Thursday, January 29, 2009

What is UP with the cost of energy these days?

Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful that the price of gasoline is down. It now only costs about $20 to fill my tank, and it is great. BUT, I feel like I am paying more than enough in other energy sources to make up for it. I opened my Questar Gas bill yesterday and I swear my heart stopped beating for at least 15 seconds. $277 to heat my house from Dec 17 - Jan 18!!!! Are you kidding me? That is up over $130 from the month before. Plus, we were gone for almost a whole week during that time and the heat was turned down to 50 degrees. And it still cost that much? Plus, the Lehi City bill is back up! It should be going way down right now, but nope, it was pushing $200 for stupid electricity this month. I could be driving a hot car and living it up, but instead I'm paying it all to heat my gay house. After I opened the bill and hyperventilated for a few minutes, I went straight to the thermostat and turned it down. Yes, I admit, it's usually set to 72 degrees. I always consider turning it down for a portion of the day, but then I think, well, I don't want to be cold in the morning. And I don't want to be cold during the day, or in the evening, and especially not at night, so that doesn't really leave a lot of options. So it stays at 72, and I still don't feel warm! I prefer to bask at about 77, but I try to be frugal. But anyway, all that went out the window and I set all 4 cycles to 69 degrees and told myself that we can all wear sweaters and coats if we need to, but we are not paying $277 again! Then last night I got home from Young Women's and found my big tough husband curled up in a blanket on the couch. "Why in the world is it so cold in here?!!!" ("It's frickin freezing in here, Mr. Bigglesworth!") I tried to explain it and he told me that I was being ridiculous and we couldn't live like this. I thought about telling him how I had just finished reading Little House on the Prairie with Dallin and how Ma and Pa would totally have just endured this and said "All's well that ends well" (whatever that means), and that they actually went through a lot worse and survived, but then I thought better of it. It's always better to have harmony in your marriage, and besides, I was starting to get a little chilly myself. So, it's back up to 72. (Alish, I'm considering moving to Tucson. Any good houses for sale down by you?)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Yay for my 100th post!

I just noticed that is my 100th post. What a remarkable day for all of us. I have been absent from the blogging world the last few months. December hit me hard, and I just had to cut back somewhere in my life, and that happened to be my time at the computer. Then January came along and I have been overcome with an organization bug. I know it is a typical new year thing, but it has been so refreshing after all the craziness of the holidays to just STAY HOME and go through all our CRAP (and CHUCK most of it!). I am not a born-organized person, so it has been a learned skill I have been developing throughout my seven and a half married years. College was a time to throw everything in a box and just hope it did something with itself someday. The first year of marriage was about the same way. However, right before I had my first baby, I discovered the FLYLADY and she pretty much changed my life. I have read a lot of organization books since then, and while they are all helpful in some way or another, I still fall back on the Flylady's simple and useful system. Today I would like to share three organization books that have been helpful in bringing *order* and *peace* into my life. And yes, I stole these pictures directly from Amazon. BUT I'm linking right back to them (just click on the book, isn't that exciting?), so they should be paying me commission.

I ordered "One Year to an Organized Life" right before Christmas this year, and I've already read the whole thing. A lot of it was pretty basic stuff that most people already know/do, but there were certain sections that I really liked. It basically takes one month at a time and has you dive into different areas of your life. The kitchen section inspired me to completely redo my pantry, which has always been one of my worst areas, and now I love my pantry so much I feel like kissing it every time I open it. However, I'm not suggesting that this is the greatest book in the world. It has kind of weird little mantra things in it where you're supposed to pray to your house and stuff, and I'm not really into that. Well, I guess it's just called the 'Affirmation of the Month" but it made me kind of embarrassed for the lady who wrote it. Good for a laugh though. For example, August is "Moving Month" (in case you happen to be moving in August) and here is the AOTM: "I am guided with ease to my new home. I embrace the life waiting for me. I also bless and thank my current home. I release it to the new occupants. I am thankful for all the participants in this transition." Maybe I just haven't released my old house or something, but it all strikes me as a little odd. I really don't know why I'm talking about this book. I guess I'm just so happy about my pantry that I had to mention it. If you want to borrow it, let me know, and we can laugh together. You probably don't want to buy it. NEXT!

My mother-in-law told me about Organizing from the Inside Out a few years ago and I love it. The main principle is that you should have everything you need for a particular task within arms reach. For example, at your desk you should have pens, paper, a calendar, a phone, stapler, phonebook etc. within easy reach, and NOT have things that you don't use often, like owner's manuals or books you don't need. Store things that aren't used often in more out-of-reach places and reserve all immediate space for things you need every day. This applies to every place in the house, and I am still amazed sometimes at the things I have in places that make no sense. The job of organization is never done, I guess.

Which brings me to the FlyLady. I love this woman. I don't use every single piece of her system, but I use a LOT of it and it has helped me in so many ways. Her big thing is to start by shining your sink. You can't feel good about your life with a dirty sink, and once your sink is clean it will rub off on the rest of your life. I know it sounds silly, but I love coming out to my kitchen in the morning to a clean sink! Plus, she has a great system for getting rid of clutter. I love how she says that everything you own should bring a smile to your face. If you are holding on to something out of guilt or obligation and it doesn't make you happy, get rid of it! It is so liberating to be free of things that just bring me down every single time I see them. I used to be such a pack rat, because I was trained in the school of "what if I need this someday?" and guess what - if I do need it, I probably won't be able to find it and I'll end up buying a new one anyway so I may as well send it on its merry way to the good old Deseret Industries. Another thing I love about the FlyLady is her system for keeping bathrooms clean. I used to spend every Tuesday in rubber gloves with a thousand different chemicals trying to disinfect my disgusting bathrooms. Now I take ten seconds and wipe down my bathrooms every day and I really never have to "clean" them because they don't get dirty! I'm not saying that you should come to my house and check the bathrooms every single day and judge me if there are water spots on the mirror from time to time, but the system seriously works and has made me love my bathrooms. The FlyLady is also very adamant about taking care of yourself and not pushing yourself to live up to perfection. She has a great web site that tells you basically everything you need to know, and you can even sign up for daily email reminders to get you in the mode. I held off buying the book (Sink Reflections) for a really long time, but I finally did because I like to have all the great knowledge in one place when I need to brush up. Like right now, for example, I am getting ready to dive into my Final Frontier, my scrapbook room. I have so much STUFF in there and it has been the landing place of about everything else that I don't know what to do with. I haven't even approached it yet because I need to be in the right frame of mind, and I am finally getting there. I can't wait!! I know it is so nerdy and I never thought I would be this way, but I absolutely love tackling a space that seems hopeless and turning it into somewhere I love to be. Yes, nerd alert, I know. But it can't be as bad as this. I'll leave you with December's Affirmation of the Month. It's a good one. Maybe I should have used it this year: "I stand in the center of the storm known as end-of-the-year madness. I am an oasis of calm. I release to the past all the sad, unhappy, or angry memories that have filled my mind. The past is over. I learn from it. I do not hold onto it. This month is rich with opportunities to create new, positive, happy memories for me to savor. I open myself to receiving my good."