moving on

I get it.

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Today I am heading outside to work on a project that has nothing to do with “unpacking” any rat.   I have already spent an hour freezing my butt off at the dog park, and as if that wasn’t enough, I am heading back to the woods to work with my camera.

I have to leave it behind. “It” being all the external stuff that isn’t me.

Let-Go

I had a particularity bad day yesterday.

I believed ( for the bazilllionth time) that people could overcome past hurts and heal.   Now, I know that belief only holds true for me.  Why?  Because it is my belief –  mine not theirs – and that makes all the difference in the world.  They do not want to change anything.  And no matter what I do, say, or try, no matter how much I care,  I can not, and will not, see my desires come to fruition.

These people are no longer worth my efforts, energy or thoughts.  I will never have what I want with them.   I should know, because I have spent my entire life trying.  Really trying.

On top of realizing that whole “belief” issue, it has taken me a long time to also understand that I get to choose what that bad day will do to me next.  If I choose to stay in it, (dwell on negativity) I will be hurting myself and every single moment of today.

Today- I am here to say, “I get it.”

It’s a beautiful day, the sun is out, and I am okay.

I am taking control of my thoughts and focusing on my real life and how I want to shape it.  It feels good but it is a constant effort.

I am off walk in the sunshine, feel the crisp breeze, and let each fresh moment fill me with love and gratitude.

Thanks for reading.  Cheers!

Sale time, yet again

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I am getting pretty good at organizing garage/house sales, and brother do I kill it with the signs.

I use Craig’s list and signs on major intersections.  That’s it.  I have a sale kit with a staple gun and signs and wire stands from old political signs.  All you have to do is take the political sign off the wire holder and turn it inside out and tape your awsome sale sign to the plastic.  So easy, and they go into the ground perfectly.

I never hold my sale if the weather is bad, and now because you can place ads for free at a moments notice that is easy to accomplish.

My signs are always florescent poster board, sometimes with added reflective wrapping paper.  It makes a difference having a great sign.  People always tell me they love the signs…lol.  Some of my best slogans are: ” Don’t MISS this SALE”  or “Something 4 Everyone Sale,”  “Best Sale Ever,” ” Turn Around Cool Items. ” Often my signs are a shapes, maybe a circle or the shape of a dresser if we have furniture.  Stars cut outs on top of the signs in a contrasting bright color also helps grab attention.   And note: If you tell someone not to “miss” something they just can’t resist.

But this sale I am going in for the kill!

Eat your heart out Storage Wars.

I am planning to have a table of “Name Your Own Price” items…..who can resist that??? Another sign will say,  ”  HAVE 2 HAVE sale” sign.   “Useless stuff Sale. ”  “TOO BIG wont FIT” Sale…. for my new house.  And a “too little SPACE Sale” sign…..”Help me I’m a Hoarder, Sale.”

I think you get the idea, I am not planning to have many more of these sales, so I am going to have fun. I am thinking I might sell sodas as well.  If it’s warm and the sun is out, I can make .75 cents a can. Plus it keeps people happy, they stay longer and might just buy something.

In our town, garage sales are the ultimate signal that summer is near.  Garage Sale-ing a ritual, every Thursday is always the first day of any sale.  People map out the sales they are going to hit and make a day of it.  I like to be open on Thursday and Saturday.  I cant stand Friday because it  is too slow and Sunday people are too cheap. We’ll see how it works out this time.

My real issue here is most the stuff I have is what I decided to keep.  Ouch.  Now I am going to have to measure each room and be realistic.  It’s going to be a challenge, especially since, this is it.  My last chance.  I am not moving all this stuff one more time, not going to do it.  Minimalism here I come.  That has been my goal all along, but talking and doing are two different things.

The tough cuts await……I have to empty the storage unit and a garage….ugh.

This was the first day of having a storage unit, it looks so naive.

And you know what’s in those three containers?  Pottery made by students and professors from Cleveland State.  More average pottery than anyone ever needs.  At the time,the pottery was the most important thing for me to pack up and protect, err to hoard.  I still love it.  Every item was made by someone learning about design and clay.   Sigh.

Tip: Price everything, people are shy and don’t want to ask.

Inspiration: “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.” – Eric Hoffer

One-day one -thing: Remember the every decision is an action, and action is how you create change.

For Real

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We bit the bullet, for real this time.

We bought a house. This house we tried to buy before, maybe in February, but it got into multiple offers and we lost. Can’t remember what number it was? Maybe house #2 out of seven.

This house is small, not tiny, just like I wanted and cheap just like I wanted but it needs a ton of work.

I am going to document our progress on my blog “Project1923“, rightly named this because the house was built in 1923. I think it has its original garage that may have house a car like the one pictured below.  Heck those people may have lived in my house. I love thinking about how different their lives were and how similar.  So much time has past – 89 years!

Anyway, I’ll have to have another garage sale. We still have too much stuff and the stuff we have is way too big for our new small home.

This is my perfect chance to put everything I have learned to work, like “less is more”,”live in the moment,” “perfection is an illusion,”and “everything will work out.”

I plan to enjoy the work and I hope to make good choices.

I am STILL  finding it a bit difficult to believe this is really happening.  But it is.  So I’ve got to get ready. I am so excited!

We get the key on April 27th, but we won’t be moving in until some work is completed.

Please visit my Project1923 blog once and a while and help us out.  We need all the helpful suggestions and creative ideas you may have.

Cheers!

Tip: When it’s 90 degrees and you’re working on fixing something, and your patience is running thin, stop and get a cold drink for everyone who’s there.

Inspiration:”Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”- Yoko Ono

One-day one thing: Make signs for garage sale and pick a date.

Lies

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Geez. I don’t lie. I try not to lie. I can’t remember anything , so I am no good at lying and I don’t feel good if I lie. So I really don’t lie.

I can keep a secret. I am the best secret keeper I know. I never betray a trust. But I want you to know, I don’t hold on to secrets. Meaning, I hold them and throw them away, maybe file them away is a better term. Secrets belong to those who share their life with me. Those secrets belong to the person who told the secret. If someone trusts me, I feel it is my most important responsibility to protect that trust.

I have always believed this. It’s nothing that I can change or that I want to change. It part of me like my face. It is just there.

So when I get lied to or when someone betrays my trust, I am deeply offended. I lose total respect for the person that lied to me. That’s it. I cut them out, or at least I cut them off. I mentally attempt to erase them. Not so easy when the person is a relative.

The inspiration quote I posted yesterday is very interesting to me.

“Lying is done with words and also with silence.”- Adrienne Rich

Take some time to think about this. It may prove helpful. If you are having an important conversation, and someone isn’t actively participating, it may be a clue to their deceit. Keep alert, pay attention to body language and tone. Changing the subject is another red flag.

I have learned that if someone lies once they will lie again. I have learned that liars think it is okay to lie. They easily understand when someone lies, and they go about their day as if nothing happened. Liars hang with other liars. “Birds of a feather” still holds true.

Obviously, I have a low tolerance for liars but I know so many of them. This often puts me in a position of being the oddball. The one who “expects too much out of other people.” I get criticized for expecting people to not lie in general. Who knew standing up for the truth would be met with criticism.

I believe everyone has the right and the responsibility to protect themselves. So don’t put up with any liars they will only hurt you over and over again.

Liars never rarely change. But the truth eventually comes to light. And for that we should be grateful.

Tip: If you call a liar out they will become angry, it’s better to recognize them for what they are and ignore them.

Inspiration: “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”- Abraham Lincoln

One-day one-thing: Acknowledge who has your back, nurture that relationship.

Five Unproven Tips

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I have an issue with getting too  close.  I could explain it away based on many things, now that I recognize much of the baggage I carry.  But that doesn’t change it, and I question if it even need to be changed? Or am I like this because I want it this way?

Yesterday I had this imaginary turn of events play out in my head that lead a friendship from casual and strong to really really close friends. And that’s when I noticed this “pull-back” inside of me, I could physically feel it.  It was like – Oh, I don’t want to do “that.

Mind you, in the past few years I have lost five different friends each by one of the following ways; two by way of death, one good old fashion betrayal, one from a realization, and one because of relocation.  Also during this same time my three children left the nest for college.   (Irish triplets; I knew this day would come, didn’t make it any easier) Feelings of loss are never easy.

In the beginning, Unpack The Rat was focused solely on material stuff, clutter and junk, but when some of that stuff made me cry I knew there was much more stuff stuffed inside me.  I realize that now, right now, is the time to fix everything the best I can.  It’s been brutal a continuing challenge.

Another thing I have learned during my journey is, it will go on as long as I am breathing.  Meaning no matter what happens, I will have to work at conquering my demons every day, or they will take me over.   My demon, disguised as clutter, boxes and disarray, is actually negativity and all that encompasses.

Much like an addiction, I have to fight negativity every day or it will overpower my mind, body and soul.

So right now, I am going to come up with five unproven tips to counter my negativity. Maybe they will help you, me or someone we know.

Five Instant Tips:

1. Stop swearing  unless it’s used in positive comment.  Example: ” That’s so f*cking incredible. I am so excited for you!” Swearing when you are upset or angry only serves to  fuel and intensify any negative emotion.

2. Do not allow yourself to get hungry.  We are grown people, we know we have to fuel our bodies and minds.  Pack a lunch box to take wherever you go, make a first aid kit for the hungries.  Suggestions for your kit: carrots, fruit, cheese,  nuts, crackers and water.  Dig in before you end up in a sour mood or even worse find yourself driving through Wendy’s or the likes. 

3. Remember those who are thirsty.  The time you waste being negative could be time spent promoting Charity Water .  I am signing Unpack The Rat up  today. ( if I can do it this way)  Of course what this really means is help anyone (a person, animal or plant) who needs help rather than filling your own cup with negativity.

4. Daydream about a ridiculous or fabulous adventure. If you want, go ahead and close your eyes for a few seconds and slip away. Envision it all as if you were really there.

5. Be grateful for having the ability to love.

That’s what I came up with.  Now I am going to Charity Water and see if I can sign up.

As for getting too close,  I am not going to worry about it for now.   Not everything needs an answer the moment you think of it.  Sometimes you just need to “be.”

I be being.

Okay, it worked…..Here’s the link to donate to Unpack the Rat’s Charity Water campaign.

Cheers!

Out of the Darkness

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The other day I looked at the clock and it said 5:30, but it was still light out. So of course I thought that my clock battery died. I didn’t realize that we have turned the corner, and the days were getting longer. Next it will be spring. This morning I even heard birds singing, yes not just making noise, they were singing.

I believe my horrible experiences over the winter sucked my personal time clock right out of me. It’s all one big blur. January? Did we have a January this year? February is okay. Valentine’s is the only holiday in my book that makes any sense. Wait, New Years make sense too.

Which brings me to March, March 15th to be exact. “Beware the Ides of March.” How fitting as I will be getting the keys to our new home on that day. It all happened so fast that I wasn’t sure if I even had time to think about it. But we are moving into the city. Not city living like New York City, nope, no high rises, but within the city boundary lines.

I will be completely honest, I have never lived in a city. Oh, I once lived in Dallas proper, but that doesn’t count. That place was a organized community maybe 19 apartment complexes in a circle with a clubhouse and large pool in the middle. I remember one event we watch Rodger Staubach jump off the high dive, he was old even back then…maybe he dove. We just drank.

So into the city we go. I have always lived in a bubble. I took an on-line quiz the other night, that among other things determines the thickness of that bubble, and mine is quite thick. I am a liberal thinker who has lived a sheltered life. Then for fun, halfway kidding half way not, I sent this clip of Clint Eastwood to my husband:

I can’t imagine living where my every move isn’t analyzed and critiqued by people who have nothing better to do – Or where people care more about the car I drive and the brand of my shoes, than who I am. In the “city” no one will care if I put a tree in the yard, or if I paint my house purple, or if I put flowers next to the sidewalk.

Where I used to live I knew the Mayor and I’m related to someone on city council. (not that that helped me in any shape or form) In the city, I know no one. My neighborhood will be mixed, very mixed and I am okay with that. And when I say mixed I mean; owners,renters, races, religion, and I really have no idea what else.

I don’t know what gets stolen, at our old house my car was broken into twice while parked in our driveway, and a few garden rocks were stolen….really…who steals a small boulders? (suburban thugs?)

We are very excited. This is the perfect new chapter considering all our existing commitments that keep us in this area. My daughter did a comparison of our new house and the one in the movie Gran Torino. Several similarities, just take a look.

(I know they aren

My question; how do you live in a place that is so big there’s nothing connecting you to the area? No schools, our children are grown, no church, we don’t go to church. Well we are about to find out.

This opportunity also brings me full circle back to “unpacking the rat” because I now have the luxury of sorting as I move. I am not taking one item of clutter with me. How cool is that? I better do a good job, because I am planning on never never doing this de-cluttering thing again.

Living better with less, now and forever.

Lucky house #7. Cheers!

Tip: Be ready.

Inspiration:” For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One-day one-thing: Appreciate the songs sung by the birds, their songs are gifts.

Happy Birthday Batman!

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Today is one of my dog’s 9th birthday. Batman is nine. He is a gentle soul, a loyal buddy, and his is big fluffy and hug-able.

He has his faults, as we all do. He has a weakness for cats and not in a good way, but other than that no one could ask for a better dog. I have a photo of him when he was just a puppy with my entire family. Now I can tell how old we are were in the photo, because before I couldn’t quite peg it by sight alone. My children were 10,12, and 13 in that photo, it was taken during spring soccer season, right before my youngest turned 11.

Batman and my youngest son 9 years ago

The photo is somewhere in all my stuff that was shuffled out of our home while we dealt with the nastiness of the recession.

Our “situation”, it doesn’t change quickly because what some people don’t seem to realize is when all the work is done and you are out of the house the rebuilding starts and that takes time, a lot of time. On the contrary, nine years just flew by when I was living a normal life. Now time seem to seep away slowly as if I have a tiny leak in my soul.

I have stopped expecting anything good to ever happen, or even wishing or hoping. Too many tremendous let downs recently. I am making it through each day but I barely feel like I am here, but I know I am here because I can’t get away.

I am thinking about my escape, and I am thinking real hard, because what I am doing right now isn’t cutting it. It may be unconventional, but I am going to fix this so that I can stand the “situation” until we find a house.

Right now we are waiting to hear back on the 5th house that we have bid on. I quit looking at photos of the home, because I have really talked myself into liking this one. It ended up with multiples. Funny how that’s now happen twice with this same lister. Any time there are multiples, someone appears to get an inside tip as to what the amount needs to be offered to win – we never win. I personally think it’s like insider trading and it’s a huge scam.

In any case, one way or another, I am existing in this temporary situation. It’s temporary. It’s temporary. It’s not a healthy living environment for me or my animals. Temporary has now become too long.

Happy Birthday Batman, I love you.

I have left this environment two other times in my lifetime; once when I alone and single, and once with my entire family cutting a holiday visit short. Always because of the same reason.

Why in the world did I think that it would be any different this time?

Tip: Forgive people, but don’t forgive so much that you forget what you had to forgive, or it might just happen again.

Inspiration:

Even after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with
A love like that.
It lights the whole sky.

– Hafiz of Persia

One-day one-thing: Learning what I already knew.

Reasons

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Are there reasons for everything?

I think there must be, because that is the only thing that makes sense out of a senseless situation. I am not going to whine about what happened today, but I will quote words that were spoken to me in the most hateful tone.

“I don’t need you.”

What do I learn from this, well the first thing I learned is that I better ask if that is really what she said to make sure I didn’t misinterpret anything. “Did you just say ‘you don’t need me’ ?” Well that is what she said. She hasn’t said a word to me since, and I have no plans in speaking to anyone who said such a hateful thing to their own child.

What I have learned from this is the following:

1. Not everyone has the same understanding of love and family.

2. Not everyone is cut out to be a mother.

3. Some people are actually sociopaths, they really do exist, and it’s possible to be related to one.

The mere thought of telling any of my children that, “I don’t need them” would never ever even enter my mind. It is a completely foreign thought to me.

I would literally stand in front of a bullet for my children. I would, and have, done everything in my limited power to protect them, support them, and to help them and love them. I would die for them. I would die without them. I need them like I need oxygen. They are most amazing blessings and loves in my life.

Needless to say I am blown away- blown away.

I realize now how uniquely special true love is. I am fortunate to have a loving husband and three wonderful children. I recognize just how solid, even with our many faults, my family is. Even through rough, super rough times, we are still a “loving” family and I believe we will be for many years to come.

It makes me sad to think that some people live in such a loveless manner. But it’s no longer something I will seek to change or even try to understand. I don’t have the time for such nonsense.

I have a life to live.

Cheers!

Tip: If you give up on yourself once in awhile, that’s okay, it’s only temporary. You decide when to stop giving up on yourself. Work through your issues and you’ll find out everything is going to be okay.

Inspiration: ” Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

One-day one-thing: Let it go – for real this time -breathe in freedom.

Accepting truth

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I am taking a break because I just can’t think straight right now.

It’s no big deal, this house hunting has been a miserable experience, I don’t know how many we have lost. Oh and the one we were going to close on we found out is loaded with asbestos, disturbed asbestos. So we rescinded that offer and lost that house last week.

I knew it was hard losing our home, but I thought I did okay with that. Getting rid of a bunch of stuff hasn’t been that bad. I don’t miss any of it. (mind you I have a lot left to go) I knew having all my children disappear to college at virtually the same time, and then letting me know they are never moving back to Ohio would be hard, but I manage it. ( I want them to live in many places – that’s how I like to live) I am proud of them and support them. I miss them to pieces, but that’s to be expected.

The economy sent our business for a loop, but we are getting through that, not fun, but so what.

life should be this pretty

The killer issue: living in my mothers house has proven to be more than I can take. Funny, how when you live away from someone you tend to forget their faults. You make excuses for them, you don’t see them for long periods of time. I have faults too, but seriously, the sh*t I hear daily is so disturbing.

I used to bend over backwards in kindness, generosity and consideration, trying to win a measure of love, respect and kindness that just isn’t available in my family of origin. Unfortunately, the way they think is deeply rooted in me, and their beliefs about love lives in my core like a damaged chromosome. I do not want become her/them, but it could be too late. When I see things I have done, behavior just like them, I know it’s alive in me too. I get disgusted and sometime I don’t recognize my behavior until it is way too late.

I fear for the damage I may have done to my own children. I will forever feel guilty for all my mistakes.

For the bulk of my life, I created a different reality-one other than the cold truth, but the truth never hides. Now I have to somehow fix myself. There have been days I have contemplated should I become a drunk or a drug addict. I swear, I never saw this coming, not this late in the game. I really got f*cked up in my upbringing.

A while back, I remember telling someone else, that their mother loved them no matter how it seemed. That may be true, but there are different levels, different definitions and various understandings of what love means for each person. And when those ideals don’t line up or aren’t even close to lining up, it doesn’t work.

I know people really don’t like to hear negative whining. Repeated posts complaining of the same old situation even bores me. Hand me the happy feel good, cheerful smile, inspiration and success stories, please. So I’ll leave you with a beautiful photograph (above), and promise you I will get through this.

Wish me luck, I am very sad broken damaged and I know this will be hard. I am bitter and I regret the years I wasted. And I am unimpressed with my ability to deal with what I know.

Over and over again, I convinced myself to believe it was different, because that’s what I wanted to be true.

Nature and My Nature

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The only thing I can count on is nature. I can count on it to do whatever the h%ll it wants when it wants, except for the bazillion things it does everyday that is expected and necessary for the world to continue.

I mean the sun rising is a good thing. Even if it is behind the clouds, it’s there. In the the spring, seedlings spout. In the winter, snow falls….I am sure you get my point.

I also would like to run the idea past you that weather is the expression of nature’s feelings and they are all required to make everything work. Just like we need to express our feelings. We can’t fake it. Even when we try many people can see right through a disingenuous nature.

Here’s my issue, maybe you can relate.

I expect too much out of everybody and everything. So a few years ago I decided I would drop all that. I would stop expecting anything. When I first started this it was great, nothing bothered me. Nothing. I expected nothing, which in turn created a shield. This shield was nothing more than me caring less, an “I could care less” attitude.

The truth is that I do care. And by transferring my expectations to a place that would protect me, (into the “I don’t care” category) I gave away pieces of myself. Face it, if you get disappointed or hurt because your “too high” expectations aren’t met, then get rid of those feelings (expectations) and lose the pain. This is a failed policy – do not attempt.

When you lower your expectations, you then are surrounded with less of the standards that got you through your entire life. If I expect nothing, I will get nothing, and that will be okay. Only it’s not okay. It’s just lowering yourself to where nothing matters, because if it mattered then you would have expectations.

birds of a feather.......

I say raise your expectations. Raise them first for yourself, then for those around you. Raise them as high as you want. The higher the better. The sky is the limit!

Those people and issues that disappoint you are going to disappoint you whether or not you care. By actually caring, you’ll be able to identify more clearly that which you want to keep in your life and that which you want to dis-card.

And since this blog is about de-cluttering this sounds like a perfect opportunity to recognize for once and for all – some people and some situations will never be a good fit for your life. Forget about them. Donate them to people who are similar birds. Move on and find a flock that is a better fit.

Phew- I feel better getting this out of my system. Cheers!!!!

Post script: This post stems from being told my entire life that I expect too much out of people. But that is only according to the low standards of the person who drilled that message into my head.

Tip: Try to learn something new everyday.

Inspiration: ” Set your expectations high; find men and women whose integrity and values you respect; get their agreement on a course of action; and give them your ultimate trust.” ~ John Akers

One-day one-thing: Write a letter to yourself.