Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cleaning the Dang Garage

I posted a couple few months ago about my list I'm working on before I turn 50 and have been fairly rotten about updating you on my progress. I swear, I haven't forgotten!  My computer time has been restricted by me working so hard at getting through the list!

OK, I can't even say that with a straight face. I've just not done it. It's been a little hampered by my son monopolizing my laptop and then not realizing that computer cords have a severe allergy to yanno... candle wicks.  LIT candle wicks to be precise. Mama needs a new charger cord for her MacBook Pro. It's on my to-do list, I just haven't gotten to it yet. That's the truth.

But back to the list. I have made progress!  I truly have!  One of the things on my list was to clean out my garage. Sounds simple, I know. Clean the dang garage. My garage has been the dumping ground for the last year, since I began the process of living in our new home. Moving is a pain, which is an understatement. It's hell. Seriously not fun. I knew I was moving for several months before I moved, so I thought I was doing a good job of sorting and pitching and going through my stuff to make sure that what I brought to the new place was only the cream of the crop... the things I truly wanted to keep. That plan was working beautifully... up until about two weeks before moving day when I hit the "oh-my-gosh-I-will-never-get-through-all-of-this" stage of packing followed by the "for-the-love-of-God-just-throw-it-in-a-box!!" stage. I left most of the basement for the end, because much of it was already packed... since I never unpacked the "for-the-love-of-God-just-throw-it-in-a-box!!" boxes from the last move... heh, heh.

Anyway, we were full in to Moving Day and I had one of my boys help me move a bunch of things up from the basement. It was raining, so rather than load up the couch, we threw a small load in my SUV and ran to Home Depot. There I received the kind of call you dread getting... my oldest son telling me the basement was starting to flood. We'd had a small flood in the past, and it stayed pretty much to one end of the basement. I wasn't too concerned, and told him we'd be home as soon as we could... and I meant it!  I really did have a sense of urgency about myself. The next call about ten minutes later from said son was much more disconcerting, as he stated there were several inches in the basement. The.whole.basement. It's moving day, and my basement is flooding. Not good.

If I thought I'd been in the "for-the-love-of-God-just-throw-it-in-a-box!!" stage previously, I was now in a level 10 "for-the-love-of-God-just-GET IT OUT OF THE BASEMENT!!" emergency. The drying time between getting things to dry land and having to get them out of the house left quite a bit to be desired. The last loads out of the house were haphazard, which is a nice way of describing a complete frickin' disaster. The stuff of moving nightmares. It was bad. Really bad. And then? It was over!  I was done moving!  All of my stuff, some organized, some dry, some wet, some a complete mishmosh of stuff that should never, ever be packed in the same box... all of my stuff... was at our new home. And by home? I mean garage. It was all in my garage. :::sigh:::

I wasn't worried about this garage situation, truly I wasn't. Them that knows me know I'm a hopeless optimist. I took the first full week in the house off so I could unpack and get all those things crossed off my list that we usually wait to do. Painting, cleaning, organizing, drying... etc. It was all going to get done in my week-long staycation. I did pretty well if I do say so myself, and got a lot done in that week. I was no slacker and was proud of myself. That being said, a week is only a week... and my last few weeks of cramming random acts of crap into random boxes packing extravaganza had done a serious number on what my garage looked like. I wasn't worried, I had the whole rest of the summer to get things done.  And then my boyfriend spent 45 days in the hospital and my life turned upside down. And some other events happened that threw me for a loop. And school started. And I had a full time job. And oh yeah, I have kids! All these things collectively pushed cleaning my garage down to a very small priority.

Small priority, yes; forgettable? Not so much. The mess in my garage grew in width and depth and crapth as the months progressed... I would dig through to find that last box of Christmas decorations and then shove the box back in "wherever" because I would clean the garage "sometime." This, dear reader, weighed heavy on my soul. Every time I went in to my garage, I wanted it clean. Every time I shoved something else in to my garage, I wanted it clean. Every time I had someone lay eyes on my garage, It was with this in mind that when people asked what my plans were for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend I told them I was going to clean out my garage. Without exception, everyone took this information with pity on me. I would have none of it. I told them I was looking forward to it and couldn't wait to tackle the beast.

Saturday morning tackle the beast I did... and by Saturday night I had a beautiful, clean, organized two and a half car garage that could actually fit... two cars. It was a beautiful sight and I was very proud of myself, to say the least.

The next day I went to help a friend who had found out two weeks prior that her landlord wanted her to move out. She was given two weeks to find a new place and pack. ACK!! This is the stuff of nightmares!  No one should be subjected to such torture as having to pack up all the stuff you and your kids have accumulated over the last many years in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!!  She luckily found something, but there was a two week lag between the new place being ready for her and her moving day. Several of us showed up to pack and move her and as I was leaving for the day she mentioned that the storage unit she had was full and she was going to have to rent another, adding to the cost of this already expensive (and unanticipated) venture. I offered my support and condolences for the circumstances, and then drove home. And pulled in to my beautiful, clean, organized two and a half car garage that was primarily empty. And I knew what I had to do. I let my friend know that she wouldn't have to rent that second unit, she could store her things in my garage until her new place was ready.

I think things happen for a reason. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to help a friend and be a solution for someone who really needed it at the time. Even at the expense of a clean garage. Because, you know what? In my mind, that garage is clean. Others may see a garage full of boxes, but I see a garage serving a purpose it couldn't have a week ago, and that's more valuable than an actual clean garage. It will be clean again soon, but for now it's full of boxes and full of love for a friend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day One, Item One

I am a true procrastinator. I’m not proud of it. If I could wave a magic wand and change that about myself, I surely would. I don’t procrastinate about *everything*… like… if there is a bag of Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano cookies that need to be eaten? I’m on it!  No waiting around for that. But then there are other things that are harder to get done in a timely manner. Taxes, dishes, laundry… and a list of things I want to do while I’m hurtling towards 50.
Mentally I’d been working on my list for a couple weeks leading up to my birthday. I knew I was going to start this blog, but I didn’t know when I’d start working on getting things done. My kids helped me jump start by missing the bus, so instead of sleeping in and enjoying myself I was up-n-attem early in the morning. Early mornings are a perfect excuse for a trip to Timmy Ho’s, my boyfriend’s nickname for Tim Horton’s. I pulled up and noted how much longer the line is at 7:45 am as opposed to yanno, 11 am when I’m usually getting coffee. (My shift starts at noon, so my morning and your morning are likely different.) As I sat patiently and waited my turn, I thought about my day.
Your birthday should be a day of celebration, a day of “IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!!  Do whatever you want!  Have an awesome day!” and mine was off to a “Yeah… sorry… you have to get out of your warm bed and drive in morning traffic and get stressed instead of relaxing, and oh, happy birthday” kind of start. I had intentionally made an appointment to get my hair “did” later, so I had that to look forward to, but the rest of my day? Working. Working from 3:30 pm to 2 am. Yes, read that again. I love my job but the hours are a super drag. The only thing worse that working till 2 am? Working till 2 am on my birthday.  I wasn’t happy about it, not happy at all.
As I sat in that line waiting for my cop o’joe I thought about being pissy. I was entitled to being grumpy about working a shift like that on my birthday, and then I thought about my list of fifty. I made a decision and as I pulled up to the window I said “Today’s my birthday. I’m going to celebrate by buying the breakfast of the person behind me.” The clerk asked if I was sure, then told me it was going to be a little over $5. I told her I was sure. She then said “Happy birthday!!” and smiled at me.  And you know what? I felt better. I drove away thinking about the fact that hopefully the guy’s day was going a little bit better and was off to a nicer start than he expected, and it made me happy. On the surface my action seemed unselfish, but I was really doing something for myself. I felt great, I enjoyed it immensely, and smiled through the rest of the day knowing I’d made someone else feel good.
I might make this a tradition, because being unselfish on the one day you’re allowed to be completely selfish is the best gift you can give yourself… and you are the one person you are guaranteed to spend every birthday with. And with that, I can check one item off the list!  Bam. On to number two. Whatever that may be.

Fear Not Fifty

Today is March 10. March 10, 2016.* That date isn’t all that significant to many people, outside of my friends and family, but to us it’s my birthday. (I know, I know… there are other people born the same day, but this isn’t about them… it’s about me. : D )  So today I’m 48. I don’t hate the number, I actually embrace it. I like the sound of the even numbered years better… I always have. Somehow 48 sounds better than the harder-edged 47. It might be just me. It’s likely just me. It doesn’t matter if it’s just me, I like the sound of 48 better than 47. Being a proactive and forward thinking person, I jump to the next logical step, which is 49. Ugh. I definitely don’t like the sound of 49. Forty.Nine.Years.Old.  That sounds horrible. It was this train of thought that made me realize I’m thinking less about being 48 and more about being two years away from 50. That’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.

Two years away from 50. Forget the Sally O’Malley reference, but I will be 50. Soon. In a mere 730 days… I’ll be 50. At the end of the day, I’m a realist. Fifty is coming, it is. I can dig my heels in and try to resist it… but it’s an inevitability. Fifty.will.happen. So I made a decision. I’m going to embrace the impending fifty-ness that’s headed my way. I’m going to celebrate the journey and make the next two years as event filled as I can. I decided to come up with a list of fifty things to do (or get done, in some instances) before I turn 50. I’m great at writing lists, I’m terrible at remembering where I’ve put them, so blog fodder it is. My hope is that I’ll use this blog  to track my progress and record this journey. 

Here, gentle reader, is my list:
  1. Start a pay it forward at the drive through check!
  2. Clean out the garage.
  3. Clean out the basement.
  4. Visit Las Vegas.
  5. Visit New Orleans.
  6. Sing a solo in church.
  7. Write my book.
  8. If I see someone walking and my heart tells me to give them a ride, do it.
  9. Be fan of the week for Kathie Lee and Hoda.
  10. Bread from scratch with yeast.
  11. Volunteer at homeless shelter.
  12. Ride in Pelatonia.
  13. Have a 20,000 step day on my Fitbit.
  14. How about a 25,000 step day?
  15. Might as well try for 30,000!
  16. Volunteer to hold sick babies at Children’s Hospital.
  17. Pay for a random family’s dinner at a restaurant.
  18. Go one full day without gritching at my kids.
  19. Go nuts and try a whole week without gritching.
  20. Tell someone who’s wronged me I forgive them.
  21. Do that thing where you turn your hangers around and get rid of the things you haven’t worn in a year. Unless I can’t wear them because they’re too small. Wanting to wear them totally counts. Totally.
  22. Clean out my email mailbox.
  23. Clean out my phone contacts.
  24. Eat lobster, or shrimp or some kind of seafood. No, actually… just lobster.
  25. Use up all those stupid little bottles of things I have from gift with purchases and keep around for vacations and then never actually use.
  26. Use up that stack of giftcards I have just sitting around.
  27. Make bread from scratch…with yeast.
  28. This one’s a secret.
  29. Get a friggin colonoscopy. Some things just have to be adulty.
  30. Take a trip by myself.
  31. Buy an art piece I love.
  32. Go line dancing.
  33. Go zip-lining
  34. Try that thing with the Listerine where you slough off all the dead skin off your feet.
  35. Make something and sell it on Etsy.
  36. Sit in the grandstands at the Kentucky Derby.
  37. Turn 50 in Barbados.
  38. Learn how to use my camera in manual mode.
  39. Go to the friggin’ dermatologist and get a friggin’ skin check. More adulty stuff.
  40. Make a pie crust from scratch. Don’t judge me.
  41. Do a juice cleanse. For real… not the “I’m going to drink juice but I’ll sneak a brownie in here and there” cleanse I’ve done several times.
  42. Have an Oscar watch party where we all dress up.
  43. Like, really and truly go through my craft stuff. Because I have a ton. For reals.
  44. Find an occasion to wear those sexy gray and pink shoes I’ve never worn.
  45. Master sugar cookies with royal icing.
  46. Run in some kind of marathon… preferably one of those fun runs.
  47. Shoot a gun. An actual gun, not a water gun.
  48. Sing karaoke.
  49. Play every board game we own at least once. I know some are still in the box.
  50. Forgive myself if I don’t do all these – it’s a goal, not an assignment.

So there’s my list. We’ll see how I do, it’s not the most creative or fun list anyone could have come up with, but it’s things I want to either do, do again or challenge myself to do. Not all of these are in my control, but it’s worth a try!  Thanks for reading, and I’ll update soon.

* This WAS written on March 10, I couldn’t publish it for a few days because of issues signing in to my old blog. I should have made that one of my goals, to figure out which of my children is signed up as our administrator… >: (