Archive | August 2016

Waiting It Out

There’s always something to wait for, isn’t there? Wanting to meet someone and get married, saving to buy a house, trying to have a baby, waiting to hear about a job, trying to lose weight. Right now, I’m waiting for our marital home to sell so I can rent an apartment and move on, an especially frustrating time because it is taking much longer than we had originally hoped. (Also true of the making of Big Brother, an 18-month waiting game involving charts and Robitussin. Don’t ask.)

The hard part about waiting is to live fully and not, well, “wait” for everything to change. Here’s how I’ve learned how to keep going while waiting for a big change:

Focus on the “cans”
I try to think about what I can do, rather than what I can’t. No, I can’t apply for an apartment until my house sells, and cooking is complicated because I have to keep the house so squeaky-clean, and I don’t want to start a sewing project for the same reason. But I CAN work on things I may not have as much time for once I start moving:
-make some extra money writing trivia questions
-work on my Spanish
-update my blog (hi!)
-take my kids on free outings
-read more
-etc.

I’ve also been doing some unproductive things, too. Like binge-watching the BBC Sherlock now that I have control of the remote for the first time in my adult life. It’s like I didn’t know how to watch television by myself.

Stash money
Whatever change you’re waiting for, it will probably go better with some extra money, am I right? The delay in selling the house has let my paychecks accumulate a little before I need to put a deposit down on an apartment.

Prepare without obsessing
Poring over apartment listings would not be a good use of my time right now. There are a few little tasks I can get out of the way, though, like packing up my books and getting my finances in order.

(The not obsessing part is especially important when you’re trying to get pregnant.)

Get other tasks out of the way
So… I should really be making some headway on my divorce paperwork. So much paperwork. And it’s so bloody complicated. Also, technically we’re behind on it and might get forced into totally unnecessary mediation.

Don’t complain
There are things that suck about being stuck in an on-the-market house, especially with young kids. I haven’t always been successful in resisting the urge, but I’m trying really hard not to gripe about it. It won’t help and will just make me feel worse. I was deeply influenced by The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Complaint-free World, both of which make this point.

What it all amounts to is spending my energy on what I can do now to either enjoy my life right now, or improve my life to come. And no matter what you’re waiting for, there are undoubtedly lots and lots of things in those categories.

How do you handle waiting?

Advertisements

Halfsies

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which support this blog at no extra cost to you. I bought the things with my own money and all opinions are my own.

Well, I always said I had too much stuff. Now that Mr. FP has moved out into his own apartment, I have half as much stuff. It has been an unusual and fascinating opportunity to reconsider my relationship with my possessions.

Sometimes, it’s been an opportunity for me to no longer own something I didn’t like that much to begin with. (I have nothing against the Kennedy brothers, but that giant poster of them got old after the first couple of years.)

No more pepper leakage.

Sometimes, it makes an excuse to buy something nicer for myself and take pleasure in its functionality. Goodbye, yucky old cheese grater. (It was a box style with no rubber on the bottom, so very hard on my cutting boards.) Farewell, pepper grinder. I ordered highly-rated replacements, which are great. This OXO Good Grips pepper mill has a clear door so I can tell if I need to refill it AND a cap on the bottom, so it doesn’t get pepper all over the cabinet. Fantastic! And the also-OXO Good Grips folding cheese grater stands up like a box grater but folds up for easier storage AND takes up less space in the dishwasher. Brilliant!

The two halves come apart, so you can wash just the part you used.


Sometimes, it means re-evaluating what something is worth. There was only one Vitamix. He took it. (I got other stuff.) Should we ever have bought a three hundred dollar blender? Will I save up for another one? Well, probably not, but let’s say TBD. In the meantime, since I have ten pounds of frozen fruit in the freezer, I am making sorbet in the food processor instead of smoothies in the blender I no longer own.

Sometimes, it means losing something I liked and can’t replace. Two of the four creepy New Orleans coasters my aunt gave us, for instance, and the framed still life of the wine bottle that looked nice with the wine-themed curtain we got at Goodwill (which I still have). Yes, they are Just Things, but I feel a sense of loss.

wp-1470233872506.jpg

I still have enough coasters to terrify myself and one select guest.

wp-1470238235948.jpg

Not actually a red Swingline as in Office Space, but a maroon one at least.

Conversely, a strange feeling of victory attaches itself to the few favorite things I kept, even though I do not consider myself an acquisitive person. The nice heavy can opener, the new vegetable peeler, the Crock Pot. Mine! And I had that stapler before we were married! Mine, I tell you!

And then there is a poignancy to this process with its empty spaces and its absurdities. I now have a hammer but no nails, and he has nails but no hammer. He has an almost-empty toolbox. I have a Whole Foods bag full of the wrenches and screwdrivers that I owned before we were married.

wp-1470237747075.jpg

Possibly not an ideal long-term tool storage solution.

It both is and is not a question of “just things.” It’s the dismantling of a shared life, represented in the things we used to share but will no longer be sharing.

Keep some, give some away. Do without some, replace some. Rebuild.