Sep 27, 2011

Inventory of Made-Up Statistics

{Our shipment is coming today! I got a call an hour ago saying the truck would be here in 2 minutes. Good to know that delivery time ineptitude is a worldwide phenomenon. So while I wait, here is a post I started back in April at the beginning of this whole adventure, when we were just starting the process of moving. Enjoy, and be glad if you are not currently moving.}

True confession: over the years, I've flirted a bit with minimalism and the simplicity movement. It's all exciting and fun at first, picking up some books from the library, or subscribing to some blogs. The future is bright, and clean, and sparsely decorated. But after a while it just gets to be a lot of work, and pretty soon some simplicity expert is suggesting the need to do a home inventory. It's like having a defining-the-relationship talk with everything you own. That's a pretty big commitment you know? And that's usually the point where I decide that maybe clutter isn't so bad after all. Then I go on a rebound shopping trip to Target.

Well, the first item of business on the Amsterdam list was to get a moving bid. And to do that, we had to know what were taking and what we weren't. Which meant making a home inventory. Super (minimal) fun!

Yet somehow, I had this silly notion that the whole inventory process would translate into some great blog post; that I would become an excel spreadsheet geek and, naturally, a proliferate fountain of entirely unimportant statistics, such as "12% of our pencils are not #2," or "1 out of 5 pairs of our socks are unmatched." But most likely, "100% of our stuff is total crap."

Now that the pain and trauma is over (and when I say that it's over, I mean that we gave up in the middle of the garage), the spreadsheet is complete, and as it turns out, our stuff is very boring.

And there is a whole lot of it.

Specifically, a lot of cables. I had no idea, but apparently we are purveyors of cables. Cables of all varieties. We have no less than 5 boxes of cables under our bed, a few more in our garage, cables in random drawers and closets, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were some lost in between the couch cushions and down some heating vents. It seems you can't throw a dead cat in our house without hitting some stash of cables. You also can't throw a dead cat in our house because that would be gross.

Among the things we found that we didn't know we had: a tape I made while working at Mt. Rushmore, before I met Mark. I sound weirdly Californian, and said things like "rad." Oh to be 19 again.

But really, to be 17 again, because according to my old journals, which I found under my bed being strangled by a million cables, I really enjoyed being 17. And that's an actual quote from my journal. My 17 year-old self seemingly had non-stop fun and thought that everything that ever happened was "helairous." Also hilarious, the deep thoughts I had as a pre-teen, such as "I feel older, but young." Wow. However, I did not enjoy being 12, when every entry detailed which of my friends hated each other and one entry included this little gem: "it's sooooooooo hard to hang around with people I hang around with. They hate practically everybody that I like or don't know well enough to hate yet." Thank you, 12 year-old me. Because of you those journals will be meeting their doom in the near future, which is ironic since my first journal repeatedly warned anyone caught reading it to prepare to meet theirs. Reading all the painfully embarrassing things I'd forgotten about myself, but had the foresight to preserve for my posterity, was almost as fun as recording for our posterity all of our embarrassing worldly possessions. Almost.

And that's as uninteresting as it got. According to my spreadsheet, 2 out of 3 minimalists agree.

Sep 22, 2011

Sick Day

The kids are home from school today. We are all having major Immune System Culture Shock. Well, at least I am. I've been ridiculously sick for over a week now. Today, Mia and sam woke up just sick enough to promise to rest all day in bed, but not so sick that they actually did that for more than 5 minutes. So we've been home all day, and we're enjoying some forced writing time now. And when I say enjoying, I mean that I fully expect they'll never want to stay home again.

As for my writing time, the theme is "Sometimes."

1. Sometimes you fall asleep mid-pick, and your mom takes a picture and puts it on her public blog. And you won't even know until you're old enough to google yourself, and by then every potential girlfriend of yours will probably have already seen it. You know what they say: motherhood is hard, but has such sweet rewards.

2. On Sunday, a kind lady from church brought me a 5 lb bag of chocolate chips, which she got at some specialty membership-only store. She must have read between the lines when I told her I was doing "just fine." It was over 20 US dollars. So sometimes you spend insane amounts of money on things you normally only buy on sale, but since you live in a different country that doesn't sell chocolate chips in the grocery stores, you become living proof of the law of scarcity. And now that  I finally tracked down some baking soda (almost $3 a box) at an Indian market this week, we made chocolate chip cookies. This made for 5 extremely happy people. We now have chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer, and I can face the world again.
You know that Neiman Marcus cookie recipe chain letter that people used to actually mail in the days before forwarded emails?  I'm pretty sure I know how it got started. I'm sure originally it was some expat writing a letter about how much it cost to get all the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies: $250! But worth every penny. Oh, and send this to everyone you know and tell them to write their name and address on the bottom of the list and soon 46 people will send you absolutely nothing, and 2 people might drive by and egg your house.

3. Sometimes cliches come true. First day of school, and yes, that is a huge zit on Sam's forehead. He's 6.

4. Oh, yeah. Sometimes you have a birthday and turn 6 and your mom doesn't even mention it on her blog. But she still loves you enough to post another picture of you picking your nose on your first day of school. Notice the other kids pretending not to see. Or maybe they're trying not to look at the monster pimple.

5. And finally, sometime while we are here, we'd like to travel. Hopefully as much as possible. In fact, I've been spending most of the day researching tips for traveling in Europe with kids. Here's a great site if you're interested. We have some vacation time in October. Any suggestions? Where would you go if you had 4 days in Europe with 3 kids? Wherever we go, I'll be sure to post pictures of Sam with his finger up his nose in front of something famous.