Monday, July 19, 2010

In the beginning, there were piles (and more piles)

These are the pictures of how the outbuilding/future art studio appeared at the beginning of the overhaul. This afternoon was a good start. Two big bags of trash. Condensed down several boxes/piles of broken glass/pottery that I have been collecting for my mosaic project for the outside of the building. Also two large boxes to go the thrift store. And and an overflowing tub of yard sale items that were no doubt left behind from the other boxes.
More pics soon as the progress continues . . .

Rain, and a moment to reflect

I would like to mention my excitement in having 2 new followers. Welcome to the madness!!

So much for my grand plans to begin the outbuilding/art studio today. But I'm not complaining about the rain, it is much needed and a break from all this heat is good for the soul.
So I thought I would take a moment to reflect back on the summer and what I have accomplished. I read recently that especially when you are trying to change it is important to make what HAS been done rather than what HASN'T been done. So . . .
We have managed to get an commendable amount of stuff outta here. I opened the candy drawer this week and marveled at the vast emptiness. (It all went to the OT office, and I noticed Friday it is almost all gone!) But more importantly WALT and I have had a truly wondrous summer. I spent almost everyday of last summer collapsing into tears at some point(s) in the day. The speed at which my grandmother succumbed to cancer was absolutely unfathomable. Then there was the family drama that followed and the speed in which we were pushed to empty to her house. That alone resulted in almost a physical paralysis of emotional pain and loss. Add that WALT fed off my fear and developed several phobias of his own and we could barely leave the house.
This summer has been quite magical in contrast. We have our weekly outings to OT in good old J.C. which we always try to tack on some fun stuff. We are also regulars at the Splash Pad and tomorrow weather permitting we'll be at the pool at Natural Tunnel. We've also traveled the entire length of Virginia over a long weekend and it was joyous if too brief. Now I am teary eyed in pride and relief on a daily basis. The fog is lifting and WALT and I are only stronger and closer as a result. He still sometimes announces that he misses LuLu, and I get a sharp pain in the chest but then I think about the alternative, that he didn't remember his beloved great grandmother.

I haven't lost the 10-15 pounds or had quiet the diet/exercise reboot I planned. However I am "tanner" (a relative term considering my fair skin) that I have been since high school. I credit this healthy glow to the active summer WALT and I have had, and I'll take that as a victory. I've also rediscovered my deep passionate love of reading. I finished Julie and Julia about a week into the summer (I started it in January) and then devoured A Million Little Pieces. I followed up with Indignation (definitely the literary high point of this summer) got half way through The Almost Moon (I think that is the title I know it was an Alice Sebold novel) but it got ruined in a rain storm, and it was strange and depressing and I just moved on. So then I read Loving Frank. That caused quite the personal aches and wants and reminders of dreams unfulfilled. It also however just reaffirmed that WALT is the center of my universe, the reason I still breathe, and no man, no need to be more than I am, no vague yearning for the unknown and possible, will cause me to leave him behind. If he can't go, well then neither can I.

I am still broke. Beyond broke. Credit maxed out and work galore left to be done to this old money pit of my beloved farmhouse. We did get a statement from the insurance company that our homeowners policy is now insufficient. The house which they insured at $69 grand and some change they now want to insure at $263 grand. Will it sell for that, even half that? Hell no. But it does justify this insane process, even if only in my own head. We have finally paid off WALT's surgery, and Robert's emergency night in the hospital. Things that we should have had a rainy day fund for but didn't. Blue's vet bills are paid as well. Though in a way it was all for nought, it was necessary to take that risk. She was such an incredible dog.
I have adopted the snowball theory of debt reduction. For those of you that aren't familiar, it is starting with the smallest debt and then adding that payment to the next until you are able to make sizable payments on the larger debts. Next month I will have about $90 left on my Capital One card and should be able to pay that off. That means WALTs medical co pays/deductible is next and I should be able to add $60 to the $25 I am paying extra and that should be gone in 3 months. I think the next two to knock off will be my deductible and then Home Depot. I sat down and did the math and in 18 months we should be down to the truck payment and 2 credit cards payment from being debt free (if I can keep Robert's need for large toys under control). Though I haven't made a big dent I have stopped the bleeding, curing our addiction of putting things on the credit card. We've also made it through the summer without my income and that is a source of pride for new found budgeting I have acquired.

Well this is a long entry and there is a dish washer to empty, mail to mail, laundry to switch and children to feed. . . . .

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ups and Downs and Changes all around . .

Doing laundry and watching an episode of Hoarders, it seemed like a good time to post the events of the last couple of weeks.
The yard sale was a huge success, we did ok in the $$$ dept, but did remarkably well in the get rid of stuff aspect. The left overs have either been given to Amanda for a family in need or taken to Goodwill. The Goodwill trip was much to WALT's dismay. The entire time the helpers were pulling the boxes out of the back of the Tahoe, WALT was crying and screaming "Don't take my collection." There's an eye opener for you. But we made it through and on the way home I calmly bargained with him that we needed the room to pack our stuff to go to the beach and if he still wanted his collection when we got back we would go and get it. We have been home for a week and no mention of the collection. Though we have also not been back to the Goodwill and probably won't for a bit (that kid has a memory like a bear trap).
Speaking of vacation, we have a lovely time. We spent the first night with Steph and Andy. They have a lovely house that seems to contain what they need and love and nothing more. Though I said nothing to them, I marveled at the floor space, wall space and just space that seemed to exist. There were book shelves that were partially empty. All of drawers seemed to close comfortably It was to be admired, and emulated.
There is the horrible realization that the vast majority of items that left were already technically outside our actual living space, either in my outbuilding or crammed into unused corners and areas (like the laundry room.) I still have too much stuff. Robert still has too much stuff. WALT has WAY TOO MUCH stuff.
But I have tangented. Back to vacation. We brought home two family members, Cameron for the remainder of the summer and the new pup--Slinky Dog. I know, I know, we need third dog like I needed a hole in the head, but I have a dog problem and 3 is my limit and I will post a pic and then they'll be no doubt why I couldn't resist!
It was good to get away for even the few days, and come back with fresh eyes, if not fresh legs. An extra boy and a new pup add to the day to day grind of pick up and clean up. And it is amazing how 1 extra person multiplies the dishes three fold but we seem to be holding steady -- other than my bedroom. It seems to have become the new dropping ground for unwanted objects.
Which leads to the next step in the program. . . .
Everything in my building is coming out. I inherited from Robert when he bought his new "bigger better" workshop and I have no idea what is in it. This is my week long project with the boys. Cameron can watch WALT while I sort/organize/toss/trash/etc. My hope is that by next weekend I have an area where I can sit and start back to cut and glue my beloved paper. I also hope to have an area for the next round of purging that will start at the beginning of August.

Well, that's the plan anyway. I will post the before pics in the next day or so and if the stars align there will be after pictures in a week!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day ( a day early)

Sitting here watching Clean House Messiest House in the Country 2010. It does make me feel a bit better about my own "mayhem and foolishness"
I am also recovering from the second (and last) day of the yard sale.
First, in case you missed yesterday's post, an update. On Friday I started with my Tahoe completely full except the driver seat, and The back of Robert's truck full (including the tables.)
At the end of the day I could pack everything into my truck with the passenger seat open (minus the tables.)
So last night we found 9 more boxes of stuff in the building and 1 in the house to add to the madness this morning. And just like yesterday the sell it cheap theory worked like a charm. People were buying $6-$10 mostly a quarter at a time. So at the end of the day all that was left fit in the back of my Tahoe!!
The only bad news is that the dealer man didn't show and the local thrift store was closed today due to the holiday, so "the junk in the trunk" is stuck until Tuesday.
In other good news though, a friend knows of a family in need and I am taking her WALT's cribbing and the remainder of his baby clothes, and well as a box of baby toys and children's books.

I managed to sunburn my legs yesterday, a feat I did not believe possible, but I am SO happy.
I found a new theory of de-cluttering based around the concept of getting rid of one item a day. I had too much stuff for that theory to work in the upfront. Now with this massive load off my shoulders, I think that I can start boxing up again, because there is still too much stuff in my house, with that goal in mind. I had wanted to decrease my load by 25% and I think that I am getting to at least 15%. All of this stuff was off the top and easy enough to let go. Tougher decisions lie ahead, but at least my house doesn't feel claustrophobic and hopefully that warm and fuzzy feeling will carry me forward.
In the words of my "biggest fan" I didn't get to that horrible picture overnight, and my madness won't be gone overnight, but we're on the way!

Did I mention that there is actually visible floor boards in my art studio now!! After our road trip over next weekend that is my next BIG project!

Tomorrow is laundry day and a bit of catch up on housekeeping due to the last two days of being outdoors all day. Will try my best to take updated pictures.

Happy 4th everybody!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

HOT Damn!!

It's hard to believe that it's already July. Craziness, the summer is just flying by.

However, lots of good news to report. Last weekend Robert and I did a serious days work and got the entire first floor of the house (minus the laundry room) in really excellent condition. We even got a start on the horrible land of the lost room of things with out purpose and/or place. In one afternoon we shed 3 bags of garbage, a bag of recycling (paper), and a box and a half of yard sale items. There are miles to go, but you can now walk through the room comfortably, and not just squeezing past piles of undefined madness.

Speaking of yard sale items, the yard sale technically started today but thanks to Facebook my friend Amanda claimed the wagon and the "flintstone car" and I even sold her on the Weeble Woobles and several children books. Then our neighbors stopped by and I asked about the flintstone car, and ended up selling them the battery powered dune buggy. Which when the broken mower FINALLY gets to Robert's dad house ( he has time/patience/skill set to bring it back to life) means all the eye sores/homeless things in the yard are GONE!! Yea me!!

This morning went well too! I had the best deals in town. One woman actually told her husband "we might as well go home now. Her prices were so good that everybody else will just make you mad." I have tapped into the reality that the average yard sale person can't resist if the price is "a quarter." But I also sold my guitar, Robert's old golf clubs and the whole storage tub of Senior's Dean Martin/Charlie Pride albums.
The best part is that the man who bought the golf clubs is somewhat of a flea market professional and he said he would come back tomorrow and offer me a price for what is left. OH OH OH how I hope he does come back. I am tired of this junk.
Though there are miles to go, there is a light. And it is beautiful!!!