Spring Cleaning

Today is Saturday and although I’m technically not on vacation just yet, I’ve begun Spring Cleaning and I thought that I would blog a little bit about what I just accomplished this Saturday morning – mostly for posterity sake.

I tackled the bedroom closet and drawers while listening to the last audio CD’s of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.  I was determined to finish up the last in the Stieg Larsoon trilogy while on this vacation because I’ve been so engrossed in the books that I really haven’t read anything else.  So now that I’m done, I can focus my full attention on this 600 page book called I Want My MTV that’s due back at the library in a couple of weeks.

I began with the bedroom closet.   I made three piles to help me sort through everything:

  • Save for storage in the basement which mainly is made up of my Fall/Winter clothes
  • Toss out
  • Donate to one of those conveniently placed bins outside of everywhere that has those neat drop-down drawers like a mailbox except instead of mailing a letter I’m sending off clothes I no longer want.
I got rid of at least 8 pairs of shoes.  Mostly the shoes I donated were nice shoes that feel just a little bit tight or uncomfortable sometimes. A couple were pairs of really good shoes that I’ve held onto for a couple of years because I paid a good amount of money for them because they didn’t make my bunions hurt when I wore them.  But then I realized this morning that I don’t have those bunions anymore thanks to surgery so why keep them?  They just don’t fit right anymore.
This time I decided to really do a proper de-cluttering of my clothes.  In the past, I used to just pull out all my Autumn/Winter clothes and set them aside for storage for next year without really evaluating if I should keep everything.  I donated a ton of my Winter clothes – mostly sweaters that fit me OK, but didn’t make me feel good wearing them.  Tossed. That left me with just a small pile of Winter clothes to store in the basement.  I know as I approach the colder weather, I’ll pull everything out again and realize I don’t have as big of a selection which will prompt me to do some shopping, but that’s totally fine.  It’s a problem to worry about eight months from now.
Here’s my big tip for anyone struggling with clothes slipping off of hangers and all you have are those cheap, tube-like plastic hangers:  use binder clips.  Clamp those suckers down on each side of the hanger and I guarantee your clothes will not slip off and fall to the floor.  I’ve bought a couple boxes of black binder clips at Staples and use them all the time.
Next to tackle were the bedroom drawers.  I made a big decision this year – I finally tossed out all my socks.  I have this one drawer dedicated to rolled up socks and I swear I never wear any of them.  I must have 25 pairs of socks that I used to wear maybe ten years ago and each year I just keep holding onto them thinking someday I’ll need them.  I’m just not a sock person anymore.  I go barefoot in my sneakers and use nylons for my dress shoes.  Why do I need these socks?  I tossed out every single pair of them.  The ONLY ones I kept were those super soft snuggly socks that I bought at Marshall’s last year.  They’re not even proper socks because I would never wear them with sneakers.  But they do serve the purpose of keeping my feet warm if I don’t feel like walking around the house barefoot – so they made the cut.
I also donated a whole bunch of winter hats, scarves and gloves. I’ve got far too many hats and gloves for one person. The rest that I’ve chosen to keep got put into the Winter pile of clothes for next year.
Surprisingly my Toss Out pile was pretty big, too.  I had several shirts that had stains on them and really hadn’t realized it because they were buried either in a drawer or in the back of my closet.  My bedtime clothes made up the biggest pile.  I had far too many pajama tops stained with the juice of pomegranates and a fair share of bottoms that were missing their matching top.  No idea where they went to, but it made it easier for me to decide to get rid of them.  In reviewing my pile, it reminds me that I should take better care of my clothes or more importantly, wear a bib while eating pomegranates.
Now that I’ve sorted through all my current stuff, it’s time for me to start the whole process again with the Spring/Summer clothes that I’ll be bringing up this afternoon from the basement.  I know it’s only mid-March and perhaps a bit early in the season to be thinking about bringing out the warm weather clothes, but I’ll be in San Antonio, Texas in a few days enjoying temps in the mid-70’s so why the hell not?  I’ve got the rest of the afternoon to sort, organize and toss to my heart’s content.  After all, I am on vacation…

The Vermont Country Store

We received a $25 gift certificate to The Vermont Country Store two years ago from my in-laws.  I’ve held on to the gift certificate all this time because we fully expected to take a day trip up to Vermont one weekend to visit the store.  But other things got in the way and we never got the chance to visit.

I receive their catalog throughout the year and I always love browsing the pages because they’ve got such a wide assortment of things from the past. Their tag line is “Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-To-Find.”  I bought my silver retro tinsel Christmas Tree a few years ago from them with one of those color wheels and a watch that required winding rather than batteries to operate.

I’ve come close to buying a few things online, but hesitated because their website couldn’t process my paper gift certificate as they’ve since come out with the standard gift cards that are website friendly and easy to use.  But once I saw that they were selling their own knock-off version of one of my favorite shampoos from the 70’s…I had to call their customer service department and see if I could still use my old gift certificate by placing a telephone order.  (I can’t even begin to recall the last time I placed a telephone order with a company, can you?)

It turns out all I needed to do was ask.  I called customer service and placed my order for 2 bottles of their Country Herbal Shampoo which is their version of the discontinued Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo made by The Proctor and Gamble company.  (They also sell other retro shampoo’s such as Lemon Up, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific and Body On Tap.)

A few days after placing my order, I received my bottles of Country Herbal Shampoo.  I eagerly unscrewed the top and took a great big sniff and guess what?  The smell was magnificent. It took me back to precious buried childhood memories of my mother lathering up my hair with her green shampoo in the bathtub. That scent made me feel five years old again.

I don’t use the Country Herbal Shampoo every day because I’m trying to make the two bottles last for as long as possible.  But I’m grateful to The Vermont Country Store that they honored my 2 year old paper gift certificate without any hassles and provided me with a pleasant customer service experience during the holidays.

I may not be able to visit their store for a while, but I can’t wait to see what other cool stuff they’ll find to remind me of what my life used to be like as a kid growing up in the 70’s.

You Might Be A Redneck…

Apologies to Jeff Foxsworthy, but here goes: 

If you’re buying a pregnancy test while in the check out line at the Dollar Tree store, then you might be a redneck.

I’ve actually seen these pregnancy tests and wondered how accurate they could be?  False Positive?  I think so.  But really…do the results of a $1.00 pregnancy test even matter if you’re buying it at The Dollar Tree store? Seriously. Don’t buy such an important life-changing boxed test just because it’s at eye-level next to the AA batteries in the check out line.

I used to take my mom to the Dollar Tree store at least twice a month.  It was where she got the most bang for her buck.  She loved walking down the aisles and seeing all the stuff she could buy for only a dollar because the price point on nearly everything fell within the range of her monthly fixed income of $60.00.  She bought knickknacks and bags of house branded snacks.  I kept myself occupied during these excursions by hanging out in the candy aisle scoping out limited edition Skittles and Dark Chocolate bars that didn’t sell so well when they were originally introduced for mass market consumption.
The Dollar Tree store was where I found cute little “First Place, Second Place and Honorable Mention” ribbons to give to my co-workers this past Christmas for recognition of their creative quotes throughout the year.  

The Dollar Tree also has a great paper goods section and I loved getting lost looking for really unique gift bags and funny greeting cards that were passed over years ago from American Greetings. The sentiments remained the same.

Since my mother passed away, going into the Dollar Tree store  feels really taboo to me.  I have gone into the Dollar Tree a few times and I swear I can feel the ghost of my mother. She haunts me in the aisles calling out my name and I smile sadly to myself when I see all the ugly little trinkets that she loved so much cluttering up the shelves of seasonal displays.  Quite simply, I shouldn’t be shopping at The Dollar Tree anymore.
And I’m pretty sure that if I suspect I might be pregnant, I’m splurging and buying the pregnancy from the local drugstore.  They just better have the CVS brand in stock or I’m off looking for fuzzy bunnies.


Colour Down Under

I’m sure everybody knew this except me, but I never realized that pubic hair can turn grey.  Yes, I’m naive.  You don’t have to tell me…I hear it all the time from loving friends.  But seriously…who knew?

I was surfing around the Vermont Country Store’s new Winter products on their website this afternoon and in their apothecary section I came across Colour For Down Under.  It’s a dye to color your pubic hair…y’know…down there.  Can you imagine?

Like all products featured on this great site, there is a section for customer testimonials.  Needless to say, no one has posted a comment yet.  Hmmm. I wonder what they would say if they did? 

And now all that keeps looping in my head is that Clairol jingle from the 70’s:  “I’m gonna wash that grey right out of  my head.”

I understand maybe some people don’t like to have grey hair because it makes them look older than they want to look. I also know there are women who go through torturous waxing sessions to be well groomed for their partner, but dying pubic hair is a little too freaky for me.

I wonder what Andy Rooney would say about this?  Think I’ll go send 60 Minutes an email right now.

Be Still…My Beating Heart

Christmas was pretty great this year.  My sister-in-law Katie gifted me some incredibly thoughtful stuff like a fancy stylus for my iTouch because I have fat fingers, a Bubble Wrap 2009 Calendar, the complete Little Britain series on DVD and my favorite gift of all – My Beating Heart .

It’s a small fuzzy pillow in the shape of a heart and it has a tiny computer inside that mimics a beating heart.  You turn on the pillow and it beats for 20 minutes and then shuts itself off.  Every time you turn on the pillow, a different heart rhythm occurs.  It’s suggested that if you hold the pillow close to your own heart it will start keeping pace with the pillow artificial beat.

I’ve used it a few times and it’s the most astonishing thing – it actually relaxes me.  I find myself focusing on the vibration of the beating heart and before I know it, I’m out like a light.  Complete relaxation.

I’m on vacation next week so I plan to do my share of heavy afternoon napping.  You can bet this lovely pillow will be cuddled up against me along with Spencer and the fat beagle, of course.

I can’t recommend this pillow enough. Valentine’s Day is only a few short months away and I think this would be the perfect gift.  Screw the box of chocolates.  Give me this pillow and a package of 9-volt batteries and I’ll love you forever.

A Cold Front Blowing In

Seems to me that I just need to think about getting sick and I get sick.  It’s the weirdest thing about my inner-mechanics. I made a friendly bet with one of my co-workers that he wouldn’t get sick prior to leaving for his cruise next week.  We bet $5 on it and somehow I’m the one that got sick.  No fair.

The absolute worst part of getting a cold is when you have that scratchy sore throat in the middle of Sunday night.  You wake up at 6am and toddle into work just knowing that you’re doomed for the rest of the week.  Five work days feels more like twenty when you’re sick. My cold hit me full force around Tuesday night which resulted in me calling in sick on Wednesday, but only after reviewing all my meetings in Outlook and establishing an out-of-office in a Nyquil-induced haze. 

I spent Wednesday in and out of consciousness. I sneezed, snuffled and hacked myself up a fine mess into  tissues and still the sinus pressure and the sore throat raged on. At one point, my ears were insanely itchy so I stumbled out of bed and inserted a few q-tips into my orfices to see if swabbing the decks might offer a bit of relief.  Not so much.

Wednesday night I remembered a pretty important meeting that I had at 8am on Thursday morning so I went down to the car, grabbed my laptop bag and did a little work from the couch hoping that my efforts would help me squeak by further inquiry the next morning.  I prepared for the meeting by also not injesting any more Nyquil because the blessed green juice makes me feel like an unnaturally drugged woman.  Instead, I awoke this morning and crawled out of bed popping two Dayquil tablets and somehow driving myself into work.  I also dressed all in black this morning because somehow the color just suited me today. Apparently I was mourning my usual perky self.

I made it through my presentation and didn’t think twice when it was strongly suggested that perhaps I might want to work from home today.  So here I am on the couch waiting for noon when I can take more Nyquil and go off to lala land for a few hours.  To sleep perchance to dream….

I don’t know what it is about getting sick, but when I’m sick I appreciate my life so much more.  I fantasize about how good I’ll feel when I can get back to my exercise routine.  I imagine what it will be like to sleep soundly while breathing through my nostrils and most importantly, the return of my chrystal clear thinking. These past few days have found me dazed and confused while trying to follow a conversation and I’m looking forward to being back to my old happy self. 

I predict that this cold won’t turn into a nasty sinus infection because I’m going to get lots of rest and take good care of myself these next few days. Once the cold has run its course, I’ll be as good as new.  However, my pocket will be five bucks lighter because I’m sure just by coming into work today to do my presentation, my co-worker caught a little something something from me.  Sorry Rick – I owe you five bucks.

Great Baby Shower Gift!

It’s times like these when I wish that I knew someone who is pregnant.  It’s certainly not me yet, but should I ever get invited to a baby shower – I’m bringing a plastering kit for the expectant mom because this is such a unique gift.

It costs $65 and the Original Belly Works Cast Kit contains everything a soon-to-be mom needs to remember this very special time in her life.  A time when she was big, fat and deleriously happy because she was bringing a new life into this world.

I recommend checking out the video of how to make the cast of the expectant mother’s belly-it doesn’t look too hard to do it.  You might also enjoy taking a look at the picture gallery of what some women did to decorate their nurseries and commemorate their pregnancy.

I know it might be considered a little weird to get this as a gift, but I never understood why mother’s would get their baby’s booties bronzed back in the 70’s.  I’d much rather have a cast of my big belly decorated in candy wrappers to hang in my baby’s nursery…but that’s just me.