Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘decluttering

It’s Friday

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One of the marvels of my Fridays is that I don’t have to commute the long drive to the day-job. You’d think that might give me an extra hour to sleep in, but my experience has been marred by a problematic habit of staying up too late on Thursday nights, and then suffering a double whammy by naturally waking very near the normal early alarm time of my work days.

By Sunday mornings, I have usually made progress with sleeping past the alarm time, but that just makes it that much more difficult to deal with the Monday alarm time the following day.

At this point, of all my attempts striving toward optimal health, getting enough sleep every night seems to be my Achilles’ heel.

Being over-tired doesn’t mix well with needing to drive in traffic for an hour to and from work.

Some days there are changes that mix things up a bit for me, which helps maintain alertness. On Wednesday morning, I had a chance to explore some of St. Paul’s streets in the early dark hours when I dropped off the Tiffany light fixtures with a buyer who found my ad on Craigslist.

Yahoo! They are gone!

There is a perk for driving through the cities four days a week: it’s easier to accommodate buyers who aren’t exactly local when I’m pawning off clutter online. The woman this week was so appreciative that I would drive all that way to deliver what I was selling. (It was a few short blocks off my normal route on the interstate.)

I didn’t bother to tell her I would gladly pay her to take them, after having them sit in a box under foot for the last six years.

My drive home yesterday was interrupted by another traffic stopping accident, but this time I was close enough to the incident that my delay was mere minutes. The sad part was this meant the vehicles were still positioned where they landed and the people and emergency responders were still present.

It’s a very unsettling sight. The collision occurred at an at-grade crossing of a divided 4-lane highway that has a 65 mph speed limit. Damage was significant to at least three vehicles.

I drove a little slower the rest of the way home, and I didn’t feel drowsy at all.

But for the grace of God, go I.

When I pulled up the driveway, the horses were in the far corner of the paddock and whether it was that they saw me, or heard Cyndie and Delilah walking down to feed them, they bolted from where they had been standing, racing and kicking their way up past the barn overhang all the way over to the near paddock fence.

What a nice welcome-home greeting.

Cyndie reported she and Delilah came upon two young deer that dashed away across the trail in the woods. Our paths are becoming paved in golden hues. The freezing temps seem to flip a switch on a lot of our maples such that 80% of the leaves will drop in a matter of a few hours and create a gorgeous circle of color that carpets the ground around the trunk.

It’s beautiful to be home this Friday.

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Every Box

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I learned something this weekend. If I store something in a cardboard box in the shop or garage, it is like building a new luxury home for a mouse.

Every box I opened while cleaning out things that have been stored for far too long looked the same.

The front door was a perfectly chewed opening that seemed to open right into the kitchen. Obviously, mice don’t bother sweeping.

In the case of the old tractor seat in the photo above, the bedroom was another level down, through the cracked vinyl shell to the comfy foam inside.

The scene was identical in the box of Tiffany light fixtures I opened up on Saturday.

Less fortunate mice have to be a little more creative. In the pile of leftover lumber that has been neglectfully ignored in the shop for the two years since construction of our chicken coop, I uncovered a brilliantly packed residence constructed out of insulation pilfered from the shop walls.

It was only a one-story home that looked like the kitchen and bedroom were a shared space. I wonder if there is a mouse hierarchy that determines who gets the cardboard boxes.

Obviously, the four mousetraps I have distributed throughout the shop are something that mice have figured out how to avoid.

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Written by johnwhays

October 8, 2018 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Keep Going

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I’m on a roll and enjoying the fact that momentum from my recent decluttering success has me suddenly expanding the effort to reach items that have sat untouched for almost six years.

With my closet in the bedroom clean, and the drawers in my dresser unstuffed, I went on to tackle the pile of papers and odd collection of pocket leftovers that get dumped on the inviting flat expanse of the dresser top.

Included in the stack was the form for renewing my passport that I had filled out four months ago. That form was awaiting a headshot photo that met the specific requirements for dimensions and quality. It took a little while for Cyndie and me to find the right background to take the photo ourselves. Once that was done, I needed to print it on photo paper. That provided another easy opportunity for delay.

Friday, that renewal form finally made it to the post office and all that dresser top debris has now been dispatched to logical organized locations.

That accomplishment helped to fuel continued momentum that took me back out into the shop where there is now a glorious new open space where the foosball table top once stood. On the right side of the image above, there is a box against the wall that has been sitting there since we settled in here back in 2012.

We had removed three hanging light fixtures from the basement and I packaged them up to sell or give away. It’s just one of those things I didn’t get around to finishing that the box sat there untouched all this time.

Yesterday, I opened up the box, removed all the mouse-chewed bits of cardboard and packing paper, threw away the stash of acorns the rodents stowed, and laid out the light fixtures to take pictures for an ad.

They’re out there in the Craigslist universe now, hoping to find a new home.

And I am going to keep going.

I think I will finally throw out that old tattered seat I replaced on the lawn tractor that sold last month. I had placed the ripped vinyl seat back into the same box the new had come in. The tractor is gone, but I still have the throw-away seat left over from it. Really?

Boy, I gotta say, this decluttering progress is a real feel-good endeavor.

No wonder I’ve become so inspired to keep going.

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Written by johnwhays

October 7, 2018 at 9:50 am

Still Learning

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It’s been five years of horse ownership for us now, and we are still coming upon situations that baffle us. Yesterday, it was a fresh wound on Dezirea’s flank near the point of her hip. There was a dramatic vertical incision, and then a broad area on either side where the hair looks cleanly shaved.

I can’t imagine what it must have looked like when she got cut. Best guess is that she was rubbing up against something with a long, sharp edge. It’s possible that it was even something in the ground and she was rolling around and came in contact with the sharp edge.

We have yet to identify anything that looks like it might be the cause.

I would guess it probably gave her a bit of a jolt when she got cut. It seems likely to me that she would have recoiled or startled in some manner. Must have been a scene in the moment, but by the time we discovered it, she was as calm as if nothing was amiss.

Except for that gaping wound on her side.

We spent most of the day inside, out of the non-stop wetness around here. Dew point and air temperature have been hovering close together and the moisture doesn’t so much fall as rain as it just hovers in the air in a perfect mist.

The ground is thoroughly soaked. Our neighbor and part-time mail carrier told Cyndie that he was still planning to do a second cut and baling of our hay-field, but that was before this very persistent wet weather pattern settled over us. Next week is looking like repeating days of more rain, so I don’t expect there’ll be any activity in the fields for quite some time.

Since we chose to remain indoors, the opportunity to continue our momentum on decluttering was well served. Cyndie had already been through her closet, so I dug in on mine to catch up with her, and then we both went through dresser drawers.

Time to release some perfectly useable clothing back out into the world for the purpose it was designed to fulfill. I’m done storing these shirts and pants for years on end.

It is truly an exercise that rewards doubly. Our drawers and shelves change from over-stuffed to a much more functional order, and we give others an opportunity to actually wear this clothing again.

So, not only are we continuing to learn what is involved with owning horses, we are also still learning how rewarding it is to live intentionally aware of our surroundings and how rewarding it is to practice the art of reducing clutter.

You could call it the very definition of a continuing education.

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Crazy Things

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I have finally seen the first egg laid without a shell. On Monday, Cyndie came from collecting eggs at the coop and showed me the crazy thing. The shell-less membrane was sturdy enough to be gently handled without rupturing, and as visible in the image, looked full-sized and held the shape of a regular egg.

We had read about this happening, but I could never picture what it would be like. Now I know. Very interesting.

I experienced another first yesterday, and it was a crazy thing, too.

Cayenne bit me on the shoulder while I was scooping poop under the overhang. That is a very uncharacteristic behavior from the sweetest of our three horses. My startled response and yelp made all the horses jump, but my amped up angry energy directed unmistakably toward her chased her out from under the overhang and pushed her trotting down the slope toward the waterer.

We all quickly went back to grazing, but I was much less generous about sharing space with them while I worked. None of the three were subsequently allowed the usual close quarters they are normally granted while I do the housekeeping chore.

I’m not sure what message she meant to send with that nip of my shoulder, but I get the impression that all three of the horses are feeling a little out of sorts lately. Don’t know if it might be the changing weather, or their continued uncertainty about a herd leader, or accumulated frustration over their restricted diet.

A diet which, by the way, has produced noticeable results in their weight this summer. Maybe they are feeling ornery because of the cooler temperatures and shorter days, and as a result they want to bulk up a little before it starts to get really cold. Cayenne may have been trying to urge me to stop with the clean up already and get on with serving some dinner.

I finished the evening with one last crazy thing just before bedtime. I went out in the dark and worked with Cyndie to load the foosball table top into the back of my car to deliver to a buyer who found it on Craigslist.

I’d actually forgotten about the listing that I put up the same time as the lawn tractor that sold in a few days. The one and only call of interest in the foosball table came around dinner time yesterday, and the proximity of my workplace in Plymouth turned out to be a convenient meeting place.

Pretty lucky for an ad that reported River Falls, WI as the location.

You might even call it, crazy.

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Improvement Movement

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In my grand scheme of a continuous improvement movement toward optimal health, I have recently added new attention to not cleaning my plate. It’s an old habit, but eating everything served has long contributed to my consuming more food than my body needs at a sitting. I’ve decided to take another crack at altering that pattern.

It’s a project I tried off and on in the past, just like my attempts to stop snacking directly out of the bag, or trying to get a full 8-hours of sleep a night. I have not accomplished everything I set out to achieve.

I’m hoping to springboard on the success I have been experiencing with my daily regimen of planking and stretching exercises.

Actually, it parallels well with my recent decluttering effort. The latest accomplishments have inspired me to keep going to the next level of clutter out in the shop.

My planking success –started about 6-months ago and still making daily progress, well beyond the initial 30-days-in-a-row goal– seems to be inspiring me to take the next step toward better (and consistent) attention to portion size.

This whole portion control thing rides on top of my earlier focus to kick a sugar addiction and rein in the percentage of my daily sugar consumption in my diet.

Last night, I took a moment to calculate the number of grams of sugar in a serving of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Coconut Almonds that Cyndie brought home as a treat on our anniversary. It’s the coconut that sends these over the top. It calls out to me every time I walk past them.

Sixteen grams in a 1/3rd cup serving, which is a little under 1-gram per coated almond.

I have tried to satisfy myself with eating just 2 or 3 almonds at a time, but then the challenge I face is to honestly track how many little visits to the well I make in a day.

Craving is a powerful thing.

I’m happy that I have developed a bit of a craving to do my daily planking routine, and I struggle with the craving to sleep that washes over me at times of the day when I can’t.

Now, if I could just get myself to crave small portions of really delicious large servings of food on a plate in front of me, I’ll really be getting somewhere.

Here’s to continuous movement toward optimal health, one step at a time. Mind, body, and spirit.

Join me, won’t you?

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New Home

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I am overjoyed, and it came about much sooner than later. Our old lawn tractor has a new home. Buyer found seller and last night my urge to declutter was fulfilled, while someone else no longer needs to borrow a mower to cut their lawn.

Is this because I visualized just such an outcome? Hmmm.

I’m not going to argue with success.

Now I can change my answer to “No,” for the rest of the calls that come through asking if the tractor is still available. I received four such queries that led nowhere. The eventual buyer was the only one who actually followed up with additional questions upon receiving my “Yes” response.

I have no idea what that’s about. Maybe it was other people selling similar lawn tractors checking on the competition. Well, I’m out of the game.

However, I am feeling inspired to carry on with further decluttering. Sure, there is new space in the garage, but it actually reveals another level of items simply being stored.

A declutterer’s work is never done.

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Written by johnwhays

September 25, 2018 at 6:00 am