Friday, October 25, 2013

Moving Day

Today we move. So far our packing has been disorganized and overwhelming. Even after the big garage sale and donating what was left, we are still finding more and more stuff we need to go through and for which we must either find a home/use, or send to Goodwill. 

David likes the straight-forward packing duties; simple categories like books, kitchen stuff, DVDs. So I set about the more complicated sorting of papers kept for decades to see which were really important and which could be tossed while he went to work on the aforementioned simple categories. I was too much enthralled and a bit overwhelmed by the array of odd and embarrassing documents, notes, photos, and drawings I'd saved from my preteen years (including some melodramatic scribblings about whichever boy I was "in love with" at that time, and some hilarious notes I'd saved from close friends) to notice that David had decided to pack all our spices and seasonings and bring those to the new place along with the books and DVDs while I was reliving my awkward years in paper form.

And so, though I really wanted to have some apple cinnamon oatmeal this morning and had already sliced up the beautiful organic red delicious, I had no cinnamon with which to spice it up and forewent the dish entirely. Sigh. Silly Dave. 

On the plus side, having something so basic and essential to our from- scratch cooking lifestyle as herbs and spices out of our reach, it will spur us on to actually moving the majority of our stuff to the new place tonight... I hope.

Now let's hope we have enough energy to do it all in one evening after both working 10 hour days, because tomorrow is our only day to move-in/unpack, and Sunday my good friend from Minneapolis will be here for a brief visit. I look forward to showing her some of the notes I saved from her from when we were roomies :-)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Lacking on Purpose

I’ve had a long week, with late nights, scraped-together meals, and an unfortunate shortage of energy. Having slept-in today, I spent the late morning reading some of II Chronicles, journaling, and paying bills. I’m glad I have a moment before I continue with a loaded weekend to sit and write a bit. I will have to press on through the next few weeks, knowing that with the end of October, we will be settled in a new apartment, and (hopefully) the simplifications we are making in the move will add ease and efficiency to our daily life.

I’m thrilled by some of the changes we are making—the biggest being that we won’t have a TV for a while. The one we have now is of the generation of televisions I grew up with—a large, heavy cube, taking up more precious square footage than we want to spare in our tiny new home. Instead we’ll set up our record player in the living room and maybe a make-shift stand on which to put one of our laptops for Netflix viewing. What else do we need? I sure won’t miss all the commercials.

David is a sound snob. I’ve missed listening to music while I clean or work or relax, but when David is home, the speakers on my computer, or alternatively those of the old CD player I’ve kept from my 14th birthday bother his audio snobbery and he prefers the television for background noise. So he’s giving up his office record player and receiver so we can have music at home of an acoustic quality that won’t offend his trained ears. Ha. It will be so much better than repeats of Walker Texas Ranger in the background, interspersed with commercials for short-term lending companies, retail, big pharmaceutical, and fast food. Bye-bye, marketing lies that drive me nuts.

Besides the TV, we will also lack a dishwasher. A full tub. Central air. A garage. A dining room. Washer and dryer. You know, those first-world luxuries we Americans seem to think we can’t live without.

It’s like a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is experiment in frugality. Can we really live happily with only the bare minimum? I fully believe we can. I am actually exhilarated by the idea—that radical part of me that wants to prove that stuff can’t buy happiness.

The true challenge will be to keep our new place from accumulating more stuff than it can hold. We’re going to have a 1-to-1 rule of something out for something in: anything new must be replacing an item we’re donating or selling. And this Christmas we’ll be asking family who want to give us gifts to think instead how they can bless us in non-permanent/non-material gifts—maybe gift cards for restaurants or movie vouchers. Or nothing at all! We are so excited to be with family for the holidays—what more do we need?

Now, we’ll need to find a reputable and affordable laundromat—too bad we can’t bring our record player with us when we wash our clothes.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Changes and Choosing to Write

I have really been in the blahs the past several weeks. Perhaps it is this in-between time of transition before our big move—all the sorting, purging, selling, planning, with as of yet none of the results. Our apartment has become a cluttered purgatory of sorts, with our hearts no longer in its keeping. I’m not cleaning with as much gusto, knowing we’ll have to do the whole move-out deep-clean anyway, and as we’ve sold and donated the larger items that used to fill our space, our rooms feel ill-suited to us. In our living room, where once dwelt a couch for which I lacked any fondness, are a few scattered throw pillows. We’ve rid our space of a few tables and some bookshelves, along with all sorts of books we knew we’d never read again that were just using space. In our kitchen are the last remnants of the summer’s CSA share—a pile of acorn squash, some potatoes, four pumpkins, and a butternut, most of which we’ll need to process and freeze before we move this coming weekend.

I can understand some cause of blahs from this transition; transitions are always weird, and not quite as tidy around the edges as you imagine them to be when you first make a shiny new plan to change course. But really, that’s not all this is.

Part of it is this: I haven’t been writing. I’ve gotten sucked into the daily grind and haven’t made it a priority to rise before the sun and hustle. To spend this “me” time airing and progressively-processing the thoughts that remain in me without outlet unless I put them to words.

Here’s another confession: I get depressed sometimes. It’s one of those struggles I have now and then—and really for me it boils down to a choice. I can choose to meditate on God’s goodness and His purpose for my life in all the good and the bad, or I can get depressed and dwell on the little things that go wrong or hurt me or don’t go how I planned, and let them control my outlook. When choosing the latter, it starts a self-feeding blah cycle in which I stop doing things that would otherwise keep me positive—like writing.

But I’m on the upswing.

I’m in my favorite time of year after all, the autumn.

I’m about to make a change of lifestyle that is truer to my resourceful, thrifty values: living well below my means.

I’m making the choice, as I know I will have to again when I’ve allowed the blahs to take over for a while, to write.

And, my heart is being nourished by one of my favorite books of all time: Of Whom The World Was NotWorthy. I’ll tell you about it later, because it will really tie in with the other major thing on my mind right now. But I’ll explain that later. Sorry to dangle withheld information from you, but if Dickens taught me anything about writing, it’s that the cliffhanger (a thing which he popularized and named, if not invented) is a genius literary device that keeps you coming back. So come on back, folks.