A Christmas Present

For Christmas, I liquidated part of our emergency cushion to pay off my husband’s credit card debt.  (He’d run it up because the computer that lies at the heart of his enterprises died and there hadn’t been enough loose cash to pay for a new one.)

Clearing a couple thousand dollars out of savings feels like a tooth has been pulled.

But as the shock began to abate, it became clear that the pay off was a decluttering.

Darkly (and not what I mean) the cash itself is gone…

And so are the bindings of the debt freeing emotional space for new dreams to reach for the sun.

And what cash remains has no strings attached.  The cash I spent freed the rest of it.


Breathing spaces

I haven’t posted in six weeks.

Because I haven’t done any formal decluttering for six weeks.

I have been enjoying the wide open spaces of our decluttered lower level.  There’s room enough to really get moving to my exercise videos; room to move and room to breathe!

So today as I was wrapping gifts for my family…

…using a recycled packing box and a roll of gift paper from the substantial (albeit well-culled) stash amassed by my husband’s deceased first wife…

…I pulled off the last square yard of paper and exposed the naked cardboard core…

… and felt the satisfaction of having put to GOOD USE something we’d held onto.

(Later I emptied into the day’s third load of laundry the last specks of detergent from a similarly historical box of Tide.)

The emptied core and box are in the recycle bin.

Our house is beginning to breathe freely.

First World Decluttering Problems

The old Jetta’s ignition system died.

We could have resurrected it.  (Although it hadn’t had air-conditioning for over a year…)

Our mechanic — who’d been kind of hinting all along… — got all set up for a date with the junk dealer.


Somebody suggested we Donate the car to charity.

Seven or eight phone calls later we had a promise that the car would be picked up five days hence.

Then their flatbed broke down.

And then it still wasn’t fixed.

But then it still wasn’t fixed.

So they borrowed a flatbed from somewhere else

and finally one day..


Half of the Stainless Steel Ware Drawer

Yesterday I volunteered to be a project director for a council so buried under proposed projects they are frantic.

I’ve set myself the project of finding a project director for each proposed project…

…recognizing that the Council has been too swamped to sort out where one project ends and the next begins.

I woke up with my head in a tangle.

So I sorted our silted up stainless steel ware drawer…

This collection of miscellanea will go to the next community rummage sale while..

This collection of matched pieces — which do NOT match our own set — will first be offered to friends.  Then, if any of it comes home, set aside for rummage.

(My husband edited all my choices, agreed on what could go but kept all sorts of pieces he likes to use.)



Learning the Swing of Things

A friend of my husband and his new bride, my fellow member of our Second Wives of Widowers circle and a short lady, had us over for a movie night.

At popcorn time, she deftly climbed on a dinette chair to reach her supplies on the upper shelf.

Last night as we prepared to join them again, my husband loaded one of our FOUR folding step stools into the car.


Selected two of the seven rubber jar-grippers that threaten to overwhelm kitchen tool drawer and added them to the stack of dvd’s…

I am so proud of him.


When we learn what is most needed, we likely have some bounty for fire-stricken Santa Rosans, too.

Better than food

We headed over to watch a movie with a friend recovering from hip replacement surgery. On the way out, I grabbed up my knitting — a scarf-for-a-serviceman project I want to finish soon.

Our friend’s new wife is one of those hyperkinetics who needs to be doing.  All the time. Generally this takes the form of plying guests with mountains of delectables far surpassing any adult’s actual nutritional needs.

I refused to be fed.  Three times.  I’d already had lunch.  I got out my knitting.

She began to watch. “I don’t know how to knit,” she admitted.  Yet the fascinating movements had caught her attention.

Quietly, deftly, I pulled out a second pair of needles and a fresh skein of yarn.  “Oh No,” she demurred.  But she was hooked.  She took hold of them.

Under the sounds of the movie, without words I began to cast on. Her eyes glued to my hands.  She began to get the motion and soon she had cast on fifteen stitches.

Picking up my own work I knit a stitch in slow motion. She made her own first stitch, then with great focus made her way through her first row.  Talking softly to herself about the necessary motions, their objectives, and improvements to her technique, she knit two more rows.

I asked my husband for the car keys…

…drove the two miles home to snatch up remnants of pink and maroon, a complete skein of variegated white, fawn, and gold, a spare pair of my grandmother’s old needles and an extra carrying bag for it all.  I returned to see her triumphantly display a little rectangle of very neat stitches.

By the movie’s end she’d latched onto her new needles and the pink and had begun to make herself a scarf.

Clutter to treasure!

Inch by inch, one pie at a time.

It all started when my sister-in-law got a late-night yen for some cookies and posted a drawing she’d sketched of herself dreaming about the biggest, creme-filling-filled-est cookie…

That Drawing Made Me Salivate!

So we chatted about what a good thing it was that I didn’t actually have any cookies in my house.  If I REALLY wanted a cookie I’d have to get to work and Bake Some. Only it was already quite late.  And I’m not the greatest cookie baker.

But WAIT!!!!!

Couple of days ago, hadn’t I cored and chopped a bag of apples to make pie filling?

Those apples started humming and singing in my mind, explaining that they did NOT want to end their days in the back of the refrigerator.

So I pulled out the two bowls, the four ingredients, the whisk, the waxed paper and the rolling pin and got to work on a pie crust….

And blimey if there wasn’t EGG-Zackly the necessary length of waxed paper to finish up both the pie crust rolling out job and the paper on the old roll at the same time.

And you can see that ancient orange box at the bottom of the pile of kitchen paper I pulled, two years ago, out of all the hidden nooks and crannies of our clutter-stuffed cupboards while purging and sorting my husband’s deceased first wife’s stuff.

Rest in piece, empty waxed paper box.  You are now off to the recycler.