Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's Hard To Smile, But FlyLady Made Me

Two days ago I received devastating, life-altering news.  I don't want to talk about it here, please don't ask what it was.  I'll just say that it's the kind of news that instantly gave me a sense of superficiality about everything I do, from brushing my hair to watching a DVD.

Already I find myself having mood swings ranging from feeling almost normal with my sadness sitting just below the surface, to full-out bawling a few minutes later.  But honestly, after news like this, there is no more normal.

I almost feel like I am doing something wrong as I go about my daily business, completing the tasks in my routines, and sometimes feel like I have weights attached to my clothes as I do so, making a simple chore feel that much more difficult to complete.  I know I have to fight this feeling, because life goes on, but shaking the feeling that everything is so pointless now it hard.  Again, I have to fight it. 

Earlier today I was  searching YouTube for a video of FlyLady when she was on the show "I'm Pregnant and a Hoarder" to show a friend, and while I was there I got sidetracked and started watching some of the other videos on her channel.  I came across one where she is cleaning out rotten potatoes from her potato bin, and the sight of her squealing with disgust and practically gagging actually got a giggle out of me:

Thanks FlyLady for making me smile today, even if I didn't feel like it.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Suck It (Up)!

The day after I wrote my last post, I actually did get off my hiney and go to my local brick-and-mortar Target to see what they had in way of hand held vacuums.  Compared to the amount of regular upright vacs, the selection was rather small.  If memory serves, there were about 5 to choose from, ranging from $20.00 to over $200.00 in price. 

Wanting to stay in the under $50.00/the-less-the-better category, my choices were then narrowed down to 4.  (The over-the-top $200.00 one was made by Dyson.  A little overkill if you ask me.)  I literally spent no less than 1 1/2 hours standing there, hmmm-ing and haw-ing over my options, looking up the model names with my iPhone trying to find reviews.  I tend to be a bit ridiculous when it comes to researching a product before I buy.

In the end, after much anguish and soul-searching, (please know that I am being facetious, I'm not that insane!) I choose the cheapest option available, the Dirt Devil 7.2 Volt Easy Lite Hand Vac. It's cordless, lightweight, has an attached (aka non-losable) crevice tool, and- that's about it. Truthfully, that's all I want. 

During my review-reading I started to get a little bogged down with all the options out there, wondering if I was missing out should I not purchase a vac with features that sounded cool but had never even thought of needing before.  Some had motorized brushes optimal for pet hair removal, some were corded for MORE POWER (cue Tim Allen manly grunt here), some had hoses, some had cyclonic suction, some had X-amount of volts vs. Y-amount of volts,  and on and on and on.

Finally I had to step back and remind myself what it was I wanted this hand vac for.  The list included:

1.  Picking up kitty litter tracked outside the box, as this has to be done on a daily basis.

2.  Picking up cat hair/my hair from the white bathroom floor, as this also has to be done on a daily basis.  The three of us all have dark hair and tend to shed.

3.  Picking up any other little bits of dirt or fuzz that annoy me in between regular vacuuming.

That's it.  That's all I needed a hand vac to do.  None of the stuff I wanted to suck up is overly heavy requiring MORE POWER (grunt grunt grunt), nothing required any of the other fancy features available on other models.  In reality, I need something very basic, so basic is what I choose.

There wasn't very much out there in way of reviews on the Easy Lite, though I did come across one blogger who mentioned it's excellent bug-sucking abilities which made me laugh.  I also realized something about reviews- in a way they are all skewed.  If someone bought this hand vac wanting something that would be great at picking up pet hair from the couch or carpet, they would be sorely disappointed and give it 1 star.  But since I want it for getting the hair off the laminate bathroom floor, I would give it 4 stars, since it's great for that.  It all depends on what the purchaser's original expectations for the product were, not necessarily what the product itself was meant to do.

Anyway, I have been enjoying my Easy Lite thus far.  It does not have a mounting base for charging, but does come with a charging cord.  I have not used it continuously enough to drain the battery so I cannot comment on how long it lasts, but I can say I have gotten at up to least 10 minutes of use at a time.  The attached crevice tool is handy, and emptying the dirt cup isn't a huge chore.  The suction is great for what I am cleaning, in fact, more suction would actually hinder cleaning the litter box area.  It sits on a re-purposed purple yoga mat in the corner of a closet, and when trying to clean up the tracked litter with a hose attachment from a regular vacuum the mat gets pulled up and stuck to the hose because the suction is too strong.  With the Easy Lite, the litter gets sucked up,  the mat does not.

For $20.00 I am more than happy with my purchase.  If I were to voice any concerns it would be about the battery life.  I have had chargeable products stop taking a charge within months before, and I sincerely hope the Easy Lite does not let me down by dying soon.  I've already gotten a little attached.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Frugality Bit Me In The Butt

I have one of those debit cards that earns points with my everyday purchases, which can then be cashed in for an array of products available through an online catalog.  I started accumulating points a few years ago when I changed banks, but had never bothered to cash them in.  They just kept adding up, forgotten, until last week when it occurred to me to check the balance.

To my pleasant surprise I actually had enough to get a product or gift cards that would retail for around $100.00 in the "real" world. I decided to go ahead and pick something out, as there wasn't really anything in the catalog I wanted to "save up" for.  After awhile I settled on a small wet/dry hand vac by Hoover.  It had good reviews online and was cordless, which to me is kind of the point when looking at a hand vac.  I really wanted something just to pick up the kitty litter that gets tracked by the box, and the odd bit off fluff or crumbs that would drive me crazy in between regular vacuuming.  It retails for about $25.00.
I was just about to place my order when a thought occurred to me- I also had the option to cash in my points for gift cards to restaurants or stores, such as Target.  I wondered how the points-to-prize conversion would work out if I were to first purchase Target gift cards with my points, then turn around and buy the vac from them vs. getting the vac outright.  I did all the math, and it turned out my points were stretched further if I turned them into Target gift cards rather than getting the vac directly from the bank.  Sold.  I did the transaction, ordering 4- $25.00 Target gift cards, almost emptying out my points bank since there is nothing else in the catalog I want and I don't think I'll have any problem spending the rest at Target.

A week went by, and then finally the gift cards showed up in the mail this afternoon.  Score! Look how pretty they are:

I hopped right online to to place my order, but to my horror, it now says the item is out of stock!  There is no mention of whether or not they intend on getting more. Now I am thoroughly bummed, not to mention a little ticked.  If I had just ordered the vac outright from the bank I would have it in hand, sucking up kitty litter and dust bunnies right now.  Instead, I tried to be frugal and "stretch" my points, leaving me with  4 pieces of plastic that have the ability to buy me a vac, but there doesn't seem to be any others carried by Target that I want.  Sooo frustrating!  Here are what seem to be my options:

The Dirt Devil 15.6V Gator Series Hand Vac

This one has really good reviews on, but when checking they, um, suck. It also costs $41.99, a little more than I really want to spend on a hand vac, but am willing to since it's technically "free" money I'm spending.

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Corded Hand Vac
This one has excellent reviews on both Target and Amazon, but the features have me a little wary.  It is corded, which is something I'm trying to get away from.  I really want this vac to be a really quick "grab and go" appliance, and a cord defeats that purpose.  It also was designed more for picking up pet hair off of couches and the like, not the reason I'd mainly be using it.  It has a shorter "snout", which makes it harder to get under furniture where fluff balls love to hide.  The replacement filters have to be purchased from Bissell directly, as they don't seem to be carried in stores. The price is good at $28.79, but still leaves me wanting the original Hoover vac I'd set out for.

Those are the leading contenders, but nothing is making me itch to make the purchase now.  I think I'm going to go to my local brick and mortar Target to see what the options are, but I know they don't carry the Hoover I want in-store.  I'm not really sure what I should do if I have no luck there, do I sit and wait hoping gets more in stock, or does Target operate more on the "once it's gone, it's gone" system?  If I choose to just move ahead and pick one of the other two, which one?  Am I giving this too much thought?  My head hurts.  Advice please!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Announcing My New Blog

Forgive my tardiness in posting, but I have been trying to get another blog up and running.  This one is a duel-effort between me and my friend/co-worker.

This blog is where I can write about the history related topics that I love but really don't have much of a place here.  I know I have at least a few readers here on FlyLady Flunky that have expressed interest in such things when I have mentioned them, so I thought I would include the link should any of you wish to go check it out.

We are calling the new blog: Period Inappropriate. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Driving Myself Crazy

I feel all over the place, I don't know where to start, therefore nothing is being done.  I don't like this feeling.  I have so many little things and a few big things that I want/have to do, but I can't seem to focus and actually complete any of those items.  You could say I feel overwhelmed.

A big part of my problem is my perfectionism.  A perfect example of my perfectionism is that of my new sewing room- formally living room.  I previously wrote about how my ex took the living room furniture leaving me with a room full of randomness.  I hate randomness.  It's hard to re-do a room if it has no designated function.  Luckily my friend TJ suggested that I turn it into a sewing room. I really liked the idea and immediately started bringing my sewing supplies up the two floors from where it was previously housed in the chilly basement.

My Dad helped me carry up an eight-foot-long folding table which will serve as my sewing work space. My ironing board, boxes of fabric, organizational drawer cabinet, and of course  sewing machine all also occupy this room.  All this in addition to the stuff that was already in there, like my desk, coffee table, TV stand, and my ex's remaining saltwater reef tanks.  I had my work cut out for me.

Before I began, the room looked something like this:

The desk was the only "completed" part of the room.  Everything else was sort of pushed to the edges. I started arranging and rearranging sometime around 7:00 last night.  I took this picture about 10:00:

At this point, I was still surprisingly upbeat.  It was fun trying to figure out where everything would go, and when I was done I was going to have my cute little sewing room right there next to my bedroom.  No more cold lonely basement for me!  Then, around 11:00, things took a wrong turn...

I'm going to try and walk you through my thought process during all this, but I'm warning you now- we're about to get inside my head and it ain't pretty.  Here goes:

OK.  Desk is already set up and looking cute on the north wall and I want it to stay there, fish tanks are taking up half the west wall, so that leaves  the east wall to put the sewing table.  No problem.  But wait, that is a shared wall with my sister's room, I hope she won't be annoyed by the sound of the machine through the wall.  Better go check.  (Did a test run of machine noise.)  Nope, she said she can't hear it, we're good to go.  Now I need to set up the ironing board.  I want the ironing board to come off the table like an "L" on my right hand side like I had it in the basement. I'm left handed and it's the most comfortable place for me to have it, all I need to do is swivel my chair to the side and it's in the perfect spot.  But, if I do that in this room, it blocks the door.  I could just put it up when I need it and take it down when I don't, but I use it so much during a project to iron seam allowances that doing that would be a huge pain in the butt. No, better just to leave it up. If I put it on the other side it blocks the desk.  Obviously the table needs to be on a different wall.  The north wall, where the desk is now,  That way it will be the focal point in the room.  But I like the desk there. No, it's the only other good spot for it, I can deal with moving the desk.  OK, table is on the north wall.  It looks kind of nice there.  Now back to to the ironing board. It can now go on my right side where I want it. But if I put it on that side, that means the desk has to go on the opposite side and there really isn't room over there. Maybe I could move it to the other side of the room and just get used to it being on my left?  Sure.  Let's do that.  Hmmm. If I have it on that side the tray part where the iron sits is to my left, and that means the pointed end of the board is the end closest to the table, and that looks weird.  Plus, it's harder to iron my work dresses that way.  If I turn the table around, now the iron spot is on my right side, and I'd have to keep reaching across for it.  No way.  The ironing board has to be on the right.  Now to deal with the desk.  I like things centered, even, balanced, etc.  I want the desk in the center of that wall. No problem.  Wait-problem.  There is an air vent that protrudes from the baseboard a couple inches keeping me from putting the desk where I want it.  I can either center the desk and just have it pulled out away from the wall a few inches, or just have it off centered by about six inches and push it up against the wall.  Nope, neither are to my liking.  It will drive me nuts to do either.  The desk has to go on the other side of the room.  Which means the ironing board has to move again, back to the other side.  We've been though this.  Ugh!...

Anyone still there?  I totally wouldn't blame you if you all just un-subscribed from my feed right now after having read that.  I'm not kidding when I say this is only a small portion of my thought process last night. There were several other issues that came up, but if I went into further detail I'm afraid I'd make your eyes bleed.  I also moved that desk back and forth across the room no less than five times.  I finally gave up around 2:00 AM.  I'm still not happy with it. I even got my sister involved as a fresh set of eyes, and she has concluded that I am a psychopath...

I've always been able to take take whatever furnishings and decor I have to work with and somehow bring the room together in a way where it seems as though  it was meant to be that way.  Everything belongs.  I can't stand it when a space appears as though the things within it are only where they are because it's the only place they would fit.  In this case, it's the truth.  And it's driving me nuts.  Here's what it looks like now- I know to you this will look just fine, but to me, it's still all wrong:

I know it's crazy to have spent that much time agonizing over something so trivial.  I really can't help it.  If I'm going to be spending a lot of time in there I want it to feel right, and it doesn't.  Plus, this was only one example of how my perfectionism takes over.  I do this kind of thing all the time with the most mundane of tasks and over-analyze them to the point I have a "freak-out".  Somebody take pity and shoot me, please?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's The Little Things...

I really, really wish I could find the connector cord for my digital camera.  I'm sick of posting with grainy iPhone pictures.  Hold that thought...

OK, I found a connector cord that will work, but now my camera batteries are dead.  Just a sec...

Great.  No more AA batteries in the house.  Ugh...

Sweet! My sister Kristen is actually letting me borrow her new digital camera.  Thanks Kristen!  Now on with the show!

Warning, this is a picture heavy post!  I've spent the last couple days trying to rearrange what was the living room half of my "suite".  Now that my ex has taken the furniture it doesn't really have a function assigned to it.  I've put in an antique dressing table from the 1930's to serve as a desk, but other than that the space is sort of random at the moment.  I don't want to use the bench seat that goes with the table because there is no back to rest against, so for right now there is a folding chair.  Classy!

All this decorating has made made me realize that it is the little details that really bring a room together.  My style seems to be this weird mixture of antique and modern, yet it somehow seems to work in a way that makes my bedroom all cozy.  I'm trying to do the same thing for the other half of my "suite".  You can already begin to see it in the picture above- notice the antique desk along with the modern prints on the rug and curtains?  Heck, you might be thinking I have no taste at all and it looks like crap, lol, but I like it.  I've taken some close ups of some of the other details that add to the room:

This is not an antique (in fact it says Made in China on the knobs), but being the history dork that I am I like it none the less.  My mom was about to donate it to Purple Heart, but I snagged it out of the box.  I just wish I had some oil so I could light it up!

I have no idea who this is.  He is part of my "Cute Dead-Guys" collection.  Yes, you read correctly.  I have a growing collection of antique photographs of men who I personally find attractive and are most likely deceased.  This one dates from WWII.  It is the only one in which there is even a possibility of the subject still being alive.  I choose this photo for my desk because of the brass frame, hoping it would tie-in to the oil lamp.

I don't know who this is either.  He actually was the first of my CDG photographs.  I was just walking through an antique store years ago and saw him, and something drew me in.  It is actually part of a set, there is a second photo of his wife.  I couldn't split the pair up so I bought them both, and she hangs above him on my bedroom wall.  Judging by their clothing (her dress and hair mainly), I think they date from the 1840's.  Definitely dead.  I think he kinda looks like Heath Ledger.

And this is the most recent addition to the collection.  No info on this one either, other than he probably lived in the mid-19th Century.  I actually used this one to be my first "husband"  at work.  (For those of you not in the know, I work at a living history museum where I portray a woman living during the Civil War.)  My character was a widow who's first husband was a dairy farmer and then died at the battle of Gettysburg, and I used this photo to portray him to the public.  He now sits on top of my TV.

I was given this butter sign as a gift from a co-worker at the museum.  It was for sale in the gift shop and I had had my eye on it for a year before she gave it to me.  I love it! It's cute, and has meaning to me since I played a dairy farmer's wife and can actually make butter from scratch.  It hangs above a bookshelf in my bedroom.

This too was a gift from a friend at work.  It's a Cat's Meow replica of my favorite house to work in at the museum.  It was "my" house last year, and hopefully will be again.  It adorns my windowsill.

Next to the window I have an actual  prop letter from the movie "A Walk In The Clouds".  I bought it in Disney World when I was 21 and stuck it in a frame as "art".  If you've seen the movie, you'll know there was a trunk full of letters written by Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) to his wife Betty (Debra Messing).  She never bothered to read them.  There actually is a letter on the inside too, it's not just the envelope for show. Say what you like about the movie, but I like it and I think it's cool to have such an integral prop.

Below the window I re-purposed the bench seat from the antique dressing table-now desk.  My cat is always trying to lay in the window sill to look outside, but it's too narrow.  I figured this could act as a little kitty-seat for him, but since I put it there a couple days ago, he hasn't used it once.  Ungrateful cat.

This photograph of Marilyn Monroe actually came from a calender.  I just cut it out and put it in a "floating" frame due to it's odd dimensions.  Isn't she lovely?

Above my bed are two framed prints by the pin-up artist Alberto Vargas.  This one is my favorite.  If you can't tell, she is holding a letter in her hand.  I've always wanted to know what it said to create the expression she has, and I can't quite figure out what exactly that expression is.  Happy?  Sad?  For me it's like trying to figure out the Mona Lisa!

This stained glass lamp was given to me by a former employer.  She didn't want it anymore, and I needed a bedside lamp so it was a win-win situation.  Next to it is a small jewelry/music box I put my rings in when I go to bed.  This prevents the cats from turning them into toys as I sleep.  It plays "All I Ask Of You" from Phantom of the Opera.

Last but not least, my silver plated piggy bank I've had since I was a baby.  He needs a good polishing, but for now I'm calling the tarnish "character". 

This is not an exhaustive list of everything in my "suite", just some of the highlights.  These are the things that help me feel like this is my home.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Digs

On New Year's Eve-eve there were some changes made around here. During our relationship my ex and I purchased bedroom and living room furniture together. These items included a bed set, couch, recliner, coffee table and a wool area rug. My ex came to pick up the pieces of furniture he won in our "divorce".    I was not happy about having to divide up these belongings, having the strongest emotions over who got the bed.

Even though it wasn't really my taste when we first bought it, I grew to really like the bed we picked out together and had a very hard time letting it go.  Yes, there was sentimental attachment involved, but also I just really like this bed! I was not happy with the idea of him walking out the door with something that was just as much mine as it was his.  But, after several arguments and tears, a compromise was made.

Because I had another bed available to me (the Shaker-style four poster I picked out when I was about 14) and he didn't, it really was only fair that he get the bed.  But, to lower the suckage-level for me, I told him I got the mattress. He could have the one that was supposed to go on my bed, a barely-used hand me down from my sister.  He agreed.  At least this way it still feels like the bed I'm used to, even though I haven't slept on this one for a decade.

He also got the recliner that was purchased to be "his" in the first place, and my pretty blue couch with an optional chaise lounge.  Again, not happy.  But, he did take over the final payments for the living room stuff after we broke up, so it was only fair.  He did leave me the area rug and coffee table.  I call them my "consolation prizes".

I spent most of December 30th and 31st rearranging my bedroom to get the new set-up to work and feel homey.  This was not fun.  The biggest problem I ran into was that the bed I now have has four tall posts, and one perfectly blocked my view of the TV. FYI- I have to watch TV as I fall asleep.  HAVE TO. Don't give me that crap about it ruins your sleep blah blah blah.  I'm set in my ways.  After several attempts to move things around, it finally came to the point where the only solution was for me to change which side of the bed I slept on.

I don't know if any of you have had to make this same change at some point, but for those of you who haven't, I think it sucks!  Everything feels all wrong! When I walk in the room I automatically start heading for the other side and have to correct myself.  I never realized what an ingrained thing this was for me until it changed.  It's only a distance of 3 feet, but it feels like another world.  It's hard for me to sleep now too, and even my cats seemed confused by the new arrangement.  I need to retrain myself to navigate my own room.

Anyway, I got things moved around in the bedroom mostly to my liking.  I really wanted to recreate the cozy feeling I had made with the previous arrangement as soon as possible so I was wasn't living in a state of chaos.  Things are looking pretty cute in here if I do say so myself.  Don't get me wrong, since it's only been a couple days I would gladly put things back the way they were in a heartbeat given the chance.  It still doesn't feel like "home" yet.

Here are some pictures, all taken on the iPhone since I can't find the cord to my camera that allows me to upload pics to the computer:

Bed before.

Bed after.

The trouble-making TV.

Replacement nightstand.

Bedtime.  TTYL!