I’ll trade this challenge for 5 years of no retail shopping [day 5]

jodys-homemade-almond-milkBefore this challenge, I could say with complete confidence, that I would never be making my own almond milk.  Homemade.  From scratch.  The only thing I cook from scratch is water.  Yep, boiling water.  And I’m good at it.

I have to say, frustration set in yesterday.  Why am I doing this again?  Why do I do any of this crazy stuff?  Making milk?  Seriously.  My oldest son, somewhat jokingly, said I’m insane and might need to go see a doctor for it.  He also said he would trade this challenge and do 5 more years of the no retail shopping challenge.  “Can I just go to my dad’s house while you finish this?”  No.  He asked that right after I gave him his allowance to buy the food he likes, so he doesn’t have to participate in this 100%.   Continue reading

The parable of cat litter [day 3]

My goal today is to find a challenge-suitable cat litter.  There’s not enough litter left in the cat box to even cover the bottom of it.  I’ve spent the last hour and a half researching cat litter options.  Here are my findings:

non-environmental-cat-products-dumb-cat-platic-litter-searchLimited options for non-disposable or 100% biodegradable packaging.  I figure clay cat litter is a natural product anyway, but all of the added chemicals to deodorize and clump make it not so great.  I was just looking for litter I can buy in bulk, and place it in my own reusable container or 100% biodegradable packaging.  I’ll let you know how this plays out after my trip to the local pet store.

Products are designed for comfort and ease.  “Make your life easier!  Buy all of this plastic crap (pun intended), throw it away and start clean and fresh!” Seriously, a Diaper Genie for cat poop?  Yes, I’d like to keep the poop for a while and make it into plastic sausage links.  Really??!?

All-inclusive marketing.  Dumb Cat is pretty clever.  I call my cat that name all the time, but I don’t need a spray to make her dumber.  How about the  environmentally friendly plastic bags?  The polyethylene* allows us to make the bags thinner.  Thinner than not using one?  No. And I’m just picturing my kids taking that out to the trash can.  “Mom!!  I don’t how that bag broke, I was just walking it out to the trash can!”  Yeah, slinging it around and hitting his brother with it.  Bad vision!  Let’s move on.  Continue reading

a healthy way to deal with anger [minimalist challenge item #336]

[item] A bucket full of extra tile and broken dishes

[purchase info] Purchased tiles & dishes new

[time in my possession] Up to 13 years

[last used] Well over 5 years

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] Okay, so there’s a lot of stories in this bucket…

Story #1: VanGogh dishes.  Does anyone really ever use those tiny little coffee cups and saucers that come with china sets?  That’s a coffee tease!  I decided to take the 8 cups and saucers and make them into mosaic tiles.  Why?  I was going through my divorce and he had given me these dishes as a Christmas gift.  I threw them at the bricks on the side of the house to break them.  It’s a good anger release, but also just a lot of fun to do.  What?  My therapist said it’s only unhealthy if you break stuff you still need of plan to replace.  I didn’t need or want these.

Story #2: My favorite plate.  The green plate is part of my new (used) mismatched dishes.  I had two, this one broke in the microwave.  I guess it’s not microwave safe??  The one green one I have left?  I keep it at the bottom of the dish stack and only use it myself.  LOL!

Story #3: The cat did it.  There are some glass vases in here from just a few months ago.  My friend was housesitting while I was on vacation and my cat took down the fireplace mantel, which was full of glass vases.  Sorry Christina!  She got stuck cleaning up the mess.

There’s more stories, but those are the three best.  I’m just never going to get around to making anything out of this, so I passed it on to someone that would.

I could have used it somewhere else… [minimalist challenge item #221]

[item] Black/brown Ikea wall shelf that was my fireplace mantle

[purchase info] Purchased new at Ikea

[time in my possession] Approximately 2 years

[last used] A couple of months ago until my cat knocked it off the wall

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Freecycle

[replacement item] None

[info] I had to modify this shelf to place it on the wall without drilling holes in the middle of the tile.  In doing that, I messed up the integrity of the shelf.  When my cat decided she needed to jump way up there, it all came tumbling down.  Surprisingly, the shelf was still okay.  Problem was, I put it in the garage.  Ikea stuff does not fair well in extreme heat.  The veneer started coming off.  I could have probably fixed it, but in that small room, I decided not to put it back up.  I had an extra large art piece that was needing a new location in the house.

my cat broke them [minimalist challenge item #186]

[item] 3 glass vases

[purchase info] Purchased at discount stores or thrift stores

[time in my possession] Approximately 4 years

[last used] A few weeks ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Trash

[replacement item] None

[info] While I was on vacation, my cat knocked down my fireplace shelf / mantel and 3 glass vases broke.  I did have a desire to save the glass for a mosaic, but I already have a bin full that I haven’t used yet.  Stupid cat…

I’m packing [day 339]

No, I don’t have a gun.  I mean packing for a short trip.  One full day to be exact.  Why do I always feel like I need so much stuff?  A while back, I always had the philosophy that if I forget something, I’ll just buy it.  Rarely did I ever have to take myself up on that.  Now I can’t buy anything if I forget it, so I’m packing a little bit more.  Is this a downside to the ‘no retail shopping’ challenge?  I’m not flying, so no extra bag charges.  It takes a little more time to pack, but that’s okay.

Mental gymnastics.

I need to get packed, there’s no way I’m ever going to be ready in time.  Why did I get rid of the boys suitcases?  Oh yeah, they were too small.  Too small?  Really?  What do they need?  Now they’re going to have to share a bag.  How am I going to keep their stuff separated?  That’s going to be a fight.  Passports!  (run upstairs)  Why do I save all this stuff in my fireproof box?  What if I die and someone has to clean out all my stuff?  (run back downstairs)  Clothing.  Check.  Pajamas.  Check.  Towel, washcloth and shower shoes.  Check.  Camera.  Check.  Wait.  Should I bring both of my cameras?  My lenses?  My tripod?  The kids love to do light painting, but do the batteries work in any of the 30 flashlights?  How did I get 30 flashlights?!  Should I downsize those?  Did I charge the 15 million candlepower cyclops?  Will the kids in Mexico really miss the light painting?  Why do I need all these electronics?  Should I bring the book I want to finish?  Where’s the charger for my camera?  Crap, I’ll need my shutter release cable too.  Zuri, get out of the suitcase.  Wait, we have a cat now.  (phone call)  Will all of this fit in the car?  Should I have gotten an oil change?  Did I pack enough clothes?  What am I forgetting?…  Continue reading

what? it’s only $1,074 [day 310]

Deciding to get a pet of any kind is a big decision, not only for the responsibility associated with them, but for the expenses you will incur.  A couple of weeks ago we adopted Zuri, a 6 month-old kitten.  She’s precious and is the perfect fit for our family.  Although we adopted her from the Humane Shelter, we had to pick her up at PetSmart.

Now, adopting a pet means shopping for pet supplies.  Under the challenge rules, I can buy her food and litter, as those fall under the toiletries and groceries categories that are allowed.  I was going to need at bare minimum, a food bowl, a water bowl and a litter box with a scoop.  I was prepared to get creative.  I have bowls and lots of them.  I’m quite sure I could modify some plastic container in my garage for a litter box.  The scoop I had to ponder a little longer.  Old kitchen utensils?  Something in my garage?  After an intense thought process, I decided I would be able to make one from old coat hangers.  Yep, we were ready for a cat in every way possible.

When we went to pick up Zuri, we also picked up my friend E. because she adopted Zuri’s sister a week earlier.  As I was walking though the pet store, I had to stop and look at the senselessness of what I saw.  Gourmet canine cookies.  My kids don’t eat stuff this fancy or expensive.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to treats for pets, but this seems a bit excessive to me.  Does Fido really care if he gets the pretty little treats shaped like dog bones, dipped in colorful icing?

How about pet fashion?  Yes, Martha Stewart has come to the rescue, not only to help your pet in the fashion world, but to stylistically incorporate pets into your home.  Again, I have no problem with pet supplies, what I’m saying is this seems excessive.  Yes, a pet bed is good if they’re not sleeping in your bed.  Yes, they need bowls to eat from.  Yes, they need a toy or two.  But do they really need all this stuff?  Let’s say I bought one of everything for my new kitten.  I’ll choose middle of the line items.

My list includes such things as a UV light cat pee finder, and cat sitter DVD, a mid-sized cat scratch tower, cat repellents to tell them where they don’t belong, a bed and much more.  The total?  $1,074. And once you’ve spoiled your pet and there’s nothing new left to buy, there’s now kitty anti-depressants. Continue reading

la, la, la, la, la, la, la.. catscratch… [day 297]

 

One of our favorite cartoon shows is Catscratch.  Every time they see it or think about it, they want a cat.  My kids have been begging to get a pet.  With our lifestyle, a dog just won’t work.  My friend just adopted a kitten, which of course got them thinking about it again.  My kids have been good with their chores, so I’m pretty confident that they’ll help with a pet.

This is Zuri.  She’s up for adoption at the Frisco Humane Society.  Here’s her story:

This is one precious girl! Zuri leans up against you and purrs purrs when you scratch behind her ears or down her back. She’s a laid back beauty with simple needs – good food, cozy bed and loads of loving! She, her sister and her probable mom were jammed together in a small crate and left at a vet’s office. Zuri is more than content to perch on the back of your couch and watch the world go round – she’s not super imposing nor a crazy girl – lower play level. She gets along with other animals. Zuri is so sweet and will let you carry her around. She loves to be petted and has a great purr!

Zuri is the sister of my friend’s new kitten.  We’re going to pick her up today.  I found used cat supplies, a place for a litter box, but I’ll still need to get her something to scratch on.  Off to work and to get Zuri a little later today.  :)

hoarders on craigslist [day 285]

My friend was garage sale-ing and ran across an estate sale from a hoarder house, listed on craigslist.  I had to work Saturday and Sunday, but decided to check it out after work on Sunday.  Unfortunately they had closed up shop but I snapped a few photos while making a few observations.

As we drove up, the obvious signs were the furniture pieces in the front yard.  The front door area was cluttered, and after several knocking attempts, I decided to peer into the window.  Yes, we were at the right house, as one of the windows was blocked with a large shelving unit and the other window being a small display of a very large mess.  I’m not sure how people walked around in there to shop for treasures, but I guess if you’re determined enough, you’ll find a way.

Thinking maybe they have something going on in the back of the house, we walked around to the alley of this corner lot home.  The house itself, probably circa 1950’s, was large and looked nice, yet unkempt.  As we got to the back, we realized they were probably done with the sale.  The driveway was completely clear of any junk or trash.

Disappointed, as we drove almost 20 miles to see this, I thought about how many people must go through this is there are indeed 3 million hoarders in the United States.  (statistic provided by the TV show Hoarders)  As we were leaving, the mailbox made me laugh.  Yes, I know, I have a weird, off-beat sense of humor.

Border – hoarder.  It rhymes.  I don’t know why that’s funny, but it just is.

I decided to look up the word “hoarder” on craigslist just to see how many different listings I could find.  I did this search in all 50 states from at least one city.  I found some interesting listings and I’ll share a few with you.  I’ve shortened these a bit, but tried to keep in all the good parts.  Some were really long.  I’ve also highlighted a few interesting things.

HOARDER SEEKS SWAP MEET AND THRIFT STORE OWNERS.

Having a garage sale in my backyard, by appointment only. I have a 32 year accumulation of personally handpicked items. The prices to the public are $1.00, $2.00 and $3.00; with other items ranging over $100.00. THERE ARE NO BURIED TREAUSURES HERE! No furniture, no gold or jewelry. The items are mostly “GUY STUFF”. I know the value of these items, same as you. However I am attempting to offer them to you, at a price where you can make a profit and come back as a repeat customer.
I am offering “YOU’S” an opportunity to cherry pick my estimated inventory of 2,000 pieces [which represents about 20% of all the items needed to be eliminated]. If you like something, you offer me a price, based upon what you think you can sell it for. This eliminates the potential of you having to buy any junk mixed in. FYI, there is no junk, just items you can or can not sell to your customers.

THIS IS NOT A FUND RAISER. I just simply do not understand the value in having such a ridiculous accumulation; causing me to store and periodically to reorganize it. Candidly, despite knowing that I have an item, I seldom can ever really find it in a timely manner.

Predictively the average swamp meeter will have no problem scooping up $500.00 worth of merchandise for their inventories.

Confessions of a potential hoarder..Big Back Yard Sale – $1

We have all seen the show, I opened my storage unit the other day and said I won’t go down that road :^)  Continue reading

wine or 70’s bubble bath? pick one already! [day 276]

I know my friend would never lie to me, but I really had to question that when she said she was standing in the wine aisle at Walmart, looking at pink cat-shaped bottles of wine.  I said, “no way!  Send me a photo.”  She did.

So, is it me, or does anyone else find this a bit disturbing?  I like cats.  I like wine.  I just don’t think bright pink cat wine would be anything good.  It looks like retro bubble bath from the 70’s, and would probably go nice with the bubble bath tea I had a couple of weeks ago.  There’s just some things that shouldn’t be combined.

I guess these are pretty popular in the cat-wine world, as I found a few photos where people are collecting them.  Yes, they come in more than just pink.  The pink one has the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon on it, although I don’t know anything about what they support.  If these were in my house, they would be supporting a lot of dust.

If you happen to be shopping, and you’re an entrepreneur, you might want to buy all of these little guys off the shelf.  According to the people selling them on eBay, they’re rare.  For approximately $40, with shipping, you too can have one of these to sit on your shelf.

Why do we collect things that collect dust?  I do it, maybe not cat-wine, but I have decorative things around my house.  The stuff is nice, but it’s always needing cleaning.  I guess we all like to surround ourselves with things we like, I’m just hoping to surround myself with a little less.  And I also don’t want to be so attached to those things.