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Posts Tagged ‘stuff’


If you have kids, then you will know that just because they are “family,” that does not mean they are going to like each other all the time or get along. My two youngest girls have a love/hate relationship. They can go from loving each other profusely and being extremely helpful to one another to wanting to gouge each other’s eyes out, seemingly in the blink of that eye.

These two are 9 (almost 10) and 7.  They have completely different body types.  What does this have to do with anything? As one who grew up being smaller than a younger sibling, I’ll tell you, body type means a lot as a kid. How would you feel, getting hand-me-downs from not just your older sister, but your younger one as well?

Middle dd, J, has my body type.  She has always been my “mini-me.”  In all seriousness, the only time she was ever on the growth charts was when she was born. Really. At 7 lbs, 4 ozs, she was a pound smaller than baby #2, but heavier than baby #1.

Fortunately for me, my ped was willing to listen to me and accept my proof (my own growth charts, which were a mirror image of hers) and after a “mandatory” iron test when she was 6 months old, he was able to say her weight was not a concern. At two years old, we finally got the green light to turn her forward-facing in her car seat even though she was still 19 lbs.  She was longer, though, that the guidelines for the car seat.  Do you know that it was literally impossible to find (at that time) a rear-facing car seat for a long baby under 20 lbs??

Along comes baby #4, weighing in at 8 lbs, 14 ozs. While she didn’t fit in many of the newborn clothes, she wasn’t gargantuan, either. Normal growth; normal weight gain.

But in comparison to dd #2?  People still think they are twins, even though they don’t look much alike, past the blond hair and blue eyes. They are, however, maybe an inch or two different in height.  They wear the same size shoes, and the same size clothes.  While it’s hard to find clothes that don’t fall off dd #2 (because she is skinny), it’s usually not a problem to roll up pant legs.

And this, I think, has fed into the frustration dd #2 has felt for a really long time.  If you remember being a kid, you remember how fast you wanted to grow up, and how important it was to be recognized as your own person.  Well, at least that’s how it was with me.  😆  I was tired of being small, and people thinking I was considerably younger than I was, just based on size.

Much of the time, my two youngest girls get along relatively well.  You may recall that a few years ago, we tried selling our house.  Notice the key word: tried. That was right about the time our housing market here started to slow down.  Once summer came, I had *zero* interest in trying to sell the house and worry about keeping it ready to show while having 4 kids summering.  Not gonna happen.

The primary issue with this house, of course, is space.  The layout is fine; there are parts of the house I totally love. We’ve been here a while.  So long, actually, that we hadn’t actually started homeschooling yet.  This is our 9th year of homeschooling. We knew, moving in, that we were losing some storage space, but didn’t think it would be a big deal.  Ya, it’s a BIG deal.  I don’t have enough space; and always need more bookshelves. We also didn’t have 4 kids when we moved in, either.

And I have all three girls sharing a bedroom.  While you recover from that shock, let me add that their bedroom is decent size and they have a walk-in closet. As my oldest nears full-fledged teenhood (she’ll be 13 in a few months), the issue over space is a constant, all-out battle. She really needs her own room.  With the housing market the way it is, I don’t see a move happening any time soon.  If the market starts to move at some point, we would, of course, try selling again.  But at this point, I can’t handle having the house on the market for a year (or more.)

The bulk of the issue that my older two girls have is with the youngest and her stuff.  Our philosophy has always been that at the younger ages, kids NEED a lot of play; that their learning happen primarily through play. Can you see where this is going?  😆

Keeping that one room really clean (read my Stuff post to see what I’m talking about) is an ongoing, losing battle. The conflict always revolves around whose “stuff” it is, primarily between the two younger girls, the youngest always getting the brunt of it. And while that’s not entirely untrue, the room still needs to be cleaned.

I am completely sick and tired of the arguing. Much of the time, the arguing over cleaning the room spills over into everything else. While we don’t tolerate name-calling, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.  (If you are a sibling, you probably know what I’m talking about.)

And it is frustrating. And maddening.

Kids these ages, even if they know the particulars (which mine do) of good conflict resolution (as in: “when you do “x”, I feel “y”), can often get into all-out war.

And it is frustrating.  And maddening.*sigh*

Some days are better than others, but this is something  are constantly “working on.” While there are things that may work for a short amount of time, I haven’t found the “magic bullet” that will work consistently long-term.

Yesterday, though, I hit upon something that I think might work, if anything will.  The bonus is, it has nothing to do with *me.*  Yay!

You may recall that we do a weekly Bible study, where I have been in the children’s department for several years.  Last year, I graduated to the homeschooling class, as my youngest moved up. I anticipate being there for a while.  😆

This year, we are studying Acts. Acts is about the spread of (the church) Christianity, post crucifixion and resurrection; the acts of the Apostles via the Holy Spirit. (Ya’ll know there is more to it, but that’s a general summary) Chapter 2 is titled, “The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost.”

Part of what I love about this particular Bible study is that every study takes you all over the Bible. So, this week, we went to Galatians, to learn about the “fruits of the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.” (NIV)

As part of our conversation, we talked with the kids quite a bit about the fruits of the Spirit. Not only did we talk about what they were (see the verse above), but to think about concrete examples of how they show/demonstrate each one. What fruit of the Spirit are they most like?  What ones can they work on? My challenge to them was to think about fruits (of the Spirit) in particular that they could work on during the week.

Can you see where I’m headed?  😆 What’s interesting to me is that my two younger girls were still thinking about this long after we came home.  Hmmmmm.  Fruits of the Spirit.

“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit….” (1 Corinthians 12:8)  “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Corinthians 12:11)

Fruits of the Spirit…. gifts of the Spirit………

Last night I had a dream.  If you’re anything like me, your brain doesn’t stop, and actually works through the night, resulting sometimes in really bizarre dreams.  Last night’s dream wasn’t so much bizarre as utilitarian.

I dreamt of a tree.  On that tree, there were fruits that could be stuck on at the end of each day.  Each child (in my case, my two younger girls) had a tree. At the end of each day, they could stick on the fruits of the Spirit they consistently demonstrated throughout the days.

Ya’ll know I’m not crafty, right?  😆  While I have visions dancing in my head (’cause a plum is a fruit, too!), making a huge tree with appropriate fruits of the Spirit to stick on isn’t something I can throw together quickly.  Or maybe even at all.  😆

What I did find, though, was an image of a “Fruit of the Spirit” tree. I haven’t completed the whole thing, but you can see what I’m trying to do. 

Each day has a tree.  I need to make a header for each child using the verse, which tells what each fruit of the Spirit is.

At the end of each day, they can write in below and color each fruit they think they demonstrated the whole day.

Maybe a little “competition” to be “kind,” “love”(ing) and have “self-control” can be a good start in working on developing better attitudes and “patience.”

Maybe a visual reminder will give them pause and get them thinking about how they want to act? Maybe I need to just totally turn this one over; you know, “let go and let God….”

I’ll keep you posted!

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I have a confession to make.  I did something today that I have been trying very hard NOT to do for a considerable amount of time.  I can only hope that my transgression today won’t unravel all the good I’ve done while working on this problem for lo these many years. *sigh*

 <whisper> I bought yarn. (pause) Yarn that isn’t involved in a working project. </whisper>

Can you see me dancing with delight? 😆

As you may know, I am in the midst of making baby things for a new niece.  While I bought all the yarn they had in the main color I’m using, I have since run out. Since the yarn is the Hobby Lobby brand, there is no where else to get it.  And, even if I could, the only other store in my town that sells yarn is Wal-Mart.  You can see my limitations.

Two weeks ago, slightly before I ran out of yarn, I went to my local Hobby Lobby to get more.  They were still out.  I filled out the form to special order it, and they were supposed to have it on the following Thursday. They never got any in.  I confirmed that my order on this regularly stocked item was still in the system, and was assured that surely, they would get the yarn the following week.

Yesterday was the day the yarn was supposed to arrive.  They said they would call me one way or another.  Another Thursday passed; another day of silence. Today I went back to the store to see if it had arrived.

It had not. 😥

In my desperation, upon arriving home from my weekly shopping, I went online and ordered more yarn. I am annoyed.  Not only was I charged tax (because we have a local store) but I was also charged shipping.

I emailed customer service to express my displeasure.  Surely, if I can order the yarn online, why can’t the local store get a shipment? And WHY should *I* have to pay for shipping when I ordered it through the store and it didn’t arrive?  Clearly, there is a lack of logic with regard to this situation.

But, this is not the transgression yarn of which I speak. 😀

Since my baby-things-making has stalled, I shifted gears back to the troubled sock. I am pleased to report that while being very large (I used much larger needles on my first practice sock so I could more easily see what I was supposed to be doing) and not necessarily “pretty” in some spots, it actually looks mostly like a sock.  I am starting on the second sock and will try to shrink them to a useable size. 

I have to say that I ♥♥♥ self-striping yarn. I picked up some more smaller sized double-pointed needles (dpns), a thin book on sock making for beginners, and a few small skeins of sock yarn for the next socks I plan to tackle. I am planning on sock making for the forseeable future.

This batch of yarn, too, is not the yarn of my transgression. Indeed, that yarn came at the next stop; my local Wal-Mart.

Since being completely remodeled a few months ago, the craft section has gotten considerably smaller.  I was happy that they didn’t get totally rid of the fabric and yarn, though.  And, they have added beading and jewelry making supplies, which is great, considering I have supplies for that as well. I haven’t gotten into that craft yet, though, since I’m knitting.  I also promised my hunny that when I was done with the baby stuff, I would finish his “lap blanket” (which will be a full-sized blanket at the very least, if not a queen size).  I cannot, in clear conscience, move on to jewelry making until I get the blanket done.

In a total moment of weakness and while seriously crunched for time (because I spent over an hour in Hobby Lobby looking through pattern books), I sped back to the craft section.  And lo and behold, they had nice sock yarn skeins for a buck.  Yes, that’s right – 2.47 ozs of bliss for $1.

In solid colors!

Given that I had just come from Hobby Lobby, which didn’t have *any* solid colored sock yarn, and given that I wear socks with pants, mostly in the non-sweltering months here, I tend to primarily wear solid colored socks.  While I appreciate and am excited to wear the striped socks that will eventually be made, there is something very utilitarian feeling about having the opportunity to make socks that will be worn perhaps more frequently (than striped).

It was the combination that got me, truly.  Finding the elusive solid colored sock yarn for $1 – well, I can’t even describe the shivers that overcame me as I stood there in sheer delight.

Now I have another stash of something under my bed. And, unlike stashes of the past, I really feel like this yarn will get used sooner than later.  Socks, while more challenging at this point, seem to be more portable and easier to take places than other, larger projects. I can work on them and not get hot (like making a blanket), and there seem to be infinite patterns to help avoiding boredom. 

BUT. This motion in reverse has me considering another step in the backwards direction: magazines.  😆  I have years and years of crochet magazines, but not knitting.  Since knitting is my new endeavor, I wonder if I would enjoy a knitting magazine like I did with my crochet magazines.

This, in turn, leads me to think about an electronic subscription, but I’m not sure if it would be as enjoyable.  I enjoy seeing the glossy pictures and the easily being able to flip through the pattern.  Would I miss that experience? Even as I write, that “bad” part of my brain is telling me to give the print issue a try first, and then move onto digital, if it seems like that would work better.

Someone talk me down! 😆 Ah, well. 

You know, even if you go in reverse sometimes, every now and then you can still end up where you want to. I’m feeling optimistic that this is what’s happening here.  I’ll keep you posted!

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In unison, they replied, “The dog!”  I still can’t believe I asked!  What was I thinking?!

We have two dogs; a border collie and a cairn terrier, which is more identified as Toto, from the Wizard of Oz.  Both are oddities of their breeds; our older dog is technically a red/blonde merle because of her liver colored nose.  She has all the recessive traits of the breed; two blue eyes, a lack of herding interest when it doesn’t suit her, and bad knees. 

                                                           

We’ve had her for about 7 years, and estimate she’s about 9 years old.  She’s not the dog that rules the roost.  🙂

Nope, that “honor” goes to our cairn terrier. She was born on Christmas Eve, 2009. Big dog is the dominant dog, she is very patient; more than she needs to be.  And while she is the dominant dog in the canine pack, little dog keeps pushing the envelope. We do have the “bone wars,” when big dog takes the big bone from little dog, but little dog has her way of getting even, like sleeping in big dog’s crate. 

It is hilarious on the one hand and kind of sad on the other, to see the look on big dog’s face when she comes in from the yard and sees little dog sleeping in her bed.  If you have border collies, you know what I say is true: she has this look , “I can’t believe you people are letting her sleep in my bed!  How could you!”  Poor girl.  😆 Both dogs have such great personalities. 

Little dog is also an anomaly for her breed.  Technically, she is a toy breed.  They are supposed to get to be about 10 to 12 pounds, fully grown. Our pup, at 9 months old, was already 19 lbs and some change.  The vet calls her the “great dane” of the breed. She’s considerably longer; this isn’t just a matter of weight.  She’s heavier than usual, but she’s longer than usual, too, and doesn’t look fat or overweight. She’s also more loving than usual for the breed, which we don’t mind, and will demand a lap when she decides it’s time. She also has bad knees, due to thinking she’s a world-class athlete.

                   

Both dogs *love* balls, as you can imagine.  In the backyard, there is a mostly deflated basketball that they love to play with.  While little dog is quite large for her breed, the basketball is easily at least 1/2 as big as she is, which means it’s a riot to watch her drag the thing around.  Today she managed to get it into the house.

If there is one thing to know about me, it’s that the yard stuff needs to stay out.  I cannot handle bringing yard stuff into the house for any duration of time – the house has enough stuff in it as it is, without bringing outside stuff in! Mother listened to the giggling as little dog ran around the house with the large ball, growling and snorting all the while. After a few minute, mother decided it was time for the ball to go back outside, with little dog left inside. Mother repeated her request numerous times, before finally asking in exasperation:

“Who’s the boss in this house?  The people or the dog?!” To which they replied in unison, “The dog!”

As if there was ever any doubt.  😉 😆

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You’d be so proud.  I got a lot done today, and it wasn’t all just work done in my head!  😀

The homeschooling game party seemed to go over well.  I figure that we had over 50 people there.  At one point, I counted 37 kids sitting still.  I may have missed a few running around in circles.  😆  Several new people came, and it was wonderful to reconnect with those that have been homeschooling for a while.  Everyone was appreciative, and that makes events so much nicer.  All in all, I can count this as a success.

I also tackled the pile on the counter.  Indeed, I chucked the pile of magazines.  😀 Except for one. 😆  I was mostly through it, but I know I can finish it during the commercials on TV later this evening.  And then I’ll pitch it.

I feel good about what got accomplished today.  I feel like maybe the organization outside of my office is starting to happen. I hope this time it totally takes root and is something we can maintain. I have to say, though, I am totally wiped out. 

What’s on tap for tomorrow has already made it onto the to-do list. Tomorrow looks to be lighter, which I am most appreciative of.  I know that I can’t keep up this break-neck pace for long, and thank goodness the weekend is around the corner.  And there’s a list for that, too. 🙂

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Batten down the hatches! I admit, that is not a term land-locked desert folk are generally known to say –  unless you live where I live. I’m not really joking when I say that we have two seasons: windy, and hot and windy. We regularly have high wind warnings and hurricane strength winds that bring massive sandstorms. Ok, we’re not talking about sandstorm in Egypt where numbers of people die and/or get trapped in it for sometimes weeks at a time. We are, however, in the desert.  And it is windy. 

Hurricane force winds are no joke, and are often a regular occurrence much of the year. During the winter, we have wind warnings like other places have snow warnings.  During the summer, we have wind warnings like others have storm warnings.  Did I mention it’s windy here?

Through the years we’ve lived here, I’ve come to learn a few things about the wind.  First, there is no point in wearing a hat or fixing your hair. Second, it’s not unusual to see people in stores sweeping out the sand from the front door. Third, and perhaps, most important, things get blown around.

If it’s not nailed down, it’s gonna be gone. The sand that is blowing around gets in your teeth and stays there, no matter how much you brush them. Often, there are creatures in the sand that are blowing. The one kind of living creatures I’m thinking about today, having hit one earlier, are tumbleweeds.

Indeed, I proclaim tumbleweeds to be alive.

They are often seen on benches, in addition to climbing trees and fences. 

They often travel herds; surrounding their young and sending the larger/older of the group out in front as a scout. 

Their children, like ours, don’t always listen to direction. They like to hop, skip, and jump, which can result in negative consequences for everyone involved.  😦 

With many of their groups, there is a “black sheep”  that does its own thing.  It dodges out into traffic, or plays chicken with oncoming traffic.  This, too, more often than not, has tragic consequences.

Fortunately for tumbleweed, they multiply rapidly.  Not at the same rate as rabbits, of course, but they are pretty fruitful, all things considered.

Tumbleweed like to travel for the holidays. Sometimes, they have parties.

Sometimes, those parties chasing involve people.  Sometimes, they even catch them!

I believe I have stated my case and given sufficient evidence. 😆

So, the next time the wind is blowing hard, remember you aren’t the only one getting blown around. Chances are, there is a tumbleweed family in that wind with the other stuff, going wherever the wind takes them!

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Yes and I don’t know.   I had 9 major items on my to-do list today, most of which involved using the telephone.  I am not a phone phobe, but I admit that I *much* prefer email and other online communication. Calling is rarely something I look forward to doing.

Calling to struggle with medical insurance and billing is never something I look forward to doing. Today was no exception. I always anticipate a solid, uphill battle; rarely actually seeing the results that were supposed to come from the first round of calling.

The result today is a mixed bag. I did get the one bill issue resolved, I think.  She said she deleted the one account addressed to Hunny Me; hopefully it really IS resolved.  On the upside, two bills – both to labs with the same name but different locations – were sent for review when I called a few weeks ago, even though I hadn’t gotten the second bill.  BOTH of these bills were from last April.  Are you kidding me?  It takes 8 months to finally bill insurance?? 

 

While insurance did pay the in-network amount for “reasonable” charges on both bills, there was a substantial amount of the most recent bill that was not deemed “reasonable” by insurance.  *This* part of the billed amount is what the other providers (out-of-network providers practicing at in-network facilities from my post here: 2010) like to use to try to screw over consumers with, in my experience. 

Even though my insurance has graciously paid at the in-network price on the reasonable charge, because the provider is out-of-network, they justify charging you the whole amount because they are not bound to any kind of contract with your insurance.  See how this works?  They could charge you a million and $1 dollars for a Tylenol, and expect you pay the million dollars your insurance has deemed to be not “reasonable and customary.”

Now I get to sit and wait. When it comes to this kind of stuff, that usually means worrying, too.

Was the day a total loss?  I don’t think so.  I think it was a victory to get the one account cleared up, and hopefully that solution sticks.  I made numerous phone calls over several hours; calls that I had been dreading.  I feel better knowing those are off my mental plate.

I also got some work stuff accomplished, which is also nice to get off my mental plate.  I missed my opportunity for a nap today, and my head is pounding. I am hopeful it will not become a migraine.

I haven’t gotten anywhere with the dealing with the stuff issue, as we didn’t get the cubes (see my Stuff  post to know what these are).  We looked at the cubes, but the sale was over, so we’ll wait until they come around on sale again. That might actually give us time to sort through the stuff and get some of it sorted!  😆

I feel good about what I got done today.  It’s a tight time-line, and I need to stay on track. I am a list-maker on days when I have a lot to do.  It’s a good feeling to cross things off that list and know you won’t have to do those again today. Tomorrow, I’ll make a new list, unless I do that tonight so I don’t forget something.  😆 

For now, I am going to drink my pot of chamomile tea, and think about what to make for dinner.   🙂

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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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