The Stay-cation

Written by Ryan

Who in their right mind would want to spend a week at home doing chores when the entirety of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is at their footsteps? Me… apparently.  But wait!  It’s for good reason.  Sarah and I are on a mission.  That mission will eventually lead us to getting rid of nearly all our stuff, so why wait?  We’re starting early and getting rid of as much stuff as possible now rather than wait till the last minute.  There were several categories of things I wanted to work on:

  • Deep cleaning.  Laundry, Dishes, Organizing, etc.
  • Toss or Keep – going through our ‘Random Shit’ drawers, and boxes to clear them out.
  • Put stuff on Craigslist
  • Hang with the Boys
  • Van maintenance

These categories encompassed a mind-numbing amount of work, but I was determined to take a chunk out of it.  Here’s how it went down…

The CleanI spent the first three days of the stay-cation battling the typical domestic chores list.  I work 40 to 60 hours a week, and Sarah, being self employed, basically works any moment when she’s not taking care of the boys.  The neglected, overwhelming pile of laundry, and dishes were a force to be reckoned with.  How the hell did it ever get to this point?  I mean, there were clothes in that pile that I had given up on, and I’d thought we’d basically lost all of our spoons.  Well, when you have kids your priorities shift dramatically, and the sacrifices you make for a moment of ‘free time’ become increasingly drastic.  It’s no joke.  Either you become that parent that spends every second of their free time cleaning neurotically, or you keep the house live-able and work on your passions in what time you’re afforded… both Sarah and I fit into the latter category.  The house is a mess.  We don’t entertain at our house much… just saying.

img_1641The DEEP clean

In-between loads of laundry and dishwasher cycles I cracked into the random-shit-boxes.  We’ve all got ’em.  They’re the boxes, drawers, closets, out-of-the-way places where we toss things which don’t have a defined ‘home’.  Random cables, old pictures, keepsakes, that old pocket watch I found when I was a kid, etc., all jumbled up together.  When we moved to Denver we ended up with four or five boxes of this stuff.  All things which, at the time, we couldn’t live without.  So much so that we hadn’t opened them since being here… go figure.  The deep cleaning of places like this sucks.  There’s not much in the world that is both incredibly satisfying, while at the same time being equally frustrating.  The un-shit-boxing of the random-shit-box.  It takes a tremendous amount of time to sort through it all, it’s sometimes hard not to sit and reminisce about the items which you’d kept from your childhood, and in the end your house doesn’t appear any more/less organized.  The real take away from this process is that when you’re done, and you are looking for something you think you may have lost there are no random-shit-boxes left to have to look through.  You lost it… for reals.

Toss or Keep & Craigslistdinky

In the end we were left with one of the five boxes of random shit.  We tossed our old keepsakes with reckless abandon.  My 8th grade ‘Artistic Expression’ award?  Gone.  Sarah’s incriminating pictures from middle school?  Gone.  The old ticket stubs from metal shows I’d gone to in high school? Gone.  An old pocket watch, miniature harmonicas, patches I’d meant to sew on my bag in grade school?  Gone, gone, gone.  But the Toss-or-Keep portion of my stay-cation extended itself further than the random-shit-boxes.  The important papers box got weeded out (we don’t need to keep our lease papers from our apartment back in 2006).  The box full of our old art projects, and school work got cleaned up.  All the things I’d said I’d put up on Craigslist finally got listed.  After Sarah and I made up our minds that we’re ready to live on the road none of this stuff seemed to matter anymore.  It’s gone.

paleo_parentingHang with the Boys

Most of my time with the boys is spent cooking dinner and getting them to bed.  This is great bonding time, but it’s a bit limited.  They’re usually too tired by the end of the day to do any school work, or go for a bike ride, or a walk.  Nearly every day during the stay-cation I was able to spend one or two hours one-on-one with Kevin, and River to work on their school work.  This was awesome.  It gave me a real sense of what it could be like if I wasn’t tied down to a 9-to-5.  They were so excited to have Daddy help them.  Kevin and I worked on reading and handwriting mostly.  River and I did Alphabet flash cards where we identified the letters out of order, then put them in order and sang the alphabet song.  We did some artsy stuff like painting the clubs we found in the woods.  I called this ‘Paleo Parenting’… see what I did there?  On top of that, we got to ride our bikes a few days for a decent amount of time.  Kevin is now fully self sufficient on his bike, and River’s picking up speed and lifting his legs with the Strider.  I’m so damn proud I could explode!

The Van

Last, but not least – The Van projects.  The list of things to do with the van is extensive to say the least, but there are a few pressing issues.  The ones I was considering for this week were…

  • Rain gutter rust removal and mitigation
  • Door hinge pin emplacement
  • Seat installation

I decided to go with the gutter as it held the potential of being the most laborious.  My thought was that I wouldn’t have another block of time as long as this stay-cation, so I should take care of it now.  In  the end I made the right decision.  It did take much longer than expected, and I found out that the rust in one key spot had gone all the way through.  I’ll go into more detail in regards to the process in my next blog post, suffice it to say it was a pain in the ass.  Three days straight, and I’m still not technically done.  I need to paint over the rust sealer before it’s complete, but I’m looking around to see what it would cost me to get the whole van done.  For all intents and purposes though, the problem is taken care of.   The rust is patched up, and the areas that were at risk have been sealed.

In Conclusion

I haven’t been this productive in a long time.  It felt amazing to knock so many things off of my to-do list.  Also, after having done so I feel like I’ve regained my drive.  The motivation I’d been lacking for ages.  A mental block which kept me from focusing and getting these jobs done has been overcome, and I find that now that I’m back at work I’m far more productive there as well.  I only hope that I can keep up the momentum.  We still have a long way to go before we could just pick up and go at a moment’s notice, but we’re WAY closure now.  Wish us luck.  There’s a long road ahead and we’re dead set on going down it!

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