Friday, May 31, 2013

Suspended Animation

I don't do well with a lot of time to myself and constraints on how I spend it. I manage to convince myself that I 'can't' do much and just end up in a fetal position worrying about the future. That future happens today at noon when I go in to start my 12hr shift. Mind you, prior to a week sitting here getting myself in a tizzy I wasn't at all concerned. Now every detail of my life scares me. It is good that I'm getting back out whether I'm ready or not.

I need to go to the Credit Union and get a money order and pay my rent that is 'past due' after the 1st. No grace period. I'm amazed at apartment complexes being so heavy handed as a lot of folks get paid on the first, but whatever. It was much the same in WA. One reason I hate living in apartment complexes. Then I want to stop by CostCo to see about some lentil dinners that I saw referenced in a thread somewhere on taking in lunches to work. If I end up going out for Panda Express later this evening anyway, so be it. Since I need to be at work at noon, I'll leave here around 10, an hour from now.

And so, off to start a new chapter, yet again.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And More ...

Since I'm sitting at home pondering I am taking the opportunity to re-read Walden by Thoreau on-line. This is one of my favorite books. Here are some quotes, and how I'm applying them to my current life:

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically...

I do pretty well solving my lifestyle problems theoritically. The practical part is where I fall down. I want few possessions, but it seems that every time I turn around I 'need' to go purchase something else to do what I'm trying to do. Whether it is make use of my older laptops, or take lunches in to work rather than running out for fast food. In the long run I know these things will cost less. Right now it just seems that I'm always pulling out the debit card for something. It especially is frustrating since I have a lot of these things that I'm paying storage on in MO. To get those things to me here also will cost money. It is a constant battle in my mind on what is the best course of action.

I also have in my mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters.

This unfortunately is my life in a nutshell. I am fettered by the storage units, a house I can't live in, and yet I'm still acquiring stuff.

Let him who has work to do recollect that the object of clothing is, first, to retain the vital heat, and secondly, in this state of society, to cover nakedness, and he may judge how much of any necessary or important work may be accomplished without adding to his wardrobe.

This is one area I'm good in. I have A LOT of clothes. That is what most of the Jeep was filled with. Luckily my new job isn't one where I am face to face with clients. The clothes I bought to wear in Honduras work well in Phoenix. I am not even tempted anymore to buy clothes.

So these are the issues I'm thinking about. I do have projects I can and need to do. I have the sweater to finish knitting, Linux to install on a couple of my laptops. There are places in town I can go and wander around and I can take pictures and update this blog. I'm sitting home spinning in circles instead. I'll come out ok. I'm just really trying to take advantage of this turning point in my life to head in the direction I want to end up.


My stuff continues to occupy my mind space. I think about what I don't have that I would like to have here. I think about the 2 10x20' storage units of stuff in MO and wish I knew how to get to it and trim it down. I think about how I don't want to go out and get new things here that I have in storage in MO. I don't think this is how an experiment in minimalism (relatively speaking) is supposed to go down.

The latest things I acquired are a 1 gallon plastic pitcher, tea bags and sugar all from the dreaded Mart. I want something to drink other than coffee, and home made sweet tea won out. I also got 3 more gallons of drinking water. I need (want?) to get a Brita filtering setup so I can hopefully get the city tap water to not taste so bad. This would also give me something to use the ever larger pile of gallon plastic jugs left over after I use the water. At $.88/gal the price to just buy the bottled water isn't bad, but the fact that I have to go buy it, and the empty jugs afterwards piling up mean a new way has to be found. An alternative, I guess, would be to find a 'fill your own jug' water filtering station.

I am getting more comfortable with the less stuff lifestyle. Having the tea in the fridge was a large step into luxury for me. Next up is a skillet and spatula I think. I do check out thrift stores, but lately the prices at the Goodwill and Savers stores are so close to prices for new that I opt to go new and get only what I want. As I read recipes to start cooking at home in order to take in lunches to work I realize I not only don't have the ingredients but I also don't have the cookware to cook it or the containers to store it in the freezer. Back to the storage units many zip codes away, I have multiples of everything back there and can't get to it. It really isn't worth having Mom search through the boxes of stuff and mail it to me.

I am in the middle of almost a week off work as I switch to 12 hr shifts at night. I worry about spending money so I'm not driving anyplace. I'm not going shopping. I'm not doing much of anything. I have time and no good ideas of what to do. So, I'm sitting pondering all of this.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Getting there

This week I finally hit some kind of status quo. I haven't had any areas where I've gotten so annoyed that I ran to a Mart and bought the answer to the issue. I've learned that towels and some cooking utensils are good, at least one chair and one table are necessary, and pillows might be nice but I can sleep ok without one. I'm pretty sure I could still get everything in my Jeep if I had to, and this thought is a difficult one to get past. I'm so used to needing to move about that I find settling in is a slow process. I do now have a local Credit Union, prompted by the fact that my first paychecks were paper ones and I just don't want to jump through the hoops to deposit check via my phone. I will at some point, just not now.

I am sobered by how little relatively I'm bringing home from this good job. Relative to my work outside the US which I didn't have to pay taxes on. I'm almost afraid to add up my bills, even though I thought I was being conservative while I was signing up for the apartment and internet and such. I will be going over all of that. I am close enough to work to bike it, but I don't own a bike right now. Pondering the idea of getting a bike vs. just driving the Jeep is one of the next issues, after looking at the bills.

I have been working on the sweater as knitting is cheaper than going to the casinos. I also enjoy it almost as much. Having found a way to make it a social thing as much as a couple of evenings a week if I so choose means it is filling that need as well. I am almost finished with the first sleeve, leaving one more sleeve and the collar to finish for it to be completely done. I have learned some more new procedures including magic loop knitting and the proper way to do a SSK. Exciting stuff, eh?

I am going through all of the things I brought out here as at the time I stuffed items into packs and bags and such. I'm still missing a couple of things, including a belt that I could swear I had at the hotel prior to moving here. If that is all that is lost I'll call it good. All of the things from Honduras arrived in MO on Monday and Mom supervised the unpacking and loading of it into the storage unit. She reports that everything looked fine. I wish I could transport about half of it to here in Phoenix, but that will happen in time. I'm still trying to decide where I want to settle more permanently, in this apartment or over in a slightly cheaper area or in an RV park or what. Money is an issue, and most major changes in residency are waiting on the house to sell.

I am trying to decide if I will drive out to Payson for the day and check out the state park over there. I weigh the money for gas vs. looking back later and wishing I had gotten out more. I most likely will go.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

More holes get filled

A trip to Goodwill, which is amazingly close it turns out, and for $3 I have a real plate that I can use in the microwave and a set of metal eating utensils. I also went to Costco and got some food. I now have frozen chicken tenders and frozen vegetables and berries (without seeds...) and individual pizzas. Also some sliced cheese. I like cheese and mayonnaise sandwiches as much as the ones I put the roast beef slices on, so I'm good for lunches for awhile now. A cheese sandwich and a frozen burrito or pizza and I can make the 8 hour shifts I'm on now. I'll need more to make it through the 12 hour shifts I'll have when I get trained, but by then I hope to be actually cooking again.

In between those two places I drove over to Tortilla Flats. I did take a couple of pictures and hope to at least update my header picture this weekend. Maybe the background one as well. I am still not a desert rat and am more one of them there tourons who just drive by in their air conditioned car. I figure I'll drive around during the summer heat and get an idea of the layout around here and then actually get out and enjoy walking and hiking the area this fall and winter. It is pretty amazing country, but the lack of shade gives me pause when thinking of leaving the Jeep behind and walking down a trail.

Slowly things are coming together. I still need a few more cleaning items and some peanut butter. I forgot(!) to get some when I was at WalMart the other day and CostCo only has Skippy! Who'd a thunk. So, tomorrow probably means a trip to the Mart. Then no more spending money for awhile.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Good, Bad, and not really Ugly

Life is good right now, for the most part. I am official at work, finally. I can announce with confidence that I have the new job with no asterisk declaring *as soon as gets filed. I have an apartment confirmed for the near future that will most likely be a viable option at the end of this 7 mo lease. I enjoy this area, what I have gotten out and seen so far.

I am feeling disconcerted at not having a lot of my stuff here. Stuff, as in individual items, and a lot, as in the apartment is echo-ingly empty. I don't have things packed away to make room for the things I'm actually using. I have room. I miss my stuff. I find my camp chair to be uncomfortable. I could sit on the floor with pillows! Oh, I don't have any pillows, either. Even on the air mattress I call my bed. When I start to think about what I 'need' to go out and get the list gets long and I don't know where that line is where I shouldn't spend so much money on stuff that I will eventually (soon?) not need because I'll have my 'real' stuff here. At some point I realize that I can probably go spend money on some more peanut butter and even a gallon of bottled water without guilt, but it is a slippery slope. I use my plastic dish as a platform to microwave a salmon burger (don't recommend them, btw), and wonder if I'll melt it into a horrid mess. It didn't. However, the fact that my choices are the plastic plate or a stainless saucepan when it comes to cooking utensils gives me pause. If you saw just how MUCH kitchen paraphernalia I own that is somewhere adrift in Missouri (I hope) you would realize why this is a confusing moment for me.

The upshot is I'm starting to feel the familiar depression starting to form clouds on my horizon. I know I need to start eating better. I need to get some kind of center going where I feel at home. This is all messing with my proclaimed desire to head towards minimalism. Hey, I'm supposed to be having wonderful gushes of lightness and freedom in my nearly empty apartment with it's empty kitchen cabinets. I hate to run out and fill the space until I give this experiment more time. But, it's getting cloudy around here, emotionally.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Settling In

Once again they needed something for the background check that came in late yesterday. Hopefully next week I can finally do something at work. Laying low and staying out of trouble when I don't have anything to do is not one of my strong points. If I could log into a computer and start studying something, anything, I would be happy, but I can't really touch a computer while I'm there.

On the home front I'm getting a bit more organized. Still very little furniture. I did buy a small folding table to put the printer and cable modem on. I'll do more shopping around this weekend. I'm only buying things that I reach for out of habit and get truly annoyed when I don't have whatever it is. Kleenex in the bathroom, wastebasket, something to keep the various underwears corralled. Something that was second tier (second shopping trip when I moved in) was hangers. These are things I don't pack usually, and always need when I get where I'm going. On short trips I use inflatable hangers, and wonder why everyone doesn't think they are as awesome and I think they are. However, I ended up buying 4 packs of 18 before it was all said and done. I do have a few empty, but not many. I do have a walk in closet here.

Lots of projects bubbling in the back of my mind. Lots I want to get out and see. Any suggestions for the immediate area of Phoenix that I should do/not do/check out/avoid are welcome (Thanks DD for your suggestion!).