Decluttering Old Receipts and More

I finally have some breathing room. School started 8 weeks ago and I’ve had little time for anything other than teaching and lesson planning for this “wonderful” experiment called distance learning. I’m not complaining (much) – it’s just very time consuming planning and prepping for this versus in person instruction.

When I sat down at my desk today to do a few things, I noticed the growing pile of old receipts. We keep certain receipts until the return date has passed. Well, I think some from 2017 and 2018 qualify!

Today I decluttered 31 receipts!


On a completely different decluttering note, I reached the body fat decluttering milestone of 50 pounds!! Got on the scale yesterday – 50.1 pounds decluttered from my body!!

Do I get to mark those off on my 2020 things decluttered in 2020??

Caught Up!!

I am feeling very accomplished this evening.

  • I’m all caught up on my blog reading!
  • All of my grading is finished for tonight
  • AND my lessons for the rest of the week and next week are ready to go.

And it is only 7:45 pm.  Guess I need to catch up on my blog writing!

Feeling . . .

We are feeling a little overwhelmed emotionally.  Sometimes life throws lemons at us and it feels impossible to make lemonade.

Barb’s mom started having medical issues in January requiring surgery, rehabilitation facility, hospital again, rehabilitation facility, and hospice diagnosis in early March.

John’s uncle passed away in early March the same week Mom was put on hospice with a funeral on March 23.

Our brother-in-law (John’s sister’s husband) committed suicide on April 2.  We are still feeling shock, anger, and guilt at not noticing anything out of the ordinary.  Services are next weekend.

Discussing and putting all of this in writing made us realize we’ve had a lot happen in a short amount of time.   We know things will get better, not on our timeline, but on His.

 

A few California population statistics

So yesterday’s rant about people who rant about California got me to thinking about population numbers.  Here are some statistics:

Los Angeles county has about 10,163,507 people in 2017.  This is more people than 41 other states!

Los Angeles county represents about 25% of California’s population.

If you combine to form the greater Los Angeles area (Los Angeles county,  Orange county, Ventura county, Riverside county, and San Bernardino county), the population is about 17,877,006 people based on the 2010 cenus.  (*I included Riverside and San Bernardino counties because a majority of their populations are within 60 miles of downtown Los Angeles.)

Only 3 states – Texas, Florida, New York – have a population larger than the Greater Los Angeles area.

The Greater Los Angeles area now represents about 45% of California’s population.

If our state/area is so horrible, why do we have so many people here?????

 

Sources:

http://worldpopulationreview.com/us-counties/ca/los-angeles-county-population/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_population

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Los_Angeles

California Population. (2018-03-14). Retrieved 2018-08-1, from http://worldpopulationreview.com/states/california/

Rant about people who rant about California

So this is a sorta rant post.  With the recent news that California is now the 5th largest economy in the world, why do people outside of California think that Californians want to hear how horrible our state is?

  • California has about 12% of the nation’s population.  Shouldn’t we get 12% of the electoral college?
  • Why should our environmental rules be reduced to federal levels?  We cleaned up our horrible pollution by enacting stricter than federal levels.  While we don’t have  the cleanest air, we have made great strides.  Anyone remember Los Angeles during the 60’s?  Buildings across the street were obscured by smog.
  • Why does everyone assume we are granola eating Birkenstock wearing hippies?  Ok, we eat granola regularly in our house and we wear Birkenstocks but I would never classify myself a hippie.  When our youngest went to college in Maryland and wore her Birkenstocks, other college students actually commented that they didn’t think of her as a hippie.
  • And not every Californian is a celebrity, knows a celebrity, or wants to live like  scripted “reality” shows.  These shows do not show Californians as we truly are.  Don’t judge me based on the state I live in.
  • Homelessness and drug use is a problem in many communities in the nation.  Why bash ours without looking at your own?  It is so much easier to “blame liberals” in California than to accept that this is a national issue.  Poverty, homelessness, and drug addiction is found in ALL STATES!

I think this in enough for today.

What would you like people to stop commenting on based on where you live??

Hoping for the best.

We are hoping nothing major happens in the world during the next 11 days. We are about to leave “civilization”.

We will be dry camping (no water, electricity, etc except what we take in with us) in an area about 9000 ft elevation with no cellular reception within 20 miles.

We’ll talk to y’all in about 2 weeks.

June 2018 Update

Not much decluttered since we spent most of the month away from home.

9 items decluttered this month.  Here’s a pic of expired coupons.

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309 items so far in 2018 – we are getting to the point where we think we are “done” decluttering the big stuff (aka drawers, closets, counters, etc.)

Guess it’s time to go through those “memory’ boxes of pictures, old drawings the girls did, and all that kind of stuff when we get home and before school starts again.

Next post will be the continuation of our vacation!  There was some “excitement” while in Wyoming!

Windows 10 Rant!

We have our computers set to automatically update their operating system – Windows 10.

Well, we woke up yesterday morning to John’s computer stuck with a weird “exit and continue to windows rollback” update prompt.  We thought it just needed a restart – WRONG.  Thankfully we have a second computer to research this madness.  Evidently there is an issue with Windows 10 update – gee thanks Microsoft.  You would think you would have fixed it by now!

Anyways, after spending HOURS trying to fix this issue, we ended up resetting it to an earlier version of Windows 10.  But now all the apps that were added over the last 2 years are gone and need to be reinstalled.  On top of that, the computer is “not secure”.  How long will it take to “fix” this issue?????

Since we were having an update issue with John’s computer, we decided to check the update status of Barb’s computer.  Lo and behold, hers is not up to date either.  Barb’s wouldn’t install the April update either.  Guess what the fix is – to uninstall the “defective” update.  BUT IT NEVER INSTALLED!  How do you uninstall something that isn’t installed????

So to attempt to fix this, we downloaded the Update Assistant onto Barb’s computer and tried updating to version 1803.  It didn’t work the first time – it was unable to install for some reason.  Tried it a second time after work today and it finally worked.

One computer updated and ready to go, 2 more to go.

Now we are going to try to update John’s all-in-one computer with the update assistant.  Wish us luck!

 

 

 

April 2018 financial update

I can’t believe another year has passed!  We really did a number on our goal of paying off everything by purchasing a new car and motorhome.

Our goal for the last year was to pay off $50,000 and have $20,000 in savings.  Well, neither one was achieved.

So before the car and motorhome are added in, we paid off $32,355.33 in previous debt.

  • Mortgage is now at $96,827.40 ($9425.34 paid off)
  • Student loans are now at $25,183.76 ($19508.63 paid off)
  • Cars before new purchase $0.00!!  ($3419.36 paid off)

New Debt: ($7150.19 already paid off!)

  • New Car $33,884.83 (paid off $5979.78 so far)
  • Motorhome $106,355.97 (paid off $1170.41 so far)

Total paid off during previous year: $39,505.52   This is much less than our $50,000 goal.  We did take a trip to Hawaii this last year.  We’ve gotten into the bad habit again of eating out more often.  We need to reassess this category in our budget.

Savings account has $14,118.49

Total debt = $262,251.96

New goals:
* reduce debt by $50,000
* get savings up to $20,000
* try not to spend too much on the new granddaughter.  It’s gotten easier to not spend much since the showers are over.

 

We have a new Winnie!!

We have replaced our class C Winnebago with a Class A Winnebago!  Old Winnie was 12 years old – we never had a problem with her but as we approach retirement, we thought we should consider a change in these last few years of full time income.

IMG_1652

Hopefully we can pay off New Winnie before we retire!  John has committed to 3 more years and Barb 5 more years (then she hits the magic 30 year mark and about $900 more per month.)

Below are the floor plans of our new and old Winnebagos.  Not much different in layout.

Here are the feature changes we love!!

  • The new MH is 31 feet bumper to bumper.  Old MH was 30 feet bumper to bumper.
  • We now have a regular length queen bed instead of a “short” queen.  5 extra inches makes a huge difference!  No more pulling out the homemade extension at the end of the bed, pulling the mattress to the edge, and placing the foam fillers at the headboard!!
  • More space in the bathroom and kitchen area.
  • 😢 new MH has a smaller shower (25 x 30 versus 26 x 36). Thankfully we don’t shower every day in the MH.  If a place has a decent shower, we use it.
  • No more drying rod in the shower, but I think I can live without that.
  • More storage both inside and outside.  John is happy the outside storage doors don’t hinge at the top.
  • More closet space!   Here is the new vs old closet area (from online pics).  The old vanity wasn’t ever used.
  •  

  • A little more space in the living area.  2 of the table chairs fold for storage.  When it is just us, that will give us a little more wiggle room.
  • We still have the bed above the driving area.  The new MH overbed is powered so it is up against the ceiling unless you need it.  It is also about 9 inches narrower (48 inches wide, midway between twin and full whereas the old one was midway between full and queen).  We rarely had more than one person up there so we should be ok.)
  • Powered leveling jacks!!  Anyone who has played with leveling blocks knows how heavenly this feature is!
  • Powered awning with lights!

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Game of Thrones Book #5 finally finished

So I finally finished reading the currently published series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin, better known as the Game of Thrones books.  It has taken me right about 2 years to read these 5 books.  If you were contemplating reading the series, be ready for a long haul.  It was hard to stay with this last one.

It really seemed like this last book was more forced with little plot movement or character development.  Could it be due to the release of the HBO series?  Was he “forced” to write this “new” book because of the series?  If so, the next two books may not be read by me.   I think I’ll watch the HBO Series instead.

Book #1 – A Game of Thrones – 848 pages
Book #2 – A Clash of Kings – 761 pages
Book #3 – A Storm of Swords – 1177 pages
Book #4 – A Feast for Crows – 1061 pages
Book #5 – A Dance with Dragons – 1113 pages

Total number of pages in series so far = 4960 pages

Goals for 2017

Goals we both have:

  1. Rid our house of 2017 (or more) items.  We are getting close to “finished” but maintaining a decluttered state requires effort too.  We already see stuff creeping back into the house and garage.
  2. Have a “No Spend” month.  We are thinking February – it’s the shortest month!  Yes, we play mind games with ourselves!
  3. Go through the garage!
  4. Get a new garage door and opener.

 

Barb’s Goals:

  1. Drink more water.  I think I need a chart like Jena at All-Round Better Me.  Sure hope Bullet Journaling doesn’t add to my clutter.
  2. Declutter the boxes pictures.  Guess I need to develop those old rolls of film too.
  3. The always present – lose some weight.  Maybe a separate bullet journal for food and thoughts??
  4. Get the Mayflower Society application submitted.  PA vital records better hurry up with that birth certificate!!

 

John’s Goals:

  1.  Clear enough out of the garage to park a car in it!
  2.  Figure out what things seem to send blood sugar levels skyrocketing.  Margaritas seem to be a culprit but without them it sometimes goes really high.
  3.  Lose some weight.  It’s like our clutter – it just shows up.

 

 

Last Day of the Current Decluttering Challenge.

I wish to thank Anne at MinimalistSometimes.com for this challenge.  I modified this from 21 days to 14 days, did 2 extra counting of items to make up for 2 of the missing days, started counting from the highest number of items at the beginning of the challenge down to 1 item on the last day.

Today is the last day of the challenge.  We might do those extra 5 days when we return from our trip next week.  So the last item is from John’s travel stuff.  He was packing his bag and found this empty container of travel sized shaving cream.  He might replace it when we get to our destination, but I’m counting it!

Total items gone with this 2 week challenge = 146!!  Feeling very accomplished!!!

img_3583

 

 

 

Nothing

Nothing left our house today except kiddo #2. She has her step 2 exam in the morning (she’s almost done with medical school!)

We wanted to maximize our dinner enjoyment with her before she drove off in our car.  Her exam is only given in a few places in the country and she figured since she had to travel, she might as well visit us at the same time. 

We’ll make up for missing our 5 item day soon!

When was it used last??

We have been seriously decluttering for about 2 years now.  It has been a very steady process with time off last summer while all our belongings were in storage (due to the Great Flood of 2015) and this summer while we took a 7 week trip across the country.

We accepted the challenge by Anne at Minimalist Sometimes to remove items for 21 days.  We modified it to be 14 days since a trip is scheduled.

We have discovered that some items were kept during the unpacking fun last August are now being questioned.  Thank you Anne for pushing us to look at things again!

So here is the item from the closet that had us asking when it was last used.  Neither of us could remember!  One of the discs had a project our youngest kiddo did in high school.  She graduated in 2007!  I’ll bet it was about that time it was last used.  We know we used it while the kiddos were in high school.  They had performances that I know we recorded.

Video camera and its associated cords,  2 extra batteries for recorder, a remote for the recorder, the bag to hold the recorder, 3 empty discs for the recorder.  Also in the bag was a roll of film (how long ago was that camera donated??), a rechargeable battery for a different camera, a duracell battery with a best buy date of March, 2013.

This seemingly simple bag then sparked a search for the possible computer software that might still be around.  And it was!  11 more items out of the house!

UNECSCO Sites in the US

map originally found at http://www.travelgoalgetter.com

COMPLETED!  We are 2/3 of the way through these!

  1. Mesa Verde National Park
  2. Yellowstone National Park
  3. Grand Canyon National Park
  4. Independence Hall
  5. Kluane / Wrangell-St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek
  6. Redwood National and State Parks
  7. Mammoth Cave National Park
  8. Olympic National Park
  9. Statue of Liberty
  10. Yosemite National Park
  11. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Barb only)
  12. Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville
  13. Waterton Glacier International Peace Park
  14. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Still need to visit: (probably not this year)

  1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  2. Everglades National Park
  3. Papahānaumokuākea
  4. La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico
  5. Taos Pueblo
  6. Chaco Culture
  7. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Summer 2014, Update 2 – South Dakota

(originally published 2 Jul 2014)

All of this is being copied over from our old blog site at blogger.  It is easier for us to have all blogs together at WordPress!

Summer 2014 update 2 – South Dakota

We finally made it to Rapid City, SD!  Now we get to be tourists!  Today we visited Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, and Cabela’s!  Buffalo steaks for dinner – YUM!

Rejoicing!

The simple things are making us rejoice and joyful.  We are feeling blessed that both our baby birds will be home for the holiday this year.  Can’t and won’t ask for anything else!
Kiddo #2 arrived today and gets to stay for 2 weeks!!  Kiddo #1 arrives Wednesday for a week!!

Editorial by NY Times

This is a copy of the editorial which ran Dec. 5, 2015 on the front page of the New York Times.  Bold is added by us.  We couldn’t have said it better.

Web address is:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/05/opinion/end-the-gun-epidemic-in-america.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

The Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL
End the Gun Epidemic in America

It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.
By THE EDITORIAL BOARDDEC. 4, 2015

Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

EDITORIAL BEGINS HERE!

All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.

But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.

Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.

But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.

It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.

Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.

What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?

This editorial published on A1 in the Dec. 5 edition of The New York Times. It is the first time an editorial has appeared on the front page since 1920.
A version of this editorial appears in print on December 5, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: The Gun Epidemic. Today’s Paper|Subscribe

Hello world!

This is our first post.  We recently made the decision to simplify our lives by decluttering our home with the goal of downsizing our possessions and moving toward a simple/sustainable/minimalist lifestyle.  We aren’t sure where we are on the continuum, but we will figure it out as we go along.

This site will address any positive results or challenges we face.