My Name Is Pollyanna And I Am A Disposaholic

My mantra became “Am I willing to carry this to the next moving truck?”

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Hi, my name is Pollyanna and I am a disposaholic.

Since I was in my 20’s I’ve moved house roughly every 18-24 months and I reached a state of mind where if I was considering buying a new item I would stop and think “Am I Willing To Carry This To The Next Moving Truck Again?” and “Have I Got Spare Money To Buy This?”.  If the answer was yes, I bought the item but most frequently the answer was no, this is not something that I feel passionately needs to be in my life, it is identified prior to purchase as clutter or a financial burden and has no place in the Whyte House.

I prefer to have very few possessions.  The fewer the better.  It’s a little bit trauma based but I pretend it is a lifestyle choice!  I prefer to have exactly what I need and be able to lay my hands upon it.  I am not a minimalist and like a home to be cozy but everything needs to be useful.

I like to know that everything I own is paid for, that there are no repayments due this month or for 60 months at a reasonable APR.  We don’t have fancy things, my car is 7 years old but new to me and I have a £60 per month payment interest free which is doing my head in because it is the only non-bill bill our house is carrying.

At present I have two sock drawers and that is distracting me from peace of mind, two is too many.  Sock drawers are having an effect on my peace of mind!  That is ridiculous.

I prefer to have very little artwork on the wall because it clutters my thoughts but I really love seeing what other people do to beautify their home.

This weekend I gathered all my gumption and tackled something over which I have a little phobia – paperwork.

I gathered all the post and paperwork from around the house, and was able to dispose of a bin bag of empty envelopes and circulars.  It’s only been 2-3 months since the last time I undertook the same activity.

It had felt like no matter where I turned my head there was Post and paperwork which needed my attention, there was no brain-break from bills because they had been in every line of sight.  But no more.  At least not for a few weeks anyway.

I have some rebates to claim and I have managed to prove that I cancelled a rolling contract in May but the charge was still coming out of my account in October for a portable Wi-Fi hub from EE, how cheeky!  But the service provider was great about it and a refund will be in my account within a week.

I found cheques!  I didn’t realise they had been sent to me for previous overpayments – they were sitting in unopened envelopes which had looked like more bills.

I gathered together pieces of correspondence I need to keep but don’t want to see again. I put them in a series of A4 envelopes without windows so that I don’t have to see those letter headed pages from solicitors again but they are to hand should the need arise at a later date.

There were so many other bits that are now in their rightful place that I can’t even begin to adequately convey the peace of mind and lightening of responsibilities this activity has blessed me with.

We all have coping strategies, mine is to blitz clutter and paperwork and to keep an appointment diary, on paper, in my handbag.

K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!

The less stuff I have, the less I have to move, tidy, or maintain.  It’s a recipe for success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Better Best

I heard music to an LDS Mama’s ears…

I was at a theme park with my teen and it gave us 9 hours straight to chat about everything and nothing while walking around and enjoying the rides.  The topic turned to choices and some very big yet positive changes which had happened in our lives recently to do with education and work.  Then I heard music to an LDS Mama’s ears, Continue reading “Good Better Best”

She Grew Up

School is so much more than Maths and English.

Big changes, leaps and bounds, in the Casa Blanca.  They Whyte House is abuzz with change.  We can barely utter a sentence without change occurring at the moment.  The girl grew up.  GCSE exam results were returned to the students this last week, choices were made regarding future educational establishments, interviews were held, shuffle up days are happening right now as we speak.

The kid did good with her results.  My first inkling that the kid did good was when I took her in the car to collect her results from school and waited in the car park while she went in.  A few minutes later I heard a shriek of joy from someone running across the yard brandishing a manila envelope screaming over and over “A-Star in English” which was improbable because, you know, dyslexia.  The young lady then stopped in her tracks to hug the school chaplain who just arrived and say thank you for her help, before sprinting again to get back to me.  Her school has a chaplain as it is a Church of England school.  They have their own chapel too.  It’s kind of nifty.

The rest of the results were great too, a good spread of great grades and everything she needed to get in to some of her preferred options.

Just as important as grades, she ended up enjoying the school experience.  She ended up with a wide and diverse group of friends.  She ended up attending parties and going into town to meet up for lunches or shopping, she ended up sleeping over and having sleep overs and parties.

This was a medical improbability.  This was a medical unlikelihood.

She has worked flipping hard to get to understand people and what values they hold and how they’re likely to respond in any given circumstance.  She’s worked hard to be a woman of her word that people could count on to be honest and kind but sure of herself.  She ended up working hard to comply with school expectations upon her with their implied requirements and shifting priorities and minor injustices which are normal occurrences in society.  It took it’s toll on her, it was taxing, demanding and relentless but she continued working hard.

This experience was a firm foundation upon which to build a happy and successful adulthood.  She leaves this school to attend the rival school in the next town over for the next two years.  It is with a little pathos that she forsakes spending hours a day with the people she has become accustomed to and who she loves.  But this experience has proven to be a firm foundation.  She’s learned how to socialise into a group and how to let her quirkiness and quick mind shine as a beneficial talent.

I don’t think I could have achieved what she has achieved socially, I don’t think I could have achieved what she achieved academically while concentrating on social skills.  I am in awe of her, but don’t tell her because she gets a little big headed sometimes!

Here’s to the future, and what a magnificent future it is shaping up to be.

Autism, A Digital Brain in an Analogue World

What if a few aspects of Autism were evolutionary leaps and trials? How cool would that be?!

Hypothesis:  Some aspects from various forms of Autism Spectrum Disorders might be humanity’s attempt at an evolutionary leap. 

In my family we hold the opinion that this might be a possibility.  We’ve been mulling the theory round in our minds for a few years and looking for examples to support or refute the suggestion.

 In evolution, Mother Nature for wont of a better description, throws out a variation, a new thing, a “let’s see what happens if I …” in an attempt to gain advantage for subsequent generations and adapt to the environment.  If the adaptation is useful, and if the adaptee can find a mate and let their offspring inherit this new adaptation, it is determined to be a successful adaptation.   

We are familiar with the monkey to man with spear pictogram explaining evolution.  

The monkey adapted, found a mate, the adaptation became widespread and with many proto-human evolutionary lines dying out but others succeeding here we stand today before you as ancestors of that creature who thought to themselves:

“hang on a minute, I can stand up and I think I’ve just invented indoor fire, that’s going to make proteins more palatable and easier to digest which will speed up the incremental development of my brain compared to these other forest and savannah dwelling animals thus giving me advantage in the food chain, I think I’ll invent a spear now, hold my fruit”. 

In our small group, we are collecting examples to see if the quirks and idiosyncrasies of people we meet, some of whom are blessed to be on the spectrum, help or hinder them in this new digital era.  

A person close to me who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome describes their situation like having a digital brain in an analogue world.

In the digital world there are absolutes, yes no, on off, right wrong.  Modern Computers are digital.

In the analogue world there are variations, perhaps maybe, gradients instead of absolutes.  Long wave radios are analogue.

 The person I was speaking with explained that they can cope with absolutes but ambiguity drives them to distraction even though they pass for Neuro-Typical on any given day.

This same person can be listening to music, reading a book and watching a show on their device while simultaneously taking a walk outside with no aspect of confusion evident.

This person is a “data in” person, craving more and more information, faster and faster and at a more and more complex level until their need to master an understanding of a topic is sated.

It is fascinating to watch. 

I am more of a feelings and gut instinct person.  I gather a few bits of information until I start to see a picture, test the water with an idea then make a decision. 

The two ways of being are not very compatible to say the least!

 Each time we come across someone who might be blessed to be on the spectrum we notice what they are good at, what are their talents, how do they prefer to communicate.

The idea that portions or parts of ASD might be an attempt at an evolutionary leap is gaining traction in our thought process.  We see so many people with natural talents beyond non-spectrum folks natural abilities. 

It is difficult to gauge how many people as a percentage of the population have had ASD’s through the generations of humanity so comparing numbers is ineffective as the opportunity to receive a diagnosis is more prevalent nowadays.  Viewing some aspects of ASD as a positive puts a new perspective in to the frame.  It gives us an opportunity to see the good rather than the difficulty.  It gives us an opportunity to count our blessings and be pleased that we might be part of something bigger than ourselves.  Suddenly, digital is cool.

 

Alluring fine figure of a woman

So I have a week without the munchkin as she goes camping for a week with the other Young Women from the church youth group and other youth groups in this area.  Historically I have scheduled this annual week, my only week) to the rafters and been out dancing and seeing buddies or working on huge projects around the house.  One year I took a few days to decorate Missy’s room.  Another year it took me two days to dig out all the trash from her room.  Swings and roundabouts.  Other years I have done gardening or garage projects or donated time to a valuable cause or two.

This year, her room is tidy and just needs a bit of a go round with the vacuum cleaner.  It is decorated already.  I have two blinds to install, one on the stairwell and one in the spare room so that the neighbours don’t continually get a shock as I am not particularly careful about being robed in our own home and sometimes nosey people cop an eyeful.

But this time I am tired.  I am also superbly alluring as in the past couple of weeks I have broken out in blisters all along my legs and now on my eyes.  So the probability of dating is off the cards right now until this calms down.

Either I have used a product which doesn’t agree with me – there are a couple of candidates – or I need to nap, lots.  I’m going to go with the napping option I think.  I have Netflix, takeaway menu’s, healthy fridge food and the ability to mimic a sloth when required.  I think I’m set.

Apart from now I’m thinking about that grout in the bathroom and how I don’t like it and how I have time to sort it out now.  And the garden needs mowing.  The hedges need taking down a few feet in the back garden, the shed # 2 needs a weathertight roof.  And the floor in the living room could do with a sand and varnish.  And the hallway needs painting, and the ironing needs to be put away, and I need to do some paperwork.  And I could do with getting all the tools back to the shed.  And I haven’t investigated the loft yet apart from sticking my head up there and saying “Huh, that looks pretty full”, and I have to go over some quotes for driveway stuff.

Otherwise though, I think I will get a bit of a nap schedule going.  Hopefully.

 

 

Somewhere between here and infinity

If all your peace of mind is gone, and is replaced by hypothetical money worries, you need to speak with your friends.

Don’t you love friends who talk you down from the emotional ledge?  (The correct answer is yes, yes we do love those friends).  I’ve been using much of my spare time to ponder next steps now that we are in the privileged position of being in credit for the first time in almost ever, and for the first time since becoming a fully fledged adult taking care of adult responsibilities.  For clarity, it’s not much in credit but there is a plus sign not minus on the ol’ bank account and that’s a good enough start for me.

When I was working toward bringing credit agreements down to a zero balance, there was a definite goal, a specific figure had to be reached for that to be successful, there was a stopping point.  While the task was immensely difficult, the actual ability to quantify the required outcome was simple.  Keep paying for stuff until there is no more to pay.  Reducing to a nought.  Simple to keep straight, eh.  If there was more than a nought on the balance of the credit agreement, I wasn’t there yet and had to keep going.  Simple.

What has had me vexed is the next step.  The next baby step.  It has kept my mind occupied while I pondered, cogitated, and strategized.

Now that the little number is increasing there is no ceiling, no natural end goal.  Numbers go up to infinity plus one as any clued up 8 year old will tell you.  It vexes me because there is no way to know how much is enough.  How much will we need to have set aside to get by in the next month, year, few years, decade, until retirement or until the end of my natural life.  There is no figure.  It will always be too little.  It will always be more than we had.

With no natural end result my mind has been in a spin.  It has in actuality been quite a little more difficult than dealing with paying down credit.  At least if we had almost nothing we knew what we could do with our little porridge pot.  At least if the money ran out we knew or at least hoped that we had food storage and petrol in the car and the bills were paid.  Although awfully difficult, there were specifics and I am a lady who loves specifics.  I need to know the end from the beginning and if I don’t then all merry emotional hell breaks loose.  Uncertainty does not sit well with me, never has, likely never will.

So, all merry emotional hell has been breaking loose as a consequence of feeling somewhat untethered.  Which is ridiculous.  How can success make a person uneasy?  It’s daft.  I felt like a fool.  I’d met a target, a stretch target as we like to say at work, and yet I was managing feelings larger than before I started.

Anyway, with a sky’s the limit, no end in sight, don’t know how much is enough mind-set I wasn’t feeling very settled.  Until in walks a buddy called Sinead, who herself was hot on the heels of a friend called Mel.

When I was in a tailspin and worrying out loud “what if the roof falls off?”, Mel had quizzically looked at me and said “you have house insurance”.  I slapped my forehead, of course I have insurance, of course if there is a disaster at the home not of my doing and that I cannot fix myself I can rest well knowing we are covered.  It soothed my troubled heart.  That worked for a few days.

Then I went on to fretting on the topic of “how much is enough to have set aside and when do I need to have it by?” because bills have due dates, don’t you know!  I was and still am in a due date mentality.

After confiding in Sinead in the corridor at Church between classes (sorry, missus!) who had only congratulated us on getting to where we were, she came up with the plan of having an account with a specific goal or figure in mind, like £500 for example, and when that is achieved, that is full.  I’ll have done it, it would be completed.  Then open another goal with a slightly increased figure in mind, work toward that and when that reaches the pre-determined figure, I’ve succeeded in that too, and it is done.  Then do it again and so on.  Effectively, we cannot determine the future but we can set goals and work toward them and tick them off when they are completed.  Is this making any sense?  Add a finite factor to an infinite problem.

It had the immediate impact of settling my troubled heart.  How simple.  How insightful of her to realise I wasn’t faux-probleming and that this really was a big deal to my family.  To both these ladies I doff my hat and say thank you in writing as well as in person.  Complex worries had simple solutions, these ladies comprehended the worries and helped by suggesting ways through.  How beautifully hearted of them.  Aren’t they lovely?

I was told a few years ago that someone perceived me to be a Solution Oriented Optimist.  Someone who could see the genuine problem, review, decide, act and stay positive when possible and even stay positive when highly improbable but never deluded.  Their opinion of my was a surprise because I knew what went round in my head at pace to get to the Solution they saw in front of them.  I think this experience over the past couple of weeks has fallen in to this category, without my friends I couldn’t see the solution.  They helped me peep through the fog of worry.  A fog which was of my own making but real to me none the less.  A solution has been formatted and we are making great headway.  Thanks for listening while I got this out of my head and on to electronic paper so to speak.

My Curly Haired Baby Finishes 3-16 School. 

16 year old kids are ready to leave school, I however am not ready. I am a hot mess.

OK, so I might have been a hot mess last night. I might have managed to keep my “I am so pleased for you, congratulations sweetie” composure as Missy dropped the news that she leaves school officially on Wednesday lunchtime. The penny dropped. I suddenly twigged that my little curly afro haired baby who’d been wearing a school uniform for over a decade would be finished with uniforms as she enters study leave for her exams. My curly haired baby who looked at me so doe eyed in those first days of school was now laughing at me getting misty eyed as she talked about the final ever classes with her favourite teachers and how they were taking pictures with the students and giving them pep talks. My child is a child to me. Sure, the world sees a 5′ 10″ young woman who is capable and confident but I see my baby fresh out the hospital or in her oversized polo shirt with a logo. They see someone doing really well in the sciences and I see Chip and Biff early reader books. They see someone who stands her ground and I see someone who needed defending. 

She is ready, I am not. 

After this summer, adulthood looms. She is going to be magnificent and rock everything she sets her mind to. I will have to continue letting her move away and acclimatise into opportunity and responsibility.  My whole mandate for 16 years has been to let her be free enough to be a child, safe and loved. Now my mandate is changing and it is happening so quickly that it is difficult keeping up but I will get there.  She still has two more years of school but is more like junior college where they’re more autonomous. My baby is no longer a baby and it has come as a surprise. 

I am often behind the emotional curve, this is nothing new, no major surprises. I am very pleased with the woman she is becoming and look forward to standing back and observing her in adulthood in a few years, but not yet. I need a little more time.