From Three Phones to One

One phone is enough
My phone with a new screen, yay!

I know that having three phones is not very efficient, or minimalist. Bear with me, here’s why:

  1. Phone One: an iPhone 5s, was my normal phone, but the screen got cracked and the battery life wasn’t great, so Steve gave me his old iPhone 5s to use. I really loved my old phone because it was white and gold and it was mine. However, it was quicker and cheaper and easier to just use Steve’s, so that’s what I did. This phone is not usually charged and has been on the shelf for the last few months.
  2. Phone Two: Steve’s old iPhone 5s. This is my everyday phone.
  3. Phone Three: an even older iPhone (4s), which I use for business calls. I hardly ever make business calls, but when I started freelancing I wanted a separate business line so I could keep work and home separate, so I dug out my old phone and got a PAYG SIM for it. However, it turned out that I primarily used email for work. I use the business line so little it wouldn’t really have mattered if I’d just used my normal number. Not only that, but mobile reception at our house is terrible, so I tend to use the landline for almost all calls anyway.

It was getting super annoying constantly having to charge two phones (plus – a waste of electricity). The boys had clocked that there were two devices with Angry Birds and other apps on that they liked to play so they were constantly pestering me to use them. I also kept thinking that if we ever got burgled the perpetrators would be so pleased about an iPhone haul, even if they are really out of date, so I decided to sort the whole mess out.

Multiple iPhones
Phones all over the house, constantly being charged up

Phone Three

To lose the business phone I firstly had to log on to all the directories and online locations that my business is listed under and update the phone number. I actually took this opportunity to delete as many directory listings as I could because I’ve never had a single business referral from directories like Scoot or Yell and they are super time consuming to update. Hurrah for simplifying that little area of my business also 🙂

Next I moved the work contacts in that phone over to my normal phone. Finally, I had £1.11 credit left on my SIM. I wondered who I could call, but the call quality is always terrible, so instead I thought I could donate it to charity via text. However when I tried to send a text donation to a charity, I received no confirmation and my balance went down by a random 13p to 98p. A bit annoying really. So I just threw the SIM card in the bin. Sometimes when you’re clearing things out, you just have to write things off. The phone itself I traded in for £18 via Carphone Warehouse 🙂

Phone One

On to the next phone. In order to return Steve’s phone (Phone Two) I needed to get my original phone fixed. I found a local place that did a screen repair with a 1 year guarantee for £49.99. With the traded in money that meant a new screen would cost me £31.99, which was pretty good.

When I took it in it turned out that my battery was also expanding inside the phone (and may have been the reason for the cracked screen, which just mysteriously happened without me noticing), so I paid an extra £20 for that to be replaced also. Total cost including the trade in of Phone Three was therefore £51.99.

It took them 60 minutes to do the repair, with a 12 month guarantee on screen and battery. I was so pleased to have my phone back!

Phone Two

Now my old phone was up and running, I had to backup everything and get it across to my new (old) phone. This was easy as I have everything in iCloud, so I just ran a backup on Phone Two, and then did a complete reset and set-up from backup on Phone One. Within about 15 minutes my original iPhone was all up to date. That meant I could wipe Steve’s phone and finally return it to him.

Hurrah!

It’s funny how little things like this can sap your mental energy when they are lying around the house. In my mind they seem to represent unfinished jobs and disorganisation.

Now I have one phone, and one charger, and hopefully that will last me for a good while.

Cupboard Sort Out – Before and After

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done a decent job in sorting, decluttering and tidying. The whole house is starting to feel a bit neglected, and messy.

This Sunday afternoon, with the school holidays just two weeks away (and more mess and chaos imminent), I decided to do a quick clear out of the left side of the upstairs cupboard. I realise that to some my cupboard will already look pretty tidy. It has been a long journey to get here and we are still downsizing and learning to live without so much excess. However, we have already let go of so much (and feel so much lighter for it), that it may look as though we have no need to sort through again.

What I will say though is:

a) things have a habit of accumulating when you are looking the other way,
b) it is good to regularly question the value of things you don’t touch from year to year, and
c) there is never really an ‘end’ to living a more minimalist lifestyle.

Needs and wants change with the seasons and years, and the ebb and flow of our possessions reflects this. But if it is all arrival and never departure then gradually your life becomes fossilised as layers and layers of stuff that (let’s be honest), are going to be someone else’s job to sort through when you die.

So, out of the cupboard today came:

  • Sony laptop box – to sell with the laptop as I have a desktop and really don’t need both.
  • Large baby floor blanket – donate
  • Spare cushion – replaced the old one downstairs
  • Picture that C painted when he was 4 that I love. I put it in the frame properly, not perfect (perfectionism is something I’m trying to overcome), but just got it done, then hung it on the wall. C loved having his picture put on display (and it was a 2 year-old job off the list).
C’s picture, kept in a frame to protect it for two years but never finished off. Until now!
  • Portraits of my mum, and several old relatives from my Dad’s side. Put up the ones of my mum, Emanuel (my great great grandfather), and Amelia (my great grandmother). Stored two others behind these in the frame.
Portraits in the cupboard. It’s unfinished projects like this that create mental clutter.
  • Baby carrier – to sell
  • 4 moses basket sheets – donate (Now,  some things are harder to say goodbye to than others. They brought back such memories… but, I’d rather they were used for a lovely new baby than being left in a cupboard gathering dust, so off they went after some sentimental brushing against my cheek).
  • Baby blanket, bought for us when I had my first son and used for all three but still in very good condition – donate
  • Two horrible, old, spare, white pillowcases – recycle
  • 4 out of 6 plastic-backed cot sheets. They are spares on top of the four normal ones in the event of serious vomiting episodes. Decided I only needed 2 – donate 4
  • 2 out of 4 spare cot sheets. Decided 2 was fine (I have four others I use regularly) – donate 2
  • 2 out of 4 moses basket blankets. Useful for cool nights and car trips – donate 2
  • 4 out of 10 muslin cloths. I donated around 40 of these last year, but have used only a couple on a couple of occasions since – donate 5, recycle 1 stained.
The pictures were framed and went up, with some slightly dodgy ladder-on-the-stairs DIY. The photo wall is coming along nicely. I’ve got some smaller frames to go in the central vertical gap, but that’s for another day.

Into the cupboard went:

  • The storage box for a fan we are currently using (crazy hot weather). Most of the year the fan goes in the box and the box goes in the loft.

And there we have it. Probably a couple of hours work in between doing everything with the children at home, but SO nice when finished. I then refolded the remaining linen, just because it looks nice ?

Emotional Clutter and My Own Personal Pity Party

beach

Feel free to join me!

Yup, headline news in our house is that this morning I am at the point of total emotional meltdown and have completely LOST my ability (not that I’m even sure I had it in the first place), to be calm, rational, kind and measured.

Well lets begin with some facts – much easier than writing it all out for you and getting lost in paragraphs of my own anger/sadness/grief/despair.

  • DS2 is turning 2 on Saturday
  • Exactly 1 year ago, on the morning of DS2’s first birthday party I ended up in an ambulance, on my way to hospital, miscarrying at 13.5 weeks (great timing, huh?)
  • Exactly 1 year ago, DH cancelled the party we had planned for family that afternoon.
  • Exactly 1 year ago, for the three days I spent in hospital not one family member visited me. And not one family member helped DH look after the boys (who were 2 and 1). In fact, the only contact we had with anyone in that time was my own parents who I called from the hospital bed to tell them I was alive.
  • For 3 months following that day, DH’s parents did not phone or visit. At all. They reappeared in November, when DS2’s birthday came around.
  • All of the above family are due to visit us on Saturday afternoon. Just like last year.
  • I took a pregnancy test this morning and it was a Big. Fat. Negative.

So, can you begin to imagine what my current state of mind is?

Aside from the fact that I had high hopes (as hard as I tried not to think about it) that I would be pregnant for DS2’s birthday (I’ve waited long enough and it would help soothe the wound of of his first birthday), I actually have to act all happy and entertain two sets of parents over the weekend when what I really want to do is shout at them and cry and sob and throw things at the way life has been for the last year and the way I feel I was wronged by them all.

In fact, I’ve even been imagining an alternate birthday party, where I stand up to give a little speech when everyone is here. Kind of like this:

[Stands up, sways slightly from the half a bottle of wine consumed]

I’m so glad that you’ve all turned up today to celebrate DS2’s birthday even though not one of you fuckers came to visit me last year when I was bleeding to death in the hospital and DH was on his own here with the two kids. Thank you.

How would that go down, I wonder.

Sigh.

So, this morning.

This morning, I took a (ultra sensitive 10miu) test and it was negative. I’m not due for a few days but I knew I wasn’t pregnant anyway. As usual any hopes were dashed on the sharp rocks of unexplained secondary infertility.

So I came downstairs with a sore throat, a headache, an empty uterus, and sadness in my heart for Saturday (which should be a joyful occassion – it IS a birthday after all) and the kids are playing up and DH is just standing there doing nothing, waiting to be given instructions (I swear, it’s like having 3 children already, why would I need another anyway?) and my voice starts to wobble and the tears come and then before I know it DH and I are waist-deep in an emotional dissection of last years hospital saga and the lack of support from either of our families.

Which of course, is neither of our faults.

I cry and cry and cry and in the end (because I really do deal with things better on my own), I send DH to work and try to compose myself for the day ahead.

I am so close to calling everyone and saying:

Sorry, no visiting this weekend. I can’t do it. I’m still not over my miscarriage in August (do you remember it? The one where I spent 3 days in hospital and had to have a blood transfusion?), let alone the three chemical pregnancies I’ve had since then, and I’m still upset that none of you were there to help either of us, so sorry, Saturday is cancelled.

But I don’t.

Because it would kill my parents (who are emotionally fragile themselves and god knows they have already been through enough in their own lives) and because if I make a stand against DH’s parents, I will never let them back into my life again, which is the wrong thing to do for the children.

So instead I cry and cry and cry and cry.

And DS1 brings me some Maracas and DS2 tries to climb on my back for a piggyback ride.

And then I realise a few things.

  1. What if someone told me today that this time next year I still would not be pregnant. That there would be no third baby. Ever. What would I start doing differently, right now, today?
  2. That I am blaming EVERYONE for what is going on in my life. I feel such anger and rage at other people over the things that have happened to me. On the surface it’s because they weren’t there for either me or DH, but on a deeper level I’ve always known that my own family was dysfunctional and unable to help others, so why do I still expect it after all these years? Why does it suddenly hurt so much now when it’s been this way since I was a child?
  3. That I need to stop blaming others. Full stop. It’s a horrible, self-pitying way to think and I don’t want to be that person.
  4. That I need to clear out the emotional clutter. My physical possessions are so much less now and my head feels so much worse. I’ve got to start untangling what’s in there. 

It’s not just about this weekend, or last year. It’s more than that. It’s ghosts in the nursery, unresolved issues with people, bad friendships, bad choices, old hurts, traumatic life experiences. My personality needs stripping down the the basics and rebuilding. I need to clear it all out. Get it all out. Start again. Grow myself or grow a tumour (so they say).

How the hell do I do all of this?

I know it’s all about baby steps – just like with physical clutter – you can’t get rid of 38 years of emotional angst in one go without having some kind of lobotomy.

But at least with physical clutter you can make a start anywhere and see immediate changes.

Changing the way you think, reconciling the thoughts that are ingrained in your mind is a little more challenging.

So.

I’m off to research exactly how to do this. How to ‘fix’ myself.

Or at least how to make myself feel happier, more of the time.

My ultimate goal would be forgiveness, but even the thought of that right now makes my stomach turn (that’s how bad it is for me I’m afraid).

I’m going to get a notebook, read read read. List out my issues, work through them. If necessary I’ll see someone else for therapy, whether it’s talking or alternate or conventional.

I’ll probably write it up on here – I apologise in advance for dragging you all through the mire with me 😉

And finally, I read a couple of things this morning in the great wordpress community that are so relevant to me right now I wanted to share them.

Firstly, Nancy over at My Year of Sweat said:

Magic happens…change happens…when we decide to take control of our outcomes. And yes, that involves work. Get over it. Stop blaming your parents for your bad genes and start making lifestyle changes that will improve your life.

Secondly, Ginny over at My Simplicity Quest said:

The older I get, the easier it gets for me to forgive… – mostly because l have much to be forgiven for. 

And so do I.

And I’d never thought of it like that before.

Wish me luck with this one. I’ve known it was coming and I’ve put it off for so long.

I can’t give you numbers and stats and before and after photos, but I can tell you if my world tends towards more sunshine and less rain on this journey I’m about to embark on. Thanks for reading.