Saturday, September 26, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up – Saturday, September 26, 2015

It's been a busy and semi-eventful week for me. How about you?

A major part of my week was consumed with the eBay and Craig's List sales that closed. Then the chore at hand became the final packing and weighing and preparing the items needing to be shipped. Once the PayPal payments came in, it was time to print the shipping labels and postage and schlep the packages to the post office. I had one CL item I had to ship, another item was picked up (late one evening) and I have two others I'll meet the buyers when I'm going to be close to their areas for another reason.

Of course, I also was keeping up with creating, what I hope, have been some interesting blog articles for you. And, I've been going through the storage area to separate “stuff” that will ultimately be trashed. And, here I thought I got rid of all the trash when I left the ranch seven years ago. Naw! I only thought I did. 

Of course, a lot of the paper I still have was relevant and required some maintenance for a while. That paper is now irrelevant and is ending up in the trash piles. What a waste of money to store paper records of the past. There are some things we need to keep for legal reasons, but, if you actually go through all the paper, you'll find most of it can go. What you need to retain probably won't require more than a single Banker Box for storage.

As my mind is getting clearer on the stuff I have in storage, it's becoming so much easier to part with it. At some time in my past it actually played a role, but now it's just “stuff” and may be better described as anchors weighing me down.

I continue to take photos of the stuff that I believe has salable value to be listed on eBay and CL. I have a small stash of vinyl records remaining and there is a small used vinyl record store a few blocks from me, so once I dig out the boxes, I'm going to take the vinyl over to this place and see if the guy will give me anything for it. 

I do have a few lps that are collectible and I'll list them on eBay. I've checked and they still have some value – more than I originally paid for them, especially the one that I paid zero for. It was rescued from the damage at the record pressing plant that was severely damaged during the 1971 California earthquake. It was during my early years in the recording industry and the general manager of the pressing plant was a friend, he sent it free of charge. The record and album jacket along with two others just like the one I have was in perfect condition. So, anything I sell that album for is more than the zero I paid for it.

I'm going to get rid of all my vinyl and my CD's and there are probably at least a couple hundred audio cassettes, all of which I'll never get around to listening to again, so it's time for all of them to go. That includes my never played reference copies of the three years of Serenade in Blue radio show vinyl lp transcriptions (like we sent to 2,000 radio stations) that I was the production engineer for. I keep kidding myself, believing one day I'll transfer all that vinyl to digital. That's likely to happen when pigs fly. I listen to all the music I want or need along with spoken word material on the Internet, Pandora, podcasts or Sirius satellite radio.

One of the biggest challenges in downsizing, simplifying and minimizing is overcoming the baseless sentimentality we attach to things that mean nothing to anyone other than ourselves. And, then, when or if we finally come to our senses, we realize these things no longer hold any value to us either. 

Don Aslett, in his books such as, Clutter's Last Stand, points out how people keep things like old military uniforms, old college text books and a long list of other things (the list is actually endless based on each individual). His suggestion is to simply take pictures of these items and store them, so just in case, one day, you get the urge to see these things again to prove you once possessed them, you can look at the photos. Makes sense doesn't it? It makes sense to me, too. 

So, why am I having such a difficult time taking the pictures and ditching the stuff? I guess we all have some degree of “pack rat” genetic material. I'm getting there. How about you? Are you still following through on Tip #1 from the “52 Weeks to a Simpler Life” series? By the way, with digital photography, it's so much easier and more efficient to take these photos, file and store them.

The other part of this chore is the time it takes to list these things on eBay, Craig's List and I even put them in some regional, free to list, classified ad tabloids. And, once everything is listed, you need to keep tabs on what is listed and what activity there is. It's funny, 15 years ago I didn't mind doing this kind of thing. I actually enjoyed buying and selling on eBay, especially. I guess my age is changing some of my attitudes. I didn't say I'm old. But, I am more mature in many of my attitudes and one of them is doing this stuff. Alas, it's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. The best part is when it's done – IT'S DONE!

I spent the better part of a day last weekend (which is why I didn't get a Weekend Wrap-up written and posted) digging through the storage looking for my old, handy digital shipping scale. I knew it was there, I just didn't know where. I found it. Long story short, it looked like it wasn't working. Boo! Hiss! It hadn't failed me before. But, it was about 12 or 15 years old (we shipped a lot of books from my book publishing business with that scale).

So, I spent the rest of the day going to Walmart to see if they had a scale to replace the old one. Of course not. So, I had to drive almost 25 miles to check out a Big Lots store (where I bought the original scale and got an excellent deal) and ended up at a Staples. They had a limited selection of very over-priced scales. I compromised and left behind almost a hundred bucks.

When I got back, something made me try a couple other things I would have been prudent to check before I left on what turned out to be a wild goose chase. I got the old scale working. Hooray and boo, hiss! So, I have a new, unopened almost hundred dollar scale sitting here with the receipt attached. I have to make another trip to that Staples to return that scale, that probably wouldn't have done everything I needed it for, anyway.

Have you had days like that? I'll bet you have. It's another of the “universal laws,” this one with Murphy's name attached to it, we all have to cope with in life.

The Week That Was!

So, this week, the President and the First Lady welcomed the Pope to “their” White House. So, the supposed spiritual leader of the world meets the supposed leader of the free world. Lots of “nice-nice” and plenty of empty rhetoric. I don't know where the Pope gets off on all the immigration, climate change and other scientific and political stuff, but he does.

There are an awful lot of Catholics in the U.S. who have stopped attending the R.C. Church. The Pope doesn't seem to want to address some of the serious issues of his worldwide organization, like child molestation and abuse by priests and nuns. I have a friend of Italian descent who was raised in the Catholic Church and in Catholic Schools. He refuses to attend a Catholic Church and has his own horror stories about his youthful experience.

And then, China's president, Xi Jinping arrives with his first lady. They meet at Obama's and Michelle's White House and pay each other lip service about cyberhacking each others' businesses and national security secrets. Let me see . . . how much do I believe all that BS? NOT!

And, out of the blue, (really?) John Boehner resigns as Speaker of the House and from his congressional seat. Were there any tears? Will this actually stop the congress (both sides – who'll blame each other) from shutting down the government – at another huge inconvenience and expense to the taxpayers since millions of government employees get to stay home, make extra money on the side and then get all their back pay for accomplishing no work. What makes public servants deserve to be treated better than the hard working private sector folks who pay their salaries and don't get any back pay if they are laid off for any reason? Ah, another rhetorical question and I degress.

The FBI investigation seems to keep finding more and more interesting things in Mrs. Clinton's emails that all ran through her “private email server.” Geez! This week they only found about 1,400 emails involving Benghazi. I guess that cloth she used to wipe the server didn't do a very effective job.

Remember folks, I'm not making this stuff up. I'm only calling it as I see it. The Donald seems to be slipping, perhaps, in the polls, but Carly and the Doc (the one who is not from Kentucky) seem to be moving up further. Dr. Carson says what is on his mind and heart, the politically correct go bonkers and condemn him and his campaign contributions increase. How does that work? These are interesting times. I wish I were smart enough to be able to understand it or at least attempt to figure some of it out, but I'm not. So, I'm just enjoying the “show.”

Well, I'm sure there were several high profile murders, police brutality, morality and ethics issues – oh yeah, like Volkswagon deceiving the world with false emissions specifications on some 10,000,000 cars. Gee, I guess there really is no honor among thieves, huh? Well, enough with this crap.

A Few Weekend Reads or Listens

So, let's put this week's news cycle aside and get some interesting reading or listening having to do with making our lives better.

The Purpose of Living Simple” by Melissa Camara Wilkins – check this blog post out at No Sidebar – there are some extra links in the article I also found interesting -

Check out this ABC Good Morning America feed on how a Nashville family went a year without purchasing all the “stuff” kind of stuff our consumer society buys into. Is this a fad, a trend or maybe just a bit of a publicity flash in the pan?

I offer this next piece to you, but warn you in advance it is very disturbing. This is a public radio documentary about Jim Jones and the terrible murder-suicide tragedy at the People's Temple in Jonestown, Guyana. My friend, LaVonne, a veteran radio journalist and news anchor, now living a simple, mobile life sent this in her recent blog post. LaVonne has begun a new podcast titled “Passing Through.” This documentary inspired/motivated her to do a special podcast about how this Jonestown program impacted her. Listen first to the Jonestown program content as LaVonne instructs, if you can. Then listen to her podcast. The Jonestown event occurred 37 years ago. It illustrates, once more, how far the human race can go astray from a simple, moral, ethical life and the disastrous outcomes. Listen to LaVonne's feelings after you listen to the documentary.

And finally, I end on a lighter, more practical note from Courtney Carver as she gives us some tips about “8 Ways to Finish the Year with Love and Intention” from her Be More With Less blog

Have a great rest of the weekend.

1 comment:

Richard Rosen said...

Ed: Your post resonated with my efforts to declutter. I am go through paper files and discarding. With what remains I plan to scan the items and then discard the originals (unless I think original signatures might be needed; but don’t think so because digital signatures and digital copies have gained widespread practical and often legal acceptance.

I had thought about transcribing some cassette audio to digital, but the effort has become a burdensome task in my mind, so I’ll hang on for a while to the few family interviews.

While I sell on eBay and books on Amazon, I’m increasing the net profit expected to $15-20 or so. Like you, I am finding it a chore to do all that’s needed. Eve and I give away most things; we don’t do tag sales, although whenever we should sell the house I might consider a one.

Thanks Ed for you wonderful reminders and practical suggestions on simplifying what we do so we can focus on what’s really important to living a life of genuine meaning and true value.