Making Progress By Flipping Life the Bird

I don’t talk about my back issues in much more than a passing reference here and there. Because this blog isn’t about my back. It’s about trying to simplify. But sometimes life throws you a major curveball. And you have to deal with it.

Let’s just say we’ve been thrown for a pretty good sized loop. In an 8 day period of time (beginning last Thursday and ending on this Friday), the following have, or will have, occurred:

  • I had another MRI. It shows damage to two more discs in my spine. Part of me is relieved because it means the pain isn’t all in my head. But, I admit, it took me a day long pity party to wrap my brain around it, pick myself up, dust myself off and move on.
  • The Girl will have had surgery. It’s an outpatient thing, but any surgery on a child is not something that you look forward to. It will require anesthesia and a surgeon. So, yeah.
  • I will have had another back procedure. I will be sedated and it will involve needles and injections. It’s not guaranteed to work. So, I might still be in pain after the shots and no better off whatsoever.

All of this makes me want to write a string of obscenities set to music. And not a rap song, either. I’m certainly saying them in my head. They might be brought to you by the letter F.

On top of that, work is ongoing in the house. But not without its own tangent. We found out the popcorn ceiling in our family room and breakfast room had asbestos in it, requiring an environmental abatement company to come in, clear it out and monitor the air the entire time. Hasmat suits people. We got the all clear to move forward with construction, but not without a delay and major expense we hadn’t planned for. Damn.

None of us are immune from tangents, curveballs or external forces that threaten to derail progress. Sometimes they are little softballs. Sometimes, they’re giant boulders.

Regardless of what life throws at you, you have to keep on keepin’ on. So, in the spirit of flipping all of this the bird, here are a couple of points of progress:

1. We donated another comforter we no longer need.

2. Stephen and I watched youtube videos on minimalism and decluttering and a documentary on The Tiny House People for inspiration. After which, Stephen got rid of an entire garbage bag full of clothes and socks (donated to a charity that picked it all up from our house). Then he thanked me for watching the videos.

They must have hit a little inspiration spot in him. You see, Stephen is the king of this house when it comes to the sheer volume of clothing items he owns. He has three closets and a large armoire. All full. Plus, shoe trees in his closet and, I honestly don’t know, how many boots.

A few months ago, I tried to edit his wardrobe. I went through EVERYTHING. Pretty sure I donated half of everything in there and the closets are still packed. He still has at least 20 short sleeve golf shirts. Seriously, he doesn’t need that many golf shirts. Still, I kept on. We narrowed him down to nearly half of his items. And there is still another round to go.

By my count, that’s at least 15 pair of dress and/or wool socks. He kept just as many more and hasn’t gone through the white sports/athletic socks yet. But be warned: they take up two drawers of space in his armoire. Yes. Yes they do.

Socks Could Be The Subject of Their Very Own Post in This House

Socks Could Be The Subject of Their Very Own Post in This House

We stopped at actually counting the number of remaining socks. It would be a frightening number. Just purging some was enough for now.


After the socks were addressed, he moved on to other random clothing items including two baseball caps (he’s got at least 10, possibly more), ski pants he hasn’t worn since 1996, very worn jeans, shirts, sweaters and some dress shoes. I tossed in two t-shirts that had small stains on them. Someone else could either use them for a project or, if better skilled at laundry than me, could get the stains out. And the Girl dropped a too-small bathing suit in there.

The charity we chose came to pick it all up today, so now it is gone and destined, hopefully, for someone who will appreciate it.

That, my friends, is how you give some life difficulty the middle finger. By not letting it derail you. Instead shove it’s face in the pile of items you plan on getting out of your house and donating to someone with a need at that.

Donaters Unite!

15 Responses to Making Progress By Flipping Life the Bird

  1. I just finished reading all the posts in this blog. Love it! I miss Kerry, but I’m glad Kandice is in! What you’re both doing is wonderful. Kandice, so sorry your family is having all these health issues, and just when you’re in the middle of a back-breaking project! In case you need more inspiration on what to do with the stuff you no longer need, there’s an overwhelming list here
    And just to bring a smile to your day, do read this little anecdote! Hehe (I could never be that minimalist, but she’s still inspiring!)

    Ps, Kerry, I’m all eager waiting for your book!

  2. It’s my husband as well who had TONS of clothes. I kept clearing out my stuff, mumbling in my head about the crazy t-shirts and suits that don’t fit he had. I left them as they were, though; it was his stuff. One day he cleared out his closet and since then he has become a clearing-out machine. If I’m honest, lately, he’s been pushing us to simplify, not me.

    I hope the health issues in your family turn around! It’s a nasty part of Murphy’s humour that when you start trying to steer your life in a positive direction, all the bad things seem to start popping up at the same time. I think of it as a test to see if you really want what you’ve set out to do. Or perhaps it’s just that subconsciously we were already aware of these brewing problems and then try to set off on the new path to stem them off, but we’re just a bit too late so they pop up anyways. Have you tried complementary approaches to help you through it? Regular massages, physical therapy, acupuncture, etc.?

    Good luck!!

  3. This is the story of YOUR simple year, and the fact that you’re doing this, while having health issues, is a part of it. So please do keep us posted on all aspects of your life, that you are choosing to share.

    A lot of people, who have chosen to simplify, have had serious health problems, and have found that living a simpler lifestyle has greatly improved their conditions. Stress really does a number on our bodies, and can make problems that we already have, much worse.

    So hang in there, and remember that by decluttering, you just might be flipping life the bird…

  4. Hope you are able to past all of the drama you have right now. I am sure it is really hard. My husband is also the one who is the clothes hoarder. He just refuses to get rid of things that he has not worn for a really really really long time. I know I can’t do it for him, but I really hope he begins to hop on the bandwagon.

  5. Donaters unite is very clever and t-shirt worthy. Life often gets flipped the birdaround here, but is not at all unfamiliar with other profanities and obscene gestures. It happens.

    Keep up the terrific work, Kandice!

  6. Kathleen M.

    My hat is off to you for tackling so much when in pain! Don’t worry, I will donate the hat when I am finished with it 🙂 My husband, aka the “F Bomb” King, told me there was a study done and swearing actually does releive stress, so have at it my dear, you have deserved it! Keep up the good work and many good wishes and thoughts to you and your family during this rough patch.

  7. Maybe your husband and mine are related! I swear he has more clothes then me. I went thru his clothes and threw some away (these were work clothes and they lived a good life but time to go), I have a bag and tote full of clothes to take to goodwill if they don’t sell on line. I think some of them will sell on line thou.

    I am sorry about your back. My mom and brother both do those shots and they help them so hopefully it’ll help you. My brother is in bad shape like your back and it is a daily struggle for him also. Prayers your daughters surgery goes great and she feels better.

    Good luck and keep up the good work. You inspire me to get rid of more. I got rid of some blankets and a set of curtains I will never use again. Plan to post all this stuff this weekend on line to get rid of it all.

  8. I swear a lot in my head, too–I find it therapeutic. Making swears into haiku? Takes it to a whole new level. (Particularly helpful in very stressful situations.)

    And: Hugs. What a week!

  9. My husband is also a super hoarder. His wardrobe makes your husband’s wardrobe look positively minimalist in comparison. At last counted he had 26 pairs of jeans, between 50 and 60 shirts, a case and a half of socks (that’s right: CASE), I don’t know how much underwear and that’s not counting summer shorts, dress pants, jogging pants, hoodies or fleece jackets, sweaters, vests, coats or outdoor jackets, shoes, boots . . . . . . ad nauseam.

    My closet is practically bare. I keep getting rid of MY stuff because I can’t rid of HIS stuff!

    Sorry about your pain. I have arthritis and understand how debilitating it is to live with chronic pain. Hope you get some serious relief soon.

  10. I hate those damned baseball caps! My husband does use them, but, good grief, they are everywhere! I feel you on the back pain. I get injections next week, thank goodness.

  11. Good work! You must feel a sense of real satisfaction, getting through those piles and drawers and cupboards. I know I do. When I’m awake at night I go through the house mentally thinking of all the places more clutter might be lying and when I think of something we can get rid of it always sends a thrill through me. Sad, right? Hey, I hope you are in better nick with your denim this year, but if you’re not (the newly found declutterer in me is trying to stop me from typing this) maybe keep one or two pairs of worn jeans to make patches. I have two pairs of BP’s jeans that need repairing, but I don’t have denim to repair them, and he’s not willing to sacrifice one of these pairs for the other. Something I have wished for this BNN year.

  12. I am sorry that you are having such problems with your back. I also hope your daughter recovers quickly. It is a great thing when loved ones get on board! My husband goes through periods of cleaning out and though I would like for him to hurry up and be done with it already, I have been patient. Progress is progress. My Mom is finally starting to cleaning out her stuff! She cleaned out 22, 33 gallon trash bags of her clothing. I am thrilled! Maybe you could enlist the help of a friend? I helped a friend clean out. She was overwhelmed and I did the sorting while she sat and made the decisions. Sorry I’m rambling. Not enough sleep! Praying for restored health for you and the Girl.

  13. Pingback: Weekend Clutter Busters Buffet: Buckle Up | The Simple Year

  14. Pingback: My Back Story | The Simple Year

Tell me, tell me...