Friday, July 17, 2015

Owning houses and cars. I can see why intense minimalists don't want any of it.

While I fully understand and accept that spending lots of money on repairs and maintenance is part of car and home ownership, sometimes I feel like this isn't my circus, and I don't want these to be my monkeys....
If there is one single thing I would change about my life, it would be to completely cut commuting and everything about commuting out. That includes car ownership. I loathe owning cars. I loathe driving cars. I loathe paying for gas and tolls. I loathe the time I spend waiting in traffic. And more than those? I loathe dropping thousands on car maintenance.

In the past three months we've done the following things to our two cars:
  1. Replaced both sets of tires (talk about money rapidly leaving your wallet...)
  2. Subsequently got tires repaired/patched/single tires replaced again 2X
  3. Replaced battery
  4. Replaced failed transmission on newer car (covered under warranty - positive spin)
  5. Replaced break pads 
  6. Replaced and repaired rear bumper and trunk from being rear-ended
  7. Fixed windshield chips 4X
  8. Got hit by a gigantic semi truck tire that blew out, and jacked up our grill. Still haven't repaired it, but at least started an insurance claim.....
  9. Regular preventive maintenance/oil change every 5,000 miles, which we hit a couple times in the past few months.
I mean, this is borderline insane...but with how much we drive, I'm not too surprised a time like this was coming.

I have coping mechanisms for my commute (which I may write about), but unfortunately my city and circumstances haven't panned out to many other feasible alternatives to commuting.

Now, onto the house. There are joys to owning a home. Buying a house was a huge goal of mine. But sometimes, I wonder....why was it a goal of mine? The stress of being responsible for the upkeep and repair (mainly, the repair dollars) of this home you now own sometimes does not outweigh the joy of owning your home. I know it's an investment, and it's a long term bigger picture thing, but still. Is it worth the headache? It's not something I really "got" until I was actually experiencing this.

Everyone would rather spend their "house fixing" money on remodeling or decorating....but then when your AC starts dripping water down your wall - shit gets real. I just feel lucky that we've been able to swing these repairs. Some people have this stuff happen to their houses, and can't do a thing about it. My coping mechanism for the house repair frustrations is gratitude and perspective...but still doesn't stop me from wanting to blog about it!

Further, owning your house is one way to have your biggest possession tie you down, which is the antithesis of minimalism. For me though, I'm already tied down. I have young kids to put through school (soon) and feed! And wouldn't want to have it any other way!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lululemon Lab Purchases, and 2 Months of Wearing a Uniform

While I was in Vancouver, I made several purchases at Lululemon Lab, which was a dream come true of mine (you may or may not know I've got a thing for Lululemon). I've been wanting to visit the Lab for years, and I'm not sure when I'll get to go back, so I kind of treated it like a once in a lifetime experience. All the stuff can transition from workout to streetwear, and many things are sharp enough to wear at work. My mom was kind enough to take some try on photos to help me decide what to purchase.....I had a blast. And loved everything.

We ended up going with the below four items for me, as well as some things for my husband:

1. Merino blend black mock turtleneck shirt (looks amazing with black pants and heels at work)
2. Black lightweight blazer/bomber jacket (another that I wear at work)
3. Bluish grey extra long tank top (great for running and layering)
4. Black skort (not for work, but can be worn for streetwear or running)

Just this past week, I found myself not really wearing my "uniform" of a light wash chambray shirt and black skinny slacks, and instead going for my dresses.

I don't think it's that I'm tired of my uniform....the trouble is that the shirts seem to look wrinkly, and I have started to lose patience with agonizing over my ironing board with them. In fact, I don't even feel like ironing my clothes....and these shirts are the only thing that require it. This, coupled with the fact that I've wanted to start dressing up more at work due to some stuff I have going on, so yeah....this week seems to be my break in uniform. I'm not sure that I'll give up my uniform, because after all, now I have 5 or so of the same exact shirt. But, I may have to accept that I may utilize them more for my off-work life. Who knows - maybe I'll swing back to them after a week break of constant ironing. But that's not really the point, is it? The point is to love the clothes you wear, and feel confident in them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Back from Alaska/Vancouver, BC

I've been back from my vacation for a couple of weeks now. I came away from vacation feeling refreshed, and best of all, feeling like I learned some new things and gained some perspective....

5 things I learned:
1. I read "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo on the flights. It really was a life-changing read, and I immediately implemented some of her methods. I may write about these in a separate post.

2. I love Canada....but it also made me appreciate the "American Spirit"/masculine confidence of the US. For example...on the buses in Vancouver, if a route is closed, the bus will display giant word "Sorry..." scrolling across the display. Very courteous and sensitive. In the US, we'd just be like, "hey, the bus is closed. no apologies here." I don't know if that's a good thing or not, but it made me feel a sense of endearment for the US.

3. The moment I stepped off the plane in Vancouver, I knew I wanted to live there. Spending time amongst the mountains in Alaska made me realize I'm more of a "mountain person" than a "beach person", which is the complete opposite of what I thought I knew about myself....

4. Being in "vacation mode" helped me reset my natural helped me learn to live in the present and enjoy life for what it is, and not worry as much about efficiency....

5. Taking time for yourself, even when you're a mom and a wife, is of the utmost importance for your health. A life change I made, actually starting on my vacation, was running EVERY SINGLE DAY, religiously. I've carried that over, and have been doing this for the past two weeks. No matter what, I find a way to run. I've already noticed changes in my body and my mind.