Fly Lady's February Habit Results

February's Habit of decluttering for 15 minutes a day was not a success for me.  I knew this would probably be the toughest habit to conquer, and I was right.  In fact, I didn't purposefully spend 15 minutes on this task on any day this month.  That's not to say I didn't spend any time decluttering this month, but I certainly didn't treat it like a daily habit. 

I'm still working on the Living Room Re-Do and that process includes getting rid of (i.e. decluttering) a lot of stuff.  So I did accomplish some decluttering this month.  Overall, however, I would say I failed at this month's habit.  If I had spent 15 minutes every day from Monday through Friday for this entire month, I would have gotten 5 hours of decluttering done.  I'd estimate that by only working on the living room I spent a little less than half that time actually decluttering.  But spending some time decluttering is better than spending no time decluttering, so I'll try to work on this habit next month, too.  At least my sink is still shiny!

Cluttered reading couch, before.

Reading couch, after

Yikes!  Cluttered table, before

Table, after


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Meet Matilda

I'd like to introduce the newest member of our family, Matilda.

Matilda

Den won her for me at the Bar-b-que Cookoff last night.  Welcome home, Matilda!

black sheep


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Duck Bread

Den and I fed the ducks at the park a few days ago.  It was very exciting because most of the ducks at this park are so used to humans feeding them that they will take tiny pieces of duck bread right out of your hand.  Next time we feed the ducks, I'm not going to wear flip-flops.  It was a little unsettling to have the ducks peck at my toes, and at some point one of the little critters got a little too excited and pooped on my foot....ewwwww.


Den made a lot of new friends.

The male duck was very funny.  He would jump up to my hand and take the bread before I could offer it to him.  The little lady was very polite and asked nicely for her bread.
See, she's asking Den for some bread.  "Quack.  Bread, please.  Quack."
Satiated ducks swim into the sunset.
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Money: I Need to Make More of It

photo courtesy of Photos8.com

I think I need to get a second job.  I am this close to making enough money as a massage therapist, but close to making enough money isn't the same as actually making enough money.  I'm making just enough each week to put gas in my vehicle, buy groceries, set aside a bit of savings, and put money towards the credit card.  Unfortunately, after I take care of all those things, I have nothing left for myself.  Nada.  Zip. Zilch. Diddly-Squat.  Not only would I like a little fun money, if you will, but I also need to make enough to convince Den that we can actually afford to buy a home.  And it would be nice to be able to buy him a really great birthday gift, or take a creative writing class, or get my hair done, or take an acting class, or, or, or....you get the idea.

I think I need to make between $120 and $180 more each week to feel financially comfortable.  That comes out to finding a job that pays between $8-$12/hour for 15 hours per week.  I'm pretty sure most retail jobs would average that rate of pay for that many hours.  I've brainstormed a list of stores I'd feel comfortable working at and will start to apply on Monday.  Any suggestions of places I've left off the list are more than welcome!

  • Home Depot
  • Lowe's
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Michael's
  • Pier One
  • Ikea?
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Borders
  • Half Price Books
  • Anthropoligie
  • 3 Bros Bakery
  • Kroger Bakery
  • Catalina Coffee Shop
  • Starbucks
  • Bartending

I think I'd be well suited to work at any of those places.  Since the age of 16 I've had many different jobs including:  working at a bakery, a deli/ham specialty shop, a casino, in a coffee shop, at a children's shoe store, at Starbucks, as a paralegal, as a beer wench at the renaissance faire, as a bodice lacer, at a convenience store, as a construction worker, as a door to door knife salesperson, and as a mad scientist, just to name a few.  Surely I can land a second job with all that experience!


*photo courtesy of www.Photos8.com
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My Sweetest Valentine

My Sweetest Valentine
Best. Valentine's.  Day. Ever.  I love my husband!!!
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Fly Lady's February Habit: De-Cluttering for 15 Minutes a Day

February's habit is spending 15 minutes a day decluttering around the house.  This habit is going to be tougher to conquer than Shining My Sink.  In all fairness, I didn't have a hard time with January's habit despite hating doing dishes.  Overcoming the clutter in my house, however, is going to be a lot harder than washing a few dishes every day.  I promise I'm not a hoarder--I don't think I'm a hoarder--If this clutter gets any worse, I may be a borderline hoarder.  But, I promise I'm not one of those people you'd see on that television show about it.

I have several issues when dealing with clutter:

A couple of weeks ago, one of my coworkers told me, "Clutter is just delayed decision."  When I heard her say that, a light bulb went off in my head.  I hate making decisions.  When confronted with a decision I panic a little inside.  I think, "What if I make the wrong decision?  It's better to set this aside and think about it, then decide later."  Only I don't ever revisit whatever I needed to make a decision about and it just piles up.  I need to stop doing this.  I think half the battle is realizing what I'm doing.  Or rather, what I'm not doing.  I'm going to start making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of, and not agonize over them.  Easier said than done, but we'll see how it goes.

I also hate getting rid of something that could possibly be useful to me somehow, sometime in the unknown future.  If it's good, why get rid of it?  I know I wouldn't be throwing anything away that still has usability; I would donate it to Goodwill or Salvation Army, but what if I need that thing-a-ma-jig someday?  I never seem to consider that if I came into possession of said thing-a-ma-jig once, then I'll probably be able to come into possession of it again.  Or at least something comparable, if not better.  I need to learn to let go of what I don't need and send it to a place where someone who really does need it can get it.  This will open space in my home for things I really need and love to come my way, and by donating to those in need I'll rack up the Karma points.

Sentimentality.  I'm one of the world's most sentimental people, ever.  If I get something as a gift, I can't get rid of it.  Even if I hate it.  Even if I have no use for it.  I also save weird, random things that I've placed emotional significance on.  Do I really need to save an empty CD case that's missing it's disc just because someone I vaguely knew in high school gave it to me (and I never listened to, anyway)?  Um, I don't think so. But for some reason, I've kept it.  The Christmas candy Mom gave me over two years ago in the back of my fridge.  Do I need to keep that?  Absolutely not.  Sorry, Mom.  I ate some of it, but you give me candy faster than I can go through it.  I keep it anyway, because you gave it to me, and I love you.  I know she'll understand if I throw it away, but it's still in my fridge.  I could go on and on and on and on about the things I keep because I'm sentimental.  This is going to be the hardest part of decluttering to overcome.

Last, but not least, is the sheer overwhelming amount of clutter I need to get rid of.  It's not as bad as some people, but I bet it's worse than most.  At least it feels that way to me.  Fly Lady says your house didn't get cluttered in one day and it's not going to get decluttered in one day.  It's all about baby steps.  I know she's right.  It took a long time for me to save all this crap and it's going to take a long time for me to get rid of it.  It's not insurmountable, but it feels that way.  And I want to see results and see them now!  I'm used to living in an instant gratification world and when I declutter for 15 minutes, it's hard to tell what I've accomplished.  I guess if I declutter for 15 minutes at least 5 days a week, that's a total of one hour and fifteen minutes spent decluttering per week.  A lot can get done in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Since I'm in the middle of this never ending Living Room Re-Do of 2011, I guess I'll start decluttering there.  Plus, it's this week's zone.  As I work my way around the living room and put things away, I've been steadily moving the things I don't want or am not sure what to do about around and around.  One day the couch is clear, the next it's piled with stuff.  I still haven't completely cleared the dining table, but I've been adding to the junk already living on top of it.  So I'll follow Fly Lady's How to Declutter guidelines and get to it!

The Couch

The Dining Table
I should also note, that because of the Living Room Re-Do, the couch and table are unusually cluttered as part of the process of taking the room apart, then putting the room back together.  I'll post pics of the real clutter lurking in my home as I get to it, promise.
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Cold, Colder, and Windy

Pre-run "What am I thinking?!?" look

I went running in the freezing cold rain today.  I'm either very tenacious and won't let the weather stand in the way of my C25K program, or I'm the village idiot*.  I'm not really sure which one.  Either way, it was a good run despite the wind and cold and rain.  I don't mind the cold or the rain, but the wind.  I could really live without the wind on my runs.

*Editor's Note:  I am the village idiot.  The day after I went running in the cold and rain, I got sick.  I think the cold air burned my lungs and trachea; I've been coughing since the day after the run.  As soon as I stop hacking and weezing, I'm going to start running again.  Plus the weather should be better.  Bonus!

I seem to be in a running kind of mood and that has lead to two running posts in a row.  I'm not trying to be redundant with my writing, but running is high up there on my to-do list and I'm pretty excited to not let anything get in my way of accomplishing my 5K goal.  For anyone out there reading, running really isn't the only thing I've been up to the past two weeks, it's just all that's been on my mind when I sit down to write.

Perhaps I should make a list of other things to write about this week:


  • Den and I finally got a new couch and love seat from Craig's List--I promise I'll post pics soon!
  • I'm thinking of finding a second part-time job to supplement my income
  • Ugh, money...I just don't have enough
  • Routines.  I don't have any established, and I really need them
  • Figure out how to schedule posts on here.  I tried it and it didn't work...I'm missing something...


That should be more than enough to keep me busy the rest of this week.  I should aim for one post a day and put my Twitter feed in the side-bar...another thing to add to the to-do list!

The Park
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Cool Running

My freshman year AP English teacher once told the class a story about going to high school in northern Maine.  It was so cold during the fall and winter that her school couldn't have a football team and instead had all star wrestlers.  As part of their daily training, the wrestling team would run to Canada and back (it was only about 2 miles round trip).  It was so cold during these runs that upon their return to the school, the wrestlers would have snot-sickles hanging from their noses and when they would blink, their eyes would momentarily freeze shut.

What did I learn from this tale?  Apparently, not much. 

Tuesday mid-morning the temperature hadn't yet reached thirty degrees and there were twenty mile per hour winds gusting to forty.  And for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to start my running program.  Actually, Dennis and I were sitting in our pajamas, all nice and cozy in the living room, when he turned to me and said, "Do you want to go walk at the park?"

Whether he was serious or not I have no idea.  We bundled up and headed to the park. 


It was cold.  So very, very cold.  And windy.


I've been thinking about starting to run again, and with the Houston Marathon just over I've been feeling pretty motivated.  I'm not sure I could ever go an entire 26.2 miles, but I'm pretty certain that eventually I can go 3.1.  Especially if I follow the Couch to 5K program, and I just so happen to have the C25K app on my trusty iPhone.  It's a nifty app that tells you when to walk and when to run; no thinking necessary!  And who wants to think when it's below freezing outside?

Den and I managed to get two miles covered in about thirty minutes of walk/jogging.  And I can't wait to do it again!

Finally starting to work up a sweat!
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To Do: February

I'm feeling really good about what I accomplished in January.  I hope I can do more in February and making a more detailed and specific to-do list should help keep me on track.  I'm taking inspiration from the blog Feeding the Soil.  Sara, the author and all around cool chick, lists her entire to-do list at the beginning of each month, then at the end of the month lets her readers know how much of the list she got done.  There's a lot of other inspiring stuff on her blog, too, so check it out.  Thank you for the inspiration, Sara!  

This month I would like to:

  • research creative writing class--make this blog more interesting
  • finally call city about permits for massage spa
  • business plan! business plan! business plan!
  • make time for friends and family
  • start couch to 5k running program
  • follow fly lady's zone work and monthly habit
  • continue healthy eating
  • market blog
  • start sending out my hs/r to casting notices
  • research possible acting classes
  • start saving for acting class tuition
  • organize sock and underwear drawer
  • organize jewelry box
  • start de-cluttering and reorganizing office
  • start de-cluttering and reorganizing clothes
  • continue blogging
  • get couch for living room
  • finish living room re-do
  • use barns & noble gift card
  • continue reconnecting with friends
  • plan/save for Den's b-day gift
  • pluck eyebrows
  • get hair did
  • find a general practitioner and schedule routine check up
  • find ob/gyn and schedule routine check up
  • begin improving my credit score
  • make outline of yearly goals to help keep focused on the big picture
  • do at least one thing each month towards each yearly goal
Phew!  That looks like a lot for a month with only 28 days.

I think I can.

I think I can.

I think I can.
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January Accomplishments

January has been quite the month for me.  I started a little slow, but built up steam and now there's no stopping me.  I had a couple of bad days; it's impossible not to, but I mostly stayed on track and for February I have outlined a more detailed complete list of things to accomplish.

So far in January I have:
  • started living room re-do
  • shined my sink almost every day
  • not gotten behind on laundry and folded/put away each load as it came out of the dryer
  • kept my blog updated
  • started dieting with friends using My Fitness Pal
  • socialized with friends:  went to Fort Worth Stockyards, went to dinner and a movie with friends, saw our favorite local band, Inzurgo, went to lunch with a friend, went to dinner with other friends, celebrated another friend's birthday
  • finally took down the Christmas tree
  • started using Cozi online calendar to track my appointments
  • met with a Houston SCORE volunteer about starting my own massage spa
  • stayed motivated (mostly)
I have to admit I didn't do as much this month as I probably could have.  My bad habits won't go away on their own.  I'm still procrastinating, but not nearly as badly as I usually do.  This blog has helped keep my motivation up, I've hardly felt anxious about anything, and I feel like I'm following through more than usual.  I still need to keep the fire lit under my butt about everything, though.  This is only the beginning of my reinvention.
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The Craig's List Debacle or How I Lost Faith in Humanity

I've stopped counting the days of The Great Living Room Re-Do of 2011.  We've unfortunately hit a wall with the rearranging of furniture and things have come to a grinding halt because we don't have a couch.  I haven't lost hope that we'll eventually find a new couch and be able to finish this project, though.  I'm just loosing my mind a little.  Let me tell you what's been going on.

On Sunday, Dennis and I decided to get rid of our ugly uncomfortable old  icky couch.  We've been thinking of doing this for some time and finally went through with it.  We also decided to move our other couch into what was once the dining area to make a sitting/reading space.  Once we get going with furniture rearranging, we just can't stop!  This left us with no couch or chair in the living room/TV watching area, but we figured we could get a couch and love seat or sectional from Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Craig's List on the cheap.

The reading area in it's infancy.  The shoes will move, the cabinet will be painted, and new blinds will be hung.
It's a work in progress.

We looked at a couple of resale shops around town and on Craig's List, and what do you know, we found one on Craig's List.  A red sectional that fits the room and compliments our other red couch--I know, I know, that's a lot of red for one room, but I'd paint the whole world red if no one would notice.  And it was for sale for only $100!!!  Score!

I emailed the seller asking for the dimensions and a couple of hours later she called me back.  Now, this is where the day gets tricky.  You see, I'm a naturally trusting person.  I don't know why, but I trust everyone; I always have, I've never been the suspicious type.  I'm naive and assume people are good and ethical and will generally do the right thing.  In fact, people have to point out to me when I'm getting duped or when someone is taking advantage of me and I often still don't see what others see.  My brain just doesn't work like most people's, I guess.  I can't even conceive of purposefully stabbing someone in the back, even a stranger.  So when someone inevitably screws me over, I'm not only hurt by it, but I'm also surprised and angry at being fooled.  Angry both at myself for not being more aware and angry at the offending person for being a jerk.  I rage a little on the inside when this happens to me.

Getting back to the situation at hand, when the seller called me back and gave me the measurements for the sectional, I told her I'd have to check with my husband and that I'd call her back.  Dennis was still on the fence about the couch.  We talked it over and decided that even if we had to replace the sectional in a year, $100 is a price worth paying.  I called the seller back and told her we'd take the sectional and that we'd come by that evening to pick it up.  She gave me her address and I told her we'd call before we came over.

I guess I was just stupid to assume that meant we had a deal.  I called her before we headed all the way across town to pick up what I assumed would be our new couch.  She didn't answer her phone and I left her a voice mail.  I know we shouldn't have left our house without actually speaking to her, but, again, I'm too trusting and when I make a deal with someone I honor that commitment and trust the other person to honor the commitment as well.  I gave her the benefit of the doubt that maybe she accidentally put her phone on silent and didn't hear my call; maybe she was taking a nap; maybe she was in the shower; maybe a million other things.  I never once thought she was blatantly ignoring my call (I know, stupid me).

I call her when we get to her neighborhood.  No answer.

I call her 30 minutes later.  No answer.

Dennis and I eat dinner and I call her again.  Still no answer.

Two hours later (I know, I know, I'm a dummy), I call her from Den's phone, and what do you know, she answers!  At this point I realize she'd been avoiding my calls.  And if I could punch someone through the phone, I would have.  The long and short of it, she had already sold the sectional.  She lied directly to me (and I hate being lied to) saying we had only spoken once and I never called her back saying I would come by that evening to pick up the couch.  Gee, if that were the case, how did I have her address?  She even admitted she got my voice mail and had no answer for why she didn't call me back to tell me not to come get the couch.  All this could have been avoided if that horrible woman had simply called me to tell me she had already sold the couch.  How hard would that have been?  One simple phone call.  I would still have been upset, after all, we had a deal (or so I thought), but I wouldn't be wishing for horrible things to happen to her and her family.  I called her out on being a liar and a cheat and an irresponsible seller before I hung up in her face--that made me feel a little better.

But I still don't have a couch.  Or faith in humanity.

Den sitting in our make shift couch area made out of pillows and blankets.
So much work still to be done.

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