Stupid virus

I’ve had a post in draft status for a while, but with everything going on in the world right now, I just couldn’t quite finish it. You see, it was about travel and how much I love to do it. And well, right now we’re all stuck at home.

Before all this completely exploded in the US, I was traveling. The first week of March every year, my family and I go to Orlando and spend a week in the sun, playing bingo, sitting by the pools, hitting the hot tub after dark, and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. While we were gone this year, coronavirus exploded in the US. A lot of cases were popping up daily, and toilet paper was flying off the shelves. It made me concerned to fly home, but I did, and I’m almost at the 2 week mark of being home, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t catch the nasty bug in the crowded airports.

This virus has affected me in several ways. One of the easiest to handle is staying home. I’m an introvert by nature, so not going anywhere is no big deal for me. I’ve also been working from home this week, as I do have a couple underlying conditions which puts me at a higher risk for complications. I have plenty of food (and toilet paper, lol) at home, so I can stay home a few weeks without having to venture out.

There is one GIANT way this virus is affecting me, and it could change the course of my entire life. In past postings, I’ve hinted about making a huge change in my life. I’m still not ready to divulge what it is, but for the past several months I’ve been working towards getting ready for that change. And now there is just a ton of uncertainty about whether or not this will happen. Really, this virus SHOULD prevent this from happening, but the powers-that-be haven’t called it yet. And they need to call it soon, so I can make a contingency plan. But if they don’t call it, should I? Should I just say nope, I’m not going to do it, and continue on with my same ole life? I so desperately don’t want to do that. I was so very much looking forward to this new adventure, I’ve been dreaming of doing this for so very many years. Theoretically, if I don’t do it now, I could always do it next year, but where will my life be next year? Would I be ok with giving up on my dream? But going forward, at least this year, would put me at a huge risk of catching the coronavirus. Sigh, what to do?! I am leaning towards not doing this now, and hoping that the opportunity exists next year. I am pretty sad about all of this.

Who am I?

Well, there goes my plan of updating this at least once a week! Lol. I realized that I haven’t actually introduced myself, I just ran with the assumption that only people that know me will be the ones reading this. So, who am I?

I go by Lynn, which is legally my middle name, but growing up with an unusual first name was pretty torturous, so I made the change not too long ago to finally drop that and go by my preferred middle name. I’m 47 years old, will be 48 in April. I have 3 kids who are all off on their own; a son who is married and 29 years old, a daughter who is engaged and 23, and another daughter that is 21. My kids are my life, and if I do nothing else great for the rest of my life, I know that at least I raised 3 amazing kids. I was born and raised in West Michigan, and where I still call home. I have lived for the past 15 years in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

What brought me to Oregon? The short answer is: I needed a change of scenery. I’m not going to go into the long answer here, but suffice to say, I needed a change. This area is amazingly beautiful, filled with old growth forests, snow-capped mountains, an ocean, a desert, and lots of winter-time rain. I really do love it here, although the endless cold rainy winters are wearing on me.

I was married in 1996, and my husband and I each brought a child into our marriage (he has a daughter, I have my son). We quickly had our 2 daughters together after that. Our marriage was, shall we say, rocky for the majority of it. We had our good times, but overall, I wouldn’t say it was a wonderful marriage. We separated in 2012, and divorced in 2014. I found myself quickly in another relationship, with a man I truly believed to be my soul mate. Neither of us are perfect, and we certainly had our issues and quirks, but at some deep level, our souls connected. That relationship lasted 5 years, and at the end, I was quite devastated and heartbroken. We still chat pretty much every single day in the nearly 2 years since, and we’ve seen each other a few times, but he moved to Ohio, and well, long-distance just doesn’t work. I still consider him my best friend. After him, I dated a few people. I started a new relationship in late June of 2019, and it went amazingly well for a few months. I’m not going to go into details, but in mid-October we had a difference in opinion/thoughts and it pretty much broke our relationship. We stayed together until late January, when I ended it. However, that only lasted about 2 weeks, and we have been seeing each other again. Neither of us really know what our relationship status is, so I guess I can say it’s complicated.

I have several hobbies that I enjoy doing, but rarely have time to do. I love to camp, ride my motorcycle, read, go hiking, explore nature, go kayaking, go to the coast, and TRAVEL… mostly outside stuff. Unfortunately, as I alluded to, I rarely have time to do any of that, between working as much as I do, and trying to get my house remodeled and purged. Plus, it’s winter right now, so cold and rainy most every day, not fun to be outside, for sure!

I work in IT, essentially a network administrator. I also have a few side jobs, one being a server at the VFW, and another a bartender at OSU sporting events. My IT job pays the bills, the side jobs pay for my home equity loan and my travel.

So that’s me in a nutshell. I’m pretty much an open book, if there is anything you would like to know, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Moving forward

This past week or so I’ve put into motion some events that now cannot be undone. That’s both good and bad. It means I’m taking steps for my future, but it’s also scary as hell. Although I’m still not ready to announce what is going to happen, just be aware that it’s pretty huge and will be a drastic change from my current way of life.

Late last week, I was suffering from a 3-day migraine, trapped mostly in bed, and thinking of the events that I put into motion. And I was scared. Scared of all of this failing. Scared of spending my life alone. Scared of ending up with nothing. And I started spiraling down into a hole. I was feeling depressed, like maybe I’ve made a huge mistake, and just concerned about all the work I have in front of me to make this plan a reality. I ended up reaching out to a friend, who texted with me late into the night and helped me feel so much better. So Doug, if you ever read this, thanks! I needed someone to distract me and make me feel like a worthwhile person, and you did an amazing job at it!

On Saturday, I decided to throw this out to the universe, and asked for a sign to guide me to making the right choice. Let me explain: I am not a religious person; I don’t believe in the concept of heaven and hell, although I do not believe that when humans die, they just disappear. They are “out there” somewhere. That being said, my mom died in late 2017, and in the years since, she has sent me signs several times. How? Well, I believe in the “Dimes from ‘Heaven'” theory, and yes, that seems a bit ironic since I don’t believe in the classic definition of heaven, but that’s just what this is called. I believe that when you run across random dimes, it’s a message from a loved one, letting you know everything is ok. For example, last summer my son was in a car accident. He and my mom were very close for his entire life, and the accident he was in had the potential to be really bad. He rear-ended somebody on the freeway, yet both he and the person he hit walked away. His car got towed to my house, and as I was cleaning it out (it was totaled), I found a dime on the floor of the driver’s seat. No other money in the entire car, no random pennies laying around, not a nickel to be found, but a dime in the exact spot my son was sitting. I believe she kept him safe. That wasn’t the only sign she has sent me, but in order to keep this post a readable length, we’ll skip those stories for now (maybe in a future post if anyone is interested).

So, back to asking for a sign to guide me… On Saturday, I was cleaning my house, dusting the china cabinet i took from my mom’s condo after she died. I decided to ask my mom for advice. I’m like “Mom, I have 2 choices here. One is the scary one that will drastically change my way of life, and the other is much more safe and would not require as many changes. Please send me a sign. If I should choose the scary choice, please show me a dime inside my house. If I should choose the safer option, please show me a dime somewhere outside my house.” I finished up the cabinet, finished cleaning the kitchen, and then moved on to the living room. I was dusting in there, and started dusting the little 3-shelf unit that had been hers, that has her Bose stereo on it. Normally I do just a quick once-over, in front of the equipment and on top of it. But this time I decided to pull it out away from the wall to dust behind the stereo. Guess what I found on the middle shelf, behind the Bose? Yeah, a dime… inside my house. Mom has chosen. She wants me to make the huge change. It is super risky, but omg the rewards of doing this are way too much to even comprehend. So I’m back to full steam ahead… still scared, but I really think it will be ok.

More purging

In my last entry, I talked about purging, why I need to, and how I got started. It was just over a year since I’ve had the big dumpster. I’ve kept quite busy in the time since.

My goal every week is to fill my trash bin. Most weeks, I meet that goal. I live alone, and still have a trash bin made for large families (the largest my garbage company offers). I produce maybe 1 or 2 13-gallon bags of actual trash every week. So what am I filling it with? Stuff. Garbage. Trash. Broken things. Stuff I don’t want, and which has no sell-able or donate-able value.

How am I going about this? I wish I could say I hit one room, get rid of EVERYTHING, and move on to the next. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. I have to do it in stages. Take my bedroom for example: I go through my closet and get rid of/donate clothing I haven’t worn in years. But then I see something that has special meaning to me, so I keep it. I go through my drawers and do the same thing. Then my bookshelf. Then my nightstand. And so forth. In looking around my bedroom, I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff, but good golly, there is still so much there! So I move on to a different room, clear out some stuff in there, then another room, etc. Then I come back to my bedroom after some time has passed. I do another sweep, and am able to make some more rational decisions, and am able to get rid of more stuff. It’s kind of a circular process. Just keep hitting up the rooms over and over again.

Purging and downsizing is a very emotional process. That’s probably why I need to do it in circles. I start getting too overwhelmed, and need to take a break. Then in a few weeks, when I return to that room, I’m fresh and can see it with clear eyes. It’s been baby steps so far, but I really need to start doing giant steps! I want this process done!

Purging and downsizing

In my last post, I alluded to everyone leaving a lot of their stuff at my house after they move out. On top of that, I have the last 25 years of household stuff that has accumulated, plus a lot of stuff I took from my mom’s place after she passed. In other words, I have a lot of STUFF in my house.

I live alone, why do I need all this? The simple answer: I don’t. Why was I holding onto 2 broken cameras, with the thought that maybe between the 2 I’d get 1 that worked? After sitting in a drawer for 6 or 7 years, I came to the conclusion that I was never going to get one working. Why do I need 25-30 plates, of varying designs and materials, when I really only liked using my Correlle dishes? I don’t. Why am I holding onto clothes I haven’t worn in 10 or more years, that no longer fits, just because I bought it at a cool place, or for a special occasion? I really no longer need them. I do not need all this stuff.

There is some background on why I’ve allowed a lot of this to accumulate. First, one side of my family tends to be borderline hoarders. My dad had so much junk built up in his house that it took months and months to go through it and clean it out. Same with my aunt. I am aware of this familial issue, and constantly have to make a conscious decision to let things go. And secondly, I don’t tend to “see” things. Let me explain: if something is in a spot in my house, I tend to never pay attention to it. Even if it’s in an inconvenient spot, or is something I don’t need, it’s just always there, it’s always been there, and unless something draws my direct attention to it, it will always be there. I guess kind of like the 2 cameras in my previous paragraph. They were in a plastic baggie in the junk drawer. They were just always there. They stayed there until I purposely and consciously looked at them and truly asked myself why I’ve let them stay there, and if I honestly was ever going to do anything about them. When I finally came to the conclusion that it was highly unlikely I was ever going to actually fix them, I let them go.

So, what to do about all this? I started with baby steps… and a plastic garbage bag. I opened my bathroom closet, and started purging. Ended up with 3 garbage bags, and a whole lot of pride in how clean, organized and amazing my bathroom closet looked. Next, I tackled a junk drawer. That was pretty significant, because for the first time in the (at the time) 9 years I’d lived in this house, I never stopped to think about the fact that I had 9 drawers in my kitchen, and 5 of them were dedicated to junk. Only 4 of them were for actual kitchen items. WOW!

Knowing a plastic garbage bag was only going to get me so far, and seeing all the large items in my house and garage that had built up over the years, I came to the conclusion that i needed to rent a dumpster. I got a 30 yard dumpster placed out in front of my house, and went nuts! Most of the stuff came from the second floor of my house. That was my youngest daughter’s lair, and was also used for a lot of storage. I believe she too struggles with getting rid of stuff, and when she moved out, she wanted to make a fresh start and not start her new adult life with clutter. That’s great, and I’m proud of her, but she left me to deal with all she left behind.

Over the next 2 weeks, I worked my butt off to fill that dumpster. Granted, I allowed some friends and family members use some of the dumpster space for their own stuff, but the majority came from my house. It felt GREAT to get rid of that much stuff! But over the next few weeks after the dumpster was gone, I would look around my house and think “Why didn’t I put that in the dumpster?” or “That’s too big for my garbage bin, that should have gone in the dumpster!” It was frustrating to know I’d gotten rid of so much, but still had so much to go!

To be continued with the next post…

Too much to keep up

I remember being young, and hearing of older people selling their houses and moving into condos, trailers, retirement living, etc, and I always wondered why.  Their reasoning was that their house was getting to be too much to keep up.  What?  How can that be?  They’ve always been able to, why would that have changed?

As I’ve gotten older, granted I’m only 47, I’m finally beginning to understand.  I am single, my kids have moved out, left me with all the pets, I’ve taken on a few foster kitties, and still have the 4 bed, 2 bath 1880 sq ft home on .22 acres.  Somehow I’m supposed to maintain the house, keep up with upgrades, mow the lawn, rake the lawn, trim back the trees, fix the gutters, clean, take care of the animals, all on top of working 2-3 jobs.  Add in the fact that everyone that’s ever moved out has left a bunch of their stuff, so it’s overrun with too much junk and clutter.  So on top of that, I’m trying to purge out all the excess crap.  It’s become “Too much to keep up.”

I’m really trying to keep up, but it seems that I am always falling behind.  I can never clean the house and keep it clean for any length of time, I thought that was supposed to happen after the kids moved out?  Lol.  But I’m also working on a lot of remodeling, getting the house looking nicer and more modern.  Every time I sit down I feel guilty because there is always SO much to do, but I’m just exhausted all the time.  It doesn’t matter how much I do or get done, it is never enough.  I have a never-ending, actually growing list of stuff to do!

What to do about this?  I have a plan, something in the works.  Stay tuned, keep reading, and eventually I will make the announcement.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot

A Plan?

From a young age, it seems our lives are planned out for us.  Do good in school, find a boyfriend/girlfriend, go to college, get married, buy a house, have a few kids, save every penny you have and retire around the age of 70.  For the most part, I’ve followed that plan, maybe a little out of order, but overall, I’ve followed it.  I did well in school, had a child, got a boyfriend, bought a house, got married, had a couple more kids, got my college degree, bought a better house, got divorced, still have house.  But eh, close to the plan.

Part of that plan is implied.  Do better, make more money, buy more stuff, buy nicer stuff, buy bigger stuff.  Everything about the plan is rooted in consumerism, in buying bigger and better things.  Collecting things, getting a bigger house to store things (wait, didn’t George Carlin do a skit on this topic?), getting a nicer and more expensive car, be successful.  And by being successful, that means making more money.

How does one make more money?  By working more and moving up.  Work 5 days a week, 2 days off, 2 weeks vacation a year?  Pshhh, not if you want to get ahead and be successful.  More like work 50-60 hours a week, maybe come in on your day off, forego vacation (maybe take in pay), be dedicated, live to work!  Yes, that’s how it’s done!

How does one have a life when all one does is work?  60 hours a week, 6 days a week, little to no vacation, where is the enjoyment?  The ONE day off you have is taken up by chores around the house.  The yard doesn’t mow itself, the groceries don’t appear on your doorstep by themselves (ok, I will give ya that grocery delivery is more common now), the house still needs to be cleaned, the fence repaired, the errands run, the parents to go visit… it just never ends, does it?  Again, where is the enjoyment in life?

Retirement, that’s it!  When you retire somewhere around the age of 70, after having done everything right and you have a nice, large nest egg to live off of.  But oh, you are so tired, your body aches, this big house is too much to take care of, why don’t the kids and grandkids visit and maybe help out a bit, and oh, what’s that lump?  Cancer?  Oops, you are dead in 10 weeks.

What happened to your life?  You followed the plan and did things the way you were “supposed” to.  But that’s it?  But what did you really, truly do in your life, other than work and earn money?  What did you do for fun?  What memories will you take to the grave?

So, tell me, what happens when you veer from the plan?