Monday, January 8, 2018

100 Things Gone- Postponed!!! AKA Sicky Edition

So the update....

On Thursday I ran HB to one of those Minute Clinics. He had been vomiting the day before. She ruled out the flu and thought it was a virus of some sort based on the symptoms. His fever was 99 and he was a little bouncy.

But then that night/early morning the vomiting returned in full force. His fever spiked. I moved him to the couch at 5 am and gave him Tylenol. At about 9, I went to move him so he could sleep in a bed.

And that's when I completely freaked out. I had given him Tylenol because his fever had been 104 and he was still warm. He was down to 101. But what freaked me out was the rash.  It covered him head to toe.  I was panicking. This is not good.

I called my husband because I couldn't think straight enough. I needed an outside voice to present me with a course of action. In the end, I called his pediatrician's office and cried on the phone with the receptionist. "I can't get his fever under control and he's not drinking water. I'm keeping him hydrated with ice chips only." 

The nurse was less impressive when she called back. "Some fevers have rashes." Mmm kay. "If he's dehydrated he'll have to go to urgent care to get a IV"  Yeah, IV with a kid with autism...that's not gonna go well. She finally agreed to fit me in in an hour.

And there we were. HB literally walked in, sat in a chair, and threw up. I was talking across the room to the receptionist to get checked in. His brother had to hand over our paper work.

The doctor took one look at him and said "I know what this is. And thankfully this isn't the flu because that's trickier to treat. This is scarlet fever. I can fix that, but just to be sure we're going to have to take a swab."

The swab was difficult. The nurse held his head, I held his arms, the doc did the swab, and Knee held a bowl in case he gagged and threw up. The doctor told us we needed to get him hydrated before urgent care closed or we would have to take him in.  She figured a dose of antibiotics would turn things around.

And oh, boy it did.  He went from looking awful and feeling awful to demanding to eat pizza when he could go back to a normal diet.

Scarlet fever is nothing to mess with. It's strep throat on steroids (not literally but you get the point). Not only is the bacteria causing throat issues it's dumping poison into your skin which is why you get a rash and a high fever. It's really uncommon now but highly contagious.  And if you don't treat it, it can lead to all sorts of lovely complications involving your organs. So I was right to panic.

My husband who listened to me hysterical on the phone thought that I was being a bit over the top because he'd already seen a nurse....until he got home....and looked at HB....and went "woah, he really does look awful."  And it was only in a matter of hours.

And this is why I haven't finished the challenge.  I'm strung out and tired and had to call out from work. It has not been our holiday.

Oh, and the car.  Yeah had to replace the radiator. It had a crack in it. Can we have a Christmas season do over?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

100 Things Gone- Day 3ish

I would have posted something yesterday, but one of the kiddos got sick in the middle of the night. I didn't get much sleep, and neither did Hubby. Needless to say I was more interested in washing sheets than rummaging around my house and discarding things.

But today is a different story. He seems on the mend. Hubby's car, on the other hand, sprung a leak. He's leaking radiator fluid and when he went to take care of a friend's dog yesterday, his car over heated. He took my car to work today, which is still having it's own issues. So I'm stuck at home and Hubby has an appointment to have his car looked at tomorrow morning.

I have mixed feelings about returning to work on Monday. It seems that there are too many fires we have had to put out over the break.

Anyho...on with the discarding.

1 very large entertainment center
 This used to house our CRT tv, but since we've upgraded to the 21c technology, we can't use it anymore. It was picked up this morning by a donation center, and I hope someone will see the potential in it (since it's solid wood) and put it to good use.

Box of random wall things which include 1 picture mat, 2 poster board size frames, and a large coat rack you can wall mount. Brick is not included

 I went back into our storage shed and finally (finally!!) sorted through a box of wall decor. I rescued one of my children's baptismal certificates and my husband ph.d. diploma. The rest is stuff that we can't use so it will be donated. I guess at some point today I'm going to have to see if I can find wall hanging nails. The brick is there because I can't take pictures apparently. It's part of the landscaping.

Pair of boots and a piggy bank
 When I was sick, Hubby had the boys declutter and organize their rooms. The youngest boy decided that he didn't want the boots (which were probably too small anyway) and the piggy bank. These objects will also be donated.

Box of picnic/part related disposable items including 1 table cloth, several packages of cups, lots of plastic cutlery, 1 pair of serving tongs, 1 serving spoon, plates, and napkins
 Normally I keep our disposable things in a cooler. We rarely use disposable things. The collection became quiet over grown especially since someone sent us some for Christmas. I don't know who or why. Please let me know if it was you. I went through all of it and saved about half. I then separated anything that was unopened and plan on uploading a post onto Free Cycle. I doubt the local charity shop/thrift store will be able to make use of the items. 

plastic bags....several

I didn't intend to go through all the plastic shopping bags and food bags we had, but when I pulled out all the plastic disposable items (see above), in one of the boxes was plastic bags. These I plan to recycle at one of the grocery stores that takes such things. They also take things like plastic bread bags and cereal plastic bags if they are clean.  So there's no point in throwing these things away if the plastic packaging can be recycled.

I'm not entirely sure how many of these items I'm shedding. I don't plan on counting every individual bag or spoon so let's just say it's 40 items and that I'm caught up for yesterday and today.  Thus the grand total is 67. I'm over half way through my goal and there is still so much I can discard. Tomorrow I plan on going through my closet where I've been holding onto various objects that need to be recycled.  If you haven't seen my first post on the challenge, click the link here.

How has your discarding been going?  Leave a comment in the com box. I read all the comments. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

100 things Gone- Day 1

So this week I have the week off. I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to declutter things this week.  Each day I will get rid of at least 20 things culminating in a huge donation on Saturday.  Not all 100 things will be donated.  Some things are in too terrible condition to be donated and so will be either thrown away or recycled.

Today I started off with the back yard and part of the storage shed.  There's still more in the storage shed to well....shed so I'll work on that project tomorrow.  I have to pace myself because the kiddos are home with me and we have other things to do.

Old busted scooter, 1 frisbee, 2 balls flat balls that can't hold air well, kiddie pool with hole, something left behind by previous owners
All of these things will have to be thrown away. They are all broken in some form of fashion save the frisbee.  But the frisbee is one of those cheap things that businesses give away in promotion. My kiddos don't play with it and I'm sure the donation center won't be able to use it.  Just goes to show you that it's better to refuse those freebies people want to give you unless you will actually use it up.

wooden box, two Christmas tree garlands, string of lights, 1 Christmas garland, 4 Christmas towels, 2 shelf dividers, 1 Easter basket, empty box
 Most of my Christmas stuff is up so I decided now would be a great opportunity to look at the stuff that I didn't put out and why. I really don't use any of these things.  The shelf dividers were at the bottom of a box used for the Christmas tree. I think we just threw those in together when we moved. We haven't used them so I guess we don't need them. Someone else can put them to good use.  We have new Easter baskets and this one isn't in great shape anyway. So the stuff on the left is being donated and the stuff on the right is trash.

Box of 6 curtain panels, 2 space saver bags

This box is being donated. I saved the curtains because it's fabric and I thought maybe it would come into use, but they all didn't. The space saver bags are too small for us to use. Bye bye!

As you can see I'm discarding 27 objects (28 if you count the box the curtains are in). I took me about 30 minutes total to do all this, and I made it over the total number goal for the day.

I didn't really think too much about what I was discarding. It came down to asking myself if I plan on using this anytime in the near future.  Not sometime in the distant maybe-land future, but do I have an actual plan for any of this stuff right now.  If I didn't, I told myself not dwell on the maybes and let it go. It was taking up room. It was taking up my time. I'll probably get the boys a basketball that can replace the play ball we initially bought but didn't hold up over our nasty summer heat. And if they seem interested, I'll purchase an even bigger inflatable wading pool for them to enjoy over the summer. Or I'll just spend my money on taking them to a community pool instead.

A lot of people also use the 20/20 rule when thinking about the maybe-land things. If the object is less than 20 dollars and can be purchased within 20 miles, then go ahead and let it go. It's not worth keeping. If you find that you actually need that thing, then it's really easy to purchase later. But you may discover that you don't miss that object.

I hope this series of posts helps people think about decluttering their junk in the new year. What can you let go of and declutter?  I bet you can find something.

For more in the series, click here.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki- Book Review

Christmas has been....hard for me. Not only did me and one other come down with the flu, which caused us to miss the crazy back to back Masses of 2017, it was bad for me because I have real anxiety problems with the accumulation of stuff.  It's not hard core like some people who throw away/donate things they actually use and need, but it enough to make me want to have a melt down.

My thing is that I like my space to be organized and accessible. The less that I have the less thoughts run through my head like "Did I remember to lock the door?" "Will the children break it?" "Will the children leave it all strewn through the house and then whine when I ask them to clean it up?" "Will it get lost?" "Will I spill something on it and damage it?"

I hate stuff.  Granted I like stuff because things like having a car to get around in when needed is good, but I hate all of the responsibility and expectation that comes with stuff.

And I'm not the only one. This is one of the reasons why Fumio Sasaki says he started getting rid of the majority of his belongings.  It wasn't that he didn't like his camera collection; it was that it was creating more headaches for him.  He says that he feels freer without the camera collection (and all the books and other things he used to own).

His book is very good as in way better than the Magic of Tidying Up book better.  Sasaki is a book publishing editor so his book is well written and arranged. He also doesn't have the religious slant that Marie Kondo has.  Even though he talks about Buddhism, he doesn't tell people to thank their things. His approach is more discuss the similarity of philosophy. For example he includes that Steve Jobs who was into Buddism was also a minimalism. It shows in how Jobs ran Apple and the look and function of the products themselves.

The book consists of 5 sections: why minimalism, why did we accumulate so much stuff in the first place, tips for saying goodbye to stuff, 12 ways it's changed him, and feeling happy instead of becoming happy.

I really enjoyed his insight into why we accumulate so much stuff. It's great for someone who feels clogged up with their belongings but yet can't seem to part with them either.  I don't have that problem, but I know it's a common difficulty for others.

Chapter 3 is the best part of the book.  It's divided into two sections. The first is 55 tips for those who are beginning to declutter.  The second section is 15 more tips for those who are well on their way to minimizing their belongings.  He goes into each tip with great care and detail, but the back of the book includes a listing of each heading for a quick reference.

I highly recommend this book even if you don't plan to only own about 150 things like Sasaki does, it's a great tool for practicing detaching oneself from ones belongings and how it can actually be more freeing to part with many of them.

My husband thinks reading the book actually hypes up my anxiety around Christmas, but he couldn't be more wrong. Sasaki is quick to point out that you shouldn't turn it into a competition of how little you have either.  Looking down at people who have many belongings is just as bad as looking down on people who have very little or not the latest thing. You need to strike a balance and have a healthy understanding of what material things are for.

Ironically my husband has taken it upon himself to have the children go through their rooms and declutter their belongings and find space for what remains.  Maybe I'm rubbing off on him.

There's a challenge right now to go through your house and rid yourself of 100 things. Keeping in mind that it can only be my stuff or family stuff people rarely use and don't care about, my goal is to accept the challenge next week.  That way I can start the New Year off fresh.  Would you like to join me in documenting what I'm getting rid of (and how)? Again it's not a competition. It's just for fun, but you'd be surprised in typical households how many things you can actually declutter.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Joining the 21st Century

Wow, it's been a while. I've been a bit busy because I've been substituting. But that's a discussion for another day.

People in real life know that I cringe about spending money. My husband tells two stories about my frugality while we were dating. One is where I went out with a bunch of girls to Bath and Body Work in the mall.  When we returned, my then boyfriend watched as the rest of the girls were unpacking lotions and potions. "What did you buy?" he asked me. I showed him a small sized lotion you can fit in your purse. "It cost 2 dollars," I shrugged. "That's my girl," boyfriend/hubby chirped cheerfully.

Yep, that's me. So for a very long time we've used one television. It's a dinosaur tube television 32 inches and very heavy. It was Hubby's tv and he estimates that he's had it about 15 years. Despite how old it is, we still managed to get broadcast tv stations and hook up gaming systems and a dvd player to it.

Over the summer, we visited family and when we got back, the tv didn't turn on and gave off a really awful smell.  "I think it's finally died," he said. But then hours later, it came back and on and has refused to give up the ghost.

Meanwhile, over Thanksgiving I tried fruitlessly to pull up the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade over broadcast. The remote, equally as old, refused to switch over from the devices channel thingy (I'm not sure if you remember having to use some special button for that). There was no way to do so at the tv itself. The remote looked like it was working but even with switching batteries from a remote I knew that worked, it wasn't budging. It had died.

"Well," said Hubby. "We can try and look for a compatible remote, but that's going to be hard since this thing is so old. Or we can buy a new television. I think we should just get a new tv since this one died over the summer. What do you want to do?"

He had a point. So with great reluctance, I agreed to join the 21st century in terms of television technology and purchase a flat screen.

And now we have a roku tv.  After hitting the Black Friday sales, Hubby found a tv he liked, bought it, and set it up. So here are a few of my thoughts. Wow the picture is fantastic.  And Wow, it's sooo easy to spend a ton of money if you aren't careful. One set up of a credit card and bam, you can rack up a hefty debt watching movies through the internet.

So we agreed not to set up a credit card on the tv. We've managed to download a lot of free content like EWTN.  We also still have Netflix, which is of course something we pay for. And that's my advice for those who want to be a tight wad like myself but upgrade (or more likely have already upgraded to the 21st century). Don't put your credit card on your tv. Fight that temptation to use 1-click technology. 

This is particularly true if you've got children. HB has already gotten into trouble for downloading content onto the PS3. The first time we didn't realize that he could easily 1-click since we password protect everything.  The second time, even after we thought we removed the card, he defied us and stole and downloaded content. Don't worry. We had a loooong discussion on stealing, breaking the commandments, and how he'd have to do work around the house to pay us back. So he scrubbed some bathrooms and learned the hard way that no matter how obsessed he is with games, he can't buy things without permission.

Needless to say, I'm kinda miss the old tube tv because I like it being impossible to purchase anything through it, but I'm also kinda glad that we have the new tv because it makes accessing free stuff easier like EWTN (did I mention EWTN? You can get EWTN on your tv for free!!! And now they have EWTN on demand!!!!!). 

So I guess, welcome to the 21st century family?!?!? 😓

Sunday, October 29, 2017

5 things Catholics Want Protestants to Understand about the Reformation

The 500 year anniversary of the Reformation begins on October 31st.  I've read many a thing trying to justify the celebration of this day, but here's what I want those who celebrate it to understand.

1) It's bad Biblically speaking.

Jesus actually sort of predicted or forewarned that Christians would split.  It's in the Bible in John 17:20-23 where he prays fervently that all believers are one.  The Reformation was the beginning of such a split.  No one should be celebrating that. Even if you think the reforms were a good thing, splitting apart should never be justified. Ever.

2) Martin Luther was not a hero.

There's a lot of controversy surrounding Luther, but in the end Luther embraced the reforms and turned his back on the Church.  That's not heroism.  A hero would be someone like St. Ignatius of Loyola who also reformed the Church but from within.

3) There were already reforms.

There were reforms before and there were reforms after and still continue to be reforms.  The Church does correct those of the faithful.  This isn't new and it wasn't new then.  Just open up an Epistle from St. Paul.  He was chastising believers left and right for their corruptions.  It's disingenuous to hinge reforms on Luther.  He wasn't the only one.  He just became larger than life due to the political climate of the time.  And rather than actively fight to stop the separation, he seems to have embraced it.   So if your wondering, would there have not been reforms if not Luther, the answer would be yes.  There were already reforms before he said anything, but it's a slow process.  It's not like now where we can follow the Pope on twitter.

4) Why are you still protesting?

The biggest question of the day is why are you still protesting?  What is there to protest? Why didn't people return back in droves?  The point of the Reformation, I thought, was to reform the Catholic Church.  But instead people left the Church, so again what exactly are you protesting or reforming?

5) Catholic want Ecumenism.

Rather than allowing things to go, Catholic actively strive to bring back so called protestors/reformers whole sale.  This is why we've had numerous dialogue with Lutherans and even have made a path for Anglicans to return.  What steps have Protestants made to rejoin the Church? Why haven't they?

So now you understand why Catholics morn the Reformation.  We see it as a forced split of which people still won't cross the divide.  Come back.  I'll gladly celebrate Reconciliation Day.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cultural Appropriation and AllHallowTide

So I got a call today. It was a staff member at one of schools I put in information to for substitute teaching.  The public school hasn't gotten back to me yet but they've put me through the ringer of background checks.  Meanwhile this school, which is parochial, didn't even give me an interview. I didn't even meet with the principal. They haven't even had me fill out any paper work.  Not even a W2.

So as you can imagine I was procrastinating at home, when my phone goes off. I hadn't put together a lunch.  I hadn't forewarned the kids' school that this may be happening.  I hadn't even told my kids because I didn't know for sure that anyone would call.  I thought that the call was "hey, we're going to add your name to list. Just making sure."  But that didn't happen. Common courtesy, people! I would think as a person running a school you would at least meet the person in person before saying "show up and work."  I don't even know what the school looks like.  I've only ever been to the gym and the office.  And finally, if I had a kid at this school, I would be alarmed that the principal invited someone she's never talked about the job with to work.  What if they are weird?  What if they teach false doctrines? Okay. Okay. I'm getting a little too over-the-top there.  We've met before at a retreat so she may remember me from that.  Still doesn't make me a great teacher based on what little she knows.

So yeah, I had to say no.  And I feel torn about it.  Part of me is like "finally a job!" and the other part is like "family obligations come first and this was way too soon of notice."

Anywho...let's take our minds off that for a bit. K?

One of the big buzz phrases around today is Cultural Appropriation.  You can read all the articles talking about not or do wear Moana costumes for Halloween.  I'm not going to talk about that.  My oldest wants to be a zombie from Plants vs. Zombies and the youngest has said he wants to be Batman.  So I've got no real dog in the fight unless you think dressing up as a rich person is cultural appropriation.

No, I'm going to talk about the every popular myth of "Halloween has pagan roots" and bust it...Myth Buster Style.

First the myth...the myth is that Halloween happened because Catholics or the Catholic Church appropriated Samhain and made it into their own holiday.

Now the history....Samhain is a Celtic pagan holiday.  It's only found in Ireland.  No other ancient pagans had Samhain. Samhain is a celebration of the beginning of winter. It occurs on November 1st.

Catholics started celebrating saints first with martyrs, but then we had an awful lot of martyrs in the beginning so some bishops starting having a general day to celebrate all the various martyrs and eventually the rest of the saints.  Eventually it became common to have that day in May after the Pascha.  Eastern Christians still celebrate that day.

When the British missionaries arrived in Ireland, they had an All Saints Day.  It was in April.  Missionaries started arriving before the 5thc.

Centuries later (700s) Pope Gregory III opened a special chapel dedicated to All Saints. He set up a feast day for November 1st.  There doesn't appear to be any connection between Pope Gregory III moving All Saints to November and suppressing Samhain. I doubt very much that a Syrian Pope living in Italy centuries later had to worry about suppressing Samhain enough to move All Saint's Day. I think he was just copying what others had done prior to him.  There are some notable Catholic people who had some sort of Saint celebration on November 1st.  None of them were connected to British missionaries or the Celts as far as I can tell either.

So you see, All Saints Day doesn't have any pagan roots. Once we laid down the foundation for the Holy Day it was only a matter of time when All Soul's Day was also put on the calendar.  Halloween, which means All Hallow's Eve, is basically like Christmas Eve but for All Saints.  Put down your Harry Potter. Hallows means Saints.

But that was then, this is now, and we culturally appropriate.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Cultures including Catholicism have always appropriated symbols.  Going around dressed up in costumes and asking for treats dates back to the 16th c, but has roots in the middle ages where it was common to go ask for Soul Cakes.  The dressing up part was adopted from pagan practices of disguising yourself, but people of today don't really do that for that reason anymore.  Catholics these days typically encourage their children to dress up as their favorite saint as a way to Christianize an otherwise de-paganized custom.  The scary themes, while most likely are rooted in the warding off bad spirits in pagan mythos, can also be used as a reminder of scariness of hell and the need for salvation.  This is why numerous Protestant groups have made hell houses as opposed to haunted houses.

So in summary, no All Saints Day doesn't have pagan roots even if it appropriated pagan customs centuries later.  It's its own holiday with it's own historical line.  And as I've said before, there's only 365 days in a year.  There's bound to be overlap.

And yes, I know I've said Halloween has pagan roots. That's just poor wording on my part. I meant that the secular customs of trick-or-treating and whatnot have pagan roots.  That's because of cultural appropriation. All Saints Day itself doesn't originate from pagans.  It's not a pagan holiday. I know that I've also said that.  So I hope that clears that right up because I know when I re-read stuff from 7 or 5 years ago I was like "whaaaa....did you write."  Sometimes my stuff was good back then and sometimes my stuff was...not.  Keep in mind that I have a 7 year old and a 5 year old.  I probably wasn't firing with all pistons.  I'm probably still not. I'm sure my future self would like to further edit this post.  Sorry, future self.

Next up, a post about the 500 year Anniversary of the Reformation.  Not that you really need or want more of those.  But yeah.