Flirting with Zero Waste

Sustainable Hygge-lism; Level I

Zero waste is an achievement that I sometimes imagine as a far off dream that is nearly unattainable.  This is not, in fact, the case. A simple search of Zero waste on Google or YouTube, makes this clear as day.  What it also makes clear is that attaining a zero waste lifestyle is not something that can be done overnight. It is something to be worked towards slowly, baby steps.  One small change followed by another small change, then another, then another, taking the time to let each change settle in before adopting the next.

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We do not live a zero waste lifestyle…as of yet.  On the path to a zero waste lifestyle though, you walk the path of sustainability.

We do live a sustainable lifestyle…but we could do more.  One small step at a time. 

Minimalism, Hygge and Sustainability are all siblings, as you get to know one you automatically get to know the makings of the others.  Reducing waste and our carbon footprint is a key point of minimalism and automatically leads to a more sustainable, intentional lifestyle.  Whether you no longer want everything to come wrapped in plastic, or you no longer want to be throwing out straws, napkins, coffee filters and paper towels only to turn around and buy some more.  Minimal lifestyle changes are sustainable changes, and zero waste changes are the most sustainable changes that you could possibly achieve.

I encourage everyone to venture into the world of sustainability with even the smallest changes, here are some beginner level changes that are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle:

Trade plastic shopping bags for cloth reusable ones.

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We have gotten to the point in our society where plastic shopping bags are nearly a thing of the past.  Everyone is becoming aware of the massive negative impact of plastic on our world. Cloth grocery and produce bags are available almost everywhere, and there are even highly compact reusable bags that can be carried virtually everywhere so that you will never be caught off guard or unprepared.

Stop using plastic straws

This too has begun to draw worldwide attention.  Alternatives such as paper, metal and glass straws are readily available and small enough to carry along with you wherever you go. In lieu of carrying around a straw alternative, you could always just NOT use one.  I struggle to come up with a situation where a straw would be a necessity.

Get a reusable water bottle, preferably not a plastic one.

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Reusable water bottles are wildly popular, and that is fantastic.  Unfortunately, lots of times they are still plastic bottles. Research has started to uncover the health hazards associated with using plastic over and over.  As well as the negative impact of plastic as a whole as I mentioned before. So when shopping for a reusable water bottle, be sure to explore glass and metal options.

Transition to glass Tupperware.

Don’t throw away plastic items that you own, unless they are no longer useful.  Waste happens when an item is purchased, so throwing something out prior to it becoming no longer useful just doubles the waste.  Tupperware is a great example of this, if you have plastic tupperware that is just fine, then keep using it. Once it becomes no longer useful though, recycle it and if you replace it, then do it with glass.

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Recycle.

I shouldn’t even have to mention this, if you are not recycling at this point then I don’t even know what to say.  Recycle everything that you can. Compost everything that you can.

Buy a bamboo toothbrush, next time.

Anything that you can do to reduce your use of plastic products is a good thing.  Toothbrushes are replaced fairly often, so the next time you need a new one look into a bamboo one.  Bamboo is highly sustainable.

Adjust your commute.

If possible, look into riding a train or a bicycle to work rather than driving a car, or at least try and organize a carpool.  Forego the elevator and take the stairs. Small changes like these will help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Take pride in your clothing.

A minimal wardrobe is a great way to reduce waste by investing in higher quality clothing items made with sustainable materials, and not falling for the fast fashion trends that dominate social media and trendy magazines.  Pay attention to how often you wash your clothes, and try and use a clothesline to dry them rather than a dryer. There are plenty of laundry soaps that are much more environmentally friendly as well such as “Soap Nuts”. I also have this post about a hygge-list wardrobe.

Go Paperless.

We often take paper for granted.  90% of the paper that comes into your life is discarded without even a second thought.  Recycle all the paper you can, and then try and go paperless wherever you can. Also read “Cutting the Paper Clutter” for lots of useful tips and tricks.

Incorporating even just a couple of these simple changes can make a world of difference, let’s call this Level 1 of sustainability.  Be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on more tips as we flirt with a zero waste lifestyle.

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The Lumineers

A Hygge-lism Artist Spotlight

One of my favorite bands of all time is The Lumineers.  They are often described as folk rock, I consider them more of an easy alternative, very relaxing and perfect for streaming through my Bluetooth speaker while I mill about the house.  They have a raw acoustic sound and honest, somewhat raspy lyrics sung by lead singer Wesley Schultz that you will find yourself singing right along too.

Two of the three founding members of The Lumineers; Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites began performing together in various gigs around New York City around 2002, after the death of Jeremiah’s older brother Joshua.  In 2009 the duo moved out to Denver, Colorado and found their 3rd band member; Neyla Pekarek a classically trained cellist.

After a few years, the band signed a contract and was able to have their first full length studio album funded, the self-titled “The Lumineers” was released in 2012.  This album contained their soon to be break out hit “Ho Hey”, a sure fire double platinum hit. Other hits on this album included, “Submarines” and “Stubborn Love”

The popularity of this first studio album was so large that they were able to tour continuously for the next 4 years off of it.  While touring they wrote and recorded a follow up studio album ready for release in 2016; “Cleopatra”. They were sure to make a point of not changing their style with this release and would not be rushed to release this follow up making sure it was exactly what they wanted it to be.  From the first notes of “Sleep on the Floor” you can feel that they were very successful in that endeavor. “Cleopatra” also introduced us to one of their most recognizable songs, “Ophelia”, as well as the albums namesake song “Cleopatra” and “Angela”. Their folksy, porch playing sound carried through this album just as well if not better than their first album.

Three more years passed after “Cleopatra’s” release before a third studio album was ready for release in September of 2019, “III”.  “III’s” first single and initial hit “Gloria” was released in April of 2019 prior to the album release and offered a preview of the forthcoming album.

“III’s” release sparked a 2020 world tour that will travel its way through Europe in June of July, of which my wife and I will be attending when it arrives in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg on the 30th of June.

For a taste of what the Lumineers have to offer, I encourage you to pull up their “This is The Lumineers” playlist on Spotify.

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Bike Build Step #4

Front Fork Paint and Installation

My single speed monster is ready for some new front forks.  Being an older model frame, it was outfitted for a 1” steering tube and originally had internal cup bearings.  I plan on reusing the internal cup bearings and am sticking to a threaded tube for installation purposes.

Shimano Component Blowouts XT,XTR, Saint, SLX, & Zee. Static Jpeg

Finding a new front fork with these spec’s cut down on my options quite a bit, but I managed to find a decent pair with good enough reviews for a commuter ride.  They were only available in silver, so I planned on changing the color. They arrived decal free which was a pleasant surprise and made sanding them down for paint really easy.

After a good scrub down, I used tin foil and masking tape to protect the uppers and steering tube.  I decided on white for the forks, and will match that to the headset and seat post clamp. I hung the forks outside and painted them the same way that I did the frame.

With the forks freshly painted, I set to cleaning up and repacking my original bearings with grease.  Generously greased, I also greased up the internal cups and set everything in place.  

Installing the lower bearing raceway, I used a flat screwdriver and a small hammer to ensure that no gap remained between the steering tube and the top of the fork bracket as you can see in the photo.

Sliding the forks into place I threaded down to the upper bearing raceway into place, making sure to check and recheck the tension for the smoothest rotation. Front fork installation complete.

This small but important addition really changes the look of the bike and is starting to give this beast a little personality.  Just a few more steps and it will be able to be moved from the maintenance stand to the streets at last.

Tools used for this step:

Standard Screw Driver

Hammer

Grease

Tin Foil

Masking Tape

Spray Paint

Twine

Total cost for this step: $92.57 (85.26 Euro)

Muc-off Grease – Already paid for and calculated in Step #3

Spray Paint – $7.58 (6.98 Euro)

Lowrider 26″ Suspension Fork $84.99 (78.28 Euro)

*Each component description is linked to the same or a similar component to the one I used. Prices may vary.

Bike Build Rolling Total: $196.57 (181.05 Euro)

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Nomatic

I Stopped Watching TV; Here’s What Happened

A Hygge-lism Experiment

A little over a month ago I stopped watching TV.  I didn’t tell anyone, I just did it to see what would change and if I would like it or not.  It turned out to be surprisingly easy to do, I started by laying down easy guidelines for myself, and so begins the how.

How – My Guidelines

As I mentioned, I did this on my own and it only applied to me.  I wasn’t avoiding TV, I wasn’t going to refuse to spend time in a room that had a television on.  I wasn’t going to request that someone else not watch what they want, when they want.

  • I would no longer have a television program on if I was by myself.  Our TV screensaver is collages of our personal photos which is awesome.
  • If someone asked me what I wanted to watch, I would be impartial and go with whatever they wanted to watch.
  • If my wife or children were watching something and wanted me to watch parts with them, I would.
  • If I caught myself sitting and staring at the television with someone for an extended amount of time, I would look for something productive to do instead.
  • I could still look at news headlines, sports scores and mountain biking on the internet, as well as things like this site, email etc… I don’t use social media so that wasn’t even a question.

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Why Did I Do It

Let me take a step back for a second.  You may be asking yourself, why on earth would you want to stop watching TV?

The time suck of television had really become evident.  I have had things to do that I really enjoy and I would forego them for hours of sitting idle, staring at this glowing screen.  I could justify a documentary or two, but more often than not what I would watch offered little to no educational or personal gain.

The idea of not watching TV is not something new, quite often while exploring the minimalist lifestyle you will read about people letting go of their television.  Most times, they talk about how it was one of the best things they ever did. They were able to focus on what really mattered to them and they were better off because of it.  I am not going to lie, reading about these experiences over and over through the last handful of years really piqued my interest.

What Happened

Now that you know why I decided to do this and how I planned on doing it, it’s time to talk about what I found out.  I remind you that I have only been doing this for a little over a month, so I’m sure my feelings and experiences could change.

  • I don’t miss it.

This kind of surprised me, the first few days I would find myself automatically going for the television remote before I would realize what I was doing, and then I would sit for a second trying to figure out what I should be doing instead.

It hit me then that I thought of TV as something that I “should” do, not something that I “wanted” to do or “needed” to do.  Realizing this made it easier, I no longer needed to ask myself what I should do, and could simply ask myself what I wanted to do.

  • I am much more productive.

I defaulted to household chores, instead of sitting around after a meal, I jumped on the dishes right away.  I clean out and prepare the coffee maker for the next morning and I sweep up the kitchen floor. Small repairs around the house take a higher priority and if I just need five minutes to get something done, I do right away rather than let it wait so that I can sit motionless on the couch.

  • I am much more creative.

Staying on top of the household chores, has opened up a lot more time for me to focus on writing and my current creative hobbies.  Sitting down to do them is much easier when I don’t have incomplete “chores” on my mind. I work much better when I don’t have other tasks awaiting my attention, I have always known this, but now I have proved that to myself.

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  • I listen to more music and podcasts.

Music is a great motivator for me, I enjoy tedious tasks like putting laundry away or drying dishes when I have music or a podcast on in the background.

  • I also enjoy silence.

As much as I enjoy background music and podcasts, I also found that I enjoy silence.  Sitting and listening to the world around me, the wind through the trees and birds chirping is infinitely relaxing and meditative.

  • I read much, much more.

My evenings have transformed from cuddling on the couch with my wife, a cup of tea and Netflix, to cuddling on the couch with my wife, a cup of tea and a good book.  I will take a couple hours of reading over a couple hours of staring at a television any day of the week.

  • I bake and cook more.

Our kitchen has turned into my favorite room of the house.  I am able to really focus and enjoy the process of preparing a meal or baking a batch of cookies.  Most times accompanied by a podcast or laid back playlist.

Now What

It’s only been a little over a month, but I see absolutely no reason for me to go back to watching television.  I discovered that I must have had a little bit of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I assumed that conversations between friends would inevitably fall back onto TV shows or movies that I was no longer watching…but it didn’t.  I thought I wouldn’t be able to participate in conversations anymore, or I would be able to come up with something to talk about…but that wasn’t true at all.

Rarely if ever did conversations come up that revolved around television, and when they did I would say that I didn’t see it and I found out that people are more than happy to tell me all about it.

So I stopped watching TV and nobody noticed (except my wife) and I don’t plan on starting to watch TV again any time soon. 

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Everything Bagels

The Least Minimalist Food Ever

The description alone screams maximal and a haughty claim it is, “Everything Bagel”.  As if this one item could be the answer to all of our dreams and desires. Would you like a glass of orange juice?  No thanks, I already have EVERYTHING that I could ever need.

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I ordered an everything bagel and the kid at the counter asked what I would like on it.  I was like what’s left to put on it? It already has everything!

I am such a fraud – I regularly enjoy everything bagels AND I even put toppings on it, sometimes cream cheese, sometimes peanut butter, sometimes regular butter.  I even toast the bagel, it’s an everything bagel; plus; plus. Everything plus, is that even possible? How dare I call myself a minimalist, sure a warm toasted bagel with my coffee could lead to a hygge moment, but minimal?  Nay.

From here on forth only plain or single ingredient bagels will be allowed to be consumed by anyone who has the audacity to call themselves minimalists.  Plain is good, Onion is fine, Cinnamon Raisin…that’s two ingredients and therefore, no sir not allowed. The same goes for the most popular bagel topping, cream cheese.  Original or one flavor only, there is a standard to uphold here!

Everything bagels…pffffttt…I dare say how dare they!

This was written in jest – everything bagels are delicious.

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Nomatic

The Motorcycle Diaries

A Hygge-lism Book Review

**Caution** This review pays no mind to “spoilers” and a book that was released 28 years ago should be exempt from spoilers by now anyway,  I mean really.

“The Motorcycle Diaries”, by Ernesto “Che” Guevara was originally released in 1992.  It follows Ernesto Guevara, more commonly known as “Che” and his friend Alberto Granado as they set out to tour South America together on just one small motorcycle they dubbed “La Poderosa” (The Mighty One).

They took this trip prior to graduating from medical school, and prior to Che recognizing and embarking on his revolutionary path.  He was just a young man traveling his home country, wanting to become more worldly, looking for adventure and maybe a little bit of trouble.

When I started this book, I’ll admit that besides being referenced often by the band “Rage Against the Machine”, I didn’t know much about “Che” Guevara.  So I began this book with no preexisting bias and I am happier for it. It was just a collection of stories recalling the travels of a young man.

My edition included a painful preface and introduction that nearly had me abandon the book 5 pages in, written by Che’s daughter Aleida and a Latin American poet where they take excerpts from the book and try to make it seem like these were philosophical words with deeper meaning written by an amazing artist…ugh.  When you pick this book up, either skip this part or try and remember that the actual book is totally worth the struggle and the additional photos in this version are a sight to see.

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Once you get to the actual writings from Che, you will become entertained beyond what you could ever imagine.  The expedition of two twenty-something men on an overloaded, unreliable motorcycle is full of all the mishaps and detours that you could hope for.  Most of them at the expense of Che himself, who is apparently not very good at piloting a motorcycle.  

Each arrival into a new town is a chance for them to use their multiple acquaintances and their powers of persuasion, which is significant, to obtain food, money and a place to sleep.  As you can imagine, their ill-fated motorcycle has a limited life span as well and their powers of persuasion are quickly extended to finding rides as well. 

When they are successful with finding food and drink they find themselves in some crazy situations.  Some of which had me laughing out loud as I read them. They were continual “yes men” and were so open to whatever came their way that their adventure remained unpredictable and endlessly entertaining.

As with most ill-prepared for expeditions, the highs were balanced out by the lows.  The longer the trip extended the more their daily lives consisted of searching desperately for food and a warm place to sleep, but they always struggled together.  Their friendship was proven to be something that most people would dream to achieve.

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Their pursuit of adventure was limitless and lead to attempts to steal bottles of wine, getting overly excited about the prospect of women, sleeping in random huts found along their path, sometimes sharing a single bed, stowing away in boat hulls eating melons, riding a make-shift boat down a river and hitchhiking in the back of trucks full of many different cultures of people and their questionable personal hygiene.

Their path also led across many historical sites, one of great interest to them was the ancient Inca civilization.  All the while you notice the growth of Che as he really starts to come into his own and his political future begins to take form.  While I was most interested in the crazy situations that they found themselves in, I appreciate witnessing the maturation that their adventure imposed upon them.

I highly recommend this book, simply for the entertainment factor and not the political undertones.  I do know that a movie was also made from this book but I have not personally seen it, so I cannot speak to that.

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The Evolution of a Hygge-list

You don’t just wake up one morning and decide that “Today, I am a hygge-list”.  Adopting Hygge or minimalism, simplifying your life, living more intentionally and more consciously is a process, an evolution.  As I incorporate hygge-lism into more and more aspects of my life my view continues to change. With each new step, comes a new horizon.  I would like to share with you the path that hygge-lism has led me on, and how this lifestyle has evolved and continues to evolve.

*Note – The “Days” in this post are figurative, the evolutionary timeline can not be dictated.

Day 1 – Hygge-lism comes Home

The most common way to begin a simple, minimal, hygge lifestyle is with the physical belongings that you come into contact with the most often.

You begin to pare down your wardrobe, your knick-knacks, your collections and stashes.  You start to clean out your garage, your attic, your basement and storage closets. You feel that weight begin to lift off of your shoulders, pressure is relieved from your chest and you feel that you can breathe again, even though you didn’t know that you couldn’t breathe fully before.  It’s an eye opening realization, and it’s addictive. You start to look for items to rid yourself of, and you look forward to it.

Day 2 – Leaving the House

Purging your possessions has left you with more time on your hands.  This is an unexpected realization and not being prepared for this you don’t have a plan.  You start to fall back on your old habits. You find yourself shopping on the internet, you binge television shows and so you decide you better get out of the house.  Traveling back to your usual stomping grounds, you are hypersensitive to the amount of advertisements that you are bombarded with. Radio commercials, department store windows, billboards even all the walking advertisements of name brand clothing that everyone has so willing draped themselves in.  At first they are enticing and you may even fall victim to a frivolous purchase or two at the start, followed by immediate remorse.

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You start to pick up on all the advertisement tactics that are being used.  You realize that advertising is a lucrative business and a lot of companies pay a lot of people a lot of money for the sole purpose of figuring out how to make you want to buy something for no real reason.  With this realization comes the advertisement agencies loss of power over you. You begin to shake your head at commercials and billboards, their enticement gets replaced with disdain or at the least, indifference.  You lose interest in buying new items, in fact you begin to rue the need to buy items even when they are a true need.

Day 3 – Evolving Needs

As a result of the shift in your mentality towards shopping and buying frivolous items, and your increased focus of figuring out what your true needs are, you begin to research alternatives; the “No Poo Movement”; how often should you actually wash blue jeans; what does fabric softener do to your clothes…these are all actual and valuable Google searches.  You start to look for reusable everything, shopping bags, straws, diapers, napkins, water bottles. You begin to experiment a little bit, “How bad would I smell if I stopped wearing deodorant?”, “If I didn’t use gel or mousse, what would my hair look like?”

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Your needs have begun to change, your shopping is reduced to a minimum and you find that in addition to more time, you now have more money.

Day 4 – Hygge-lism Goes to the Bank

With more time and money now, your research continues.  “The Fire Movement” is now your latest Google search. Suddenly, your eyes are opened to the power of compound interest, investments and rules of percentage. Your mind is overtaken with an entirely new world of possibilities.  It is like you have been wandering blindfolded through life and now suddenly the blindfold fell off and you can actually see for the first time. Everything is now possible and there is nothing standing in your way. You immediately set to work on a real budget, a real meal plan and the possibilities of a side hustle.

Day 5 – Priorities Change

All of these aspirations lead to a drastic change in your priorities.  Things that you once thought to be important parts of your life have started to lose their footing.  Your daily 9 to 5 is reduced to just a way to make money (for most people). You start to shrug off the idea of having the newest cell phone, or the need to watch the latest episode of whatever show you were once addicted too.

Your time is now your most valuable asset and enjoying it is your highest priority. You use it to strengthen your relationships and pursue new and exciting experiences.  You use your time to learn, to create, to relax, to meditate, to actively pursue what were once only dreams. You actually begin to do all of the things that you always told yourself that you would get to “one day” or “eventually”.

Day 6 – The World Around You Changes

Unbeknownst to you, your evolution has led to an evolution of the world around you.  All of these small incremental changes have caused your world to change along with you.  Toxic relationships have fallen away and only your true friends remain. Similar attracts similar; you are now surrounded by like minded people, new experiences have opened the door to even more new experiences and new relationships.  Your change has inflicted itself on those around you and they too have benefited from it. You are more content, comfortable and happy, life has slowed down and become clear. You look forward to what tomorrow will bring, but you will happily wait for that day to come by enjoying today. 

This my friends is the evolution of hygge-lism.

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The Truth Behind Oval Chainrings

An oval chainring is a necessity for any single speed bike, hands down.  Let me explain.

  • Maximize your leverage.
  • Ease your transition.

Maximize – Between the 1 and 2 o’clock position through the 5 o’clock position for either foot is the location where the most leverage is found when riding a bike.  Having the widest part of the chainring vertically for this area is the equivalent of adding 2 teeth to the chainring, essentially giving you an increased gear.  Ex. a 34 tooth oval chainring will put out a power equivalent of a 36 tooth round chainring throughout this position.

Ease – Conversely, the muscle transition zone in your pedal motion occurs between the 5 and 7 to 8 o’clock position for either foot.  As a result this is where your leverage is at its weakest. With an oval chainring the narrowest part of the chainring falls throughout this area, reducing the chainring to the equivalency of a 32 tooth round chainring.  Essentially given you an additional decreased gear, making this area easier to pedal, and easing the strain on your knee and ankle joints and muscles as this transition takes place.

In order to recreate this effect with round chainrings, you would have to have 2 gears and a front derailleur that is ready to do some serious work.  For every full revolution of your pedals you would have to shift between a 32 and 36 tooth chainring 4 times. 36 tooth at the 1 o’clock position; 32 tooth at 5 o’clock; back to 36 tooth at 8 o’clock; back to 32 tooth at 11 o’clock.  Then repeat for every revolution…

Often the main argument against oval chainrings is in reference to the failed Biopace oval chainrings of the 80’s and early 90’s which lead to multiple knee and ankle issues with riders.

There was one fatal flaw with the design of Biopace chainrings that resulted in these injuries.  They were designed to be installed 90 degrees off from the current ones, and that makes an incredible difference.  Installed in that manner places the hardest part of the chainring (36 tooth area) directly in the muscle transition zone.  So you were struggling to power through the most difficult part of your pedal rotation while your knees and ankles are at their most vulnerable.

The rationale from Biopace was that the increased momentum gained from the easier section being in the high leverage zone would virtually pull itself through the transition area.  A flywheel concept of sorts. Unfortunately, mountain biking is rarely a smooth, flat, open road and generating enough momentum to achieve a flywheel effect is virtually impossible, even with road biking this would be nearly impossible.  Hindsight also proves that this theory was implausible, evident in the resulting knee trauma. 

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Nomatic

Mirror rorriM – Two

Need to catch up?

Prelude

Chapter – 1

2

The next morning was Friday, and Seth was looking forward to the weekend.  With any luck, The Pizza House would be busy and he would make enough to go get his Moped after school on Monday.  He had slept on it and decided, the “scooter” as Jessica called it was what he wanted, and screw John if he gave him a hard time about it.  He had also decided that Jessica was going to be the first one to ride it with him, enough wasting time, he was going to bite the bullet and ask her to a movie.  Only…she wasn’t in his history class that morning, no big deal, maybe she skipped class. He would see her at work for sure, everybody likes to make some extra cash for the weekend.

Seth walked into The Pizza House after school and Ed Simmons was at the counter, Ed was never at the counter.

“Hey Ed, what brings you into the House today” Seth asked warily.

“Seth…nice to see somebody showed up to work today!” Ed half said half yelled.

“I take it Jessica hasn’t shown up yet this afternoon?” Seth asked.

“Nope, she hasn‘t even called yet, Jim called me because he had to leave, Cindy won’t answer her phone.  Paul and Steve just straight up said no to coming in. What’s wrong with you kids today, nobody has any kind of work ethic anymore!”  Ed ranted.

This went on for another half an hour at least, Ed was old and angry and he didn’t care who was around, he would let them know about it.  Seth was stuck with Ed for the rest of the night, which could turn out to be a long night to say the least. It wasn’t like Jessica to just not show up, and not call or anything, Seth was a little worried.  

It’s probably nothing he thought to himself, she just needed a day off, no big deal.  She lost track of time, forgot to call. Maybe she really is sick, laid up in bed and just sleeping the day away.

Seth wasn’t scheduled to work with Jessica for the rest of the weekend though, and all of his big plans about asking her out would have to wait. 

Hey at least when I see her again, I will have my Moped!  I could just pull up all smooth like, toss her a helmet, and be like “Jump on!”  As Seth daydreamed, his night at work slid right by, Fridays are busy days and busy days go by fast, so before he knew it the steady thump of bass from John’s Jeep was beating at the front door.  Seth looked out the window, he had his girlfriend Stephanie, or “Steph” as everyone called her with him.  

“Looks like my ride is here Ed, I better get going.” Seth called out.

“Yeah, yeah, don’t be late tomorrow, and tell your damn brother to turn that damn music down, what’s he think everyone wants to listen to that noise you kids call music?!” Ed was off on a rant once more.  Seth slid out the door while Ed continued to voice his opinion to no one in particular.

“Jump in the back, slacker.” John yelled, “You ask your little girlfriend out yet.”

“Whatever” was Seth’s only reply.

“Hey when you gonna get yourself a car, so I can stop hauling your ass around everywhere?” John looked at Seth in the mirror.

“Actually” Seth began, “I think I am going to buy that Moped up on Skitter Street Monday.”

At that John actually laughed out loud, here it comes Seth thought.

“That rusty old scooter?”  John could hardly contain his enjoyment at this latest revelation “Man, just when I think you can’t get any dorkier!”

“Aw, knock it off John, scooters are kinda cool.” Steph chimed in.

“Now there’s a first,” John jumped in, “for one thing, scooter and cool don’t belong in the same sentence, and on top of that they don’t belong in a sentence involving my little brother!”

“Hey, at least you won’t have to haul me around anymore, like you said.” Seth argued.

“Yeah, unless it’s raining, or cold, or every time that piece of junk breaks down is all.”  John counter pointed.

“Whatever” Seth sulked.

As they pulled up to the driveway John asked, “you got any big plans tonight little bro?”

“Not really, why?” Seth asked

“Just wondering” John smiled, “me and Steph here we got big things going on, especially in my pants right here.”

That earned John a backhand.

“You’re so gross!” Steph yelled.

“And on that note,” Seth climbed out of the backseat and started up the driveway.  John peeled out obnoxiously, and honked his horn the rest of the way up the road. 

Inside, Seth started to think about Jessica again, it was so unlike her to just skip work like that, and not tell anybody.  Seth didn’t have her number or address or anything, so he couldn’t even send her a message to see how she was doing. Maybe, I shouldn’t ask her out yet he started to think.  I don’t even really know anything about her, maybe I can just get her number or something send her a text or two first. A new plan established, Seth settled in for the weekend, a couple days of work, a couple days of pay, and by Monday afternoon his own set of wheels.  Yep, things are turning out just right.

Continue to Chapter Three.

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Junk the Junk (Drawer)

A Hygge-lism How To

Everyone has a junk drawer.  More than one junk drawer is not out of the question either.  Junk drawers are great for hiding junk, a catch all for every small item that doesn’t have a place of its own, and for left over screws and those little Allen wrenches from your latest IKEA purchase.  They put all these little items out of sight, and out of mind.

The problem is that occasionally there is the possibility that there is an off chance there is an item that could be useful, quite possibly, one day, maybe.  All joking aside, there are typically a few items that you use regularly, or just that you should not throw away lurking in these drawers.

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Your initial urge for cleaning out a junk drawer is likely to pull the drawer out and turn it upside down over your biggest garbage can.  While I don’t necessarily disagree with this method, I would hate for you to dump something kind of important.

Step #1

Remove the drawer or drawers, if you can without them getting stuck and jammed, and place them on a table with room for you to sift through them and lay items out.

Step #2 

Remove items that should be kept.  It is very important to define “important” here.  Most items that are important do not end up in a junk drawer because they are important enough to have a designated space.  There are a couple exceptions to this rule though:

Spare Keys – Be it house or car, this is possibly the only “Just-In-Case” item that I recommend holding onto.  If you can’t figure out what the key goes to, you don’t need it.

Tools – There is a good chance you have a few home use tools in this drawer, a small hammer, a screwdriver or two, duct tape etc.

Batteries – Let me specify, batteries that you know still hold a charge.

Step #3

Junk the junk.

Papers – Clear the paper clutter as referenced on my Clear the Paper Clutter Post.

Apply the 24 hour rule – Any items that remain, if they can be replaced within 24 hours, for less than $24 (roughly 22 Euros), throw/recycle/donate them.

Still skeptical?  Place all remaining items in a box, seal it and put it in your garage, basement, attic… If you don’t open that box back up in a month, drop it in the trash.

Step #4

Return the drawer to its home with its few actually useful items.  Take note of the smooth and easy glide of the no longer overstuffed drawer.  Along with that smooth motion you will literally feel the stress melt off of you.  Don’t believe me? Clean them out and see for yourself.

Step #5

Keep the junk out of the “junk drawer”.  The next time that you have leftover parts, or random items that you don’t know what to do with, consider the 24 hour rule, and deal with it right away.  If it takes less than 5 minutes to put something away, incorporate the do-it-now mentality and spend those 5 minutes or less.

Be completely honest with yourself, most junk drawer item candidates will serve the same purpose by simply dropping them into the trash can or recycling bin 

Just-In-Case items are just another way of saying, currently useless clutter, or junk.  Also known as, just-in-case you want to dedicate your valuable time, space and peace of mind and add stress to your life items.  

Check your drawer regularly.  Now that you only have useful items in this drawer, chances are you will use it regularly.  Whenever you look in this drawer, give it a quick once over and get rid of anything that doesn’t belong there.

Step #6

Now that the junk drawer is gone, do yourself a favor and rename the drawer.  Sounds silly I know, but referencing the junk drawer as a junk drawer is setting yourself up for failure.  Go ahead and name it after its purpose or location. Name it after your third cousin if you want, just don’t call it a junk drawer anymore.

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