Clean Your Room

yet_another_lolcatRecently I’ve fallen victim to two “systems”.  This is all the weirder because I’m not a person of systems, certainly not of systems designed by someone else.  Which is the problem.

Okay, let’s back track.  I have a group of friends who is trying very hard to convince me I’m an artist.  I find this a bit bizarre because, honestly I’ve never thought of myself as one.  Only as a sort of craftswoman.  To quote Agatha Christie, I treat this like any other craft, like embroidering pillows or arranging flowers.

Only it’s not exactly true.  It’s more that I’m like the women in the village who painted cosmetic boxes to help feed their families, or mom making wardrobes for soccer players’ wives, because that brought in most of the income for the family.  It’s a craft I know, I do, and it provides part of the income for the family, and right now it helps with younger son’s tuition, etc.

However, it started with this video by Peterson.  Of course it did.  I’ve read Paterson’s book, and I’m not particularly taken with the underpinnings of the philosophy, but I’m taken with “he just makes sense.”

You know the whole “antidote to chaos” thing?

I used to look forward like crazy to the summer vacations, partly because, well… School was hell, as it is to most gifted people.  (There’s a belief among “normal”  people that “gifted” people love school.  It’s not true.  By and large, we love learning, but we hate school.)  Partly because it gave me a chance to study and learn and do other things.

But what I found is that I needed a structure to summer vacation, or I was tired of it in a week.  (And due to the times I lived in, it was 3 months, sometimes 4, sometimes 5 depending on how governments were changing and who was in charge in the ministry of education.  One year it didn’t start until November because something went wrong with the sewage pipes at school.)

I was fortunate that my mom came with ONE built in structuring the device.  NO ONE, not even Himself up there, could convince that woman that mornings SHOULD NOT be devoted to house work.  So in the morning, in summer, I cleaned.  We dusted and dust-mopped every day, even if we couldn’t see dust (it helped with allergies, too.) We did dishes from breakfast.  We washed clothes (by hand.) and we ironed.

In the afternoon, I learned to give myself courses of study, or other things I wanted to do (like draw and make stuffed animals.)

Turned out as much as I hated school and its regimented “now do this” time, I needed at least loose structure to do anything.

But I didn’t internalize that as a lesson, and I kept falling into the opposite every time I lost my external structure.

The last time has been the last six years, and my work has suffered.  The structure I lost: the kids’ predictable school schedule, when Marsh graduated from high school.

I’ve only realized that’s what I need (a structure) this month.

Part of the problem is walling off time to write, and all the things that keep interrupting.  If I am a artist, it explains the tendency to chaos, because sometimes you just have to write/whatever, and it sends everything out of kilter.

OTOH I know I benefit from order.  Most creative people do.  “This is the place I work” and “this is the time I work” really seem to help.  We just don’t have it naturally.

I’ve been trying to combat chaos since I read the twelve rules.  Then Dorothy Grant pointed me at  It’s silly (complete with stuffed dolls) but it’s helping too.  I know I tried housekeeping systems before.  They didn’t work, because they played into my natural tendency which is binge/do nothing.  So I cleaned like a dervish twice a year and kind of cleaned once a week.  It’s not been working, so I’m trying the FlyLady which is “A little bit every day”.

So far my kitchen is staying clean, but I need to deal with the other stuff.

The truth is, we, the children of the children of WWII might have had order imposed externaly, but few of us had a internal “system”.  There was no “Early to bed and early to rise” except maybe as a joke.  There was no “This is how people of our class keep our houses.”

I know that people grow appalled by how people keep their houses now, but the mess and dust isn’t even the big thing (well, it’s for me, because auto-immune and asthma.)  It’s the lack of order.  It’s needing something and losing hours searching through piles.  It’s buying three of the left handed phillips head screw drivers because you can’t find the first or second you bought.

It’s the fact that external chaos causes internal chaos and increases stress.

I don’t know if this will work long-term.  As you see this blog post is very late, because… well, mostly because I took benadryl, because my auto-immune is kicking up.

I might have more to gain/lose from order than the rest of you.  I need to keep stress under control or the auto-immune will kill me.

Right now I’ve managed to keep the kitchen clean and I’m working on getting better with laundry.  (Part of this is I need a place to stow the ironables, other than the foot of my bed, and do the ironing more regularly than once every three months.)

I’m working on it, okay?  Part of this is throwing a lot of stuff away (or donating it.)  The lady who packed us to move time before last told me something interesting: have one set of sheets on the bed, and a spare one.  No more.  When one gets holes, replace it.

My mother tends to have sheets all over, and she gave us alot, but it was filling every space in the house, and most of them weren’t even a size I could use, which is why the lady told me that. (Didn’t throw them out but stored a lot of them, long-term, in the garage.  If nothing else, they’re nice fabric.)

Other thing is, I’m getting rid of clothes that don’t fit, both up and down.  I buy clothes form thrift stores.  A full set is… $100.  I can afford to change if I finally lose weight. (Or, heaven forbid, gain.)  I keep a couple of things for sentimental value, but ONLY a couple of things.

But I think it is important to combat chaos, both external and internal. And to do it, you need to start with what you CAN control.

Chaos is the unmaking, the destruction of order and civilization.  We sort of need to do the opposite, both in our lives and the world.

Start with our spaces/our lives.  Let it propagate outwards, to our words and thoughts.  Order, not chaos.  Light, not darkness.

Go clean your room.


221 thoughts on “Clean Your Room

  1. “Go clean your room.”

    But Mommmmmm!

    I’m painting today. Does that count?

          1. I’ve come home from work, and in the course of puttering around and eating a late-night snack, I’ve finished unloading the dishwasher (I was eating over the sink and standing there anyway), started a new load of laundry in the washer (I was letting the cats in and out of the garage anyway), and put two things away that were out (I try for five, before bed.)

            I’ve also tried to come up with something witty to reply, and yet can only come up with “Wait, you listened to me? Who does that? Don’t you know I’ll give you ideas and lead you astray? Just earlier today, while my poor defenseless husband was driving me to the gym, I gave him an idea that’s causing him to go back and write a whole new first chapter for the current book!”

  2. Working on packing for a move shortly (YAH!). Next few weeks will be going through stuff and getting rid of what is not needed. Think I will do the closet this week along with packing of stuff that I know I won’t be using before I move. Less junk, less boxes, less stuff to worry about sorting and storing in the new place.
    Next, work more on scheduling writing….. maybe….

    1. Doctors say go for last round of eye surgery, so I have to get a bunch of stuff ready in 3 weeks. Now to find out why I feel cruddy (sinus, cold, flue, with a recent pneumonia booster for extras.

      Note to self:pack a thermometer in the travel pharmacy bag.

      1. Sigh, according to the doc, it’s probably flu, but the pneumonia shot I had Tuesday says they can’t rule that one out. until the swab gets cultured. I find out in the morning. Arggh!

        Oh well, ibuprofen tonight, tomorrow acetaminophen goes in the mix, and Tamiflu and/or antibiotics.

        1. OK, this just goes in the weird file: the swab came out negative for flu, so it seems to be a side effect of the New! Improved! pneumonia vaccine. I had the old style in 2013, no effects. this one hurt for three days, and it seems I have “early pneumonia”. Oh well, the pharmacy I use has a branch in Medford, and some antibiotics should improve matters.

        2. Mom (82) has the flu, as of late Tuesday. Despite getting both the Flu & pneumonia shots for the season & on time, & supposedly flu season is over. She & a whole lot of people have been moving around BC, Canada, Oregon, California, & Washington, for Ameranath (Diabetes fund raising focus under Masonic charity umbrella); a few more in from Florida, Idaho, & Alaska. Someone was harboring it.

          1. Apparently there was a bunch of flu around Klamath County around March 9th. I’m pretty sure the early pneumonia (courtesy the vaccine-from-hell) mixed with a garden variety cold. The cold timing is right from visits to the clinic and hospital lab, and my current sniffles don’t map to pneumonia.

            At least my body temp is more-or-less normal now. The fever broke Friday night, and I started antibiotics Saturday morning. Whee.

          2. I’ve seen stories that this year’s flu vaccine was roughly 18-24% effective.

                1. I gather there were two strains that came in. Not sure the second strain had been predicted at all.

                  FWIW, the PCV13 Pneumonia shot (perhaps with a cold to help things go pearshaped) was the one that did me in. Side effects are, er, interesting:

                  1 in 2 Drowsy after the shot, tenderness or loss of appetite.
                  1 in 3 swelling (hands up for me)
                  1 in 3 mild fever
                  1 in 20 high fever >= 102.2F (OK, I topped out at 102.1.)

                  Other, lower frequencies: fatigue, headache, chills or muscle pain (yes to all)

                  It’s supposed to work well, but I sure wish I had received it on a week I didn’t have to go elsewhere. The people at the urgent care center were fairly sure it was the flu, though the swab said no, (and the fever broke overnight).

                    1. It looks like a rapid test; they got the swab far enough up the nose so that they should have gotten *something*. (Brains, perhaps….)

                      I’m looking at the cold vs flu symptom list, and after Friday night, the symptoms map to a cold and not the flu. The vaccine reaction seems to be what caused the flu-like symptoms. Current temperature is 98.1F, which is maybe a half degree high for me this time of day.

                    2. Thank goodness!

                      Even if it’s “flu” instead of technically the flu– we had a couple of rounds of that, here.

                      The initial symptoms mean you don’t have the killer cold we got after Thanksgiving.

            1. No, do not tell me that. Had the flu shot. But I’m the one who drove mom to the doctor when she was too dizzy to drive. The one who has been checking up on her. We’re taking off in the next 2 weeks … needs to be she’s 82, & has been traveling & more busy than usual over the last 5 weeks, yep, that’s why it got her.

  3. I was in FlyLady for several years. Never did get my house clean. 😆

    Finally got out after she put up a new web design, and asked for comments on it, and someone offered some constructive criticism.

    Her reaction to that was way over the top.

    1. Eep. I keep meaning to try some of her tips, but I didn’t know she’d flipped out at somebody over web design.

      I should be working on incrementally leaving the house in a better state every day and adopting useful habits such as a regular schedule and some daily checklists. I am… trying this to some degree. I’m also actually planning to take a few days off work to try to catch up on sleep, reset, and do a few major projects that are a little tricky to fit in when I’m trying to get my job done during a lot of the time my husband has off. I feel like this is cheating somehow, but I think it’s necessary.

      1. I tried it a couple of times, but I have done my best when I changed “shine the sink” to “scoop the boxes”.

        It is more the idea of building little habits so when you do the “big” cleaning it isn’t that big.

      2. I didn’t care about her web design either. But her over-the-top reaction to some mild criticism really turned me off.

    2. A dear friend I housesat for used her ways and means to pull her condo from “Exploded costuming storage and pet fur layers, with plenty of library-after-earthquake mixed in”, to a neat and clean house that always just a little cluttered.

      I learned and implemented the habits as a way to guard against my place getting toward full on shambles, but the niggling forces of cleaning can only hold so much sway against three roomates. And rebuilding an airplane after the roommates moved out. But I used it to what effect I could, and each move, it got better – and then this house, when finally moving into my (And Peter’s) very own place that’s large enough for the stuff to fit, with no preset “this is so-and-soi’s stuff, don’t move it” piles of chaos, I’ve managed to keep the whole place pretty clean. Peter is much more comfortable with a level of clutter (and dust) that my asthma can’t take, so we’re still working on finding a happy medium where he doesn’t feel completely nagged or hassled (not that he’s ever used the phrase “you want it clean enough for heart surgery on the kitchen floor”), yet I feel unstressed and there’s not enough dust to inhibit breathing.

      I missed the site redesign debacle, but frankly, it’s not the medium I was there for, it was the routines and habits. So, *shrug.* I still say it’s the best site I’ve found for teaching people who don’t have a system for housecleaning how to do it in rhythms and accomplishable habits instead of alternating binge cleaning and being overwhelmed & doing nothing.

  4. Peterson’s not the messiah, of course, but he is articulate and provide a lot of food for thought.

    Watching the first 2 1/2 hour lecture in his biblical series took me half a week, what with stopping to research points he was making and/or just to cognate upon or chew over concepts presented.

    & yes, I’ll go, and at least start,, cleaning my room. 😉

    1. Peterson: The thing is, no matter what specifics I agree or disagree with, he makes the right people crazy over the top psycho bananas. That counts for a lot.

      1. In the Chesterton’s fence analogy, I think Peterson is bloody brilliant at figuring out why the fence or gate is across the road and explaining it in ways that people can understand. His call to embrace old-fashioned values is a good thing – albeit one which long term is not as effective as embracing Christianity and suffers from certain missing step, long term. That being said, he also is quite good at thinking things all of the way through and picking up on second order effects of policies. The net result is he does drive certain groups into a gibbering frenzy – and I agree, that’s a good thing.

        1. Many of the people who would take his advice would not do so if they thought it included Christianity in the package. OTOH, once they’ve taken Peterson’s advice they might be more open to connecting to their missing step.

  5. Now that I’m disabled I can’t even REACH a lot of places to cleanthe, so I have a Home Help who comes in weekly to deal with polishing and floor cleaning. But that still leaves me with a pile of books on the spare bed because I can’t reach up to the shelves to put them away. And even that ignores all the stuff in my attic that I daren’t even try to climb a ladder to reach. My heirs have strict instructions not to let one of those house-clearing outfits into the place – some of my books are worth hundreds, even the reference books. So if you ever want a real challenge, Sarah, come over here to England and restore order to my chaos.

    1. Someday I’ll come over to England, and maybe we’ll meet. But before I consider restoring order to ANYONE’s chaos, I should finish unpacking my library.

          1. I’m running out of blank walls, and if i put a short shelf where i am thinking, i will literally have to roll my keyboard stand out of the way to access it.

            1. Whoever built our house designed it with a living room big enough for fiestas.

              This is actually awesome, because we turned everything past the double-door-wide entry to the kitchen into a library. FINALLY, something approaching enough shelves!

              Well, for now.

  6. Since I’m more or less interested in everything, I decided a long time ago that in sheer self-defense, I needed an organization of knowledge. “When a man’s knowledge is not in order, the more of it he has, the greater is his confusion”. It applies to a lot of things. I keep my collection in order, too, and add at least a little bit every day. It’s a matter of discipline; I have to keep telling myself “ooh, shiny, but I have to do this other stuff first..”

    However, my physical stuff is in a dreadful mess. I don’t have nearly the same habits of order and organization. I could stand to exercise the same concept; in defense of my own life and sanity.

  7. “Peterson”, not Paterson.

    It is fascinating to see how popular he’s suddenly become. His book has over 600 holds at my local library.

  8. To paraphrase Hobbs, “the life of a school kid is often solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and not short enough.”

    Oddly enough, I found myself thinking that Hobb’s ‘state of nature’ very much resembled life as viewed by those Scots-Irish redneck types that so much of black culture seems to be based on that we’ve been listening about with Amanda’s discussion of Sowell’s essays.

    Internal order is what made the difference between a successful colonist, and another dead statistic. It makes a difference for farmers or anyone who is an independent business person, and another welfare recipient.

    The Covey 7 Habits course, and the Landmark Forum course both try to get people to form goal and structure driven lives; having found those most efficacious to success. Of course writing your goals down, and writing your schedule down, and placing them in a readily visible location are a lot more concrete than some nebulous vague mental goal that seems to mutate from one day to the next, and really never leads to a schedule.

    Coming from a military background, there have been times that I felt my life was TOO regimented and over scheduled. Heck, I still haven’t broken the habit of folding my underwear and t-shirts in thirds. Damn Basic Training! There wasn’t any time life over for spontaneity, or even for emergencies. The swing back when I retired ended up being no goals and virtually no schedule; not a recipe for success for me.

    What was that advice to beginners and blocked writers a week or so on MGC? Set aside 20 or so minutes, the same time, every day, to sit down and write that entire time, regardless of what it is? That’s a schedule. And not an overly repressive one either. The big problem for me is doing it for 2 weeks straight to get it to be a self-sustaining habit.

    Clean my room? Okay. Guess I’ll have to go through my t-shirt drawer this weekend and throw out all the ratty ones with more holes than a Belgian lace doily. I already know they’re so bad even Goodwill won’t accept them.

    1. For me, before Day Job, it was mornings for chores, appointments, errands, and the like. Then 1230-1600 write fiction. Alternately, research and write non-fic in the AM, fiction in the afternoon. (Research schedule was a different cat again, because of limited archive hours). Now it is Day Job in AM, fiction in PM once Day Work is done, and evenings for family/music/et al.

    2. Guess I’ll have to go through my t-shirt drawer this weekend and throw out all the ratty ones with more holes than a Belgian lace doily.

      But what do you use for a polishing cloth!?!?

        1. yep, been doing that myself. cleaning has been needed a bit more since we got a range membership and my roomate got his sig…

    3. Jodie call (marching chant) from Women’s Army Corps (WAC) 1971:
      PO, PO (platoon officer) tell me please, how to fold my bra in threes.

  9. I am sorry, I have worked for over 50 years collecting stuff, I am NOT going to get rid of it. It is MINE!! I found it, bought it, got it. It took me time and effort. I may not NEED it, USE it, or know exactly where it is BUT I know I have IT and IT IS MINE.

    1. I like that. But I’d need to build a barn to store it all in; attached to the workshop, of course.

      1. After the bathroom I’m building a shed to keep all the lawnmowers that are cluttering my barn/workshop.

        Stuff expands to consume available space.

        1. “Stuff expands to consume available space.”

          So it’s not just my family that has this problem. Mowing the lawn gets trickier every year, as more stuff gets stacked on pallets or parked up on blocks. So far the most durable acquisition has been about 600 linear feet of granite kerbstones. I call it the flat-pack Stonehenge.

          1. COMPLETELY normal. My parents’ house is a nightmare. They’ve now finished the attic so it’s a VAST storage room, and oh, dear lord… It’s full of stuff.

            1. It seems psychologically far more comfortable to expand storage space than to cull items.

              Possibly because expanding storage capacity involves a single decision while culling entails many many decisions.

            2. Already told mine that the garage will be packed with a front-end loader. It’s only within the last 5 years that they threw out the last box of MY cloth diapers. Depression kids. From rural AR.

              1. Unless they were moldy, that was a mini-goldmine that went to the trash.

                I’ve got diapers my mom got handed down to her to use with me– they are freaking awesome cleaning cloths, and the ones that are still in good shape work really well for putting under the boxes that are under there-is-occasional-damp sinks. Switch them out when you have to get the shampoo/handsoap/emergency kit/whatever and there’s no mildew.

              2. (But just boxed up? Aaargh. And that’s from the gal with a box of baby food jars. We do actually use those…just not very often!)

                1. Three children, so I have cases of them. Every last one full of screws, nuts, bolts, and “whats?” Now, if only every last one wasn’t a mix of those four in various sizes, I’d be perfectly organized…

                  1. Do you have any four year old boys?

                    They are awesome for “sort all of these exactly” tasks. Although some of the details get missed…. (color of screw is more important than size, for example)

                    1. One – but about 18 years too late for that. Marine Reserves (bulk fuel) gives him more than his fill of such nowadays.

                      Did try with the daughters once. Color was very important there, above all else. I wish I had taken some pictures of the resulting artistry…

                    2. At a local quilting shop, toddling Daughtorial Unit settled in at the stencils while Beloved Spouse & I played Match-The-Fabric, much to shop owner’s alarm. Our reassurances did little to relax her, but when she saw each and every stencil properly sorted in the display as we prepared to depart she assured us we – and the D.U. – were welcome any time.

          2. I totally get it. Because as sure as you toss out those useless granite curbs, you’ll NEED them the next week.

            This happens every time I throw out “cuttings” otherwise known as scrap. Sure as hell, I need that piece I just got rid of.

    2. This is my barn. I may not know right where it is at the moment, but I know I have one.

      Sometimes I have two, because couldn’t find the first one in time. 😡

    3. Besides, once you start cleaning up and throwing things out you call into question the whole meaning of your existence up to this point.

      Leonard: Two ten and you throw in the Iron Man helmet.
      Stuart: Are you crazy? That helmet’s signed by Robert Downey Jr.
      Leonard: So?
      Stuart: Okay, if you’re going to question the importance of an actor’s signature on a plastic helmet from a movie based on a comic book, then all of our lives have no meaning!
      ‘The Russian Rocket Reaction’ – Season 5, Episode 5

    4. Not to be to presumptuous with a total stranger or overly morbid, but if you can’t bring yourself to prune, at the very least catalog the stuff thoroughly and put it in some kind of order that doesn’t rely on one person’s perishable memories. Your heirs will thank you.

      (This is from someone who just spent the better part of three years trying to gently and respectfully decamp, dismantle and disperse my parents’ home of 40+ years.)

      1. Mom’s folks it was dismantling almost 60 years on the same property, in a matter of days. It had to be sold & everything turned over to the lawyers. Every piece of paper & envelope had to be gone through before shredding or burning. We found rats, mice, & snakes, (dead thank g*d) under furniture, that hadn’t been moved in decades (if ever).

        Yes, family tried to get them in house help. Grandma would not let help do anything. Family tried to get them to move closer for help before they died. I quote from the county social services where they lived “it is elderly abuse to continue to talk to them about moving when they don’t want to when their living conditions & location aren’t that ‘bad’.” They lived on property in a rural area, near a small town where nearest clinic was 40 miles away; let alone nearest hospital. Already mentioned condition of the house. Grandpa died 10 days after grandpa triggered life alert because grandma was not responding to him, not long after the “senor experts” made their declaration. She died 20 days later.

        1. My parent’s had a reverse mortgage, when we finally convinced them to move to a skilled nursing home, we had probably 90 days to get everything gone. What an incredible mess! Book cases everywhere, stuffed, piles of books, boxes of books in the garage, a storage shed stuffed with books . . .

          My Dad died 25 days after moving, my Mom three months later, so they never realized how little we’d kept of their ‘treasures.’

      2. What!!! You monster! LOL. I’ll have you know I still have some of my wife’s father’s, mother’s, grandmothers’; and my father’s stuff taking up room in the basement, and one of the stalls in the garage. Kids apartment stuff taking up the OTHER stall in the garage.

        1. One of the little known horrors about living in the Glorious Bear Republic is that most houses out here do not have basements. Wife’s relatives are spread out up and down the front range in Colorado, my relatives are along either side of the Wabash River in Illinois and Indiana, and all of them have basements the size of their foundation footprint, thus an entire ‘nother house worth of storage down there.

          And a lot of them have barns. The actual farmers have lots of outbuildings, though not much stored in them.

          And out here, it means actually having room for a car in a garage is exceedingly rare.

          1. In most of my state, any attempt at a basement would result in an under-house swimming pool.

            I have hit water while digging fence post holes, and I worked under two feet of water when I laid new sewer pipe…

    5. I go to used book stores.
      “Do you want to turn in books for credit?”

      “I know what all those words mean, but that doesn’t make sense to me.”
      –Lisa Simpson

  10. When I was growing up (and for my mother certainly, as well) the saying, “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place” was more or less seen as the expression of oppressive… oppressiveness. My mother’s generation was throwing off the oppressiveness of domestic expectations, but they’d been taught to clean by their mothers. As a consequence, as much as I had to clean my room or do dishes or do other cleaning, being *taught* to clean a house (according to how people in our class keep houses) just never happened. Maybe other people had mothers who were less bohemian than mine. And I think that my mom and I share a trait, too, of being dreadfully ADD. Just looking at the clutter turns my ADD brain right the heck OFF.

    I think that’s one of the things that Fly Lady says, isn’t it? Don’t think about it, just pick it up.

    I’ve also not taught my offspring how to keep house.

    I could hire a service (and probably should) but I don’t because I would have to tell them what to do AND I DON’T KNOW what to do. What I need very much is for someone to come to my home and tell ME what to do, how to organize, where to put things. I need someone to figuring out the “place for everything” so that all I have to worry over is making sure that “everything is in its place.”

        1. that tends to be my workbench storage method. One upside is no one wanted to “borrow” a tool because they couldn’t find it. Downside was if they did find it and actually put it back, you spent 20 minutes looking for it because it wasn’t where you left it. Why it might be a full 5 inches away from where it was left and you buried it looking for it where it damnedwellshouldabeen

        1. As a software engineer, I learned all about keeping things sorted. Personally I use the heap sort. I know just which heap things are in. I have known people to use the bubble sort, but it is horribly inefficient plus you need an unused swimming pool.

          1. Ha, Ha. So do you use the Binary Star Index to keep track of your items in your heap sorts?

      1. A pile for everything and everything in its pile.

        The problem is when the piles blend…

    1. If I win the lottery, maybe I should fund a few Huns-Help trips where some of us get together and provide assistance for things like this.

      Assuming I ever remember to buy a ticket…

      1. Since I have one line of Eurojackpot as an online order every week so I don’t need to remember, well, except to move 20 euros to the game account every ten weeks, it is of course only a matter of time before I win the biggest jackpot that game can grow to, 90 million euros. After that I can fund that. 😛

        Okay, undoubtedly I could do something more useful with the 104 euros I use on that yearly. Or not. Better that than ice cream (which I eat too much anyway, that is the one sugary treat I tend to fall for at least once or twice every month. I am quite capable of not buying everything else, but not ice cream).

        1. Beloved Spouse’s godmother used to travel from Queens to Atlantic City to play the casinos there. My first thought was “That’s terrible!” but my second thought was, ‘She can afford it, she gets her travel and room comped, she enjoys it and she probably spends less on it than a good dinner and a Broadway show would cost.”

      2. I have argued for several years now that, as the government gives tax breaks (and refunds) to people who do not pay taxes they should award lottery jackpots to people who do not buy tickets. Simple consistency demands it.

    2. The think people forgot/didn’t know is chaos is one of the most oppressive things there is.

      Now we live under its thumb in too many ways.

  11. Trying to bring order out of chaos after husband’s death…finding he was not the only one keeping way too many things (his is junk, mine is treasure, of course). Having trouble concentrating (am told this is totally normal), so start one thing, create a mess, go on to something else and create a mess and pretty soon there are 2 or 3 messes in addition to what I thought I was going to do in the first place. Was glad to know I am not the only one in this situation. In addition to winnowing stuff, I am having to clean things he wouldn’t allow me to touch as he had them arranged in a specific order and heaven forbid that I accidentally rearranged them! And after cleaning decide what to keep, etc. Having said all this, I wish he were still here. Good luck with making a work schedule/structure. I think it helps, too.

    1. After the move across country, I am at that point. Also the adlas (attention deficit look a squirrel) seems to be prime with added fun of winter doldrums.

    2. I’m having a hard time getting my butt in gear to do anything other than sit and write. (I apologize to those others who have the reverse problem.)

      Trouble is, I have a bathroom 2/3rds complete. Been that way since summer. Very annoying.

      So, I have been suffering.

      Decided a little while ago that I don’t have to do EVERYTHING!!!! all at once like I used to do when I was 40. No swooping in and killing the job in a day. Now, I do one thing in the day. Just one. Today it was painting the stinky shellac-based primer on the walls. Good enough. Tomorrow, finish all the little drywall booboos. Next day, the next thing.

      I’ve decided that suffering is bad. Do one thing. Then the next one thing. Then the next one thing. Stop suffering.

      This is my hard-won wisdom for today. Tune in next week when I change my mind and decide something else. ~:D

    3. My husband read a joke to me this morning, it was about a fellow that had a bad dream that he died and his wife sold all of his tools for what he told her he paid for them. 🙂

      In all seriousness, that has to be among the harder things to need to do, to sort and decide what to do with a spouse’s belongings after they pass.

      1. Oooh, that is a little too close to home….

        One of my mom’s “I am a total idiot” good deeds was that she hit a yard sale a few blocks from my uncle’s house.

        Lady’s husband had died about four months before, kids were all across the country, he was the last of his friends to pass…and she had 50 years worth of rather successful, I-can-afford-quality-and-variety tools out.

        With prices like “$5” on a rolling tool box full of tools.

        My mom poked around for a while before getting around to asking her, gently, about the prices– and the lady wanted to know if that was too much.

        Mom just about choked, and then spent the next two hours sorting everything into still amazingly good prices but not painfully insane. Things like taping up sets of screwdrivers and changing the $5 sign to “each,”, and the rolling cart for (I can’t remember), or the whole thing for (couple of hundred).

        There were multiple tool benches. Just only one rolling tool chest.

        The lady gave her the really expensive chain saw that had caught her eye, which had been priced at $15. Mom joked when she got back to my uncle’s that she should’ve just bought all the stuff at the asking price, didn’t think much of it.

        After the yard sale, the lady walked around until she found mom’s pickup and tried to hand her a thousand dollars because everything had sold, for…well, the thousand wasn’t even a third of what she’d made, but she’d been expecting a couple of hundred dollars, total. The main goal was to clean out that shop so she could eventually downsize.

        That’s been…oh, gad, it was only a few years after we moved to Washington, so better than 20 years back, and mom is still both proud and calls herself an idiot. 🙂

        1. I like your mom.

          I get the idea of feeling like you got a super good deal, but there’s the part about taking advantage of someone else’s mistakes that just isn’t very nice.

          1. I recall running across a first edition “Emerald City of Oz” at a swap meet, perfect condition, dust jacket a bit brittle, but intact. Five dollars.

            I could not resist grabbing the woman selling it, and telling her she had it priced too low by about a factor of 100. (Probably quite a bit more now.) Didn’t see it out when I swung back by there.

        2. We just replaced the chain saw that was my in-laws, only because we could longer get the rubber or plastic replacement parts for it. Last time we had it fixed, the local chain shop found parts on eBay. Dang thing was 40 or 50 years old. We gave the old saw to the repair place. They parted saws to keep these old ones going.

        3. Some friends of mine earned their angel wings when they persuaded a widow to let them price and sell her husband’s aircraft. She had planned on selling an AT-6 Texan (in flying condition and with all paperwork) for a thousand dollars, “because it was small” and a WWII twin-engine plane for three or four thousand dollars. She honestly had no idea of their value, didn’t fly, had no interest in her husband’s hobbies. The T-6 went for over fifty thousand. A friend of hers had suggested that she contact one of the men’s wives, “because her husband does plane things” to see if he’d be interested in buying them.

        4. I hang out on several machinist forums. The demographic is mostly over the half century mark, with an alarming number near three quarters of a century. Most of them have been expanding their machinery and tooling for most of their lives, and have a small fortune worth of equipment in their workshops.

          Even for the ones who kept an inventory of equipment and likely value, it’s not unusual to find out that after they died someone bought everything for scrap metal value, or even for free, as long as they could get it all moved promptly.

          1. But that’s a good deal of the nature of value. Where the stuff IS. That’s what Confucius, and the primitive Christians, and the Marxists never understood about merchants. Merchants move things from where they have low value to where they have high value. It’s an important social function, and one full of risk. If you don’t reward people for taking that risk, your economy stagnates.

            1. While it’s one of those things that really annoys me, there was a reason early folks didn’t care for traders– they usually had to have deals with the various authorities along the way. Kinda like how tax collectors were a known evil, but there’s no reason a modern IRS agent should be ashamed by their job. They’re not doing what the ancients did.

              1. ” Kinda like how tax collectors were a known evil, but there’s no reason a modern IRS agent should be ashamed by their job. They’re not doing what the ancients did.”

                Which explains quite well where Lois Lerner found her accomplices. After all, what could possibly be embarrassing about using your “prosecutorial discretion to “punish your enemies”? These people would slide into the Sheriff of Nottingham’s crew without a ripple.

                1. She knew perfectly well that she was doing something that had nothing to do with being an IRS agent.

                  So what’s your excuse?

                  1. I don’t work with the IRS. By policy.
                    But then again, I’m not the one who thought modern IRS agents shouldn’t be embarrassed to work for them.

                    1. You are, however, the one insisting that the extremely illegal and unethical actions by the IRS are what the IRS is supposed to do.

                      Which even they had to admit isn’t so.

                    2. I said NOTHING of the sort, and implying I did moves well over the border into deliberate LIE.

                    3. She knew perfectly well that she was doing something that had nothing to do with being an IRS agent.

                      She knew how to curry favor and get promoted. Putting the screws to (Democrats’) political enemies has been a major part of the IRS’s unofficial duties since FDR. She kew what her masters wanted, just as she knew they did not want her to get caught, which is where Lerner screwed the pooch.

                      She took the fall not for abusing her office, she took it for getting caught abusing her office.

                      … insisting that the extremely illegal and unethical actions by the IRS are what the IRS is supposed to do.

                      Of course they “admit” it isn’t so. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t so. Any more than all actions undertaken by a admiral’s dog robber are legal, ethical, aboveboard and officially sanctioned.

                      The problem here is that not all actions by government agencies are officially sanctioned, that some entail turning a blind eye, such as setting up speed traps or suspects tendency to fall down stairs.

                      Plausible deniability only works so long as it is plausible, and Lois Lerner’s wasn’t plausible so she could no longer be useful. She still retired with full pension. Does anybody doubt she isn’t working, with a very nice compensation package, somewhere like a Steyer think tank, investigating financing flows of the Koch brothers?

                    4. No doubt at all, that’s how corruption works.

                      And “mom’s boyfriend” has a very high rate of molesting her kids– doesn’t mean that it’s what mom’s boyfriend is supposed to do.

                    5. That – the corruption – was, I think, Steve’s point.

                      And while it may not be part of the “job description” the fact it is not merely tolerated but is rewarded indicates the PTB are not averse to having corrupt underlings. Mom damned well better keep a close watch on her kids’ interaction with current boyfriend and not excuse/justify/write-off any crossing of boundaries.

                    6. If that was his point, then he shouldn’t have injected it into a contrast between historic norms and modern ones.

                      It’s not the PTB; it’s a sub-group of a specific party. Normalizing it just gives them cover– and now we know about it, and going off of who got elected, folks were…bothered.

                    7. THIS. EXACTLY.

                      Corruption and abuse of power have become NORMAL at all levels of government. You are viewed as a SUCKER if you do anything more than the minimum. Even in the DoD, which is better than most, has gone downhill in the 25 years I’ve been working with them, the civilian side especially.

      2. For us that would be more than what hubby paid for them. Most his tools came from his dad, either the spares, or after he died. Some of the tools are older than I am, & I’m over 60. We’ve got furniture making tools that were hubby’s great-grandfathers. He’ll never use them, not a collector, & kid doesn’t care, but will he look into selling them? Heck no.

        1. I need to get off the stick and look into selling some of the antique tools my father had. Based on some of the designs, I would estimate that some of them are a hundred years old or more. Probably be able to get something out of them from one of those places that supplies antique stuff that some restaurants hang on the walls…

    4. Step One of de-cluttering is to clear one area (perhaps at the expense of another) to act as the “mess buffer” for sorting. But then the inevitable buffer overflow occurs…

    5. A high-school friend passed away a few years ago. I went over to help his widow clean out a shed and an outbuilding.

      Ron was always a bit strange, but the 20 or so large coffee cans filled with cigarette butts carefully shelved in the shed were more then normally peculiar…

  12. It’s silly (complete with stuffed dolls) but it’s helping too.

    If it’s silly but it helps, it isn’t silly. It is merely Odd.

    A definite routine helps keep the person in motion until the coffee kicks in.

  13. Yep. That’s what I’m working on. My house (and my brain) became very cluttered since kids were born 8 years ago. (Having twins and developing preeclampsia at the last minute might have had something to do with it). Finally have enough physical strength to get everything organized.

    I understand not being able to stay on task without an external push. I’m the same way: lots of creativity – not enough result unless I have a deadline to meet created by someone other than me.

  14. Ironing – word of advise –> Don’t

    Clutter. We haven’t moved in 29.5 years (just before kid was born). However, after helping with cleaning out of houses after family have passed away, all of them who were survived WW1, depression, & WWII, not all “hoarders”, but definitely believed a spare for a spare (or 2) was good, even if quality of items varied … you go home & local thrift agencies get an influx of unused items; that is our stuff.

    Does not count stuff that came out of helping MIL (good quality), helping dad with grandma’s stuff (old & a LOT of “quilting” material stuffed everywhere), or helping mom with her folks household (most of which was burned or went to dump, true “hoarders”).

  15. When my partner and I moved back to Canada from England we were allowed six large boxes for reasonable price and if we wanted more they would charge arm and a leg. We ended throwing out alot of things that we would have like to kept but nothing of value. When we bought our house in Canada, we didn’t have much and the house look empty but we both preferred the minimalist look and we have kept it that way.

    I don’t really shop, other than food and alcohol but my partner likes clothes, shoes and home decor. Whenever she buys something, some other item gets donated or thrown away. We use to accumulate a lot of cheap tat but we have broken cycle and it is psychological soothing for some reason, not being surrounded by objects.

    As for cleaning, I work from home and do twenty minutes a day when I need break from my computer and then my partner does some cleaning on weekend by herself because she find it theraputic.

    1. As for cleaning, I work from home and do twenty minutes a day

      Funny thing about cleaning – if you keep it up and do some daily it does not really require all that much time. But fall behind and you’re doomed, doomed I tells ya!

  16. Probably the biggest problem homeschooling is dealing with the other folks who insist that scheduling is evil.

    I hate irregularly scheduled events, even when they’re good, like the once-a-month old folks’ home visit or the monthly homeschool group glorified playdate; our daily schedule, though, is pretty steady.
    I’ve got alarms set on my phone for things like “the kids must be up” (if they are already up, groomed, dressed and fed, they get an extra half-hour before lessons start), I do dishes and laundry when they’re working; if they’re actually getting stuff done, there’s an alarm for recess (which is also “mom, get lunch going!”) and Quiet Time (sometimes honored more in the breach….) and, of course, dinner.

    The kids are already learning a very strong connection between doing things and getting an inherent reward (finish it quickly, correctly, and you’re done) and an inherent penalty (don’t get done, don’t get to quit), and then things that are rewarded (do chores, get tablet/computer/TV).

    Inside of the schedule? Total jazz. They finish early enough, we can even hop in the van and go play. (it’s happened…like…twice…)

    1. I think that was the hardest part of homeschooling and what I really failed at badly was providing the structure, since there was no one but me to provide it.

      There were a couple of field trips though, let me tell you! The ding-bat who scheduled it knew that a couple of ladies were always late so she gave us a time nearly 30 minutes before doors even opened and then told everyone to be early. I had an infant and two toddlers to keep out of the mud for 45 minutes and I was too sleep deprived and stressed to realize that I could tell the organizer to ….. herself, and I could take my kids and leave. But you’re always thinking…any minute now, just hang on, any minute now we’ll go in.

      I actually am of the mind that things must start when they were scheduled to start and that people must not be late. Part of that was because from the time I had my first baby everything had to be done in the hour and a half between when I had to nurse him (no, I wasn’t short of milk, he just grew like a little monster!). So I’d nurse and tell my husband or whoever, “we have to go now… ” And then 40 minutes of dinging around later and I’m about ready to tear someone new… holes. Because the “window” was now down to 20 minutes and screw that.

      1. ….Homicide.

        That is total. Justified. Homicide.

        I hate being told the “adjusted” time.

        If we are supposed to meet at 10:30, say “meet at 10:30.” Adults can figure out what they’re doing on their own, and go at 10:30.

        I do the “ten minutes early is five minutes late” thing, so it drives me up a wall when I’ve almost got everybody ready to go…and my husband sits down to turn on the computer and check email, because he forgets that it is not “step in the car and go,” it’s five minutes of getting the kids set into the car.

        Every. Single. Week. >.<

        1. I really do not understand why the concept of “you snooze, you lose” wouldn’t work for those habitually late women. Right? Let them get to the museum when everyone else is half-way done with the activities. If they don’t mind, then that’s great. If they do mind they can figure out how to start out sooner and be on time to the next thing.

          1. My wife had a really bad case of that. It finally came to the point where she was just crawling out of bed when “time to leave” came, and I went on vacation without her. After that she got better, for a while at least.

            1. That’s the only thing that worked for me, too. They learned not to start getting ready earlier, but to get ready faster.

              I did, for a while, park so that the driveway was in full summer Tucson sun to break the habit of putting their shoes and socks on in the car…

        2. One of my former neighbors had a son graduating from high school. She knew how late her various siblings tended to be, and gave each of them a time that was adjusted for that person. They all arrived within about five minutes of the actual graduation ceremony time, but then compared notes while sitting around – and realized what my neighbor had done. Busted!

            1. No, no they didn’t. I was on vacation with that entire crowd a few years later and her two siblings that tended to run about 15 and 45 minutes late were almost as bad. The 45 minute late one was, thankfully, not interested in most of the group activities, so presented an obstacle only a couple times.

          1. My mom did a similar thing with my aunt and her mini-me niece, it worked fine.

            When you do it with groups, though, you end up with the Military standard of waking up an hour early so you can go stand and wait for the thing scheduled to start at 9, which doesn’t actually start until 10.

            1. On that one horrible field trip no one ever bothered to actually inform anyone of the real start time, so I didn’t dare take 10 minutes to walk back to the car for a stroller.

              Yes… I’m still mad. I don’t foresee that changing in my lifetime.

              1. Scout outings which were generally 3rd weekend every month except summer camp & extended backpack weeks. Always on published yearly calendar as soon as school activity calendar was published. Both, plus holidays, were on that calendar, families signed for the final published verson so there was no excuse “we didn’t get one”. So, they knew the weekend & prior pack inspection & packing the night before; & when vehicles were leaving. Night leaving scout just needed to be there properly dressed with that evenings dinner & “early” (if you were on time you were late). Vehicles left on-the-dot. If you were late, either your kid didn’t go, or you drove to the spot yourself; if we were backpacking, they didn’t go, no way to meet up.

                We were sneaky. Every new group of cubs that were brought in we arranged for a scout “to be late”, always a parent who was spending the weekend anyway. New parents caught on after the weekend, not intended to be that sneaky, but it got the point across. Especially when the “chosen” weekend was a backpacking outing (happened once, took advantage of it). The parent chosen then had an older scout & was chosen to enable said parent & scout to not pack in alone (one weekend that was us, we had a reason to be late, & had a couple of other scouts who were late for the same reason, hiked in really late).

                Along the same lines. If a scout acted out during an outing, parents signed a letter that if called they or directed guardian had to come get the scout. Only time that happened was when a scout had to leave early; we’d set the scene so younger scouts (older ones were on to leaders) & it’d be talked about for weeks that someone got sent home from camp early. FYI. Leave early excuse, someone had better be dying/died, or scheduled trip to Philmont or National Jamboree.

                1. We have two towns that contribute Scouts to my troop. For some reason, darn near everyone in one of the towns (the one I don’t live in) is 5 minutes behind the rest of the world. Not just in Scouts- but everything.

                  One can either be perpetually annoyed, or learn to live with it.

                  I do know I upset one parent one time when we let the Scouts do all the menu planning for themselves, and the leaders planned our own meals. They left quite a bit off the menu that really needed to be there for them to have full bellies, and I was willing to let them learn that prior proper planning is important by letting them live with the results of doing otherwise. He thought that cruel and unusual and pointed out to them what they were missing.

                  1. I know that my husband’s troop had the scouts arrange meals for themselves, and if they screwed up, well, that was there problem. I don’t know if it was cruel and unusual, but overall the policy made them into fine men.

                  2. First outing experienced adults are partnered with new scouts & parents. Parents are expected to “watch” & partake of the results. This is to prove the patrol can be fed nutritionally & fully, with allergies accounted for, & without breaking the bank. Plus the boys won’t poison themselves; might eat some charcoal. After that the menus are overseen, but at sometime every patrol makes a mistake & has a learning experience; not saying the mistake is not pointed out, but advise is ignored. Unless it is going to endanger the scouts they are allowed to learn. Never had a food mistake endanger anyone.

                    Have had a few other mistakes Scouts made. In our area “cheap” rain gear is not one of the mistakes allowed. However, we did have one scout forget his sleeping bag. Scouts took care of it. Adults did not know it had happened for days after the outing ended.

                    1. Liking the sounds of this. May try to get the Squire interested in this stuff when he’s old enough. Mind you he’s going to be learning a lot at my knee before he gets there though. Toss up between scouts and Canadian cadet organizations.

                    2. For us scouts was easy. Which of the youth organizations actually do the outdoors part? Locally that’s not Campfire or 4-H or Girl Scouts (not co-ed), or it wasn’t 1995 through 2007 (age 6 through 18) on through 2012, when we finally stopped helping as adults. We, hubby & I, as adults, already had the expertise to assist with outdoor experiences; & the equipment*. We just had to learn the Scouting method of leadership & the adults role.

                      * Equipment. Sure as a family we already had what we needed. But, at least our troop, & most troops in the area, troop provides group items (tents, cooking items, including stoves, etc.). Youth only has to have personal items, Backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain gear, boots, appropriate clothing, & personal eating “plates”, spoon, & something to carry water. Troop has equipment that can be borrowed for awhile & provides a lot of opportunities for boys to earn money for equipment they need (or want). Technically they could fund everything out of their scouting accounts, with very little out of pocket from family. Dues, equipment, summer camp, & extra (like high adventure or national jamboree). Troop takes 1/2 of all net commissions of all fund raisers, boys/families get the other 1/2 that go into their scouting accounts to be used for scouting activities & equipment (if you quit, you don’t get to pull it out). Troop part of the commission. Major TROOP fund raiser, Christmas Tree Pickup, that is what pays for Tents, Cooking Equipment, Troop Charter, etc., & some into a High Adventure Fund (to help with high adventure camps & national jamboree, not pay all, but help). Council Product Sales, Troops part of the Commission they figure extra prizes for amount of product sold, which are accumulative; example: Level 1: Water bottle or small personal First Aid Kit; Level 2: Folding Knife or (something equivalent); Level 3: Sleeping Bag or Personal Tent (that you can use on outings & NOT have to share) or camp cot or nice day pack or backpack. You get the point.

                    3. FWIW kid did Scouts & Sports. But then through Jr High (8th grade) coach was also a Scout leader (dad). HS kid did cross country & golf, plus the electric cars; which most the older scouts did. Portland Speed Raceway Electric Car Race Weekend was one of the weekends blocked off from scouting activities. Not so much loosing most the Senior Patrol, although that was not best, but if parents of those scouts were the ones who went on outings too, then there were a lack of adult leadership & drivers, also. Lets see hmmm, go see kid drive an electric car in a race at the Portland Raceway, in a car that he helped build or ?

      2. Feh. Half a dozen times now, we’ve showed up at 0530 or 0600 for an early-morning medical procedure, only to wait in the parking lot until someone wandered in and unlocked the doors at 0700-ish. And then we got to see the doctor sometime after nine…

        Next time, I will unleash my Shouty Man persona on them, and then send them a bill for my not-unreasonable hourly rate for their waste of my time.

        1. One of the reasons our former pediatrician is former is that they did the same trick.

          Appointment for 8, be there no later than 15 minutes prior or they’ll charge you…they didn’t show up until 8:15.

          1. I hope that you dumped them only when it was a consistent behavior. Many doctors have a hell of a time keeping a schedule – because all too many things have to be dealt with RIGHT NOW, and non-urgent things have to go hang. (One of the reasons that a lot of them are in group practices these days. With the shortage of doctors, they can at least have a doctor available for scheduled patients. Also why there are more PAs – they free up the MDs for the emergency problems.)

            1. If it had been a case where “emergency” could be a reason, I wouldn’t even have been bothered– I’ve had doctor appointments delayed three hours because the obgyn was called away for a baby, for example.

              But there is no way that all eight clerks, five nurses and three doctors had an emergency at the start of the day which delayed the location even opening so we could sit inside.

              (They’ve also consistently tried Stupid Billing Tricks, such as charging me for a mental health consultation…for a visit on my son. And they completely lost the record of one of the kids’ visit, which wouldn’t be too big, except that they gave her shots. It was a pretty solid piece of work. Oh! And the most recent attempt was flat-out insurance fraud, but that was after we changed practices.)

              1. Did they try the trick where ‘are you feeling ok?’ counts as a mental health consult?

                    1. Next time, I gave only information directly required by treatment, and wrote “DECLINED” across the top of all the rest.

                      They tried charging me anyways.

                      Like I said, there were many reasons….

    1. I’ve seen some places that appear to have been inhabited by the Goat With a Thousand Young — and the thousand young.

  17. “Go clean your room.”

    Yes, Mom.

    Packing for The Great Move is fast becoming an interesting experience. Nothing is actually in boxes yet, but I’ve starting the sorting process and, boy howdy, do I have a lot of stuff. Books and clothing, mostly, along with a lot of miscellaneous horse tack and a mysterious stack of papers that somehow never got filed.

    And in some ways, The Great Move is more complicated than a normal move, because I’m not just separating stuff into ‘junk; throw it away’ and ‘things to bring with me’. I have priority stuff that will come along in the first round of moving (everything has to fit in the trunk of my car), semi-important stuff (mostly books and kitchenware) that my dad has offered to send/bring to me sometime after I’m settled, a few semi-interesting things that he’s willing to hang onto in case I want them in a couple years, and junk to be thrown away.

    And keeping to a routine through this whole to-do has been, shall we say, an interesting experience. Not impossible, just interesting.

  18. We have 1st and 3rd Saturday parties (wow, 15 years of them, now). One of the nice side-effects is that the house doesn’t get away from us. Having to clean this monstrous thing takes forever. It’s much, much easier to just keep it clean.

  19. Hm. WordPress seems to have eaten my comment. I’ll try again:

    Packing for The Great Move is fast becoming an interesting experience. Nothing is in boxes yet, but I’ve started sorting through things and, boy howdy, do I have a lot of stuff. Mostly books and clothing, along with a lot of miscellaneous horse tack and a mysterious pile of papers that never got filed.

    In some ways, The Great Move is more complicated than a normal move, because a normal, discrete move requires sorting things into ‘junk; throw it away or donate it’ and ‘bring this with me’. I’m sorting things into priority (the first wave of moving; everything must fit in the trunk of my car), semi- important things (kitchenware and more books) that my dad has offered to send/bring to me once I’m settled, a few semi-interesting things that he’s offered to keep for when I need them in a few years, and things to get rid of. It’s been a pretty interesting trip down memory lane; I’ve lived in this house for most of my life, and stuff accumulates.

    1. That’s kind of normal. I just don’t know how to bring home the things in my mom’s house. And yes, I want them (most of them have sentimental value) but they’re also cumbersome. Like the “egg Shell porcelain tea set”. Or my wedding dress. Now, mind you, since I don’t have a daughter, the wedding dress is not a massive priority. BUT I MIGHT someday have granddaughters and the d*mn thing (yeah) cost 2k in 1985, in PORTUGAL. It’s all Italian handmade lace. Also, I’m kind of attached to it. And if mom dies, well…
      Probably should bring it back next trip, or find a good shipping service…
      I think the things Dan had at his parents’ house just got tossed when they moved to the retirement home.
      So, moving away from home in stages is normal…

    2. In 2017 I tossed my high school physics notes. Because you never know, and they were really, really good notes, but physics has changed so much that they weren’t going to be any help to anyone. And I needed the space for school-related DVDs.

      1. Oh, no, that doesn’t sound familiar AT ALL.

        That stack of notebooks? No, they’re totally not from high school, and even if they are, there’s no way the writing’s faded to the point of illegibility. These are priceless heirlooms, I tell you, priceless!


        1. You mean the box of notebooks in the middle of the spare bedroom, because kid just might get a job in his degree & those notes will help him. Note the notes aren’t stacked in the closet because that’s where mom & dad’s notes are from 40 years ago … well okay we got rid of the notes, getting rid of THE BIG Degree Projects (x 3), is something else; & we’re retired!!! Seriously, trying to get him to get rid of the electronics while they work & while local thrift shops will take the things; ours are newer, he can take them if he ever moves away.

          1. Not sure why, but I didn’t keep my notes from college very long. OTOH, I finally broke down and got rid of my 1977 vintage Encyclopedia Britannica. The last time I used it was when I had dialup (before 2014?). That’s 5 feet of shelf space.

            The barn/shop is my serious problem area. winter season, the fire trailer stays in there, but come warmer weather, it comes out. With luck, I can use the hole to act as my declutter buffer space. A lot of the gubbage has been cleared, but some projects (sun room windows, etc) need to be installed and thus out of the shop. Other things need to be installed, like the LED fixtures for more shop lighting.

    3. I’d probably be better off if I had a bit more time than “Can you be up here by May 16th?” asked of me around the 20th of April (that’s the date I reserved the hotel room anyhow) to make a southwest DFW to Marinette/Menominee move. I told them “If I take next week off and drive up there to find a place to live, maybe.” leaving me just tossing everything into boxes to load into the u-haul, to stuff into a garage at a rental (I still wish I could have bought that house, but they refused to loan me that little, no really) until I signed on the place I ended up actually buying (small 401K loan to myself as it is a HUD house), and then workplace is a bloody unorganized mess (makes me look OCD in comparison) to the point that now a year and a half after moving into my home, I still have not fully unpacked.
      When in Texas, I was able to work my 40+ 4 day weeks, side, roof, etc. the rental for the landlady, and still do long trips around the area on my motorcycles while working on them and restomoding others.
      Here it is 5 days, but not a moment over 40 (they complained when I did 15 minutes over once) otherwise 50+ when over time (I refuse to go in on saturdays because they are poor managers and the supervisor once tried to get me to do a 60 hour week, I refused)

      Sorry, went off on a rant there.

      Anyhow, I have been slowly trying to sort out stuff. Got a good bit for either St. Vinny’s or the Homeless shelter (run by a pastor in the old catholic school and has a thrift shop on site) when it comes to clothes, a big pile of rags for staining or cleaning, and weather is warming up so maybe a resort in the garage as well. built benches but never organized it.

      1. > (I refuse to go in on saturdays because they are poor managers

        That very thing undoubtedly contributed to my employment at one place being terminated. They ran everything on the “last minute” system; too many “OMFG we only have four days to implement a major software roll-out” or whatever; resulting in people working sixteen hours a day across weekends or holidays, only to find out that management knew the deadline months before, but didn’t choose to pass that on in a timely fashion…

        1. “All overtime must be posted by Wednesday”
          This past Thursday, at 12:30, my lead came in with work oders for several hundred pails, and 20 or so 1000 kilo totes for relabeling.
          Due on the 22nd.(or Thursday)
          Shift ends at 2:30.
          Most only entered that same day, those not were from the night before.
          Only two of the items needed was all on site, everything else needs to come from across the river (we have little storage on site. Stupidest setup possible) or be blended to complete, and just printing product, warning, and GHS labels (did all those GHS needed for these orders), then labeling the first 32 pails took almost 4 hours alone. Two items they can’t even tell me what we have they want, or if it can be shipped “We’ll get back to you on that.”
          While printing GHS labeling, the Lead asks about an order that showed up on the “Past Due” report.
          Hard to ship on time when no one has a work order and even knows the sales order exists.
          I got those 32 pails filled, and no truck to ship them to the warehouse/shipping north of town so they still sit in my work area. So I was able to get one and a half of the orders complete, and only got to ship the half (which is likely to be only 1/5th as the order is supposed to change from 2 to 5, but in the 6 hours of that notification it hadn’t been changed. I’m told it takes a long time. Almost a whole minute)
          I’m not sure, but I think some or all of the totes I need did come in about 2:00 on Friday, but no one said a thing whether or not they were mine, or those needed for the other dept who are working today and tomorrow (blenders on 12 hour shifts)
          “you coming in Saturday?”
          And I am not doing a 50 hour week to catch up.
          But you know, if the fool planner had just added a week and made these orders for next Thursday, and said “We would like to get these on a container and shipped over seas ASAP, please.” I might have done 4 hours today, and did 10 hour days until completion.
          Make upper management ask why so much of my work is overdue, because you schedule them impossibly? I can’t be bothered.
          anyone whining about why work orders are over due will not like the explanation.
          They suffered the assumption I was a “slave” as they paid to move me and I pay it back in percentages if I quit (over a 3 year term unless let go, now on the last year of that) and I borrowed from my 401k (5 year payback unless I quit or am fired, then it is tax penalties), but after a back and forth someone convinced the supervisor I would walk away and pay back any money owed even if I went broke in the deal. I’m now well past totally broke (the tax hit is smaller and paying it, the additional from cashing out the 401k to pay the moving payment as well would still leave me a small amount to put in an IRA or something), so it gets easier for me, while no one has a clue as to how to do my job. It ain’t that hard, but we have over $60,000 in one mistake they made while I was on vacation, and they have not trained anyone to do it at all. They can fire me if they’d like, but I’ll laugh at them all the while, and have a good case for a grievance in court if I feel like it, and other reasons I can’t say here make it bad on their part to chase me off at all.
          I really had to stop giving anything close to a $#!+ or it’d drive me over the brink.
          They really just give me more incentive to just leave on the 5 year date of my 401 repay nearly every day. If it weren’t for that, I’d would likely be gone May 17th 2019. though the option is still there.

        2. My last job in software we rarely had deadlines from the boss (I would say never, but in 12 years I think it happened to me once). OTOH a few clients would call at 4:30 PM on Friday & complain payroll reports weren’t right & they had to be filed by 5 PM, knowing they had a problem all day. Then they’d ask “how long to fix it”, answer, “About 2 seconds after I find the coding problem. If it’s data error, it’s your problem & I don’t know.” Invariable I’d call back at 4:55 PM & report a data problems, & go home. Last few months I worked there I refused to answer the phone after 4:15 PM.

          Job before that. We’d get specs for changes (hardware & software). Engineering would provided timeline & deadline when new features could be done. Say Christmas. Marketing would come back, no Easter. Engineering would say well if Easter, then this is what you can have. Marketing, no we need everything by Easter. Engineering if you want everything deadline is Christmas. Powers that be – just do everything. Easter comes & marketing is screaming engineering is late & missing deadline. Engineering, no that’s your deadline, not engineering’s. Then engineering was expected to work 60 or 70 hour weeks. Yea, no. Probably why when company went into tail spin, I got cut on 4th round instead of latter. Not that it would have been more than a few more weeks …

  20. Still haven’t unpacked all the boxes from out last move. It’s only been 18 years now. Somewhere in the house (which is huge) there should be about 75′ of mooring line. We both remember seeing it coming off the truck when we moved here. But can’t find it. Anywhere.

    Lately I’ve started throwing stuff out . All the VHS tapes should be gone in another garbage day or two. Don’t have a VHS player, so… out with the tapes.

    Still undecided what to do with the laserdiscs- about 400 of them. We have a working laserdisc player, not hooked up. But with Netflix, HULU, and the DVD- BluRay player, well- we don’t really have a need for them. There’s a few music videos I might want to capture. If I can’t find them on Youtube.

    In 40 years of marriage one can collect quite a bit.

    1. My uncle had 30′ of mooring line (braided eyes at each end) and it was easy to find after the moves. It was from an ocean going freighter and was nearly 2.5-3″ in diameter, so it took up enough space it was too hard to hide.

      1. Eye is only at one end- it’s half a line that snapped… But yeah, it’s hard to lose but somehow we did it.

    2. Last year, we sorted through all the things in the garage that hadn’t been unpacked – that is, we unboxed, sorted, and reboxed ’em. Along the way, a large amount of stuff went out the door under “why are we still hanging onto this?”

      It really is easier to start with stuff that you haven’t touched in at least 6 months, because the emotional attachment to the item due to the memories it’s associated with starts to fade. By the third round of unboxing, sorting, and reboxing, the memories remain, but the item itself may have downgraded to a mere bit of stuff not worth keeping.

      Having watched a friend sort through stuff after the kids moved out – it’s not the stuff that’s hard; it’s processing all the memories and emotions associated with the stuff that’s hard. Deal with the memories and emotions, and the pile of magazines moves from “her favourite subscription she always loved to run out to the mailbox to get” to “a pile of old magazines I’m never going to read.”

  21. “It’s buying three of the left handed phillips head screw drivers because you can’t find the first or second you bought.”

    I learnd long ago that if there is a tool you need frequently, it’s a good idea to have several. Yes, ideally one should have a place for everything, and thus know where to find it, and we try. But what with one thing and another, it’s,good to increase themodds that at least ONE will be where you can put your hands on the furshlugginer thing.

    So, we have a dozen or so multi-head screwdrivers. We have at least threemsets of hex keys (lots of Ikea). I don’t have one lightning cable to charge my iPad; i have one permenantly plugged in everywhere I’m likely to be sitting.

    I don’t go on expensive vacations. I no longer drink (gout, not morals). Making my life easier while I deal with my wife’s mental and physical health issues can be a minor vice.

    1. Spare laptop cords. I’ve had two fray themselves to death, they’re not always at stock in the store, and if I don’t have one my ability to do my job for more than a few hours is severely hampered.

    2. You will most often find the tool you were looking for as soon as you buy a new one, use it and ding it enough you can’t return it.
      However, if you break the new one, you will not find it until you need said tool again (usually in a short time frame) and therefore have to go find another, and that new one does damage to what you are fixing due to “improvements” to the design. Then it will turn up.

      I found the fusible link mount I need for my alternator swap on the bike, weekend before last. Yes, I had bought, not one, but two different fuse holders to cobble one together (yes, I forgot I had gotten one and later bought a different, but better suited one). It was in a box with some clothes and magazines (both paper, A Race Tech and two old Racecar Engineering, and one 1911 8 round mag with several spring and follower kits) so I have no clue how it ended up with that stuff. Glad to have come across it.

    3. Sigh. Having finished the utility room last week, the office is next. I’ll finally go through the cable boxes and reduce them again. Centronics printer cables, when everything is USB now. VGA cables – probably a full box of those. Coaxial cables. (I’ll keep the thousand feet or so of network cable, though – being paranoid, this house is not WIFI.)

  22. I’m working on it. I leave my command in two weeks. My apartment gets packed out the week after that. Then three weeks of school, two weeks of which is sleeping on an air mattress before spending the last week at a friend’s house. Then a month of leave at home. THEN the move to Japan and finding a place.

    At some point, there will be a routine set up: exercise, nutrition, writing, studying. Not for a couple of months, though, and in the meantime it is just the endless spinning of wheels and planning/daydreaming.

    Also, multiple “half-way around the world” moves with half my stuff in one place and half of it in transit/elsewhere means that I do have two sets of tools. And two sets of dishes. And doubles of a number of books. I’ve made several trips to the thrift store to drop stuff off, and have a couple more in my future before being packed out.

  23. I used to go by the online moniker “Chaos Manager” due to an innate ability to organize and logically/structurally address things. People recognized that I though like a computer – separate discrete steps (small steps). I was good at breaking any task into the small steps necessary to complete it. My boss loved having me write the step-by-step guides for user manuals and to send to help desk customers. A good chunk of it was due to a more significant amount of anal retentiveness than I’m comfortable with. Therapist once told me that I was mildly OCD. Can’t argue with that.

    Nowadays, due to my health declining and depression setting in, I just don’t have the energy or drive to give into my OCD side. Shoot, I can barely push myself to get back into writing. I’ve got a couple novels in the middle of outlining (I’m not much of a pantser, if you couldn’t tell from the OCD). My big problem is the depression’s pushing my doubts forward. So, I’m working a couple short stories to force myself back into the habit. Wish me luck.

    1. All the luck in the world to you – and hopefully it rebounds with a multiplier!

      You sound very much like myself; the novels are dragging while I keep hitting more things that just have to get pinned down. Shorts – I need to get back on Tales By The Road. They are something I can do (when I do them) without the excessive perfectionism – I let them go where they will. (They don’t particularly seem to get there, at least judging by the sales/KU reads – but I don’t have the same high expectations as for the novels.)

        1. Ever see the episode of Monk where he was in to see his therapist, and ANOTHER OCD (CDO) person was there, but they had different ideas of what “organized” meant, when it came to the set of shelves (can’t remember if it was a magazine rack or something else), and kept changing each other’s setup?

  24. The truth is, we, the children of the children of WWII might have had order imposed externally, but few of us had a internal “system”. There was no “Early to bed and early to rise” except maybe as a joke. There was no “This is how people of our class keep our houses.”

    I am pretty sure I’ve said it more than once here but one of the biggest a ha moments of my life was realizing in the D/s world that half the classes for people to the right side are home economics.

    No, yes, maintaining a butler book and planning a formal dinner and running the staff (yes, real classes I have been to) are beyond normal home economics and harken back to the professional classes of the turn of the 20th century (and the upper classes), but basic sewing, menu planning, kitchen knife usage and care, laundry, ironing, etc are things we used to learn as kids.

    We think of hippies and bathing in the great relearning but it is also cleaning your room.

  25. Sarah, I posted a comment at your recent Instapundit posting on Venezuela. Disqus threw it out as spam (“Detected as Spam. Thanks, we’ll work on getting this corrected.” I have NEVER – and I mean NEVER-seen a case where Instapundit got it corrected.) My comments may be considered pedantic, but they are not spam.

    Often I can get something past the “spam” filter by making the comment simpler: leaving out a link or other HTML. Didn’t work this time.

    I would appreciate your finding out precisely why my first comment got thrown out as spam. Thank you.

    1. Richard, I don’t think I can do much about it. My experiences with the tech side of PJMedia are less than stellar (some of my absences are because I get inexplicably locked out. Right now I can log on in ONE of my computers. I can’t give it to my husband (who needs one for travel) because otherwise I’ll never post again.
      I’ll ask, but the chances of anything coming of it are minor.
      Also, I hate disqus and can only comment using it one time out of ten. Part of the reason I rarely respond to PJmedia comments.
      But go ahead, tell me what you wished to say about Venezuela here.

      1. In response to Lawrence English’s comment:I am not sure that in my lifetime, that there has ever been a more incompetent leader of any country.

        For incompetence, I suggest you try Mugabe. Try Hugo Chávez. The only difference between Maduro and Chavez is $50 versus $100 oil. Maduro is continuing the policies that Chavez put into place. Ruin of PDVSA? Chávez started it. Price controls? Ditto. Refusal to accept votes against Chavismo, as in the 2015 legislative elections? Chávez also did it- See his “victoria de mierda” response to the defeat of his constitutional referendum in 2008. (Actually December 2007)

        For all the brouhaha about Chavez doing great things with the economy, it was all smoke and mirrors. You get $100 billion a year in oil income, and throw the money in the air, some of it will stick somewhere.
        The drop in the price of oil from 2014 to present has had a negative effect on Venezuela’s economy. However, it was evident by 2013- the year he died- that Venezuela’s economy had problems that could not be blamed on a low oil price.

        When Chávez was elected in 1998, Venezuelan oil was selling for around $11/BBL. The price of oil rebounded to the $20s in 1999, the year he took office. When Chávez died in 2013,Venezuelan oil was selling for around $100/BBL. How did Venezuela’s economy perform with this oil price bonanza, compared to the rest of the world? Not very well, it turns out.
        World Bank data (World Bank Development Indicators) shows that from 1998- 2013, Venezuela’s increase in per capita income was 15.5%, compared to 44.5% for the world, 30.1% for Latin America, and 109.3% for Middle Income countries. GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $

        Venezuela would have been classified as Upper Middle Income or above. In 1998, Upper Middle Income countries averaged $6,752 in the above income classification, compared with Venezuela’s $15,362.
        In spite of the bonanza in oil export income from 1999-2013, the performance of the Venezuelan economy was anemic compared to other countries. That shows that Chávez was just as incompetent as Maduro. The only difference being, as far as I can tell, is that Chávez was more charismatic.
        I doubt that Chávez would have done much differently from what Maduro has done. Both were much more concerned with staying in power than in accomplishing anything positive with that power.

        Many people poke fun at Maduro for having been a bus driver. They forget WHY Maduro became a bus driver. Maduro was a Castro-trained operative who became a bus driver with the goal of becoming the head of the bus drivers’ union. Mission accomplished. If Maduro is the doofus people claim he is, then why is he still in power five years after Hugo died?

        World Bank: World Development Indicators

    2. InstaPundit and PJM in general need moderators who will actually do something. I’m busy dealing with a troll over there who’s been using my username and gravatar image on his Disqus account. I’ve reported him to both, and both of them are saying “It’s the other guy’s job.” This has been going on for a SOLID MONTH.

      I’m at the point of filing a lawsuit against both of them for aiding and abetting wire fraud and defamation, to a) get them to do something and b) find out who this clown is so I can charge him.

        1. Oh dear, is this another “array” thing? I did a comment on “You are what you read” that looks like the last time I did anything other than read. Looks like I read Dave Freer’s column on March 19, but I haven’t been there that much.

          Pete (the real RCPete)

        2. Oh yeah, any of my postings to ATH from 3-22 to the morning of 3-25 were from Medford, not home. OTOH, I doubt my IP is stable. I think it can change every time I cycle the power for the satellite modem. (It should stay consistent for a few weeks at a time.)

  26. “A place for everything and everything in it’s place” is a Platonic Ideal.

    I can’t ever quite get everything back into its appointed place, but one mantra that has helped me cut chaos is “a (designated) place for everything (when you put it away someday), and nothing in the wrong place.”
    That is:
    Don’t mix different kinds of papers in one file box; don’t drop the tools in the bedroom; keep all of the spare batteries in one location; that sort of thing.

    However, I am firmly of the same opinion expressed above that there should be multiples of useful things in more than one location: scissors, tape, markers … my grandmother had ONE wastebasket in her entire house; I have one in every room.

    As for moving (been there, done that, haven’t learned not to collect more stuff anyway): after helping my In-Laws pack for a major move to be closer to family, I now recommend His-and-Her Moving Vans to forestall arguments of the “are you really planning to take THAT?” variety.

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