Things That Are My Jam Right Now

My BFF, Amanda.
This past year was the first in about 10 years that we’ve lived in the same city.
We get to hang on a weekly basis and it’s awesome.

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De-Cluttering My Life… One thing at a time.

I’m sure everybody feels like they have too much ish going on. With work, school, family, and social life, there’s SO much that has to be done, SO much that should probably be done better, and SO much constantly on our minds. This is the case with me too. Over the past year I’ve been trying to focus on small things will help me de-clutter, de-stress, and live a little lighter. Instead of thinking about what MORE I need to do, I’m trying to have to LESS to manage.  I’m not putting a time limit on these things (again trying to DE-stress, not add additional things to my ever-growing to-do list), just spending a half an hour every so often, getting rid of ish I don’t need. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Completed: 

*Closets/Drawers

I’d give my left pinky finger if that were my closet, but it’s not. We ladies ALL have way too much in our drawers and closets. I know I do. When it got to the point that I could no longer find the pieces I needed and putting the laundry away into packed drawers was stressing me out, I knew I had to get rid of some things. I used the age-old method of decision making when it comes to clothes: if I hadn’t worn it in over a year, OUT it goes! It was wonderful. This took me about an hour, but I actually felt so liberated. I’m super nostalgic so getting rid of some things is usually harder because I always think back to the times when I wore something the most. But do I really need a tiny shirt I can no longer wear? Do I really need those ripped-all-to-hell jeans I wore all the way through college that I can’t believe haven’t fallen apart? No, I decided. So out they went. Six bags of clothes, shoes, old purses, belts I no longer wear, off to Goodwill! It felt so good, I actually did this 3 times last year. The other two times were smaller affairs and only included a bag or so of shirts and stuff, but it still felt nice. Now, if I’m going to buy something new, I try to get rid of a small bag of other stuff, just to keep myself balanced in the wardrobe department.

*Car

Charli! I love my car. It’s the first one I’ve ever gotten to choose and it’s perfect for my life. But I hate when I get in it and am immediately stressed out by the inside. I’ve gotten better over the years about getting rid of trash quickly. I no longer have to keep clothes, shoes, accessories, and fitness equipment in it like the college days of never knowing where I might end up and what I might need that weekend, but I still have stuff in there that doesn’t need to be there. I was looking for something I thought I’d lost  last week and checked my console and glove box. They were both FILLED with ish! So I took 15 minutes and took every single thing out of there. I found my heart rate monitor that I thought I’d lost (and now have to replace the battery because it’s completely dead). I had about 100 papers in my glove box that needed to be tossed or filed away: bank deposit slips, travel receipts, pay stubs, titles, a million insurance cards from years past, etc. And put back in only the necessities. I love it!

Tango’s white dog fur on my black interior is another story. I make it a point now to vacuum once a week. It’s almost impossible to keep the back seat constantly clean with all our trips to the park and Tang’s constant shedding, but with my new $40 pet hair mini-vac thing I bought from Target a few months ago, it’s way easier to stay on top of.

*Desk
This actually is my desk. I don’t want to see all the stuff in it, so these cabinets and drawers are great. Not so much junk, but tons of papers in my files that were making it difficult to fit more documents in my filing cabinet each month. So I started small: taking out files that I don’t use regularly but can’t completely get rid of (past years’ taxes, insurance files, and the like), putting them in a smaller box in the attic, and throwing out ones I don’t need. Then I went through the files that were left to see if any old papers can be shredded… I don’t think I necessarily need car insurance papers on a car I no longer drive from 6 years ago. Anything I was unsure about got scanned and saved onto my computer. Shredding papers was surprisingly fun… There were 6 grocery bags full of shredded paper that I got to dispose of! This has made my life so much easier. I no longer dread filing things away because it’s faster and easier now that there’s room in there. The stacks and stacks of papers piling up on my table/desk are no more!

Still To-Do: 

* Storage Unit
This is next on the list… and kind of what I’m working on at the moment. I have a couch and chair, a dresser, and a couple boxes in a tiny storage unit I’ve had for the past two years since my divorce. It’s all been just sitting there. And I don’t need it. I put stuff in there until I moved, but when I moved in with Tamara, she already had a fully furnished house. There’s no reason for me to move, but no reason to keep paying for a monthly storage unit either. It’s only $50 per month, but multiply that times the two years I’ve been here and I could have bought an all new furniture set and not had to worry about it. So I’m slowly working on selling the furniture (putting that money in savings for new furniture down the road) and taking one more bill off my checklist.

*Garage
This one I’ve been dreading for a while. It’s not a lot (we are two chicks in this house, it’s not like we have a bunch of tools and crap). I put a few boxes in there when I first moved it, just because I didn’t feel like going through them. I’m sure I don’t need anything in them, seeing as it’s been over two years and I haven’t needed a single thing from inside, but it’s just a hassle and I haven’t made the effort to go do it. It probably won’t take me but 30 minutes to do it. I’m gonna wait until it warms up a little more though… Cleaning out boxes in sub-freezing temperatures sounds even more shitty.

Now I’m not acting like an organization saint here. These 3 things were done several months apart, even though they could have been done in one afternoon. Whatev! As Rafiki would say, “It doesn’t matter! It’s in the past!” So I’m just gonna take a deep breath and tackle the storage unit this weekend. Anybody need some new furniture? : )

What have you (or what do you need) de-cluttered in your life? 
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DIY: Changing my own car headlight…

Soooo my mom has always taught me to be self-reliant. 
Backstory: Growing up, my mom and I replaced gutters, put up dry-wall, painted, changed oil, etc. She wanted me to be prepared to handle anything and to feel confident in knowing that I had the ability to do it myself. Not that I couldn’t ask for help when I needed it, but being able to fend for myself would ensure that I’d always be ok. So that’s usually what I do… except when it comes to car stuff. Small things I can handle, like putting air in my tires, putting oil in my car, replacing the air filter, etc, but the bigger stuff I pass on to the people equipped with the know-how to do it better and faster: my dad, my brother, or whoever I’m dating at the time. (I feel sorry for every boyfriend I’ve ever had and my ex-husband, as they constantly dealt with all my car issues.) 
Moving on to the point: 
I’ve had a headlight out for a couple months now… so I went to Autozone and picked up a new bulb. Usually, if you buy a small part there, they’ll offer to install it for you for free, but this day the store was packed, there were 10 people in line behind me, and they didn’t offer. I was bummed, but thought it was all good though. I can put in my own headlight. This will be a good learning experience and maybe I’ll blog about it. I can do this all by myself! I nearly roared… 
Three months later…
I’m still driving without a headlight and just waiting to get pulled over and get a ticket. 
Pull it together, Ami! It’s just a stupid headlight. 
How hard could it be to change it yourself? 
I knew that it wasn’t going to go as fast as I thought, 
so I waited for a day when I had a few hours to spare. 
Today was that day. 
First, I went outside, opened the hood, and stared at everything for about a minute. 
Then, I came back inside and googled that ish. 
This video actually helped a lot. I didn’t even know you had to unscrew shit! After I unscrewed everything and moved it aside, I had to turn the lights on to see which bulb to replace (there were 3) and I discovered all 3 were working. 
It wasn’t the RIGHT SIDE light. It was the left. 
SON of a…
On the left side, you don’t have to unscrew anything.
Lesson learned. But 15 minutes wasted. Whatever.
I did the first couple parts fine: undo the electric thingy, pull off the rubber thingy, then it came time to undo the metal retainer clip. “Just push down and then swing it to the side” it said. OK. 
This was not effing working!
After consulting the manual again

and consulting the youtube video again

to confirm that you were supposed to push down, the clip came undone
the moment I pulled up and wiggled! 
So 45 minutes,  
one beer,


and several bruised and sore fingers later, 
pulling up was what got it to unclip. 
And out came the bulb! Bitch. 

Moving on… Next step: 
“Take the old bulb from the holder by simply pulling straight back.”

Straight back my ass!
 You know when you’re trying to open a plastic bag and you don’t want to pull too hard and rip the whole thing open, but pulling lightly isn’t working and you can’t find the happy medium? This was that moment. And I was getting pissed. 

Hence the second beer. 

Finally, I called my brother, and he told me to try and pry it off with a screwdriver. Genius! That worked quickly and easily. He offered to do it for me if I came to his place but NO. I was doing this. But thanks for the tip, Nathan! : ) New bulb in place, it was now time to reverse the order of everything and put it back together (thanks for the instructions, Mazda manual). That took about a minute and a half and BOOM! Light was working!!! 
The whole thing took me an hour and 42 minutes. 
I timed it. 
(I know… weirdo)

I was supposed to use this at some point
but I didn’t. Oh well. It’ll be fine. 
Obviously somebody didn’t use it to begin with 
since it was so hard to remove…

Would it have been faster/easier to let somebody else do it? Yes
Do I now know how to do it myself? Hell yes. 
Booyah. 
we’ll see how long the bulb stays in there… 
What have you done by yourself that should have probably been done by a professional? 
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New Year Resolution, check. Charli Is All Mine!

One of my resolutions this year was to get my car paid off. I’ve been working at this for a little while now, paying double payments to get it done early. I’ve made the last payment and now she’s all mine!

Charli is the first “new” car I’ve ever had. Hers was also the first car payment I’d ever had… and making that payment every month SUCKED. It was basically a plane ticket equivalent. Every month when I made that payment I thought, “I could be taking a weekend trip with this money.” But it’s all good! She’s paid off and I plan on driving her until she doesn’t run anymore. Just like Mona… 


*Flashback*
2009, Trading in my old car, Mona
(a ’95 Corolla with 230,000+ miles on her!)
I cried a little… 
And getting my new car, Charli!! 
She’s an ’08 Mazda 3 that only had 10,000 miles at the time. 
Only a few months old, practically new, and $10k cheaper than a brand new one. 
#score

So far, Charli has been all over with me; 
from west coast to east, all the way up north, 
and almost all the way south. 
Between road trips and moves, she’s been through a lot. 
I’ve put 100,000 miles on her in 4 years, 
but I know she’s got a LOT left in her. 

Is anybody else in love with their car?
How good does it feel to send that last payment in? 
#accomplishmentsrule
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An Easter for the photo albums… Warning: Foul Language/Guestures

Backstory: Easter Sunday at my Brother’s in-law’s house. (Brother’s wife’s parents’ house, keep up here, it’s gonna be one of those) It’s time to leave and since we’re parked in by a bunch of cars, we need to drive around the perimeter of the yard to get over to the driveway and then to the road. It’s been raining, non-stop, every day for the past week or so here so the ground’s really wet. My sister-in-law’s brother left right before me and was told to drive a certain path. When I left, I was told to drive his tracks exactly so I wouldn’t get stuck. No problem, right? As I’m driving, carefully as to not mess up the grass, I get to listen to the hubs and his helpful hints: “don’t go too slow! don’t go too fast!” Aaaaand I’m stuck.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the entire family is watching. Great. Dad, brother, brother’s father-in-law, husband all come to help… and bail me out with the four-wheeler.
…and take photos. Of course.
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I apologize for my inappropriate hand guesture.
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Oh. There’s even a video. Thanks for that.
Warning: 1 F bomb.
You can skip the first 20 seconds if you want to get to the good stuff.
Happy Easter.
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