Gone KonMari crazy with a little weep

For about the last 18 months, I have been on a mission to declutter. I mean, it seems like I am always decluttering my closet (that infinite space that reproduces even more crap the minute I close the doors). But I’m more serious this time. I’m even openly attacking Mark’s clothes, albeit rarely worn dress clothing that was once worn by the much bigger man version of him. Really easy to tell him he’s absolutely NOT wearing dress clothes he wore when there was almost 40 lbs. more of him a few years ago.

My friend C told me about her volunteer job – a thrift store boutique that specializes in high quality, exceptional condition and very gently used donations. I had been in a quandary as to what to do with my stuff, because it felt like it was too nice to just drop off at my local Goodwill. I could have tried selling it online, but honestly, it does not seem worth the effort to me. If I were still doing eBay selling regularly (something I did during my last major purge a few years ago – handbags alone netted me over $2,000) I would probably be more inclined. I rarely to never even look on eBay for anything, and for clothes the FB group sales will consume my available time and generate a disproportionate amount of resentment. Nope, C’s mention of her volunteer job is a perfect solution. I do believe my donations are a close match to what they are seeking and this stuff will soon be out of my house.

So, thus far 5 large shopping bags of clothing. Due to my physical person downsizing, beloved workout capris, leggings, tops, sweatshirts, and light jackets have been neatly folded and now bagged. There are also skirts and dresses I have saved and maintained well but now find are too big for my evolving frame. I’ve also packed up some of M’s slacks, dress shirts, even ties. In another bag there are handbags, wallets, gloves, knit hats and scarves. If they accept them, I also have several pairs of worn once or twice (or not at all) running shoes waiting, plus athletic bags of various sizes that I had tucked away in a box and forgotten. I also have more dress shoes to sort out if those are something they could find useful.

A lot of stuff I have worn, loved, maintained well. It is good to pay it forward and let it go to its next owner and perhaps generate some income for a good cause.

But I am far from done with my decluttering. Next I am back in the kitchen and will be ruthlessly weeding out items we no longer use. Tomorrow, perhaps. Today was all about clothing and accessories.

I cried while doing a lot of this activity. Not at all about the items I am releasing to others so much as grieving the loss of my friend. My heart seems to shatter again each and every day. It’s hard learning to accept the finality of such change, a lesson I must learn, relearn, learn again daily. While it’s only been a week, the leaden weight is so heavy it feels like months and years.

I am grateful for any and all distractions, including going through all my stuff and seeking out that “spark joy” feeling. While I feel broken and sad inside, I am a master compartmentalizer and so much of life still sparks joy. Frequently tiny sparks build into something bigger, and in this, in the aftermath of loss, I have no choice but to be patient and wait for events to unfold. In the meantime, it gets tucked away in its box through day to day demands and responsibilities and taken out so I can bawl over a functional sun hat that I do not even like very much and am actually delighted to be shedding.

This process reminds me again that my needs and wants are actually pretty simple and continuing to filter and simplify as I mature and move along. Yep, still have a drawer full of clothes for the gym, but as it’s my new hobby-obsession, it feels relatively justifiable and almost required. The rest of my closet is FINALLY looking like I have decluttered. My business clothing closet is manageable, my supply of jeans, shorts, and weekend casual tops still quite flush with things I wear all the time. I do have my next clothing purge in the planning stages, though, because I think there are some jeans and pants from winter that will be too big this year. But when it’s hot outside, even in the comfort of my air conditioned home I do not want to be trying on flannel lined jeans, wool slacks, sweaters of any weight.

For someone who is not much of a fashion follower or clothes horse, I have a lot of clothes. Since I am not a slave to fashion or the trendy sort, pretty much everything I own has simple lines and is consider classic pieces. All good, as I believe it makes reselling relatively easy as well.

I won’t miss a single item that I have bagged or boxed for donation. I probably will not think about a single thing in any of those bags or boxes after I drop them off. But my friend has become as much a part of this home as the foundation and the house itself. I miss him terribly and I resent his death and the rollercoaster of emotions it has unleashed.

M and I went to his pod late yesterday, allowing ourselves only an hour to gather some specific, personal bequests to pack and ship to other friends. It is a bittersweet act for me, but one I take seriously and feel compelled to complete as quickly as possible. It’s written down, on a list, and I want to get it resolved as quickly as I can. I recognize the actions as something within my control, versus everything else well outside of it. Idly, I wonder how I am going to feel when the list is cleared and there is nothing left for me to do. Will I feel better? Worse? Relieved? Still angry?

Unpacking and repurposing stuff – it’s part of life, I suppose. The adventure is sorting out the emotions attached to the experiences as I move through it.

It is a challenging balance. Decluttering is good. Grief sucks.

Car stuff, weekend random

First and foremost, thanks so much for all the kindness and support from my last post. While there are still several days left in March, my personal March madness has quietly concluded. Never do I underestimate the intensity of emotions that surround anniversaries.

M has an older car with nearly 200K on the odometer. He loves that vehicle, except for the fancy-smancy gizmos and gadgets that are designed into it.

This week, the battery died of old age. It is a 2008, battery has been in there since 2010, so it has had a good long life. With the push button start and keyless entry systems, it was not so simple as to replacing the battery and everything is fine. Oh no. While it did start up fine just after M put the new battery in it, our keys refused to electronically open the doors or start the vehicle when we walked out of the grocery store. Apparently our fob batteries failed as well? Or it needed to be repaired, like my phone with my car’s bluetooth? Not sure. But we consulted the manual, followed the emergency steps, and voila! Car started without issue. Get home, read more in the manual, decide there is some graduate course out at Toyota U that must be successfully taken to know what to do with this vehicle. Unfortunately when I go back to put the manual away, key fob is again not working correctly for some reason. Maybe its batteries die sympathetic deaths with the car battery?

M goes through the whole process again of manually opening the door, repairing the key to start it, and drives off in search of the super special battery needed. I stay home just in case he needs rescue. When he gets back he replaces batteries in both fobs and voila! Both keys are working again.

For good measure, every time he gets up throughout the night I hear the front door open and know he is going outside to check to see if the key is working. So far, so good.

We knew buying an older vehicle with lots of miles the potential for it needing repair increased. Since I am familiar with the entire history of this vehicle (purchased from my former boss), I knew it had been well maintained and not driven too crazily with its prior owner. But M seems to have a far lower tolerance for repairs than I do, but more than the expense the gadgetry of later model vehicles and his ability to diagnose and do repairs himself tends to drive him crazy. This too shall pass.

Or we’ll be hobnobbing around in some 70s vintage POS car that M can fix himself. Assuming he can find parts, of course.

Not a whole lot going on around here right now, other than the car drama. Busy work weeks. Busy trying to get my crap organized at home. We are in the process of moving from one storage to another smaller, closer space. Because we have waaaayyyyy too much crap. Good news on that is we are winnowing down our crap this go-round. Stuff we (M) has been keeping and storing 20+ years is now going into the trash or the donation box. Unfortunately, we still need a storage unit. I have big dreams of someday not needing an offsite storage unit, but at long as M owns the project car (that has been in pieces for the entirety of our relationship) we will likely need storage.

Once we get that stuff sorted, though, I plan to get cracking on our garage. It’s a mess. It’s a mess of crap that (1) we no longer need, (2) we no longer need to keep in the garage, or (3) we have no idea what it is or was or why we (M) actually own it.

Work is a messy schedule this week. Tuesday is usually my work from home day, but this week my admin had to take emergency leave so I will e going into the office tomorrow and moving my work from home to the weekend. Thankfully my private clients are understanding about my schedule.

But work is good, remains 95% satisfying and 5% somewhat dreadful tasks I wish I could delegate to anyone else. Allergy season is also winding down, thankfully. After a severe sinus dust-up and almost 2 weeks mild yet ongoing congestion, I am happy for the break and return to normality.

Everything else – things are good. And for that I am always grateful.

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere

Today started out as wonky, confusing weekend, but not at all bad or unpleasant – just me trying to catch up on unusual happenings the last few days.

So Thursday I mentioned having weird shoulder and neck pain and suspecting my office desk set-up being the culprit. By the time I was finishing that post from my treadmill desk at home, that pain had pretty much subsided on its own. However, following trainer J’s recommendation to take it easy, I did legs and very light upper body on Friday morning even though I felt fine. The leg routine I selected is perplexing – as I told J, it’s like bad tasting food I cannot ever bring myself to cut from my diet. “Kale for the legs” is what J laughingly referred to it, and the label is sticking.

Anyway, working from home yesterday felt no bad twinges anywhere. It was a relief. Exercise and better health quest is cresting and cruising along the awesome sauce road and I was going to be bitterly disappointed if I had done something to curtail and/or redirect that.

But since I rarely to never work from home on Fridays, it felt like Saturday to me. Then J was discussing our session on Monday, which my brain interpreted as a Sunday event, and I woke up this morning first thinking it was Monday and I was late, then remembering we had scheduled noon, me for the sheer novelty of being in the gym at an unusual time. So from there I realized that no, Monday is a holiday, and thought for sure it was Sunday. I got dressed for my pilates class at the yoga studio, when I finally figured out it’s Saturday from a brief period of panic that I blew off a regular Saturday appointment with a client. I start to text him an apology for standing him up without calling when phone points out it IS Saturday. Thankfully back on track.

If it’s only Saturday, why am I getting dressed to go to Sunday’s pilates class? F**k it, I think; not a soul in that entire gym will care if I am wearing my usual t-shirt or my yoga tank top. So I don’t change my clothes. However, I do put on socks and sneakers. I can only imagine the talking to (and rightly so) I would get for trying to go through my practice barefoot on the gym floor. I admit to seeing five fingers on feet anywhere and cringing inside.

And guess what? There was no ensuing scandal or people running from the gym screaming because of the blinding white of my skin that sees very little sunlight. The funny thing about Bikram yoga, it is the only place I have ever been to regularly where I have felt self-conscious for being too covered up. It seems to me those people would practice naked if they could get away with it, and it honestly does not seem to matter at all what size or shape of their bodies. I have to admire that kind of confidence and focus on doing their own practice.

Thus far, it has been a fantastic Saturday. Got my gym practice done. Chatted with my client (he is actually out of town for the holiday and we were not scheduled to meet face to face today) and received some surprising and amazing bonus news. I am digging deeper into my endless closet and pulling crap out and rapidly filled several bags for donation. Because the clothes are TOO BIG or no longer suit me. I am closing in on fitting into a couple of tailored skirts for next winter, so they got to stay awhile longer. Favorite things are still favorite things, and thankfully it’s way, Way, WAY too hot for wool blend skirts.

Then there is cooking. Grocery shopping is on the list this afternoon, because I don’t think we have anything left to prepare food with. Bananas and protein powder are not going to cut it.

And it’s hot. And my day is still wonderful despite the heat. Although if you ask M, when he eventually straggles in from a 20+ mile run/walk in the bright sunlight and heat, it’s miserable out there. Okay honey; you know there are these treadmill things at the gym, with air conditioning and everything, right? We are different that way, and I get it. Run on a treadmill? There would have to be nuclear fallout and deadly levels of radiation to make that happen, and even then I’m not really sure – hazmat suits could make than manageable, right? Another lady I see most Saturdays working with her trainer was heading outside to do cardio today and I felt so sorry for her. Outside, with the bugs, and the sun, and the warm temperatures. Ugh. Maybe swimming would be okay. But I might have to work harder on that whole blinding white skin thing. Unsuspecting bystanders, small children and such; it seems a safety hazard.

Glorious, liberating Saturday. Practice and work-work is now done, some decluttering accomplished and more yet to do. Get some groceries, cook some food for the upcoming week, and then I can get back to cleaning house to get it back into some semblance of order and diving back in to my disorganized chaos closets (because I have 1.75 closets and M has a very spare quarter to third).

Or not. The nice thing about weekends with no real commitments is being able to do whatever I want, even if that includes curling up on the couch with a book. Or floating in the pool with my iPad. Or taking a nap. Possibilities are truly endless, AFTER grocery shopping and restocking the fridge and pantry.

Happy weekending everyone!

Control, accountability, balance, blogging

There are bunches of trees flowering in my neighborhood and town right now that send my sinuses into a frenzy. Happens every winter, and the day I see the first blossom I start taking zyrtec and hope it works through the 2 or 3 weeks of potential suffering with both the symptoms and the OTC medications for treating those symptoms. The cure is frequently almost worse with its related side effects.

I recognized and waved a white flag at my prevention of allergy escalation last Thursday, when I came home from work with my face pounding from sinus congestion and a raging headache. My preferred allergy-related medication tends to keep me awake for days if I take it after about 2 p.m., so I took several aspirin and laid down for a nap. That was about 6 p.m Around midnight I woke up, still fully dressed, but with slightly less pounding face and raging headache. Banana, more aspirin, and back to bed, and I was better Friday morning. But I was able to take an allergy pill before heading off to the gym with hope and prayer that by the time I got to the office face and head pain would be better.

J went through cables with me last Thursday, and I had expected to be trying that on my own Friday through the weekend. But then I realized there is no way I am ready or capable of trying something new-ish and out of my comfort zone on my own in this condition. Allergy meds tend to amp me up, mess with my concentration and focus, and further reduce my base levels of not-very-patient and easily-frustrated-with-myself. If I have learned nothing else doing time at the gym, I now have a good handle on pacing myself and accepting the fluidity of limitations on my ability to cope. Under the influence of allergy medication is not the time to be trying to succeed at something new. So back to my usual spot with my dumbbells and what I already know well. I texted J not to worry about updating my Lists, because it would be Tuesday at least before I attempted cable machine practice under my own power.

I have been thinking about control the last few days – how much or how little I have over many aspects of my life. Funny thing about being a bit of a control freak is you really do not realize how much of a control freak you are until someone bonks you over the head with clear examples of your own behavior. That happened for me years ago, and it took a lot more years before I finally made peace with my own tendencies. Now I am mostly a creature of habits; it is one way I tend to maintain the illusion of being in charge of myself and on my own terms.

It seems that when one grows up in some sort of chaos we try very, very hard to maintain a tight grip on our environment and surroundings. I find myself having to constantly seek out and reassess the balance with work, especially now when I am primarily self-employed yet also have a part-time job. I have been pretty good about not letting work completely consume my life, and I have found myself having to exert the same sort of balancing techniques upon my slowly solidifying exercise habits. On recent occasions, I have had good reasons to remark to J and to my dietician that I am not a typical client. Part of me feels the tiniest bit proud of that, because for once I do not make that statement in a negative way. Because I have been the typical client for both – I would go to our sessions, listen to what they told me, perform to the best of my ability or ask the right questions and leave there with every intention of practicing what I have learned, only to not think much about it or return until our next appointment. Of late, I am not so much like that. I meet with J for 2 hours a week and probably spend at least another 7 or 8 hours practicing whatever new things we just covered or reviewing prior routines he has written for me. The dietician and I are finally communicating and he is speaking to me in language I can understand about changes I should try to implement, now that he has a baseline of what I typically consume. Eat more protein, A LOT more protein, and primarily plant-based carbohydrates is direction I can fully grasp. Gone is the advice to “keep a food diary,” replaced instead with “try to track protein consumption and carb sources.” That I can handle.

So I have taken it upon myself to look up how much protein and other nutrients are in basic foods I eat – chicken, pork, beef, turkey, and eggs. I decided upon a basic amount – 5 oz. – and weighed and photographed each as I prepared it the first time. So I have a general idea and point of reference. “Plant-based carbs” translates to fruits and vegetables, so I am just eating a lot of those. It has simplified grocery shopping to meat, fruits, vegetables, and any condiments and sauces.

It’s been a few days and I would say it has been a bit hit and miss. I’m back in the bulk cooking business, my crock pot going all day long yesterday with chicken and turkey, but M being kind of under the weather and a meal out with visiting in friends, I am about 50/50  on the increased protein. The week ahead looks much clearer, though, so I am more hopeful and determined to see how a “typical” week can be for me. More importantly, balance begins inside my own head. I am not thinking I have “failed” somehow so much embracing the new food goals as a process. Life is going to happen; sharing a meal out with family and friends or with M just because is always going to be a priority for me over being rigidly faithful to whatever meal planning I might be involved in this week. This is progress for me.

I am starting to understand that lifestyle changes for me do not necessarily mean that the life I had, the friends I enjoyed, will want to be part of the evolving life I lead. And it makes me sad, and I do not really understand, yet I accept that these are things well beyond my reasoning and control. However, I am also starting to see that the changes I am making with my increased exercise and improving eating habits open new doors for me with existing friends that are far more dedicated in their own healthier lifestyle pursuits. Every year we host friends for training runs leading up to trail running season, and every year I learn a bit more about discipline and dedication to that sport. M retired from racing before he met me, so his running is a hobby and a way to stay in touch with old friends. Many in our social circle are “runner people” who eat, sleep, breathe running and the sacrifices it takes to grow stronger and shave tenths of seconds off their times. Being the non-exerciser in the group set me apart in ways I understood but did not have any urge to bridge. We get along well, I was and continue to be hugely supportive and a fan of their individual goals even if I could never quite understand them.

While still not a runner, no plans to EVER be a runner, my own practices the last few months and the desire to be better overall have given me some inkling into what drives them. We are not on the same page because our books are completely different, yet their encouragement and kindness toward my efforts means a lot to me. Where I thought (feared?) they might pooh-pooh my efforts as inadequate in comparison to their own athletic feats they have been solidly behind and unconditionally supportive of whatever little baby steps I am taking. I do not think it takes another gym goer or athlete of any stripe to understand how difficult it is to get started just getting baseline amounts of exercise and then stick with it so much as it is just willingness to try and understand that people change their habits.

More and more I am recognizing how unhealthy comparison to others is for me, and I am starting to wonder if the same is true for everyone else. Jealousy and envy cannot be good for anyone, particularly me, and desiring to be thin and pretty in ways I perceive others are thin and pretty else is never going to get me anywhere but depressed. I thought I had learned that a long, long time ago (like in my teens), but the refinement of the last several months has been eye-opening to my need to go further. My journey with diet and exercise is my own, and wherever I am right now is a waypoint to some future destination. There is no end, because I do not get to get myself into good shape, a healthy and sustainable weight, a good dress size … then stop. I think that’s an unstated myth that somehow gets propagated, that you chase the dream and then you achieve it and get to rest on your laurels and revel on easier street. Nope. The day I finally feel like I have achieved my next significant milestone is followed by the day after where I get up and get my ass into the gym for practice or to meet with J and while still pursuing the right balance of protein and carbohydrates. I cannot imagined life where these activities are automatic or on autopilot, and I am not sure I would ever want that. To be able to exercise and have so many choices in foods to eat is a blessing, one I never want to take for granted.

I was aware of and from a distant sideline watched my dad go through 8 years of cancer treatments, everything from having a tumor removed from his tongue followed by surgery to remove his prostate to the final diagnoses of all the other places the cancer had traveled. His poor lifestyle habits – smoking and alcohol – made me know I am never going to be either a smoker or a drinker. Mom was better, having pretty good health most of her life. But when she quit smoking along with my dad, she gained 25 lbs., which was a lot on her tiny, 5’1″ frame, and it impacted her knees and legs. However, she too eventually died of cancer, refusing to face reality that there might be something wrong with her female plumbing, only to be facing stage 5 uterine cancer after refusing to discuss the spotting, bleeding, and pain with her doctor for nearly 3 years prior.

Even my sister, who ignored a lump in her breast and did not consult a doctor about it until 8 months had passed and it had grown to the size of a walnut. Mastectomy, chemo, radiation, only to find it had spread to and metastasized in her bones. A year later she too was gone.

Thus far, being diabetic is the worst health issue to befall me. But it has forced me into a routine of seeing my doctors regularly, even if I was not really ready to follow most of their advice until the last year or so. I have been very fortunate in that, though, because once I got started moving and systematically cutting the extraneous junk from my diet things turned around very quickly. I have no idea why I am so lucky in this regard.

However, I am now at this point of refinement to start scaling my next challenge, and the “things beyond my control” are really starting to rear their ugly little heads. This week it has been allergies. Today it is allergies and a bloody nose while at the gym. When I already really didn’t feel like going and forced myself off my dilly-dallying path and to get there and do my light day something. Until my nose started to feel drippy and I realized it was a bloody nose. Lovely, just lovely. I wanted a light day and I certainly got it.

A few month ago it would have freaked me out in big ways. Now, not so much. Maybe it is J telling me he is delighted if I come to the gym 6 days a week or others suggesting a day off is necessary, but I typically go lighter on Sunday anyway and do a set or two of something on the Lists and then work at other things giving me grief, usually single leg anything or lunges of any type. I did get that done – my single leg Romanian deadlifts are feeling more confident – but still, more time is always better.

But progress is I am not freaked out or beating myself up about it. Life happens. I am completely un-delighted about the bloody nose, but I am also sure I don’t know anyone who thinks they are great and desirable events.

And I am about 2/3 of the way through a complete kitchen reorganization. Our refrigerators – all 4 of them – have had their share of science experiments brewing, but the worst offender is the main fridge in the kitchen. My quest to eat more protein requires a lot more containers to efficiently put together meals, especially at work or on the go, and for some reason a lot of our small container inventory has been MIA. A clean-out of the refrigerators and freezer found the vast majority of them, so at least I got through all that yesterday. Our cupboards and pantry were next on my hit list, and I disposed of a lot of staples and experimental foods we either did not like or no longer eat at home. And bread – I have loaves of different types of bread in just about every freezer in the house. Since I’m dramatically cutting back on eating that right now, they are now neatly packed in bags to deliver to the kids or other friends who still eat bread or are interested in trying something different.

Amazing the amount of stuff still hiding in there after the initial purge of less desirable foods after Christmas.

The things I can control – my kitchen cupboards, pantry, fridge, freezer – I am doing my best to get a better handle on. The things I cannot – my dang sinuses and this season of flowering trees – I do my best with the medications available to me. It’s an imperfect solution but better than trying to go drug-free and just enduring the sinus pressure and head pain.

I feel pretty good about the weekend thus far, and I am looking forward to the week ahead. The new eating plan is a bit of a struggle, and most definitely a PITA, but I committed to trying it and have some basic plans to implement and make it work so I can report back at my next RD appointment that I took these steps and have this result. From there I expect (hope?) that he can offer further guidance to help me get better at it.

After a couple of days of unintentional blogging break, I realize how much I have come to depend upon this process to sort of out my stuff. I say unintentional because I have thoughts started in my draft folder languishing and needing some time and energy to see them through to completion and posting. Despite my best intentions, my body said sleep where I might have preferred to stay up and write it all down. I still have to ignore it when it says “chocolate, sugar, soda!” or “No gym today; there are lunges there!” But those voices are growing a little quieter as the days pass.

Maybe listening to my body – when it says sensible things – is the best type of progress.

Saturday choring

My to-do list looks like a typical Saturday, with gym practice and laundry and household chores and grocery shopping on it. But it feels much longer today because I feel one of my periodic cleaning and decluttering frenzies brewing. M had better stay out of my way or may find himself in the donation bin or worse. At the same time, M feels the need to stick around when I get like this, or all his carefully acquired and hoarded junk crap possessions may no longer be part of the household by the time this weekend concludes.

I pretty much start every Saturday with the gym and practice the day’s chosen List, and today was no exception. My mind is an independent contractor these days, and despite my best efforts to tell it to focus, Focus, FOCUS damnit! it has ceased listening to me and my desires and churns up recent junk I am trying to avoid at every available opportunity. Mostly practice was successful; I finished 3 sets of one of our more recent Lists and can feel the muscles having mild to wild conversations with one another. There were a few instances of silent screaming into my towel, but it worked to get me back on track without bursting into tears. Compartmentalizing is supposed to be my friend, until it fails to work as I planned. Still, I practiced, I worked really hard on maintaining my forms and moving the weights to and fro. The pace was not peppy, but it got done. I am calling that good enough.

We received the bid for our new deck and it’s expensive, so much so that M is having second thoughts, and I am simply rejiggering the budget to get it done. I actually do not begrudge anyone from making a profit on their work – business is business, after all. M, however, is always seeking out the best deal, willing to consider lesser materials, and to utilize any benefits from working relationships and referrals. This is an investment in our home, something that should last for a very long time. Our contractor gave us a better than fair price, and looking at materials … they have gone up significantly since last we considered this project several years ago. M is still toying with that he can rebuild the deck, and I am quite sure that is the case. However, I am not inclined to be patient and give him 6 to 8 months (or longer) to get it completed. It’s simply not feasible for him to do the work all by himself, and we are understandably reluctant to ask for unpaid help from friends. Despite the relatively simple shapes, it’s going to be a fairly significant job to get it done.

Then there is all our stuff. Way. Too. Much. Stuff. I am about to start another clothing, shoes, handbag purge, and as much as I seem to have done already it always seems there is still more to do. Same is true in the kitchen. Oh, the kitchen [insert sad face here]. We have done fairly well with purging the kitchen and pantry of less great for our health goals type foods, but the draws of gadgets and cabinets full of bowls and glasses and coffee mugs must be addressed. Pantry remains kind of a disorganized mess based on our changing focus to more prepared-from-scratch type cooking. Our spice cabinet needs a second shelf, because it seems like we suddenly have so many things that M has either been trying and was sort of “meh” on or trying and using and then squirreling the bottles away after they are empty and new ones purchased.

The garage will require a week of staycation to address. Definitely not touching that his weekend.

I am staying busy, because really, I have a lot to do. Probably just like everyone else.

Happy weekending everyone!

Challenging myself

I went to the gym this morning. A little later than I had planned, but I dragged myself out of the wonderful, WONDERFUL new bed, got my gym clothes on, ate my small something, and got myself down there by 9:30. Took me almost 90 minutes to do all 3 sets, but hey, I would rather go slowly and ensure I do it right. Plus I think it’s about how long it’s supposed to take.

In my mind and calendar I decided no matter what, I would do my workout – all 3 sets of it. The number of people, the noise they were making, whatever else was going on around me, I was determined to do this today. My neurotic social anxiety was not going to send me scurrying out of there without finishing everything on the list.

And I did it. There were a couple of close calls – another man was using some of the same machines as I was and there was momentary fluttery panic that I would get out of sorts – but he finished up and left and there was never any conflict. J was also in the gym today with another member, and mercifully there was just a little wave hello and he disappeared. But he did text me just now, inquiring how the workout went. I was happy to have a “yes I have done my homework!” type reply. Progress.

From there I came home and made plans with M for a trip to Ikea and to rearrange our bedroom space. Take about challenges. Any couple with tastes and ideas as different as M and I has a good idea of how our push-pull our conversations on decorating, rearranging furniture, purchase of linens and decorative accessories goes. Thankfully I was still very zen from the workout; no screaming and loss of patience and temper occurred, although by the time he finally left for his run my blood sugar had dropped and I was crashing and on the edge of becoming super cranky if he did not stop talking and let me get to the kitchen to eat.

Ikea will be interesting, because again – different tastes. We’re in search of a couple of specific, mobile pieces that can store our electronic gizmos and still be wheeled around out of the way when not in service. M is a guy and very visual, and my description of what I think will work were falling flat. Every single time we venture over there we spend hours looking at everything. Even though we are not in the market for living room furniture (and would be highly unlikely to purchase it there anyway), we look at it. We go through the kitchens (remodeling ours is on the longer range radar) and the bedrooms and everything else imaginable. Even the kids section is not out of reach; we have been known to repurpose things found there as well.

Today I am on a mission for a couple of small, specific pieces, and I have warned M that I am on a deadline. My goal is to decide if we’re going to decide, purchase it, bring it home and get it put together and into service. This includes moving a couple of existing dressers and figuring out what to do with a rather large collection of my shoes. Fall and M’s decluttering season are on the horizon, and I really cannot wait! With that comes more of my own reorganization and thinning of closets.

We also have work to do in the guest bedroom, moving the queen size bed that is in there now and replace it with our former king. M does not believe it will be THAT much more real estate consumed, but I have concerns about how much room will be available with the larger bed in there. This is one of those situations where we will not know until we get it set up in there, and I suspect M will be surprised by the end result and the need to move a couple of bookcases we have stored in there right now. But I keep reminding myself that fall and M’s decluttering season are coming; be patient. I am not naturally patient with these sorts of projects, especially since M is such a packrat.

It will be okay. We love each other; we are happily married. I will keep reminding myself of that when the urge to strangle him overwhelms me later today.

Our fourth spring as homeowners

We have crested and experienced a new first – M and I purchased plants today. Flowering plants. Our front yard remains a mess of red dirt and beautiful new concrete, but we now have a hanging basket of flowers in front and a pot of flowers next to the front door.

04/26/2015 - Our new flower pot and actual flowers.

04/26/2015 – Our new flower pot and actual flowers.

4/26/2015 - Hanging flower basket #1.

4/26/2015 – Hanging flower basket #1.

We have had a pretty busy weekend. We went to Home Depot yesterday in search of a 6 gallon galvanized trash can to store our bbq smoker pellets. Since the garbage cans are also in the garden department, we browsed the plants and flowers and talked about where we would put these things. Today we decided to get the hanging basket of flowers as well a something pretty to put into the 2 pots we acquired last month. So this was our basket at Home Depot prior to checking out:

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4/26/2015 – Home Depot basket, from the front.

4/26/2015 - Home Depot basket, from the back.

4/26/2015 – Home Depot basket, from the back.

It was a “go big then go home” sort of day for us. The only saving grace is that for opening a Home Depot account and charging our purchase, we received $50 off our $112 (before tax) total. The small garbage can (our third in 2 days) and the pot are not shown.

Okay, if that’s not bad enough, we then went to Green Acres to purchase another pot for some of these flowers. Honestly, we only planned to buy a pot! Instead, we came out with 2 of the same pot, 2 birdbath stands (another purchase from Saturday, not pictured as yet), and yet another hanging basket of flowers. We replaced basket #1 with this:

4/26/2015 - Hanging basket #2.

4/26/2015 – Hanging basket #2.

4/26/2015 - Closer view of Fuchsia - Dollar Princess.

4/26/2015 – Closer view of Fuchsia – Dollar Princess.

I suppose we are making up for lost time in never before purchasing plants. M remarked that this was the most domesticated activity of his entire life, wandering around garden centers seeking colorful plants for our yard.

Hanging basket #1 is now happily hanging outside our back windows. It will likely move again tomorrow, but it certainly looks good and makes me happy right where it rests this evening.

In addition to our flowering plant spending spree, I have also been busy decluttering and organizing. To that end I went through both my dressers, all of my closets, and 2 of 5 shelves in the hallway linen closet. I have 3.5 contractor bags (I think they might be 36 gallons) 2/3 full of my clothes. They are so heavy I could barely carry them to my car and lift them into the back to take to donation tomorrow. I still have to go through my shoes, again embarrassingly huge in the sheer volume of shoes I own and never wear anymore. So I am making progress in addition to shopping until I am about dropping.

And speaking of dropping …. the treadmill desk is still a work in progress. I’m adjusting and doing pretty well with it, but when I am tired (like now) the last thing I want to do is stand and type. Yet writing is the best part of this process. I lose myself in what I am trying to express and next I look down I’ve gone a couple of miles and over 10,000 steps. Walking at 1.2 mph while typing … well, let’s just say it seems like quite a stroll.

I am off the clock the next three days and may or may not be back before Thursday. Just in case, I wish you all a great week.