3 Days of Shredding, 2 Crazy Cats, & a Partridge in a Pear Tree

In case you didn’t hear, it snowed in North Carolina this week. It accumulated to about 8 inches which is good enough to shut down the state.

The credit for the image goes to a weatherman at WFMY. I saved it to text to my mom, who thought it was funny.

Here is an actual picture:

That was Wednesday morning and it didn’t stop snowing until late afternoon. Schools have been closed since then because, down here, we kinda just wait for things to melt.

It’s currently almost 50 degrees.

I like to take advantage of being home on snow days. Last year, I redid my half bath. This year, I continued my minimizing mission and tackled the hardest part of being an adult. 

Shredding.

I’ve been shredding papers for 3 days and I’m nowhere near done. I shred pay stubs from back in 2010. I relived my job hunting days and the time I somehow lived my life with $400+ student loan payments. I found the lease agreement from the house we rented during my senior year of college. 

I’ve always been the type to save papers “just in case.” Just in case of what, though? Once I locate them, I’ll of course save my tax returns and mortgage documents, but why do I think I need to save every bill and document I’ve received for the past 10 years? I think it’s insane, therefore I just be insane.

On the bright side, shredding makes me feel like I’m really getting stuff done. Look at the clutter go! I got a shredder from Amazon that cuts everything into little pieces of confetti and I’d place it on my list of great purchases. It’s so easy to dump these little pieces! 

While I celebrate one accomplishment, my cats are destroying another.

I don’t think I have photos, but pre-cat I placed some succulents on a shelf in the den, right under the window. Neither Timmy nor Bear could reach the shelf… Until last week. Nothing is safe now. They’re like two little Spider-Mans that can scale any obstacle and knock things off, just to watch them fall. 

Most of the succulents have been pulled out of the pots. Today, Bear knocked a little souvenir from Delaware off the shelf. I was emailing my principal when I hear shatter! The sound of broken glass. After I swept it up, they were playing with a clump of dort. Surely, they must be borwd , I thought. 

They were uninterested in chasing anything on a stick. Now they’re napping in the sunlight.

I planted some seeds the other night (early, I know) and while I’m shredding they like to sit on the plastic container.

That’s the face of contentment.

I’m hoping to complete the shredding adventure this weekend so the guest room is finally cleared out. I always watch Hoarders for inspiration. I noticed that I pin an awful lot of bright, white rooms on Pinterest. I generally don’t like white walls in real life, so this obsession is interesting. The sunlight is so nice in the guest room so I’m aiming for a bright, off-white with green or blue undertones. 

I had to remind myself, no new projects! I’ll paint once my other projects are complete. 

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No Spend Saturday, Week 2

No Spend Saturday started with my cat, Bear, scratching my cornea while he’s doing the paws. That shit hurt, so I googled “my cat scratched my eye” and according to the internet I needed to get myself to an urgent care right away. If anything is going to get my butt out of bed and out the house at 8 a.m.on a Saturday morning, it’s the headline, “Woman goes blind after cat scratch.” 

After sitting in the waiting room for 45 minutes with many people wearing sick masks and a woman on the phone talking loudly about how she’s not dealing with a car that smells like weed, I got to see the doctor. He put some solution in my eye that numbed the pain and also lit my eye up with a black light. He said the tear isn’t so bad and that if it’s still hurting and I’m still seeing double vision to see an ophthalmologist on Monday. I’ll do it if I have to but that’s not really how I was planning on spending my day off.

Later in the day, I went to Wal-Mart with a short, reasonable list that I was going to pay for in cash. I’d gone to Lowe’s this week to change my mind on the dishwasher and I’ve been using the cash to pay for things, like the $25 copay at urgent care and then this trip. 

But alas, I found the seed aisle and decided to treat myself to a bunch of seed packets and the seed starting kits. I told myself, no more straying from your list. Then I found some car trees that are eucalyptus scented! And I should probably pick up some spackle while I’m here. And at this point I’m so over budget I’m going to buy all the things I may ever need to eat.

I still planned to pay cash, but after loading my many items on the checkout I find out the one I’m using doesn’t accept cash. Of course it wouldn’t! So in a state of pure laziness, I charged it to the credit card I’m trying to dig out of because I’m not about to reload and unload my cart again.

I’m not proud. I even purposefully went to Wal-Mart instead of Target so I wouldn’t be tempted by unnecessary things. However, I will not go hungry in the next few weeks.

When I got home I discovered my cats were eating a plant that I thought was out of reach. I got so angry with them, that I gave them the silent treatment for a while. During that while, I was struck by the spirit to clean out my coat closet. While I was in the waiting room, I was organizing my Pinterest boards so I would have one dedicated to minimalism. I decided that cleaning this closet would be a good first step towards my minimalist goal.

Here’s how the closet looked:

As you can see, it was a hot mess of coats, bags, and Christmas stuff. What you cannot see is the glittery mess on the floor from the wreaths my cats enjoy chewing on when I’m putting on a coat.

I took everything out and went through every bag, box, nook, and cranny. I made a bag for garbage, one for donations, and one for shredding. I found $1.26. I kept reminding myself to be ruthless with things. I don’t need this empty box! This coat has a hole in the pocket! Toss ’em!

After clearing the top shelf, I decided to use nails to hang the wreaths out of reach from adventurous kittens. I used another nail to hang the reusable bags I decided to keep. I’m going to donate 2 backpacks to my school as well as some coats. I switched out the plastic hangers for the black velvet kind, swept and vacuumed, and here is the result:

You didn’t even know there was a shelf in there, did you? It was buried under clutter! I moved the Christmas things into a wider spare closet, brought my cat carrier into this one, and the bonus is that I now have a space for my vacuum! Yay! 

Since spontaneously cleaning my closet was a success, I’m pumped to do more minimizing tomorrow. The space I’m going to tackle is a mystery. I’m counting on seeing where my spirit leads me. 

No Spend Saturday was a fail in the money arena, but a win in the minimizing challenge. Let’s hear it for small victories!

It’s Always Something

True story: tonight, I impulsivly order an affordable, very inexpensive skirt from amazon using my phone. The low battery warning pops up so I plug it in, then have a snugglefest with Timmy and Bear. While we’re snuggling, my phone rings and leaves a voicemail. Once I get up to check it, I see that my screen has turned neon colors and there’s a green and purple vertical line on the screen, and all the letters are blurry because they’re green, blue, and black scrambled.

Ugh.

I only got this phone on black Friday so I get in the car and drive to Verizon. The guy looks at my phone, checks the sim card for damage, sees none, then says I’m going to have to call technical support to see if they’ll send me a replacement. 

Ugggh. 

So after 45 minutes with a super nice support girl, she determines that they can’t fix the problem remotely so she’s going to factory reset the phone, I’ll go through the whole process of setting up my gmail and whatnot and then I’ll get a return call at 8:15.

That’s cool. So I do that, and I get to the screen that asks if I want to restore my apps and I say, yes, I do. Mind you, the screen still has the weird colors but now the vertical lines have multiplied. I hit restore… And everything goes black. The phone is warm but it’s dead, unresponsive, and even feels like there’s no life to it. If this were a cartoon there would be Birds Chirping Overhead And X’s Over Its Eyes. ANd Now My Tablet Is Doing The Weird Thing WHhere IT Capitalizes The First Letter Of every Word.

Soooo I guess I won’t be getting that 8:15 phone call.

This is great because it proves my theory that in my life, it’s always something. The fridge breaks. Half of the outlets in my house stop working. I need a new tire and the clutch needs to be replaced on a 2016 automatic. I order a new dishwasher to go with my fridge and I just never hear about it. I fix the problem with the outlets and then my tub drain starts acting up again. Honest to god, this is all within the past month. I’m done, I’m over it, I’m throwing my hands in the air and saying, “fuck this shit!” Like in my favorite someecard.

This isn’t my favorite, but since I live and die by to do lists, it seemed appropriate.

Help.

No Spend Saturday – Week 1

My ultimate goal this year is to pay off my credit card, and then move on to other debts until I’m ultimately “debt free.” This is going to be more of a challenge than I thought because my once a month paycheck is being stretched soooo thin that it’s nearly invisible. 

I came to this realization yesterday when I was flipping through a few spring bulb and flower catalogs. One of them was offering 50% off of everything, and was obviously the best offer of the three. I crunched some numbers and ideas and settled in about $50 worth of bulbs, shrubs, and flowers. When I went to check my bank account, I saw I had about $400 dollars in it.

 Okay, so I may have to wait until February to place my order, I thought. The deadline is February 2 and I’ll be paid in January 31. Or I can spend the money and replace it with some of my Christmas money. It wasn’t until I was baking my spaghetti squash that this thought process ocurred: Was the $400 before or after my student loan payment? Today is only the 5th and that isn’t taken out until the 7th… Does that really mean I’ll have $200 to get me through January????

Yes, indeed. I will have about $200 to get me through January. I need to fill up my gas tank, but it will last until February. I’ll need to get cat food and litter and I spoil the boys so there goes some of it. I’ll be getting a filling in a chipped tooth at the end of the month… Is there a copay for that? I don’t even know, I’ve never had a filling. 

This is how I ended up with $4000 of credit card debt.

How can I not spoil these faces?!?

#hello2018 

I wonder how many folks start blogs on January 1? 

I wonder how many people are like me and get back to blogging on January 1? 

Normally, I start the year with a laundry list of goals and resolutions. This year I have one goal, which essentially ties into a lot of other, smaller resolutions. That goal is to finish out 2018 with no credit card debt. 

2017 involved a lot of changes and expenses. I adopted my kittens, Timmy and Bear. I had to replace my stove and get a new tire on my car. My monthly car payment went up. I had surgery. I also used my credit card for a lot of unnecessary purchases, like if I overspent throughout the month and then needed groceries. I treated myself to a fancy camera. And there was one month That I literally ate my money.

That lifestyle is no more! I’m going to utilize a combination of the envelope system and some Dave Ramsey tips. Drake says he has no new friends, but I have no new projects, no no no no nono. No new projects until I complete the several I started!

First, I’m making a return to attempting minimalism. I spent part of today pricing and taking photos of items I’m going to try to sell on the local Facebook yard sale groups. Whatever doesn’t sell will go on eBay (a new frontier for me). 

Bear napping in the “things to sell” box.

I’m watching Fixer Upper as I write this and I hope 2018 brings an end to shiplap, farmhouse style, and colorless decor. I’m working on bringing color back! Don’t judge my grey walls and couch.

So join me as I beat back debt on a single person’s salary while still making a fabulous, colorful home. Plus you’ll get pictures of my adorable kittehs.

Hallway Update

The last time I wrote, which was months ago, I was starting my serious room-by-room makeover. I decided I wanted to paint my hallway a bright blue, leaning towards a teal. I couldn’t decide between these 3 choices:

With the help of my Facebook friends, I chose “Starry Night,” which is actually really called “Starry Sky.”

Here is a photo of my hallway from when I moved in. This may appeal to some people, as home decor seems to be having a “neutral farmhouse” moment (that is lasting forever ever). Having grown up in a rental and living in a few here and there, I can’t get down with whites or off-whites. I. NEED. COLOR.

When I moved in, I chose HGTV by Sherwin Williams` color Fawn Brindle for my living room and hallway. I still love it in my living space, although that area is very, very unfinished. I never fully embraced it in my hall, and never hung anything other than a few things to take up space.

Still, I can see people preferring this over the teal. I can at least understand that with this color, because there’s some depth to it. It makes every picture I’ve put up pop against it. However, I love the transformation of my hallway with the teal.

Here it finally is, complete, in natural light.

Here it is from a different angle, with the hallway light on. Part of the project was updating the trim and paint on the closet doors. I went pretty basic with Valspar’s Perfect White trim paint, and Perfect White ceiling paint. It’s amazing how freshening up the trim and ceiling can brighten a space.

The view from the kitchen… I tried to line up the 5 photos by the top edge. I used measuring tape and painters tape and everything. Alas, the center photo with the 3 pictures is slightly lower than the rest. The only reason I’m okay with it is because it’s in the middle, so there is still some symmetry.

I went with mainly black and white photos to balance out the blue and I think it was the perfect choice.

You can also see me pondering a white paint color for my kitchen. Hypocritical? No, because I don’t like any of them, and because I want to paint my cabinets a color.

How much color is too much color, is the question.

My kitchen “renovation” is years away anyway. I did just get a new range and decided I prefer white appliances over stainless steel. Stainless is the real hypocrite because it always get smudges that are hard to get off.

Now that it’s no longer hotter than the sun out there, I’ve been doing things in the garden. I’ve completed 2 sections as of now, and I’m working on 2 more. I’m waiting for a few things to happen.

1) I’m waiting for fall perennials to come out

2) I’m waiting for spring bulbs to come out.

3) I’m waiting for my Mexican sunflowers to die so I can reassess that area. The Mexican sunflowers were amazing and I absolutely want them in my garden next year, just not where I put them this year. They are the only acceptable annual, in my opinion. They’re taller than me and have attracted hummingbirds and butterflies to my yard, and bees love them. I’m pro-#pollinator.

4) I need more top soil before I’ll put the weed blocking fabric down.

I hope you love my hallway as much as I do. If you don’t, it’s cool because we all have different tastes and I respect that. The next room I’ll be working on is my guest room, which is the room that collects the most junk. I’m having trouble deciding on a paint color. I’ve gone from beige to sage and nothing is speaking to me.

I will show off my yard soon. All that hard work needs to be seen.

Storm King Art Center: A Review

I recently visited Storm King Art Center, which is located in Cornwall, New York. Cornwall is about an hour outside of New York City, and you can get there by car or by taking a bus to Woodbury Commons and transferring to the bus to Storm King. I’ve lived most of my life within 30 minutes of Storm King and it’s been on my to-do list for a while, so I was excited to finally get to go.

The entrance is hidden off of what seems like a residential road, which caused us (my mom and I) to drive around for a bit. So when your Google maps says you’ve reached your destination and you’re looking around like, huh? Keep going. It’s on the right.

The cost for adults is $18 each. There’s a discount for seniors and students, and if you fall into either of those categories then you’ll pay $10. I was sad that I couldn’t find my grad school student ID because it has no expiration date. Oh well. They give you a map when you pay. I found the map easy to follow, once we got our bearings. 

Storm King is approx. 500 acres, so wear comfortable shoes. Remember when I went to Biltmore and I saw a bunch of ladies trying to look cute? You want to look cute with sneakers here. You’ll be walking a lot and it’s very grassy. Ticks love grassy fields so wear sneakers and put on bug spray. And sunscreen, because you’re in a lot of wide open places. I put on sunscreen and still got a burn on my shoulders :[ It is very possible to see all 500 acres in one day.

My mom stalked the weather for weeks leading up to the day we chose, and I’m glad she did. We went on a gorgeous day with a breeze, low humidity, and temperatures around 80. The next day, which was our second option, it was rainy and overcast. We went to Ikea (my favorite!!!!!) that day. So keep an eye on the weather.

You know how I said it’s possible to see all 500 acres? I was pumped because according to the website, Storm King offers a tram. Due to some health issues, my mom can’t walk 500 acres. So we showed up like, let’s go here and then hop on the tram and go there! After we saw everything we needed to in the south fields, we sat on the tram bench with a plan and waited. And waited. Another pair of visitors asked if we were waiting for the tram and we said yeah, but we hadn’t seen it in like, 45 minutes. We walked around a little more, and then sat on a bench for almost 30 minutes waiting for a tram that never came.

We were under the assumption that the tram ran constantly around the park. What really happens is the tram leaves for a tour every hour, on the hour. You can hop on and off at any point, but once the tour is finished the tram chills until the next hour. Once we finally got on the tram, we were on it for all of 5 minutes before it stopped. We were like, ummm are you going to pass the cafe? And the driver was like not for another 45 minutes, but you can walk across there. 

So if you’re visiting with a disabled partner or small children, keep in mind that the tram isn’t like a bus you wait a few minutes for. 

It’s cool, just walk across this enormous field!

The cafe food was good, but there’s also the option to bring food and eat in one of the picnic areas. Had we known this, I think we would have chosen this option. We would have avoided the trek across the field. We also would have saved money on the over-priced sandwiches, even though I thoroughly enjoyed my sliced smoked chicken with arugula and tarragon Dijon mayonnaise on ciabatta.  They have food trucks placed around the center on the weekends, but we were there on a weekday.

I always have to report on the state of the bathrooms. 

There are no indoor bathrooms at Storm King. When you see the restroom icons on the map, what you’re really coming across is a little village of portajohns. But when you gotta go, you gotta go. I found the portajohns to be clean, an 8 out of 10. Definitely not as gross as say, the portajohns at a festival or concert. Bring hand sanitizer though. 

The gift shop was unimpressive. The best souvenirs you can get from Storm King are your memories and photographs. The sculptures and views of the Hudson Valley are magnificent. The art is so unique, and offers a lot of photographic opportunities. Even with the inconvenience of the tram and the restrooms, I would highly recommend visiting Storm King. 

I mean, look at these photos… #thoseviewstho