April Fool’s! Twice.

Why’s it always seem to go
that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone..

I hate it when life throws me a curve ball.  All set to begin my April Resolutions, I woke up yesterday to no electricity.  It was a lovely calm, sunny day; so it wasn’t weather-related.  It was off for three hours—or more).

It’s amazing how much we depend on electricity.  I couldn’t make coffee, couldn’t toast a bagel, couldn’t make oatmeal.  So I settled for a trip to McDonalds.  (Need the coffee!)  Couldn’t pay bills, thanks to the convenience of online bill pay.  I wrote a letter but couldn’t check the price of stamps.  Couldn’t check the weather to see what clothes to wear.  I’d let the iPad battery run down the night before and hadn’t recharged.  My iPod was charged, but the router doesn’t work without power.   At least it was a sunny day and I didn’t need a flashlight—except for the closet.

This morning I woke up to no hot water—and I really needed to take a shower.  Fortunately, the laundry I didn’t get done yesterday required cold water only.  But the dishes in the kitchen would have to wait.  Who wants to wash dishes in cold water?

Why do we realize how much we depend on our modern conveniences only when we don’t have them?

I was tempted to use both days as an excuse to delay (or worse, forgo) my April resolutions.  But I muddled through as best I could.  It wasn’t perfect, but perfect shouldn’t always be the goal.  Sometimes the goal is just to move forward.

Ok, April.  All your jokes are over now.  Right?

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Daily Prompts and Messy Homes

Does a messy home (or office) make you anxious and cranky, or is cleaning something you just do before company comes over?

That’s today’s Daily Prompt (henceforth called DP, because I’m lazy; plus it can also stand for Daily Post).  I’ve written only one response to a DP, last December.  The prompt was to recall your earliest memory.  Not only was mine vivid, it was appropriate for the season.  Hell, I even had a picture to go with it!  [I have picture that could go with this DP, too, but it’s too embarrassing to post.]  Earlier this week, the DP asked what brings out your competitive nature.  I started a post, but began to ramble on.  It was getting late and I was too tired to edit it into some kind of order.  So there it sits in my inbox.*

My inbox is a lot like my home.  Messy.  So messy in fact that I started a blog to chronicle my attempt to declutter and clean out.  I was hoping it would motivate me to get moving, but so far my success has been lackluster.  Perhaps today’s prompt is a sign that I should start again.

Or should I?  As it is, this blog doesn’t get much action.  I spend most of my time at SciFi Chick(s), especially right now with the Supernatural March Madness tournament is in full swing.  That will be over in a week or so, but Game of Thrones is starting tonight, and I’m debating whether I should cover it.  (I have a like-hate relationship with the show.)  If I do, that will further tie up my blogging time.

I haven’t really answered the Daily Prompt, have I?  I could answer it at Ms. Pack Brat, but I’m beginning to think three blogs too many.  Yes?  No?  An alternative might be to incorporate Ms. Pack Brat over here.  It might give this blog an overall theme, rather than just my ramblings.  Decisions, decisions.

I’ll leave the whole “how and why I live with clutter” spiel for another post.

*So, what brings out my competitive nature?  Ballroom dancing.  Yep, it’s true.

Sign of the times

Since I’ve been laid up with the crud the last couple days, I started watching HGTV again during my waking hours.  I hadn’t watched the channel in quite a long time (somewhere between 5-10 years, I’d guess).  It’s interesting how the shows have changed in the past few years.  Nearly every show is about selling your home.  (I’m talking daytime here.)

Used to be Designed to Sell was the only show that prepped homes for the market.  It’s still there, but there’s also Get It Sold, The Unsellables, and a whole bunch of property and real estate shows.

Another difference:  in the olden days, every house featured on Designed to Sell sold quickly after the open house, usually for more than the asking price.  Now, every show ends with the seller saying “I’m confident I’ll have an offer in a couple weeks.”  I suppose it doesn’t help that every house featured is listed for at least $850,000.

If you’re not in the market to sell your house, there’s still the standard home decorating/renovation shows. There’s Divine Design, if money is no object.  Or something more up my alley, Design on a Dime.

My beginner baby steps

There are 3 main tenets to the Flylady method of keeping a home:  the morning routine, the evening routine, and 15 minutes of decluttering.  She used to ask that you start the program with all 3.  However, there are so many extras to the program, and people were getting overwhelmed and quitting, that she broke the initial actions into 31 steps, calling them “Beginner Baby Steps.”  On Friday, I went through each one and noted them.

Of course, since I am adapting the program to me specifically, I’m not following these steps.  Rather, in these first tenuous weeks, I’m concentrating on the 15 minutes of decluttering.  However, I’ve further refined these to 15 minutes of picking up & decluttering.   In the past few days I’ve done the 15 minutes, it has included some decluttering, but much of it has also been attending to the dirty dishes in the kitchen and putting laundry away.

I’ve just finished the dishes and (the most recent round of) laundry.  The final 5 minutes will be tonight when I pack up my trash and put it out.

In keeping with my weekend routine, I spent much more than 15 minutes on my finanaces this morning.  Yesterday I’d started categorizing my Visa purchases, but you may recall I had difficulties with  QVC.  I’m still having those problems, but I was able to identify all of them by alternate means.  I’ve been one month behind on paying the bill, which means interest charges, so I took the extra time to pay off both last month’s and this month’s bill.  Just in time to load it up again for the holidays.  😉

Now I’m going to take a little time and see if I can’t get the Pack Brat site back in good operating order.

New year, new home

I started another blog—just what I need when I don’t use this one enough. The purpose of new one is/was to record my progress through my attempts to fix up my home before I retire and put it on the market. I’ve been meaning to declutter and decorate for several years, but haven’t gotten to it.

The impetus for finally getting serious is that I miscalculated my retirement date. I thought I could retire in 2010, but apparently I goofed in my calculations and can’t retire until 2011. I was pretty upset, but decided to make the most of it by coming up with a plan to fix up the place. The idea is to take 1-2 months per room first decluttering, then decorating/fixing up.

I was just discussing this with someone and decided I better take a look at my schedule. January is dedicated to the kitchen. This room is first on the list because I want it to be an inviting place, where I’ll want to spend time preparing meals, thereby eating better.

I thought my next room was my bedroom, because it should be a sanctuary. But February is a short month (even with an extra day in 2008), and I felt I really needed a longer month for the bedroom. I realized the dining room is a better fit for Feb. It’s an appropriate follow-on to the kitchen, since it’s where I need to eat some of my meals, and right now the dining room table is filled to the brim with non-dining stuff. Things like my laptop, my happy light (a new addition), Christmas presents for wrapping (yeah, yeah, I know it’s past), financial papers, a set of blue margarita glasses, and other miscellaneous stuff. Compared to my other rooms, it should actually be fairly manageable, since I don’t really have any hidden drawers and cabinets to deal with.

So, that’s my plan for the next couple months. Oh, and the bedroom is planned for March, another “maximum” month. Wish me luck!