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Early spring cleaning

Early spring cleaning

When we moved in 2018 it was a chaotic rush. We found out in September that the house we were living in that we had agreed to buy wasn’t being sold to us for the price we had agreed upon. Instead of getting angry, we got focused & so we switched gears and started househunting. In the end we found the perfect house for us with a closing date of December.

During this time, it became clear that the surgery I had didn’t completely cure my mobility problems. My arms were tingling and my gait was still bad. My neurosurgeon ordered an MRI, discovered everything was fine with the surgical site and referred me back to the neurologist for more tests. Of course, we were packing, we both had stressful full-time jobs and two young children to take care of. It was a miserable time for us. Did I mention our closing date was less than two weeks before Christmas? So we just threw everything into boxes, shoved it into the rental container and when we moved it was just shoved it into the basement. We could deal with it at the new house when we had more time, right?

A month after we moved I received the startling diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease – Primary Lateral Sclerosis. My life came to a sudden halt. Nothing seemed more important than traveling and spending time with my family. We focused on other things.

It’s been three years since we’ve moved though, I have stabilized and may have plateaued. The craziness of tests, doctor’s appointments, and paperwork for disability has passed. I am now medically retired and Mr. Tucker and I have a plan for the future. All’s well that…well, is at least stable.

Despite having a family room down in the basement the stairs are steep and difficult for me to navigate. Recently though, Mr. Tucker put up the second bannister so I could get up-and-down easier from the basement, so it made sense to make the effort to get down there more. As I went down to the workshop I noticed how disorganized it was and he admitted that this room gave him so much anxiety that he just ignored it. So we made a commitment to inventory the freezers & pantry items and go through some of the junk.

Sunday afternoon we grabbed the kids, headed downstairs and did just that.

As with most things, just starting it was half the battle. The floor was just covered in boxes, wrappers and other packaging from purchases and once we got rid of that, it came down to what we wanted to throw away, donate, or keep. We set up some space for gardening supplies, another space for household goods, and we tidied our boxes of baking supplies & gift wrap/bags. Everything now has a place and some items will go off to new homes. Our old party supplies gave us the gift of a multitude of napkins and paper plates from parties past that we will use at future get-togethers (I mean, no one said no to a piece of cake just because it was on a Tinkerbell plate). The mismatched paper napkins I brought upstairs & we can use them now.

In the end, it only took the four of us a couple of hours to tackle the space & I think Mr. Tucker was happy that he wasn’t the only one on the hook to clean it all. Of course, we have a small storage area for seasonal stuff and old baby clothes that I need to rummage through but that won’t take too long, either. It just needs to be started. Once we pull it all out, it shouldn’t take more than an hour or so.

I think what has saved us is that a> we’ve never been shoppers; and, b> we’ve never been hoarders. While I will admit that I am a notoriously disorganized person in my everyday life, I do tend to get it together a few times a year and clear out swaths of space. Having said that, I am no minimalist and I like a bit of messiness to my space. Mr. Tucker and I started off in a 530sq foot space, landed into a 1200sq foot space for the first 9 years of raising our family. We’ve never owned a lot of stuff and our last home was partially furnished so we had to actually buy a few things. Now our new home is a mid-century bungalow that has 1300sq feet – and a family room, office space, laundry and some storage in the basement. It’s partially finished so I would say it has another 600sq feet of livable space. While the family room is large, there is almost nothing in it. How much space is open? Well the Sprout uses it to roller skate every day, so enough space that she can do that.

Still, if you don’t keep on top of stuff it gets out of hand, especially if it is “out of sight, out of mind.” But I don’t want to be one of those people who dies and leaves their kids 1900sq feet of junk to haul out to the dump. I would rather sell/donate/trash items as we go along. As we are working on organizing our lives it only makes sense to start with the clutter. Better late than never!

Unboxing my work life

Unboxing my work life

Last week I was cleaning out my computer and I came across my resumes. “WELP,” I thought. “I guess I can discard these.” It shook me in the moment to think that I will never need them again. My entire career took 10 seconds to delete.

After I did that I realized that I still hadn’t opened the boxes of the contents of my office that work had sent me in fall of 2019. I had spent 8+ hours a day surrounded by this stuff and it was boxed off and sent off without ceremony. Unlike retirement, there is no grand party, no congratulations, no watch to mark your years of service. You are just canceled. They send you your work life by mail, and that is that.

After they arrived, they sat upstairs for over a month, untouched, when Mr. Tucker had taken them downstairs and out of the way. They sat there for over a year. I couldn’t bear to deal with unboxing my work life and putting it up all on a shelf. I guess I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

This weekend though, I bit the bullet and I had Mr. Tucker bring up the boxes. I have a couple of pairs of Fluevog high heel shoes that I (obviously) can’t wear anymore so I made the decision to sell them & put the money towards some stuff the girls want for their birthdays. It made sense to just open them up and go through it.

In the end, it was less traumatizing to go through it than I realized. On one hand, I was missing my favourite San Francisco mug (SNIF) which I am not surprised was taken. I also had a giant soup bowl that had disappeared. On the other hand I got an iPod classic and some stress ball swag? The shoes were all there so that was what I really wanted. You win some, you lose some.

I needed time to process, I suppose. I think I needed to realize that maybe that was the end of one life but the beginning of another. Honestly, life is all about moving from one aspect to life to another. From elementary school to high school, from high school to university, from university to my first office job, from job to job…it’s always in flux and it’s always changing. For sure I needed to mourn my old life – I didn’t choose this change – but it doesn’t mean that every aspect of it needs to be negative. Having a motor neuron disease is absolutely awful but the flip side is that I am able to have less stress in my life. If I focus on the positive things, there are a lot of positives.

So good bye, old work life. I enjoyed our time together. I am now going to live a new life.