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Decluttering the cluttered

I have a 3 bedroom, two bathroom house and am a single person (always have been since moving into this home).  How have I filled it with STUFF???  I have no idea, but every room has stuff in it!  I am by no means an episode of Hoarders, but you would think there are many adults living in my home and not just me (and my mom for the mean time).

I’ve been meaning to de-clutter, knowing that one day in the future I will have a child living in my home who will need space to grow and make the home truly ours.  While wasting time on Pinterest I came across a list I will implement for the next 6 weeks and see how much I can truly rid myself of (this may be difficult, I tend to hold on to things for sentimental – or future use – value).

Here is the list of 56 things you (and me) can start with for de-cluttering the crap out of our homes:

  1. Spare buttons from clothes that you are keeping “just in case” – I have random buttons kept in those little baggies all over my house.
  2. Makeup past its best – Ya I have a TON of this
  3. Anything in your home that you look at and don’t like – I think I like everything
  4. Clothes that don’t fit – I flipped my hangers last year and already gave my sister-in-law a ton of clothes
  5. Books you’ve never read and won’t ever read – this will be hard for me as I love books!!!
  6. Books you have read and have no intention of reading again – again…hard for me
  7. Old magazines – I have none of these thank God!
  8. Anything that you can get the same information from easily again online – this is interesting
  9. Anything broken – nothing broken, if something breaks I am over you
  10. Old bedding in the bottom of your linen cupboard that you never use – I need to match my bedding and then throw away everything else
  11. Out of date food in the cupboards – again, I clean my fridge out, but cupboards not so much
  12. Half finished craft projects that are never going to be completed – does this include my scrapbooking room, because I have a problem
  13. Toiletries you will never use (e.g hand cream/foot cream etc… from a set you got at Christmas) – oh yea I have a lot of this too…please stop buying my lotions people!!!
  14. Pens that don’t work any longer – I have a lot of pens – but not at home so I am probably good.
  15. Large items that take up too much room and could be borrowed if you ever need again –  I did sell my one table.  I have a camping bbq that hasn’t even been used that I need to sell – MENTAL NOTE
  16. Anything that makes you feel sad or guilty when you look at it – huh, this one will take some thinking
  17. Games/jigsaws where some of the pieces are missing – I have nothing of this, but once my sweet KOKO gets here I am sure this will change in time
  18. Chargers for phones you no longer own – I need to download all the pics from my old phones and then sell them with the chargers – MENTAL NOTE
  19. Kitchen gadgets you never use – that bagel cutter I never used, the popsicle molds that are brand new…okay okay
  20. Artwork that doesn’t make you happy – I think it all does
  21. Anything that doesn’t work as well as it should  – hmmm again this will be a thinker
  22. Any earrings that don’t have their partner –  I need to just rid of 90% of my earrings because they are cheap crap!
  23. Any shoes that don’t have their partner – all my shoes have partners…pretty partners.
  24. Most manuals for items you buy – ya I would probably just buy new if something stopped working …LOL
  25. Scraps of wrapping paper that won’t wrap anything – again can we just leave my scrapbook room alone cause that will take some time to organize
  26. Educational notes etc… from prior qualifications – Like my seven binders from teachers college and my B.A???  Can I re-read them all first???
  27. Any plastic carrier bags you are stockpiling I have a ton of plastic bags – I reuse them as garbage bags!
  28. Sports bras that have lost their hold! – I threw out three yesterday – SO THERE!
  29. Any mugs over the total number of people you would ever have drinking in your home in one go – Ya I need to get rid of or sell some of these…I have plenty!
  30. Any glasses over the total number of people you would ever have drinking in your home in one go – See above
  31. Anything that is past it’s best in the freezer – did this two weeks ago – fish from two years ago – yuck
  32. Herbs and spices you never use – my spice rack destroyed my spices…they are all rock solid now, I am pissed!
  33. Out of date medicines – ya like the allergy pills in my desk that expired in May 2014 (I moved to this desk in July 2017 so I have NO idea where this came from)
  34. Items related to hobbies you don’t do any longer – I keep my hobbies
  35. Memorabilia that doesn’t hold the same value for you any longer – my Kelly Gruber Rookie Card!!!  NOOOOOO
  36. Toys no longer played with – I will never throw out my pound puppy of my build-a-bear
  37. DVDs you have watched and won’t watch again – yep I am defintely going to do this (and VHS tapes)
  38. CDs you don’t listen to any longer – for sure…all those mix CD’s
  39. Recipe books you don’t use – Weight Watchers recipe books anyone???
  40. Bad photos you have had developed that you will never want to frame or put in an album – as a scrapbooker this goes against who I am #sorrynotsorry
  41. Any junk mail / old paperwork that is piling up – I have a ton of my dads paperwork but since accountant died I am terrified he will be audited and I will be screwed!
  42. Hair products you used to use when your style was different – again or was a gift, just stop…my hair is in a ponytail 7 days a week
  43. Ornaments that you are sick of dusting – who dusts???
  44. Dead plants/flowers – I don’t have these…
  45. Shoes that hurt when you wear them – this will be tough…I’ll have to re-wear everything to see 😉
  46. Old nail varnish / nail varnish in a colour you don’t wear any longer – all of them??
  47. Excess baking trays / saucepans etc in the kitchen – I don’t bake
  48. Outside furniture that has faded, broken, or is past its best – can’t someone just repair my bench cause I love it!
  49. Food in cupboards that you and the family don’t like and won’t eat – why would I buy something I don’t like???
  50. Old calendars and diaries – I trashed these old things months ago because I was embarrassed at how stupid I was growing up
  51. Excess loose change – gather it up and get it to the bank – I really wish I had this problem….
  52. People in your life that make you unhappy to be around – again I am pretty good at this too
  53. Digital photos on your phone or computer that aren’t any good – I do this monthly as I print my photo’s
  54. Rusted/tangled jewellery beyond repair – ugh so much….
  55. Accessories that you don’t wear – like all the scarves and hats I have and NEVER wear!
  56. Bottles of alcohol that have only a tiny bit left in them – HAHAH I do not have this problem, no alcohol is drank at my house except a bottle of wine on book club night

56 things and this is JUST a start!  WOW…okay I will work on this list for me and my precious KOKO who will not want to live under the mounds of books and photo’s that I’ll never scrap.

Stay tuned!

Love Nicole

 

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Dinner conversations

This past Saturday I was treated to my favourite dinner – All You Can Eat Sushi – by the lovely Alex.  She drove up from downtown to the dreaded Durham Region where she thinks the dragons will attack her as soon as she crosses the Port Union boundary – she’s crazy, we feed our dragons Trump supporters…

Anyway, we had an amazing meal and  great conversation that really got me thinking.  We were talking about things we KNOW we want in our life.  Her biggest one was a husband, and to travel the world.  Now for those of you who may know my little Yoga loving hippie, this was not a shock at all.  (4 years ago I would have been shocked, but she met a sweet man who changed her view points on this and I totally get it!).  For me, the answer wasn’t so simple.  I started thinking about things people in general know they want in life and my answers were not so concrete.

A man (life partner)

This one is tricky – ask me ten years ago, I wanted to be a housewife, taking care of my imaginary husband, the house, the kids the whole nine yards.  I believed fully in passionate, romantic love.  But that was an un-realistic point of view.  I’ve been told this a million times over by friends and family members who roll their eyes as I watch another Nicholas Sparks movie.  But, I don’t know if I believe in any of that anymore.  I don’t feel like I will be fulfilled without this kind of love, so I am just kind of floating along the dating trail waiting to see.  I’d like a partner, sure.  But I have been single for so long, and screwed over so often that at the end of the day – this isn’t my “dream future”.

Child(ren)

This is my only focus.  All that I have, all that I am, is going into being a mom.  It’s the one constant throughout my life that hasn’t wavered (okay well 30 years ago I wanted 10 kids and the number has slowly decreased from there).  Having a child, being a mother, is the one thing I will sacrifice everything else for.  It’s not a want, it’s a need that has roots so deep in my heart I think I would rather die than live childless.

The perfect job

I like my job; I don’t love it usually though some days I do.  There are things I would rather be doing, but this job has set me up for success and stability in life and I crave stability – hence why having a man in my world is not a priority.

Travel

I’d travel most places in this large world of ours, but I will only ever plan or desire to travel to the USA and the Caribbean *and Mexico*.  When I am on vacation I like to relax and lie by a pool/ocean.  If someone else wanted me to go to say Belarus (cough Alex cough) I’d go, but I wouldn’t plan it.  Again, once I am able to be a mother, my idea of vacations will change.

A roof over my head

I love my house.  I picked it and decorated it for me.  It was nice being single at this time because it was all about me in a world where it so seldom is.  I don’t ever see me selling this home, I have great neighbours, a close drive to everything and everyone I love and it’s affordable (thank you job).

Maybe I do know what I want.  Maybe I am afraid to admit those things that I don’t want or aren’t willing to settle for because they aren’t the norm.  People are uneasy when a woman of a certain age are single still…maybe I just have to accept my lot in life because of my wants.  I don’t know…time will tell I guess.  For now, this lady is a single, trying to adopt, caseworker who has a few Caribbean vacations planned in the next few years!

Love me or hate me…but that’s what it is!

 

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A picture is worth a thousand words

I love picture taking – I have scrapbook albums full of photo’s and I know not all pictures are equal and sometimes you get a good shot and sometimes you don’t.  You don’t just throw away a not so good shot because you aren’t a fan of it, you keep it and treasure the memory – but what you don’t do is use it as your tinder/match/okcupid/POF picture.

Yes world, I decided on the weekend, knee deep in chocolate licking my wounds from another Valentines Day single, that I would see what this tinder thing was all about.  After all, it’s focused heavily on location and that is important to me, because I love Durham and I will never want to move out of it so Tinder seemed like an okay thing to sign up for and try out for a few days.

It seems like most sites where the profile picture really makes or breaks a connection.  Now I know Tinder is really for “hook ups” and “casual dating”, but if it is, don’t you think people would use pictures that make them more attractive – and not less?

There are 4 types of pictures I was bombarded by this weekend and let me tell you – I will not swipe right if you have these types of pics…ever

  1. The workout/half naked mirror selfie

I get it, you work out, you have abs, you can sweat.  Awesome.  I don’t, I don’t and I can, but it’s not attractive in a picture so I won’t take a picture of me sweating and post it where I am hoping someone takes an interest in me.

Now I get it, a fit body is hot, but why not wear a great fitting shirt on a hike and I’ll still be able to tell you appreciate physical activity without all the nakedness happening!  This doesn’t just happen on Tinder – it happens on them all.  If your looks are all you care about – we won’t be in to each other.

2. The pictures with lots of girls/drinking/recreational drug use

Is this what women find attractive now? I hope you have female friends, I do!  I have male friends whom I cherish, but they will never be in a dating site photo.  It’s weird.  Like, is this an ex?  Is this a sister?  Is this your current girlfriend and you want a threesome?  How do I know???  Please just have single photo’s.  I don’t need to try and guess who some random girl is before I have even said hello to you.

I want you to be a fun guy, and if you drink (a bit) or casually smoke marijuana, I am okay with that, but is this the image you want to portray?  It kind of make it seems like this is a large part of your life and if so – we won’t be into each other.

3. The covered face/far away picture

Attraction – at first – is physical.  If I am not attracted to you physically I am not going to spend time reading your profile – I’m just not and I wouldn’t expect you to read mine either!  If your face is covered in a motorcycle helmet or a low baseball cap I can’t see you.  I won’t go on.  If you are into motorcycles – take a pic posing beside your bike, holding your helmet!  If you love baseball, take a picture at a game with your favourite jersey on or even playing the game, but please push your hat up for the photo opp!  I love baseball and if you do too that’s a huge bonus – but if I can’t see your face, make a connection with your sweet smile or kind eyes, I probably won’t read on.

If the picture was taken 10+ feet away how are we supposed to see anything?  Especially if there is more than you in the picture – how do we tell who is who?  Show me these awesome pictures after we have been dating, they don’t stand to make a good profile picture – especially if it’s your only picture.

Speaking of only picture:

4. The one picture guy

One picture?  It could have been on a good day!  Or from ten years ago!  Take recent selfies or have friends take some pics of you out and about doing something you enjoy!  One of my favourite pictures is of me  in the Dominican lying by the pool!  I love travel and love the sun and beaches.  It’s close up and it’s only me.  Now I am wearing sunglasses, but I have four other pictures where my eyes are showing so I am not hiding anything.  I would say two pictures minimum and 6 pictures maximum (all pics should look like you).  Also, please don’t add gif’s or other random pictures taken from the internet like this one:

tumblr_nfc813xEgo1terwlso1_250

It’s not funny and it won’t encourage me to read on.

Now I know this seems very petty and like I am saying my profile is all that and a bag of chips – so why am I single?  Well my profile is not perfect…I need to work on it.  My pictures are very detailed though, carefully chosen and some taken specifically for my profile page in order for you (the guys out there) to determine if you find me attractive enough to read on.

If your profile is absent of the above pictures, there is a pretty good chance I am going to see what you are are all about because it tells me you have taken the time to create a thoughtful profile and care what us ladies are seeing.  Effort is one thing I find severely missing from a lot of relationships, if you put the time into your profile that shows how much effort you may put into me!

Just my humble opinion from a single girl…maybe I am to picky – maybe I should just settle!?  HAHAHA – never!

Nicole

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0 to 2

My friend K wanted to take her mother to Vegas with her husband for a few days and asked me to watch her two most precious possessions – her 5 year old son C and her 20 month old daughter M.  Our other friend E was going to watch them Friday and Saturday while I was Black Friday shopping and I would pick them up Sunday, take C to swimming lessons and then take care of them for the next three days except when they were in daycare/school and I was at work.  Of course I agreed, I love those kids and I wanted my friend to feel calm and have fun knowing her children were in good, safe hands while she was celebrating her mom!

So on Sunday morning, I went from having zero responsibility to full responsibility for two sweet little lives.

Now this isn’t my first rodeo with children.  I have lots of little kidlets I have babysat in the past; and at times my nieces and nephew, while growing up, lived at my dads house so I saw routines being created and heard the temper tantrums, cries in the middle of the night and screams when one was hurt – numerous times!!  However, being solely responsible for not one but TWO actual lives for almost 72 hours is something I hadn’t really thought of.

dt_babysitter2

The first night I had them, C was coughing during the night I knew he was alive and well one bedroom over, but last night – no coughing!  I thought for sure I had killed him.  I got up three times in the middle of the night to check his chest to make sure he was breathing – ya I am clearly crazy tired!

Getting C to his swimming class was a chore, only because it was warm in the building so I was holding my large purse filled with a diaper, wipes, a toy, a drink and snacks, three jackets, a bag with a towel and of course holding M’s little hand who was grasping tightly to three little stuffed animals (she totally stole my stuffed animals, what a thief!).  While C was swimming, M sat in a chair eating a chocolate chip bear paw, drinking her bottle of water and hugging MY stuffies.  She was great.  When it was time to get C, we walked into the change room, I asked M to stay by me while I helped C get dressed and she did!  SUCCESS!

I have not had one tear over missing mommy or daddy thank goodness because K and I were both positive M would BAWL her little eyes out cause she is very anxious around people that aren’t her parents.  But as of this mornings drop off she has been full of smiles and giggles.

One thing that has been a saving grace, is that M wants to eat all the time.  Yogurt, cookies, grilled cheese, pb and j, toast, water, milk, pudding, teddy grahams, apple…it doesn’t matter…she will eat it and I swear she has NO END.  Such a tiny little cutie and she just eats and doesn’t stop until I tell her no more!  This morning she ate her breakfast and all of C’s crust from his pb on toast.

I have learned that while routines are important and must be established, it’s important to be flexible…C is a sloooowwwww riser, he doesn’t move quickly or want to get dressed or eat his breakfast so having his clothes ready and breakfast made before even trying to wake him was mandatory!  M wakes quickly and of course will eat as soon as her eyes open and will let me dress her immediately so with her I didn’t need to be SO prepared.

Tonight, the parents come back.  I will miss the joy of kissing the kids goodnight and good morning, I will miss the hugs and the smiles.  I will however, enjoy a good night sleep tonight and will hopefully dream of the little baby boy or girl I hope to adopt (more on that later) in 2016/17.

What a great experience to have…thanks K!

Love

Nicole

P.S C said he wants to marry me so I can buy him lots of toys in the Toys R Us flyer…uh huh, I am loved 😉

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A thank you note for a Home Care nurse – who actually cared

I have had FIVE pilonidal cyst removals in the most embarrassing of places, my bum!  My chubby, cellulite ridden bum has been viewed by more strangers over the past 6 years then I ever could have imagined.  It’s been talked about, poked, prodded, stabbed, rubbed and sighed over by doctors, nurses, medical students and even some unfortunate friends and family who I needed assistance from in the most horrific of times

Out of my five surgeries, I have had home care from the CCAC four of those times.  Once the doctor decided to stitch the wound closed so there was no need for a nurse – however that didn’t work hence I had the operation again, 4 weeks ago.

Now I am not going to go into the graphic details, because they are not needed for this story, nor are they anyone’s business and trust me – you don’t want to know.

This time around, I had surgery on the 29th of the September and on October 1st the CCAC called me and advised that a nurse from St. Elizabeth’s would be seeing me and responsible for my care.  Every day for a few days I saw a different nurse: male/female, Caucasian/Indian/West Indian, old/young.  They were all fine.  I had no concerns over anyone in particular, I have had bad nurses in the past, nurses who didn’t care about my wound who pushed to hard, who ripped bandages off my skin taking actual skin with the adhesive, so these nurses, the St Elizabeth nurses were fine.

And then I had Zoika (I feel horrible if I am spelling her name wrong, but we all know my spelling skills).  Zoika is a lovely Cuban woman who from the first day I met her until our last day together, took her time, asked me how I was doing.  She took care of my wound with a gentle touch and made certain to use a sterilized water to remove the gauze if it was sticking.  Not once did she ever rip a bandage off or stuff the wound with packing.  It might have taken her an extra 10-15 minutes to be prepared, but don’t I deserve that time?  She cleaned my wound, she cleaned the skin around the wound and she carefully packed me making sure not to disturb the new skin that was forming.

She talked to me like a person.  I was not once a number to her.  I wasn’t just any patient, I was her only patient during the time she stepped foot in my door.  She wrote detailed notes and even pressed my surgeon to give me more time off as I was healing very slowly.  If I had a bad day, she called me at night and asked how I was and I think we were both a bit disappointed this past Sunday when I knew it was my last day with her as I was switching to the night shift in order to go back to work.

I wish this was the norm.  I wish every home care nurse cared the way Zoika did.  I wish every nurse was as patient and took her time really caring for the whole body the way Zoika did.  I know that sometimes there are just not enough minutes in the day.  I get that their job is thankless.  I understand that they are on their feet for hours, dealing with infections and blood and ooze and puss and that it’s a dirty job, but I am so grateful that Ms. Zoika proved to me that it can be done.  That not only can she be a nurse, but she can be a caring, thankful nurse who cares about her patients as if they were her own family.

Anyone lucky enough to have this amazing woman in their home should be grateful.  It could be worse – trust me, I’ve had it.

Love

Nicole

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Facts V. Opinions

It always amazes me when people tell me how I should feel about something or who completely judge me when I express I feel a certain way.  I am a woman who confidently will express her opinion when she has one and very rarely does that opinion change.  Since the development of Social Media (Facebook to be exact) I have had NO problem expressing myself on MY site, full well knowing that some of my “friends” will not agree with my opinion nor should they.  The thing that surprises me is how many people still want to fight me on my opinion and then list information proving somehow I am wrong to think or feel a certain way.

After I read this retort I have to sit back and decide whether to A) bite my tongue so I don’t damage the friendship or B) fight back which usually turns into a bitching match on MY Facebook so I work really hard to do A more often.  There have been two things I have been expressing my opinion on more lately because the issues are all over the news and Social Media. I’m going to express them here again because this is my blog and I feel like it 😉

The (possible) teacher strike – oh no they aren’t writing report cards!!

Listen, I get it, but in reality very few students are actually going to be affected by this. Unless those grades and comments are required for getting into your dream high school or college, it really isn’t going to harm your child and it certainly isn’t going to harm you.  You know what will harm your child – being in a classroom next September with one teacher, NO EA, and 29 other kids, half of whom don’t speak English well or who are on an IEP.  So your “normal” kid, next year will have no special attention on them and likely won’t get a chance to stand out, but hey teachers are horrible right?  Let’s fire them all!  People who have NO idea what it is like to be in a classroom with limited supplies and even less support are driving me crazy with their Holier Than Thou attitudes.  Yes there are bad teachers, horrible teachers who never should have been hired – but there are also REALLY REALLY horrible parents…you don’t get fired so get off your ass and support those who take care of your children and are looking out for them instead of trashing them all over social media.  It’s childish and no one wants to read about it, but hey – it’s your Facebook so when it is on there I will try not to comment, instead shaking my head and scrolling on.

Pan Am Games – Toronto and it’s traffic

Since moving to Ajax I have had to deal with my fair share of traffic nightmares, but I knew this would be the case when I decided I did not want to rent the rest of my life, I wanted to own a home – not a condo – a home with a backyard where I could safely raise my children.  Sometimes I complain about traffic.  If there is an accident or a huge storm of some kind, the already crazy traffic gets worse and I complain.  I am human last time I checked.

When I was advised that Pan Am would be held in Toronto it didn’t even cross my mind, but holy shit traffic is going to easily double and my already 45-60 minute commute will now be much longer!!  I flipped.  Toronto has historically awful roads, construction everywhere and it is a commuters hell!  Now the passing lanes are being converted to HOV with 3+ drivers only and I want to cry.  I have been told not to complain buy a few “friends” because I chose to move to Ajax.  I did.  I willingly moved there because renting was not how I wanted to live MY life.  A lot of amazing friends do it and happily do it because they can’t afford to buy, want to be in a specific neighborhood where there may not be financially sound homes to buy or a million other reasons, but I chose to buy a home in Ajax.  I did not choose for the City of Toronto to host the Pan Am games and intensify already insane road conditions.  My work, ironically enough, will not allow staggered work hours and for me there isn’t really the option of re-routing because for some reason we only have ONE main highway East to West and North to South so I will need to leave early.  Earlier then I already do.  It would be nice to carpool, but finding one person, let alone, 2 more people to use the HOV lanes with, would be next to impossible.

So I complain.  I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for me or to protest for me, but MY social media page allows me to vent my feelings and if you don’t like them and worse yet if you are completely aghast by them, move on…keep scrolling.

Just like I do when you complain about teachers – and like you will do 6 months from now when my contract ends and the union goes to bat for us.

Gotta love a democracy!

Love

Nicole

0

raccoon, possum ~ potato, patato

Remember when I wrote about my terrifying raccoon in my garbage can last week?  If you don’t, clearly you need to go back and catch up…it was quite the story.  Well, last night it was that time of the week, I needed to bring my trash and recycle bins to the curb and all was going well until I went to grab some cardboard boxes left over from my successful attempts at unpacking my basement. I reached down to grab the larger box (these boxes were right beside an empty garbage bin) and my face was {} this close to a furry pointy head staring back at me.

c8c0c64dd6a59ca7230d0dc87f18ed4f<——this was not my mystery animal

Screaming, I ran into the house and pulled out the number for Ajax Animal Control. The nicest lady (I can’t remember her name) called me back and said she’d be by me in an hour. 45 minutes later, I saw her pull up with her big city van. She walked into the garage and told me it was not in fact a raccoon, but it was a possum!

I started thinking quickly what a possum must look like and at first I thought it must be a cute little thing and how silly of me to be so scared.  The Animal Control lady told me that Possums can actually be quite vicious when scared or provoked – even worse than raccoons so it’s a good thing I called.  She tried capturing it but somehow it got loose and ran in my neighbours backyard.

After fleeing back into the house I peeked out the window and noticed she had gone with my neighbour out of my view so I stared aimlessly out the window until she returned – with the possum in her box – to release him (her?) back into the wild.

She apologized for the drama (of it escaping) and honestly at that point I didn’t care – he (she?) was out of my hair and out of my garage.  Unless invited nothing can live on my property unless it pays rent – taxes are high, I can’t afford to have random animals living in my garage!

It’s Spring, and while the weather may feel like a crisp cold winter day, the birds are back, the raccoons are scattering garbage from one end of my street to the other and now the possums have come out to play!  Spring is here.  Lord help me now.

Love

Nicole