Furnished, Part 1

For two people in their mid-thirties, neither Jeff nor I had a lot of anything.

I had my first-ever moving sale when I left temporarily Tennessee. It took three trips back and forth from Michigan, stuffing my Volkswagen Golf to the gills with books, and music and chickens. Not live ones; paraphernalia.

My first Michigan apartment furnishings were either free, flea or followed me. Free is self-explanatory. Flea is a bit of a poetic reference to garage sales, flea markets and second-hand stores. Only two items followed me from Tennessee.

I moved a hand-made wooden rocking chair purchased at a yard sale, and a coverta-table. Also hand-made and wooden, the table top swiveled up easily converting it into a chair. There was also a nifty little storage area in the bench for linens.

Both chairs had hand-carved and wood-burned sheaves of wheat. I didn’t think about that detail much back then. All I knew was I like the motif, had purchased them at separate times, and they sort of matched. A year later, in Michigan, I found a close-out entertaiment center with sheaves of wheat to match. I briefly acknowledged that with a fleeting thought of “Hm, what a coincidence.”

Among my early Michigan acquisitions were a second-hand orange and brown plaid couch and a second-hand matching orange velvet chair that were stashed in an empty office where I worked. A wood coffee table that needed some balancing help and an old used-to-be-white dresser and mirror came next.

I painted the dresser a yellowish-white to match the yellowed laminate top, then added a few burnt orange accents. I happily accepted a compliment when the previous owner exclaimed, “If I’d known it could look like that, I might not have given it away.”

I purchased an old wood-boxed TV that must have weighed about 100 pounds. Trying to corner roll that into my new apartment building, lead to meeting the neighbor who would later introduce me to online dating.

I also acquired an old copper dry sink, an old three-tiered wooden sewing basket, and a beautiful piece of stained glass art.

Of all those first run belongings, only three remain. The dry sink sits just inside the door of my current home. It’s where I set my work bag down when I get home, and where I pick it up from in the morning.

The sewing box serves a dual purpose as an end table in the living room. The stained glass rainbow hangs over the bureau in my bedroom.

I guess you could say I don’t hang on to much furniture.

Quote for the Week:

2017-02-14-you-cant-take-it-with-you-when-you-move-jakorte

 

 

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Why DO We: Keep It

What To Do With: Sentimental Pieces

On the Other Hand: Minimalize

 

Oatmeal Deviation

Everyone’s got that one thing that completely contradicts what they’re about.

I mean, we all have things that seem odd for us and odd to us.

Mine apparently is oatmeal. Who knew? When it came to my attention, I laughed. A lot.

According to my informer, I am incredibly precise about everything being done correctly and uniformly.

Yet, daily, my morning oatmeal ranges from runny to mushy to perhaps over-cooked and occasionally under watered.

Last Christmas (or maybe the one before) I gave my honest informant a special bowl that I thought would not boil over and measuring cups for her morning oatmeal routine. Because she’s not that fond of it, but stands by the fact that it is good for you, and filling.

I hit the yogurt wall a few weeks ago. Seriously, I cannot fathom ever eating a yogurt again. Not Greek, not low-fat, not full-fat, not whipped, not extra creamy, not organic, not even extra sugary dessert type which claim to black forest cake or lemon meringue pie. No.

Lately, eggs have joined the not-gonna-happen list. Hard-boiled, scrambled, cooked in a circular ring on a greasy grill – no. Although, my toothless stand-by of Impossible Pie has not been over-used or become unappetizing, thank goodness.

What exactly is my resistance to measuring oatmeal and water? Laziness… possibly, but I think I’d rather go with Scientific Variation.

Like that spin? I do think it could be considered more fun to eyeball and see what happens –  who doesn’t like a daily experiment? I have through tedious research and trial and error conquered the overflow factor with an obnoxiously large bowl which sometimes leads to a larger than the dietary proclamation of recommended daily intake/allowance/suggested serving size.

The bowl has also seen better days. The plastic base is beginning to show white stress marks radiating from the little bumped-up mould release spot in the center bottom. One of these days, I’ll likely end up dealing with the slimy mess of unrestrained oatmeal lava.

Still, that’s not enough to convince me to search out another dollar store cheapie. I own 3 sets of the same pattern dinnerware. Two open sets are cabinetted in separate groups of 4; the other remains an unopened wedding gift from 2001. I haven’t broken a deep soup bowl, yet, or a shallow cereal bowl, or a salad plate, or a dinner plate, either. The only items incurring damage have been coffee cups. None have cracked or shattered. A few have unfortunately chipped, which is quite unfortunate since mugs are the only non-backed-up food service item.

The oatmeal appropriate bowls don’t microwave as well my yellow plastic vessel. The asbestos-glove-required outside nukes up faster than the actual gruel. I do use the deeps at home nestled into the bottom of an old Meal-in-Minutes microwave bottom boat, which makes home hot food handling on tippy-toes as I reach for the over-the-stove unit designed for normal (taller) users just a bit safer.

At least laziness doesn’t play a role in this scenario. I’m know not too lazy to drag one to work.  I also know I’ll be annoyed with the microwaved results unless I also drag the pink thing and a potholder.

I could leave the potholder, but I’d have to carry the Tupperware on my daily walks to and from work. It’s seriously one of my best kitchen tools.

I should buy another. It’s rather contradictory that I don’t already own two, because, well… yeah.

Quote for the Week:

2015 09 22 Consistency and inconsistency jakorte

 

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Plastic Parties: http://www.tupperwarecollection.com/v2/tw_index.php?page=home_parties_history

Don’t Do This: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/13/microwave-cooking-tips_n_5488231.html

It’s Complicated: http://www.webmd.com/diet/oatmeal-benefits

 

 

Arms Too Short

Stuff. Everywhere. What doesn’t fit, what does, where? Logic and logistics.

I’ve discovered that I am very good at hiding: tucking away in cabinets, behind closet doors, in drawers, file cabinets. Perfunctory parts everyone owns and no one needs to see, those are well-placed for me.

I’ve discovered I’m not very good at upfront, first impression, walk-in.

Not because I’m secretive, but because I want to put so much out there, you’ll know me by these obvious things. I can be overwhelming that way. Throwing all my colorful cards up in the air thinking you’ll get the idea as each floats past in glitter-globe slow-motion. I don’t doubt I’d be more impressive with less; I just don’t know how to do less.

Luckily, I have a secret weapon. A very patient secret weapon who understands I’ve had issues with stuff, and letting go. Who easily skims perfect pieces; they just rise to the top when she shuffles.

I’ve been hauling well over 30 years, with the intention of one day; some day.

Last Saturday was supposed to be the day, but I was overwhelmed with kitchen. A few days of standing center, rotating drawers and cabinets did nothing but make me dizzy. It was where I needed to start. Patience’s imported logic took over, and then it was over. Over and easily done, not so much by me, which I’m sure simplified the process.

Walls. When you don’t own them, you don’t use them. Temporarity makes that make sense. Security deposits and patchwork are too much of a hassle. Patience helped me use a wall the last time, succinctly covering up as much of the cornflower blue and pink flowered shiny wallpaper as possible with color chicken camouflage. I’d seen her work before. I knew what to expect, and I was incredibly expectant, as well as well-rested so I wouldn’t have to crawl to the couch and rest this time.

I’ve been taking my new walls very seriously. I want the vision. I want specific. I want to project well-planned permanence. Pride my collections to start conversations as if I’ve been rooted my whole life. Which meant I would best move aside, step back as assistant to the master, and watch the magic occur.

There is beauty in balance and we can’t easily find that ourselves. It’s impossible to see what our presented lives will look like until we are across the room. Up close and personal isn’t synonymous with open-mined segmentation. So, moved and assessed. Considered and configured. Experiment with ease.

Not everything fit, and probably some of it shouldn’t have,anyway. It was beautiful to watch such intense care taken with my life; and to whole-heartedly love the final presentation.

The overages are still resting, open-boxed on the living room floor. Not great works of art, just magical moments in time. Like the pen and ink inconic – melding star and fish and faith, so representative of exactly where we stood in our lives, different but overlapped. We loved it so much we bought it for the café-wall asking price of $10.00, which was way more than the 2 cents we barely had to rub together. The others hold time equally, as well. Place-cards I never pass without thinking, “There’s a place for these here, somewhere.”

I found that place today, in my over-sized nubby sweater, with my too short sweatpants and my frog-faced non-slip, grippy socks on the way to the basement. A little-used space, needed for necessities, and scattered memories that will make me smile. It actually wasn’t my idea. Nannee Vincze’s basement stairwalls held similar things, utilitarian and timeline. Stepstool, newspaper clippings, hammers, campaign poster. I thought it was odd, but the passage was just that: a daily passage through good times and significant times on the way to the laundry or deep freeze. Daily.

 Quote for the Week:

There is beauty in balance, though not 03 31 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Color balance: http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/color/combine-colors-like-a-design-expert

Design balance: http://hatchdesign.ca/principles-of-interior-design-part-1-balance/

Life Hack balance: My apologies to Patience. I knew about this; I forgot.

lifehack

Hack-Do

Minimalism is still working its way into my life.

A few chickens didn’t make the move with me. A few more are teetering on making some thrift store shopper happy.
It’s only partially about space. There’s something that feels accomplished in letting go. I like my things. I also know that they were hiding behind the rain patterned door glass in the hutch for the past two years. They made me happy when I was looking for something useful. When the cabinet closed again, we went on living separate lives.

At some point, everything needs to be evalu-packed. Withholding was based on two criteria:
First, do I plan on using this in the next week or two?
Second, could I live without it for a week or two?

Necessary retrievement was based on worth factors. Was it worth it to unseal, paw through, and re-seal every box until I found what I needed? Was it worth it to appropriately bundle sweater, socks over socks, boots, hat, scarf, gloves, do a two-way, twenty yard dash through -22 degrees and potentially painful sneet?

As a first-time home-owner, I was firmly unimpressed by the numerous, slightly-to-majorly ridiculous hacks in place.
As a recent mover, I may have come to understand. Make-do is a mantra. Hack is a solution.

My first hack innocently occurred when I realized that the tuna salad fixings I had lugged over to the condo to save the hassle of extra winter traverse weren’t going to do me any good without a can-opener. Good thing I was a Girl Scout. One million (exaggeration) bottle opener punches sort of did the trick. I was able to mostly drain the water off. Another half-a-million (exaggeration) and the can was open enough to begin the pry. Using a knife to pull tiny chunks of what was supposed to be lunch that might take until dinner to complete tuna was risky to my knuckles and insulting to my stamina. I would win that battle. I have the pictures to prove it.

About five years ago my inherited tool collection was whittled. I couldn’t imagine ever needing 10 clamps, so I kept one, and never used it. This move, I could have used 10 clamps, and of course, couldn’t find that one I kept for no other reason than “maybe.” Lifting counter tops were the problem. Previously unknown because the counter was weighted with weighty chicken canisters, I was able to use the unpacked jars and some slate table tiles to hot the top to the base while the glue dried. The peeling sides, though, called for that one, I repeat, elusive clamp (which also remains unfound, as of yet.)

I’m not sure where the #imakemyselflaugh idea popped up from, but suddenly there I was gazing down at my own hack-handywork, feeling the brag. I just needed a little prop for leverage. I forked it. Thoroughly self-impressed, I have demonstrative pictures.
I lost the lid to my Gatorade – a leftover requirement from the bad soup fiasco. It’s possible I could have refiled through the garbage, but would risking nails, and splintery pieces of wood, shards of glass, sticky un-packing-ed tape, and pan-fulls of fine dust debris. But I had plastic wrap, and I had recently seen a rubber-band. Not the most impressive hack, but notable for the fact that it was another hack.

I asked the movers to remove a six-spot outlet cover from the wall, so that the bed could press against it. I rethought that after they left. Open outlet socket, bed sheets, covers… electrical hazard. I moved a board between the two, angled to not touch, just hover. I found a new cover, 45 cents and a lovely shade a bright-white to match the interior trim, but forgot the assembled bed is almost unmovable. It’s a struggle for two, and I was just one, with a screwdriver that could not and would not be angled in to secure those tiny screws. Even the computer tools were unfit. A toothpick was too wide. I needed something thin and metal and bend able – a cake tester would do it. I have the daring hack documented.

I tossed the ingredients for an overly simple, dietary restricted, impossible pie into the one mixing bowl reserved. For some reason, aka #imakemyselflaugh, I packed away the pie plate, but kept the Bundt pan handy. Yes, I used it. Yes, it cooked fine. In fact, it was beautifully guest servable. I preserved the image for my future cookbook.

The defining get-around-it came from the need for cleanliness without mess. I came up with a way to hack the plumber’s hack. You know, the one where a 58” shower was set into a 60” space. You know, the insult of the ugly wall bump-out that was supposed to, you know, “fix” it. You know, the completely un-functional eyesore, that couldn’t hold a curtain rod, wasn’t fore-ing a stud, and wasn’t plumb, anyway. Short-term more expensive, glass doors resolved. I made sure I ordered the 58” size. I made sure I ordered the fine rain glass. When the home improvement store shipped the ensemble, it came with a note that due to the size of the shower, installation would require… a hack. Luckily, and rather blessedly, too, I had been steered to a contractor who knew what-the he was doing.

Tonight, I’m cushioned on the couch, laptop propped on a pillow, enjoying the orangy-blueish sunset strata through an unobstructed window that gets more noticeably breezy at night. Recycled curtains were hung to cut down the draft, because the super-glued blinds support broke loose. Came down when I pulled the rise cord. Yep. Hacked.

PS: sneet is not a typo- it’s that awful Michigan semi solid snow that it bordering on sleet, because, it too is freezing it’s…. limbs off.
PSS: what-the is not a typo – I’m still actively trying not to curse, but, yeah, sometimes the kitten’s delicate ears do get a bit warm.

Quote for the Week:

Make-do is a mantra March 17 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

M.I.T says “hack”: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/a-short-history-of-hack

I am not alone: http://1000lifehacks.com/

Impossible: Hack as you will – http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/product-recipes/bisquick-recipes/bisquick-impossibly-easy-pie-recipes

Parings

The over-delayed day I thought would never come, somehow bum-rushed me.

I got down to it down to wire, and when it finally came, I was prepared.

It’s obviously been less than roses since last November. However, the last few contractor encounters have been stellar. Handyman, painters and movers; all highly recommendable.

My behavior – perhaps not so much. It has come to my attention that I am not the mega crap-contractor magnet I believed. I’ve heard plenty of ridiculous stories these past few months. Projects gone so outrageously wrong, mine shimmer transparent.

I’m trying truly to be thankful I am here, even as I encounter never-even-considered-things that really need to be addressed. Longtime home-owners have informed me, this discovery path will never end.

Twenty boxes into my undoing, I have found more duplication than I realized. This is good. Some things I will discard, some seem silly to let go. Discards will include one old baking sheet. Holders will include two extra vegetable peelers. Amusingly, I’ve previously discarded a few, the result of Jeff’s never-ending search for the perfect vegetable peeler.

Other parings have included zesters, graters, corers, spritzers. I’m not completely sure why I’ve retained one of each of those, and some other interesting as of yet unused-by-me items, such as the Kniffle-screen. Although, I’ve since learned the proper term would be ‘Nokedli,’ categorically lumped with likewise ‘Spaetzle.’

I’ve never used it for the same reason some don’t use their grandmother’s pizzelle iron or attempt Nana’s apple crumb cake recipe.

For fear it will destroy a delicious in-the-moment memory should our effort not turn out exactly the same.

Defined, that seems a little weak. Especially when placed beside “practice makes perfect,” and “imitation is the best form of flattery.”

Though, neither apply to moving.

(I have to tell you, this wasn’t my original topic for the week. I’ve been following Word Press blogger – Deana O’Hara. This week she posted “The Voice of Truth,” a moving reminder.)

Quote for the Week:

 Never let the voice shouting no 03 10 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Deana O’Hara – Love, Laughter, A Little Banjo and Life after kids @ https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/463068/

Prayers for Mark Hall: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/casting.crowns.mark.hall.has.cancer.will.have.kidney.removed/49444.htm

And this; just because: http://yonanas.com/yonanas_recipes/apple-pie-yonanas/

Social Pockets

There’s a creepy email notice that arrives in my work inbox whenever an internal email address has been deactivated. Actually, there are two. One is oddly from “girlinterrupted.” But, the truly disturbing, one comes from the “bonecollector.”

I admit I’m a collector. Have been since childhood; don’t know why. I like to hunt and group. I like themes and displays, and collections of physical things: books, chickens, art supplies, fabric, which eventually find themselves in a repetitively mobile graveyard of unpacked boxes.

Paring and re-paring from move-to-move-to-move has lessened the compulsion.  Off-loading photographs of people I no longer know, tchotchkes that must have meant something at some time, and passing along books, and dishes and clothing have all helped free-up living space and cut-down on dusting. Now I only have a collection of non-things.

Cyber bogs clog up hours, to the point where they make my to-do list. Delete extra duplicate music files, back-up blog, organize pictures, back-up picture, sift through communications, save the ones worth saving, use or lose lists of sayings. Figure out where the 426 unread emails I have are hiding, delete daily coupons “good only for today.”

I arrived at Facebook after-hours, late to the party. I was tardy to Twitter, undeniably late to Linked-In, intrigued by Etsy, and passively able to lose myself for hours in Pinterest. I haven’t yet Snap-chatted, Insta-grammed, Flickered, Tumblr-ed  or  You-tubed. For a while I was active in Meet-Up; fruitfully engaged in Event-Brite. That’s where I found The Minimalists and the concept of lessening… things. But, as noted, I don’t have much in the thing department anymore, that I’m willing to part with, just yet. I’m against wastefulness and am satisfyingly content with just letting what I have wind its way down to non-replacement.

I’ve got Rocketmail, G-mail, Yahoo, Viber, text and voice mail, and a need-to-check running track rotation Every time I complete a lap, I feel compelled to circle back, start over, travel the same field. It’s honestly not good to check in once a week or a few times yearly to organizational accounts like the non-profit I belong to or my one devoted to my other life, not completely past. Expirations abound.

In the same breath, I know; something’s gotta go. Staying on top of the media cycle that drives publicity and engagement, there are expectations to meet. Rumoured wanings, declinations of non-seasonal Facebook followers may only be made up to lure traffic elsewhere. If it’s true, though, that the summer off-ers aren’t coming back in winter, I’m not sure what way I’ll go. I’m rather fond of Twitter for the conciseness required. The word-game challenge is how to say as little as possible with the most impact.

Having six social pockets is like wearing a pair of complex painter’s pants. Adding one more might lead to the need for carpenter coveralls, just for the extra front-load storage space. My phone has become a travel extension. It’s like carrying a suitcase and stopping every ten minutes to be sure something isn’t broken, hasn’t been missed.

So, I’ve got some research to do; figuring out the mass demographics of age and aim in the cyber info world, and where to find the people I need to find for the organizations I support. I’m pretty sure, following research will be a calendar not dissimilar to the one I have now, only more… filled.

Monday: One Brick Detroit Newsletter.

Tuesday: Knabble blog.

Wednesday: Condo Chronicles (updates forthcoming).

Thursday: One Brick Facebook audience engagement.

Something’s gonna win Friday, possibly even Sunday.

Not Saturday, though. There’s life to live.

 

Quote for the Week:

Choose your Moment jan 21 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Word Paring: http://zenhabits.net/pare-it-down-cut-away-the-extraneous-to-leave-the-awesome/

Post-Gift Pare Down: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/30980998/list/5-ways-to-pare-down-your-stuff-before-it-gets-in-the-door

Wear It or Pare It: http://www.crumbbums.com/?p=5903

Owe and Own

I own and owe; for the next 30 years.

The last time I made a long-term commitment , it turned out to not be so long. Still, the fact that I was prepared to honor that commitment is mighty considering my track record of temporariness.

My un-commitments have been more a more solid bet: jobs, towns, hair color. Not only have I never been bothered by change, I’ve looked forward to it, craved it. The forward-to part hasn’t always panned out positive. When you’re beginning an adventure, and everyone else has already been stuck there for years, your point of view isn’t always appreciated. I’ve found myself an unwelcome short-term outsider who only now can appreciate how my just being there could upset a hierarchical apple-cart, especially one of the preppy-kind. Doesn’t make me feel any better about that year, but I can teeter-totter rationalize forgiveness; some days more than others.

I’ve only recently concluded there are more minutia commitments than grand-scale. We commit every day. Sometimes it’s a job, or a promise to study harder, or play harder, or practice harder. We commit and recommit to exercise, intelligent eating, saving money.

We commit to brushing our teeth in the evening, showering in the morning, and something doesn’t feel right if we don’t. Rote is solid; solidity is commitment. I’ve moved so many times, I don’t despise it. It’s a habit. I might miss that moving feeling in short-time, weigh-in will come later.

This is long-term true. I want to get it right. Once. I don’t want to have to go back and rework. I don’t want to be paralyzed by having to get it exactly right, either. These days define as ups and downs. Some sway longer than others.

“Now” spends a lot of time fighting with “whenever,” which is completely irrelevant because resources are limited. I am uncomfortably staring down a 14-year sprint to retirement savings. “Have-to” is going to win over “want-to,” because I still haven’t ever matched more than one number in the Mega Millions lottery.

I’m spending so much time arguing with myself that I simply don’t have the energy to argue with anyone else.

Some people are liking this new trend; others appear to be loving it.

Quote for the Week:

There’s an art to successfully arguing with yourself 11 18 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Keeping Commitments: http://elitedaily.com/life/stop-breaking-commitments/

Historical Mortgage: http://www.mortgagecalculator.org/helpful-advice/american-mortgage-history.php

Arguing Opposites: http://www.unlearning101.com/fuhgetaboutit_the_art_of_/2009/12/argue-with-yourself-its-not-debatable.html