We're continuing to streamline what I like to think of as our Exit Strategy through this final push to freedom to relocate. We have more relocation options now than we did before, for various reasons, some being the changed circumstances of aging relatives and now grown children no longer at home. Debt retiring continues. I have a stack of student loan papers for an official burning, now that they're paid in full.
My camera's back in service, but one of those rotten fake "windows virus warnings" ate something in my computer to the degree that it's not allowing a lot of my programs to function or be recognized, including downloading my photos...argggghhhhh...and I don't have the know-how and $$ to figure out how to fix it yet.
BUT some of our other goals are underway.
We are cleaning up the house and property so that at the end of the year we can see where we stand and whether or not we want to put the house on the market. A lot of factors will be considered, but till then, we have a lot to do and being the slow and plodding people we seemingly are compared to our dasharound 20s and 30s, it may take that long to chip away at these things without a lot of stress. We have an ailing pushmower, a hoe, a shovel and a wheelbarrow. Jack did wonders in the physical strength department carving out test plots for some of our gardening experiments last year, but the war of the bermuda and the fact we're more or less in a neighborhood (albeit spread out) means maintaining the immediate yard in the manner to which prospective buyers have become accustomed :)
A lot of deep cleaning is commencing. Catching up with general maintenance is included. Disposing of ALL those 200+ 5 gallon buckets is happening slowly, and we'll keep some potted things in the black bins, and others will be cleaned out and brought indoors and used for storage.
We're going to see if we can sell, barter, and donate a HUGE quantity of our stored belongings that have been tagging along with us from move to move, the hope being to see if we can reduce it all down to our already few basic furniture pieces and only enough boxed things to fit (stacked tight) in a covered pickup truck bed or perhaps small pull-behind UHaul. The main goal with that is to never have to pay for storage no matter where we end up.
I'm looking in to what it takes to put some things on EBay or if it would just be easier to Craigslist most of it. Reducing our books is a real change for us...we both have bookaholic tendencies, and always will. But with the ease of borrowing from the library, we're having to get practical about space and mobility.
One unique thing is that we've allowed relocation out of Florida to enter the conversation for the first time. We have to pay special attention to staying warm in the winter because Jack's lungs won't take a lot of cold exposure, but as long as we have a way to stay warm, it may be less of an issue in a 4 season climate somewhere. At least it's on the table for more discussion. This makes me REALLY happy, as I have a lot of problems with the mold in this muggy climate. Either way, as long as we're together, it's all good :)
I like to feel a sense of forward motion and learn new skills. We now have a first second weapon for self defense. The first best weapon is always caution and good plain common sense as far as safety and prevention...removing risk if possible. My husband has the skills necessary for safe handling of a firearm himself, having been a rifleman in the Marines in the 70s. It's rather new to me, though, never having been in the category of Necessity before. I feel it is now, though. I now have a pistol of my own and am slowly taking the time to get comfortable handling it and learning how to care for it. I spent the first week getting the feel of it, learning how to load and unload it safely, getting used to keeping my trigger finger straight instead of touching the trigger during handling. It sounds like a little thing and probably is, but it's what I'm doing to make it feel "mine." I customized it with an inexpensive grip that fits my hand nicely.
Next up will be learning to clean it, that's for this week. Then to have some regular range time and take a gun safety class. Eventually, to feel confident enough with my handling of it to take a CCP class and keep up my range time so that I'll remain safe and this will be an asset for my future.
It feels like learning to fly a plane, to me. Now feels like the right time to be learning this step by step.
I also have begun my new "career" of writing. I have no idea what yet, but I checked out some different writing books from the library a while back and have made my way through them. A consistent piece of advice offered throughout is to "show up to work"...to write every day. I'm going to try for this at least 5 days a week, shooting for 2000 words a day, and we'll see where it goes. I have a lot of half formed ideas for characters and plots, as in writing novels or short stories, but nothing has materialized as a whole and I've decided that sitting back and waiting for it to become clear isn't going to help much. So I'm writing with the determination that somewhere in the midst of 40,000 words a month, something coherent may materialize. The writing prompts and suggestions from some of these writing books are helpful, too. At any rate, though sometimes I have arguments with my keyboard (it usually wins)when I am not sure what to sit down and begin typing, that is my only frustration...the actual writing is invigorating!
I also am going to resurrect some of my art that I've not picked up in years and years...I have no idea if I can craft anything aesthetic like I could Back When, but I'd still like to do some small things. I'm toying with the idea of pet portraits and candids, working both with photographs and different media...pen and ink, pastels, oils, etc. I'll attempt some commissions with the understanding that if the buyer doesn't like the finished result, they're under no obligation to purchase. I used to do that sort of thing now and then in the past, but got really busy when my daughter was young and never picked it back up. I'd love to have a small side income as my "butter and egg" money.
I had pics to include with this post, but can't find a way to download them due to virus probs. I'll see if there's a way from the library, but it won't be today.
We're still in the Week of Unleavened Bread...since we don't eat a lot of bread just now, it's not much of a change for us.
We have some papaya plants in pots, and I noticed that the big freeze didn't kill the malangas from coming back from their corms....there are little baby ones sprouting back now. I'm all tickled the false roselle/cranberry hibiscus, which had completely died back to the ground, is showing bunched groups of leaves at the bases. Cutting back the dead wood should be just in time for their renewed growth...I'm happy...I love those plants and hope to have them in any growing zone we move to eventually. The leaves are deliciously lemony and look similar to a Japanese maple.
We continue to economize by no longer eating out except once a week on a normal week. It took a while to adjust our shopping to buying mostly produce, but it eliminated the processed foods, which has been a big success. I'm estimating we eat about 50% raw and the rest are good balanced meals heavy on the fruit and veggies and good lean meats. I about souped myself out for now during the winter months...no more soup till I'm back in the mood. The warmer weather calls for lots of iced tea, mmmm.
We always have at least one spinach and berry/stevia lemonade smoothie (sounds weird, tastes great) daily, often adding in whatever mixed fruit I have left over from our other frequent "dessert"...fruit chopped small, topped with a few plump walnuts and drizzled with honey.
Jack has experienced a noticeable improvement in his endurance and in how he feels since we added chia seeds to the flax seeds I always grind and put into the smoothies. His job requires him to walk 6 plus miles per shift on inclines and descending slopes as well as stairs, and anything that helps him feel good naturally, it's a keeper. The hyaluronic acid (basic joint and bone supplement from the store) we take daily also continues to help us not have pain in our knees, which seem to be our weak points in the past. The changes in our eating have helped a lot, too. I believe we consider the changes we began making last November more of a daily necessity now. Getting those dark greens (for us, in the form of smoothies) and adding in the squashes, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes instead of high quantities of white starches really has made a difference. With the cost prohibitive nature of our acquiring real milk, we have nearly cut dairy out completely and I've noticed a big improvement with my sinuses since. I don't equate this with dairy per se, but rather with Big Ag dairy that won't ever have the same nutritional makeup as grass fed. So we drink water and tea :)
More stuff to type about later...just a quick update.
Hope to get that photo prob solved soon!
Have a wonderful weekend, and for those of you with the glorious weather like the kind we're having, enjoy that sunshine :)