke{n}, so we’re starting with her.

She’s an {American} Quarter Horse. There’s another out there that we know he paid $10,000 for and never broke. Ya. She’s an American Saddlebred- you know, the high-stepping show horses? Ya. 😯 Her son is a Saddlebred as well, and then the foal {colt} and the filly are both a Quarter Horse/Saddlebred mix. Boo.

One of these days, I’ll write the whole thing up, with pictures. Mama is now as happy as a clam out there, with her blanket on and in a separate pen so she can eat undisturbed. Baby is eating solids and is weaning, so that’s good.

Besides the painting (seriously, I have gotten two bathrooms finished, and that’s it- while 12 ft ceilings with crown molding is beautiful, it’s a pain to paint…..), we’ve got chickens to set up for, in addition to our own horses {yes, you’re reading that right} and still get things unpacked.

Kitchen appliances came. Turns out, the ovens are too tall, so the cabinet guy needs to come back out. I didn’t get any Christmas baking done. I’m hoping he can come and get that done so I can get some of my breads made soon.

There are SO many loose ends at this point. I lose an entire day going into town for shopping. So far, I haven’t been able to not make two trips in every week, because there is always something urgently needed. Yesterday, it was horse food. Today, it’s groceries, since the big winter storm blew through and it was pouring rain so I just got horse food and came back home before the worst of it hit.

There’s a schedule to keep to, too. Horses are fed at 8 am and 5pm; mama gets lunch as well until she’s gained the last 300 lbs; and most days, I take the girls to feed over at our “neighbors” house in exchange for their weekly riding lessons.

And then, there is the steady stream of visitors. I’ve decided that I’m going to give it another month, and then after that point, we’re going to start handing out paint rollers to visitors. 😀 We absolutely LOVE the company, but it’s not conducive to me getting the painting done.

On top of all of this, we’ve got a new puppy. That means someone needs to supervise her until we can count on her to go to the door every time she needs out. I had no plans for more pets, of course, but when a friend posted a picture on FB of a purebred border collie pup who was being given away because as the runt, she was going to be too small to work with cattle, I couldn’t say no. 😀

Big dog, you may recall, is a{blonde/red merle} border collie as well, so we are very familiar with the breed. Had this been any other breed, I would have passed, because we don’t have time right now to deal with stubborn doggies {like little dog, for example, who we LOVE to bits and pieces, but is really quite stubborn :lol:}.

But, having lost out kitty a month ago, and seeing her cuteness, I couldn’t resist. So, here is our little Oreo.  oreo1

When I can get out of my slacker mode and get more painting done, I’ll be back to write some more. In the meantime, don’t forget me! 😀

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It’s a vicious circle, it is. Mmmm hmmmm.

Last week, I managed to get tv. We have long been Dish Network customers {like, over 10 years}, but, of course, didn’t bring any of the stuff with us. Several years ago, we went looking at satellite options for the RV, and basically struck out unless we wanted to go with Direct TV, which we absolutely did not.

As it turns out, about a year and a half ago, Dish Network came out with the Tailgater; a portable satellite dish designed for easy transport. Originally, I thought we’d have to pay the retail price, which I wasn’t necessarily happy with, but it’s something we would continue to use when we went camping down the road; plus, at this point, with no tv options at all and living in the rv, any bit of creature comfort has got to help.

Incredibly, the big cities here didn’t have one. Nope, they didn’t. And I was shocked. I was not of a mind to drive an hour one way to get to Raleigh to get one. Fortunately, the people Dish Network sent me to in Roanoke Rapids actually had one- as in, a single unit. AND- they got me the receiver for free. I, apparently, was eligible for an upgrade.

Little did I know, however, that getting one meant signing another 2 year contract. *sigh* Oh well. We’ve been happy with DN all these years, and we didn’t see anything changing once we got here. I figure it was worth the trade-off.

We have some more fiddling to do with it, but after climbing and putting it on the roof to grab a signal, we were still not able to, so the cable is strung across the road. I just hope no one steals it. Yikes.

5 am Saturday morning, amidst the continued downpour, Murphy came to pay us a visit.

If you’re an RVer, you know how to angle your awning so the water drains off and doesn’t collect. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough of an angle for the kind of rain we had gotten overnight. Yep. You can see where I’m going with this.

Our awning came crashing down. *sigh* It’s like, close to $1,000 to replace. *sigh*

I know this, of course, because when the spring went out on our trip to Oklahoma {the one where we lost the tires and had the blowout on the way home}, we got home and priced it out to replace the hardware. And, because the underside of the awning was stained from campfire smoke, we thought, why not check and see what it would cost to replace the whole thing.

Needless to say, the sticker shocked us right out of that thinking. Now, however, we’ve got no choice. *sigh*

So my tasks this morning are to call insurance and see if that’s covered.

I’d like to run if the rain will hold off.

And I need to get back to Wally world this afternoon. On the list also, in addition to finding shoes that we didn’t get to last week, are ear plugs. Seems oldest dd has an ear infection, which she has gotten from swimming. It’s been really only the last year or so that she’s had continued issues with her ears after swimming, so it’s time.

I also need to write down ingredients to see what I can find for treating it homeopathically {don’t laugh, but now is the time I’m wishing I had some breast milk…… you probably think it’s really gross, but I’ll tell you from experience that it DOES work, because it’s teeming with live antibodies that help all kinds of stuff- works on pink eye, too, and is used for cancer treatment…………

Breast milk used in cancer fight

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2009/01/13/breast-milk-cancer-fight/

Cancer, arthritis, diabetes, even acne – is breast milk the new wonder cure?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1268987/Cancer-arthritis-diabetes-acne–breast-milk-new-wonder-cure.html

Breast-feeding, HAMLET, and cancer

http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~andersh/research/milkcancer.asp

Substance in Breast Milk Kills Cancer Cells, Study Suggests

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419132403.htm

but  I digress. :lol:} to help knock it. I have never gone looking for tea tree oil, but I know I can find some olive oil; maybe some garlic oil. If nothing else, I am sure we’ll be vampire-free for a while. 😀

Now’s the time I am wishing I would have had the space to pack my family herbal book. *sigh*

I will say it feels like a time warp ala Murphy. I am working on options, but honestly, I’m feeling a lot discouraged. I knew going in this was going to be difficult. I just didn’t figure on getting no respite from it. I was hoping new patterns would be established; new habits would take root. And I can say that we’re not there yet.

I can look at the situation logically and know it could be worse; we are blessed to be able to have the option of me and the kids even being here; most of the stress is material, etc etc; we are blessed to have opportunity. I can also look at this and realize the things I did to fill my tank are sorely leaving a gaping hole, and I may really need to seriously think about taking that on sooner than later.

So. We’ll see what this week has in store for us.

And, because life is a soundtrack and it’s Halloween month and I really need a good giggle this morning, I leave you with Time Warp {dance} from the Rocky Horror Picture Show

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rtkdo7bOmJc%5D

 

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I am not a fan of shopping. Of any kind. In particular, I despise shopping for clothes. (I do, however, appreciate appliances being gifted to me!)

When you are short like me, you find that you fall into a category whereby petite pants might fit if you can find your size (which I usually can’t), but shirts are always too short-waisted, and forget it if you have something up top. I have resorted to longer pants and just rolling them up.

Every size from brand to brand is different, and I’ll be darned if the fit between sizes and styles isn’t completely different, too, which means hours and hours of trying on things that don’t fit. If it fits in the store, you have a 50/50 chance that it won’t fit by the time you get home, because, you know, we’re girls.

Recently, I did actually get some new pants. I figure, I don’t care if capris are longer than most because I’m short; it just does not matter to me. Because I don’t enjoy clothes shopping (and what IS it with the fun house mirrors in the dressing rooms?!!!), I try to get in and out as quickly as is humanly possible.

This last venture has resulted in some cute capris. That want to fall on the ground.  Seriously.

What is with these hipster pants?  Really?  I don’t want to see your undies; I am certain you don’t want to see mine.  Or my crack. (please, Lord, tell me that’s covered when I bend over!!) I can tell you for sure that I don’t want to see yours, even if you are a plumber. Just. No. Desire.

Yep, those new capris are hipsters. And if they aren’t designed that way, that is where they land because they are too short-waisted to be pulled up to a reasonable position. How on earth did I miss this in the dressing room?!!

I’m not a fan of belts, either, but by golly, I found some in my closet, buried in the back. (Because, you know, sweats don’t require belts. I always figured if I had to be a Spice Girl, I would definitely be Sporty Spice, because that’s the way I rolled. Until my foot doctor told me to wear heels to help my plantar fasciitis….. but I digress)

If you don’t have belts, but wear hipsters, please, I implore you, invest in a versatile belt. I consider it to be a public service, and will make sure to do my part when my own shopping goes awry.

Please.

Trust me when I say, no one wants to see your pants (or mine!) on the ground!

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Too many choices. In my world, I am very clearly Kobayashi Maru option 3 girl.  Give me two choices, and I’m going to find another one I like better (and that’s without cheating).  This is one of the reasons certain tests, like the Meyer-Briggs  (not to be confused with Briggs and Stratton engines :lol:) personality test drive me bonkers.  I rarely see things in black and white, although I do have strong feelings on what is right and what is wrong. There are usually too many variables/factors to take into consideration before making a decision.

But I digress.  😆  Today’s dilemma in my small little world revolves around books yet again. Nearly every day, I get freebies via Ereader News Today.  That means I am always reading something. 

Two nights ago, I started a mystery.  Yesterday, I got my Blogging For Books selection. Today there are titles that I’ve downloaded that look interesting.  One has a topic that if I was not already reading another book, I would start to read right away, even before the publisher title.

But I feel obligated to finish the one I’m already reading, which is good, before moving on to anything else.  See my issue?  😀

Maybe I’ll just watch chickens instead.  😆

Nah, I think I’ll finish the one I’ve started and move on to the hard copy next.  The weekend is right around the corner, and I can read the one new one without interruption – in theory, at least.

Having trouble deciding which book to read is one of those rare dilemmas that I don’t know I could have too much of.  Kind of like yarn- can’t have too much!  🙂

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Too much time on my hands,

(T T T T Ticking away…..)

I’ve got too much time on my hands  (doot doot doot)……………….

Nope, not really. 😆  But when I think about time or my blog (tikk tok- tick tock- the ticking of a clock), that Styx song often pops into my head. I wish I had more time to do the stuff I have a great time doing, like reading or yarning or canning or or or or or……… 😀

More often than not, what I have too much of – besides stuff – are thoughts in my head (which you may recall is the primary reason I started a blog). One of the recurring themes I think about, which ties very nicely into the yarn, the canning, the garden, and the chickens is preparedness.

Maybe it’s because of the earthquakes, particularly the one in Japan, and the resulting nuclear issues at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, or maybe it’s because of the fires that are raging in my state, largely due to a La Niña winter, but the issue of preparedness has been on my mind. 

To be fair, much of this started with canning, prompted by a desire with yarn years and years ago to make things of value.  Thus the canning evolved into knitting (because you can knit things like socks!), which is another skill set that is useful, which then led to renewed interest into growing food again, and a plunge into chickens, which I had been circling for a few years as well.

If you know me, you know that I research things, probably to death 😆 so I can have an informed opinion.  In my internet travels, I have come across several sites for preparedness.  To ease you into it slowly, and to avoid you feeling like I am a total loon completely off my rocker, 😆 I’ll start with Survival Mom

Yep, that’s right.  I’m not the only mother on this planet that thinks about these things!  I will say that thinking is not the same as acting, and in that regard, I am woefully behind in my family preparedness.  “Why worry about it, when you live in the desert?” you might be thinking and asking yourself. 

Apparently, I am not the only mother living in the desert with such thoughts.  As silly as that may seem, it’s a comfort to me to know that there are others besides a few of my local friends that are thinking along the same lines.  But, unlike myself, Survival Mom has taken real steps to *do* something about being prepared in the event of an emergency.  There is a lot to learn here!  My intent is to read, to learn, and thusly to become educated.

I’ve joined the Survival Mom blog ring, and this is a great place to read all kinds of blogs written by women, which I think offer a unique perspective.  Click on the link above or the icon on the right to see the blog ring. 

Join me on a journey of discovery!

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I wish I had one.  Since I don’t, I keep track of my pain in other ways.

You may recall that I added more exercises specific to the hips as a means of hopefully combatting the chronic pain I’ve had there.  This has given me mixed results.  Initially, I was very optimistic.  I even had a whole day without the pain!  What I will say is that the hip pain overall has been better.  I don’t have the amount of intense hip pain when running.  Some days, I can feel the ache, but don’t have a lot of hip pain.  This is encouraging.

Foot pain, on the other hand, has long been an issue.  I’ve been paying more attention to this, since some days I can barely walk.  We have long considered this pain to be of the plantar fasciitis variety.  To date, this seems to be the most likely, although there are parts of this pain that don’t fit the profile.  I seem to have more problems in the winter when it’s colder. The high heels seem to help, sort of. I stretch every few hours during the day, etc etc.  This is not a constant pain, but has been sporadic for at least the last 5 years. 

Unlike typical plantar fasciitis, this pain *does not* go away after getting up and walking around a bit.  This can be a near constant, throbbing pain, regardless of whether I’m sitting down or standing up.  And, there are times when heel cushions in my shoes *do* help.  While I can press on the middle of the bottom of the heel and have sharper pain some of the time, what gets me the pain of the back of the heel.  Massage and compression alternately feel painful and good, but massage of the back of the heel can relieve some of the throbbing on occasion.  Basically, that whole area is bad.

What nearly brought me to knees, literally, on Tuesday was the pain in my leg.  While in many regards, this feels like run-of-the-mill shin splints, the sharp, shooting nerve kind of pain in the leg nearly rendered me non-weight bearing several times during my run.  I took it easier; I didn’t run as hard or as fast, and did more walking, which was still painful, but bearable.  I wrapped and elevated until evening, when the throbbing and shooting pain was too much, and I took some ibuprofen.  Twice.  This allowed me to sleep, and the pain in my leg and feet was not as bad.  Normally, I wake up and before getting out of bed, the feet are throbbing. I do several minutes of feet stretches in bed, knowing it’s going to bite when I put my feet on the floor.

I’m keeping my eye on this.  My debate is whether to exercise at all tomorrow, or, given another snow day, to just keep my feet up and knit.  I am leaning towards knitting. 😀 At the very least, I’ll just walk unless things feel really good, and I’ll wrap and wear my ankle brace.  I am not ruling out an issue with my Achilles tendon. In many ways, given the leg pain, this seems to be something that could be likely in the heel, if not the calf, since my pain is more the front of the leg.  If an issue with my Achilles tendon is the problem, the help (wearing heels) for plantar fasciitis is contraindicated, so what to do with that?

In the back of my mind, since I have had the feet pain for so many years, I have to wonder if it’s related to the whole body issue, and is a symptom of that?

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of pain!  When you have issues with pain, it is hard not to have it consume you.  Pain is physically and emotionally draining, to say the least.  Maybe I don’t need a painometer – maybe I just need consistent relief!  I had really hoped the heavy-duty anti-inflammatory I am taking now would have helped something. 

If anyone reading has experience with this kind of pain, feel free to share!

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In this case, I mean that literally, and not figuratively.  I have pain. As long as I can remember, I have had pain. Right now, I am trying to untangle the pain.

Let me explain.  Being chronically ill with an autoimmune disease – which causes pain – and also being a physically active person (to combat said pain – I need those endorphins!), I am firmly in the camp of “It’s going to hurt anyway, so I might as well exercise.” Something my last batch of doctors said has given me pause. That comment was something along the lines of, “It’s time to start treating the symptoms, and see if we can rid of the pain.”

Two months and a new medication (an NSAID) later, I still have pain.  This is no surprise.  I’ve spent time on anti-inflammatories before, and the prescriptions I’ve taken haven’t ever done anything for the pain. There are pain relievers that are also NSAIDs, and for treating my pain, these kinds of over-the-counter medications seem to work better than just straight the NSAIDs.

The pain I’m thinking about today is my hip pain. December of 2009 was when I first noticed the lingering hip pain.  At first, my one hip only bothered me at night, in bed, while laying on my back.  While initially it hurt to lay on that side, after that split second or two of pain, it started to feel better, which led me to wonder if compression was helping. Another position that brought relief while laying on my back was to kick that leg out sideways from the hip, resting the foot on the inner thigh of my other leg, or somewhere in that general area (like tree pose, while laying down, without the arms over the head).

Observation: There was no pain at that time, while running.  The *only* time I had pain was when I was in bed, trying to sleep.

I should share:  I am a runner.                     

Well, I run.  I don’t know if that actually makes me a runner or not. 🙂 At my peak, between child one and child two, I was running 15 miles a day, between naps. During the morning nap, I ran the first 8 miles.  The afternoon nap gave me time to run the last 7 miles. That all changed, of course, once child two arrived and there was no going to the bathroom by myself, let alone pounding out miles on the treadmill.  😆

After child two, I got into yoga, and did several hours every day. This was something, I learned, I could do and still see, hear and interact with my children, even whilst attempting shoulder or head stands  and other inversions. I seriously considered getting certified and opening a studio, but the work that required would include separation from my kiddos and a lot more time away from home than I had in mind.

These days, I’m home four mornings a week, and I run/cross train 5 miles those days.  I do power walk portions, depending on how I’m feeling, and to give a periodic rest if I need a break from the pain. While the pain is nearly constant, striking does give a spike in the ow-factor. I’ve contemplated adding days or other exercises on the off days, but have not done so because of the hip pain.

I was diagnosed with several bulging discs in my lower back nearly 20 years ago. It took a significant amount of time, but eventually, the tingling and other pain from my posterior down the back of my legs finally went away.  This was a condition that was exacerbated by sitting, so being on my feet and active meant I could continue to function and do pretty well. Through the years, I’ve continued to have spells off and on of the tingling and pain. I’ve had days when a backache kept me curled up in a ball in bed. I’ve had days where I felt pretty good. Until I got sick 3 years ago. It’s been pretty much downhill ever since.

I know that compressed discs in your back can cause all kinds of things, particularly hip pain. Because this pain doesn’t seem to be completely disease related, I wonder: Could it be a problem with my back causing the hip pain? I know people who have been disabled for several months by hip pain that was resolved with very good results through chiropractic manipulation.

After the initial onset of pain, I continued to run. Some days I had no pain. Other days I had a little bit of pain while running at higher speeds and while laying in bed.  Some days, my other hip also had pain. While it was not the same kind of pain and was much less infrequent, it was, on occasion, much more intense.  Go figure.

Over the course of the year, the pain increased to points where it was constant pain; throbbing nearly all the time and radiating down the outside of my thigh. This is where I’m at now. Sometimes it is constant, intense pain. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt as much, or while I’m sitting.  Sometimes the pain doesn’t increase until I run at higher speeds. It always hurts when that side of my hip/leg is touched, even lightly.

Observations: Almost immediately after the onset of pain, there has been noticeable lump in that area. That area hurts <more> to brush against it in addition when being pressed. The pain radiates nearly down to my knee. I don’t have right side hip pain nearly to the same degree, and that pain seems to be focused on the front part of my hip, as opposed to the side. This stuff in my hip was palpable to the docs, who took turns feeling it and wondering what it might be.

Because of my crazy schedule this time of the year, I allowed myself to take nearly two months off.  I wanted to see if resting would help, in combination with the new medication.  My conclusion: not so much.  I don’t know that the new medication has done *anything* to help anything, but it has for sure exacerbated other symptoms. While the hip pain hasn’t been as consistently intense, I don’t feel there has been enough improvement to say either resting or new medication has helped.

“Life as usual” starts back on Monday. That means, for me, one of the first things I do in the morning, after checking email, is get on the treadmill. I warm up with some yoga (in particular, hip openers and gentle stretching) and do about 20 minutes more after running to cool down. While I am looking forward to getting back to my exercise regime, I am not looking forward to the prospect of increased pain.  Which may or may not happen.

At my one last appointment, it was suggested that I might perhaps have some bursitis in that hip. X-rays revealed no degradation of the joints, which was good. But the comment – that the doctors made about treating symptoms – has caused me to apply this thinking to causes of the pain. Is there more than one cause? Could the pain be *not* disease related?

That line of thinking logically led to running, and injuries caused by running. Could this pain be caused by running? There are a lot of hip injuries people have resulting from running. One of those is ITB Syndrome, or Snapping Hip Syndrome. Now I’m left scratching my head. The snapping hip usually causes the bursitis in the hip, as I understand it. 

I have never heard my hip snap, nor have I ever had the sensation that it was snapping. And while I am plugged in and listening to music while I run, my kids, who are always in the same room with me while I’m running, have never mentioned such a thing to me, either. This diagnosis does not seem likely to me.

As I run around in circles with research, I’m left wondering. If I look at this pain and think in terms not of being disease related, I’m left with two possible options: back/spinal related or bursitis.

I’ve seen the suggestion that doing certain Pilates exercises can help these specific pain points. I’ve taken quite a bit of time to look into these exercises for runners, but am unable to find good direction (like those with pictures) on which specific home exercises to use, and when and how many – before running, after running, how many reps, etc. without spending a bunch of money. Money is important to me.  I’ve spent several years blowing a bunch of it on doctors without getting results. I am loathe to throw more money at something without having an inkling of potential success or promise.

So what’s my plan? I’m going to add to my daily routine more yoga poses/Asanas aimed at strengthening and stretching my legs and hips. I’m going to try to add a second session of those poses before bed and see if it helps either the sleep or running situations any. If that fails to give me any relief or tangible benefit after a few months, I’ll probably end up seeing if the chiropractor can help. I wish I could find the cause and have a good, *free* and non-invasive treatment.  I’m not ruling out a shot of cortisone, but that would involve finding a doctor who could diagnose such a thing, and I am not sure I want to get back on that hamster wheel.

And, I’m hoping that if you are reading this article, that perhaps you may have some insight and/or helpful information to share.  Please feel free to comment and share with 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 cliché – 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 naiveté, 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? 😆  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. 😀  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* ♥♥♥ 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. 😆  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.  😉

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  HighwaysI 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 Kidsare 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” 😉 ) 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. 😆 ♥♥♥  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.  😆  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.  😀

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. 😆 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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