Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Expiration Date

The other day, I read my sister's post and I now know who is to blame for the fact that I have so much's clearly my parents fault! In her post, Joan spoke about how our parents never got rid of anything until all the life was sucked out of it (Joan used the work 'frugal'). It didn't matter if it was a jacket, a television, a lamp, a car. As long as the item could still be used, it was.

This has translated into my life in the following way... I see something that I don't need at that moment, but I want to have it "just in case the one that I already have, dies", or "just in case the store runs out and doesn't have it when I need it". Then what happens is that the original item either never dies, so I continue to have a spare (or two, or three) hanging around...or I decide to use the new item, but the original item is still useful, so I can't possibly throw it out. (Which would probably explain the W*nnie the P*oh, Batm*n, and Power R*nger comforters, among other things, that I haven't been able to part with)...sigh.

At times I have circumvented this dilemma in the following way...I take the still useful item and donate it either to a friend, neighbor, or a charity. I can justify getting rid of a 'perfectly good _______ (fill in the blank)...if I know that someone else will continue to use it and get some enjoyment from it. But that only works when I am ready to replace the old item with the new. Sometimes I just not ready to 'let go' of an item...usually for sentimental reasons, yet it needs to be replaced. Then I end up holding on to both (see the above comforters) items.

It's only when I get fed up with the clutter, or I am thinking about having to pack up the car in case I need to evacuate (which thank goodness I didn't have to do), that this extra 'stuff' starts to bother me. Fortunately/unfortunately that's where I am now...if I can only find the time to follow through, I might actually be able to go against the lessons in frugality that I learned from my parents, and get rid of some stuff... if only...sigh. Breathe in ... breathe out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

To Pack or Not to Pack

Received an email from my local was actually a 'community update' regarding the fires here in Southern California. It recommended that all residents in my area load-up their cars and be ready to evacuate at a moments notice. Currently, there are no fires within my immediate vicinity, however three years ago there were fires located near where the current fires are, and overnight the fire travelled over the mountains and reached my community.

Three years ago, we were awaken at 1:30am by a neighbor pounding on our front door telling us that the development up the hill from us was being evacuated, and that we should start packing up our cars....which we did. At 2:30am the county sheriff was pounding on our front door, recommending that we evacuate our home which we didn't. It wasn't a mandatory evacuation...just a strong suggestion.

Last time, I remember looking at the stuff that I chose to pack, and at the stuff that I chose to leave behind...It made me realize that I have lots of stuff. a lot of unnecessary stuff. Evidently I haven't done a darn thing about it...because here it is three years later and I still have way too much stuff.

This time, I am somewhat at a standstill re: what to pack. I've gotten together some of the family photos (including computer disks)...but not all of them. I've made a list of things to remember to put in the car...just in case. On my list I've written down that I should grab the important papers(including my moms), two laptops (the family one, and mine from work), the desk top tower, picture boxes ( and I've put some loose pictures in a plastic container), Amber (the dogs) leash, the kitty's...their two carriers...and their litter box! Food for the animals, medicine for each family member, clothes for a few days.

I can't think of what else is really important. Instead of packing everything into my van...I'm sitting here posting...trying to decide if it's really necessary to put it all in one place, or if making a list is enough. I'm wondering if I am in denial that the fire will come this way again...or if I'm being optimistic that it won't. My head hurts from breathing smoke all day, and I just want to go to sleep.

Just to add to the fun and excitement... Sport threw-up this afternoon, I think that it was a reaction to all of the smoke. Thank goodness I have a carpet cleaning machine in my garage (actually, I have two)...and although I think that it is a god-send everytime someone throws-up on the carpet, I will not be adding it to my list of things to take, in an emergency. I sure hope that Sport feels better soon, I sure hope that we don't have to evacuate, and I sure hope that the fire season passes quickly, and that no more lives are lost...and that no more homes are lost.

I would say...breathe in...breathe out...but with all of the smoke and particulate matter in the air, I'm thinking that wouldn't be too healthy...sigh