Anxiety Doodle

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Yesterday’s journal page – an anxiety doodle done throughout a very stressful day.  As everything worked out well by the end of the day, I cut up the “anxiety” and glued it to a page.

The day started out rough.

First off, I noticed all the little things that were undone around the house and began by wondering if taking the time for art was worthwhile.  The dishes undone, the laundry undone, the trash the dogs got into strewn around the living room, and the half-finished decluttering and organizational projects all about.

Next, we had to deal with the car issue.  Our credit isn’t great,  we had a limited amount of money to work with, and we really don’t want monthly payments.  Also, sharing my daughter’s car with all of our schedules is impossible.

I like shopping for cars almost as much as I like hanging out in the DMV or the phone store.

In other words, not at all.

My family pulled together, started the search and headed out to solve the problem while leaving me at home to make peace with our home.

(and find peace for myself)

They can be simply amazing!

By the end of the day they had purchased a good, solid used car well within our budgeted car repair fund – newly established by our recent windfall.

It’s not even ugly! It’s a sharp-looking Volvo station wagon type vehicle.  Lots of room for our lifestyle, but not too big to drive comfortably.

And although the house doesn’t look significantly better than it did this morning:

  • we have enough clean clothes to make do
  • there are some clean dishes to eat off of
  • the trash is gathered and to the curb for pickup tomorrow
  • and, most importantly, it looks like home through my eyes

Anxiety dealt with and disasters averted.

Life is good!

Peace

Losing It!

Last week ended on a rough note. I kinda lost it. I was so frustrated with life that I just blew. All the little (and some big) things that I’ve been dealing with pretty well, just started to seem like insurmountable hurdles…

The washer?  I’ve been okay with waiting on a new one or a new to us one and have been pretty patient – maybe not happy but working on a plan to get a new one. Until – Matilda the Basset Hound ate a whole lotta cream cheese that she stole off of the counter and threw up all over the sofa. Every stinking sofa cushion. And the stinking is an adjective in more ways than one. Yuck. The washer may sound better with our “poverty fix”, but it’s not washing very well. Yuck. I could only wash a slipcover or two at a time and even then they didn’t look or smell much better. I confess that I took the stick out that holds the washer at the appropriate angle and tried to beat the washer to death.  Didn’t even dent the washer – shattered the stick. Might have scared a few family members in the process.  Sorry guys.

The bad mood continued for two days. Bad moods aren’t productive. They happen because we are human, but they don’t solve any problems. They just create more – like guilt, anger, hurt feelings and headaches. I’ve gotten back to work on the three biggest issues that are causing our life to be less than perfect – the three main obstacles to a simpler, more intentional life:

  • Clutter and it’s contribution to an untidy, less than serene home
  • A diet and exercise that contributes to better health and to us feeling better mentally and physically
  • Financial well-being which includes better money management, a savings account and paid-off debt.

On Friday, we went to Houston to help our second daughter move into her first home post-graduation from college.  She moved from a suburb of Houston to almost down-town.  She did a lot of research and found a cute little apartment in a great neighborhood at a reasonable price.  Very proud of her.  Did I mention that it’s on the third floor?  She decluttered a lot of stuff, but the apartment is still on the third floor. A big thank you goes out to family in Houston that dropped everything on a Saturday and came to help haul stuff up. Up to the third floor in case I forgot to mention it.

She has inspired me to come home and recommence the decluttering effort. I can’t imagine (and don’t want to) what it would take to move us at this point. More has gotta go.

Anyway, I’m working on trimming down the budget some more to increase our debt snowball plan. I went back to look at the totals when we first started so I could feel a little bit more encouraged about the whole process and we have made some!

I’ve re-subscribed to The Fresh 20 meal that we used to use. I’m not advertising here, but I find it to be really helpful. I got an email for 40% off the subscription and it seemed like a good omen. I like it for three reasons:

  1. It helps limit the amount of groceries I buy. I tend to overbuy and we waste some food or just have too much in the pantry. I’d rather have just what we need and use the extra cash to pay on a bill.
  2. It includes a lot of veggies and fruit so we eat healthier. It’s reviewed by a dietician so I feel better about our diet.
  3. The main reason. I don’t have to figure out what we’re going to have for dinner.  That’s less stress for me and we are less likely to eat out at the last minute because I didn’t have a plan.

I’m getting closer to an actual budget (as opposed to a spending record).  I’m using You Need a Budget  which I find to be very friendly for a non-numbers person like me. The subscription is $5 monthly which is worth it for me because it helps keep me on track (and does the math for me). I just found out about Mint which is a free online budget. I’m trying it out, but am struggling with it a bit. It doesn’t track debts as well that are closed credit accounts or medical debts. It links to open credit accounts and automatically tracks payments, interest, and balances. Once again, not an advertisement – just information on what’s working for me.

And that’s why this post is titled Losing It.

Last week, I lost it and had a complete meltdown.  That sucked and was not helpful.

Now I’m to lose it in a good way:

  1. Lose more stuff!
  2. Lose food waste, unhealthy food and lose weight!
  3. Lose unnecessary budget expenses and debt!

Life is all about choices.  I’m going to keep trying to make good ones.

A Different Picture

When I think of simple, intentional living that includes avoiding debt, reducing purchases and living a more self-sufficient life, I get a picture in my head.  Green gardens with chickens roaming free, uncluttered living spaces, and a general air of peace and calm.  You’ve all seen those photos in magazines and all over the internet – living “green”, paying off debt, seeking the good life.  And it’s a great dream!  I’m working on it myself, but sometimes I’m disappointed in how this whole concept plays out in the real world.

The reality is a different picture entirely.0506161701a (3).jpg

So, this is my laundry room (sort of).  I did move the dirty laundry out of the way to make myself appear tidier that I am.  I also picked up the wads of lint that were hiding under the dirty laundry.

The plywood is temporarily covering the ginormous hole from the water leak that remained hidden until the floor caved in.  We’re replacing flooring paycheck by paycheck (no more debt here).

A loooooong time ago, the washer started making a noise.  Not just any noise.  Imagine the most ear-splitting, hair-raising, metal grating on metal sound you can possibly imagine and multiply it by 100.  That’s the kind of noise I’m talking about.  I even blogged about it here and posted pictures of our do-it-yourself washer repair.

In general, the washer has continued to work okay.  It tends to forget what it’s doing and shut itself down mid-cycle.  That’s alright.  I sometimes forget what I’m doing mid-project also.  Did I mention that it’s paid for?

The problem is this:  you can’t balance it and it’s making the noise again.  The dryer (by the door) is level.  The washer thinks it’s level in the position that its in now.  So, I’ve rigged this simple machine lever to hold the washer in the position that makes it happy.  If the washer is happy (and quiet) then I’m happier.

Sometimes the simple life I’m seeking looks pretty crappy.  A worn-out (but paid for) washer rigged in a uneven position using a broken broom handle and a vacuum cleaner. You can’t get to the dryer holding an armful of clothes without stepping over the stick.  My shins are covered in bruises.  If the movement of the washer knock the stick out of place, you have to run down the hall with your hands over your ears and try to get the washer back into it’s “happy place”.

But, today was payday and another $15 went into the new washer fund.  I figured out a solution to the problem.  We had a homeschool lesson about simple machines.  It’s not a pretty picture, but it works.

And by the way, when you let your chickens free-range, they poop on your porch.  That’s not so pretty either.