Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Catch-up

I know this blog's become more about life stuff recently. Groceries and meal planning, frugal living, and personal achievements aren't the only things going on for me right now, but I'm out of library school and there's not much library stuff I can talk about right now. I hope to come back to it in a while. In the meantime, here's what I've been up to this weekend!

A recent work assignment has used some project management and documentation skills, and it's been very busy in the office. I'm looking forward to working from home for 4-6 weeks starting around Thanksgiving, while the space undergoes construction. (It will help my concentration a lot to do some of that intensive work without background chatter.) In order to make room in the study at home for my computer setup, and to be comfortable working there, I'm accelerating the decluttering. I would like our combined amount of "stuff" to decrease by 30% by the time we plan to move at the beginning of next year.

On Thursday and Friday, my wife and I went through our closets and dresser drawers and unearthed more clothing than I thought we owned! We filled two large Tupperware bins and two backpacks with outgrown or unwanted jeans, dresses, T-shirts, and more -- costume pieces I'd had since childhood, hats I was unlikely to wear, and some accessories my wife has way too many of already. Then we took them to a friend's clothing swap on Saturday night.

Although these parties have sometimes been very crowded due to their popularity, last night there were only about 10 women and the hostess trading clothing and having a great time. We are a range of sizes, but there were at least 2 women at each general size represented, so we learned quickly to try out what the other person/people in that size had brought. That added a level of organization to an otherwise mad scramble in the middle of a knee-deep pile of clothing on the living room floor! I saw that some of the items we'd brought found good homes, and between us my wife and I filled a small bag with clothing in exchange for all we'd brought. (She also found a piece of her Halloween costume to borrow.) The leftover unclaimed clothing was donated to a local women's shelter.

A peek at the guest list (less like this and more like this):
We ranged from age 23 to 65, all queer women living in the Bay Area. Our hostess, who arranged my bachelorette bash and whose husband "caught the bouquet" at our wedding, has been running a social club for bisexual and bi-supportive women for 12 years now (this was the anniversary party). We had in attendance a burlesque legend, a lawyer, two math tutors (one of whom is also a go-go girl), an archaeologist, and a performance artist who lives in a converted schoolbus. One woman had been at the inaugural meeting/party, and one had only recently joined. (I've taken part for 8 years.) With such a small group, we were able to have good conversations about everything from feminist theory to nail polish remover to divorce to gender politics. There was a table loaded with snacks and even a chocolate fountain (with all sorts of sweets to dip in it). I was sent home with leftover brownies. Definitely a great way to spend an evening.

Then today my wife and I and our once-and-future housemate went to check out the place we want to move into in the East Bay. It is AMAZING. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a huge kitchen, common area, office, pantry, storage. Plenty of space! Hardwood floors and chalkboard walls or colorful paint. Clothes washer and drying lines, outdoor space for container gardening. Walking distance to a BART station and a couple bus lines, a library branch, a bilingual elementary school, a couple of cafes, a thrift store, a bulk foods store, a pharmacy, at least one taqueria, and a couple of artists' enclaves. A half-dozen parks and playgrounds within a 5-block radius. A free shuttle runs nearby and will take us to the movies and/or IKEA.

I want it so bad. My head is full of homemaking and nesting dreams. In my fantasies, we could rent here for a year or two, then buy the whole place from the owner-landlord and rent out the bottom level while raising a family on the upper floor. I dream of sustainable living, homeschooling, community engagement, appreciation of nature even in an urban environment. But before I get too wrapped up in it, we have to see whether one of the current housemates there will be approved to rent by himself (and an unspecified number of as-yet-undiscovered roomies). If so, we're out of luck. If his application doesn't pass muster, though, we three would be the second choice.

After touring the dream house (with a TURRET! Did I mention that??), I went to the grocery store and saved 40% on my total. (I love that it's printed on the receipt; saves me the math.) I got a couple of veggies on sale, eggs (for hardboiling, frying, and baking), and a heck of a lot of meat. Two megapacks of chicken drumsticks, for which we now have room in the freezer and several interesting recipes. I'll use the Food Saver to seal those up and pop them in the freezer, and then I'll be making a casserole for dinner. Yesterday I tossed some leftovers into the slow cooker and ended up with a sort of chili (white beans, rice, tomatoes, ground beef) that was frozen up (aside from what I fed my wife for lunch). I'm really enjoying the food stockpiling and cooking for the freezer. That's another reason to declutter soon -- we want to make room for a chest freezer in the kitchen!

Right now my wife is sleeping (after working back-to-back shifts yesterday and the day before), and I am chilling with the cats. I'll need to finish up some books that are due back at the library, and I'd like to continue with some decluttering tonight after dinner. I've watched a lot of Toddlers & Tiaras today (Netflix knows me so well! It emailed to tell me about this and season 3 of Sister Wives.) and need to switch to print. We might head out for a walk when it cools off a little. This was a very nice weekend. I could get used to it.

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