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

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

Transplantation

Is it possible that reincarnation holds a different purpose than supposed?

Perhaps it’s not the worst souls that are re-sent to repair, but instead the best transplanted in overlay for those who need a second chance.

Perhaps this is why I questioningly cock my head when hearing something that has never come forth from someone I believed I knew so well.

When offering to pull someone out, there is always a chance that they don’t want to move. There’s disbelief in the removal of danger; believing it safer to remain with a known pain than to travel toward pains unknown.

There may not be the awareness; professing desire for assistance, but living resistance. Anchors can the cruelest double-edged swords.

We tie down to remain placid, stay our ground; float safely where we think we want to be. The mistake is found in not cutting free in the limited moments between a rational storm and a fury that will not abate.

I’m afraid most of us are no longer looking for a way to change the world; we’re trying to survive it.

It’s an unhappy circumstance we’re not truly surviving anything. We’re not waltzing either. There is a difference between trudging and dancing, between walking and dancing, between running and dancing.

Metaphorically, of course. If the body will not dance, let the mind do it for you. Stare a while at a gyrating screen saver; you’ll feel real movement, although inanimate.

The thing is this isn’t an unusual day trip. This is imagined immunity through imagined thick skin where perpetual schooling remains a need, and where sometimes adults are the slowest learners.

Based on the jadedness of our lives – love lingers where it shouldn’t, tied down and anchored, waiting for the next wave, declaring just-one-more-time.

Because we’re stubborn or desperate or afraid that if we don’t hold on through the storm, we won’t know where we are when it’s all over.

Finally, a recommendation, self and otherwise: Embrace the movement.

Allow transplantation. Dance with a new soul.

 

 

Quote for the Week:

  Embrace the movement 10 07 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Anchors, Go Away: http://www.theminimalists.com/saved/

Science of Reincarnation, NPR: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/05/259886077/searching-for-science-behind-reincarnation

Immunity to Change, Robert Kegan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFYnVmGu9ZI

Less, More or Less

I’ve been flirting with Zen, exploring peace and super stunned by mini-homes. Last near-end of winter sparked an interest in an intriguing early July Event-brite posting. A click and another lead me to a place I had been before. About a year ago, I stumbled upon Leo Babauta and shared his ZenHabits.net site in one of my weekly Midweek Encouragement Newsletters.

At the time, I was focused on eliminating excess and clutter. It was, after all, the third time I’d be moving in six years. Each time – losing a little more. A little more of my belongings, and my memories; paring down for expense reasons. I also got tired of moving it all around and having to pay people to help me do so. Luckily, many of my movers were acquaintances content with a sandwich and a few bucks for gasoline.

On an only slightly warm July early evening, I coerced a companion into first discovering a school I never knew existed in my neighborhood, and then attending a free seminar by a duo known as “The Minimalists.” Traumatized by the death of an immediate family member and the demise of a relationship (sound familiar?) the search for something more began. Interestingly, Babauta discovery played a part in leading them on to greater things. Actually, it led them on to lesser things, which, in my opinion (and theirs) has led to greater things.

I see the draw. Lamentably, there isn’t much I am willing to minimalize. My things are functional, and my drawers and closets aren’t stuffed. If something breaks, I might not replace it. I don’t have much that will break, though. Going on five years without a television has been easy, except for those few times a year when I find myself wishing I could tune in to a special program.

To my credit, I have been saying, “No.” As much as I loved that imitation potted plant I was recently offered, my little fiends would be bent on destroying it, and truthfully, I had nowhere to put it, anyway. I also passed up an event t-shirt. I really liked it; thought it was nicely done, very artistic. I truly have enough event t-shirts. I’m getting another one Thursday night. It’s mandatory that I wear it, so it will come home with me. If I wore every “around the house” logo’d, promotion oriented, group identifying shirt, I wouldn’t run out for two weeks.  They double duty as pj tops, too. Just sayin’.

Then, there’s my love and bane. Art supplies. This move provided me with a long dreamt of studio. All of my craft paper is sorted, colorized, neatly tucked away in mobile drawers within a closet. Envelopes are in another drawer; card stock in another. Gems, brads, ribbon, glue, beads, punches, embossers, cutting machines, enamel embossing powders, brayers, brushes, fabric (lots of fabric), markers, canvases: for the first time stored neatly, within reach and find. There’s an end product to be had, and release of long pent creativity. Now, I just need to find the time. I know that’s no excuse. I have an abundance of time. Time that gets sucked up by… real life, I guess.

What’s left? Clothes will wear out. I am planning on wearing them out. For those about to balk, realistically, I’m also expecting another closet intervention in the vicinity of 6 years future. Not earlier than that.

Since I’m at a point where I feel that I can’t, won’t, and don’t think I really need to minimalize, I have decided to attack organized reduction in another way. My philosophic minimalism is less about elimination, and more about non-accumulation. In this spirit, I have created, The Minimal List.

Inventories are amazing tools. My detailed, Excel-blocked stock of pantry, paper goods, pet supplies, bake and cookware, sneakers and shoes, toiletries, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, towels, sheets; nope don’t need to buy any of these things. Some of that is due to the existence of Costco. Some of that is due to my ditzy tendency to forget my shopping list and regularly choosing to be on the safe side. I recently bought mega bathroom tissue, mega paper towel and mega napkins, only to discover I had already mega’d it all on an earlier run. I won’t run out for a while. I also have a little over another year of laundry soap. Pet supplies are always purchased on sale, usually with coupons. I buy in mock “bulk.” I cart up two or three bags at a time, and do the same with litter. It’s monetarily sound. I won’t deny the convenience factor, especially in winter.

The challenger for me is “need.” I evaluate everything on it now. Do I need new bras? No, I just bought some. However, I found one I liked and who knows how long that particular style will be available? So, while they are on-sale, and I have a $10.00 discount coupon and free shipping and get 9% cash back through DubLi, well, I heavily consider. I also reevaluate my budget, and decide what is going by the wayside, and immediately account for the reallocation of funds. Make no mistake, this constant consciousness is tiring and time-consuming. Someday, I hope, this will be rote.

When I moved into my current space a year ago, I sloughed off the suggestion that this place would be too big for me. I didn’t see it that way. I wanted the studio. I’m glad I have it. I also have to admit this place is too big for me. My smaller one was about $250.00 more a month, for one-third the space. Ridiculous, but true; it was also comfortable. I would have stayed if I could have afforded to.

Mini homes are on the upswing. I love the idea, the minimal cash layout, the reusable resources, and the limited space that demands minimal. To me, a mini home feels like a hug encouraging a conscious, embraceable lifestyle. The only drawback to mini homes is the probable lack of studio space. I’d need another mini home for that. It could double as a guest cottage, though.

So, yes, in a dreamland way, I’m onboard with this particularly appealing program. I’m keen on this mind-blowing sub-culture, hopefully headed more mainstream. Minimalism. I can do that.

Quote for the Week: jakorte 08/05/2014

Less More or Less Contentment Knabble Aug 05 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

The Minimalists: http://www.theminimalists.com/

Leo Baubata: http://zenhabits.net/

I’m in love with this Tumbleweed: http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/blogs/tumbleweed/14061973-step-inside-a-tumbleweed-cottage

 (* If you are interested in signing up for DubLi, please, please, let me know and I will send you a referral link! I get credit, and you get cash back on purchases. Yes, it works! I have 7.56 cash back in my account after using a $10.00 off coupon for Kohl’s to buy bras on sale, earning $10.00 Kohl’s cash, plus I also got 9% back from DubLi)

http://us.mall.dubli.com/?BArefno=9321112