Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Decluttering slowdown

Back in July I posted that hubby and I were going to start the 150 Thing Challenge.  At the start of the challenge we had 231 items.  Remember, that we were pretty loose on our definition of item.  The purpose of this challenge was to identify things that we do not use or could live without, which has sometimes resulted in entertaining discussions and a new process for handling these issues.

For example, after a particularly successful decluttering binge, I found myself in possession of an extra end table.  While I was all for 'moving it on in life', hubby was less than thrilled with the idea.  So, I had to figure out a way to keep the table and to keep it out of my living room.  This led to the great closet reshuffle of 2012.  We have three racks in our closet.  Two of the racks are upper racks and one is a lower rack.  I moved all of our clothes to the upper rack which left an empty lower rack.  The 'extra' end table now sits under the rack (in the closet) and has become our decluttering staging spot.  Basically, everything that we have decided to declutter goes on the table and when it's full we make a trip to Goodwill.

In addition to staging the declutter stuff, it also has created a space for us to try things out.  We recently decided that since we have a dishwasher and a rather large sink that the dish drying rack was taking up valuable kitchen counter real estate.  So, we put the drying rack in the staging area and experimented with not having one.  After a week it became apparent that the drying rack was indeed not needed and off to Goodwill it went.  Now when we need to let something air dry we just put down a kitchen towel and prop the item up.

The 150 Thing Challenge is an on-going project.  I know that I initially hoped to be done by early September of this year, but this project gets harder and harder each day.  As we 'move items on' it gets more difficult to think about what we could live without next.  Below is our current inventory:

We're down to 200 items with 50 more to declutter.  On the upside, I'm pretty happy with where we are at.  The purpose of this challenge was to re-evaluate our belongings and their purpose in our lives, not necessarily to reach a specific number.  I will be reassessing the clothing situation at the end of the semester and determine what I haven't worn to work in the last few months.  Also, Hubby's laptop is currently on the chopping block as we're in the process of finding a new home for it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Little Brother's Wedding

On Sunday, October 28th my younger brother married his fiance in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by many of their friends and family.  Unfortunately, I was too busy experiencing the wedding to take any photos so we'll have to wait until the photographer gets back to us.  

Right when we got off the plane it was time to go to the rehearsal dinner.  My mom and uncle picked us up from the airport and we headed to our hotel to freshen up for the evening.  The rehearsal dinner was held at an Italian restaurant called Bugatti's.  It seemed like a pretty nice restaurant, although we didn't see much of it since we we're in the banquet room.  Everyone enjoyed their cheese-laden meals, while I had grilled salmon and steamed veggies.  I'm glad that the restaurant was able to cater to my issues, especially after I called them to confirm and they said that they couldn't do much for me.  Doug saved the day on this one since I didn't have time to eat after getting off the plane and I was super hungry.

All of my siblings, except for my brother in Germany, were at the dinner.  It was nice to have us all in the same place for the first time in two years.  Hopefully, we can keep having family get togethers at regular intervals.  After dinner we were able to mingle with some of the other guests.  I spent a lot of my time catching up with my brothers and talking to two of the groomsmen.  It turned out well.

The next day we decided to get out of the hotel go do something as a family.  I rented a Ford Explorer (keep in mind my daily driver is an itty-bitty Chevy Aveo) and we all piled in for a trip to the Dallas zoo.  I had a blast at the zoo.  My favorite part -- after enduring the bug exhibit and the reptile house -- was the cat exhibit.  We saw the most beautiful and angry cougar you can possibly imagine.  He was definitely not a happy camper, which doesn't surprise me since there were tons of loud kids running around in costumes all over the place.  It would have made me cranky too if the kids were so gosh darn cute.

So, other than our horrific plane experiences, the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and zoo went well.  I guess you can say, "Mission Accomplished!"

Friday, November 2, 2012

Traveling to Texas

Please accept my apologies, dear readers, for my recent ride on the blogging fail boat.  Life has been a bit crazy in Smith Land and I just haven't had the time (or even the blogging ideas) to share with you all.  But, I am back and I have lots to share.  Hubby and I just got back from my younger brother's wedding in Texas.  I'll save the wedding details for another post as I want to talk about something more dramatic this time... travelling by plane.

Back in May, I purchased our plane tickets and prepaid for our hotel room.  We were supposed to fly from our dinky airport in our town to Detroit.  From there, we were supposed to fly Memphis and then to Dallas-Love Field. Notice the phrase "supposed to."  In August, I was notified that our flight itinerary had changed and that we would be flying from our dinky airport to Detroit to Memphis to Atlanta and then to Dallas.  Yes, four flights and multiple possibilities for crazy.  Some how, everything worked out and we made it to Dallas on Friday in one piece.

The way home is another story though.  For the trip home, we were supposed to fly from Dallas to Atlanta to Detroit and then to the dinky airport.  However, our trip home looked nothing like this.  We dropped the rental car off promptly at 7:30 AM and then headed to the airport via shuttle.  TSA was cranky, but we made it through unscathed.  After sitting at the gate for a while, it became apparent that we were not going to be leaving at 9:30 AM.  In fact, without making an announcement to the waiting passengers, the departure time was changed to 11:20 AM.  Realizing that we wouldn't make our connection in Atlanta, hubby and I decided to talk to the gate agent.  I felt so bad for the guy.  Not only did he look fresh out of high school, but he didn't look like a typical polished gate agent.  Instead, he looked like one of the ground crew members.  After a few minutes, he found us a flight that went straight to Detroit and a connecting flight to our dinky airport.  The only problem was that it was flying out of the other Dallas airport.  At least the airline had a process in place to handle the problem and they provided taxi vouchers.  Of course, this meant another trip through TSA.

We made it to the other airport with time to spare.  At the ticket counter, I asked one of the employees about one of my random sheets of paper (it turns out when your flights are changed that a LOT of paperwork is created) and he told us to go see the guy at another desk and tell him that we were supposed to be compensated for our inconvenience.  Sounded nice to me, so we went.  Only to find out that the guy at the desk was an elderly curmudgeon who would rather be any where than at work.  At least he gave us vouchers to compensate for our lunch.  

After eating lunch, we went back to our gate only to find out that my uncle and younger sister were going to be on the same flight to Detroit and that they were sitting in the row behind us.  Egads!  I was actually trying to avoid flying with my sister since she can be quite the chatterbox.  Luckily, I went to sleep and didn't hear her the whole way there.  After saying our good-byes, we headed over to the gate for our connection flight to the dinky airport.  Everything seemed to be going well until five minutes before we were supposed to board and the flight was cancelled.  I mean REALLY!  Our options were to stay in the airport overnight until the flight in the next morning, rent a car and drive home, or to beg my mom to drive us home.  We went with option three.

So, the way home ended up being a fiasco.  The moral of the story is to never trust Delta to look out for you as a customer because once they have your money the stop caring and to always have a back up plan and a spare outfit in your carry-on.