Thursday, February 23, 2012

What I couldn't live without

And I'm not talking about stuff like my family, my friends, my beliefs, and all that.  Maybe I'll have a post like that on another day, but not today.  Today is about STUFF. 

I like to consider myself a minimalist.  I've recently discovered, however, that I wasn't quite as much of a minimalist as I thought I was.  I went through some old boxes and folders and bookcases and I gave away/sold/recycled/threw away 12! bags of stuff.  And there is still quite a bit here, but I am getting closer to what I feel is really the stuff that we need/use/like, etc.

And speaking of living without stuff, I had an experience with that when my husband and I were fairly newly married. 

We had been married for 8 months and we were living in a two bedroom apartment here in Normal, and I got a job offer in Chicago.  We knew that I had to take it because a) it was in my field; I had been working as a receptionist since we got married.  Not that there is anything wrong with that profession, but I had a bachelors in technical writing, and had recently finished a year in a masters degree program in English, but couldn't find a job in training in Normal (a somewhat common theme over the years - In the 16 years since this time, I have been able to work as a trainer here in Normal for 4.5 years of it.) b) I was working as a receptionist (yea, I know I said that) and Mr. Simple had an graduate school assistantship and that was it for our income.  Can you say "living on love?" So we decided that we needed to be bringing in more income and we could do that if I took a job in Chicago and Mr. Simple found one in Chicago c) Mr. Simple's mom lived in Chicago and we could stay there until the lease was up on our apartment in Normal so we didn't have to pay double-rent for 4 months.

So we moved in to his mom's place, but she ALSO just lived in a two-bedroom apartment.  We still had to pay rent on our other place for four more months.  So we decided to just leave everything back at our old apartment besides the clothes that we needed, and that was about it. We would come down about once a month to our old apartment and stay for the weekend, etc.  Whenever we came into our old apartment, it amazed me that I had a whole apartment full of stuff and there wasn't one thing that I recalled missing while I was living in Chicago.

(Oh, and in case you are wondering about that timeline, we lived in Normal from 1995-1996, Chicago from 1996-1998, Springfield and then Decatur from 1998 - 1999 and then we've been back in Normal again since 1999.)

Anyway - -

Here are the things that I would have a hard time living without now.  Things I use everyday.  Most multiple times a day.

1 - Cast iron combo cooker.  I use this most days at least once, and sometimes twice a day for cooking.  And I'm turning into quite a foodie lately, and I really like to cook, and I recently bought some new cookware, bakeware, and utensils, and cookbooks and I love it all.  But if I could only have one thing from the kitchen, I'd take that.  Although I do like my new chef knife an awful lot.

2 - My smartphone.  I know.  Two years ago, I just had a "regular" cell phone.  I rarely texted. I never checked my e-mail from my phone.  But as I increased my freelancing, and after I moved the the preschool from the family room downstairs (which is also where the desktop computer is) up to the living room, I had no way to check my e-mail during the day, and my smartphone let me doing that.  I found it so much easier to text the daycare parents than calling them to just ask them a quick, simple question. And although the photo quality leaves a lot to be desired, there have been times when I had my phone with me and I didn't have my camera, and I was able to get a shot that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to get. I also use it as my alarm clock.  And as a timer at swim meets.  And to entertain Super sometimes.  :) I really wish the screen was a little bigger though.  And that iPads were less expensive.  :)

3 - Laptop.  Mr. Simple and I bought a laptop a few months ago.  We use it for our businesses (Mr. Simple, after years of working in media relations and public safety, now owns his own business and does interior house painting. I do freelance technical writing & training and I do Simply Living In The City.)  It has been really helpful to have something so portable, especially since we are both using it, and especially during my transition from daycare provider/freelancer/owner of SLITC to "just" freelancer/owner of SLITC because it enables me to use a computer.  I can take it to meetings if I need to and I can use it during my SLITC classes if I need to.  Oh, and we gave the desktop computer to the kids, and the laptop has fingerprint scanning to log on, and only Mr. Simple and I have fingerprints that are registered, so I don't have to share the computer with my kids. Ever.  Priceless, I tell you. :)

4 - Lined Crocs.  I know.  Not what you expecting. Mr. Simple bought me these at the beginning of winter and I thought I wouldn't use them.  I wear them almost every day.  They are like being able to wear slippers, but more like a shoe.  I'm not embarrassed (although maybe I should be :) ) to wear them in public, but I would be if I was wearing slippers.  And they keep my toes warm when I wear them, which for me, is like foot nirvana.  I've had "regular" crocs before too that I wear in the summer, and although I like them, I really love these for fall/winter. Of course, the fact that we have practically NO snow here this winter probably makes me love them more than if we had had 12 feet of snow this year. 

5 -  Local cream and milk.  I love, love, love being able to make my own butter and my own ice cream and my own yogurt.  It is so easy and it is so fresh.  And we can add whatever we want.  It is so cool.  I make butter in this food processor, yogurt in a yogurt maker like this one, and I make ice cream in this ice cream maker. 

6.  My water bath canner.  I used that thing All.The.Time in the fall.  I like my pressure canner too, and I like freezing things and I like drying things and I like vacuum packaging things.  But if I could only have one thing for preserving the harvest, I'd definitely take that canner.

No comments: