The Year of Living Minimally – Week Ten

This was supposed to be vacation week, but with the unexpected death of my father-in-law, our priorities have shifted. Now I’ll be doing some extra purging, no, lots of it.

Here’s a tip – minimize now. Seriously. Your adult kids don’t want your stuff.


The Year of Living Minimally – Week Five

Not much this week, I’m afraid. I had plans, believe me – clothes, shoes, linens. I just didn’t get to it. Sometimes life gets in the way, as it did this week. And next week I have this melanoma excised, so I’ll likely be unproductive for days afterward.

I did pack up another box o’ books, and we’ll bring them to the library. And there’s more shredded paper, of course – there’s always that! I’ll get to it, I will. It’s only week five (she wrote, thinking about closets and more drawers and the kitchen cupboards and the garage and…)

The Past Week

Misquamicut Beach, photo by Mark Reynolds of the Providence Journal
  • Monday brought Hurricane Sandy to Rhode Island. We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary waiting for the power to go out (it never did), watching some coverage on television, and reading (I finished “Every Last One” by Anna Quindlen). Fearing a loss of electricity, I made a chicken soup early in the morning, so we ate a lot of soup on Monday. Our dear friends in New York and New Jersey have a long road ahead of them, and our thoughts are with them as they struggle to rebuild.
  • Hallowe’en was uneventful. When we moved to a condo six years ago, we lost out (if you want to look at it that way) on dozens of children parading around the neighborhood, from sundown until we turned the lights off. One year, I remember three way-too-old teenagers showing up just before nine o’clock. They just stood there on our front step: no chirpy “trick or treat!” They were a little scary looking. I think one of the girls may have had a cigarette dangling from her lip (not a prop, it was lit). I acted cool and handed them the rest of our candy, locked the door and turned off the lights.
  • The roller coaster life we live with an elderly parent continued. A couple of months ago, my husband and I decided that it would be smart if we sold our condo, put his father’s house on the market, and buy a new place where his father could live, independently and privately, but with us (that would be either a duplex or a house with a separate in-law apartment). For numerous reasons, this was a good idea, although we knew we’d be making some sacrifices. And for all of you who have the struggle of dealing with an elderly parent, you will understand that there is a lot of emotion involved. My husband is an only child, so the responsibility falls to him alone. When dementia first took hold of my mother ten years ago, my two sisters and I joined forces to share the burden (and I use that word with love) of taking care of all the issues that arose.  Well, my father-in-law at first dismissed the plan, then embraced it. Then, this week, he dismissed it outright and last night he was ready to embrace it again. My husband, so wise, so good, gently told his father that we were scrapping the idea, that we wouldn’t put him through it, and everything would remain as it was. <sigh> At this point, with an unhealthy, 80-year-old father, this is probably the best decision.
  • And then National Novel Writing Month kicked off on Thursday! Last weekend, I took my notebook (no, the kind with paper in it) and pen to my local Barnes and Noble bookstore, bought a “grande” Salted Caramel skinny hot chocolate (looked it up online after – 310 calories, 3g of fat, 66g of carbs, 2g of fiber – really?), and began to plot out my new book. I’m still writing “The Reunion,” and am hoping a different, catchier title comes to me at some point, but I wanted to start fresh for NaNo. So I decided to write a sequel to my début novel, “Chocolate for Breakfast.” I’m moving right along, trying not to edit as I go, and I’m having a blast!
  • Finally, some very good chicken escarole soup for a chilly weekend where we gained an extra hour of sleep last night. No wonder I’m so rested!