Cleaning Up

You guys can probably guess by now that when I get obsessed with something I get OBSESSED. This week I have been consumed by an obsession.

This is not some book review and I don’t know the author of this book. But I just have to talk about it. I read this book on Monday called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

 

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I have read a few books about cleaning and organizing. I am actually one of those people that likes to clean. And I love waking up to a clean apartment.

I also have no issues with tossing things. I am one of the most unsentimental people I know. In short, I did not think the book would really do much for me.

But, the book sounded interesting. And it was short and relatively inexpensive. So I bought it.

I completely fell in love with it. I have not read any other reviews of her or other blog posts so I can only speak to my own experience. The author is a professional organizer in Japan. She calls her method Konmari. The Konmari method is a way of interacting with your stuff I had never considered before.

Like I said, I am great at getting rid of things I don’t use. Especially when it comes to clothes. If I don’t like something, or it stopped fitting, or the cut doesn’t suit me; it is gone. I do not hang on to outfits in case I lose weight or anything like that.

But the Konmari method is not about what you don’t like, it’s about what you love. What brings you joy? And I had honestly never considered that before.

I mean, I love many of my belongings. But there were, it turns out, even more that I did not.

I have spent every single day this week after work going through my things. And by going through, I mean taking every single, solitary thing I own and touching it, thinking about it, deciding if I loved it.

The first day I did clothes and books.

And you guys know how I feel about books. I had three books shelves all double stacked on each shelf. With books wedged in between the top of the books and the bottom of the shelf above it. Also, there were more stacked to dangerous heights on top of each shelf. I love books. But, it turns out I did not love all the books I owned.

The first day (Monday) I got rid of ten boxes of books. So many that I now only need one book shelf. And nothing is double stacked anywhere.

 

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All the books I gave away. I hope they make someone very happy.

 

I also got rid of two trash bags of clothes. And when I say ‘trash bag’ I don’t mean some 14 gallon kitchen garbage bag. I’m talking about those big black yard waste bags. I also don’t fill them halfway full so it is a manageable weight like a responsible person. No, I wait till it is crammed full. So full I can’t always even carry them by myself.

I got rid of more than half of my clothes.

At first glance in my closet I panicked. I mean, it looked nice but what did I even have left to wear? Then, I looked closer. I realized that all the clothes I had kept were the ones I wore. Like, the only ones I even bothered to wear, ever. I would be fine. And I have been so far.

The next day (Wednesday) I did papers and jewelry. I have a cedar chest, like those old timey hope chests, and mine was just filled with paperwork. I had old notebooks from high school crammed with stories. Old journals. Every medical document from the last 10 years (and believe me when I say there was a ridiculous amount of those).

 

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My first day of giveaway.

 

I ended up throwing out an entire trash bag just for paperwork. I had three grocery bags of papers to be shredded.

I have to stop for a second to tell you guys that when I took my papers to work to shred I carefully went through them. Luckily. Because I found my birth certificate. I didn’t even know I had that. I thought it was lost forever. Apparently my mother had sent it to me, without notifying me, mixed in with a bunch of unimportant school work.

I also found my living will. Another document I didn’t even realize I still had. And finally, I found my car title. Something I thought I had lost while I was homeless for three months.

I was pretty happy I went through those papers before shredding them.

The final day (Thursday) I went through my closets, craft tables, and kitchen. Marie Kondo recommends doing all this in less than six months. I did it in less than a week.

What can I say? I’m an overachiever. And I really did not have THAT much stuff. Considering.

Now my apartment looks amazing! It’s transformed. It’s so much cleaner and uncluttered and gorgeous. And I love every single item in it.

But, the best part is how much better I feel. It’s no exaggeration. I had so many things I was holding on to. I had things I had kept out of guilt or obligation. I just let all that go. It was like a weight was lifted.

No more drawings from old friends that I didn’t talk to anymore. No more bullshit trinkets that people had gifted to me. No more junk drawers. It feels amazing.

And here is the grand total at the end of all of this:

I got rid of 7 trash bags of giveaway to the thrift store.

I also had 6 trash bags of actual trash.

I had 10 boxes of books to give away.

I shredded 3 grocery bags of papers and CDs to be shredded.

I got rid of 2 bookcases.

I am not saying this is something that will work for everyone. I’m not saying this has solved all my problems in life. But I am so much happier now. I am so glad I read this book.

Has anyone else read it? Does anyone have an experience with a ruthless overhaul of their living space?

Physical Therapy

You guys know I am pretty open on here about everything. I mean, I talk about my vagina. All. The. Time.

 

And puking. And having sex. And even peeing myself.

 

But there is one thing I am still pretty hesitant to talk about. And that is pooping and farting. I’m actually blushing just typing those words. I don’t know why I am so weird about that and apparently nothing else. It would make more sense for me to be shy about some of those other things.

 

My sister J loves to talk about those two subjects. And I do for her sake. Pretty much constantly. And it doesn’t embarrass me to do so with her. But with most other people I shy away.

 

So I have been putting off on telling this story for over two years.

 

You guys probably remember me falling down the stairs and hurting my back.

 

Well, the first thing I did. After having an allergic reaction to my steroids and staying the night in the hospital. Was to go see a physical therapist.

 

I had never been to one before and had this idea in my mind of what it would be like. Based 100% on movies. Which are really the best thing to base everything on, right?

 

So, if movies taught me anything it’s that my physical therapist would be a sexy but tough woman who would help me learn to walk again. She would be firm but fair. I would be in intense pain. We would fall in love. Cue to me haltingly taking my first steps into her open arms. End film.

 

Turns out my physical therapist, J, was a very attractive lady. Who was happily married with two kids. Also, she was maybe five feet tall. For those of you that don’t remember, I am six feet one inch.

 

So I meet her and explain about how I hate people touching me. As I do the first time I meet any doctor or person that has to touch me for their job. I like to set the right tone in my relationships.

 

J takes me back to one of the therapy rooms and does an examination of my back and has me bend and stretch and do all sorts of things. Just to see what I’m about. And what I am about is that I do a lot of yoga and she said she was impressed with how flexible I am. For my height (whatever that means).

 

She has me lie down on this little bed that looks like a weightlifter’s bench. And she’s telling me what she wants to do to help me with my back and my pain and all.

 

I’m cool with it. So I tell her to go ahead.

 

She reaches under me and kind of wraps one arm around me in an awkward way. Her hand is directly beneath my spine. My arms are crossed over my chest.

 

With absolutely zero warning, she throws herself down and kind of propels herself onto me. She was like a tiny WWE wrestler trying to take me down.

 

Two things happened at once.

 

She knocked the wind out of me. And…she knocked the wind out of me.

 

I farted. So long and loudly that there could be absolutely no mistaking what had just happened.

 

Despite my extreme mortification, I also immediately started laughing. Because I am an immature child.

 

She was very mature about the whole thing and pretended to not realize what I had just done. So she stood there over me, arms crossed. Patiently waiting for me to stop.

 

But I couldn’t. This was our FIRST meeting. I had known her for all of 10 minutes. This physical therapy was not going as planned. But most things don’t.

 

After a solid 10 minutes of me laughing so hard I couldn’t speak, my eyes filled with tears and my face getting redder and redder. I finally stopped.

 

She had barely cracked a smile. I don’t know how she managed it. But once I finished she just kind of nodded and said “Shall we?” And got back to it.

 

I saw her every week for over a year and she was kind enough to never bring it up. Ever.
And I did my part by making sure that little incident was never repeated. Ever.

Hair Barrettes

You guys, I was totally going to write something last week and instead I got shots in my back and was an irritable sweaty rage monster and had to hide myself from the world. Like the Phantom of the Opera. Only without the kick ass face mask and broadway musical score.

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But I am feeling better and awaiting my second round of shots so I’m ready to share a story of emotional heartbreak from my childhood.

When I was a kid my little sister, J, and I shared everything. A room, a bed, a pillow at times. But the one thing we hated sharing was our toys. Is there anything worse than sharing toys as a child?

Okay, yes.

But as a kid, that shit is the fucking worst. And my sister and I fought constantly over…well…basically everything.

There was one thing we seemed to fight over more than anything else though. Our hair clips.

These EXACT ones!!! I’m not going to lie, I moaned when I saw this picture.

Our collection of them was extensive and impressive. You guys know what I’m talking about. Little plastic hair barettes.

I don’t know what they look like now. But when we were kids we had everything. There were days of the week in multiple colors. Clips with puppies and kittens. Glittery gel clips. Clips with hearts and stars. The more traditional bow and ribbon style clips. And, best of all, rainbow clips!

It was a cornucopia of cheap plastic and tiny rows of gripping teeth.

We were obsessed with them. An outfit was not complete without matching hair clips. And god help you if we both wanted to wear the same ones on the same day.

These images are making my heart ache

We kept them stored first in a toy sized plastic garbage can and then eventually in a kaboodle. Do you guys remember kaboodles? They were like tackle boxes for little girls. I am not even joking when I say I would have one right now if I found one.

My father always has very long grey hair growing up. In fact, my father looked like Jerry Garcia. He looked so much like Jerry Garcia that my mother once bought a Grateful Dead bumper sticker and I thought it was of my father somehow.

This is basically a portrait of my father

My mother laughed at me for that for about three weeks. Like I would have known who the Grateful Dead were at that age. I was a 14 year old honor student, not a stoner college freshman.

Anyway, my father would get drunk and watch football on Sundays and my sister and I would sit behind the couch and try to put every clip in his hair that we could. He wound up looking like some sort of creepy old man Medusa.

It was fun.

I don’t remember the exact fight. But sometime around the age of 9 my sister and I got into a massive fight over a specific hair clip. I’m going to guess it was the rainbow one. I always had a thing for rainbows.

My father confiscated the barrettes.

In my house confiscation was like death. It was the equivalent of taking the aging family dog to a farm upstate.

I don’t know what happened to the things he confiscated. But we never saw those barrettes again.

I still have not emotionally recovered. Those barrettes man. They were plastic gold.

And, because I love all of you so much, here is a rare picture of me at that age. With a barrette in my hair. Also you need to know this outfit consisted of a pastel leopard print button up, an acid washed denim skirt, fucking SUSPENDERS, and sneakers with socks.

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Going Grey

I just wanted to have grey hair so bad. I mean, it looks amazing on everyone. It is so in right now. And I truly think I could pull grey hair off.

 

So I innocently made an appointment to my local hair salon. All my misadventures start with the best of intentions. How hard was it to get a hair dye?

 

Here is a picture of me before. In case you guys forgot how fantastic my hair is.

 

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I don’t know why I look so emo here

 

I brought a book and some water (which I cannot go anywhere without) and was ready for it to take about 2 hours. That was normal for the intense bleaching and then toning I was looking for. But I was willing to wait and brave chemical burns for my new found sense of style.

 

That first night we bleached my hair. And I wound up looking like Thranduil.

 

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I hate my hot elvish son

 

But my hair refused to lighten enough to go grey. The hair stylist decided to try foiling my hair. The process was fascinating. Not least because she mistakenly thought kitchenware would help where probable cancer causing chemicals did not.

 

But I wound up looking like some sort of gingery blonde. I have to admit. It was pretty cute.

 

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So happy and smiley.

 

But five days later, I returned to her chair with my book. And we bleached it again. My hair did not like the bleaching. But I really did not care. My hair would be tamed.

 

And I wound up looking like Draco Malfoy.

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My father will hear about this!

 

It actually looked pretty cute for a week. But it still was not grey.

 

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Doctor Who in the house!

 

So I went back a third time. I finished my novel. I was reading Gulp by Mary Roach. As an aside here, if Mary Roach is looking for a 31 year old friend that lives in Florida I am available. All her books are amazing, hilarious and informative. And Gulp is also fascinatingly gross.

 

After two more bleachings, my hair was finally light enough to go grey. In case you lost count, that’s four bleachings in two weeks. Yes, my scalp was angry. My hair still has a bit of a weird texture to it. But not even a nuclear explosion could make that shit fall out. (Though actually it could since that is one of the symptoms of radiation poisoning).

 

We both realized that the reason we struggled with my hair so much was that I had auburn hair as a kid. Apparently red heads have difficult hair to bleach. Who knew?

 

So I had grey hair for one hot minute.

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I dare you to tell me I don’t look fantastic here.

 

But the bleach has been working on my hair over time now and a few weeks later, I am blonde again.

 

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Me now. Making some weird face.

 

I think next time I will go back to my childhood roots and dye it red. Sorry for all the pics of myself! 

Back (look I did a pun or is it a double entendre?)

Soo….. I am back.

Like, really back. For real.

I know what many of you are thinking. And frankly, you’re all a bunch of pervs.

But seriously.

Something pretty bad happened and it’s taken me a while to feel capable of being funny about it. But I think I’m there now. Lucky for all of you.

I am sure you all remember that time I fell down a flight of stairs and hurt my back. If not, feel free to read about it here.

So, I recently had to get a new MRI. My back pain has been getting worse. And my doctor wanted to see where we were. I mean, I knew where I was. In lots of pain.

When the results came back my doctor sat me down for a serious talk. My disc is herniated and pressing on a nerve that goes into my groin. So she asked me, “Are you having any issues with incontinence?”

Now, you guys all know that I totally am. *cough cough* Here.

But like any responsible adult, I lied my ass off to my doctor.

She explained to me that incontinence is a sign of serious nerve damage. And that if I am experiencing it then I would need to see a neurosurgeon about getting back surgery.

Nothing like being threatened with surgery to get the truth out of me. So I told her I was having issues. Needless to say, my doctor was not pleased. Hell, I wasn’t pleased.

She also told me that my vertebrae were also pressing on my spinal cord (called spinal stenosis and is a result of the disc herniation). And that, untreated, it could cause me to become paralyzed.

And some combination of those three things are causing my constant back pain.

I’m not sure what my response was at that point. I believe I may have bragged about winning the genetic lottery. I know it isn’t fair to rub that in people’s faces but I really am a sore winner. And then I got the hell out of her office so she couldn’t see me cry. 

She referred me to a pain management doctor to see about getting shots in my back for the pain. And she referred me to a neurosurgeon to see about getting back surgery.

I left her office and cried for basically the entire day. I also texted a bunch of my friends some whiny self-pitying bullshit. Sorry, friends!

But then I started joking about trading in my body for a robot body. Like, a sexy lady robot with 8 foot long legs and laser gun arms. And I had to admit, that was pretty cool. But unlikely.

More likely was that I would be paralyzed and get a wheelchair. So I started thinking about that instead. But my wheelchair was going to be bitchin’. I wanted like, a glow in the dark human skeleton frame. And I would knit and embroider all the panels and spokes. And maybe carve some Enochian spells from Supernatural into it.

That wheelchair would be cool as fuck.

That night I lie in bed and thought. It’s not like back surgery would be worse than five heart surgeries. It’s not like being paralyzed would be the worst thing to ever happen to me. Not even death was scary to me. I had already made my peace with it years ago.

So what was the big deal?

Turns out nothing. I waited for my doctor’s appointments and tried to pretend like I was fine. Not facing the reality of my life is a finely honed skill. And I am on some expert wizard level at that.

But, I found out this week that my neurosurgeon wants to wait on back surgery. My pain management doctor wants to put some needles into my spine (which sounds metal as all hell).

And now I am just waiting to make sure I’m not allergic to the drugs I’ll get pumped full of. Which would be my luck.

In reality, nothing much has changed. My back doesn’t hurt worse now that I have names for my problems. And I’ve been making a lot of pretty dark jokes to everyone about it.

So I am back!

And I decided to dye my hair grey to match my tired, shitty, old person body. That story will be next!