The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

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The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


Controlling the Piles

Clay has been on vacation since Christmas.  It’s really great having him at home, except for the massive piles he creates.  Like this pile of Andes mint chocolate chip cookies, it’s not so bad, but it’s HUGE!  The bad thing is that I will eat a lot of them. (Sorry for the blurry photos, my phone takes very suckalicious photos….and let’s not forget that I own it, which means it’s going to be a pretty bad photo regardless.)

After he was done with the cookies I handed him this pile.  It’s his In-Box.  It drives me crazy.  He knows exactly what’s in it….so he says.  I shuffled through a few papers in it and guess what I found?

That would be a parking ticket.  Clay looked at it and said, “Well, would you look at that.”  Yeah, it’s been paid and then went in his In-Box where it promptly got buried.

I’m trying to organize our tiny office, so he’s sorting through his pile and I’m just looking at the little room wondering what the heck I should do to make it more functional.  Clay has already proclaimed that his In-Box will most certainly look bad in a few weeks so I shouldn’t put it anywhere visible.

Here’s what a I need for that room and it all needs to be as close to free as possible.  Hahahaha!  I’m serious.  I need drawers or at least a filing cabinet, but it has to fit under the counter top which is too short for a regular file cabinet.  Okay, now discuss this amongst yourselves and then tell me you have the perfect answer for my office space.  Until then I will be sorting through piles of crap.

I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas and I wish you all a very happy and organized 2012!

Sparkley Butt


Clay and I have been hunting for new jeans to replace the two pairs of shredded fabric he’s been wearing around for the past couple of months.  I took the advice of a friend who is married to a tall skinny guy and I drug Clay to The Buckle.  I haven’t shopped in that store since I was a teenager.  I think I know why too $$$$$$!  Every store in town had amazing post Christmas sales except The Buckle and my guess is that they know we needed their jeans.


Now Clay owns two pairs of the fanciest pants I’ve ever seen on him.  I can’t stop laughing at his embellished butt.  We picked the two least embellished pairs we could find.  I felt so old when I told the Cameron Diaz look alike that was helping us that we needed jeans with less holes because we were buying jeans to replace the jeans he wears that HAVE holes.  You see the problem right?  She responded with, “Well, a lot of dads come in looking for distressed jeans.  So, you don’t want any holes?”  I just laughed, because we were obviously out of our element, nothing I was going to say was going to make me sound young and hip to this girl.  I wanted to pat her on the head and tell her she was cute.

I texted a picture of the jeans to Ellen, our 18 year old daughter, and she said, “Is he trying on women’s jeans?”


So, now I have a 42 year old man frying up bacon in my kitchen wearing overly embellished jeans and to top it off he’s listening to Michael Jackson songs.

I’m a little concerned what these jeans are doing to him.

The Eight Million Dollar McGame

I have been watching episode after episode after episode of Grey’s Anatomy for the past several weeks. It’s my mind altering drug of choice. It’s been sucking all the difficult things in reality out of my life which has made me nice and numb to the world around me. I find myself saying, “He’s going into De-Fib call Dr. Shepherd!” And I say words like acidosis, tachycardia, ephemeral, don’t mess with the pancreas, he’s doing a whipple, and other things that I have no idea what they mean and obviously can’t really spell them or pronounce them correctly. The human degradation that occurs in that show is so highly revolting and ridiculous that I can’t look away. I simply….can’t…stop….watching!

I may never be able to enter a hospital without thinking that every doctor in the place has either died and come back to life or slept with at least three other people that they work with. I will just assume that they have struggled with drug abuse, alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer and that they’ve been arrested or admitted to the psyche ward at least once. I will also think that they are about to break ground on some amazing never before attempted surgery that will help people with brain tumors and I’ll probably look at them through my Grey’s Goggles and think they are some level of HOT. Even if they are not even remotely attractive, obviously they are hot, because all the people at Seattle Grace seem to think that everything wearing scrubs is hot. And THEY TALK ABOUT THE HOTNESS EVERY CHANCE THEY GET, because obviously that’s how people in the medical field deal with their stress. Yeah, I have a problem.

Clay will be so happy when I’m done with my Grey’s Anatomy binge and decide to enter real life to participate with real humans that have real problems. He knows that I have odd coping mechanisms, so he watches me watching this awful show and he does something more mind filling like plays online chess and asks to have his back scratched while his wife gets stuck in McDreamy Land until she can resurface.

Okay, so now I have to share my little crazy quirk with you. Every once in a while I will play the “What If” game. I started playing it in my head recently after a Grey’s Anatomy episode in which Dr. Izzy Stevens inherited eight million dollars from her dead fiance. She had no idea that he was a wealthy man because she didn’t know him outside his hospital bed. He was a heart patient, they fell in love, he asked her to marry him in a moment of panic when she was purposefully stopping his heart by cutting his L-vat wire in hopes of stealing a donor heart from another patient so he could be bumped up to the top spot on the recipient list and get the heart. You got all that? Okay, so Izzy’s guy dies, she falls apart and then one day she gets a check in the mail for eight million dollars from the guy she was going to marry that she only knew in the hospital bed. Izzy sticks the check on the fridge because she doesn’t know what to do with the money…..and here starts my “What If” game.

What if I suddenly inherited 8 millions dollars?

Okay, that’s too easy. So, I put stipulations on it. Now you can play the game yourself and believe me it’s not easy. It goes like this.

1. You are given 8 million dollars cash.
2. You have exactly 24 hours to spend all of it.
3. You can not spend one penny over or under the 8 million or you lose it all.
4. You have to spend the money by purchasing, not donating.
5. You can help as many people as you want, but it has to be by purchasing or paying for service, so if you want to help your favorite charity you have to find out what they need and buy it for them or you have to pay their bills. So, you would have to go to the electric company and pay the bill for them, you couldn’t just give them the money to pay the bill.
6. All transactions have to be completed within the 24 hour period, which makes large purchases like real estate and land difficult, but not entirely impossible.
7. You are allowed to purchase services as long as those services are paid for in advance and a contract is signed stating what the service will entail and a comprehensive price list of the service.
8.Remember you are toting around cash with you to do all these transactions. You can go get cashier’s checks, but remember how much time that takes.
9. You may NOT hire anyone to help you.
10. Go!

You see how this is difficult, right? Do you know how hard it is to spend that much money in one day and complete the transactions? Of course, I change the rules all the time, but I keep to the 24 hour period. I have yet to be able to successfully spend all the money in time. It’s such an exercise in not thinking small that I have to get out of my head the basics of life. You can’t just go buy food, clothes and pay off your debt and donate the rest, that’s not big enough although yes you can do that, but you’d be wasting time. You know how long it takes to buy a vehicle right? Well, think how long it might take to buy 10 vehicles. So time is a factor.

I find myself wanting to buy land and housing, but I’m not sure if I can get those transactions done in 24 hours unless I have all the right people at my disposal, which I probably won’t. My latest plan is after I help my family, a few churches and a host of other charities that feed and clothe people, I would race to the hospital and say, “I have this amount of money! I want you to go to the oldest unpaid accounts and start paying them off until there is no money left.” I realize this would help some people and would be useless for others, but it’s the only way I can think of that would get rid of every penny without going over or under the $8 million.

Wah-la! I win!

I have come full circle in this game. At first I was paying off my debt, buying everyone a good vehicle, adding on to my house, building a barn, buying land, purchasing stuff for the kids’ school, paying the mortgage for our church, pre-paying college, etc. It was all very focused on trying to insure that I had what I wanted and that everything I loved was taken care of as it should be. But, then I realized that’s just not going to cut it. Yes, I could pay my bills, but trying to renovate the house and build a barn? No, there was no time for that and no way a contractor could give me an accurate estimation of how much that would cost for me to pre-pay the services and it would waste so much time. I even tried to think how I could purchase something that would continue to generate income for me. But, in the end I just wanted to be done with it. What a stressful thing it would be to have the responsibility to spend that much cash in one day and keep your integrity as a human being.

Izzy Stevens finally built a free medical clinic with her $8 million, she didn’t keep any of it for herself. Once again, Grey’s did not let me down by being realistic. Thank God! Because it would be a real shame for me to come out of my McSteamy coma to find that the show actually had some element of normal human reaction or interation to it. So, as I continue to languish in my catatonic state of Greydom you all can play my game to help distract you from whatever it is you need to ignore at the moment.  Not that I want you to join me in my McCrazy McGrey’s place, because that would just be McWeird.

What if my friends? What if you were suddenly thrown into the $8 million dollars in a day game?