Deep Thoughts on Numbers

Or maybe not so deep.


Follow my “rabbit trail” please.


I’m driving home from Walmart and I pull up behind a car with a amateur radio licence plate… which leads me think of dear friends, the Shaffers… which reminds me of their licence plate which for some reason I still have burned into my memory.


Why is it that you can remember some numbers but not others?

Of course, you can remember birthdays of your family and hopefully, your home phone number or at least a phone number that will reach a family member.  Maybe the phone number of your parents?

One could hope that you remember your SS number and your own license plate number.

Maybe you can even remember your address and zip code.

Why then do we sometimes remember random numbers/info from days long past?


I can recall all of those things above – my mother hasn’t moved nor changed her phone number in 46 years, so that’s an easy one to remember.

numbersI know all my children’s birth dates and my parents and siblings.  I can only remember a few of my nieces/nephews birthdates and in-laws – but I have them written down so that is OK.

I  know my SS# and my husbands.  I do not know my children’s.

I know 2 of our license plates (the vanity ones) but not the 3rd and 4th ones.  Though, I’m assuming, that daughter #1 knows the one that is on the car she drives.

I know my address and given a minute or 2 I can pull up the address from the last 3 places we lived.  I might even be able to pull up those phone numbers, though that would be harder.  I can tell you my mother’s address and even my in-laws address.

I can tell you my cell number, Wayne’s cell number, Abi’s cell number, my mother’s, and Liz’s – but not Lydia’s or Esther’s.

I used to be able to tell you my Discover card number but since it when to Shanghai without us, I have a new one and don’t have it memorized yet, but I bet I could still tell you the old number.



Now for some of the weird stuff.

I can tell you the address of a former boyfriend that I dated for a couple years in college.  He doesn’t live there anymore, nor do his parents.  I guess I wrote enough letters that it burned its way into my permanent memory.

I can tell you the address and phone number of Camp Wanake – that is not surprising since we still go there and my children have worked there as well.  BUT… I can also tell you the secondary Massillon number they had back “in the day” so that the conference office could call them without incurring long distance charges.

I can tell you my friend’s amateur radio license plate number (which I am assuming is his call numbers?).  Now, why, oh why is that information burned into my memory banks?  KC8SMQ.  I don’t even know if they have those plates anymore.

I can tell you my dorm room number (302) but I have absolutely no idea what dorm room my daughters are in, nor their street address at college.  Maybe I should write them more.   🙂

I can tell you the phone number of my best friend growing up – neither she nor her parents live there anymore, so who knows who has that number.



Why is is that some numbers just stick with you?  I suppose it is because they were such an important part of your life and your brain retained that information.  Or maybe those numbers entered my brain when it was younger and not fully impacted by the after affects of “mommy brain” and pregnancy hormones (times 4).


Of course, if numbers have cool patterns or rhythms or are set to music they are easier to remember as well, like:  867-5309…. (did you sing it?)  Or from the commercial:  Garfield 1-2323 – I don’t even know what that was a commercial for, but I can sing that number to you.


Isn’t the human brain interesting?  It can retain some information clearly that you haven’t used in 30 years and will not ever use again but it cannot recall what you had for breakfast, let alone what you wore yesterday.



Water Bottles Runneth Over

The declutter challenge a few days ago was to declutter plastic cups and water bottles.


We have water bottles coming out the wazoo!


You get them at the fair.

You get them at the game.

You get them everywhere.

All labeled with a name.



This is the worst area for them.  They are just randomly thrown on this shelf with lightbulbs.  In fact that diaper box is full of plastic cups and sippy cups and water bottles.


They are also on another shelf with some Tupperware.


I sorted both areas and removed a large box (bigger than that diaper box) to be sold/given away.  I removed a small box (1/2 that size) of sippy cups and plastic Wanake mugs that I’ve labelled and will store in the garage for when there are small children in my house again.


I also sorted and semi-organized the lightbulbs.  Put loose ones and single packed ones in the tote and basket.


There is room on that third shelf for some other things besides the outdoor chair pads.  When I sort the trays/party cups/plates, I will probably move a box to that shelf.

All water bottles and plastic hot cups have been moved to the under-the-stairs pantry area for easy access.



I know that still seems like a lot, but we are a family of 6 and this is a 1/3 of what we did have, so that is pretty good.


Next up the calendar says Frig.  We did clean that not too long ago, but I’ll have a go again.  It also says top of the frig…. ummm… that would be Wayne’s territory.   🙂


Need Baking Supplies?

Time to declutter, sort, organize the kitchen pantry!!


I am a day or 2 behind, but I had to deal with an unexpected broken furnace in January in Ohio for the last 2 days so didn’t get to it till today.  That is fine.  I’m not doing today’s declutter challenge:  fill out a pantry inventory.  I generally know what I have and don’t have.  I don’t need to take the time to write it all down.   🙂




Here it is before.  Not tooooo terrible, because we had just sorted it not that long ago (like maybe 4-5 months ago).  But, it is definitely cluttered.



I removed a decent amount of expired food.  Combined some half full items.  Removed some canned goods to the basement pantry (actually I asked Lydia to do that – hopefully the organization remains down there, I didn’t go check).  I was able to put some things into here that weren’t in before.  Removed all but the “high ups” from the top of the panty.


“High ups” have to stay high up because… well… because they have to.  Just ask my daughters.  It is sort of a rule.  That way you don’t eat them all in one day.  If they are high up, you can’t get into them easily.   They are called “high ups” thanks to Abi.   🙂



What are “high ups” to the non-informed?  Fruit Snacks.



Here it is after:



Several storage baskets are now in there for the baking cups and the writing icing.  There is a basket for the popcorn and popcorn seasonings.  All the cereal and crackers remain on the bottom.  Baking goods mostly on the middle shelf.  Things we don’t access much on the top shelf.    Just the lonely basket of “high ups” on the top.  You can tell a little bit of difference.


Next week we continue in the kitchen.  I haven’t printed the February calendar yet to see where we go to declutter after the kitchen.   It will just be a surprise.





Today’s declutter challenge was the spice cabinet.


Mine is more spice and cookie/cake decorating supplies.       🙂




We/I have a hard time finding much in here.  One of the turny things is a bit cattywampus and I should buy a new one.   I’ll make due for now.


I took all the extracts and put them in a little tray.  I took all the food colorings and put them in a little tray.  I have the green fingers to show for that one.   I took them out of their boxes and recycled that cardboard.


I combined sprinkles and reduced the number of containers of those.  I took out several bottles of seasonings that I will not use/have never used.  If anyone wants some Market Day seasonings, I have them.  I am not a “seasoner” so I really only need those things that I put in recipes or soups.


It may not seem like much of a difference was made, but it is more orderly and some things that belong in here that did not fit before, now fit!  The little tubes of writing icing, still aren’t in here, but that is fine, they have a little basket on the pantry cupboard and that works for me.



I wanted to part with some spices that I don’t use, but they are ones that my daughter uses when she is home from college to make guacamole (YUCK!) so I left them.     😉



More Decluttering

Over the weekend, I had the kids work on the pantry in the basement.

1 – because it was covered in dust since it is under the stairs and when I did the stair re-do all that dust just settled through the cracks on the cans and boxes.

2 – because they needed to do something besides sitting on their butts in front of a square/rectangular screen

3 – because I knew there was lots of expired food in there that came from back when we had to get food from the food bank

4 – because it needed done and I knew it was on the list for the Declutter 365 challenge.

Before:  stuff not all on shelves, some still in bags, all of it covered in dust and disorganized.

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Sorry some of the photos are blurry – remember, I am in need of a new camera.     🙂


We removed directly to the trash at least 6 grocery bags of expired items.  We removed one bag worth of expired soups to the “cat food” box to feed the outside cats.   There are a few expired things left but they are things that we feel don’t REALLY expire – like pasta, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate chips.



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Now to tackle the pantry in the kitchen….I will save that for Friday when my calendar says “Declutter pantry or cupboard shelves.”

Prayer Cards

How many of you remember our prayer cards?  If you were the recipient of one you probably remember them well.  They were post cards we sent after Christmas when we opened up all the Christmas cards and savored them and then we prayed for you and sent you a postcard with a photo of us on it and a cute little poem.


2013 was the last year we did this.  Why?


Several reasons:

1.  with new jobs, we rarely, if ever, were able to sit down and enjoy dinner as a family and do this.

2.  with the busy schedules of the kids we rarely, if ever, we all home at the same time to sit down and enjoy dinner as a family and do this.

3.  it was like “pulling teeth” – when the kids were little they said a rote prayer each time.  We went around the table starting with a different girl each time and they said a line:

“We pray for _____

For health, wealth, happiness  and God’s Blessings.

Guide them and protect them wherever they may be.

Peace, cheer, and smiles ear to ear.

All things kind and happy and good.

Many, many blessings and a year full of cheer.

God Bless ________”


Sure, we could have carved out the time to do this and we probably should have.  After 10+ years, it just seemed that the time had come for it to dwindle away and end.  In the early years we were sending out over 100 postcards.  Sometimes it would take us clear till October or November to finish them all.  In the recent years (2012-2013) we sent out significantly less.  Does this mean that people weren’t sending us as many Christmas cards?  Yes, as a result of the loss of job and support system, our volume of Christmas cards declined rapidly as well.


At the peak of our Christmas card sending we were sending close to 200 cards.  This year, I ordered 125 and I have 14 left over.     😦



We ABSOLUTELY enjoy receiving and sending cards.  We love when there are photos and those will be displayed on our dining room/foyer doors for a year and then put into an album.


Will I reinstated the prayer card, probably not.  However, know that we still do pray for you and love you and enjoy hearing from you.  That is why all our contact information is on our Christmas letter.  Send us messages, texts, Facebook posts, call us, snail mail… we live a very quiet and sometimes lonely life, we would love to hear from you.   🙂




What got decluttered this week?

This week we were to declutter the kitchen junk drawer – we don’t have one so I did a little organizing in the Hoosier drawers.  Declutter the foil, wrap and plastic bag drawer – that was fine.  Then we got to storage containers (tupperware)…

We have a bunch of that.  I did declutter some in the kitchen and a bit in the auxiliary storage in the basement.  I took out a whole box full of things to be sold or given to college kids.  It didn’t make a huge dent, but it helped some.

Then we moved to under the kitchen sink.  Our under the kitchen sink is interesting… to say the least.  It could also be called:  under the whole kitchen island and grill and dishwasher.  It is also a fun place for cats to get stuck if a door gets left open.  Since it was specific about under the sink, I did focus on that area.


I removed a nice little pile of trash.  Re-organized things and removed some things to their “proper” storage location (like the bathroom cleaner to the bathroom).  I tried to find some of the random linoleum tiles that I know I have in the garage to put on that wood door opening but… we haven’t decluttered the garage yet and they weren’t where I thought they were and well… it is too cold to spend hours and hours searching in my garage to just find 3 linoleum squares.   When (if) I find them later, I will install them.



Pots and pans and lids are on the list for today.  That is fine as well.  We only have one set of pots with 2 extras, so it is not a mess.  Someday I would love to have a hanging pot rack.  Maybe if I ever get to redo/adjust the kitchen that will make the list.   Not this year.