Friday, May 17, 2024

Get ruthless!

Despite the fact that I had that Facebook Live yesterday and things had to get organized for that, I took time to clean out a drawer in the filing cabinet. OK, so I didn't finish, but I made a good effort. 

I was only going to pull a few files and then decided to take them all out. 

The empty drawer

There are four drawers, and I picked one. The files got scattered onto the kitchen table. 

The kitchen table as the sorting station

I went through them one by one. OH!!! I know there are folders for some of the same stuff in another drawer. That's the problem with my filing system. I've got the space, I've got the hanging things, and I've got folders, but the actual filing could have been better. 

I started sorting them by creating piles on the kitchen counter. Having space to work makes this process a whole lot easier. Even if I had the space in the office, it's so dark here. I really must think about repainting the walls in a MUCH lighter color! 

The sorting station

And I got rid of manuals for things we no longer own and haven't for a long time! I got rid of bills and other paper crap that just accumulated. I was running out of time, so I had to put the stuff back in the drawer, but it's a lot lighter than it was. 

Some of the crap back in the drawer

While it doesn't look like I took a lot out, there are about 3 inches at the front where there was only a little space before. A significant section is filled with EMPTY file hangers, and I didn't get a chance to go through the messy part in the front. 

Then, the folders will need to be relabeled and organized by category. Yes, I know it should have been done before, but it wasn't. I'm dealing with it now. Once those four drawers are done, I have two huge containers of filing to do. But as mentioned, I bet that most of that filing can be tossed. 

Some of our bills are now 100% online, but a few still come in the mail, so I must convert those to online only. Then, I must go through what's left and throw out all the utility bills. I mean, one doesn't really need to keep them. The only thing of interest is to see how little you were paying 20 years ago, but seriously? I can live without knowing that! 

I think I still have some maintenance bills for my old car. I certainly do not need those, so I have more work to do, but I made a start. And if that cabinet could be cleaned out and the filing dealt with, that would clear up some visual clutter in this room. Hmm—I'm going away for a couple of days, but I hope I'm still motivated when I get back. I NEED to be motivated. 

Now, I need to find a good site with suggestions about what paperwork to keep and what to toss. 

Good grief—I found the bill for our current TV. We bought it in 2008—it's a 46" TV. Can you believe how much we paid for it? 

We are keeping the TV, not the bill or the manual. Gone!! I know DH would like a new one, but this one is just fine for the time he watches. 

But we had an issue—we had a house sitter last week, and they messed up the cables on the TV. I called our provider to see what the problem was. OH—we are missing a cable on the receiver, but which cable? So we sort of got that sorted out, but it's still not working. I called the provider a second time to get some help. All I needed was someone to confirm which slots the cables went into—a simple request. 

The "support" person on the other end spent so long trying to confirm my account, and then she tried to go through a diagnosis. NO- we did an online and already had a ticket opened, but she couldn't grasp what we were saying to her. She had to be brand new and was following a script, but OH MY GOSH -- this was the worst support person ever. She finally got frustrated and hung up on us after about 40 minutes on the call still trying to confirm and diagnose when we just wanted a simple answer. 

I walked to the TV, checked the back of the receiver and the router, and switched one thing, and it worked. I guess I should have done that first, but I'm not into TV things—I have no idea what does what as far as cables go. 

Anyway, it's fixed, and DH is happy. He asked for a credit because of the crazy support person, and they gave us one month free and told her to listen to the recorded call to see that this girl did not listen to what we were telling her—not one bit! And I thought we were EXTREMELY patient under the circumstances!

The Facebook Live went well -- I forgot to show a couple of my samples! I ran out of time, so it's good I didn't make a ton more samples! But this was my set-up when I was done. I'll post the link when it becomes available. 

The aftermath of the Zoom call

Michael's has many online classes you can watch live or recordings afterward. Be sure to check that out; you'll find way more on the US site than you do on the Canadian site. 

Here's one of the spots on the forest path that were fixed yesterday. Let's see how well this holds up. I don't think they ever did all of those low-lying spots, so this should help whenever it rains. 

Repairs on the forest path

I unpacked my suitcase from my last trip, and there are my Studio B mascots. They were peeking at me in the background on the call! Those sneaky dogs!

Studio B mascots

Well, I'm packed for the retreat, but I don't feel ready. There's been too much going on, so I may end up at the retreat and do absolutely nothing today. I'll see how it goes!!

I will remind you daily to find some area of your house to tidy up! Grab a drawer - maybe the kitchen junk drawer, a bathroom drawer, or a filing cabinet. It could be a dresser drawer, but pick a drawer and be RUTHLESS. 

On that note, I'm out of here!!

Have a super day!!


Thursday, May 16, 2024

All about the dogs

I feel a tinge of guilt that we didn't have to completely clear that house, but it's only a tinge. 

But YES --- going through this entire process has made me look at my house and how it would appear in the eyes of someone after I am no longer here. Yes -- that is a totally scary thought! If I'm no longer here, I wouldn't hear their comments, but I cannot leave this mess for someone else to judge me. Come on -- you know they will! 

It's been eight years since my parents moved off the farm, and I've been dealing with my place for at least ten years. Yes, I'm slow, and I'm OK with that, but my progress is HUGE. I cannot stress enough—this place was never as bad as my parents, but there was a lot of stuff. 

The nice thing is that the more you clear and the sooner you start, the better it looks. Even the office is miles ahead of what it used to look like. There is nothing on the floor, and it was filled with boxes, so that's a positive. Things are contained, more or less, and I'm slowly working on it. I need to be in the mood, and I need to have the time. 

The mood strikes at the oddest of times, but not always when I have time. Yesterday, I managed to get rid of some paper. Now, does it look like I did anything? Of course not! But that was a dozen pieces of paper that are gone forever, and no one ever has to look at them. I'll try to tackle a bit more today. I'm OK with a bit at a time—the key is to keep at it. 

The craft stuff is still an issue, but at least it's all organized, and I'm not stumbling over boxes to get to something. That is HUGE, but yes, I know there is excess. The rest of the house is pretty empty. The kitchen has been gone through, and more than half of the stuff in the cupboards went. I could get rid of more stuff, but there isn't too much that we don't use. The bathrooms have also been gone through, and it wouldn't take long to take another spin through them. 

The garden shed and the garage have been dealt with, but both could probably use another clean sweep. The best part is that each subsequent time you go through a space, it's much easier and faster. The key is if you aren't accumulating as fast as you get rid of stuff. We are no longer accumulating much! The economy would tank on what we buy!

Hmm—I should go through the filing cabinet and toss anything that no longer needs to be stored. Then, I need to rejig that cabinet to keep what we need handy (labeled). There are two containers of stuff that "need" to be filed. I bet NONE of it needs to be filed. I might grab a few folders today and sort through them. Yes, I need to make that filing cabinet a priority.

It will all happen with baby steps, but I'll get through it. I will have time later today after my Facebook Live. My samples are set; I need to move the computer and the sewing machine to a reasonably clean corner of Studio B. The sign-up is on Michael's US webpage. If you go to that link, you can sign up and get the Zoom link to watch the hour-long session, which starts at 1:00 PM EDT. I'll also post the link to the video once it's online. I'll be using the Singer SE9180 (sewing and embroidery machine -- for sale at Michaels!) to talk about decorative stitches - how and when to use them, what tools and supplies will make it easier, and loads of inspiration on where to use them. As usual, I'd love more samples, but it'll all work out! 

I hope ticks never hit my forest like in the trees in Saskatchewan. That would take all the fun out of walking! We will have to take tick medication like we have for the dogs! I got a chuckle yesterday when Lexi and I walked through. Some low spots on the path are always muddy in the spring, and they have decided to fix them. However, I'm not sure that fixing them will solve the problem. There is one hill that erodes whenever it rains. And despite being fixed year after year, it keeps eroding. Perhaps they could pave that small section or put paving stones like they do in Spain! 

Anyway, there was a truck dumping fill on those low spots. There was a HUGE pile in this spot. 

OH -- there's a big pile of fill

And just a bit in this spot. Can you explain why? 

Only a tiny pile of fill

And then there was NONE at this spot, which is the worst of them all. It has dried up quite a bit, but it's messy. Lexi and I will check it out this morning to see what they did yesterday. 

No fill at this spot

Then Lexi took up her guard post outside DH's office even though Bear was NOT here to cause issues. Bear's stunt double is still packed in the suitcase, so you never know what will happen when he gets unpacked! 

Lexi is on guard

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and walked to the office and back. It was a weird weather day, but nice for walking. I was a bit tired when I got back, so I sat in the gazebo. I didn't have a nap—I had a long nap. But not before Miss Murphy was up to her old tricks. 

MOM -- just making sure you're OK

Oops -- Mom -- the ball fell in the pond. 

MOM -- I didn't throw it - I swear!

And then she sits in the corner, watching the world go by out the back fence. 

MOM - this is better than TV!

Or she's trying to show me how ferocious she can be with a big stick in her mouth. 

MOM - Look at me!!!

And then she chills on the deck. Oh, Murphy -- you're a very funny girl. 

MOM - I need to rest

But she's very clingy and doesn't want to let me out of her sight, and I can guess why. Still, it gets a bit much! But that's why we love her so much. She's just a goof!


I got some writing done yesterday and worked on those samples. Today is about the live event, and I'll be back to writing once it's done. I have some work to complete before I can move forward on the writing. While I hoped to have everything done BEFORE going on a sewing retreat, I'll be working during the retreat. Sigh.  But I get to do it with friends, so I can't complain. 

But I never seem to have time to sew for fun! I can't even get time to work on my UFO projects, which I have to finish. Yeah!! 

I won't worry about it -- it is what it is. 

Quilt Canada is coming up next month, and I'll be there. So once I get this writing done and these samples made, I have stuff to finish for that! 

But the Youth Challenge is online, and you can vote for your favorite. Check out all the quilts. There are three age categories, and I sponsored one of the quilts for the 15 - 19 age category. I think Shay did a fantastic job on her quilt. The sizes are not indicated on the page, but it's fairly large, and Shay is very artistic!! I haven't had a chance to see it in person, but I'll check it out in Edmonton next month. 

So be sure to pop on over there and vote for your favorite quilt. It's so encouraging to see the youth quilts, as they are the future generation of sewists, and we need to encourage them. 

On that note, I'm out of here! 

Have a super day, and remember to tackle some small area of your house. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Saying good-bye

I'm home! I can't even call it a travel day since I did a lot during the day and my flight was at 7:15 p.m. The plane arrived, and we left early. We arrived 22 minutes early last night, but with the time change, I wasn't home until 1 a.m. I think a nap will be in order today!

We arrived at the same gate we left at, and let's say the airport was deserted at that late hour. Another flight had arrived shortly before us, and our baggage was coming at the same carousel, but it was dead in that airport. 

The airport is dead at midnight

When I arrived in Saskatoon, my luggage took 20 minutes to arrive, but I had barely gotten to the carousel last night before it appeared. Yep—it was quick! Even the Uber stand was uncongested, so arriving at that hour was good, except I'm tired! 

Let's say two thrilled girls were waiting for me at the door. Even Lexi was excited, which says a lot!

I ran the self-clean on Mom's oven, so that was a nasty job done. When I returned to town, I barely had time to give it a quick wipe and be off! I spent the afternoon at the farm to get a couple of last-minute things. I feel bad (only a small teeny tiny bit) that some of the stuff Mom has asked for isn't there. We know where it is, but she doesn't need to know that! 

Then she complained that we didn't tell her anything, and I felt a slight twinge of guilt, but at the beginning, if you mentioned any item, she wanted it. So we've got into the habit of bending the truth—a lot! While she may not want the items now, we still don't bring up many things!

What amazes me is that after eight years, she can keep remembering stuff, and she knows exactly where it was—and it's still there! Sigh.

There is one thing I would love to find, and I didn't have a chance before I had to leave, so I may go back (oh gosh -- did I just say that?) 

I shouted GOOD-BYE inside the house several times before I left. I thought I would be more emotional than I was—I didn't shed a tear. Oh gosh—does that mean I'll go back? I met one of the new owners of the farm, and she is MUCH YOUNGER than I had imagined. They are not in a rush to deal with the yard for this year, and who knows what next year will bring. 

My Dad and two brothers were still there but left shortly after I did. I stopped twice to take pictures. This first one was from the top of the hill, looking back to the farmyard. It's far enough away that I don't see anything! I'm OK with that. 

Looking back at the farmyard

If I go back for curiosity's sake, the next time I'm out, and I might (so help me!), the yard is going to look a whole lot different. Buildings will be gone, and that's OK. 

I stopped on top of one of the hills on my way to town for my favorite view. Cameras do not do justice to the view, which stretches on for miles. If you had binoculars, you would see the highway across the river. 

Looking across the river valley

But look at those skies! I ran into rain and hail on the drive back to town. But it wasn't that much. 

Here's another shot of the storm on the highway to the airport. 

Those wide-open skies

Thankfully, the storm had passed by the time I got to the airport, and I had timed it perfectly. I dropped off my bag; the few things I took, and my small suitcase, all fit inside the large suitcase, and all was good on the weight side. I had forgotten to bring my scale. 

I got to go through a bit more before I left the farm. I laughed when I went through some cards. This was an anniversary card from an aunt. She used the same card more than once! You wouldn't know that until you see them all in one spot! 

And how about this to save design money? It's the same card, with a different picture and a different message (both anniversary). 

Saving money on card design

And that's a wrap on another trip to visit the parents! I have to say it went better than expected from many points of view, and next time, I get to work on the apartment. I can see by discussing some stuff with Mom before I left that it's going to be baby steps. But we have a task laid out, and let's hope she doesn't change her mind when I get there. 

Remember that huge pile of cushions on the floor? My aunt came to help me, and we managed to get the pillow forms out of all of them, except for a couple of small ones, which I was OK with taking in. But we did a great job, so thank you so much for all the help—it was greatly appreciated, and we also had a good visit. 

Now, here's the thing that irks me to no end. And I know this will never change, and I guess I've come to terms with it, but it still irks me. Mom said before I left, oh -- don't worry about taking the forms out of the cushions. I can do that, and Dad can return them to the farm. We are taking FORTY pillow forms made from foam, which are hideous! 

Can you imagine the number of trips from the car to the house and back again? And where would she store such a mess while she did it? She has NO CLUE about the amount of work that would involve, and I just wonder how grateful she is for what we did. I know that sounds totally petty, but she does not comprehend the amount of time everyone has spent cleaning up her mess! NONE! 

And seriously? For Dad to take them back? She definitely doesn't appreciate him, but she should because he's her lifeline! Without him, she can't live in the apartment! 

Oh gosh—I have a doctor's appointment today. Now, why the heck did I make that? Oh yes—two things I need to pass by her. I'll be spending the remainder of the day working on my presentation for tomorrow, which is the Facebook live on decorative stitches. I might get one or two more samples done, but I'm not sure how much of a nap I'm going to need. That gazebo is looking pretty inviting at the moment!

But first, the girls need their walks! That's the only thing they missed me for!

Remember the decluttering and tidying thing. I need to try and take care of something every day. Grabbing some papers that should be thrown out or something. But I should try to address something each day because every piece of paper that is dealt with is another piece of paper gone! Those accumulated pieces of paper or other useless stuff in our houses do nothing to help us each day. The cluttered house creates a cluttered mind, which is unhealthy. So be sure to look around your house and see what you can eliminate today!

I set aside a small bundle of papers that I should be able to process today. 

While it is exhausting to travel at night - simply because of the lack of sleep, it's good to be home this morning and I can hit the day running! 

Have a super day!!!


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The tinkering runs in the family

Someone asked what will happen to the house. Actually, there are two houses on the property. One is the original house that my parents moved to the farm when they bought it in 1956. Hmm—I had better check that date—but it's somewhere in that era. Perhaps I can ask Mom today because I probably know, but yet I don't know. 

That house was heated with a wood kitchen stove and two oil burners—one in the living room and one in one of the bedrooms. There was no bathroom and no running water. I lived there until I was 16! My parents bought a house from North Battleford that needed to be moved to make way for some apartment buildings, and they had it moved to the farm. 

I spent hours in the "new" house when I was a teen—trust me—I couldn't wait to move in when I could have my own room, running water, a proper furnace, and a BATHROOM. I refinished the kitchen cupboards, plastered cracks in the walls, and I'm not sure what else. I think I moved my stuff in way before anyone else moved into the house. 

Both houses became storage units! Especially after the kids moved out. 

The farm has been sold—that deal was finalized at the end of last year. Neither house is worth saving—there is tons of mold. So they will be bulldozed and then burnt. I don't want to be there that day! We all know that will happen, along with all the remaining contents. It's the way they work on the farm. 

There are some smaller outbuildings on the property, two of which will be moved soon, and the remaining small buildings will be sold if they can. The new owner is being very accommodating in letting us continue to "harvest" the crap off the property. 

I know they are chomping at the bit, as they have already bulldozed 1/3 of the hedge that surrounds the house so they can easily access the HUGE garden, which they will seed. After today, I'm washing my hands of the situation and leaving my older brother to remove the rest of the stuff since most of what's left is his. I hope that he will be finished by the end of this year, but it's not my issue. 

Eventually, that homestead will likely cease to exist. We drove past some older farmsteads that I remember visiting as a kid, and they were gone. The homestead area is now a field. That will be the same for this property. It takes little time once they get in there with the heavy equipment, take it down, burn it, and plow up the land. 

I'm flying out tonight, so I have a few things to take care of today. The car has been full and then empty, and then it had more stuff and then it didn't. So I have a few more things to dispose of today, and then I can put my suitcase in, and that's it. 

I have to pack this morning, but I think my small suitcase will fit into the large one and still include the few things I'm taking back. Yeah me!!!!

What did I do yesterday? We had some papers that needed to be dealt with, and I'm happy everything worked out at the bank. I did not have all the information, so all is good. There is no need to fly off the handle if you don't know all the details. 

I had a quilt of Mom's that she wanted me to quilt, but it was made of lining, and I didn't want to touch it with the longarm. So, I made arrangements yesterday with a group of hand quilters who will take on the project. I had to get batting and backing and will drop that off today. I had to wash the backing last night, but all is ready. 

Then I spent the afternoon with this. 

A serger

My aunt has a serger that she couldn't get to work, so I tackled it. At first, nothing moved. Was it seized up, or was it the rust, or was there humidity in it? I fiddled and fiddled, and then I could see things loosen, and then VOILA -- the entire mechanism started to move. OK -- we're over the first hurdle. Then, inserting a needle was challenging as debris was in the needle holes. I got that working and then went on to thread it. It was relatively simple, but I couldn't get it to stitch properly. Hmmm! I tinkered around with that for a couple of hours and had a good visit with my aunt. 

So I checked out a video last night, which didn't help because the one part I wanted to see wasn't visible. Let's just say if you're going to post a video on how to thread a serger, you should be thorough. They had a piece of fabric on the serger that partially covered the insides, precisely on the spot I wanted to see, so the video was useless!! People -- if you are making videos -- review them and make sure you cover ALL the details. 

I gleaned one little tip from the video and hope to return today to try that out. 

I spent part of the morning working on the files on the hard disk I brought. Oh my gosh—what a huge mess, exactly like the house. The problem is that you know exactly where that file is supposed to go, but it's at home. So, I'll have to devise an efficient system to move the data. 

It makes no sense to keep going over the same stuff—deal with it once and move on. That's how my brain functions. 

I found a 2015 to-do list. I'm sure there are still things on the list that need to be done! 

To-do from 2015

I have a folder with Things to Keep. That was my method while I was looking at all the other files. Now, I've deleted everything I didn't need from this USB, and I believe only two files are in that folder. Oh yes -- I can do this!!!!

One folder with two files 

Then I tackled that hard disk and made good headway as I sorted rogue files into folders and deleted a lot of stuff. 

A clean file structure

I think my biggest issue is going to be dealing with duplication. I know there is a ton of duplication, and not only do I need to clean that up, but I also need to prevent it in the future. Hmmm—how do I prevent that? It's mostly files from work that are duplicated, so I'll try to devise some way to keep track of the files without duplicating them. 

So, all is good, and it's an excellent task to take along on a trip, so when I have some downtime, I can tackle a few more files. 

OH -- look at the price of cotton at the Fabricland here. It's always been crazy, but the deep discounts to members make the price reasonable. I happened to be in this Fabricland several times yesterday, and both times, people were trying to get the member price without an actual card. "I'll get someone to send me a picture of the card because I don't have it with me." Someone just purchased a card but didn't have it with them, but they happened to have the receipt. Three separate incidents. Hmmm -- perhaps they all share the same card!!!

$30 a meter for Oh Canada fabric

While we were cleaning out the house, my aunt spotted these. I never paid attention to them and brought them in so Mom could salvage the yarn. She said she wasn't doing that as they were sweaters and then asked if I recognized them. OH GOSH—I knit those when I was about 16. 

A sweater I knit when I was 16

Another sweater

The happy news is that I easily fit in both of them! After how many years? But the yarn is pretty scratchy, and I could never wear them. So they are donated. 

I have a bit of stuff to go through this morning. I wish I could go through this with my Mom and let her enjoy some of her stuff one last time, but I know she'll want it. So I'm taking some pictures and potentially removing some small items, but then it returns to the house. 

WAIT A MINUTE—there is something else I'm cleaning today at the apartment. I'll try to take a picture before I start. What drives me crazy is that she keeps it if she doesn't know what to do with it. Well, ASK!!!!! And then she gets mad at my dad if he doesn't know the answer, and stuff around the house is not his department. Sigh. I must remember to keep asking if there are things she doesn't know what to deal with. 

But at least we are making forward progress with her thoughts, and that's all that counts. I guess when I'm back, I'll have to start going through the cupboards and closets to see what I can get rid of. I know I have a big job ahead of me when I return, but I won't have to go to the farm for that. Well, technically, it's no longer our farm!!! 

On that note, I'm getting hungry, and it's time for breakfast. 

Have a super day!


Monday, May 13, 2024

The end is near!

Thanks for the stories in the comments. I've mentioned this before, but I'm not alone in dealing with hoarding issues. I hate to say that it runs in the family since my parents both have issues. All three siblings have hoarding tendencies, and I see it in M. I found an interesting article about hoarding—check it out because it's interesting. 

Hoarding is now being labeled as a branch of mental illness and is widely discussed, and some companies will come and get rid of the stuff, etc. But it's only recently in my world I've come to realize that we are not alone. It is embarrassing when I look at their apartment, but I realize now that it's not intentional. 

I know my brothers, at least my older brother, still grapple with my parents' issues. What's interesting is that it's like the kettle calling the pot black. He can see their issues, but he can't see his own. 

I'll openly admit that I tend to hoard, especially when it comes to craft stuff—I'm right up there. As my cousin said the other day, " If things have a home."  Imagine that coming from a 50-something-year-old single man! I was shocked! The fire departments use a scale of 1-10 to gauge the severity of a situation. I'm not a 10, but I'm not a 0. And it really depends on the area of my house. I won't have much time when I get home as I'm off on another adventure, but I plan to start tackling more stuff. That office really needs to be completed. It is NOT a hoarding situation, but it's about 2 on the fire department scale. 

There's a little glimmer of hope as Mom asked me yesterday if I wanted any ribbons. She pulled two tubs of ribbon off the shelf, and I went through them. Now, I misunderstood—I thought she didn't want any of the ribbon, but no—she just wanted to get rid of some of it. That's OK—most of what she wanted to get rid of was used and stained—stuff that she dare not throw out because it could be useful. 

I took each piece of ribbon in my hand and she said "yes" or "no". She said that!! Do you know how monumental that is? I've never seen it happen in my lifetime. I quickly got a bag for the rejects, and it's in the car. I will sort it again as some would be useful to a crafter, one or two that I'll take with me, and the rest will be trashed as it should have been years ago. 

I asked if I could consolidate the two bins into one. OH NO—that will never do. So, we still have issues, but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. 

When I was cleaning up after dinner, I noticed huge stacks of empty margarine and yogurt containers under the sink. Hmm—that needs to be dealt with. Those are precious, so it might be a struggle to get her to see the light of day on that one. 

When I return here, well, as mentioned, we'll be tackling parts of the apartment, and I think we'll be able to deal with the scrapbooking stuff, which will be HUGE. She even admitted that she bought way more than she should have. So all this is a positive, and it's all baby steps!

Even though it was Mother's Day, I spent much of it with Dad. We had to drop some stuff off at the Museum, and I saw the plasma cutting table he built. When I see all the little gadgets and things he's made or that he has fixed, it's hard not to be impressed. More importantly, he's surrounded by like-minded volunteers and employees at the Western Development Museum, so he's happy at "work." And at 91, I bet he could work circles around many people. Maybe not physically, but ethically, he could. 

I didn't take pictures of his setup at the Museum, but trust me -- he's pretty clever. 

For people who call Saskatchewan boring and flat, you haven't been to the area where I grew up. It's on the banks or close to the North Saskatchewan River. We had gone to the farm to do something—I'll tell you in a minute—and on the way home, we took some detours to check out things. 

Pictures never do justice to the pitch of hills, but some of the hills in the coulees are incredible. 

Two steep hills - one down and one up

It was fascinating as we drove because he knew everything about the area. This is not a place that I would usually drive. I certainly wouldn't take my car, as there were a few soft spots and mud!

There are a lot of gravel pits in the area (which are extremely valuable), which would have been left behind by glaciers. So we took a detour to see the newest one. There were so many backroads, but it was a fascinating detour. We saw four coyotes, one fox, and ONE tick, which I discovered on the side of my nose under my sunglasses. The bugger!! 

We stopped at the small local cemetery, where Dad made the gate. It's called Beyond the Sunset. 

Dad and his gate at the cemetery

While Dad didn't make these particular markers, he arranged to have some metal markers made for the unmarked graves in the sparsely populated cemetery. 

With Dad's sense of humor, he made this for himself. 

Dad at his future gravesite

We got back to the truck, and then I thought - DUH -- take a picture of him by the sign, which says "Future home of Stan Mills." I think it's pretty funny, and when I took the picture, he asked if I wanted him to lie down! Ah, no -- that's OK.

I did not know this, but apparently, there are huts in this area where hunters come to hunt in the fall. What do I know about that stuff? Anyway, here's another shot of the crazy roads we were on. I think there were two coyotes in front of us, but you can't see them in the photo as they blended right into the road. 

Backroads of Saskatchewan

So why did we go back to the farm? Well, I had brought in a pile of crocheted cushions, and Mom and I rescued them from the foam pillow forms. These are not-so-nice cushion forms, and I wanted them out of the house, so we trudged them back to the farm. While there, we wanted to get the remainder of the cushions to rescue the yarn, which Mom will crochet into something. It's a good thing—it keeps her busy, and she will donate them. 

I guestimated there were twenty cushions on that top shelf. HA! I was totally wrong. There were close to forty, if not more, and I passed on a couple since they were made of Phentex. 

Cushions to deal with

I removed the forms from several, but they are either sewn or crocheted together, so it's not like we could just open a flap and remove the form. It makes no sense to bring all those forms in and then take them back. I'll go back tomorrow to rescue the rest of them, and I want to look for one more small thing. Then, I'll close that chapter of my life forever. 

One good thing about all this cleaning is that I'm getting to spend some time with two of my aunts - both like to sew or quilt. So that has been a bonus of all these trips, and I'll continue to visit in future trips, but we won't be dealing with crap at the farm. 

You may wonder why this took eight years. There was NEVER a need to empty the house; we just wanted to recover stuff that we felt was useful to someone else. I struggle with that myself—there is NOT much value in what we own, but it might be useful to someone else. Most of it is junk! It took years for Mom to release her claws on stuff and years for us to feel comfortable getting rid of stuff. 

My younger brother is happy to sell anything for a few bucks, but is that the best use of his time? It works for him, but I can't be bothered with small stuff. 

Could we have cleared the house in one day? I don't think so, but if push came to shove and we HAD to clear the house, we could have done it in a week. But that would have meant getting a dumpster or digging a pit so you could literally clear it. We didn't go that route so we just took our sweet time. 

I cooked dinner for the family, and my two brothers and SIL were there, so Mom had all of us around for Mother's Day dinner, which hadn't happened in a long time. 

After things were tidied up, I went back to the hotel. It was early enough that I could go for a walk—my Fitbit will be going into cardiac arrest soon! There is a small trail near the hotel. 

Walking trail near the hotel

So I wandered on that for a bit and headed out to get a geocache. It was a tricky one and well-hidden, but I spotted it in no time since there wasn't much else around. 

The geocache

On the walk back, I got to see a gorgeous sunset. 

Beautiful sunset

I'll stay in town today as I have some things to do. We're back at the bank, where I have many questions and am not happy with what they did. Before I go into a big rant about that, I don't have the answers yet, but I think they took advantage of my parents and certainly did NOT follow the instructions, nor did they do what they said they would do. I'm not sure it can be undone. So, I'll wait before I rant on that issue. 

I have some stuff in the car that I need to sort and find homes for today, so it'll be all fun and games!

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a super day!


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Nearly done!

Wow!!! There's a powerful story in yesterday's comments about cleaning out a house in ONE day. We've been at it for 8 years! But only sporadically, of course. 

I can't stress enough that you need to start looking around now. I don't care if you acquire new stuff but think about what you no longer need and get rid of that. Saying I don't care and will let my kids worry about it is irresponsible. Why should your kids deal with your mess? If you think it's too overwhelming, how will they feel? How do you think I feel right now -- I'm that kid. There are three of us, and NONE of us are jumping up and down and shouting - Oh look what our parents left us! 

It's exhausting mentally and physically, and I'm not even talking about sentimental -- I'm so over being sentimental about anything. I've taken a few pictures and enjoyed the memories these things bring, but I'm moving along. 

And it's easy to say, oh, pull up a dumpster and just dump it all. Yep -- easy to say --- but realistically? Even if you don't look at anything -- the physicality of that task is enormous! Nothing is packed, papers are loose - it's a horrendous job. So PLEASE do not saddle your children with it. Be a responsible adult and get rid of stuff you no longer need. 

I honestly think Mom is starting to realize that—at least after my little conversation with her the other day. She asked when I was coming back and if I could help her start getting rid of things in the apartment. GASP!!!!! I should come back next week before she changes her mind! That is monumental, and she admitted that she bought too much scrapbooking stuff. 

Our family has a thing for paper -- we are paper hoarders! 

I had a Zoom class in the morning that I was going to change, but I forgot about it, so I got a bit of a late start after the Zoom. Some furniture had to be removed, and I had arranged for some cousins to make that happen. I was apprehensive about moving one piece down a book-lined hallway, but it JUST FIT. I mean, we had NO ROOM for fingers. Thankfully, I didn't worry bout it, but the thoughts were in my mind.  

The rest of the day was spent sorting through the last of the boxes in the last bedroom. I can officially say that I've gone through the parts of the house that I want to, and I'm done—more than done! OK, there is one more spot that I'd like to spend a bit of time browsing: the book room in the basement. 

My Mom was and still is a big crocheter, and why make one when you can make hundreds!!!

We found boxes of crafts stuff—stuff to make crafts and then finished or half-finished crafts. Those were sorted, and I rescued some things I'll donate tomorrow. The rest of the stuff stays behind. I would have gotten great satisfaction to put in the burn pit, but I won't go there. It remains in the house. 

Could we have emptied this house in one day? I don't think so, but it would have been a lot easier to start with one room and go through it, pitch, and purge than to keep going back and relooking. Anyway, I'm done! Well, almost. I have to return today. Why? 

I didn't take a picture, but maybe I did years ago. There was a decent-sized closet in one of the bedrooms, and it was crammed with afghans and cushions that my Mom crocheted. In the past years, I had removed all the afghans, and they were donated or given to family and friends. But have you ever been to a thrift shop? Every time I visit, there are three or four crocheted afghans! 

I had dealt with some of the cushions, but there were still lots. So, I filled the nooks and crannies of my car with cushions. The pillow forms were foam, so we certainly do not want those, and she is going to rip out the yarn and remake something. She did that last time I was here. Oh yes -- this is NOT the first load of cushions I'm dealing with. 

So I told her I would bring the cushions into the apartment ONLY if she agreed that we removed the forms and they would return to the farm. I didn't have time to do that yesterday. 

I brought them in, and she kept saying, Oh - there's more? No kidding, there is MORE. When I offered to return and get the remaining TWENTY, she said - oh, there's more? YES -- there is MORE. She said getting the cushion forms out would take her a long time. OK -- give me a pair of scissors, and I'll help. Within an hour at the most, I had the forms out of the cushions. 

She said she would call her sister because she thought she wanted some. No way - I immediately called my aunt, and no more cushion forms are required! They will procrastinate on so many things. Call now and get it done!!

I had to leave them in the hallway and will pick them up this morning. I should have counted them, but I did not. So I'm trusting her that she doesn't sneak one or two away! I'm sure she'll have sneaked one or two. Why?????? So help me, God, but the need to have things is powerful! But let's go with trust. 

She had made a list of things she wanted -- LAST TIME. And I managed to find something she had asked for for many years. There were the readers they had in school as kids. Highroads to Reading. Of course, she had many duplicates, but some were in terrible condition, and I managed to find a good copy of the first six books. I also found two small books that were hers as a kid. After hearing a story from Dad about books, I will try to find one more book today. But getting to the books is a whole other story! 

At least at my house, if you want something, everything is readily available to browse. But at that house, there are rows of things surrounding the room, and so if you want something, you have to move the crap in front and HOPE you are in the right spot. Yesterday, I got very lucky with the books. I was also in the house alone then and had the leisure to browse, which I've wanted to do for a long time. 

I should not say this, but I threw out some hand-embroidered pillowcases last year. They went to the pet shelter. Now, I wish I had kept them. Well, not exactly, I was actually looking for the tablecloths, and I thought -- they were gone. Just before leaving the house, I returned to the spot, and OMG -- the tablecloths were still there. So I looked through them and didn't spot what I wanted, but I picked up a couple of the smaller ones. No regrets about donating the pillowcases! 

So, if anyone has a big hand-embroidered tablecloth that they do not want, I'd love to see it. If it works for my project, I'd love to have it. I want a long rectangle tablecloth. 

In this photo, you can't really appreciate yesterday's air quality. The previous day, it was clear. Yesterday, the smoke was crazy—worse than smog in the city! 

Smokey haze in the air

In the search for stuff, we came across some boxes of Phentex, but that stuff stayed behind. I accidentally brought in a cushion made of the stuff, and that is going back!! 

Who remembers Phentex?

We went into the old, old house that is still there, and it's also filled with junk!! It's an unbelievable mess, and when you see these shots on TV, you think -- no way. Well, I can attest to the YES way. However, no one has lived in this house for many years. I'm surprised it's still standing. 

The living room of the old house- the first old house!

Here's the interior of the little shed I cleaned the other day. There's still a ton of stuff in there, but at least they can easily access things. I got rid of the garbage - well, a good part. 

Inside my Dad's old electronic room

And now for an update on those dratted ticks. I found FIVE or SIX more before I even got to the farm. Imagine my surprise when I spotted one on the wall of the shower. 

Darn tick on the shower wall1

Two were on the back of my legs, which I discovered when I was getting dressed. One was inside the pants I wore the day before. The last one was in my hair, which I pulled out while driving to the farm. Oh yes, and the sixth one was on my foot while I was writing the blog. 

That made a total of 12 I collected that day. 

Yesterday, I faired a bit better. There are only four that I've discovered so far. Two were on my forehead/arm, one was in my hair, and the last one I spotted on the towel after I had a shower. 

Tick attached to the towel

Let's just say that I've never seen so much of the inside of my clothes in a long time. I turn them inside out and meticulously inspect them before putting them on. All the clothes are staying in the bathroom. 

Checking for ticks

I'm not in a routine here, and twice, I've left my key in the room and had to ask for a new one. Good grief!!!

The forgotten key

Here's the sunset last night as I drove to the hotel. It was beautiful. I woke up in the night and checked for the northern lights, but I didn't spot any. I was tempted to go outside, but I did not. 

Sunset on the prairies

And look -- BEAR is back in town!!!!!

Bear is back in town

OH MY -- this looks just like him, and it's soft and cuddly, just like the real one. Thanks to my aunt, who gave it to me! I'm going to call him Twin Bear! He's adorable and so cuddly!!! AH -- he could be Bear's stunt double!

What will I do when I come back the next time? There'll be nothing to clean up! WAIT —I have the apartment to deal with! I brought a big suitcase in the event I found anything of interest, but I'll likely go back with the little suitcase inside the big one, which is good as I don't need anything more at my house. 

With the time change and total exhaustion, there's no way I'm getting up to post the blog at the usual time. Hopefully, no one is that anxious to read the exploits. But progress has been made, we are closing the door and it's a good feeling. And while one should never say never, this should be my last day in the house. There are still many things to deal with, and my older brother has a great handle on making all that happen. He's done a tremendous amount of work and spent many days and made many trips out there to make it happen. None of us can thank him enough for all the work he's done!!! So thank you, Wally, for all your hard work!!!! His wife also helped, and while they may not get a thank you from the parents, I am thanking them as a sibling!!! 

On that note, I'm out of here - I might get a chance to walk before heading out again. It's just Dad and me today - everyone else is taking the day off, and the trip won't be long. 

Have a super day!!