Monday, February 23, 2015

5 Trunks and a Tote (Dream Save Do, week 17)

Eight days ago, at mile marker 178 on southbound I55 just south of St. Louis, I had an epiphany.

"5 trunks and a tote."

That was my epiphany.

I think I need to explain. When I moved to this apartment last summer, I transported everything except for the large pieces of furniture -- bed, dining room table, etc -- myself. I purchased 5 large plastic bins with locking lids from Home Depot; I packed up those 5 bins with stuff, loaded the bins in the car, unpacked them in the new place, and repeated the process again, once or a couple times a day for a week, until everything was moved and in place.

The 5 bins fit perfectly into the back of my little red Prius -- 3 sat snugly across the folded-down back seat with 2 more behind them, leaving about 12" across the back for Dazey's water and food bowl and vintage tin I store her dog food in. My tote fit nicely on the floorboard behind the passenger seat with my purse behind the driver's seat. The arrangement appealed to my sense of neatness and of things fitting nicely, and every time I packed my car I appreciated the orderliness of it.

Yes, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to thinks like organization.

Okay, back to the epiphany. I was singing along with KLOU (my favorite oldies radio station), and just as I was passing the Herculaneum exit, the phrase "5 trunks and a tote" popped into my head. I knew in an instant exactly what it meant, and the realization was so profound that I actually said, "Eureka!"

The idea is that before the next move, I am able to pack all of my possessions into 5 trunks ("trunks" goes better than "bins" with "and a tote", don't you think?) and a tote.

I knew right away I could do it, but for seven days, whenever my mind was at rest, different scenarios of how I could do it ran through my head. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it's 100% feasible.

Because I've decided to scrapbook digitally, once I get all of my non-digital photos and memorabilia scanned and saved to my external hard drives (the 2nd is for backup of the 1st -- I'm a bit leery of losing everything), I will have on 2 very small devices what took 2-3 carloads -- yes 10-15 bins of stuff. My large wicker file box would be unnecessary -- all of those papers could also be stored digitally. One bin for summer clothes, two bins for winter clothes (they're thicker & bulkier, of course), and 2 bins for a few dishes and cookware and other odds and ends.

I've taught study skills and goal-setting enough to know that to be a good goal, a goal must be SMART --  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely -- and the goal that extends from my epiphany fits those criteria. And now, for accountability, I am going to make it Public:

By June 1, 2016, I will have pared my possessions (other than furniture) down to what will fit inside 5 trunks and a tote.

There. I've declared it publicly. I'm even going to share this on fb so it's fb official!

I'll post updates on my progress, so if you want to follow this journey with me, make sure you sign up to receive updates via email.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lest I Forget

Last week I did something that I wish I hadn't had the opportunity to do to begin with. I watched the video of the brutal, evil-filled murder-by-burning-alive of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh.      (No specific details will be shared here)

It was without a doubt the most horrific thing I have ever seen.

Still, the decision to watch it was the right one . . . for me. Let me explain.

Almost every day I read about another horrible event or situation. A 6-month baby dies after being sexually assaulted by her biological father. Human beings of all ages are sold into slavery -- for labor, sex, or whatever their evil captors and owners have in mind. An elderly man is horribly abused by a caretaker in the nursing home in which he resides. And the list goes on and on.

This isn't new, of course. Atrocities such as these have been part of human life for thousands of years.

And, for the most part, those historical atrocities are forgotten as new atrocities occur.

I was reminded of this truth just a few weeks ago, when I mentioned to a coworker that I had been on the outskirts of Oklahoma City and regretted that I hadn't had time to go into the city itself and visit and pay my respects "at the memorial". My colleague appeared perplexed and responded "what memorial?". I explained that I was referring to the memorial to those lost in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in April 1995.

Yes, it's been 20 years, but 20 years ago I wouldn't have believed it if you told me the day would come when the words "Oklahoma City" and "memorial" wouldn't immediately bring that event to mind.

I know how my mind works, and I know that visuals stay with me much longer than mere words. I can close my eyes now and see images of Holocaust victims and survivors. I can see an airplane fly into the first World Trade Center tower and then another fly into the 2nd. I know that I will remember those images until my memory fails me entirely.

And I wanted to never forget the atrocities of these evil individuals who have beheaded numerous captives and now burned alive another. I want to always remember Lt.Muath al-Kaseasbeh and his dignity in the face of his unfathomably-horrific fate. By extension, I want to always remember his family and keep them in my prayers.

And I want to do my part to make sure my elected officials never forget this, either, and that they do whatever they can to help find these evil individuals, hold them accountable, and rid our world of their horrible, hate-possessed organization and others like it.

So yes, I can now close my eyes and see Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh. And every time I do, I am moved.

May I never forget.

Monday, February 16, 2015

How Quickly They . . . well, I . . . Forget (Dream Save Do, week 16

You'd think that, with 23 moves in the 30+ years since I graduated from college, I'd have no illusions as to the amount of work involved in moving from one place to another. I've moved solo, married-but-pre-children, pregnant (at 2 months along, 6 months along, and 8 months along, for those who may be keeping track), married-with-children, and then back to solo. I've moved short distances -- about 5 blocks -- and across country. I've moved in snow, rain, and 100+ degrees in the desert. I've upsized and downsized.

Still, somehow I thought that since I've downsized tremendously this move would be "easier". Delusional -- that's me!

In the handful of weeks since I found out I would definitely be moving, I've neglected everything except my job to prepare for this move and to get it underway. Closing was last Friday, and so far I've:

  • sold almost $600 worth of stuff, with only one or two large items in the mix -- tons of small stuff

  • thrown away at least 4 large garbage bags of duplicate photos and memorabilia I was going to use in scrpbooks

  • transported 3 carloads of household odds and ends household goods to the new house

As I look at that list, it doesn't seem like I've accomplished all that much, but I know that's not true. I've worked very hard these past few weeks, and the end is finally in sight. One more trip with bins of my dishes, glassware, and cookware, and I'll be done. I'll stand aside and watch the professionals load up the furniture and the boxes in the storage facility here, and then I'll direct them as they deliver that furniture and those boxes to the new house.

I'm excited about this move and about where it's taking me, but I am sorry that it's distracted me from this blog and from other pursuits and interests. I'm looking forward to settling into the new place and into new routines.

I'm also excited about tweaking this blog a bit. While I've been sorting and packing, I've had time to consider the direction I want to go, and that will be changing somewhat. I'll be sharing more about those changes in the weeks ahead, but I hope you'll hang around and continue to share this journey with me.