Monday, October 19, 2009

Why does recycling make me feel so guilty?

You really have to wonder about yourself when you try harder than ever to do the right thing, and you still feel guilty. And I'm not even Catholic.

Now that I'm becoming a more "green" person, I find that I feel really guilty when I can't (or don't recycle). This was more true than ever when we were in the throws of getting everything out of our house before the move. All that STUFF! There was so much. We did our best to recycle by going to the recycling station often and making multiple runs to Goodwill, instead of just throwing things away. We probably did a really, really good job, but you know what? It wasn't good enough. For me, that is.

This is the danger in committing to "do the right thing." You feel just awful when you don't do it. I've always had a hard time compromising. I think it's my upbringing. My parents taught me that there's no such thing as a white lie (lying is lying), cheating on your taxes is unacceptable, copyright laws were made to be obeyed, and there is never an excuse not to do the right thing when you knew what it was.

Now I've added recycling to the list. I am hyper-aware of how bad it is to not recycle and therefore feel compelled to do it. In the last days and hours of our move, I will confess, I broke the rules. We got to the point where we'd recycled, sold and given away everything we could and we still had more stuff. The way the schedule worked out - between getting the truck loaded, meeting the movers and getting everything in the new place, I got stuck with making the last run to the glorious Groton town dump.

Ryan had planned to do because he knew that most of what was in the car would have to be thrown away - not recycled. Let's just say as much as he is committed to right-doing, his conscience is not near as sensitive as mine. He wasn't going to think twice about throwing all that stuff away. But for me, it was painful. I really felt like I was doing something irresponsible.

When we got to the apartment, we still had lots of stuff to get rid of, including all the boxes we used to move. Our building in Lowell is not set up yet for recycling, but there is a huge bin just outside the building that we are meant to throw trash in for now. It has a big recycling logo on and it's actually green (the color) but I don't trust it. Do they really seperate all our junk and send it to the right place? I try not to think about it.

This weekend Ryan made a run to the Groton to drop off some of our recycling (we have a dump sticker through next June), but that's not always going to work. I'm counting our our management company to get recycling going soon.

As soon as they do, it's going to take a load off of my chest. I can start really recycling again. I can let go of the guilt. But wait, will they actually do what they say they will with our recycling? If heard that there's a lot of controversy around this. Some towns have people seperate it all just to throw it all back together again. What?!

I can't go there. It's out of my hands at that point, right?

My conclusion is that some people feel guilty even when they are doing their best to do the right thing. I named my blog "shooting" for simple because I knew that I would need to remind myself that shooting for something means that you don't always hit it. And that's okay. Really? Yes, really (the battle continues).

I have been trying my husband's mindset a little more lately. Trying to be a little more relaxed about the whole thing. You can't get it right every time. No one is perfect, right? But it's the desire for perfection that keeps us on our toes - striving to do the right thing when we know what it is.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Simplifying can be complicated

As much as the goal with this whole downsizing thing was to make our lives more simple, it hasn't happened yet. The business of closing on the house and moving (as I wrote in my last post) was highly complicated and stressful. But I have moved on (in case you were wondering). Really, I have. : )

Now the focus is getting our new place in order. We are in a much smaller space now. We went from three bedrooms, a family room and an additional office to two bedrooms. Ryan and I are, of course, sharing the master bedroom (even after the move we still like each other) and we are sharing the other room as well. We are NOT calling it an office. There are two names we are using to describe this room. One is "the creativity room", CR for short and the other, which I think might be my favorite, is "the playroom."

How many couples do you know who don't have children but still have a playroom. Exactly! THAT is the very reason I like the name the playroom. Why is it when we grow up we don't have playrooms any more? We exchange a playroom for an office. No fun! The idea is this room is a place for inspiration, fun, and creativity.

In order to make this special space all that it needs to be (we have high expectations) we made the drive to Ikea on Saturday. We had never been. What an experience. I think we spent just under six hours there. We even had an idea of what we were looking for before we went.

We started with an incredibly hearty and inexpensive meal of meatballs, mashed potatoes, chicken, mac and cheese, apple cake and sparkling cider (see photo that does not include the chocolate bar). We needed our strength. Upon filling our bellies beyond their capacities, we began our journey through the countless displays in the vast showroom. Hours later, when we were finally done wandering through, debating (the good kind) which table was the perfect one for our creativity/play room, trying every chair in the joint, scrutinizing what piece of furniture we wanted to put the TV on and on and on, we headed down to the warehouse to find the pieces we chose.

As we located the flat boxes of items we would later assemble, we found that our eyes were a little bigger than the back of our Toyota Matrix. It became clear that two trips would be required (Ryan is heading back tomorrow). Getting our purchases in the car and the back tied down was its own ordeal. Thank goodness for the $1 frozen yogurt treat we helped ourselves to at the end as a reward for all our hard work. Food is a such a great reward.

Upon our arrival in Lowell we made numerous trips from the car to the elevator and down the very long hallway that leads to our apartment. It was reminiscent our of 3:00 a.m. load-in the week before when we made about 100 trips, but this time we had about 90% less stuff. Thank goodness.

We spent all of today assembling shelves and chairs. The place is starting to come together but we have a ways to go before it's a peaceful place to live. Boxes still line the walls and my clothes are in bins (no room for dressers here - working on an alternative solution). But it is starting to show great promise. It's going to be an amazing space to live and play in when we are done.

Little by little. That's what I keep telling myself. It is coming together, and when it does it will be the perfect home base for doing more to achieve the simple life that we are shooting for.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Selling your house + moving = Total exhaustion

I don't have internet access at home right now so I'm not able to blog as much as I would like to about all that has transpired over the past week. Right now I'm sitting in the dark at my work office (which is a five-minute walk from my house). I came back here after to dinner because I had to get online to complete a transaction. I figured that I was here, so I really should write a quick blog post. So here goes!

This post is not going to be a masterpiece. I will be lucky if I make complete sentences (please pardon my errors). That is really what this blog is about. I am completely and utterly exhausted. The events of the past four days have left me in this state. And the glass of wine I had with dinner isn't helping. I have no doubt that I will recover, but there is a good chance it's not going to be this week.

It sounds like I'm complaining. I might be. I don't mean to be, but the reality of the last few days is that closing on a house can be a very stressful situation as can moving. I really had no idea. And it's the culmination of weeks, months even, of stress leading up to selling the house. Just because you come to an agreement on price, doesen't mean that things will be smooth sailing. You really don't know if the sale is going to go through until a week before close. Crazy!

On Friday, I was waiting to hear from my lawyer about the amount that I needed to bring to closing. Yes, unfortunately we had to pay to sell our house. When I did get the number, I will be honest here, I freaked. We didn't have it. I did not anticipate that I would have to have so much at closing. I'd run the numbers and come up with a very different amount. And even what I did have was not available. The transfer of funds I made from my IRA to my checking had not come through.

Thank goodness for dear old mom and dad. They really came through for me.

In a panic, I called them to see if there was any way they could transfer a large sum of money to my bank account to cover me for the bank check I need until my money came through. The could and they would. Even my sister pitched in. Thank goodness.

But there were other complications in the process - like when it seemed for a while that even with the fams money we wouldn't have enought at closing. All this while people were coming to pick up our washer and dryer and I'm thinking we if we can't close, we won't have any way to wash our clothes.

Other activities of the day involved paying off water and electric bills, calling and canceling other accounts, arguing with lawyers, going and picking up the Uhaul and, oh yes, packing. I'd left most all of the packing to Friday and then this closing thing took over my body and soul.

Story short (because I'm about to fall asleep here at my desk) is that the last few days were some of the most stressful and laborious (box after box to the 4th floor of our new building) that I've ever experienced. And the level of tiredness I feel is like nothing else I've known (because I've never had a baby), but it is now OVER and we are settling in to our new place. Ahhhhhh.

Here's the good news. We are thrilled to be out of the house and done with the whole process. And the best part of it all is really the view from our apartment. The water is beautiful. It's so calming. We left one beautiful place for another.

Now we have half the stuff (maybe even less than half) that we used to. We don't have a mortgage hanging over our heads and we have more free time to do the things that we love and are passionate about. Life is very good.

The move is just the beginning of this journey. We are excited about what the next chapter of our lives will bring.