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Sunday
Feb052017

Decluttered and cashed up 

 

As my declutter mission continues I’ve found a huge bonus in getting rid of things in my life that I don’t use anymore.  I’ve saved myself a stack of cash.

It started with my Amex card which I haven’t used in two years.  I’ve had it for over 15 years but held on to it in case of emergencies (hello What If Girl) … also I really liked the combination of my lucky numbers on it.  I rang to cancel and had a lovely chat to the customer service woman, explaining that I signed up for it when I was married – but that had ended years ago.  She looked at my file and said “yes, it looks like your relationship with us lasted a lot longer than your marriage did”.  Ha, true so very true.  That declutter (my card, not my husband) saved me $80 a year in fees – that’s about 15 x skinny lattes. 

Other things I rarely use included my stove (ha, just joking) and my home phone.  I have it mainly to call my parents but now Mum has a new plan where she can call me for free (bonus) so I can ditch the landline too.

I called my friends at Optus and a lovely man with a cute Mexican accent talked me through my current bundle of home phone and internet.  As I stuffed my face with sushi (I was multi tasking during lunch) he found a better plan and saved me over $700 per year … aka 160 x skinny lattes.  I love Optus.  We’ve been together for 18 years.  I’m a big fan of loyalty – can you tell? 

Next stop was my life insurance and all the grown up stuff I hate paying for but might need one day.  When I worked with a financial planning group, they instilled in me the importance of setting myself up financially for the future – and protecting my assets – with superannuation, death and disability insurance and income protection.  Classic products for the community of What If’s.  

I rang my broker / friend Rick and explained the angst I felt every time the insurance company deducted hundreds of dollars from my bank account every month.  Surely I could put it to better use?   Extra mortgage payments.  Top up my super.  A new handbag?

As a single girl, I told him, I didn’t have any dependents – except for Asha the cat and her decadent lifestyle – so surely I didn’t need as much cover.   Also, I protested, if it all went to shit and I couldn’t work, I’d just move back to Rads and move in with Mum and Dad.   They’d love that.   Imagine the hilarious blogs I could write about chickens and country living. 

To my surprise, he didn’t try and talk me out of it, but checked all my policies and we found that combined with my work insurance I was a little ‘over-covered’ and we could remove some of the plans I had.  Awesome.  No point in leaving more money than necessary to the Spoilt Cats Society.  He recalculated and it looks like I’ll be saving over $3,500 a year.  That’s a LOT of skinny lattes. 

Sure I promised him I’d put it towards my mortgage but I really do need a new handbag.  That’s a good investment of my hard earned cash, right ladies?

Alternatively I could buy myself a coffee machine and make my own skinny lattes, but what’s the point of that.  I’m rich now, I could hire my own hot barista. 

Saturday
Jan282017

You're dumped eHam

I finally deleted my eHam profile.  It felt weird.  Like I was letting an old friend go.  Throwing out a pair of jeans that once looked good on me. Killing off my chance to find love (pfffft, joking).  I won’t lie, as a What If Girl, it was hard. 

I’ve been on eHam for a few years – I don’t want to confess how long for fear of sounding like a loser – but it was fun.  When I first signed up I dated enthusiastically, lining up several dates every week, and chatting to a few men at once.  Then as the excitement of meeting potential partners wore off, I logged on only when I felt like it, throwing myself in and out of the dating world for as long as my self esteem would allow.

Now that journey – or should I say roller coaster - is over.  Yes, I’m still single.   But that’s okay. 

Did I meet some great men?  Absolutely.  Some of them I’m still in contact with.  Coffee Boy, one of my first dates, who texts me every year on my birthday to catch up.  Marathon Man, who I dated for a while (he’s now happily married again with another child).  Celebrity Chef, one of the hottest guys I met, swaps funny stories and emojis with me like we’re bored 15 year olds.  Oh and most recently, The Sailor, who was a brilliant dinner date and plus one.  I liked him a lot.  Never mind.  

I also talked to and met some weirdos.  IronMan, the uber strong Leo who had a voice like a jockey and talked in the third person about everyone.  Thong Man who had a fight with me because I didn’t want to meet him after ten minutes of chatting.  Smiley Face who said that women who wear glasses are librarians and that we let way too many asylum seekers into our country. Elvis the bragger and 50/50 boy the groper.  Delete.

Then there were the awesome guys I met but didn’t click with physically or emotionally.  Sometimes me, sometimes them.  The Food Scientist and I had a brilliant four hour date, then nothing.  Fireman Sam (an old school romantic), the Drummer (lots of fun) and Sauce Boy (who flew from Canberra to take me to dinner on Valentine’s Day).  All lovely guys, just not right for me. 

I also had some interesting match ups … Carlos the Spanish Horse Whisperer … Scott the Swinger who had a wife AND a girlfriend, and was looking for another playmate to join them … and the lovely Michelle, a woman transitioning and looking to explore the world of dating as she became a man.  Then there was Nick who ended up dating Twin Kat for a few months. Thank God she never brought him home.  Awkward on a new level. 

A huge shout out to The Painter, Italian Stallion and Five Perfect Dates who all have their own chapters in my upcoming book.  If I ever finish it. 

As I hit the delete button on my account I felt good.  It was time to try something new and get rid of the things in my life that weren’t working.  Done.  I closed my laptop.  A little later, however, I received more matches in my inbox.  What?  I logged on again to find I had only stopped my subscription, not deleted my account.  My profile was still there attracting men.  Nice try eHam. 

I searched the site and finally found the Close My Account section.  As I hovered over that tiny red button, I wondered if this was the right thing to do.  What If, my head taunted me.  What IF?!  No, I’m done.  We are done. 

I clicked the button and a collage of cute men scrolled across my screen with an ominous sentence … “Are you sure you want to close your account? These are some of the people you might be missing out on.”

Are you for real?!  Where the hell were all these hotties the past few years?  It’s like going to AA and someone waving a bottle of champagne in your face before you walk through the door. My self discipline may not be that strong.  I pressed the “Yes, Delete my Account” button.  Another screen popped up.   “Warning!  Are you sure you want to do this?”  

A list of reasons not to delete my profile tugged at me.  You will permanently lose all your matches.  Shame. You will lose all communication with your matches.  Fine. You will have to retake the whole relationship questionnaire (or 936 stupid questions about dumb shit as I like to call it).  Yep.  Got that.  I’m out of here.

Finally after getting through myriads of dating firewalls, my account was closed.  Dead.  Dormant.  Deleted.  Hundreds of men that didn’t quite fit me (or vice versa) disappearing into a cyber black hole.  Just like that.  My fallback database of potential love was gone … for good. 

 Surprisingly, it feels really good.  And no, I’m not signing up for Tinder.   

Saturday
Dec312016

Deleted

I read an article this week which said to leave 2016 behind and move positively into 2017, it’s important to get rid of the past.   To remove things that might hold us back from having a great year next year.  To throw things out.  To declutter.  To make room for the new.

These words spoke to me.  Any article about decluttering always does.  I read the articles, nod in agreement and vow to make changes.  Then the thought of actually throwing things away starts to make me feel a little anxious.  Where to start?  What about landfill?  How will I get rid of all my ‘unwanted stuff’?  I’m a What If Girl.  What If I need the things I’m being told to throw out?

I’m desperate to make 2017 one of my best years yet.  God knows that 2016 has been so exhausting for most of us, anything will be better.   I want to go into it with a clear head, a happy heart and the passion to do things that feed my soul.  If that means a bit of decluttering, off I go.

The article made a new and interesting point –  that we should also be getting rid of old text messages, emails and photos that are clogging up our phones and computers.   We need to delete them in order to clear space for new and better things to come along.   Okay, I can do that.

I looked at my phone and scrolled through my text messages.   The oldest ones were  from 2013 when I first got my phone.  Surely I don’t need three year old texts any more.  I methodically looked at each recipient and the number of messages we’d swapped … then hit the Delete All Button on the ones I didn’t want.  The first one was hard.  Then it became easy.  Almost therapeutic. 

There were 200 messages from Paddle Pop Lion.  They started off sweet and sexy with the early days of flirting and seduction.  As I scanned through the feed, it showed our history.   Getting to know each other – being more suggestive – making plans to catch up – missing each other.  The good times of us being together.  Then it turned.  He became jealous – I started to pull away – my Aunty passed away – he tried to be there for me – I wasn’t interested.   Finally, the text messages after our break up – and him reaching out to me for friendship.   Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  That part of my life gone.  I felt a little sad.  I also felt free.

Various work text messages from old work colleagues took up over 100 spaces.  Fun notes back and forth on what we’d done, congratulating them on success, and the occasional mishaps.  I’m proud of what we’ve achieved but I have new things to create next year.   Delete. 

A portfolio of my dating life screamed volumes about what I’ve been doing for three years.   Chris the Cyclist texted me briefly before our first date at the Opera House Bar, then thanked me afterwards.  We lamented that three bottles of red probably wasn’t necessary but the pashing on the way home was fun.   He disappeared after that.  No real loss.   Delete. 

Messages from Mark the Aussie (one date).  Deleted.   Messages from Adam the weirdo who found love with an old friend (no date).  Deleted.  Brad the boring super short date that talked about cauliflower and supermarkets.  Delete.  Matt the Cowboy who was sweet and funny but locations kept us apart.  Delete. The aggressive irrational ranting from the psycho who called me Granny Pussy.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  What a f *ckwit.  Thank God it made a good blog.

It was harder to remove the texts from old friends.   People that had meant so much to me over the years.  Ones that I thought would be in my life forever.  I re-read our funny banter one last time and recalled the fun times we’d had.   But there’s little point on holding onto those times and people when they’re gone and serve no purpose.   Thank you – I’ll miss you (sort of) – delete. 

I deleted around 500 text messages.   Some were hard to let go of and I felt a little sad.  Others needed to disappear.   I am not that person anymore.  That’s not my life.   I have no need for silly notes about cauliflower, dance parties and random dumb questions from someone trying to get to know me.  Delete. 

Although I removed a lot, there are still a few messages that will be harder to lose.   The magical back and forth of late ‘goodnights’ from the Policeman during the world’s shortest romance  – funny notes about me not being able to use my phone with my beloved friend Richard – the texts from my real best friends, the ones who are still here.   I’m happy to declutter, but some things are still precious.  I might just sit with those for a while longer.  

Tomorrow I’m going to start on the 4,826 photos and downloads on my phone.   Watch out 2017, I’m ready. 

Tuesday
Dec272016

George Michael: the soundtrack to my life

George Michael passed away on Christmas Day.  I cried when I heard the news.  F*ck  you 2016, who else do you want to take away from us? 

I’ve been a George Michael fan for as long as I can remember – buying Smash Hits magazines as a teenager then seeing him in concert just a few years ago.  His music somehow became the soundtrack to so much of my life – during the fun and happy times – along with moments when I was broken.   His lyrics always reflected what I was feeling at the time. 

I remember dancing to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go at the Blue Light Disco, wearing my fluoro top and white pants – along with bright coloured fingerless gloves – as we “Yeah Yeah Yeah, Baby, Jitterbug-ged” as loudly as we could.  It’s such a fun song – it still makes me smile, taking me back to those early teen years.  Yes, Andrew Ridgely was cute but we all wanted George.  Surely he wanted us too, right?  

Young Guns (Go for It) and Club Tropicana remind me of fun times when the hardest thing in life was passing a maths test (I always failed) and making sure your clothes were on trend by shopping at SportsGirl.   Wham was the perfect band to accompany me through those easy, no responsibility times. 

My best friend Danielle was given a brand new Ford Laser for her birthday (spoilt much?) and the first CD we played in it was Faith.  As those synthesizer beats pulsed out of her speakers I knew that I Want Your Sex was going to be a hot track for Summer.  The lyrics and video gave hormone infested teenagers who were going to wait until they were married a healthy outlet.  The song also gave Danielle and I a bit of a thrill as we drove past council workers singing at full volume.  We thought we were so cool.  We clearly weren’t. 

Father Figure still soothes my soul.  It’s gentle, sensual and one of the few songs I can listen to over and over.  The video is cool and sexy and features the usual hot models (remember the Freedom video?) like all of his film clips. The glamor and voyeurism of George and those beauties semi naked on screen added to an almost sexy arrogance he carried. 

Last Christmas became my anthem for way too much unrequited love – from high school right through to …. well pretty much right now.  I love the song.  I love the video and those egg nog swilling hotties even more. 

Then there were the party songs while I was dating my first real boyfriend.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with our relationship but Everything She Wants, I’m Your Man and I Don’t Want Your Freedom seemed to follow my thought processes at the time.  Maybe George and I were going through similar things at the time. I’m thankful we got some great pop songs out of it if he was. 

Waiting For That Day is a track that makes me feel positive about the future, even though it’s about a break up.  Heal the Pain followed and I can’t explain why, but it helped me escape my world at the time.  His dulcet tones and deep lyrics took me far away in the way that only music can do. 

Although there are various versions, George Michael’s I Can’t Make You Love Me is the best.  It makes me sob every time.  Every time.  The words cut deep while I was going through my divorce and if I hear the opening music or words, it will make me cry. This happened right before an important presentation at work and I had to walk out of the room before I started sobbing. It has the same effect on me as The Notebook.  

George pushed the boundaries in so many ways.  When he was caught having sex in a public toilet, he turned a potential PR disaster into a brilliant pulsing dance track, Outside – complete with a video featuring glitter balls and disco urinals. This was a dance floor must have during my energetic clubbing years when I spent hours dancing with gay men. It was fun and naughty and sexy all at once.   Just like George. 

We’ve lost a lot of amazing artists this year – and although I mourned Prince and David Bowie (amongst others) George Michael is the hardest for me.  He saw me through my formative years and was often a solace on lonely nights when his lyrics soothed my broken heart and battered soul.

Rest in Peace George, you will be missed.   Last Christmas will never sound the same again.  

Friday
Dec162016

I'm Tired 


I’ve heard this phrase over and over again the past few months.  I’m tired.  I’m exhausted.  I’m done. I’m so tired.

Also the phrase “2016 can f*ck off” … but that’s another blog for another time.

Why are we all so tired?  

For me, exhaustion has come about from a year of constant change, occasional turmoil and a lot of times when life was just hard going – emotionally, mentally or physically.  I’ve had on-going sickness in the form of headcolds, various injuries and a shitty sinus issue … plus the thought that my life is way too busy and I’m wondering if I can be bothered keeping up with it anymore.  Is it time to declutter?  Maybe. 

In an effort to get more energy, I went to a hardcore naturopath.   Her first words to me, after explaining what I do, was “Do you like your job?” I love my job, I told her.  “Great”, she said “as I was going to suggest you quit”.   No thanks, I told her, and we’ve since learned to work around it.

In four months I’ve had three blood tests and done urine samples.  I’ve eaten eggs and avocados and good fat for breakfast every day.  I’ve tried paleo muesli and bought $15 paleo bread and swallowed more vitamins, tonics and pills than an old person with arthritis.   Do I feel better?  I’m not sure.  Maybe.   Am I still tired?   Yes.

I’ve tried going to bed early.  Epic fail.  You can’t make a night owl go to bed early.  Even if I crawled under my doona before 10pm every night, I’d still be awake at 1am, my mind racing with thoughts, new ideas, worries or excitement.  Or all of the above.   I love sleep but it’s not always my friend. 

I made exercise a focus for a while – walking, running, yoga and personal training.  I felt that addictive adrenalin rush briefly, but then bang.  Tired again.

Alcohol has been my friend and my enemy.   I went without it for days on end and didn’t notice any changes – except maybe that my tolerance for drunk people waned.  Massive benders on Friday night were great fun.  Until Saturday morning rolled around and I was tired from having one of those horrible drunken sleeps where your body isn’t resting, it’s just that you passed out.

All of my friends are tired.  My workmates are tired. The hot barista where I get my coffee is tired.  Which is weird, given he has access to non stop caffeine.  Imagine if we could shut down the world for eight hours and all try to get some sleep.  Then we could start fresh and feel a little better about ourselves and each other.   At the very least I’d look less washed out in my Instagram photos and my Mum would stop commenting on how tired I look.  I know Mum, I feel it too. 

Expensive naturopathic supplement anyone?