A Day in the Life/Wednesday Edition

So, in an effort to avoid the continuing drama out there in the big world, I’m going to share “a week in my life”…an exciting moment by moment chronicle of my simple life.  (The exciting reference was sarcasm by the way).  I’m going to focus on the part of the world where I have a tiny bit of control over what’s happening.  Sometimes the whole world is just to much to deal with for my anxious, perfectionist, all-or-nothing personality.

Wednesday is a paid work day for me…at least the morning portion.  I shop with my sister to purchase food and necessities for a home for the mentally handicapped.  Up at 7:00 a.m. which is early for me, and out the door by 7:30 to go pick up the van and my sister and head out.  We start out at Wal-Mart and then head over to HEB to finish up.  The list is usually about the same each week and we’ve got a good routine going. Just normal stuff; meat/protein, lots and lots of produce and veggies, a few treats and other fixings. Usually two carts at Wal-Mart and four at HEB.  We shop both stores in an effort to get the best deals and keep expenses down.  We fill up the van and after stopping by Sonic for our usual, we head back to drop off the groceries.

While I’ve been out, my youngest daughter is expected to tidy up her room and start on school.  She has a reading list to work on and we use a couple of resources on the computer that she can work on while I’m gone.

When I get home about noon-time, we fix something for lunch and then relax for a bit. Yesterday was my husband’s day off and that can change up the afternoon a bit.

As I was eating lunch and catching up on my email and facebook, I saw a posting from a friend who volunteers at the Regional Animal Shelter.  She posted a picture of a nine year old Basset hound named Speedy.  I know what you might be thinking.  Believe me, I was thinking the same thing…there is no way in hell that I need another dog.  Especially not an old Basset hound.  But…I was also thinking “a nine year old Basset hound sure doesn’t need to be in “doggie jail” because his owner decided that he couldn’t afford him anymore and that he was too much trouble .  I told myself that someone else would surely adopt him.  He would be fine.  And then I told myself that I needed to go get that dog.  My youngest agreed after seeing his picture. My husband looked at me and picked up the car keys…I sure did marry a good man.

Off we went.  We agreed to just meet “Speedy” and see how it went.  Once we got there, it turns out that Speedy has a golf-ball sized tumor just under his tail that needs to be evaluated so we have him on a “medical foster”. That means they cover his medical expenses until the situation is resolved and then we can adopt him if we wish.

He is a sweetheart.  Totally Basset.  The world is his to explore and he will walk all day long on a leash.  He has instantly bonded and adopted  my youngest daughter.  He walked into her room, jumped up on her bed and settled in for a nap. Well, first thing he did was find the food dish, of course.  Youngest really wants a cat, but has decided that he’s a pretty good substitute since a cat can’t happen.  Second daughter’s fiance is deathly allergic to cats.

Unfortunately, Barret the dog, or B-dog as we’ve started calling him, is not taking too well to to the new addition yet.  Last night was spent taking the dog’s for a walk together in a non-threatening environment and periodically bringing Speedy out of the bedroom to see Barret in the living room.  Barret had to stay on the leash during these visits and pretty much acted as if Speedy was unwelcome (in a violently aggressive, teeth-gnashing, lunging, and terrifyingly vocal sort of way).  It wasn’t looking good.  Speedy spent the night in his room.  Barret spent the night in ours.  No blood was shed.

The day’s “plan” got derailed by my impulsive decision.  The laundry load-of-the-day didn’t get done.  The dishes didn’t get caught up.  I un-decluttered the one item out of the box – a worn-out sheet that is now being used as bedding for the new dog.

Nothing further got done on the yard.  The homeowner’s association is okay with the progress that we have made, but I have lots of ideas for projects that I want to work on now.  The work that we’ve gotten done has inspired me to keep on going.

Very little actual “school” got done unless you count visiting the animal shelter and seeing what that is like.  Youngest daughter had never been and now has a better idea about what happens to unwanted animals and pets and the very real struggle to deal with an impossible situation.  We talked about responsibility, ethics, solutions, and the possibility of volunteering.  We also discussed self-care, being responsible for ourselves and working out how to build strong boundaries to protect ourselves when dealing with the world.

There is so much that needs to be done to make the world a better place.  I often get overwhelmed and wonder if anything that I do is enough.

Looking back on Wednesday, I am okay with the day.

I lived into the needs of the day.

I didn’t save the world.

My house isn’t spotless.  Everything on the school to-do list didn’t get checked off.  I didn’t declutter anything.  I didn’t make progress on the extensive home improvement projects.   The laundry isn’t done.  We had cereal for dinner.  All potentially failures if I choose to look at it that way…

However, the residents at Hope House had what they needed to be cared for properly. A dog had a warm bed and a lot of attention instead of a concrete floor for the night.  I walked over ten thousand steps for the third day in row.  Everybody in the house had clean clothes to put on this morning and there was still cereal for breakfast.

We all made it through the day healthily and happily.  Our needs were met.  We hung out together and had some fun.  We cleaned up some dog poop.  We watched some T.V.  We cleaned up a little more dog poop.  We met a new neighbor on one of our walks.  The dog pooped outside.

We did no harm and did a little bit of good.

I’m learning to be okay with that.

I want to fix the world.  I want to stop injustice, and right wrongs, and heal the world.  I want everything and everyone to be happy and have what they need.  I want people to stop being mean to each other.  That’s all part of my anxious, perfectionist, all-or-nothing personality.

It’s a little unrealistic.

I am learning to find balance and live with imperfection.

…start with me and work out from there…doing no harm and being kind

 

 

Happiness and Balance

I woke up tired today and tempted to just go back to sleep.  The bed was warm and the dogs were snuggly.  The house was quiet and I was alone.  Nobody would know that I was being a slug.

But, the to-do list was quietly beckoning me and there are things on said list that I have been ignoring far too long.

I spent two hours in the yard working on bringing it up to the standards of my  Homeowners’ Association  as outlined in the letter that we received at the end of October.  I disagree with their use of the adjective “tremendous” in describing the “debris” around our house, but it was their letter to write.  I have been mentally composing a letter in response, but have exercised tremendous self-control.  I don’t disagree that there was work to be done.  We’ve been working on it.

We’ve also been working on repairs inside and going to work to pay bills and a few other small matters…like trying to get the lawn mower repaired and come up with the money for a dumpster to haul off debris from the repair and improvement projects.  Basically, we’re just trying to find a balance between the expectations of others and a realistic outlay of resources with regards to money and time.  Hopefully, everyone can be reasonably happy.

I’d love to devote hours and dollars to my yard and home. It does matter to me.  I also want to live harmoniously and realistically with the existing wildlife around me.  Part of my yard will remain “wild” and uncultivated.  The critters were here first.  It’s only fair that I share and cohabitate.  (I am not including the party mice in this scenario).

Moving on…next on the list was a long walk with the dogs.  I’ve slowly gained back a considerable amount of weight that I lost after surgery almost two years ago.  I’m back at risk for a repeat of that same health problem as well as diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension. Several miles a day needs to go back on the list and remain there. I started with today. Healthier eating has to become a routine again also.  The chickens are enjoying some yummy treats today.  I just can’t have some things around the house.  I definitely have an issue with food.

I’ve also decided that decluttering is back on the list.  I thought that I’d gotten stuff under control, but it appears to be a never-ending battle for me.

As this year steadily approaches it’s end, I am thinking about the things that I wanted to change and the progress that I wanted to make.

Overall, I’m happy with my progress.  It would be easy to be discouraged and note that I’m still talking about some of the same issues…my house and yard, my weight and health, an overabundance of stuff, and the challenges of finding balance…but I’m choosing to understand that most of these issues will never be fully resolved.  There are certain things that will always be an issue for me.

I think that identifying them was an important step and that staying aware of my status with regards to them is the continual journey.

Steps forward, steps back, battles won and battles lost…I’ll just keep trying to make progress and most importantly, trying to be kind to myself in the process.

The grass will keep growing, the leaves will keep falling, food will still tempt me, and stuff will keep coming into the house.

I’ll mow some grass, rake a few leaves, work on making better choices and try to live more intentionally.

And be as happy as I possibly can in the process.

Peace.

 

Progress!

Being normal is hard work –  today it’s not the “holding it all together” kind of work, but actual physical labor.

I’m definitely feeling better and have been toiling in the great outdoors.  Our yard/land is not the worst looking in the neighborhood, but it’s not the best either.  I’m not trying to win “yard of the month”, but I definitely have improvement written in on my list.

When we moved our home in we didn’t have them clear the whole lot.  I thought I would prefer a slightly natural look.  Slightly natural around here quickly turns into overgrown and a fire hazard.  We’ve had a really wet spring, but most years we have to be wary of wildfires.  I’m hoping to eventually get all the cedars and cactus cleared off and our beautiful oaks trimmed up.  That takes more money, skill, and effort than I’m capable of so right now I’m working on mowing down the tall grass, shrubs and grape vines.  Yesterday we hauled off the last of the big scrap metal pile and earned $50 dollars.  The big mess on the side of the house is gone.  I mowed the weeds down today and burned a huge pile of debris.

So much progress – and a lot more to do.  But, it already looks so much better.

The chicks have been moved outdoors so all twelve are scratching around and being happy chickens.  The oldest ones are transitioning to scratch grain instead of starter feed.  We are supplementing with kitchen and yard scraps.  The coop is right next to the compost piles and garden so we have a great little eco-system going.  A great combination of clippings, scraps, food waste, manure and egg production.  Well, no actual eggs yet, but we’re getting there!

Yard work this morning.  Errands with my daughter this afternoon and a bit of de-cluttering thrown in for good measure.

One of my readers suggested that there might be a bit of fear involved in my change plan and strategy.  Fear of what change might bring and look like in my life.  I have definitely been giving that some thought and am including it in my future plans for decluttering and simplifying.

I do struggle with change a lot.  I’m going to start thinking through what might change for the better if I get rid of something…for example, dishes.  We have a lot of guest/family we share meals with and that’s definitely important to me, but the dirty dishes are always out of control around here.  That doesn’t promote simplicity at all when you can’t easily prepare a healthy meal because of the mess.

What would it look like to only have the dishes we need for the standard number of folks around the table – 5 family almost always here and 4 sometimes family here.  9 plates, bowls, etc.  Any folks over that number and we switch to paper.  I know it’s not environmentally friendly, but it might be an equitable trade-off for right now.  The paper plates would be stored seperately and we would encourage each other to wash a dish when you need one.  A no-brainer, I know, but I seem to be challenged when it comes to the obvious stuff.

I think it all comes down to peeling off layers of belongings.  The change is slow, but I just gotta keep trying.  One day it seems as if I’ve totally gotten rid of everything I can in an area. Then a bit later I  re-evaluate and assess and clear out some more.

Small steps equal progress towards the home and life I hope for…