Week 5 Recap: When Life Needs to Take a Long Walk Off a Short Pier

It’s another Sunday here at Shed52 and we can’t believe all that the universe can manage to pack into one family’s life in just 7 days. We’ve been eager to return to this amazing little community here at WordPress since Wednesday, but each day has brought a new challenge and rendered us pretty useless in the blogosphere, and mostly just trying to survive. To give you a sense of what we mean, here’s a rundown. Because who doesn’t love a good Sunday morning list?

  1. There’s this tiny little storm moving through the great state of Florida and both Jason’s mom and my parents live just north of Fort Lauderdale. They also all live in waterfront homes. Jason’s mom is on oxygen, so we were able to persuade her to get out fast and come be with us on Wednesday. Unfortunately, this cost us about $800 for a last minute flight. More unfortunate was that my folks decided to stay, and are currently hunkered down in their tiny space awaiting the worst.

    This satellite photo accurately captures the scale of this storm, which they say is nearly the size of Jason’s book collection.
  2. The federal government officially announced plans to rescind DACA, which means that Jason, an immigration attorney, has been inundated with calls and visits from deeply worried clients who are in fear for their status and their families. We understand this as a human rights issue more than a political one, and it’s heartbreaking at the end of a week to know how many folks are suffering right now.5535C056-93C2-440F-9D4E-9555F570CDD3_cx0_cy6_cw0_w1023_r1_s.jpg
  3. The federal government also made vague, worrying and misleading comments about Title IX, the federal civil rights law that protects people on the basis of their sex and gender in educational institutions. This greatly affects my work as a sexual trauma counselor and advocate at a nearby university and needless to say, I’m fired up about continuing to effectively and appropriately respond to survivors of violence in my community. This is difficult to balance with my concurrent desire to just hide under a blanket with a bucket of pumpkin mac ‘n’ cheese, because it’s September and I’m a New Englander.il_340x270.1336049079_bez9.jpg
  4. I continue to have no idea what I’m doing in the one PhD class I was stupid enough to register for this semester (what’s a Piaget, anyway?) and would rather bake cakes all weekend than read books, so that’s what I’ve been doing to cope.
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    Peach upside down cake, baked with brown sugar & bourbon caramel. I call it “Procrastinator’s Delight.”

    Jason’s car exploded bit the dust on the highway this week and we learned it’s worth nothing and we’ll get roughly zero dollars for it. He got about 165K miles out of it, but we were disheartened to learn that you can, in fact, kill a Subaru. He just got a great deal on a preowned Prius yesterday (yay!) but we’re reeling from sticker shock of this week, and the cumulative effect of all these other matters.

    World’s most expensive trash can, according to Jason.

We were worried that this would mean we would fail to continue to empty out our house of useless stuff, like the two kids’ bikes I hoped to sell for $29 a piece. We have’t been able to pursue the sales as persistently as we’d like, and so nothing’s sold as of yet!

On second thought, it would have been pretty great to see Jason use this to get around instead.

However, Jason was quick to point out that, with the loss of his car likewise means the loss of all of the utter junk that was piled up in it. I frequently refer to Jason’s car as a “trash can on wheels” because it’s accumulated nearly 10 years of kids’ bubblegum wrappers, crumbs, loose change, and of course, random scraps of paper (yes, I try to clean it out frequently, but anyone with kids will know what I mean). This isn’t to mention the formidable stench of a teenage boy’s hockey equipment, which is enough to chase you out of the car and into a sewer during peak season.

Me, every single season.

So while I’m not feeling like we’re “winning” at Shed52 these past few weeks, I have to give credence to all the obstacles we’ve been facing as a family and also give credit to the fact that we’re not giving up. This blog has definitely helped us remain accountable to ourselves in this quest to give up “stuff” and I have a renewed sense of commitment to shedding at least one item this afternoon. One stop I know I can make is to our local Goodwill with a bag of clothes to be sent to survivors of these recent Hurricanes. Right after I start this homework.

Check back tomorrow for a very special post from Jason! He’ll be sharing what Shed52 has meant to him, and reflecting on the true weight of stuff in our lives. We’ve also been procrastinating dealing with the issue directly in front of us with other writing projects, such as this piece I just published over at Medium about what Harry Potter can teach us about white supremacy. If you’re like us and in need of a little break this weekend, feel free to check it out, comment and share!

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“What White People Can Learn from harry Potter About White Supremacy” on Medium, September 10, 2017

How are you all doing with the recent happenings in the U.S. and around the world? Are you or your loved ones in the path of Hurricane Irma? How have you been coping? What’s sorts of things do you use to stay hopeful and on track with your goals when the going gets tough? We’d love to hear from you below!


Reduce, Resist, Recycle

Sorry for our brief hiatus as we’ve worked to get Shed52 off the ground! We’ve been traveling around Washington DC and Virginia all weekend for the wedding of some friends, and between the celebratory events of the past four days and the contrasting white nonsense in Charlottesville and beyond, we’ve been trying to conserve our energy.

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As some readers may know, our work lives and personal lives are very active and can be personally stressful. Jason is an immigration attorney and lecturer, and I’m a trauma-informed counselor/social worker who works with survivors of power-based violence. Needless to say, our workweek is often fueled and affected by social and political events, and we’ve learned that it’s essential to take consistent measures to take care of ourselves in order to be sustained in the work we do.

You might be wondering what place this commentary has on a blog like Shed52. But we believe that all politics is personal, and so too are our personal lives political. In fact, much of our inspiration for “shedding” our home of unnecessary possessions is linked to our desire to deprogram from an increasingly materialistic, consumerist way of being. This feels like a political, social intention we’ve set for ourselves. (Yes, we’re looking to pocket some dough in the process, but we’ll share more soon on what we intend to do with with the proceeds– and it’s not buying more stuff!) While we’re certainly not preaching any particular ideology to any of our readers, we do feel a responsibility to acknowledge our intention in the creation of Shed52– and all of the fun, joy and positivity it also brings us.

With that said, don’t go thinking that we’ve given up on our goals for de-cluttering in our second week! We were thrilled to find that Shed52: Week 2 has been even more successful than Week 1 (is there anywhere to go but down now!?). The whole story began with this beautiful piece that’s been sitting in our dining room taking up space for about 5 years:


And while you might think it fits perfectly, take note that it’s backed all the way against the wall, with no room for stools OR to access the storage that’s back there (which, frankly, is probably a good thing! Less storage = less stuff, maybe?).

We posted this sucker on Facebook Marketplace on Sunday last week and within 24 hours had about 10 inquiries. One woman offered our asking price right off the bat, and though she couldn’t pick it up until Saturday, she was willing to put down a deposit to claim it. We were more than happy to oblige, given that we were set to be out of town and unable to facilitate a pick-up before then anyway. She let us know that it was intended to be a gift for a loved one, and so how could we say no?

The grand total? We’ll have made $200 on this poor old bar when all is said and done. Not bad, considering we paid a little more than double for it a half decade ago and almost never used it. And while I’m super tempted to buy this scaled down solution to store our many fancy libations, I know better than to go out and just replace “stuff” with more fancy “stuff.” Even if it is pretty. And gold.

Which leads us to our next steps in de-barring our house. What solutions have you come up with when you’re scaling down on storage, but still have necessary items to that need a home? (Yes, gin is a necessary item in this house/political climate.) Have you been able to consolidate or re-purpose bar areas, or find innovative ways to display items you like to make available to guests? As always, let us know in the comments.

And stay tuned Shed52: Ep.3! We’ll be previewing our items up for grabs later this week! Oh, and take care of you and yours.