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The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

A different kind of prepared

May 13, 2018

One thing in life we can be sure of and that is change.  All through our lives, each day, things change.  The weather, the time, the sun moves constantly into different positions.

We age, we change sizes.  Things that are new wear out, something we clean today is dirty tomorrow.  This is life.

We always have something to do.  There is cooking and laundry, cleaning and maintaining the things we have.  This is no matter where we live because we have to eat and wash our clothes.

If we have pets then there is extra cleaning, we need to wash cages, pet bowls, change their water regularly and make sure they have fresh air, sunshine and are kept cool and warm.

But what about those days we can barely get out of bed much less make that bed?  What if we live with painful issues, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, heart issues, migraines, vertigo, menieres, back pain or any issue that causes pain or causes us to not be able to do what we normally would do?

We can go to the doctor and have tests and get prescriptions and have specialists give advice but what about when we are home living this life? 

None of us are exempt from pain, some seem to have better genes and tolerances to pain than others but time has a way of changing things.

I live with several issues that cause pain and recently I was down pretty bad with several issues at the same time and had to do a lot of thinking what I was going to do.  

As Charles and I have been living more like the past we also have been decluttering and doing our best to make our home easier to clean and maintain as we are getting older.

But we do not need to wait until we get older to do this.  Everyone can have a bad day or a bad week or a bad month as far as that goes.

What happens when we are out of commission for a bit?  Dirt happens, dishes stack up, bathrooms get dirty, laundry stacks up.  What happens if we suddenly get sick when everything is a mess? For me it would make me sicker because I would worry more.

I try to balance living like the past and working out solutions so it is not so hard. After having a pity party I realized that there were things I can do to help me keep up on housework and run the household.

We are prepared for if our power goes out, we are prepared for hurricanes, we are prepared for if the flu hits but now I know I need to be on top of things daily and to do this our home must be somewhat simple and everything must have a place.

We don't have to be old to be suddenly out of commission.  If you have 1 or 9 children, what would you do if you suddenly broke your leg?  What would you do if a disc herniated in your back?  What would you do?  How bad would things become in  your home?

What if you didn't have any children at home, what if you were single and lived alone with your dog or cat and suddenly you were in a car accident, sent home battered and bruised with a fractured arm or ankle on a day when your last pair of clean underwear went into the laundry pile?

What I am saying is we never know when something might happen.  We hope not but I worked enough years in health care to know that things do happen, I have lived enough years to know that things do happen.

One thing I try to do in our home is to try to keep things off the floor other than furniture legs and dust.  As life gets physically harder so does getting things up off the floor including ourselves.  We can clean easier if we can easily clean under something.

Maybe I should have cleaned under the table before I took this picture but in real life dust happens.  It is actually a good picture because I don't see one of the dog hair floatie balls.

My goal has been to have furniture that has legs that raise the pieces so I can easily clean under it. Little by little we are replacing things to reach this goal.

If we go back 15 years there would have been things stacked on the floor all over the house because we were not living an old fashioned simple life then.  Our furniture was more modern and the type that sat very close to the floor and when we did finally move it to clean, the dust balls and dirt had been there collecting for some time. 

I have seen clutter grow like weeds.  The only way to get rid of clutter is to just do it.  There is no easy way, there are some more organized ways maybe but it still comes down to just doing it.

My goal has been to keep the things that have a purpose and get rid of much of the decorative things that just collect dust.  We still have a lot of things that have a purpose because we live an old fashioned life so the next thing was to make sure each item has its own place to be.

What does help is having less gadgets because many of today's kitchen gadgets just make more things that need to be washed.

I enjoy living this old fashioned life and I have found that I need to do things that challenge and distract me from the pain I have.  I like making things the old way such as this homemade yogurt.  My friend Catherine inspired me to make this. 

Last week I made some yogurt and added some blueberry jam that I made last summer.

I still like to challenge myself such as a recent batch of soap.  This is hot processed soap cooking in the crock pot.

I have been fascinated with soap for many years and have studied and tried soap from around the world only now to settle on making homemade soap.  My mother did not make soap so I have had to learn from reading and studying and trying to understand all I can.  Soap ingredients need to be calculated and if you try a recipe make sure it is from someone that has done this for awhile.

Even though I live with chronic pain I want to continue to do these things as long as I can.  But to do these things I have had to become organized in our home so on good days I can make a batch of soap.  Even on a not so good day, doing something interesting does help to distract from pain.

But my main priority is the most important tasks such as cooking, laundry and simple cleaning. I focus more on this now.  All the other comes when those things are done.

Right now we have a sea of coneflowers in our back yard.  Each year new coneflowers emerge and I will move them out of our paths and thus began our beautiful coneflowers that come back and multiply each year.

This beauty encourages me to grab the small shovel and transplant that new coneflower despite how I feel.

I am not patting myself on the back to say see what I do, I am just trying to explain that sometimes we can distract ourselves from part of our pain.

Grating a bar of soap to make homemade laundry powder makes me happy even though grating the soap can be hard but I realize that as we have gotten rid of modern things and modern ways I want more of this old fashioned life because it feels right.

I am not one to have perfectly clear counter tops.  But I am trying my best to keep the dishes washed so I don't get caught having dirty dishes when pain sends me to bed. 

Keeping home canned goods helps to have an easy meal.  There is no peeling, chopping, dicing when I open something that we canned ourselves.  Just heat it and serve it.  This is our fast food.

There are days the dishes do set overnight and so I wet them down to wash them in the morning so there is no dried food on the dishes.

To have chronic pain and to manage our home it takes a bit of planning.  If we make our home easier to clean those down days are not as bad as far as work in the home goes.  

If we keep some food canned or some frozen dinners handy it will keep us prepared for those difficult days.

Keeping our pet food somewhere that is clearly marked and close to where they eat would help if someone would need to step in to feed them.

(The grandchildren decorated a garden cabinet for me when they were younger. Three of them are in college now.)

Each of us has to do what works for us.  Most people don't want to garden, make soap, yogurt or knit.  Some are happy just to have a clean house and that is perfectly okay.  This is just my method of distracting me from pain. 

As I have said before I have Meniere's disease and it has its own agenda.  I also have a contrary spine, a heart condition and a pain and fatigue syndrome.  

When meniere's hits there is nothing to do but go to bed. It is less bad for me knowing that Charles is not struggling to do the things that I should be doing.  Charles is wonderful about knowing how to do any of the things but it is not the point.

I have had these conditions for a good while now.  As we have made our life more simple and less cluttered I can tell the difference now when I have an especially bad day.  There is less for Charles to have to do.  Things are mostly in their proper place.  When I do get back up and going there is less I have to catch up on so this is working.

We are not striving for minimalism.  We enjoy the things we have, we just needed to thin out, organize and give everything a place.

I just wanted to share in case you are struggling with pain, many people are.  I do not take pain medication, I try and adjust my diet, get plenty of rest and deal with it.  I do get adjustments now so that helps a little.

I hope this post helps even if you don't have pain because it would help for many reasons to live a more simple less cluttered life.

Grandma Donna

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