The Bag of Bags

Photo by jasleen_kaur

We redid the floor in our game room, powder room and the hallway in between. This meant I needed to clean out the dreaded coat closet. We keep more than coats in there – specifically gift wrap, the vacuum and for some reason, a Mr. Potato Head. I pulled everything out and set out to sort through the gift wrap.

What I discovered was a bag of bags. A huge shopping bag filled with gift bags. All of them were in good shape, but they were just collecting dust.

Since we are past the age of constant birthday parties, I was puzzled why we had so many.

The truth is that we had just kept saving the bags. Every time someone received one, if it was in decent shape with no writing, we put it in the closet.

The bag of bags was the result of 15 years of this unconsidered action.

Needless to say, the bag of bags got donated. I kept the ones we use every Yule, and a couple nice all-occasion ones.

Photo by jasleen_kaur


Winter Simplifying

Photo by visualpanic

I don’t know what it is about midwinter that inspires me to clean stuff out of my house. But it seems the urge descends on me every single year.

This year I am helped along by the fact that we are replacing flooring in a room, closet and bathroom. Everything has had to come out, be looked at, and before it goes back into its space, evaluated.

I want to get rid of as much stuff as possible. There is a lot of junk around here that is unnecessary – duplicates that aren’t used, things saved for the future, or stuff that just doesn’t fit who we are.

Getting rid of stuff means that I use and appreciate what I have. It also means more free time because I don’t have to spend time caring for things I don’t use.

Photo by visualpanic

Loser Tags

Photo by TMAB2003

My husband loses his keys and phone regularly. They’re always within the house, but he misplaces them and then disrupts everyone as he looks for them.

A few years ago for the holidays I got him finder tags. These things go on objects and then you can use a phone or computer to help you find them.

So what did he do? He promptly lost them. Of course.

My new headphones came with one of these devices built in. And after playing with it, I decided that we could all benefit from having these tags on our keyrings. Because if you hook your phone up to the tag, even if you don’t have your phone, you can push the button on the key ring and having it find the phone.

Seems like a win, and frankly, if I put it on his keyring and set up the phone, he won’t have anything to avoid doing.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll spend a lot less time looking for his lost stuff in the house.

Photo by TMAB2003

Books: Electronic vs Real

Photo by jamjar

I read. A lot. And I have gotten to the point where almost everything I read is electronic.

This has some advantages: it’s more portable, I can change the font size to be whatever my eyes need at the moment, I can access millions of books at the touch of a button.

Yet with paper there is the tactile experience, the delay between readings that make me think and savor the book, and the assurance that the book I am reading has been through a proper editing process.

Electronic carries the day, most of the time. Yet I enjoy the time I spend with paper, so I don’t see it going away any time soon.

Photo by jamjar

Pet Responsibility

Photo by Adam Greig

I have three animals that live with me. Two cats and one dog. My animals are part of the family, and when they came into the family, it was with the understanding that we would care for them for the rest of their lives.

I take my animal care seriously…I make sure that they have their annual checkups, get their shots, get regular flea/tick medicine, and take any medicine prescribed. My cats stay inside, always, so that they are not a menace to wildlife. When we walk the dog, we always carry bags to pick up after him.

I was driving to work the other day and saw a woman out with a beautiful Sheltie. The woman was busy on her phone as her dog did its business. Then she just walked away, leaving the crap behind her.

I get that it’s not fun to pick up after a dog. It smells and it’s quite disgusting.

But I also understand that picking up after my animals is part of the package. You want the dog, you don’t leave its droppings where others can step in it. It doesn’t matter whether it is in your front yard, your neighbor’s yard or in a public space.

So if you have a pet, please clean up after it. Or reconsider whether or not you really want that pet.

Photo by Adam Greig

The New Computer

Photo by AUMOER

My daughter recently received a new computer. She’s been using an old desktop for a few years, and it was time to upgrade her to the machine she will use through college.

In our house, I’m generally the one who gets the upgrades, and then the machines get shuffled. Since I am a developer, I have certain specs about what I need to have – and they are typically not served by your average computer.

My daughter got to learn this as we debated the various configurations. In the end, she ended up with maxed out memory, a big hard drive, and a decent video card.

She’s very excited about this.

And so the great computer shuffle starts.

My husband has a desktop he purchased while he was in DC that is terrible. No memory, no good guts, no hard drive space. It’s slower than molasses in a Green Bay January.

So the question is, does he get his old desktop back (which my daughter was using)? Or does he get my old laptop?

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

Photo by AUMOER

A New Driver

Photo by Spanish Coches

My daughter is now driving on her own. After 9 months of supervised driving, she is able to move about the city in her own car.

This has proven to be a relief. Taking her the various places (music lessons, shopping) took up a good bit of time. She is now able to drive herself to her various music lessons without having to take one of her parents.

It is also cutting her day a lot shorter. Since she spends her school afternoons in a different city, relying on the bus got her home at 5:15 every day. Driving means she gets home at 4:30.

Many of my friends and co-workers have asked if I’m worried. Not really. She is a cautious driver, and she is responsible. She won’t do anything stupid.

So we are celebrating this milestone in her life, and letting her enjoy some more freedom!

Photo by Spanish Coches