Wednesday, July 27, 2016

An average of seven times

A blog I occasionally read cited a study that says on average, we wear our clothes seven times before we discard them one way or another.*

At first I thought no way, that’s not what I do! I wear my clothes way more than seven times before they’re gone. As Kent pointed out, if you buy a season-specific item of clothing (say, a light sleeveless top), you’d have to wear it at least once a week for the entire season to hit seven wearings. If you chose ultra-cheap clothing (think H&M or the like), chances are good that the top might not last more than one season.

I was still skeptical. After all, I have a Gap jean jacket I bought at an outlet mall in Nashville, TN in September 2006 that I still wear almost every week. I have shoes from before our flood in October 2009 that I still wear—or what about that leather jacket I got at that one high end consignment store in Boston (think it was 2008)?

I also have a really lovely long dress I got earlier this year; I planned to take it to Jamaica only we didn’t go and I still haven’t worn it. It’s still got the tags on it. A couple of years ago, I got a maxi skirt—black with white polka dots. Super cute and totally not me. I wore it maybe four times before I donated it.

Ever since I read that article, I’ve been mentally tracking how often I wear the things in my closet. Some of them are total work horses. I wear them frequently and year-round. In fact, a lot of my clothes are that way.

I’ve also got some things that I don’t wear as often. This summer, I’ve been reaching for those items deliberately, wearing them again. After all, I paid for them so I might as well get the cost per wearing down while increasing my average number of times wearing the darn things.

*Despite searching, I couldn’t find the blog post I mentioned. This takes you to the one article I could find. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It’s the small things

In keeping with my strong desire to focus on the positive (rather than freak out which does no good anyway), here’s a list of random things for which I’m grateful:

  • We deliberately chose to buy a less expensive house, one that we could pay for with the smaller of our two salaries
  • We left Verizon last month and switched to Google Fi which cut our cell phone bill in half (we did have to get new phones but we were on the hook for new phones anyway)
  • We don’t have any recurring subscriptions to anything—no cable, no Netflix, no Hulu, nothing
  • We both know how to cook and are quite good at it (sounds snotty but it’s true)
  • We don’t have a habit of eating out (with the exception of our date night on Friday nights—we’ll be dialing those back but not cutting them out altogether)—I bring my lunch every day to work
  • We have a good emergency fund saved up
  • We paid cash for our cars so we don’t have car payments
  • (This will sound weird) I recently bought new underwear—because of the stress at work, I’ve dropped four to five clothing sizes and those didn’t fit anymore. The good part here is I already bought them.

So there’s my list of random goodness. Also here's another cat picture to sooth us all.

Taken on my lap just now

Sunday, July 24, 2016

We’ve done this before (or I hope this is like riding a bike)

Several years ago, I wrote a series of three posts about how we’d managed on a single income in a very high cost of living area. You can read them here, here, and here.

I've been rereading them because we are back to one income again since Kent was laid off on Friday effective immediately.

In looking back over my blog posts from then, I don’t think I ever posted how that went down.

He got the news mid-morning at work. I was at home (we were living in a temporary apartment while reconstruction was—well it wasn’t happening yet but the insurance company mulling things over) because I still hadn’t found a job. He waited until he got home and we were sitting together so that he could be with me when he shared the news. He knew I would be completely undone and didn’t want me to be alone. That right there is what love looks like in our house. I was blown away that he held that news to himself and waited to share.

That night, we were both pretty anxious. I’d say freaked out but that’s not exactly right. Suffice it to say that we drank a bottle of wine pretty quickly as we watched a movie (I don’t even remember what we saw) and then a second bottle as we watched a second movie (again I have no idea what it was) and then I turned into a complete chatter box and thought we should open a third bottle of wine and maybe watch a third movie. By that point, Kent was nearly asleep on the couch. He managed to tell me that it was already midnight and that a third bottle of wine and a third movie didn’t sound like great ideas and could we please go to bed. If you know me, you know I rarely see midnight by choice so that tells you a lot about my state of mind.

The next day, I told my mother I’d earned every bit of that hangover, and I had.

So fast forward to the last couple of years. The company Kent worked for got spun off from another company two and a half years ago and has just never gained much traction. I told Kent two years ago that I was pretty surprised they hadn’t let remote employees go already. Having people work remotely in other states is expensive because the company has to pay state unemployment insurance and account for all the state, regional, city and local taxes. That all comes at a high price tag so for a company to pay for one employee in Arizona, one in Kansas, a couple in Ohio etc., well you’re not talking small change.

I guess they finally figured it out, since from the sounds of things all remote employees were laid off on Friday.

I will admit that my first reaction on Friday was gut churning fear. We came so close to losing everything we owned six years ago; even though we are in better shape today, that fear lingers. I’m still pretty anxious to be honest. Yes, I have a job with benefits (and I’m very thankful), and we should be OK (tight, but OK). But I’ve been here before and now I’m sort of waiting to see what else (bad) might happen.

Edited to add a soothing photo of Eddie from this morning. That way, when I reread these posts later on, I'll have something calming to look at.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Quit changing the shoes!

I’m not hard on my shoes. I think I’ve had one pair that needed actual repairs and it was because the tip of the heel came off (pointy heels). Usually, though, I wear them for years.

And that goes for my running shoes too. I know, I know, you’re supposed to switch running shoes every six months which has always struck me as ridiculous. I don’t put massive miles on my shoes and I’m not at all hard on them. I wore my Nike Free shoes, which I got when we lived in Boston, for years. Sure, toward the end I could tell it was time to replace them . . . but it took a while.

Since I don’t buy running shoes all that often, I end up having to find whatever is the most current version of the version I bought before. Sometimes that works out, but not always. Case in point, those Nike Free shoes I mentioned? Nike changed the last so much that they didn’t work for me any more. That’s when I switched to Brooks.

That was three years ago. I got smart, though, and after I’d been running in the Brooks for a couple of months, I ordered another pair so that when the current pair wore out, I’d have a pair ready to go.

Two weeks ago, I knew it was time. I was getting some twinges in my knee which generally means I’m not running correctly, so I got out the new shoes and ooo. Yes, the old ones were worn out.

Then I looked online, thinking I’d order another pair. Only guess what? Brooks doesn’t make that version any more. Mine are PureCadence 2 and now the model is PureCadence 5. Ugh.

I guess I should mark my calendar for a couple of years from now so I can start searching then for the next pair of running shoes.

New shoes on the left, old shoes on the right. Same model.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

I'm late, I'm late

But here's July's cat for my mom.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Amazing beauty

These photos are all from this week in Yuma, AZ.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy 50th anniversary

Today, my folks have been married 50 years! That’s a pretty big milestone, and one worth celebrating.

My sister Amy reached out to me about what we might be able to do for them, and honestly that was a puzzle. I knew getting everyone there was going to be essentially impossible—we’re pretty far flung and for one of us, tickets would be prohibitively expensive. Plus my brother’s at his annual training for the Army, and this is also the busiest time for me with my job. And a vase or picture or what have you didn't seem to be appropriate either.

So what to do?

We live in the digital age, and my parents are most definitely not Luddites. In fact, they're pretty up to date with technology. So I reached out to my brother and sisters and also my sons and said, look—if you’ll record a video of congratulations and send me pictures of our folks across the years, I’ll make a video to celebrate this significant anniversary.

And that's what we did. Here it is:

Congratulations, Mom and Dad, with love from all of us!