The Continuing Adventures of Annie the Annoying

Remember a while back when I said that, after exploring how low I could comfortably go financially that I wanted to explore the other end of the spectrum?

I have officially started that journey.

Last month, when a local concrete factory announced that it was hiring, I submitted an application. It can be a challenge to break into direct-hire factory work; many places will use a temp service so that they can eliminate people whenever their staffing needs call for it. Considering that the majority of my official work experience has been in the food industry, I estimated that my odds of being hired were low but miracles happen so why not?

By the grace of God, I got the job.

I worked out my notice at the restaurant, screwed up my courage, and went to work.

This new job is a challenge. My body is still adapting to the change in physicality. Not only does this position require a bit of speed, it also requires an upper body muscularity that I am working to develop.

The money side is a different story.

I am earning more each week than I am accustomed to living on for a month. That feels strange. I’ve never earned as much money as I do these days.

My discretionary spending has went up as a result. I’ve kept my recurring expenses stable (and at my normal level), but I have finally loosened the reins to allow myself to spend a bit more. I’ve acquired some plants to soften the ambience in my home but other than that I’ve not done much. I’ve placed my decorating plans on hold as I adapt since I’ve got the rest of my life to savor the process of redecorating.

The largest shock is the fact that I now have medical insurance, real medical insurance from a job with low co-pays and good benefits. I’m unused to having medical insurance from a job. That knowledge of being able to go to the doctor without worry about the expense feels strange.

Does it say something about our nation that I’m more surprised at having medical insurance than I am at the pay?

I’ll write more when I have something interesting to share. In the meantime, can you share what you have going on in your life? I would love to hear updates from all of you.

Sending hugs, Annie.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

The Process of Pivoting

What do you do when you can do anything?

That is the situation in which I find myself. For the first time in my life I am free, completely free. I can go anywhere, do anything. The road of Life is wide open. All I have to do is pick a direction.

It feels overwhelming. I’ve spent my entire life burdened with obligations both real and imagined. To realize that they’ve all disappeared…I’m not sure how to feel about that.

This was why, as the waters rose in their routine surge, that a part of me wished that it would wash my house away as well. It would be nice to have a completely fresh start, I mused as I watched.

But I don’t have to wait for a disaster to have a fresh start. I’ve got one already. As for the stuff…I do believe it is time for a pivot. Minimalism is perfect for pivots, because it allows us to cut the crap from our lives. It makes it easier for us to change direction.

So I tossed some stuff. There’s a cabinet and some empty totes sitting upon my front porch for a friend to collect. Another friend has been offered the bicycle. Other items were deemed too ratty to pass on so they’ve been put in the trash.

“Are you going to have anything left?” One friend asked when she came by to collect some of the things.

But I didn’t just focus on physical things. Mental clutter can be just as burdensome as physical clutter. In some ways, it can cause more damage because it affects us emotionally. All of those old grudges and resentments really build up in time. They can turn us from happy people into miserable, hateful old cranks.

So now, whenever one of those memories surface that trigger a negative emotion, I work to eliminate the negativity connected with it. If I find myself getting stuck in a negative emotional loop, I make myself stop by focusing on my breathing. In, out. In. Out. It’s not like a normal meditation where you turn into a pretzel while staring at your navel. This is something you do wherever you’re at, no outfits, ommms, or twisty poses required. I find it much more effective than traditional meditation. I can’t sit still long enough for the standard stuff.

And whenever I find myself wanting to acquire a specific item, I ask myself what purpose it would serve along with other related questions. Those questions helped me to realize that the only reason I wanted to acquire a record player and a VCR was to revisit a piece of my history. But the past is dead so why bother?

So I discarded the plan to purchase a record player and the VCR. I even placed the tentative plan to purchase a stereo system on indefinite hold since I’m not sure if I really need one. My entire music library is stored upon my computer and selected playlists are synced to my phone. I use my soundbar with both my computer and my phone to play my music and I’m more than content at the sound quality, so do I really need to buy more stuff when I’m content with what I already have?

In this world if we’re not growing and changing we’re dying. Just like with trees and plants, in order to achieve the strongest growth we have to prune the branches. After the pruning, it is time to sweep that old away. We have a new future to look forward to.

What can you prune today?

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Keeping Busy

It’s been a chaotic week. I’ve been focused on gratitude, so it ended up being a magical week with some fascinating things taking place.

Just as Katie and I were finishing a cup of coffee before we began the process of transferring her car into her name, Katie received a panicked call from her husband. The shippers had decided to change the pickup date for her car to that day and wanted to pick it up immediately.

Katie told her husband to cancel the shipment. It would leave them several days without a car, and she wasn’t having it.

“I’ll have it shipped after we get moved,” she told her husband. “Mom can use it in the meantime.”

To say I was startled would be an understatement! I’d been walking and hitching rides to work since her husband had arrived. While I’d looked at a few cars locally (and discussed acquiring an unused car (translation: it’s been parked for a while) from a family member) nothing had clicked, so I had spent these past few weeks telling myself that the perfect vehicle would come to me in the perfect way. Could this be it? I wondered silently.

This was how I ended up taking my daughter and son-in-law to the airport a few nights later. I was to have full use of the car until she got things sorted on her end for a return trip to retrieve it.

She texted me her first full day in California:

<Hey, mom. Would you like to buy the Green Bean? I’ll sell it to you for what I have in it.>

She took the money I transferred to her and bought an SUV that very same day.

I honestly believe that I attracted the situation. I like the car; it’s the only station wagon like it in the area. An older classic, it suits me perfectly well, and I enjoy the process of fixing up older cars. Even better, we both benefited from the situation. She got what she put into the car back and I acquired the transportation I desired for my personal game plan.

While I was sad to see my beloved Katie go, I decided to focus upon the empty bedroom she left behind. When I would arrive home after work, instead of dwelling upon her absence I painted.

Here is a short video of the progress I’ve made thus far:

I have to work in the morning so after tidying my house and doing laundry I kicked back with a book to enjoy the rest of my day. I’ll tinker on the room some more tomorrow.

Since I am starting a new era in my life I am considering making a change to how I blog as well. Instead of just writing, I’m thinking about posting some videos as well. What do you think? Would you like to watch me ramble on occasion?

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

The End of an Era

Katie moved out yesterday.

I knew it was coming. We both did.

This is why I dropped offline for a few months. I wanted to spend every last moment with my baby. This was my last chance to make memories with her, memories of her being my baby girl instead of my married daughter.

I did just that.

We’ve been joined at the hip these past few months, my Katie and I. We did everything together. We even got a job together, on the exact same shift, so we could pick on each other as we passed the other’s station.

I have no regrets for taking these last few months and devoting them exclusively to my daughter. I have no regrets about dropping offline and focusing upon my life here in the world. I have had one goal these past years, and that goal was to be the best mother I could be.

I did everything in my power to make that goal a reality. And, if the last conversations I had with my daughter are any clue, I succeeded. I believe I even imparted the importance of being a loving parent, a parent who chooses family over the pursuit of money or other goals to my daughter, since she shared with me her personal thoughts and concerns about raising her children in the future.

But now that time is over. My Katie is grown. She moved out, and is on her way to starting her new life as a married woman.

Society doesn’t guide us when it comes to life after parenthood. It seems that we’re to grow up, get a job, find the spouse, raise the kids, then fade into the sunset, visited only on holidays or whatever the kids find convenient. We are to wait until we qualify to enter a nursing home, go there, and wait to die.

I say fuck that shit.

It’s time for me to start a new adventure.

I don’t know what I’ll end up doing, but if you think I’m going to allow myself to wallow in loss and self-pity you are wrong. The best cure for sadness is action, so I intend to keep busy until the shock wears off. Somewhere in the busyness I’ll figure out what to do next.

My very first step is reclaiming the bedroom. I’ve not had a bedroom in a decade now; while I hadn’t planned to stay in this tiny house for quite this long, I did, so now, for the first time in a long time, I’ve gotten an empty room in which I can dedicate to sleeping.

Katie’s empty bedroom
Katie’s empty bedroom, alternate angle

I didn’t allow myself to dwell upon the shock of seeing that empty room, of seeing the little things my baby decided to leave behind. Instead, I started cleaning. I gave that room a good scrubbing, called a friend, and asked for a ride to the store. Since fresh starts and new adventures don’t happen every day, I didn’t even look at the prices as I purchased the supplies to paint that little bedroom. I even treated myself to a new lava lamp in my favorite color (red) for when I’m ready to move in.

I stayed up incredibly late patching the damage that only a kid can do as I laughed. I’d not realized one child could create so much work, but she has lived in that room for a decade now. To my surprise, I found spots on the walls from before we moved in. I hadn’t paid attention when I rented the place. That room was to be my Katie’s room so I’d barely glanced at it, and I’ve barely stepped foot in there until now.

It’s faded, but a previous tenant logged the date on the wall back in 2009!

Today I intend to sand the spots and start painting. I picked white, plain white for the walls and ceiling in order to give myself a blank slate with which to work. I don’t know who I will become on this next adventure so that seemed the safest choice. I did select a different color to paint the floor, a dark barn red that will cover the paint splatters and abuse that poor floor has suffered from well before I ever thought of living here. I had to choose between white, gray, or the red; red seems to suit my mood the best at the moment.

We each of us live through different eras as we journey through our lives. We’re a child, a student, a youth, a spouse (sometimes), a parent, and then…

…and then the door is wide open to create a new era, and era that can be anything we choose it to be.

Once I finish this post I intend to eat breakfast and get back to work. This is my day off, so I want to get as much done as I can today.

I’ll write more later.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Broken Bones

I received a letter from Katie yesterday. As I was reading it the phone rang.

It was the kid.

She’d suffered multiple stress fractures in her right leg during a PT test in addition to injuring her knee. As a result, the Navy was sending her home.

To say that she was disappointed would be an understatement. Even with a fractured leg she was only 14 seconds shy of achieving her time on her PT test that day.

Well, shit.

I kinda liked this empty nest thing but I can’t fault the kid for getting hurt. I know from experience just how easy it is to be injured in the military. I’m just grateful it was caught before her leg shattered.

She’ll be shipped home in about two weeks. After that comes the process of helping the kid heal and building her up for her next adventure. Only time will tell what it will be.

In the meantime there is a bright spot. She’ll continue to share the bills once she gets back on her feet. She’s already gotten two job offers locally now that the news is emerging. That will give her time to recuperate and figure out her next step while making life a bit easier on me once she recovers.

Life is still good. It’s completely chaotic at the moment, but it’s still good.

So what’s been going on in your world? Please share your stories in the comments below.


First Month Without Katie

I just finished paying the first round of bills without the kid sharing half of the expenses.

I made it. I even had a bit to spare.

I must confess that I was worried so I clamped down drastically on my spending. I’m not quite sure why I was worried (this isn’t my first rodeo, after all), but that old demon Fear loves to play games with me.

In order to reposition myself for the future, I’ve decided to actively use up some of the stockpiles I’ve acquired over the past few years. Cleaning supplies, cosmetics, paper products, food–all this and more are going to be used before I purchase more. This will allow me to not only safely stretch my finances while I adapt, it will provide the opportunity to use up some of the things around here while I learn just how much I use when it’s just me as well as free up physical space in this little home.

This girl has got to go back to the basics, build her foundation, in order to move forward. Who am I? What do I want out of my life? These questions have been running through my mind since the tearful day I said farewell to my daughter.

There is life after parenthood. I’m going to embrace it. This is the first time in my entire life that I’ve been really, truly free to discover who I am. My dad died when I was just getting started; before I recovered from that I found myself pregnant. Even when you count my childhood years I’ve spent the majority of my life caring for others.

Now it’s time to take care of me.

Have you ever noticed that, for females, life seems to be focused so much on caring for others that it almost ends when all you’ve got to focus on is yourself? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Miracle of Water

It was close to midnight. I padded into the kitchen to quench my thirst and picked up the water pitcher.

I blinked at the heft. Huh? I raised it up to examine the water level. It was full.

My water pitcher is never full. The only way I can ever get a drink of water out of it is to fill it up, let it drip through the filter and then immediately pour a glass. This has gone on for so long that I’d become convinced that the Household Gods were determined that I die of dehydration.

“Hmph!” I filled my glass, topped off the pitcher, and returned to bed. It had to be a fluke.

The next morning I headed to the coffeepot. I paused, staring in shock.

The water pitcher was still full.

“Hokay, that’s strange,” I mumbled as I poured myself a cuppa Joe. Twice in a row? My Household Gods must be on vacation!

Before I left for work I filled a water bottle, topped off the pitcher once more, and headed out.

It was full when I got home!

Maybe, just maybe, the Household Gods that always seemed to drink my water or mess up my house, maybe they went on more than a simple vacation.

Maybe they went off to the Navy.

Hmmm.

I can have some fun with this!