Final, Final Pictures and Final Bag Count

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Nearly a month has passed since my last post. During that time, with the help of the city sisters, I had a huge estate sale and sold most of everything I owned.

I packed up my clothes and toiletries and moved in with No.2 Sis. I now live on a pull-out couch.

I hired movers (Two Men and a Truck– accept no substitutes) and got everything moved from the local storage locker to a locker near No.2 Sis’s house. It’s climate-controlled, and will be much better for my antiques and art work.

Then No.2 Sis and I cleaned our asses off. We left Laurel’s Cottage in superb condition for the new owners.

We closed the sale on July 15th, and it is officially over.

I saved the best pictures for last. The storage room/art studio turned guest room. After TONS of decluttering, cleaning, and painting, No.8 Sis staged it beautifully with mostly borrowed furniture. It came out absolutely gorgeous, especially when you know how it started out.





Sorry about the dark and fuzzy old photos. My photography is improving, yes?

Guest room-1

























Guest room-2




























I’d removed 362 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture before I decided to sell my house. After that, I got rid of 221 more to prepare for the sale of the house and the estate sale. I didn’t keep count of how much was sold and cleaned out during and after the sale. My final count was 583!

I’m so proud!

Next time I’ll tell you where I’m going from here.

Stay tuned…


On My Own, or 362*

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I suddenly realized that my left stride was much shorter than my right stride when I found myself walking down the hall nearly sideways. Must be all the physical labor I’m putting into prepping the house for sale.

A visit to Dr. Bob, the chiropractor, fixed me up. Thank Goddess. If it had gotten any worse, I’d have only been able to walk in circles.

No.2 Sis wasn’t able to help me this weekend, so I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be motivated to continue my great progress in clearing the Art Studio. I did quite well on my own, though!

I packed 5 more boxes for Half Price Books, 1 box for the thrift store, and delivered 2 boxes of stamping supplies to No.2 Sis, including all of my stamples (stamps + samples = stamples). That’s what she gets for not being there; she has to take some of my junk.

I also dumped 2 bags of recycling and 2 bags of garbage into their respective bins.

That means my total boxes, bags and small pieces of furniture cleared out of the house since January, 2014, equals 362*. Not bad!

Stay tuned…

*I also killed a hideous, hairy spider. I didn’t count it as a bag, even though it was quite large.


Decision Made, or 350

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My Dad only gave me a few pieces of advice over my lifetime. One bit that stuck with me was, “Always stretch yourself when buying a house. Get the most expensive house you can qualify for, because as your income goes up, the payments will get much easier”.

DAD AND ME, 2007

DAD AND ME, 2007





























This was back in the days of rising wages and rising real estate values, of course.

I took my Dad’s advice when buying both of my houses. I stayed in the first one for 19 years, and by then the payments did seem quite puny.

When I move into my current cottage, the payments were two-and-a-half times my old payment. And I got laid off. And the housing market crashed, taking the value (but not the mortgage) of my current home into the toilet. And even when I got a new job, my wages stagnated for years.

So, after living here for 13 years, I’ve decided to sell my cottage. My home has (finally) recovered its original value, and a little bit more. They say it’s a seller’s market right now, so that will help, too.

To that end, I have to step up my decluttering efforts by an order of magnitude!

No.2 Sis came over last Friday and we slogged deeper into the Studio. We were able to pack up 16 boxes and bags!

3 went home with Sis, 3 went to Goodwill, 6 went into recycling, and 1 went into the garbage.

I also have to take 3 boxes to the thrift store to see if they’ll buy any of it. Whatever they don’t want goes to Goodwill.

That makes 350 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture cleaned out of the house since January, 2014.

My goal is to get the house on the market by early May! I’ll keep you posted!

Stay tuned…

2016 Resolution Update, March

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I started March with $832 in my Cush Fund (my savings account which provides my tight budget with a little “cushion”).

I had to withdraw $237 for Bella’s vet bill. Oh my Goddess, that vet appointment was so traumatic that I’d pay them another $237 to never have to go back again.

I added $106 of overtime pay and a $50 medical reimbursement to the Cush Fund in March. My final March balance was $751. One step forward, two steps back.

Not to worry, I’ve already received a larger medical reimbursement in April, and I’ll be getting an extra paycheck, too.

piggy bank-1




























  1. CANCEL ALL CREDIT CARDS EXCEPT NEW 0% AND MY BANK VISA. I paid off all my credit cards except the new 0%, but I haven’t cancelled them yet. Must do!
  2. BUILD UP $1200 EMERGENCY  CUSH FUND. I have $751 in the Cush Fund. I started March with $832, withdrew $237, and added $156 (overtime pay and medical reimbursements).
  3. PAY CASH FOR EVERYTHING. (No new charges). Success!

Stay tuned…

Double-Z Card, or 334

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I made this cute Double-Z card (tutorial here) for my niece’s upcoming 5th birthday.

Double-Z card (2)

I remember my conversation with her on her last birthday. She was pulling out the first instrument, an ear examination thingy, out of her new doctor’s bag.

Me: That helps you look in people’s ears.

Niece: Yes. It’s an otoscope.

Me: Um…I…er…I didn’t know that.

Shown up by a four-year-old.

Anyway, change of subject, I’ve had to rethink my house decluttering attitude a bit. I’ve lately been focusing on how to make money off of my junk (insert dirty joke here) instead of just getting rid of it. That’s led to too much of “I’ll save this and sell it later”.

I’ve decided I must just focus on getting rid of stuff again, and forget about selling it.

I must also admit that I looked on e-bay to try find prices for what I have to sell, and found that my junk probably wouldn’t sell at all. Apparently, my junk is nothing special.

So, I set a goal of getting rid of 30 bags, boxes, etc, in April. No.2 Sis came over Saturday and we played “Hoarders”. I set on a chair, going through boxes, and handing stuff off to her with instructions like, “Keep, donate, garbage, recycling, etc”.

We added 2 more boxes of books to the 4 bags from last week and made a run over to Half Price Books and sold them for $37.

Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to sell stuff, but this was quick and easy.

We also packed up 4 boxes and 1 bag of donations and dropped them at Goodwill.

2 boxes books.

5 boxes/bags donated.

2 bags recycling.

1 bag garbage.

Total: 10 bags/boxes so far in April, which brings my total to 334 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture cleared out of the house since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…

p.s. Lest you think this sisterly help is all one-sided, I must inform you that I went to No.2 Sis’ house on Sunday and helped her install kitchen cabinet hardware. It looks smashing!



Miss Hiss, or 324

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I had to take Bella to the vet yesterday, and let me tell you, she was VERY unhappy about it. She was shrieking, SHRIEKING, in her loudest Siamesy voice.

The vet took her into a back room to sedate her so she could be examined and, from the exam room, I could hear Bella shrieking and growling for what seemed like forever. By the time the vet got back to me, I was bawling my eyes out. I’m getting teary just writing this.

Bella got her exam and her shots, and they kept her for a couple of hours until the sedative starting wearing off. I picked her up and brought her home, where she hissed loudly at me every time she saw me.

At bedtime, I found Bella under my blankets. I s l o w l y got into bed beside her as she hissed at me. Then I turned off the light and laid down.

You do not know terror until you’re lying in the dark while a fully-clawed cat circles your head, growling in a very menacing manner.

Today, Bella has been letting me pet her for a few seconds before she turns and hisses at me. Progress.



The really bad news? She has to go back to the vet in 2 weeks for dental work. Goddess help me.

I had to hide in the Studio to get away from the dear, wee kitty. While I was in there, I filled one bag of recycling and pulled out a little television set to drop off at Best Buy. They recycle them for free.

That brings me up to 324 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture removed from my cottage since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…

I shared this frightening story at Chic On a Shoestring.


Working On The Chain Gang, or 322

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I literally worked on a chain gang once.

It was my first drafting job, at Peerless Chain. Their trucks all said “Peerless Chain- The Chain Gang”.

That was me, working on the Chain Gang.

Now I work in a cell cubicle country club at “The Company”. “The Company” informed me last Friday that we were going on overtime. That always helps my bank account, but slows down my progress on decluttering my cottage.

I have been slowly clearing out the Art Studio. I took one pile of boxes at a time, often going through them in one go. Those were stacks of single boxes, one on top of another.

When I got to the corner of the Studio, the remaining pile was about 4 interlocking stacks of boxes in a Jenga-like tower. I’ve been working on it here and there for weeks.



I got it down to this short pile, which is mostly papers to file. That means I have to clean out the file cabinet. That means I have to shred the old papers that come out of the filing cabinet.



Oh dear, I see I’ve tried to keep far too many books. I’m going to try to sell them at Half Price Books to see if I can make a little cash for the Cush Fund.

I shredded 5 bags of paper (still not done with the shredding, though). That brings me up to 322 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture cleared out of my cottage since January of 2014. Thank Goddess the recycling is picked up early next week.

Stay tuned…




Defying the Laws of Physics

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The laws of physics say that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.


We got six or seven inches of snow yesterday, along with strong winds. It started about 11:00 in the morning, and by noon I decided to go home to avoid being caught in the worst of the storm.

Apparently, a lot of other worker drones had the same idea, because traffic was heavy and slow. I was braking for a red light, with a stopped car ahead of me, and Gypsy Blue started sliding.

“No, no,” I was screaming in my head, “Stop, stop, stop!” But Gypsy Blue just kept going and tried to make the bumpers of both our cars occupy the same space at the same time.

Crap. The other driver and I both put on our flashing hazard lights and got out of our cars to inspect the damage.

Hmm, not too bad. The other driver (shall we call her “The Victim” to save time?) brushed the snow off her car’s rear bumper. There was no visible damage. She looked at me and smiled and said “Let’s just go home.”

Thank-you Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the ass they rode in on! My Cush Fund lives to see another day!

Meanwhile, I had to find my passport to get it renewed, or be forever stuck in the frozen tundra of the northern U.S.A.

I looked in the Important Paper Drawer in the kitchen. Yikes.

important papers drawer-before-1

After cleaning out the drawer, I had accumulated a little recycling and a little trash, but not enough to increase my bag count. I’m still at 317 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture that I’ve gotten rid of since January, 2014.

important papers drawer-after

And my passport is winging its way to the U.S. government for renewal for another 10 years. I can actually taste the freedom.

Stay tuned…



Sick and Tired, or 317 Part 2

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It started on Sunday, with just a little tickle in the throat. By Wednesday, my cough was so loud and sharp, it set all dogs within a mile radius to barking.

I went to the doctor because my breathing sounded funny. Of course, it sounded fine at the doc’s. It’s like the car that won’t make that funny noise when you take it to the mechanic.

The doc took a chest x-ray and found that I don’t have pneumonia, yay! She said it was a bad chest cold, and don’t expect it to improve for 2 or 3 weeks, boo. She did give me a prescription for an inhaler as a lovely parting gift.

I missed work on Thursday and Friday (um, sorry about that Friday project deadline, guys).

Today’s Saturday, and I felt like I had enough energy for a little project. A very little project. A projelet, as it were.

I cleared my bedside table. This was a win-win, as I can now find the tissues without knocking over a bunch of water glasses.

bedside table-1

That’s it. That’s my home progress for this week.

Stay tuned…

p.s. A little tip for you; bite your cough drop in half before falling asleep. A whole cough drop is just the right size and shape to block your airway if swallowed wrong.

Then you’ll wake up in a panic, realizing you can’t breathe! You’ll reach for the phone to dial 911, but immediately recognize that you won’t be able to speak to the dispatcher, and they’d never get there in time anyway! You’ll jump up and race around the house, desperately praying you won’t pass out before finding something to Heimlich yourself with! You’ll find a chair to throw yourself on, cough up the lozenge, and breathe a huge sigh of relief!

But why am I telling you this? Surely no one is foolish enough to fall asleep with a cough drop in their mouth? ((blushing))


Bits and Bobs, and 317

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I celebrated my fifth and final Christmas 2015 a week ago Saturday with my BFF “G”. We met for lunch and a gift exchange in Rochester. I also brought a stuffed-full bag of paper grocery bags for her husband “M”. He uses them in his small business in lieu of buying logo bags.

After lunch, “G” and I went to the book store, where “G” bought a boatload of books. I bought nothing. I’m so proud of myself. We lingered at the in-store coffee shop for a while, sipping and chatting, until it was time to part ways.

Before I left, though, “G” asked me to turn around. I did, and she gave me a few light swats on my full and generous bottom. She explained that when she’d asked her husband if he wanted her to give me anything from him, he said, “A spanking”. Aww, and I only got him paper bags.

After work on Tuesday, I worked on the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Of ,course, I stayed up way too late  drinking (water and cocoa), which meant that I had to get up twice during the night.

The first time I got up, Bella Cat followed me into the bathroom and sat in the sink. Very odd. The second time, she followed me in, and sat in the shower. She never goes into the shower, as she’s learned it’s wet in there.

Ahhh, the light bulb came on. I went to her water dish and found it dry as the Sahara. Clever cat. Forgetful Mama.

On Wednesday, I cooked. Mushroom Burgers (from Top 200 Low Carb Recipes) and Citrus Herb Chicken. I also made Turkey Soup without a recipe and it turned out not-so-great. I ended up throwing that away.

Yesterday (Saturday), I went to my BFF “V”‘s house to play cards with my City Sisters. No.8 Sis was absent, as she’s visiting a friend in India right now.

I made Caprese skewers for the gathering. I saw the recipe on Pinterest, but I added pepperoni. It was so good, I made some more for lunch today.



In addition to the bag of bags given to “M”, I topped off a bag of clothes to donate. That puts me at a total of 317 bags, boxes or small pieces of furniture gotten rid of since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…