Monday, August 11, 2008

Wild Goose Chase

Friday night on TV, I saw an ad for the local Home & Garden Show. The ad had a photo of a sink with fancy faucetry. I decided to Get Something Done! I was going to get photos of all our faucets that need replacing and print them out, adding measurements. Then I would bring them to the Home and Garden Show, where there would be great bargain prices for quality fixtures. I'd buy all the new faucets and spigots and sink drains and be ready to call the plumber on Monday.

On Sunday morning, I took the photos, processed them, and measured and wrote down the measurements. The photo looking up at the plumbing under the kitchen sink took some body contortion and several attempts, but I got a helpful photo, I think. On Sunday afternoon, no one in the family wanted to go to the show with me, but I figured I'd be on a mission and so decided not to call any friends, though I thought of a few who would probably enjoy this kind of event. I didn't want to jeopardize my comparison shopping among the plumbing booths by having a friend to distract me.

I had to park in a lot downtown. It was earmarked for the arena where the event was taking place, which I figured meant it would be free. No. It was not at all free. I parked on the first floor, so I had only 4 flights of stairs to walk down (or up again later), which felt relatively safe downtown on a Sunday. The event was just 2 blocks away.

There must have been close to 100 booths. There was an area with landscaping booths, an area with homebuilding booths, and there were booths of every sort imaginable for home stuff. There were bed sellers, home security systems, pots and pans and other kitchen gadgets, deck builders, countertop renovators, and remodelers of all kinds. There were no displays of plumbing fixtures! I went through the entire place. It wasn't really that big; certainly not the way I remember the shows at the NYC Coliseum I used to go to. But I was disappointed.

I settled for looking into gutter guards. Actually, I might have gotten some good advice. A remodeling expert told me that if I got the faucets changed and then was going to change my countertops, I'd have to hire a plumber to remove and replace the faucets.

I followed some folks out and ended up behind a couple who had their car parked very near mine. It's always nice to have company in a public parking lot stairwell!

So now I'm having to decide about countertops before faucets. And what before countertops? Paying back college loans, I guess!

2 steps forward, one step back.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reading the Book Called Getting Things Done

I have now read Getting Things Done (by David Allen) twice. I started my list. I am starting to get the big things noted, but I don't know where to put the actions, and I feel it might be a waste of time to write down the little things. I feel like I could get a lot of little things written down, but then I would do some of them and there would be others coming along so quickly that I would be writing little things on my lists all day instead of getting anything done.

Ya Know Those Photos You Take From Bus Windows?

This past weekend, my daughter was in the mood to help me! She razzed me about not getting things done. She offered to help and began by giving me the following advice about cleaning my bathroom, which was one of the tasks I was having trouble getting to: just do it! She thought it would just take maybe a couple of hours and was perturbed at me for procrastinating and complaining. I blew up at her and informed her that I needed to deep clean the shower, buff the marble with "Gel Gloss," in a similar fashion to waxing a car, and seal every inch of the tile grout in the floor with a tiny paintbrush. But then, instead of arguing, I thought to get with the program a little. I asked my daughter to help me look through some old family slides. "Some?" "Some" isn't why I am blogging about downsizing. Let's try about 4 cubic feet of slide carousels plus about 6 plastic and metal boxes full of slides, say another 2 cubic feet. Plus several boxes of photos and slides. My daughter agreed to help, so I was inspired to set up a makeshift screen using the back of an old white posterboard science project that my daughter had done in middle school and I had saved. I set up one of the 3 slide projectors I found in storage, and we got busy. We decided to toss all my Dad's travel photos unless they had people of interest in them. This decision, fortunately, was reinforced more and more as we went along looking at slides. My Dad had many pictures of roads from inside windows of various transportation modalities, pictures of boats, pictures of bodies of water, pictures of hotels and motels, pictures of city streets with nothing recognizable to indicate which city they were in, and pictures of the display areas of small shops around the world. We could have made a great coffee-table book of photos of shops around the world! Instead we threw out all that kind of slide. I ended up with a sizable pile of photos of my Mom standing in front of all these sights. Mom's various outfits and hair styles are a trip, literally and figuratively! She always looked great, though. There are even a few photos of my Dad in front of sights. We figured the drill was that my Dad would go around taking photos for a while while Mom looked around; then Dad would take a photo or 2 of Mom and then be on his way again, or they would both go somewhere else and start over.

We also decided to keep my Dad's 2 or 3 carousels of photos from his stint in the army in Korea. I am thankful for my daughter's desire to keep these. I think they are interesting and they are certainly a part of our family history. I hope someday my brother will enjoy these photos.

We also gathered a couple of carousels of old family photos, many of me and my brother very young. It was lots of fun, and I got a lot of sorting done. One of the projectors was broken enough to get rid of, and I cleaned off the top shelf of the closet. I kept about 6 carousels, about 1 cubic foot. I did get a good handle on the equipment we have for viewing and storing slides, and I now have a sort of modus operandi for going through the other 4 or 5 cubic feet of slides. My daughter said she'd look forward to looking at more slides during winter vacation, her next time to relax here. If I can remember what I got going this time when next time comes, I'll be able to do a good and efficient job of downsizing the slide collection. I didn't get it all done, but I also didn't let it interrupt me from anything else. I found a good time to do it and enjoyed the effort! And I did get a good start.

I was also inspired to straighten up the living room by getting rid of a few books and moving things around. The living room has been discombobulated ever since we put the TV up on the mantle and removed all the dustables from the mantle and didn't find places for them. Now the TV/gaming area in the living room is better set up and the rest of the display areas of the room are OK for now. The fact that the living room is full of "display areas" indicates the problem! Too many bells, books, and other dustables!