Sunday, July 27, 2014

Exhausted

After a very stressful 60 hour work week this last week, I've also been dealing with a medical scare from Mom, asthma issues and other assorted crazy stuff life throws at you.  Particularly from people who seem to think I have nothing to do once I'm home, after all, I have no kids and a dead husband, right?


My home looks like it's been hit by a tornado, so I'm slowly getting things done.  After taking care of Mom yesterday (she's doing much better and will not be requiring a trip to the ER), I took 2 bags of recycling to her home's recycling bins.  Later I took two boxes filled with cardboard boxes over to the recycling area that has large bins to handle this.  I finally got the clean dishes (what few were left) out of the dishwasher to run another load last night after the sun went down.

So far today I've taken out two bags of trash, I've already re-filled up one of my boxes with cardboard to go to recycling and I'm starting to get the rest of the recycling and trash dumped into the cans where they belong in.

I still haven't even touched the suitcase since came home 2 - 3 weeks ago.

This coming week is expected to be another crazy one, so I'm going to need to prepare early for the Sunday School lesson.  Did I mention on here yet that I have a new calling?  I'm now a Gospel Doctrine Teacher for Sunday School (the grown up class).

Well, that's about it for the ranting.  Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Living Out of A Suitcase For Three Weeks

You haven't heard from me in a while, and there is a reason for it.  I've been living out of a suitcase for three weeks, and in a sense, "roughing it".

The reason?  Mom had cataract surgery #1.  Surgery #2 is coming soon, so I'm not out of the woods yet, but I wanted to go over some of the things I did to turn my little corner of the world a little more hospitable.

I tried to go it on an overnight bag, but I found that I was always running home for something that either I forgot or didn't fit.  So, suitcase it was.  I didn't buy a new one (although I will most likely be needing one fairly soon), I used one I've had since the 1990's when I travelled for work.

The other thing I did was to separate things into zones, not only with the suitcase, but also with the extra bags I brought.



This is the mess that is now on my couch, with the suitcase underneath.  The plastic bin has extra writing utincils, a bag for mail, a bag for the doctor's, a bag for extra food I wanted to have on hand, the Harry Potter bag for my A/V equipment.



Inside the suitcase I kept a few extra things, including a travel sized first aid kit.  You never know when you will need it.



Inside the suitcase, I kept some additional items, mostly from Eagle Creek, as I love their cubes and pack-it system.



This big bag I used for my undergarments and socks, however I'm going to look into a travel sized towel and wash cloth to put in there, and move the undergarments and socks to the middle one.  The small bag on the left I actually keep in my desk drawer at work - an extra toothbrush and toothpaste.




I used two of the big cubes, one still has an extra set of clothes in it, the other I used for the towel and washcloth.  I love that it has a separate side for the dirty and wet clothes, it came in very handy.



I bought and used the extra large pack-it envelope for my work clothes.  I found that I could fit three complete sets of work shirts and coordinating pants in this (size 2X), and it held extremely well.  



This is actually from Staples, but it was perfect for my feminine products.




I like things to be separated, so I bought a three pocket toiletry bag.  In one pocket I used for the pocket shampoos, the other side held my Q-tips, and the middle I kept an extra brush, lotion and deodorant.  I do have an extra large Wallaby from Eagle Creek, which I've used for years (it's in the pre-9/11 size), but I didn't find that I needed it that much on this trip.


A rule for traveling, always keep a flashlight of some sort in your suitcase.  Again, you never know when you will need it.

The other necessity?  Wet Ones wipes, in the individual packaging.  One other bit of advice is to pack a fragrant bar of soap.  Even if you don't use it, it will keep the clothes in the suitcase smelling nice.



I do have to say, though, that this was my biggest saving grace.  This is a portable drive from Seagate that comes with it's own wi-fi.  This model I've had for a few years, and I don't believe it's made anymore, but they do have some newer and improved models of what this does.  By the way, this didn't come with a case, so I'm using a case I purchased at Wal-Mart that is used by school students for their pencils, erasers, markers, etc.

This enables you to move data (documents, audio, movies) to and from this device to your iPad or iPod touch.  This model is 500 GB, so I was able to put a lot of videos on here and stream them to my iPad.  It has a roughly 50-100 foot range, so I had this plugged in on the charger and turned on in the living room while I streamed from it in the bedroom.

The reason is that Mom tends to watch a lot of Fox News, all day, every day.  After I've heard the same stories for the third time, I needed a break.  It was just easier on both of us if I took my iPad to the bedroom, plugged in my ear buds and watched something that was a little more relaxing after a long day at work.  Also keep in mind that Mom does not have the internet.  Cable tv yes, internet no.

Mom also likes to watch tv until around 3 a.m.  I get up at 5 a.m., so you know how well that was working out for me.  In that case, I would use my iPod Touch (I would have the iPad plugged in and charging by this time), plugged in my ear buds and listened to Harry Potter audiobooks until I was ready to go to sleep.  I have books 1-5 purchased, at some point I'll get the last two.

This helped me tremendously, as I was starting to suffer from sleep deprivation after week two, with Fox News boring into my head while I was trying to sleep.

Many, many thank you's to Joanne Rowling for providing me a different world to escape to at the end of the day.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's That Time of Year Again

After 1 1/2 days, I'm thankful taxes are done.  A few areas to clean up, and to get the finances in order to make it easier next year!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pictures

I didn't post any pictures in the last post, so I took a few on my iPad to give you an idea of where things are at.


Here is a picture of the hanging shelves in my closet.  I got this kind over the cheaper ones for one reason:  the hangers at the top.  Because of the type of rod used in my closet (it's the older kind that hangs from under a shelf, which means those hanging from a basic rod wouldn't work), I needed a piece that would allow me to rotate the hooks.  And yes, I'm loving it.



The inside door to my closet uses over the door hooks for jackets I commonly use.



The front side of the closet door also has hooks.  These are hooks for wreaths that I bought at JoAnn's.  I like the deep hooks that allow for more things to be stored.  Right now they store my traveling bags, however as things change, so will what is stored on these hooks.



This is the outside door to my bathroom.  These are double hooks I bought at the Container store.  The top part holds my jackets...




...while underneath is a lightweight sweater and my makeup bag.  Yep, there's a bag for that, too, and yes, it is organized with smaller bags.  I keep it this way due to saving bathroom counter space and the ability to grab and go when I need to.


I bought one of these for my office, and, as you can see, I am also using more of the cable turtles and the Bambino cord wraps to keep my USB and electrical cables better organized.

There is, however, still a lot of work that needs to be done throughout the entire condo.

Well, there you have it!

Onward!



More Organization Accomplished!

I'm sorry, but there are no pictures with this post, I've been somewhat busy and just plain overwhelmed.

Do you remember all of the organization I did with my purse and the notebook?  I'm thankful I did those.  Mom fell in the back yard this past Thursday.  Thankfully, she didn't break anything (she landed in grass that needed to be mowed), but she is having more and more difficulty in getting back up.

I've bought her a cell phone and have rigged it with a case and a lanyard for her to wear when she is going outside anywhere.  The problem is, she is stubborn enough she might not wear it and end up in trouble again.

The bags and the notebook have come in handy, though, as I now have the records of meds and allergies and I know where my record is, because she has been moving her records from where she normally keeps them.

Today, after working this morning, I went back to the Container Store and picked up a few additional items, including a hanging set of shelves for the closet, which have come in very handy.  It snowballed to the point where the stuff I keep as a keepsake is now stored away, my winter sweatshirts are in dresser drawers and the hanging shelves now store my insulated underwear, insulated outer wear plus a little shelf for my winter gloves, scarves, etc.  It all now has a home instead of in a bag on the floor of my bedroom.

Progress!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Notebook Organization

I used to be one of those people who used a Frankln Planner (before it became Franklin/Covey), so I understand the importance of keeping a notebook for specific reasons.  I don't use a planner anymore for my day, I use the Calander and Home Routines apps on my iPad for that.

I use my Contacts app to keep down names (however I need to also keep track of birthdays there as well).

I've found, though, that with all of the people I come into contact with for various reasons, I need some way of keeping everyone straight.  And, as Mom's needs become more of my own needs, I need a way of keeping track of whom she sees for what.  So, I came up with what I call my Business Cards Notebook.



This was part of that shopping haul I did at Staples.  And yes, I had a plan when I went in and bought all of this stuff.  I have had to go back and get a few extra items once I started to put everything together, but I think I've pretty much got the finished product.

The first sections, when I open up the book has a pocket on the inside front cover that I am using for reminder notices of upcoming appointments.  Sometimes I will get these in the mail, and putting them here gives them a home.

I also have a pocket pouch that has some labels and Post-It notes.  This is to give me quick access to something to write on when I need to make a quick note of something.




I then used the plastic dividers from Avery that are supposed to be writeable - however I used my label maker to label the different "zones" of the business cards and information.



As you have probably guessed, a lot of the stuff in the Mom zone are to keep track of her doctors, as well as using the lined notebook paper to keep track of drug and food allergies and her medications.  These are critical things to have quick access to in emergencies.


I then have a few more of the card holders to have a place for gift cards:



I have more pockets behind these to store additional important items such as my immunization record, return address labels and stamps.  I also purchased a pack of the "zip lock" style protectors for my checkbook to keep everything from falling out.



There is a storage flap on the back cover, I will probably use that for receipts if I need to.  I also kept a few extra pages of paper, for additional notes as necessary.

I also found that Staples has an Adhesive Pen Holder, which only cost $1.99!  This I put on the front cover of the notebook.  I bought a spare in case this one gets lost or damaged.





I also have a separate filing system for any coupons I use for shopping:


Bag Lady

My friends who know me, know that I have somewhat of an obsession with bags.  I'm not into the frilly stuff, it has to be functional, so mostly what I have are tote bags.

My favorites in the past have been from Baggalini, I had a larger one that housed a change of clothes that I kept in the school.  Why?  Working with people, no matter the age, puts you into contact with body fluids.  Enough said.

I used a smaller one for everyday.  The problem was it was strictly a shoulder bag, which meant it was always flying into my face when I was trying to help Mom with something, and I could never get it to stay on my shoulders, even while walking through a grocery store.  This latest bout with bronchitis clinched it, I had a bunch of medications to haul with me wherever I went, and no space to put them in.  Plus, there was no space for my iPad, which I also take with me for reading, writing and sometimes just for my sanity while I am taking Mom to doctor's appointments.  There needed to be a change.

I thought a lot about what I wanted in a purse.

The first and foremost was that it had to be a cross-body strap.  It isn't going to fall all over the place while I'm taking care of Mom.

The second, it had to hold stuff.  Now this did mean that I had to change what I carried in my purse.  I scaled it down to the essentials so I could see how much storage space I would need.  This meant that it also had to be designed to carry an iPad.

There are a lot of great products out there, but the one I found for the best price came from REI.  It's called the Endolyne bag and is designed for a woman's body contours.  Plus, it had the storage I needed, with built in organization.







I would next need an overnight bag, something that was easy to carry, but had a lot of space and organization to it.  I love the Eagle Creek bags for the inventive use of storage, so I went with the Emersen bag from Eagle Creek.



I also have specific bags assigned for different purposes.  This Time Out For Women bag I use for Church.



The Harry Potter bag is one of my preferred tote bags, and I use it for when I have to carry electronics to Mom's home or to Church.





I have also included, inside this bag, an additional bag insert known as the in.bag to help organize some of the electronics. The round object I am using to store the HDMI cord is a Cord Turtle.  Both of these organizers can be found at The Container Store.