Simple Living, My Tuchus!

by Katy on November 2, 2010 · 23 comments

My days have been extremely busy lately. The responsibilities of parenting, daughtering, work and miscellaneous household duties have conspired to leave me with few free afternoons to practice my simple living wannabe activities. (Or is it inactivities?)

Today, which should not have been busy was instead overly full. Here’s the lowdown:

  • I set my alarm for 6:30 so I could rouse my 15-year-old son for school. He takes public transportation to school and needs to leave by 7:15 A.M.
  • I made two school lunches.
  • He had the worst time waking up and I ended up having to drive him to school. I could have let him be late, but I have a soft spot in my heart for kids with candy hangovers.
  • I drove home and scraped my 12-year-old son out of bed and pointed him in the direction of the school bus, which he made on time.
  • I checked in on the blog and moderated comments. Perhaps I took an online Scrabble turn or two.
  • I showered and then drove over to my mother’s rental cottage to help her haul unneeded supplies and baby furniture from the basement. (She put everything on Craigslist for free, and it was all gone within a few hours!)
  • Drove across town for my annual physical. I was told to fast and was super-duper not enjoying how groggy and hungry I was feeling. Seriously, a noon appointment is too late in the day when you have to fast, especially since I didn’t get home until 2:15 P.M.
  • Voraciously inhaled a peanut butter and jelly sandwich chased by a few tiny Snickers bars. Drank a cup of tea, but caffeine ingestion this late in the day was too little to late, and I was starting to seriously drag. (I guess the 1:10 A.M. bedtime was a factor as well. 😉 )
  • I drove across town to pick my son up from high school, as he had forgotten his bus pass. (No longer feeling that soft spot in my heart, as it had been replaced by sheer irritation.)
  • I then lay down for a few minutes with my copy of “American Wasteland.” I ended up crashing headlong into sleep. Sorry Jonathan, I’m loving your book, but nothing could have come between me and a nap. Not even a long lost Harry Potter book.
  • I drove to pick my son up from his Japanese tutoring and dropped him off at martial arts.
  • I came home and started rice in the rice cooker and set the table for dinner. I went next door and scooped their litter box, cleaned up some cat barf and fed the critters.
  • I walked to my son’s martial arts class in the pouring rain and brought him home.
  • I heated up leftover black bean chili and curried chicken. Our microwave is a huge paperweight at the moment, so I heated the curry in the neighbor’s microwave. (“Welcome back from vacation. Umm, no . . . I don’t know why your house smells like Calcutta.”)
  • I let my son play 15 minutes of video games and then sat down with him to do his math, science, Japanese and language arts homework.
  • Made egg salad for tomorrow’s school lunches.
  • Wrote this blog.

I am not proud of this day, and I actually felt close to tears when I was wiping up the neighbor’s cat barf. I kind of feel like the highlight of my day was getting a new inhaler, which is pretty pathetic.

But here’s the thing, tomorrow is a new day. The kids will not have candy hangovers, and yes, I have agreed to help my mother again with her rental cottages, but she pays me a delicious nepotism wage which will be 100% dedicated to debt reduction. The company will be good and I do believe that a restaurant lunch is included. (Seriously, nepotism rocks!)

Are you able to live the days you want or is life getting in the way? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Reese November 2, 2010 at 5:53 am

Your day didn’t sound bad. It sounded busy. And I’m ever so grateful for the busy days and that I’m not idle (though…. who am I kidding? I love days when all I have to do is look forward to me, the couch, the tv and a good book).

My day was similar:
Up at 6 after not sleeping AT ALL.
Catch public transport at 6:30
Catch another public transport at 7:20
Arrive at work by 8
Get yelled at for putting important documents in boxes
Get yelled at for highlighting wrong section
Get yelled at for stapling the papers the wrong way
Send 9 billion emails
Catch public transport at 4:45 to come home
catch another public transport at 5:50
Get home at 6:30 and make dinner
Go to bed at 9


Katy November 2, 2010 at 6:05 am

That’s bad. I tell my kids that people deserve a workplace where they are not yelled at.



psmflowerlady/Tammy November 2, 2010 at 7:45 am

To me, it’s all perspective. Simplification to me isn’t about doing nothing or less than what I’m doing – it’s doing what’s important to me and living deliberately. And when I get all overwhelmed crazy, I know I need to put it in perspective. I won’t be a “that’s nothing – you should live my life” kinda commenter because we are all busy. But when I looked at your day, I admired the deliberateness with which you lived your day. You showed your kids that families help each other – you prepared healthy food for them. You got to spend time with your mom, help her and earn some money. My Mom’s dead – I’d give my left arm to clean a toilette and hang out with her. You supported your child’s growth and experiences in another culture and physical activity. You did the grownup thing of getting a physical – that’s really responsible even though it can be yucky. You contributed to “community” and helped a neighbor and got physical activity by walking yourself. You got a nap – I won’t even mention how insanely jealous I am over that one – I’ll admit it – I’m petty that way. You cooked real food for your family and prepared real food for their lunches. AND you reached out to the internet community. I’m struggling with why you are NOT proud of that day. So, you didn’t meditate, do yoga or trim your bonsai tree. You also didn’t mindlessly watch daytime TV, slurp down cafe’ coffee while shopping for a fur coat and go for a drive in your hummer looking for a new house. To me, it’s all perspective. And for what it’s worth, I think you had a productive and deliberate day which is pretty good from MY perspective.


Katy November 2, 2010 at 8:10 am

Okay, your comment is officially my favorite one all day, all week, heck, all month!

I can get very caught up with what I’m not doing, (for example, my bedroom is cluttered and hence today’s to-do list includes “finding where the cat peed.”)

I feel like I’m not getting to the tasks that bug me when they’re not done. “Yes mom, I cleaned your house, but my house is a disaster.” I just hate that feeling at the end of the day when I feel like I spent all day putting out fires, and no time moving forward. Does this make sense?



Trish (not the modern thrifter) November 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I agree with pmsflowerlady, I found reading about your day very interesting and was quite appreciative of the deliberateness with which you went about it. It sounded somewhat cozy too, taking care of your family, and your neighbors. THanks for opening up your life to us


Tammy November 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Yep – perfect sense. Good luck finding the kitty puddle.


Katy November 2, 2010 at 9:53 pm

On the bed. Sigh . . . .



WilliamB November 3, 2010 at 9:05 am

Oh dear. Very sorry to hear that. I’ll omit the obligatory joke about that being all the cat could find?

I know what you mean by putting out fires, not getting forwarder, and not getting done the things that bug you. My recent problem has been dishes. Roommate is supposed to do them but we have a longstanding difference of opinion about how often dishes should be done. And he chooses to wash by hand, making the process more onerous to him. I have to remind myself sometimes that I should do my work now, even though the pile of dishes bug me more.

Funny thing though. Somehow, in the last year I’ve been able to deal with some longstanding “capital”[1] projects, little bit by little bit. I wish I could detail how I managed it. Part was recognizing that early morning was now my most productive time; I started getting up early to put in 30-90 min [2] on my own list before going to work.

[1] Projects that are one-time-only and usually take a chunk of time. For example, organizing all of one’s photos or organizing the garage. I think of the time it takes to do it right and set up a workable system as the capital investment, after that it’s just maintenance.

[2] Not every day, but enough to make a difference.

Jenny November 2, 2010 at 8:15 am

>I just hate that feeling at the end of the day when I feel like I spent all >day putting out fires, and no time moving forward.

That’s it exactly. I had that day at work yesterday. Had a reasonably long, but do-able Monday list…..and then everyone needed immediate help with this, that or the other. Got two things done off my own list and then rolled it over to today.


Trish [ modern thrifter ] November 2, 2010 at 9:31 am

I saw something the other day posted at my daughter’s preschool that said, “When raising young ones, the days are long but the years are short.” I keep trying to think about that when all it feels like I accomplish in a day is making meals, folding laundry, picking up toys, and wiping little bums. When my heart is in the right place, I realize that right now my family and my home are my job, and that’s a privilege. At the end of the day, it’s not really about how many things I checked off my list (though I really like checking boxes), it’s about how well I loved and served God and my family. Thanks for the reminder 🙂


Linda H. November 2, 2010 at 10:20 am

I can relate sometimes. It’s that overwhelmed feeling where you get a lot done, but you are left with your head spinning unable to catch a breath and you feel like you are fighting your way upstream. Sometimes it’s just hard to be calm on those crazy days.


Linda H. November 2, 2010 at 10:21 am

And in the midst of it all…..the cat hurls. AGGGGGGGHHHHH!


Lisa November 2, 2010 at 10:47 am

Maybe it’s because I’m older and have mellowed over the years that I find satisfaction in every day…some more than others. When I was younger I lived at a breakneck pace like you. If I tried that nowadays, I would NEED an inhaler! Lol!


Molly On Money November 2, 2010 at 5:16 pm

I spend my days putting out fires and teaching my employees how not to perceive everything as a ‘fire’….. The laugh is on me!
But really, Katy, that is one busy day!


Maniacal Mommy November 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I have roughly two hours a day for myself to live my life, and sometimes I time my todder’s nap just right. Like once a month. I have to live what I want between 8-9 PM and 5-6 AM. Sometimes I blog, sometimes I play a game. If I manage anything other than during those hours, I probably had to endure some yelling and “look, Moms!” as I did it.


Jinger November 3, 2010 at 4:25 am

I have raised 2 generations of children, mostly as a single parent….until a few years ago, my days were non stop with work, a child or teen at home, the essentials of daily life, etc. Now, it is different and life is more my own…although, my income is very small, I can decide how to spend my days. Life ebbs and flows, that’s one thing for certain!


Toni's Treehouse November 3, 2010 at 8:22 am

You know that statue of you I erected a while back? Well, I took time to place flowers around it after reading this. Once again you’ve captured exactly what my days are like. I appreciate all of the supportive comments everyone left for you here, but I still know what it feels like when you want your life to be one way but instead feel like it’s perpetually stuck on overdrive. It’s a rough feeling, and hard to see the sunlight. Hang in there. I just keep telling myself it will get better… eventually. 🙂


Deb November 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I’m sorry your day felt so unproductive and scrambled, and that you had to clean up cat vomit.

But honestly, you made me laugh out loud with the…”I don’t know why your house smells like Calcutta”. Full, Throaty, Bell Bouncing, Out Loud Laughing!

So not only did you actually do a bunch of good things, in addition, you gave someone a good laugh. And that helped make my day a good one!


Katy November 3, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Happy to hear you liked that line, I kind of liked it myself. 😉



Ann November 3, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Um, I was going to say enjoy all the excitement, because they are soon gone, but I reread your post. In my country town, if the older kids miss the school bus, the mothers charge them about $5 to drive them to school. Why couldn’t your 12 year old walk home from martial arts by himself, and if it was raining so hard, why didn’t you take the car to pick him up? You have to watch out for your health also. By the way, how was your physical and your asthma checkup? We want to know, because there are many preventive measures for asthma, but you can die from an asthma attack. It happens every day. Does your younger son really need your help with his homework? If not, if he doesn’t have ADD or the other one, start to wean him away from help. Maybe he’s just too tired after all his activities. And what does Oprah say? Take care of yourself first, so that you can give to others. Tomorrow will be better.


Katy November 3, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Wow, that’s a lot of questions. I’ll answer one.

The martial arts center is three blocks from the house, so we walk. However, I won’t be having my son do that alone in the dark and pouring rain. I like him.



Kimberly November 4, 2010 at 12:31 am

So many of my days are just like you described yours as being. And when you ask: Are you able to live the days you want or is life getting in the way?

I have to say that mostly life is getting in the way. But I’m trying to treasure that life. Even things like cat barf (eeew!) and boys who forget bus passes. Because right now, this IS the life I have and I don’t want to waste a second of it wishing it away.

I will NOT pretend that I always DO treasure even the most mundane, most frustrating moments. But I think I’m still trying. I think it’s my frugal way of having a midlife crisis.


Rachel November 6, 2010 at 9:16 am

Well – I didn’t find cat vomit on the floor today, but I did find that my husband had failed to put the lid back on the box of freeze-dried food we save for camping and the cat tore open a bag of jerky on our fluffy rug that can’t be vacuumed. (I do love the rug, which my coworker gave to us as a hand-me-down, but today I feel a little short-sighted about the no-vacuuming requirement… sigh…)

While these unexpected events (like a dead microwave and pouring rain just in time for karate) are nothing that I’d sign up for, it does make life more interesting! I also laughed out loud about your “smells like Calcutta” commentary.


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