I wrote this a long time ago, on BlogHer, and since the formatting is broken and the content type isn’t one that’s used any longer, I decided to republish it here. People still ask about the history of “#fakecat” and “#fakehusband” and it’s so much faster to just point them to a post than to try and explain it.”

Lots of people are wondering why @sassymonkey’s husband is called the fake husband (or #fakehusband, since hashtags became a thing.) Since I’m the one who started this madness, I should be the one to explain it.

It’s a long and complicated story and it’s a bit of a joke. It’s also not something you should feel left out for not knowing. So, now you’re going to know.

Way back, years and years ago, @sassymonkey started talking about a cat. Her cat. Her cat named Piper. She talked about this cat constantly. She was beginning to sound like a crazy cat kid (not lady because lord, she was young back then.) She talked about this cat on message boards, on blogs, and possibly in chat rooms.

Some of us (me) asked to see photos of this cat that we heard so much about. No photos appeared. No photos appeared. No photos appeared. Thus… fake cat. She was LYING about this cat just because, well, just because people online sometimes lie about stuff. I know, shocking, right?

Finally, after YEARS and YEARS of hearing about this fake cat, she produced a picture or two. Well ya know, anyone can find a picture or two of a cat. We (I) was sure this was just some fake cat she’d made up and found photos of. No matter that she has since produced dozens and hundreds of pictures of aforementioned fake cat, and some video. The cat remains fake. Once fake – always fake.

Flash forward a few years and suddenly, @sassymonkey starts spewing stories about going away. On vacation. To foreign countries that aren’t Canada or the US with some man. Named “L”… who eventually became “Lee.”

Well ya know, people make this stuff up all of the time on the internets. And who in their right mind goes on vacation, to foreign countries, with a man named Lee who she’d never met before the day she told us about this trip? Because lord knows, if she had not told us (me!) about this man before announcing this trip, he was not freaking real.

Again, she is making this stuff UP. No matter that there were photos of @sassymonkey with a man in foreign countries. You can get a guy to do anything, pretty easily, when you’re a woman like @sassymonkey (or any woman actually.) So… this man, obviously a FAKE boyfriend.

And when they bowed to the freaking patriarchy and tried to kill me… he became the FAKE husband (#fakehusband.) And so he shall remain. Once a fake, always a fake. If she starts spouting stories about fake kids… well that might really kill me. But they’ll always be fake, no doubt about it.

Kondo ALL the Photos. Not Really, Just Kidding. I Swear

It’s been a long time since I posted a Kondo update, hasn’t it? Unfortunately, this isn’t really a Kondo update. It’s just a post about photos. All the photos. The problems related to trying to Kondo them. The things I’ve learned from Kondoing mine and watching other people Kondo theirs. And, about why this category was easy and hard and also the best of all the categories, for me.

When I read Marie Kondo’s book, her thoughts on storage of photos really resonated with me because I had a lot of photos in boxes and albums that nobody ever really looked at. Just thinking about the photos in the boxes made me anxious. Not because the job of going through them would be difficult but because I hated the idea that I’d been storing those photos that way for so long.

I did not want those photos in those boxes. I wanted them to be looked at or to be in a place where they could be looked at and enjoyed.

Thinking about the photo albums made me a little anxious, too, because those albums were a mess. I’d often taken out individual pages to scan, upload and share old, awesome photos. But, I never put those pages back. I also had pretty much torn apart some of those photo albums when I got divorced in an effort to be sure I was leaving photos for the big kids’ father. And, of there was also the problem that I had used photo albums that all but destroy photos. Who knew those sticky paged photo albums could be so damn sticky? ugh.

And then there was the whole issue that TW had a ton of photos in boxes, too. And her mother, OMG the photos in boxes.

Where TW and I had a couple of shoeboxes of photos, TW’s mom had large U-Haul sized boxes just full of photos. For 7 years I’ve looked at her boxes of photos and felt sick about them. Photos should not be stored in that fashion. If they’re dear to you, then they should be taken care of. They should be stored in a way that it’s easy to look through them.

So… I had a lot of feelings about photos. I also found myself with very little time or energy to deal with MY photos but I did it.

Michelle and I went through a shoebox full during Christmas break. Or maybe it was in January when she got stuck here due to the weather. Whatever, we did it and it was good. I went through the rest a few weeks later and really enjoyed the process of choosing the photos that truly brought me joy. I really enjoyed doing away with all of the duplicates and triplicates and of getting rid of all of the extra sheets of portrait studio and school package photos. Nobody needs six pages of the same studio photo. That’s just ridiculous.

The photo albums were harder, and to be honest — I didn’t finish those. I don’t want to destroy the photos that are stuck to those damn album pages so I’m going to need to do some real work to get them out. But I’m going to do that because the albums aren’t really a pleasure to look through when there are three pages of photos of the same oceanscape or six pages from a Christmas in 1986 where nobody is looking at the camera, you can’t actually tell what package anyone is opening and they all pretty much look the same. There WILL be joy when the I have albums or books that truly represent those periods of time through really good photos or interesting photos and that’s my goal.

I’m not sure what TW’s goal might be for her photos. She hasn’t really gone through them, yet. I did go through a couple of small stacks to get rid of the duplicates and triplicates but since I can’t Kondo HER photos, she’s going to have to do them when we move.

As for TW’s mom’s photos. That’s been interesting. It took her almost a month to go through them and decide which to keep and which to discard. We bought her one of those plastic archival type boxes to put the small snapshots into and we’ll get some of the bigger boxes for her to store 8x10s and 9x11s. I think she went through a bunch of them and wrote dates and names and locations on some of them — which is good because many of them belonged to the generation (or two) before here and TW didn’t have a clue as to who those people were. If they are important family archives then later generations need some sort of clues as to why those are important.

Which leads me back around to my own photos again.

I need to remember that when I’m creating my albums. If I have any inkling that these photos may mean something to my kids or my grandchildren or my great grandchildren, then I should make sure I leave them some clues, too.

AND, I’m bound and determined to make sure that we are all displaying photos in our home that really bring us joy. That’s a big goal for me for our new home. Come visit this time next year and see if I’ve done it.

Now go Kondo your photos. Get rid of the duplicates and triplicates. Don’t keep 16 pictures of the same tree (unless that tree really, really brings you joy.) Don’t keep 60 pictures from Christmas ’84 unless all of those photos truly bring you joy. Instead, create a visual archive of your life that really sparks joy — on every page of the album and in every picture frame.

KonMari Update: Finished. Sort of. Not Really.

I meant to write this update before 2015 ended but I procrastinated badly that last week of December and am just now catching up with everything. What I didn’t procrastinate with was Kondoing the things.

When I last updated you, we had these things left:

– Knick Knacks
– Art (you know, that stuff some people hang on walls but we generally just store in closets. sigh)
– Seasonal decor
– Sentimental things

We also had some things that we needed the children to go through and planned to have them help us out with that during the holidays: the nutcracker collection, the videos and the board games.

Where are we now? Done. Sort of.

We went through all of the knick knacks and art and made some sizable donations to Goodwill right before the kids came for the holidays. We still have a few more things to donate and we have some art and large framed mirrors and such that we’re holding onto until after we choose a new home. It’s possible that even if they bring us joy, they may not fit in our new home… we’ll review right before we move and purge again, if necessary.

We went through the seasonal items and I thought that would be harder than it was. I don’t know if it was TW’s mood or what but she found less joy than I expected her to find and it was a piece of cake to get through that stuff. (We cut down Christmas by 2 rubbermaid tubs and a cardboard box!)

We went through ALL of the sentimental things, once. We did a quick “no joy” pass on all of the things we’ve saved and there are three bins in the office that we need to go through once more to see if everything sparks joy. We also put all of the photos in one big box (except for what’s already in albums) and we need to go through those (and the albums.) Michelle belle helped me go through a shoebox and two small albums while she was here and that was kind of fun to do with her.

As for the things we thought the kids were going to Kondo? We went from four HUGE boxes of nutcrackers to two. I’d like to have gotten down further than that but…whatever. It’s not my stuff, though we’ll probably be storing those boxes for the oldest youngest child until we die.

Four of the five kids went through the games and only a small number sparked joy. I would like the fifth child to weigh in but if she doesn’t make her way over here soon, I’m probably going to just bite the bullet and discard the bulk of this stuff.

The videos that the kids originally struggled to let go of, (while I was trying to Facebook them photos asking “Joy or no joy.”), were suddenly much easier for them to discard and they agreed that I should just let it all go. I’m not sure I can do that, but it makes it easier to discard the bulk of it without worrying that they’ll be unhappy about what didn’t bring me joy. So, I need to go through the cabinet and just get that done. I think I’ll actually do that as soon as I finish typing this post.

I also realized that there are some things in one of the sideboards that we never went through because they were art or sentimental or knick knacks but since they were out of sight, I forgot about them. I’ll convince TW that we should do those tomorrow.

So really, we’re very close to being finished with this (oh, except of course for Elly’s room which we’re still working on, one small batch at a time when she’s here every week or two.) It feels good but TW said the other day that we’ve done so much but it still feels like there’s more to do. I feel that way too, and expected it. It was always sort of my plan to do another pass through all of the things as we pack up to move — and then really think about our possessions again once they’re being unpacked in our new home. I do expect we’ll let more go over the next six months or so. Not a lot, but just looking around while I type, I feel like there are some things here that don’t really bring joy… I like them, but joy… probably not.

KonMari Update: Let’s Kondo ALL THE THINGS!

It’s been a good few weeks for KonMari. The end is in sight and I can’t wait ’til it’s all done.

We’ve been to the electronics recycling station twice and need to go again because there are TVs, computers and microwaves in the garage that we need to dump before the snow comes back (and there’s a TV and DVD upstairs that will need to go if we can get someone to carry it down for us.) TW did manage to clear some of the content from some of the old laptop hard drives but she hasn’t finished — once she has, we’ll need to dump those hard drives.

Also, during my last update, we were heading into the world of toys. Hah. It turned out to be a more difficult category than I’d originally expected. I kondoed the toys in the shelf that sits in front of the fireplace — that was easy. I ended up discarding a small grocery bag of stuff. At which point, I buzzed my kid and said, “you’re not going to tell me you’re pregnant the day after I discard all of the baby toys, are you?” … she laughed. She said she should ask JMP if the toys bring him joy. I told her that was dumb because he would say yes, all the toys belong to JMP and they all bring joy. But, he isn’t here and he won’t know the difference because Grandma will just buy MORE toys and that will be fine. She laughed and said that JMP needs all the baby toys. I said TOO BAD, they are going….

And then the weekend was over and I hadn’t gotten upstairs or into the extra bedroom to do anymore, which is a good thing since the damn kid sent me this photo, the next day:


Yea. There goes the idea of discarding all of the baby toys, right? Right!

I did, however, manage to discard a bag of odds and ends – some broken things, some things that just never got played with. I also found all of the old legos, wooden trains, and hot wheels (joy!) and I started sorting through the toys in Elly’s room – tossing anything that was totally dead or disgusting and putting her zillion stuffed animals into bags for her to sort… soon. Very soon.

I tracked down all of the board games and stacked them up in the dining room — when all of the kids are here for Christmas, I’ll make them decide which ones we should keep and which we should get rid of. (Oh, they also need to go through the DVDs/VHS tapes when they’re here — someone remind me of that.)

Then, we moved on to the arts & crafts supplies. Another tough category but we did it.

TW sorted through all of her quilting material and knitting stuff and ended up with a bag to take to goodwill and a bag to throw in the trash. I went through all of the art supplies on my desk and Raskogs and various other carts and gave some paint to Elly (Buster ate a bottle and ended up painting one of the dog beds pink — that was fun.) And, I had a bag of trash as well as a bag to donate. I even managed to get Elly to go through her craft supplies — that was tough but she did it. She took a bag of stuff to her father’s house and we ended up with a bag to donate. Yay, us!

Then we back-pedaled a bit and Kondoed shoes — we ended up discarding or donating 9 pairs of boots/shoes/slippers/sandals. Woot.

Here’s what’s left:
– Knick Knacks
– Art (you know, that stuff some people hang on walls but we generally just store in closets. sigh)
– Seasonal decor
– Sentimental things

In preparation for the last four categories, and the holidays, I cleaned out the present closet and then the entire cold room (it’s a bedroom that has no insulation so it’s always freezing cold and we use it for storage.) All of the bins and boxes that hold sentimental things, that were in the cold room, are now in the office. I dumped two garbage bags of stuff and have another garbage can full of stuff to throw out and we have a ton of stuff to take to Goodwill next week, too.

I’ve got all of the seasonal decor in one place, ready to Kondo when the kids are here (though I’m going to do the two bins of gift boxes/wrapping paper tomorrow) and I’m going to move the empty rubbermaid bins into the cold room so they’re out of the darn office where I keep tripping over them.

I can’t decide what to do about the knickknacks… do we really need to put them all in one place and touch each one to determine joy? I’m leaning toward no — and just have us all wander around the house and looking at/touching everything and discarding as we go… That seems fine, doesn’t it?

So, that’s where we are… making excellent progress. We might really be able to finish this by the end of the year. Maybe. The sentimental stuff is going to be hard — there is so much and we are so sentimental. lol.

(We’ll also be going through each room, once all of the categories are done, and Kondoing again — the stuff we overlooked the first time or never got to for one reason or another. And of course, there’s also the garage. Ugh. But let’s not think about that now. Ugh.)

Today Is Stupid

Covering for Sassymonkey at work, while she goes to #BlogHerFood15 turned out to be the best part of my day (so far.)

– Our internet went out this morning and I spent an hour talking to tech support only to have a technician dispatched for this afternoon between 1-4pm.
– Immediately after hanging up with tech support, the connection came back (though the TV is still unhappy.)
– We forgot to take the dogs to the kennel during morning drop off hours.
– Someone needs to run to Jewel to pick up one ingredient needed for tonight’s dinner. (The other one will have to stay here and wait for the internet person.)
– We will have to take the dogs to the kennel drop off during a) dinner b) rush hour traffic c) after the internet person finishes working his magic.
– TW washed my wallet.
– Buster barked for about 90 minutes straight because the landlord was using the leaf blower.
– My sprained finger is still sprained. I need a brace but don’t want to pay a zillion dollars for one at the darn drug store. Do they sell the old fashioned metal braces at the Dollar Tree??? (Not that I have time to go to the Dollar Tree.)
– As I was trying to publish this post, the internet went out again.

I hate today.

KonMari Update… Moving Right Along

We’re a month behind schedule but we’re really digging in and getting stuff done, now. Unfoturnately — we’re about to hit some difficult categories not to mention BlogHer Food 15, Michelle visiting, Thanksgiving, Holiday shopping and planning and then Christmas with some subset of the kids here. It’s going to be tough to make it through the next five categories + Elly’s room before Christmas and that was my original goal.

Think good thoughts for us.

But back to the update…

We’ve made two trips to the electronics recycling station (they are only open on Saturdays from 9am-11:30am which has been a challenge but I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made for finally getting the old electronics out of the house.) My goal is to have all the discarded electric stuff out of the house by the end of the day November 5, except of course for the stuff upstairs that’s too heavy for us to carry down and all of the laptops that need to have the hard drives cleared… My goal for that stuff is 12/31/15.

We made it through the kitchen stuff without too much trouble. I don’t seem to have written down any notes about how many things we discarded but I know we carried about six boxes of stuff to Goodwill and we threw away quite a bit of stuff as well. It’s so weird to open the cabinets and see a small number of plates and mugs and glasses… I’m always tempted to yell “KIDS, bring your dirty dishes downstairs!” Life with only what you need and what brings joy is weird, lol.

Next up we sorted through all of the tote bags. Oh the tote bags. We had 120 tote bags. We kept 50. We’ll be taking the donations down to Florida this winter and donating them to Peaceful Paths. Until then, they’re in a box in the empty bedroom.

After tote bags, we moved to luggage — which was pretty easy. Anything with a broken zipper, a rip, or a handle that didn’t work brings new joy. BUT, we’re not discarding immediately. We’ll be packing stuff in those suitcases and discarding once we unpack down south. The suitcases that bring no joy have red strips of tape on them so we’ll know immediately to discard them next spring. We kept 6 suitcases and 3 duffle bags. We have 5 suitcases in the no joy pile but we may change our mind about one very small rollerboard… we’ll see. We also kept 3 of those weird shoulder strap carry-on bags that you get when you buy 3/5 piece luggage sets. We’ve never used them but TW says we might be able to pack stuff in them. Whatevs.

Which brings us to linens and towels. Those suckers were EVERYWHERE and I spent a few days last week collecting them a little bit at a time. Oh my gosh, so much stuff that we never ever use. We ended up with 8 bags of sheets/blankets/comforters and 1 bag of towels to donate to the animal shelter. Another bag to donate to goodwill. And, one bag tossed into the trash. We also sorted through the throw pillows — we kept 3 and discarded 7 (though there are 2 more in the cold room that I can’t access right now — we’ll discard those as soon as we’re able to remove them from underneath some very heavy mirrors that are sitting on top of them. lol)

This was a long update — because we’ve made a ton of progress.

Next up… toys. You’d think that would be easy, wouldn’t you? Next up… convincing Elly to Kondo her room… that’s not going to be easy at all. I’m probably going to have to threaten to do it for her…

Mac and Me

After many years of looking longingly at MacBooks, I took the plunge and bought a MacBook Air. It was a bad Windows update that killed my beloved Toshiba that pushed me over the edge. I had to buy a new laptop and I was so annoyed at Windows that I sucked up the extra price of the MacBook and I just bought it. And, immediately felt guilt over having done it.

Whatever. It’s done. Moving on. Money grows on trees, etc. No big deal.

The learning curve, my friends, has been great.

Besides the weird trackpad scrolling that I haven’t turned off because I mostly like it and just haven’t completely gotten used to it, I am constantly struggling to figure out how to do things. It’s particularly annoying when I’m doing a screenshare with other people. I’m pretty sure I look like I need to go back to remedial mousing classes because I have no control over my cursor. And, if I’m training someone to do something or showing someone how something works, I’m pretty sure the other person is wondering whether I really know what in the hell I’m doing (I DO, just not with the Macbook) because holy hell, it’s hard.

All of the times people have said that Macs are so user-friendly and intuitive… yea, not so much really. Or maybe not so much if you’ve lived on a Windows machine for a zillion years. I certainly find the iPHone and iPad to be more user-friendly than the MacBook.

Programs I’ve used forever in Windows don’t look or behave the same way on the Mac. (WHERE THE HELL IS THE TRASHCAN IN EVERNOTE ON THE MACBOOK? I can find it on my Toshiba. I can find it on my iPhone. I CANNOT FIND IT ON MY MACBOOK. WHERE THE HELL IS IT???) I have no idea what I’m going to do about image editing. Maybe I don’t need to edit images for work anymore? (I have a new job, yea — I’m sure I’ll never need image editing again. So I’m just going to not think about that at all.) My desktop is a mess because I can’t figure out how to easily move shit into the folders I want them in. The process seems so damn difficult all of a sudden.

OK I’ll stop now. I do love my MacBook. I also love not worrying about corrupt Windows updates. I’ll get used to it. Sassymonkey says so. I believe her. Mostly. I think.

KonMari Problems

I hit a KonMari wall and am just now trying to recover.

We did manage to look for joy in an entire room full of old electronic items and we found very little joy. Those items were moved into a rubbermaid bin and that bin is still in the dining room. Because my back hurts and I shouldn’t lift it but also because I think some more things need to go in there but I haven’t figured out what.

The things that spark no joy are still in the bedroom because I can’t figure out what to do with them. Should any of them go to Goodwill? Or, can they/should they just go to the electronics recycling station? And, there’s also the problem with my back. Some of this stuff is heavy and I probably shouldn’t be lifting it, even with TW’s help.

There are some things upstairs that need to go but again, too heavy to try and maneuver down the twisty metal stairs, so… we’re at a standstill.

We’ve also got 15 laptops/desktops that we need to figure out how to clean and/or retrieve data from.

I’m hoping we can get all of this electronic stuff sorted out this month.

In the meantime, we’ve moved on.

Before I went to visit JMP, I cleaned out a cabinet in the laundry room that’s full of… tools. Hammers, screwdrivers, nuts, bolts, nails, and fasteners. That sort of thing. There were many things that I don’t even know the purpose of. I ditched anything obviously junk and then put it all away neatly into the cabinet. TW went through the cabinet today and got rid of some things. I was hoping she’d get rid of more but apparently having 15 differently weighted common head screwdrivers brings her joy. Whatever. That category is done.

Then, I went through all of the household cleaning supplies. Why we have 500 old washcloths and dish towels/hand towels is beyond me. Whatever. Not much joy there, except in the organization and in learning that we have more lightbulbs than we will ever need and that we have a lot of Pledge multipurpose cleaner (thanks, BlogHer Con).

Next up… kitchen items. This is a big one and I think we’re both looking forward to it. I want this category done by the end of this month, too.

2 (Southern) Fiction

I couldn’t resist the cover of Mama Does Time and I was happy to hear TW chuckle through it. I chuckled through it, too. It was a lot of fun and I’d definitely read more Mace Bauer mysteries, (this was the first book in the series.)

Next, I read Karen White’s The Sound of Glass. Hoo boy. There’s no such thing as coincidence. Having said that, I could have hated this book because really???? These people were all tied together this way? Really???? But I didn’t. Every single character was likeable and I cared about them way more than I expected.

What’s extra interesting about me reading these two books, back to back, over a 2 1/2 day period is… I didn’t really feel enticed to move to the Okeechobee. I did, however, feel really drawn to moving to Beaufort. Which is interesting since I’ve spent more time thinking about moving back to Florida than I have thinking about moving back to SC. So here I am, looking at houses in Beaufort again. I think I need to lay off the southern literature until after we buy a house. This flip-flopping around is nuts. We need to just pick a spot and stick with it. Or something lol.

The KonMari Method: Jewelry

This category was primarily for TW this time around. I’ve already discarded almost all of my jewelry and what little I had left, Michelle has gone through a couple of times so there just wasn’t much for me to sift through.

TW on the other hand had a bunch and she got it done. We went from having a full popcorn tin (you know what I mean, right?) of jewelry to having just a few things in the bottom of the tin. We have some jewelry to donate and some jewelry that we may sell but either way, it’s leaving the house.

Next category for us will be… electronics/appliances. That means we need to figure out where we can drop off a whole lot of old laptops, desktops, monitors and a TV.