Monday, 6 June 2011

falling off the wagon

Already, you ask?


I was doing so well for one day - I didn't buy anything or bring anything into the house for one whole day as part of my new challenge.

The next day I went grocery shopping and just brought home food - which is allowable. But then, in a moment of weakness, I logged on to kijiji and searched through the local bargains galore. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was driving home with a trunk full of an itsy-bitsy little bit of backyard clutter: a pool.
falling off the wagon
I felt extra sneaky because when I had broached the subject of The Pool with my husband a week earlier, he frowned and said, "It will kill the grass." I guess I didn't take that as an outright "no" because when he was safely in Winnipeg (24 hour drive away), I took matters into my own hands.

I thought about my reasons for buying the pool, and here's what came to mind:
  • It was a good deal. Don't we all love a good bargain?
  • It's a childhood fantasy of mine to have a pool on my property. And isn't that what adulthood is all about? Fulfilling childhood fantasies? 
  • I could imagine a lovely summer family lifestyle avec piscine. I had visions of barbeques poolside, with the kids merrily splashing while the adults sipped wine coolers. All of a sudden, here was a fun reason to have friends over in the heat of the summer months. Here was a new lifestyle.
I know that this is how companies like Starbucks market their products. They say, "This is what your lifestyle will look like/feel like when you sip one of our lattes." And so I buy the lifestyle, and not just the product. I buy the vision of myself (what I feel like, and possibly how others see me) using that product. Sure, I like the taste too, but it's the coolness factor that tempts me and says "you really deserve this. Think about how relaxed you'll feel when you drink this expensive chai latte." I'm sold. Why does a cup of tea that can be made for 25 cents get sold for $5.00? Because I'm not just buying a mug of whipped spicy tea. I'm buying an experience; I'm engaging a brand. 

So many things have come into our house because of my imaginary lifestyles. Like home-school mom. I will most likely never be a home-school mom, but I have all the resources I'll ever need, saved from my teaching career. And then there's tap-dancing me. Why do I have tap-dance shoes when I took one class in university, and haven't since? Do I picture myself as a closet tap-dancer? Or mosaic-maker, with a whole huge bin of broken pottery waiting for that day when I'll feel like making a beautiful mosaic. Even being a teacher is an imaginary lifestyle for me right now. I haven't done this in 5 years. And then there's knitting-sewing-arts-and-crafter. I have enough supplies on hand to lead kid craft workshops every day for the next 2 months. Will I do this? Absolutely not. So why do I hold onto these things?

I keep other things because of fear and "what if's" -- what if I'll need this someday? What if my kid doesn't learn her multiplication tables because I got rid of that math game? What if I want to knit something out of the blue, just after I've gotten rid of my knitting needles that I never use? Most of these what if's are fairly stupid and easily solveable - if I want to knit, I can buy some new knitting needles. Easy. And there are other ways to learn multiplication tables. 

Some of my most satisfying, simpler times of living with enough were during camping, traveling, and living overseas experiences - making do with what I had, and feeling free - like it was more than enough.

So why can't I live like this at home, in my regular life? 


  1. When my Dad would go out of town in the summer, my Mom would get out the newspaper classified ads on Saturday morning and announce to all of us children: "We're going to get a puppy!" I remember those times with glee.

  2. Did it happen? I hope so! I guess it wouldn't be gleeful if she would have announced that, and then not followed through. What did your dad think when he got home?

  3. Ah Rebecca, just love it :). I too have all sorts of things set to go for the "rainy days" --- except that rainy days with kids does NOT equate to "project day for mom." !!! I've decluttered, I really have. Of course, it does not help that we have one of southern MB's BEST MCC stores in town. Right in our very own town!!! How can one resist!? Especially when I think of where my change is going :).
    I would totally get the pool. Jon indulged me last summer (I envisioned hanging my pregnant-body feet in a tub of something cool; it was just sooo appealing!!) with an inflatable wonder that didn't last very long. Apparently it was set up too close to the deck and snagged a staple and well, staples+plastic pools = puddles. :(.
    This afternoon, with the sun shining brightly, I have to settle for the sprinkler. :P

  4. Oh, and your comments re: imaginary lifestyle - explains so much for me. Thanks for putting it into words :).

  5. Yes - I've decluttered too - too many times to count - and I have amazing thrift stores where I feel good about where my money is going too! What to do, what to do... I love your pool story from last summer! We'll try to keep ours away from staples (ours is an inflatable wonder too).

  6. Rebecca - you may live like this! On a sad note, remember your grandma's home. How wonderful to be there - how wonderful to get out a magazine from the 'dark ages' and leaf through it. The antiques on the shelves the cupboards to open and find a little box, a souvenir of one of our trips to Kentucky in the fifties; and the books, and the fabric. Yes, you may live like this. To feel, to touch, to see the patterns of life in the sun sifting through. This is you - and I am happy to know you. You touch my soul with your writings. Thank you.

  7. Linda! So nice to hear from you! Yes - Grandma's home was not exactly clutter free, but filled with fascinating things. I loved the words you used to describe it - beautiful. I have a couple of those Life and Chatelaine magazines from the "dark ages"! I just can't seem to part with them. I love little connections to the past like that. I think that I need to find ways to house my "favourite things" and get rid of the rest - the stuff that has little connection to anything meaningful, but is just "stuff."

    I'm so happy to know you too!