the homeless towel

While walking home the other day I happened upon a lonely towel strewn across the sidewalk. It was near the laundromat so I thought that whoever had dropped it would retrieve the guy, especially since he appeared to be a big fluffy bath towel.

Every day I would walk past and see that poor old towel just lying there. Footprints started appearing on it as pedestrians began using it to wipe off their feet as they passed by.

No one cared enough to pick it up.

After a week of walking past it I was angry. Here was a perfectly good bath towel going to rot in the street and nobody, not even the owner, cared enough to take it home. What a waste.

I finally decided that enough was enough. While walking home from the grocery today I picked it up took it home.

The poor thing is hopelessly stained now but I don’t care. I will love it till it dies.

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the long night

I placed some cat food outside and locked the cats out of the house. I wasn’t able to take them with me but at least I could give them a good chance. They are indoor/outdoor cats so they are accustomed to staying outside for days at a time anyway.

I turned off the main breaker as we left the house, knowing that water and electricity don’t mix. We sat on the porch and watched the water rise while we waited for Middle Daughter to arrive.

In the time it took for Middle Daughter to drive from Lexington our house was completely surrounded by an inch water. The whole street was flooded and everyone was in a panic.

The expression on her face was rather comical when she realized that we had to wade through all of that water to load her vehicle. She didn’t complain, however, and helped us load up as fast as we could.

Late that evening Katie broke down and started sobbing. She wanted to go home. I ended up singing her to sleep while a friend was dispatched to check the water level in our house. It had reached the bottom step, so despite offers to take us back home to calm Katie I refused because it still wasn’t safe.

The water crested at 22.98 feet so we were able to go home the next day. Judging by the water marks on the foundation I had six inches to spare before water started entering the house so next time we won’t start packing until at least the 23 foot mark. Before you worry, remember this: I survived the flood of 1997, where the waters topped 28 feet. These little floods are nothing compared to that one.

So now we’re back home. The waters have receded, but more rain is expected. I’m staying put for as long as possible next time. Bugging out is for the birds.

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Kids!

Middle daughter has freaked out and decided that we’re going to stay with her, come hell or high water. She announced this as she was driving here.

We’re packed and ready to roll, albeit against my will. I had plans to stay with my friend locally.

There is a block party of rubberneckers on my street, visitors and neighbors watching the water rise. Katie is in a full-blown panic and I am simply annoyed because now the water has reached our front yard.

Yay.

I’m not sure about posting updates in the chaos, but I will let you know what is going on as soon as I can. As it is, this will probably be the last post of the day.

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bug out bag

The current water level is 22.42 feet. Flood stage is 20 ft. It is now creeping up into the street and is touching the foundation at the back of my house and the water is still rising.

As a result, we are packing our bug out bags. Here are some current pictures of the flooding.

2015-04-04 16.16.18

2015-04-04 16.16.37

I am still doubtful that the water will get up in this place but if it does I am already making plans. My old schoolmate has suggested that we could become roommates and split the expenses if I lose this place to flooding since I am skeptical that I will be able to find a cheap place if houses start to flood since rent always goes up during those times.

On the good side, if the water hits 1997 levels, this area will be declared a disaster and we will definitely be okay, so if we flood, I hope it’s a big one.

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Playing the odds

“Pack your stuff, you’re coming to my place!”

Those were the first words I heard this morning. A dear friend was driving around to check the flooding and panicked when she drew closer to my place. Here’s the view from my front porch.

2015-04-04 09.45.56

Several neighbors have already evacuated but I’m playing the odds. This house has only flooded once, during the flood of 1997, and it was a 100-year flood. I’ve got a few more years before I need to worry about another 100-year flood, so I’m staying put.

My friends are NOT happy.

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caloric spying

As part of her health class this year Katie was required to download an app to record her caloric intake and outflow (via exercise, etc.). I didn’t think much about it but the other night while we were eating dinner Katie made an interesting announcement.

“Mom, do you realize that we eat about half of the calories that we’re supposed to?”

She confessed to me that not only had she been tracking her own caloric intake but that she had also been secretly tracking mine as well. All of those casual questions about what I had eaten during the day suddenly made sense. She had used a mapping app to calculate how much I walked and then padded my numbers with extra food when she forgot to ask if I had snacked after she went to bed.

While she never told me the actual numbers (I was so stunned I forgot to ask), she revealed that not only did we eat about half of what the app said we needed for our activity level but that her friends ate double the amount we were supposed to yet were less active.

The funny part is that her teacher informed her that we both need to start eating more.

We discussed this and decided that since we eat when hungry and stop when full (and judging by our weight we are not missing any meals) that we were going to ignore her teacher’s advice.

Have you ever counted your calories?

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sugar minimalism

As a child I suffered from severe food allergies. The medical profession of the 1970’s were unable to determine the source so at one point my parents feared I would never reach my second birthday. Fortunately for me my parents solved what the doctors could not.

As a result of these allergies I was unable to gain weight as a child. To combat this my parents stuffed me full of sweets and soft drinks, even racing with me to see who could eat the most junk food in a sitting to help me gain weight.

While I grew out of the allergy I developed a craving for sweets and would turn to them when stressed or bored. Here is a photo of me close to my heaviest.

While minimalism has assisted me greatly in my weight loss goals I still have to deal with my cravings for sweets. To deal with this I have been gradually curtailing the sweets I allow myself to ingest.

delightful discovery

A few weeks ago a friend of mine had a birthday and I was given a piece of cake to celebrate. I took one bite and had to force myself not to spit it out. It was too sweet.

When you consider that at one time I could sit and eat an entire cake by myself, this is amazing progress, so now I’ve stepped things up a notch. Instead of the syrupy sweet coffee creamer that I normally use I switched to plain milk and have gradually decreased the amount of sugar I use per cup. I’ve limited the small amount of soft drinks consumed even more than previous, substituting water and sports drinks when the desire for an occasional treat hits.

Katie’s reaction

Katie isn’t too happy with this development. She is accustomed to us eating sweets on occasion and is disappointed that I now find many things too rich that we previously consumed. Rather than tell her that I’m pleased with this I’ve had to tell her that my tastes have changed to avoid hurting her feelings.

weighty matters

I haven’t weighed myself for quite a while but I’ve noticed that my energy levels have definitely improved. Others my age now complain that I act like a 20-30 year-old instead of a proper mid-forties woman.

Since I can now dance all night or walk the two miles to Walmart with ease, I try to ignore the haters.

I am a bit curious about my weight so as soon as I come across a scale I will weigh myself. While I don’t believe I’ve lost any numbers on the scale I believe that I have gained a fair amount of muscle. I also plan to get a friend of mine to take some full-body shots for comparison purposes.

While I’m happy with the way I currently look I have become self-conscious because people now say I make them feel fat. At times it’s almost like they are judging me for making them feel bad. I’m rather puzzled at that response.

questions

Have you ever tried minimizing the amount of sugar that you ingest? Do others ever make you feel bad because they are bigger/smaller than you are? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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Fire on my street

There was a fire on my street the other day. The house that Mr. A used to live in burst into flames. Fortunately no one was home.

This time the house burned faster and harder than when Mr. A resided there; as a result the home will surely have to be bulldozed.

As a result of this I have been involved in an arson investigation. I possessed photographs of the previous fire and recorded a video of the latest one so I spent yesterday digging through my archives for the authorities.

A lot of rumors are flying about this latest disaster. Because of this (and the ongoing investigation) I’m not at liberty to discuss many details and I’m hesitant to post any photos right now.

The community has already began reaching out to provide for the family that lived there. My sources indicate that they are going to be okay and will have another place to live shortly.

We don’t have much to share (being minimalists) but my daughter gathered up some of her old toys for the child and I have been striving to help the authorities get some answers. Sometimes the best way to help is not with money but by using what you have.

I wish them the best of luck.

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Frugality Misconception

One misconception about frugality that I am guilty of is the thought that you can save more money if you do everything yourself. I used to believe that it was more economical to make my own clothes, do my own yard work, and even can my own food for example.

However, I have learned that in some cases the time (or financial commitment) is actually more when you do certain things yourself. For instance, to can foods you need to purchase jars, lids, seals, and canning equipment. This can become quite expensive. If one has a large family to feed the expense may be justified but for my small family it cost more in labor and equipment than we gained. In fact, for the two years I did it I calculated a sizable loss.

The same goes for clothing. When you factor in the cost of the material and the time spent creating fashionable clothing, you can save a lot more money by simply shopping yard sales and thrift stores.

As a result I’ve learned to consider several factors before going the DIY route. With my yard, I realized that I could not justify the cost of a mower nor the time spent caring for it when it only cost a few dollars a month to keep it reasonably trimmed.

Of course, some things are still more frugal to do yourself than to have done. A manicure can be done at home with a little time and a bottle of cheap polish. Hair coloring can be done with an inexpensive box of dye rather than a visit to a professional. A steak dinner prepared at home is much more frugal than a trip to a restaurant.

Of course, these decisions depend upon everyone’s individual situation. Some may inherit canning jars and equipment, making it more affordable to preserve food at home. Others may already own a lawnmower, making mowing your own lawn a sensible decision. Still others may have health issues that justify the expense of hiring someone to clean their home.

The moral of the story is to factor in all aspects before making a decision. Time is money and lack of supplies means that they will have to be purchased before you can do a task yourself.

This is why I share the tasks I do myself (like the time I repaired my own washer) and the times when for me it isn’t worth it. I do this in hopes of demonstrating that there are times when doing things yourself can save money, and times when it will not.

What are the things you do to save money, and what things do you have hired out because it is not worth the savings to do them yourself? Pleas share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Mowing

Spring is upon us so now it is time to gear up for the mowing season. I don’t possess a lawn mower so I arrange for someone to do my lawn care every year. Normally Mr. A does it but with him gone I searched for a replacement.

Traditional mowing services are out because I’m very particular about frequency. I am well aware of the amount of poisons that are spewed into the atmosphere whenever you mow so I prefer my lawn to be trimmed as little as possible. Most official services want to visit every week or two, and my lawn can go a month or more between cuts.

I discussed this with my neighbor and he immediately understood. He actually seemed pleased with the fact that I cared about mower fumes. Now I have someone who will trim my lawn very short on occasion and will allow me to stretch the time between trims as long as possible.

This is my little contribution to help the environment.

How often do you mow your lawn? Do you worry about the poisonous gases that lawn mowers release? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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