Arriving last Saturday (by 8 pm)

Really? Because it is now Wednesday afternoon at 4 PM and I still do not have my package!

So, in the spirit of all the happy de-cluttering (aka massive throwing-out binge party) I’ve been doing, I ordered this “under the shelf basket” so I could free up one of my four measly kitchen drawers.

basket

I have been trying to resist the temptation to buy storage solutions to put me in the frame of mind for decluttering. So far, I have bought only this plus a few extremely specific containers from the dollar store. This is the antithesis of all my previous attempts, which have resulted in a whole bunch of unused containers, which are now part of the clutter problem, as opposed to the solution. Ironic, eh?

I became aware of this after I spent some time 2 weeks ago reading a book called “The Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, and I’ve been trying to follow the advice as best I could. One of the biggest points is not to try to tailor the methodology, it should work for everyone, but I’m finding that a bit tough. This is not accounting for small apartment living with “outside” laundry services, and also does not allow for putting what you have taken out somewhere while you work on it for weeks. But I’ve been sticking really close to the rest of it!

Anyway, after careful consideration of going rogue and purchasing another solution before I completed phase 1, I ordered this shelf last Tuesday. I’ve been seeing it on Pinterest for a year or so, and wanted to look into ordering it. And now I did. Yay, me! Meeting goals and doing stuff…

On Friday, the shipping information was finally updated to “On the Way… Arriving Saturday by 8 PM”, but did not give any tracking numbers. However, it did say that it left Pennsylvania on Friday evening and was en route to carrier. For those of you as US-geographically-hopeless as I am, Pennsylvania immediately borders New Jersey. I felt hopeful, though, that my package would arrive Saturday as stated. It didn’t.

It didn’t come Monday, of course, being Memorial Day. It didn’t come yesterday, but should have. I thought it would definitely be here today, it is not.

And yet, the website still says “Arriving (present tense) Saturday May 23 by 8 pm.” Cool! Time Traveling for $14.99 plus shipping and handling! The future is now!

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V is for Viewpoint

This post is late because I’ve been a little burnt out. Not just on writing, job hunting, errand-ing, and cleaning, though to be sure, certainly all of those things. I’ve been making lists in my head, on my phone, on paper, and on my tablet because there is a lot on my mind. So much that I feel like flopping on the couch and doing none of it.

I’ve done “none of it” all weekend, since Friday when this post was due. This a terrible enough point of view from my own perspective, but when I pull back and look from another’s perspective, see me laying on the couch, jobless, depressed and not out enjoying my favorite weather, it gets even more bleak.

Have you heard of de-cluttering journals? This is the kind of thing I would waste money on because it’s cute, even though I have a million different kinds of pads, stationery and notebooks. I believe, somewhere deep down, that buying something new, and wanting to use it because it makes me happy, will force me to do the task for which I am buying some sort of secondary or tertiary item to support. Anyway, in a fit of activity sometime around lunch today, I grabbed a tiny composition book (about the size of your hand) that was new and empty and waiting to be my next purse notebook.

On my way to grab that, I saw, in my mind’s eye, a spiral-bound polka-dot covered notebook that would be PERFECT for this exercise. I own that book. I used it during the months surrounding my move to this place. It has all kinds of notes on mortgage and closing, phone calls and errands, to do lists, and little doodles of floor plans and ideas. Being a true spiral bound notebook, yet pretty thick, it always stayed open and laid flat. I know where that book is. Even though I’ve lived here 14 years. Even after I’ve de-cluttered, reorganized and made major changes in this place so many times…

I put my hand on it in minutes. For some reason, it was with some CDs on top of my wardrobe/chest of drawers. That large, convenient, off-the-floor spot is also home to board games, purses, and backpacks and is also where I put wrapped and unwrapped gifts so they are up and out of the way. As I searched for a blank page in this old book, I looked fondly at some of my scribbles, my big plans for my tiny home, and some of the hard numbers I was dealing with. I never found a blank page, which says something about my viewpoint at the time. Anyone else picking up that book today, and sitting in this apartment would find it funny/scary that a lot of simple things were never done. It would be kind of cute to see how much the plans changed from when I lived here alone, to the way it looks now. From my viewpoint, though, I am both appalled and defensive, all at the same time.

Once I had taken up pages and pages (Front and Back!) of my new little de-cluttering project notebook, I felt a little more productive.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=friends+ross+the+letter&FORM=VIRE7#view=detail&mid=FE0923D616173EACE63FFE0923D616173EACE63F

Next, I took two ittle-bittle items off the list by picking up our winter accessories and putting them in the little cabinet by the door, and then dusted the floors and walls. I also took very honest (from anyone’s viewpoint) pictures on my phone of the whole place, from every viewpoint within it. I’ll post them when I could do a good “before and after” comparison.

I plan to also take the books that have been sitting in my car for a few days up to the library in preparation for a point in time (over the next few days) when I will need to fit my antique desk that’s been stored in my mom’s house for years into the back. I’ll drop the books off on my way to pick up John at the train tonight, then we’ll come home and I may cook. Sometime tonight, I’ll also get around to posting for “W”. I guess that is enough productivity for a day when I felt entirely useless. Even from my self-flagellating viewpoint.

R is for Rummage

Rummage is a fun word…

Hold on a sec while I look up the etymology.

v. 1540s, “arrange (cargo) in a ship,” from rummage (n.), 1520s, “act of arranging cargo in a ship,” a shortening of Middle French arrumage “arrangement of cargo,” from arrumer “to stow goods in the hold of a ship,” from a- “to” + rumer, probably from Germanic (compare Old Norse rum “compartment in a ship,” Old High German rum “space,” Old English rum; see room (n.)). Or else from English room (n.) + -age.

Meaning “to search closely (the hold of a ship), especially by moving things about” first recorded 1610s. Rummage sale (1803) originally was a sale at docks of unclaimed goods.

I’m about to use my word of the day in two separate thoughts:

My pocketbook is a pretty organized place. I try not to let it become a swirling sea of ephemera and bacteria. I usually carry a very small purse (by most women’s standards), but recently I bought a large, copper-colored, faux-(of course) leather “big girl’s bag”… I always think a woman holding a large purse means business, she has everything with her and under control, and she is more mature than I am. I know I’m wrong about this, as I have seen the contents of some of those bags. I can pull a Band Aid, a hair tie, or a small children’s toy out of my bag in a few seconds, while most of these Superwomen don’t even have any, never mind be able to find them. But still, the fact remains that a bigger bag seems more grown-up, somehow.

My desk is also a very organized spot. Not an item out of place, papers lined up at right angles, and I’ll freak if you plop something onto my desk and not into the carefully-labeled inboxes.

Unfortunately, my super-organized mojo only carries me so far. My car is pretty clean, pretty well-stocked and pretty organized, but beyond that, in “private”,… chaos.

My home is CL-UTT-ERED! Now, granted, our place is about 450 square feet. And we three have a ton of stuff. That’s not to say that I had any room in here when it was just me, because that’s patently untrue.

I’m a bit of a hoarder, and hate to get rid of anything, because I KNOW I’m going to need it. This comes in part from living with the female Felix Unger (my mother) all my life. The woman saves almost nothing. A huge box of photographs, report cards, and childhood mementoes were divided between my sister and I a few years after we both had moved out of the house. I remember when my grandmother moved to a smaller apartment and my mom ruthlessly threw massive amounts of great stuff away (G’ma was a bit of a hoarder too, but she had “living through the Depression” as an excuse), and I can easily recall my mom throwing out little nonsense items that were in a box on my dresser because she thought they were garbage. A lot of tears were shed on both occasions. (Geez, I can never let my mom read this blog. While it’s all true, she doesn’t come out looking too good. She’s great, I swear. Love you, Mama!)

The other reason I do this is because I have been “caught without” many times in the past. I hate the feeling. Additionally, I hate buying something for the first time, thinking to try it out before stocking up on it, falling in love with it, and never being able to find it again, or find the exact same thing again. I have issues.

So, all this equals a lot of “rummaging” for me. If FI asks if we have something, I roll my eyes, because of course, we have it. I point myself in the general direction of the item and perform some version of a rummage, whether it be controlled movements and switching things around carefully, or a wild, frantic flinging about of everything in the general area. Just call me the “Item Location Specialist”.

The second reason R is for Rummage today is because a neighbor and I were discussing our annual community rummage sale. Every year our neighborhood joins our town’s day and has a mass rummage/garage sale. Most of the same people participate every year, and you could easily spot the newbies. They bring out a few good and completely random things, an hour or two into the scheduled time (thereby missing the early birds), sell half of their items in a couple of minutes then close up early with the notion of doing it again next year with more stuff, because they’ve heard from us old-timers as we converged upon their little blanket (amateurs!) of fresh goodies.

The rest of us put out some fresh stock each time, but mostly we are trying to get rid of stuff we’ve been putting out for years. While we aren’t being stubborn with some of these core items, there are others items that really can go. I’m sure nobody will ever buy my tiny little bread-loaf tins, even though they are totally adorable. Each year as we pack up, we talk about customers that said they might be back for such and such an item, and we’ll hold onto it for one more year. Each year, we get a couple of boxes together with charity donations. Each year we talk about not participating, or perhaps having two sales a year. Yet, our containers remain.

This month I joined two “Sell your stuff locally” communities on Facebook. I haven’t posted anything just yet. But I’m working up to it. I think I would miss the rummage!

B is for Bedroom

Warmer weather has arrived and my unemployed status has brought me back to my natural homeostasis, which is borderline insomniac. This means there is plenty of time, motive, impetus and opportunity to contemplate, once again, the state of our boudoir. While lying there fast awake and sweating, I look around and ponder a change to our environment.

Let it be noted that we have the air conditioning unit on about 353 days of the year (it’s only off in a snowstorm or power outage), blowing across our legs in the present iteration of the room. We are very lucky in that we have each found, in our other half, one who also likes the same temperatures. What we have not managed is finding compatibility regarding sleeping position.

From img.blu-raydefinition.com

Lucy Ricardo: [Ricky wants the window closed] A little air’s not going to hurt you, you hothouse plant.

Unlike most people, I imagine, I am most comfortable facing into the room, with my back to the door, and, since I lived here alone for 5 or 6 years before he moved in, that is my spot. When I go into the bedroom to watch TV, read, escape the noise, I climb onto the bed (literally, it is above my waist and also has a topper on it, so I’m like the Princess and the Pea {Did she have a name?}), stretching my 61 inches (sounds taller than 5’1) across the top half and enjoying the peace and space.

Here are the options to consider. None really work, but I can’t stop thinking about it, regardless of feasibility.

Switching Sides Pro: If we keep the bed in its current position and just switch sides, I will get the benefit of feeling the cool air we are pumping out. On a given night, John and all of his pillows are virtually sucking up all the air. All that nice flowing paid air is hitting a barrier before it gets to me. I end up with his body heat, the pillow’s warmth, and the obnoxious tease of hearing the cold air, but not receiving any. Switching sides would be a win, right? Wrong. See “final verdict” below.

Switching Sides Con: We would need to reconfigure the whole room just for me to switch sides. I know that seems ridiculous to you, dear reader, but it is true. There is a small wooden trunk on and surrounding which is a lot of stuff  on that side of the room. My sweetie uses the very edge of the trunk to balance his charging cell phone, and he’s happy with that. Also, he is unbelievably graceful and is not consumed by thoughts of tripping, falling and bumping his way to the bathroom from that side in the middle of the night. I charge my phone and my iPad, have books, a lamp, and all sorts of flotsam and jetsam on my night table and I would need all that to accompany my body on its clumsy trip to the left side of the room.

Room-rearrangement Pro: None, really. Lots of work for what won’t be a good solution. See “con” below.

Room-rearrangement Con: It’s a lot of work for little reward. The way the room is situated makes any other configuration than the one we have very awkward. Imagine walking through your bedroom door, but still feeling as if you are in the hallway that led to it. The door opens out with the closet behind it, then there is some wall space, and then you cross into the bedroom itself. The ceiling is lower in this first area, and the width of it matches the hallway. When you get into the bedroom proper, the ceiling is higher and the space is your normal sort of square room that fits a full/queen bed and a few dressers. The windows are placed in a haphazard way that looks “off” just standing in an empty room. When you add furniture and try to figure out the best arrangement, it really gets cumbersome, even with only two windows. The window on the far wall (with the AC) is almost centered in the room, so when you try to put the bed across the room with the headboard on either the east or west wall (these are just guesses for the sake of illustration, I’m a city/indoors-y girl and have no idea which direction is which) it will be facing your legs and feet. We could flip the bed to the east wall in a mirror image of the way we have it now, but the window on that wall is placed so that almost half of the headboard would be blocking it. To clear the window, the bed would practically be against the wall on one side, and we are about 20 years too late for a dormitory setup. We can’t put the bed on the north wall, and if we put it on the south wall, there won’t be sufficient room around the bed, because the south wall has the entrance taking up a quarter of it.

Final Verdict:  Changing the bedroom is pretty much out of the question. If I stored and/or threw away most of our belongings that live in the bedroom, we could switch sides. We are presently at odds about this novel idea, because John isn’t having it. He is the master of his side and says he is uncomfortable whenever he even temporarily uses mine.

I’ve made my bed, and now I have to lie in it.

Dog Day Morning

I’ve been thinking a lot about getting another dog, for a few years now. Lately, it is really getting me down. It’s very, very often on my mind.

Like I’ve wrote (read: complained) here many times, we live in a teeny, tiny apartment. Seriously. Less than 450 square feet. And those square feet aren’t dog friendly, but almost everyone in the complex has at least one dog. I don’t get it. Some of them live in studio apartments (even smaller than ours, no defined spaces) and they have large dogs. I’m not telling anyone how to live their life, but for me, the dog needs a little room, and so do the people. It’s not fair to the dog to have you getting nasty with him or her because you can’t turn around, or he happened to be going about his business and knocked something of yours over, or she was in your way and you couldn’t reach the refrigerator, or what have you.

So, okay. We could go the small dog route. But I don’t want to. I like big dogs. The dogs I had growing up were a smallish-medium sized one at first, then we had three small dogs. I like me some big dogs, dammit! I also was not allowed to have cats, as my mother’s afraid of them. No big dogs, no cats, and I always got into trouble for playing with cats that found me around the neighborhood. I don’t know, for some reason, I seemed to attract them, and my mother would flip out and try to rush me to the doctor for a rabies shot. Luckily, the doctors sensed my mom was acting insane, and that these were probably house cats I was petting (which is what I said) and I did not spend my pre-teen years getting a shot in the belly every few weeks.

Also, there is no way I could even get a small dog, anyway. Our place is just too jam-packed with furniture, non-furniture and nonsense, plus the way the place is laid out makes it very tricky to have a dog. There is no wall space at all, therefore no place to put water/food bowls in the kitchen or anywhere else. There is also no place for a puppy’s newspaper or eew-eew (sorry, I meant wee-wee) pad that is not in the middle of everything. So, no dog, right?

That does not stop me from obsessing. We went on the dolphin excursion/boat trip when we were in the Florida Keys last month, and I spent most of the time playing with the dog. I loved Maya, she was such a pretty Golden Retriever and she was into the love. She’s on the commercial for Android, “Furever Friends” she’s the one swimming with the dolphin. You could catch in on youtube if you haven’t seen it.

mayadolphins

Here’s a picture we took of her during the trip. She didn’t swim with them at that time, but just look at her. She wants to get out and play. Oodelally, oodelally, golly, what a day!

I have Pinterest boards that I don’t pin every single cute pin I find of dogs, but I still have so many pins of dogs. I think about how cute they are all the time when I see my neighbors walking them and am seriously contemplating offering my services as dog-walker for the neighborhood. I’m home, I need exercise, I miss having some dog lovin’, and I’m the responsible sort that they could trust, as I’ve lived in this place for 13 years or so. Also, these people have bad clean-up habits, so I think that it would be just a good idea all around.

I’m still thinking about it. I don’t want to commit to it, then find a job a few days later and not be able to follow through. Alternatively, I could be out for months just sitting here, wishing I had done it.

The last reason I’m thinking about them is that I’m really missing my dog that passed 6 years ago. There is still a small patch of snow in the parking lot behind our apartment, and I know that he’d be trying to lay on it all the time. That’s what he did in our yard, he would find the last little patch of snow, stretch his little self out, and lower his belly onto the snow and just hang out there with a blissful expression on his face. Ugh, I miss him so much.

I just miss having a dog to take care of and cuddle with. It is such a great alleviator of depression, and I feel as if I need it.

Maybe I’ll put together a cute little flyer and get some puppy time with the neighbor dogs.

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad…

Okay, now that I’ve got all of you singing “The Facts of Life” (I miss Mrs. G!) I’m going to write a post about the good and the bad of everyday life. The big, the small, and the medium-size issues all have a positive and a negative aspect, but if that isn’t immediately apparent, know that maybe the other party (or yourself in the future) is seeing this in black and white, and soon your view will sharpen, too. You just have to hang out a bit. Other times, it is readily apparent and patently obvious. Such is life.

The stories included in two recent posts of mine, one about my singing, and one about my neighbors, have sort of melded together to make a good illustration of the wisdom nugget above. Saturday I came home and my honey was looking a bit put out, I asked what was going on and he said the guy upstairs was singing for a while, and (wait for it…) he made me sound good! Now, I knew that was a backhanded compliment at best, but I took it. I took it so well, in fact, that I flung my arms around him and started jumping up and down, thanking him and kissing his head sloppily. You’d think he had never complimented me before! But you don’t understand, this the first time since puberty that someone said something about my singing that was remotely complimentary. So that was great, but harshing my buzz was that this is a reminder of how close we live to our neighbors and how much we want to move.

Anyway, going from a full-time job to the unemployed lifestyle is rough. Now, now, hear me out. I know laying around all day sounds good, I know that being able to set your own schedule seems perfect. I know everyone, myself included, says “Now I can finally…”  do whatever is involved in being able to accomplish your more uncommon errands and things in life that never seem to get done. But, after a while (and the amount of time a “while” is varies greatly from person to person) it just gets old. And depressing.

We’ve had a lot of bad weather this winter. Spring has finally sprung, which is good, even though there is still a stubborn patch of snow in back of my building, and it’s time to join the world outside. No one wants to go here and there when it’s snowing or raining or freezing. Hey, you’re unemployed, there’s always tomorrow to do that!

We have my favorite weather right about now and for the foreseeable. I love 55 degrees, time to open the moonroof, all of the windows, and take Shirley (my RAV4) for a spin. I ask everyone I meet, “Where in this country — or another one, I’m not picky — can I find ’55 and sunny’ for most of the year?” I get answers such as blank stares, or “You’re crazy, don’t you like summer?” or “I don’t know, look it up”. But, I digress.

Even though sun is streaming through my kitchen window, and I know it’s around 50 degrees out there, I am still sitting here in my pajamas (today they are an old Key West souvenir T-shirt from years ago that has a round hole the size of a quarter in the stomach region, along with some stretched-out purple sweats), un-showered, writing this blog. I do have errands to do, I have to make a return to Target, and I should go get my taxes done.

On days that I don’t leave the house (whether for “good reason” or just because I’m SuperLazy) I always find that those nights are the longest, the most boring and depressing. John goes to bed around 11, and I stay up, supposedly for an hour or two, but it ends up that I find myself wide awake at 3 a.m., bored of all my games and my book, and just in a funk that even if I got projects done in the house that day, I didn’t get out in the world, and now I’m infringing on tomorrow’s possibilities because I’m probably going to sleep well into tomorrow afternoon if I don’t get to sleep now.

With all this in mind, I should not be sitting here writing. I should pop some lunch in the oven, take a shower, call the tax place to make sure they have time for me today, find my mortgage statement with the tax information on it, eat lunch and get on out of here!

I’m still sitting.

P.S. For hysterical comics that illustrate the woes of being an adult much better than I can, visit “Hyperbole and a Half“, (http://www.hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com) written by Allie Brosh. In particular, my post most closely relates to the entry entitled “This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult” from June 2010.

P.P.S. I know I’ll figure out linking and blogrolling soon. Until then, hopefully the above is sufficient.

Beep, Beep…Beeeeeeeeeeeep!

No, that is not my imitation of the loading of the “Write a new post” window (although I love that it says that!). It is all I have been hearing since 9 am this morning. Actually I think it was a little earlier than that, and it is still going now at 4:22 p.m.

They are doing some construction up the street from me and literally every 20 seconds (I’ve counted) a truck or machine goes “Beeep, Beep, Beep” and it lasts for about a minute or two then there’s silence for another twenty seconds. Blessed silence.

I live in a quiet suburb within a busy area. It’s a quiet street, yet it is never truly quiet. I never thought I would notice or desire such a thing in my life, when I was young “the louder, the better” was the way to be. And I still cannot sleep without the TV on. However, in the past few years the volume has been lowered to almost nothing, even though that makes the snoring beside me seem a little louder.

I feel as if I can never get away from noise. A steady noise is one thing; the drone of an air conditioner, the radio in the background, even the click of my fast fingers typing on the keyboard are all good. But, I seem to live within this noisy shell, filled with intrusive sounds blasting away at my peace all the time. Even home alone on a given afternoon when all should be quiet, assuming everyone is out and about, working, or being equally quiet in their own homes, it’s just not.

Our place is one apartment in a building of 4 (2 up, 2 down), next to other buildings with the same configuration. My upstairs neighbor rents his place out to a never ending stream of obnoxious, young, very annoying people. I think it’s part of his application process, and he has a steady supply of those willing to pay first and last month’s rent, and annoy the people downstairs as much as possible. Whose mother comes to their house to visit at 11 o’clock on a Sunday night and knocks on the outside door needing to be let in? Whose? I’m serious! Can anyone tell me? And then to knock on the outside door, instead of calling them and telling them to come down and open it so you don’t annoy everyone else? And, how could my neighbors not know/not care Mom was coming and be on the lookout? This is just beyond me.

They go up and down the stairs like a herd of elephant, and they are constantly clomping around on the hardwood floors up there. They have company at the oddest times (2:00 Thursday afternoon, anyone? Anyone? No, just people that live above ME? Allrighty then!). Sometimes, I could literally hear every word they say clearly, which is not good when you consider that they are a couple and they frequently do what couples do. Loudly. And, it is not like we are quiet down here, we could hear them over our own noise! Do I sound like an old curmudgeon? Should I start using the end of my broom to thump on the ceiling? Should I have the police on speed dial ready to call after 10 pm? Where are my curlers and housecoat?

When one annoying set of neighbors move, we breathe a sigh of relief, and are sure, SURE! EVERY TIME! that the next people will be better. They never are.

I’ve been here thirteen years. It was time to go about 10 years ago.

That is still not the heart of the matter, though. Even within my own home, it’s just not silent. In my car, no silence. In a classroom where tests are being taken it’s actually kind of noisy. Libraries are not silent. Parks are not silent.

Silence no longer exists, it seems. I have a headache.