Posted by: deadmousediaries | January 14, 2016

News from the Path Valley Hotel: Episode #87 -New Year’s Evolutions

Wouldn’t we all rock our worlds if we would simply stick to our New Year’s resolutions? Those annual declarations seem so grand and worthy as we shape them but they are ultimately reduced to the changes we’re willing to make. That’s like saying we feel like this is the year we will truly lose weight when what we really mean is we’re willing to lounge around in our fat pants until that feeling finally passes.

I made a four-point to-do list for 2016 and I think it’s realistic. It was prompted in part by life’s little interruptions, the ones that seem destined to make their appearance at the holidays. For starters, the toilet got clogged, again, and the toilet seat broke. (For anyone who’s wondering, those two incidents were totally unrelated.) Also, the refrigerator door shelf collapsed under the pressure of condiments.

I’m not sure how it works in a man’s world, but in Women’s World, there is no such thing as tackling one job at a time. Each little spill or tidy-up leads to tasks that compete for attention and send our brains off on other adventures. 

Take the shelf fridge as example. After the crash, the initial goal was to find space for all the jars and bottles that rattled to the floor after being ejected. That led to wiping down the recently vacated door, then the shelves, which of course meant unloading and rearranging the entire fridge.

As I did that, I read food labels. I realized not everything I had stashed there needed that high-rent real estate. Mayo needs refrigerated, malt vinegar does not. Sriacha sauce labels say refrigerate; ketchup and mustard labels recommend it as “best when.” That’s a suggestion, not a mandate.

Stay with me now. Here’s where the thought process gets complicated. 

The refrigerator door led me to thinking about the tiny house movement. If you haven’t seen or heard much about this ultimate downsizing, Google tiny houses and see how people smarter than I am are rejecting the costs of upkeep and financial investment by building homes under 1,000 square feet. These dream homes are comfortable and fully equipped cabins and castles, some on mobile platforms, and many as small as 400 square feet. The full-size people who are tiny house dwellers don’t feel compelled to stock three kinds of salad dressing and four kinds of pickles. Why should I?

All that small thinking shaped my new plan for 2016.  I’m calling it my New Year’s Evolutions, as in, I’m going to act smarter. Here are some components.

#1: Use or lose. Tiny house articles suggest that as you prepare for your transition from traditional to tiny, you follow an active plan to downsize your stockpile of stuff, too. Gather similar items together in a box, all kitchen knives or pens, for example. As days pass, pull out the ones you use and don’t return them to the box. At the end of one month, sell or donate anything you haven’t touched in the past 30 days. I think the thrift store will be delighted with my results.

The logical extension of that is saying goodbye to things that don’t function properly such as the broken tape dispenser that requires a scissors intervention to cut the tape. Add to that things like the “back-up” toaster that only heats up on one side. (I keep in just in case because I grew up in the land of You Never Know.)

My closet and dresser are full of evolutionary opportunities. I now have the resolve to delight someone else with my black suede boots that look so cute but pinch my feet. I’ll be tossing all my ratty underpinnings, the ones of last resort. By default, that means I’ll have to plan a little better and avoid procrastinating about the laundry. Likewise, I’m keeping only clothes I truly like and fit into at the moment, not the ones I used to love and definitely not the ones I could expand into.

#2: Stop, starting now. I waste a lot of time with habits that need examined. For instance, I‘m working on confronting my inherited need to get the last smidge, skosh and squirt out of every product.  For decades I’ve been one of those people who swishes out the shampoo bottle with a little shower water before tossing so I can use up the very last of the suds. Ditto for squeezing the toothpaste tube which I can compress so tightly it begs for mercy. This year, I will make peace with the accepted definitions of all gone and empty.

#3: Trust myself; attempt more DIY repairs before calling a professional. I’m quite sure this will lead to some entertaining stories later, but both the toilet seat replacement and the drain clearing were accomplished thanks to the free, omniscient source of YouTube. I’m convinced I could now perform lobotomies or at least an appendectomy with the help of step-by-step directions in those videos.

And my final New Year’s Evolution is #4: Think before you drink. It’s the new math. The extra costs of coffee, tea and soda that jacked up my dining-out bills over the holidays were a great visual reminder that water is not only best for me, it’s cheap. That means more bucks left for dining out again (or possibly employing a home repair professional if some things don’t go as planned).  And besides, that YouTube video on clearing my clogged toilet recommended pouring Coke down the drain as a cheap alternative to calling a plumber. If it works that effectively on the pipes inside my house, what’s happening to the plumbing inside me?



  1. I love this!!! I desperately needed all of this advice! What great ideas! Thanks for sharing! May God bless your 2016! Love you!

  2. Love it, as usual! The Coke comment reminded me of my Dad, a one-time science teacher. He showed me that putting a bit of raw hamburger (a substitute for our innards) in a glass of Coke resulted in a cooked-looking nugget. Not exactly how you want to treat your body, eh? Best of luck on your evolutions!!

  3. Once again you made me giggle and smile! I can relate to much of your story………if only I have the power to imitate some of your evolutions. As for the tiny house industry……..I agree we could all live without so much stuff, but I just don’t think I could live in such small surroundings. Not my cup of tea for sure! Wishing you blessings and all things good in the new year and in whatever adventures may come your way.

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