Big projects

by S&M

New Year’s Day has come and gone. Did you use it for a big project? Friends of mine reportedly spent it quilting, reading Dostoevsky’s oeuvre on the couch, and watching a Scooby Doo marathon, and I’m sure some were watching football and parades. I got started cleaning out my closet. I’ve made stacks for things that are: too big, ready for recycling, a good fit, for when my waist is 2″ smaller, and for when my waist is 2″ smaller than that. It’s slow going, because there are very few items I’m not trying on. Here is another suggestion of a project worthy of at least one day, cleaning the kitchen. Did you undertake any projects on that day, or do you have any planned?

10 Ways to Reset Your Kitchen for the New Year


100 thoughts on “Big projects

  1. I cleaned out the walk in pantry. Ugh. And then I went in last night and discovered someone had dropped corn chip fragments all over the floor, and the neatly organized cans are all strewn about all over again.

  2. We binge watched Billions. Does that count?

    And speaking of компромат, I think I’m going to spring for the next season of The Americans.

  3. That article made me laugh — it’s on the “when I have nothing better to do with my life” list. :-) Then again, I clearly don’t take the same visceral pleasure in cleaning and organizing that some do.

    My New Year’s basically sucked — I put the family on the plane home then drove back to stay in someone else’s condo (with minimum TV/football availability) to prep for a short trial. I was in a bad mood (basically cried the whole way back), so I decided to give in and have a giant pity party and didn’t even go outside and just stayed in my PJs most of the day and ate all the leftovers from our vacation. Boy, I don’t do being single well any more!

    Then I got back up and dove into trial prep and went out and started interacting with people again.

  4. The only project I tackled at the beginning of the New Year was to organize all my planned projects. Yup, they’re neatly listed with TCDs (target completion dates) for each one. Now if I could only actually get them done . . .

  5. But I actually did a major reorganization of my kitchen last year. Threw out or gave away half the stuff in the cabinets and drawers. It felt so good, and now I only have the rest of the house to do. (I actually did a few rooms, but I still have more to do.)

  6. After completing 40 hours of continuing education for my CPA, I went through mountains of paperwork, shredding old tax documents, filing insurance stuff, updating files of kid stuff, helping one child start a credit record, etc, and updating some financial planning. I also purged a ton of stuff – clothes, silk trees that had been around way too long, kitchen equipment. It felt great. I also listed my husband’s truck for sale. Now that I have a couple of offers, I realize I may hear about this for the rest of my life, so have to decide whether to accept any of them. But I am so sick of clutter, and it would be one less vehicle to move around. I think the underlying goal is to rid myself of mental clutter.

  7. We spent New Years day driving home from out of town. We did stop at the Pottery Barn outlet and I got a chair and a new rug for my renovated family room so now it’s almost done (although our no spend January is officially tanked). Our kitchen is new so for right now it’s clean and organized. Over that weekend I did clean and organize my bedroom and set up a little desk area for myself and ordered a bunch of filing supplies so I can eventually be really organized. My goals for this week – finish painting the family room (maybe today) and organize the play room (the bane of my existence). Oldest DD and I our going to Savannah this weekend with her girl scout troop so I’m hoping DH gets some stuff done around the house while I’m gone.

  8. Having this post pop up is a good reminder not to let those piles become permanent. I still have ~ half a dozen pairs of pants left to go.

    MM, do your kids hide in the pantry when they’re eating when/what they aren’t supposed to? We always did.

    MBT, what do you mean by starting a credit record? Looking up one’s own credit rating and fixing problem spots?

  9. I had such high hopes with my husband home for the week. We knocked one item off the list, we went down the shore on the 26th and rented a house for the second week in September – best time of the year at the shore. We had a lovely dinner at a new restaurant owned by a niece of a friend. Great day. Woke up the next morning with sciatica and have been battling it since then. I still have my dreams of getting my husband to take time and start going through 40 years of accumulated crap.

  10. We watched the outdoor hockey game that wasn’t the Winter Classic (whatever they decided to name it). And did a lot of other relaxing. Over the break though, we moved around the furniture to accommodate some new purchases and reorganized some in the process.

    We did clean out the kitchen earlier this year & got rid of a few things. I noticed the other day that we probably need to clean the range hood filter. Maybe I’ll order a new one form Amazon. Ours is built into the microwave – not a big fancy one.

  11. The holidays were great. Lots of family and relaxing. I actually didn’t do any work from home, which was amazing. I have been tackling various closets/drawers/etc. with de-cluttering. I have to find a way to keep going, now that the easy stuff is done.

    I also bought some new clothes. I gained a few pounds over the past 6 months (which I’m now focused on losing), so I bought some new jeans and business clothes.

  12. Even if you go to bed early on New Year’s Eve you can’t sleep here with all the fireworks going — it’s like a war zone till ~12:30 when it becomes more sporadic — so New Year’s we’re generally too logy to get ambitious about cleaning and organizing.

  13. I organized my home office. I’ve been avoiding working in here for the past half year, having convinced myself it’s much nicer to be in the living room, which is warmer in cold months. But the living room feels like a place to relax, which makes it hard sometimes to get in a mental space of work.

    So, I’m back in the home office on my non-lawyer days, sitting at a freshly cleared-off desk, aka the long table that used to be in my grandparents’ cottage. It’s a great old thing, with two end leaves — perfect for laying out dozens of index cards, if one were to be planning out a project using dozens of index cards.

    I’m now using a small built-in desk nearby for all the home admin things that used to take up valuable desk real estate, and DH got me a space heater. Definitely a better work environment than the living room. There’s even an armchair in here for the minpin to languish on all day, and a nice area rug for the lab. Also a huge window in front of my desk, through which I can track the neighborhood deer herd, and the mangy little fox that slinks about most days.

    DH, meanwhile, used the holiday to move his workout stuff from the backyard shed (he works out on the patio April – Dec) to the basement “fitness room” (i.e., a back room in our finished-but-not-particularly-high-end basement. The room used to house DS’s videogame stuff, but DH appropriated it the second the kid went to college, and covered it with those thick black rubber mats [actually for horse stalls – he gets them at Tractor Supply Co] and installed a bunch of indoor racks, benches and whatnot in there). Of course, the whole affair necessitated his ordering a bunch of new stuff, which we gave to each other as a joint Christmas gift.

  14. We had really lovely holidays. One thing I did not anticipate was how much more relaxing and easy the holidays get as kids get older. 2 weeks off of school seems like no big deal now that everyone can pretty much entertain themselves all day.

    We didn’t do any big projects over the holidays, but we have a renovation coming up so I’m in the planning and organizing process of that. I’m dreading the process but can’t wait for the finished project. It will at least be less disruptive than redoing the kitchen.

  15. Nothing big for New Years. DH and DS were getting over a cold that they both gave me. I slept most of the day. We suspended a lot of rules about TV and playtime because I couldn’t even pick my head up. Sadly, we created a monster, so we’re now working on detoxing DS from the TV. I’m still sick, so life sucks for me, but the boys are well.

    We also decided that we need to buy stuff for the baby that’s coming in approximately 5.5 weeks. I pulled DS’s clothes out from the attic and washed pretty much everything in 0-3 months that is long sleeved with feet – regardless of gender. I also found the sleep sacks, car seat covers, etc that go with winter babies. I had no recollection on how much DS spit up when he was that size – everything has stained collars from the formula/breast milk/vitamin combination color (a gross yellow, BTW). I need to go through DS’s newborn attire – I’m missing a few outfits that this new baby will actually fit into upon arrival (0-3 month winter things) that DS could never wear.

    This week has been tackling nursery stuff and DS’s birthday party. I spent way too much money this week, but the party is 95% done, and I’m going to order 2-3 more things for the nursery. New baby will sleep with us for a while (probably 5-6 months) and then transition to share a room with DS. Hopefully the new baby will be a good sleeper like DS.

  16. Rhode – if I lived close by I would give you all of my baby clothes! That is one last thing that is just cluttering up my closet. My sisters asked me to hang on to my baby boy clothing in the event they had boys. My youngest sister has an 18 month old girl and may not have another. The middle sister is being induced today so I told her if it was a boy I was driving all of the clothes up to New York in February and dropping them all off. If a girl, I am just going to donate all of the crates (cannot deal with this clutter any longer).

  17. My kids only had a week off, which was sad. They all have so much homework these days, so the time off was nice for them. They all worked on fun projects and read books, and we saw The Mikado, a couple of movies, and went to the Museum of the Chinese in America, and to MOMA. I enjoyed having them at home. It was too short for me.

  18. I’ve been in the process of purging lots of stuff around the house. I still need to go through paperwork and kids’ art projects.

    @Atlanta Mom – my sister gave me a bunch of hand-me-downs for girls (2 F150 pickup beds worth of stuff) and I ended up having 2 boys. After trying to go through all the stuff, I decided that I’d rather never deal with hand-me-downs again. So.much.crap. If another sibling wanted/needed the hand-me-downs, I’d rather just write them a check for them to go out and buy exactly what they need. It probably would be more cost efficient than saving hand-me-downs once you factor in the time and space costs of sorting through everything.

  19. With in the first week – We de-decorated and everything but one put away (I just saw it this morning!). Was able to consolidate our stuff and stuff from my parents (had hoped to discard more) and still NOT exceed our allocated storage space. In the big picture this is all good.

    Cleaned out the hall closet as we have to pull everything out to get the tree back in its spot. The only thing I didn’t get through was the coats as they are the only thing we don’t have to move. What went back in is neatly organized.

    DP (partner) and DD#2 did a small paint job in the living room and we moved the furniture back where it goes with no Christmas tree in the room.

    All of the discards were sorted between sale items (scout troop garage sale) and Goodwill.

    Last summer I had started wading through all my mom’s craft stuff after my kids took what they wanted. It has been an ON HOLD project and taking up most of our 2nd family room. I worked on it a little, but still far from done. Found out one of the chairs we’d take from my mom’s for this room, they have decided isn’t really comfortable, so now I have 2 chairs, a coffee table, and a corner knick-knack table in my to be sold list. Now if I can get someone to help me move them to where I can get a good picture to post them online!

  20. I did a ton of decluttering in the fall so didn’t have much to do in the holidays.
    With older kids there is definitely an improvement in how much mess/clutter I have to clean up. The kids decluttered and rearranged their own rooms.
    I focused on getting on with the year. Booked spring trip, signed us up for a new swim club. It was nice to get it out of the way but I was poorer after paying for things. Winter is somewhat of a break and downtime for us, fall and spring are crazy and summer is weeks of camp.

  21. Atlanta – If you have 0-3 month winter fleece style things and long sleeved onsies, I’d gladly figure something out. I found a ton of short sleeved onsies and t-shirts which are great for layering, but DS was in size 0-3 months in the spring/summer.

    This weekend I have to take DS’s 2 year old picture. I have him hold a framed picture of himself taken on the day of his birth so we can see how far he’s come. This will be the “last” picture in the baby book. I’m kinda sad about that.

  22. I think hand-me-downs are both a curse and a blessing. When we were in sync with families where our kids were 6-12 months apart and the appropriate gender, passing things along every few months was workable. Between DD#1 and DD#2 I kept the infant onesies and sleepers, but only up to about 18 months and a couple of maternity outfits that I really liked that didn’t go in our “exchange tub”. About 4 years ago most of this passing along of kids clothes stopped as the kids were in middle school and their styles were going different directions. At this point, I have saved a few outfits each – maybe 3 or 4 – and some things that were hand made specifically for them that includes a couple of baby blankets. DD#1 (now in HS) still has one toddler outfit in her closet. She loved it (apparently still does) and never puts it in the discard pile.

  23. Rhode – I had summer babies so they wouldn’t match up anyway (and really won’t for my sister either so maybe I should just get rid of everything smaller than a 2T). I have two friends that give me boy clothes and it is great but at the same time I feel like I have this constant influx of clothes that DS won’t wear for two or three years that I have to organize and store.

  24. HM, yes, I thought the range from one friend finishing a king-sized quilt to another watching a Scooby Do marathon was pretty funny. We lived at the bottom of a hill/small mountain in Germany. For some reason, people came down to our street corner to set off their fireworks. The next morning, the intersection was covered in red dust!

    Baby clothes–my sister saved her boys’ When a friend’s wife first came to the US, they didn’t have any warm clothes. I gave her a coat for her, meant to pick out a few baby things for their child but didn’t get around to it, so I sent the box home with her to see what she wanted. She skipped town! Literally, a new wife, two kids, and a different country later, the husband still had no idea where she went. We have a big tub of DS’s baby clothes that I don’t know what to do with.

    I just decided I do want a place to put our coats–there is no coat closet in our apt. So I’ve ordered an inexpensive thingy to replace the bench with shelf where we currently store our shoes/sit to put them on. I’m becoming an expert at decorating without drilling holes. Always used to, but these walls have metal in them instead of wooden studs, so it’s a pain.

  25. On topic, we’re celebrating three kid birthdays, had a party and I purged and reorganized the boy clothes over the New Year. I also incorporated the new Christmas/birthday stuff and will hopefully negotiate with Mr WCE about getting rid of some stuff over President’s Day.

    We are on our fifth snow day and had eleven days for break so my kids are well-rested heading into MLK weekend.

  26. We finally gave away the bags of stuff I cleaned out when I did the KonMari joy of decluttering thing last year. I bought a new couch and now have the old couch sitting on my back porch while I decide whether I donate it or deal with Craiglist. Our holidays were filled with serial sickness so the only really productive thing we did was rest a lot and stay home so that we didn’t infect others.

  27. Mia, did you find KonMari to be different from how you would have decluttered otherwise? I am not putting anything I’m not fond of back into my closet. Even when I bought fat clothes (I called them that at the time), I got things that I liked. It took longer than when I had a young body, but even without using the phrase “spark joy”, does anyone not use things they like? Maybe there’s a lot more to it than that phrase and I should be reading it as I go through my closet.

  28. I completely forgot to mention that over the holiday, there was a Ninjathon on Esquire channel–all American Ninja Warrior, all the time–and we were totally hooked. I’ve heard there are courses set up at some of those trampoline places and I’m now dying to try it.

  29. “We also decided that we need to buy stuff for the baby that’s coming in approximately 5.5 weeks.”

    Wow, THAT went fast! Well, for us, at least. :-)

  30. I think having three toddlers two and under move in with Marie Kondo for a few months would make a fun reality show.

  31. I worked through the holidays, so nothing exciting for me. The kids have a ridiculously long 2.5 week break, went back this week, and have a three-day weekend coming up.

  32. SM – I switched the title of the car she drives to her name, and took out a small loan against it in her name, with me as co-signor, since she has been working unpaid internships. It will pay off in 12 months, but will begin to show credit in her name.

  33. WCE – how will your discrtic handle all those snow days?? That’s a lot of make up! Thanks for the email – you and I had the exact same thought… now to convince DH we need to spend more money…

    LfB – It did go by fast for you all… I personally feel as if I’ve been pregnant for a lifetime – between being sick (I finally felt better when I hit my 3rd trimester… I spent a half year being sick!!!), having worry re: high risk status and having a repeat performance, a ton of crap at work, and wondering if my marriage will survive all this, I really have been pregnant a lifetime. But, all is well… I daydream about my new “car” I received for Xmas… :)

    Kondo and that very large baby…
    ““She’s still only six months, but when she’s a little older, of course, I’ll teach her how to tidy,” Kondo shares. “Even now, when I’m folding clothes, she watches how it’s done.””

    How quaint… my 6 month old watched us fold clothes too… he always watched us eat. Now at 2, he’s retained none of that learning… but he can put on socks properly by himself, help you clutter up a very nicely organized space, and make you wish you never put a carpet in your dining room.

  34. I wish they would do another interview with Kondo… she tells us to start with helping the child learn how to tidy by teaching them to tidy their clothes… how quaint. We manage to get dirty clothes in a hamper (and then take them out again, put them back in again, etc. until hell freezes over), but tidying clean clothes? HA!

  35. “Quaint” is such a good word for it. I just keep thinking, “well, bless your heart.” :-)

  36. Kondo will probably stop at one child, and her child is a girl at that. Having a girl is confirming my “Pay me now (with boys) or pay me later” (suspected, not yet confirmed, for teenage years) theory of parenting. Baby WCE was roughly 8 months of her slowest brother in first words, appears to be roughly 17 months ahead in potty training, and may hit 4 years ahead in night-time potty training.

    I should specify that the three toddlers should ALL be male. :)

  37. Idk, WCE, it was my daughter who was most prone to suddenly appear on top of something you wouldn’t have thought was climbable in an area you wouldn’t have thought a toddler could even get into.

  38. Rhode, I thought the same thing when I read that sentence. Babies watch everything! As much as thoughts of the babe’s future move sparks glee in us, I just hope she truly sparks joy in her mother.

  39. Yeah, I know there’s more overlap than not between toddler boys and girls and my challenges also involved medical issues and personal bandwidth, which are nonexistent or different now that I’m the mother of a single toddler.

  40. I had no idea Marie Kondo had a baby. And wow – that IS a large baby compared to her! Oh yes, the tidying. HAHA

    We have a new couch coming soon. I want to donate the old one because it’s so easy – they come with a truck & take it from you. Tax deduction. Done. DH wants to sell it on Craigslist. I told him “have at it”. But I just know that is going to be hassle from beginning to end (when DH ends up having to carry the damn thing out to someone’s car & it doesn’t fit right). But if he wants to deal with it – fine with me.

  41. I got an early jump on cleaning a few weeks before Christmas. Youngest DD was missing her favorite stuffed animal so I focused on digging through closets and toy bins and various other places he could have been hiding (while throwing out lots of toys and donating others). Once he was found I stopped cleaning, but I really need to get back at it. MBT’s list of financial decluttering is inspirational.

  42. I have a friend who sells things online. I don’t know how she has the bandwidth. I think it’s because she works PT and mostly from home. Her schedule is so different than mine. Personally, I’d rather donate, get the deduction and be done with the whole thing. So what if I don’t make as much money? By the time I’m selling/donating, the money I spent to get there is long gone and forgotten.

  43. New Year’s Day was a Sunday. It was possible to watch three NFL games in their entirety and keep an eye on the others via NFL Redzone. Few of the games were particularly interesting, but as of today there are only 7 more non exhibition games games until next September. ‘Nuff said.

    As for chores, I have spent a lot of the past week getting the books together for my volunteer organization. I tend to be of the throw the receipts in a box school of filing, although I use Quicken to generate the quarterly reports and keep the detailed checkbook. I managed to present adequately at the first quarter board meeting last monday. But we had a couple of big events to kick off 2017 and I have to deposit dozens of checks and some random cash and prep P&Ls for those events. Then there are 1099’s to send out (I ordered the required forms in Dec!!!), and the tax return to prep as well.

    I have been discarding stuff out more and more, not so much in an organized fashion, but just taking a hard look at such things as clothes when they come out of the wash or fall to the floor in the back of the closet, or old cheap pots and pans, cracked crockery when I am rummaging for something I need, and just heaving them into the goodwill bag or the dumpster as appropriate.

  44. Risley, do you have a cycling exercise machine under the desk in your home office? Pedaling that will help address the low temperatures there.

    “those thick black rubber mats [actually for horse stalls – he gets them at Tractor Supply Co]”

    Are they pretty much the same, but cheaper, than the rubber mats sold for exercise rooms or garages?

    Reminds me of how we were looking for standalone enclosures for DS when he was a toddler. The same enclosures cost a lot less at pet supply stores than at places like Toys R Us.

    “his ordering a bunch of new stuff, which we gave to each other as a joint Christmas gift.”

    We used to do that a lot, treat ourselves to something for Xmas, e.g., our first DVD player, our first flatscreen TV.

    This year we treated ourselves to a staycation at the Ritz Carlton.

  45. “I tend to be of the throw the receipts in a box school of filing”

    Ditto. I have a Rubbermaid box at my desk that I dump stuff into once they are no longer actionable. I need to move all the 2016 stuff from it into a smaller box that will be stacked on top of the previous years’ boxes before I started dumping 2017 stuff into it.

  46. “had hoped to discard more”

    Don’t worry about it. I look at sorting through stuff as an iterative exercise, and don’t have expectations of getting rid of a high %age of stuff.

    If I have any doubt about getting rid of something, I just keep it and move on, so I don’t spend time agonizing over that decision. I know I’ll go through the stuff I keep again later, and quite often looking at the same thing multiple times makes it clear that I don’t need to keep it, and I can get rid of it quickly and without any regrets.

  47. No projects here, but we’re gaining momentum on the actual purchase of our new wall oven. To recap: one of the electronic boards failed shortly before Thanksgiving and so when the oven’s electricity (from the fuse box) is on, it beep-beep-beeps every couple of minutes unless actual heating/cooking is going on. I did all the research including asking here for help and we decided what we’re getting, where we’re getting it from. DW wasn’t ready for the attendant hassle of having them in to do the swap out/install then, but apparently now it’s all systems go so I expect we’ll have a new one to christen with nachos & pepperoni bread for Super Bowl Sunday.

  48. Oh man. My yoga studio’s annual retreat this year is here:

    Gotta start saving the pennies. Even DH wants to go — he had no interest in the Costa Rica retreat. But he loves Santorini and figures this is close enough.

  49. RMS – sign me up ;-) !

    Rhode – it seems like 2 years have gone by very fast (for us as Totebag well wishers) since toddler Rhode was born. Now that my kids are tweens time seems to be passing faster. I remember so wanting DS to get to 4 years old. A big shock was when my kids grew out of “T” clothes around age 5. I continued to scrounge around to find “cute” clothes. I still buy my kids their clothes with their input. They are in school uniform most of the time, so it’s a limited amount of clothes.

  50. You guy have been really busy and industrious! I lounged around and watched football, and thought about cleaning out my closet, but didn’t.

    Risley – we love American Ninja Warrior, too.

  51. Back OT, besides our little staycation at the R-C, I was able to make progress on our renovation of our bathrooms. One of them is ready for the Corian contractor to come and measure for the counter and backsplash; once that’s installed (DuPont doesn’t allow DIYers to install their own Corian) and I hook up the drain and water, that bathroom will be completely functional, although there are still a few finishing touches left to do.

    We also got started on the second bathroom we’re renovating. The old cabinets and toilet are out, the new toilet is installed (Toto, BTW; thanks for all the toilet recomendations), and wall patching is done. I’m hoping to get the painting and cabinet installation finished by this weekend, at which point it will be ready for counter/backsplash measurement.

    The kids had a long break. Two weeks is the normal break, but because Xmas and NYD were on Sundays, they had the full week before Xmas off, as well as Jan 2. Jan 3 was a Professional Development Day for the teachers, so a day off for the kids, then the rest of last week they had 3-day, all-day, classes. These classes are intended to give the kids a chance to explore new areas, prepare them for life, and help them learn about careers, but also started later than normal school days, and didn’t have grades, so they were more relaxing than regular school days.

  52. I’ve been there RMS! We went to the resort for a wine tasting class on a day trip from a cruise. (The very short lived EasyCruise that went to small ports). It was the place in Greece that I most thought I would want to return to for a week.

  53. Does anyone here use a tracker, like a Fitbit? I’ve just started wearing one (thanks, Santa!) and am astounded at the sleep stats. It says I’m asleep less than two-thirds the time I’m in bed. I’m not sure how much stock I should put in that. I have been wondering why I’m so tired, and my dr. recommended a sleep study, but this is worse than I imagined.

  54. Risley,
    The local indoor rock wall has a Ninja warrior course you can try for a small fee. I am guessing there is one in your area.

  55. I went running on Jan 1 and badly sprained my ankle, which has effectively stymied my efforts to finish my project list. Instead of painting the kids’ bath and touching up the trim, I have been cleaning out drawers, but that is one of those jobs that needs to be started again as soon as you finish.

    Good luck to Marie Kondo. I’m tempted to send my three year old over for a play date. He has this inexplicable urge to wipe his dirty hands on the walls.

    S&M, I tried a sleep tracker for a while and found it accurate – maybe your doc is right about the sleep study.

    Did people end up doing the Facebook thing?

  56. S&M,
    A Fitbit can’t possibly be as accurate as a sleep study at a reputable center. Otherwise, those centers would no longer exist. Do the sleep study. I have several friends who reported life-changing results after giving in and getting the sleep apnea machine followIng their sleep study.

  57. S&M – I would definitely do the sleep study if you think you are spending enough hours in bed but still feel tired. I have heard of similar cases to Scarlett’s friends, where a CPAP machine (or whatever they recommend) made a huge difference in the quality and quantity of sleep.

  58. Reposting, because I put it on the wrong page.

    Thanks to those of you who responded so quickly about my sleep issue. What I’m wondering is if it is common for frackers to overstate the amount of non-sleep time a person is spending in bed. My son is also supposed to have a sleep study done; I plan to schedule them both in the same night, at a time that they won’t interfere with school. That probably means over spring break.

  59. Scarlett, no, a Fitbit would not be as accurate as equipment designed solely for the purpose of evaluating sleep patterns. It is always interesting to see the meanings you get out of what I say. But sleep centers’ continued existence proves their efficacy? Just like fortune tellers, right? I’m aware that there are good sleep centers, and, as I intended to indicate, I plan on going to one. But in the interim I’m getting this data that I don’t know how to interpret, so I am trying to find out how well similar data corresponded with others’ expectations.

  60. S&M, Mr WCE thought his Fitbit was reasonably accurate for sleep tracking. Understanding how sleep-deprived he was/is improved our marriage and made me more willing to always be the one to “cover” when we’re both sick, etc. He has always struggled with insomnia. I can imagine inaccuracies occur for people who move a lot in their sleep. (I move a lot; he doesn’t.) I would definitely use your Fitbit in addition to the sleep study because of the value of multiple data points and the fact that some people (who knows what percentage) don’t sleep normally at a sleep center.

  61. “Some people don’t sleep normally at a sleep center.”

    When we had a sleep study done on my son in late elementary, he was getting no more than 5 hours sleep a night. No matter what time my husband’s pager went off, or how early or late my daughter was up, he was always awake. The night he went in for the sleep study he slept solidly the entire time. I, on the other hand, had to stay with him in a chair they attempted to make comfortable enough to sleep in and felt like I was awake the whole night.

    I do think it’s worth it, SM, if you are having sleep problems. You obviously can figure out yourself that you feel tired all the time, but they might be able to help you with the “why” part, and make recommendations to fix it.

  62. When I wore the fit bit, it reported an average of 99 percent sleep during my bed time. It was reassuring. Since DH, who has sleep apnea and has used a cpap for 25 years, reported that it takes me 1 min, 3 on a bad night to fall asleep, I guess he wasn’t exaggerating. My 6 1/2 to 7 hours a night are high efficiency.

  63. I think the Facebook group happened….but I’m not sure how to find it.

    Going to bed early and finishing our Disney Cruise packing in the morning, before crack of dawn flight. I thrive on the panic of last minute preparations (to be fair, I’m 75% done). Terror focuses my mind, as does a quiet house where everyone is sleeping. What could go wrong??

  64. It is my understanding that insurance companies won’t cover the cost of most sleep apnea treatments without a sleep study. In addition to the CPAP machine that many patients will not or perhaps cannot use, there are custom made mouth guards that sometimes help.

  65. You all have made me curious about assessing my sleep. I don’t seem to need much sleep (maybe 5-6 hours), but I do often awaken a few hours after midnight and find it hard to get back to sleep. Maybe if I got more hours of sleep I would be more energetic during the day. Although I don’t really see it as a problem, I’d love to have more energy like the energizer bunny. :)

    The FB group is up. Winemama is administering it. If you’re interested you can contact her or email/FB me and I can help link you up.

  66. Finn – maybe I should move my under-desk cycle home. It’s at the office now (the law job office). I dont have a great set up for it at home (chair must be anchored) but maybe I’ll work in that. As for the mats in DH’s gym (and on our patio!) I think these are far thicker than the ones they sell for at-home exercise equipment. we have those thinned ones from exercise stores for under the spinning bike, treadmill and rowing erg, and they’re fine for those purposes but not for huge barbells. These ones from TSC are about an inch thick I would guess. So, you can drop a barbell with 300 lb and there’s no issue, vs with those other ones, your floor (or patio stones) would be toast. They are not smooth, so lying on them would be an issue. They’re similar to the floors you see in most CrossFit gyms.

    A parent – shall inquire at the climbing gym! I was amazed how many of the good competitors are rock climbers. I am not, so I would likely fail pretty quickly, but it would be fun to try. Maybe ssk will come with me?

  67. RMS – I want to go! Have you been to a yoga retreat before? I never have but am so intrigued. Wondering how much yoga there is – hours and hours? I suppose it depends on the group running it. Have you ever done the teacher training? I’m considering this once DD flies the coop next year. Very time consuming but I keep hearing such good things about the experience.

    SM – that’s a drag. I hope you can figure out the cause soon and solve it. It’s so frustrating to feel tired.

    Ivy – bummer about your ankle. Do you ever run in the water? I’m not a runner but know so many who do pool running when they’re injured. Not nearly as convenient, I know, but I think you’re a daily runner and are likely missing it a lot.

  68. I had a sleep study done in my own home, which was convenient and likely to give more accurate readings. You have to hook yourself up to a bunch of wires, but then you sleep in your own bed.

    The very first thing to try is to sleep on your side instead of your back. That’s sometimes enough to improve breathing for very minor apnea. I have borderline apnea. I tried the CPAP and couldn’t tolerate it; I tried the very expensive custom-made mouth guard that holds your lower jaw forward, and couldn’t tolerate that either. Because my apnea is borderline I just gave up and sleep on my side.

  69. Ris, I went to my first yoga retreat in Costa Rica in 2015. I took my DIL. I went with the people from my regular studio. We did a morning class and an afternoon class, with plenty of time to hang out in the pool and do little day excursions. My particular group at the retreat was the Fun Group. In the evenings we’d sit around and sing and play games while the other groups looked on somewhat wistfully. (We happily welcomed anyone who wandered over.)

    My group partied pretty heavily (I went to bed). When I saw one of my instructors carrying a gallon of vodka, I knew it was going to be kind of like college (i also went to bed in college while everyone else partied). They went to the beach at midnight and got naked; I went to bed at 10. Even my daughter-in-law was a trifle scandalized at the partying, and she’s the right age. At my age I don’t do naked. But unlike college, they were all super nice and friendly and included me as much as I cared to be included.

    It’s the same group, more or less, so I expect the vodka and midnight beach parties will continue. I will go to bed.

    I’m quite certain other yoga retreats are very different. Indeed, several of the other groups at the Costa Rica retreat seemed to focus more on meditation and kirtan singing and whatnot. It’s all about finding your preferred group. I saw an ad for a retreat for “broken-hearted women” where you’re supposed to do yoga and cry and heal from your breakup. I thought I’d rather eat ground glass.

  70. RMS – I’ll ask at my studio. Not sure I’m up for the midnight vodka either! The location you’re headed is breathtaking.

  71. Ris, my DIL lives in Boston and wasn’t part of the studio and she was very welcome. If you’re really serious about maybe wanting to go, I’ll send you the info from my studio. It’s Corepower Yoga, which is very athletic, but you can modify up or down according to preference. It would be great to have a Totebagger along! This retreat is a week in mid-October.

  72. Or just go to the retreat’s website and click on the “yoga” link. There are a ton of retreats. The drawback is you don’t necessarily know anyone.

  73. Maybe I should try pool running. I had taken six weeks off to heal my ankle problem before the holidays on the advice of others here, and then I went on three runs over the break and hurt my ankle on the third run.

    So I’m not sleeping and gaining weight, which is driving me bats.

    I cut my knee open badly in the fall, though, so I think I should stay out of the pool until I look less like an extra in a horror movie.

    CoC, I will email you about the fb group this afternoon :)

  74. RMS – shall check out the retreat site. Might be a nice empty nest gift to myself. Sure would be fun to join you, too – for you, I would try hard to stay up past my usual 9:30 bedtime. :)

  75. @Rocky Mountain Stepmom on January 12, 2017 at 7:08 am —

    Damn. Makes me want to take up yoga . . . .

  76. Sky – maybe you can take up swimming for exercise ? I would be wary of repeated injuries for the long term. Lower impact exercise should help.

  77. Sky, I have been dealing with injuries so I have been swimming since Thanksgiving. The injury has disappeared, but I will wait a little more, doing strengthening exercises as well as swim. Back when I was a grad student, I blew out a knee from cycling, and I did the same thing – I swam for about a year, and then gradually added back running and cycling, and then my knee was fine.
    Like you, if I don’t exercise, I can’t sleep and I lose my appetite.

  78. I wish I could join you on that yoga retreat… I miss yoga!! I have been sick, and my regular instructor took a leave of absence starting Jan 1. I found a couple classes I’ll hopefully try next week. That’s if the instructor doesn’t balk at the heavily preggo lady.

  79. What FB group? I’ve been involved in NSF review panels for the past few days and not always paying attention

  80. MM – Winemama created a secret FB group for Totebaggers. We still meet here every day, but it allowed her and others to have discussions that they can’t here. To be invited, you just have to friend Winemama or other members on FB and they can send you an invite. CoC can link you to Wine if need be.

  81. Sort of OT – over the holiday break I picked up a sous vide stick when there was a sale.

    Rhett/Rocky/anyone else – any tips, tricks, recipe sources/blogs? What should I make first? I have been looking at Serious Eats, but some of their stuff is a real project. I was going to start small with b/s chicken breasts or steak. Should I do steak? What veggies have you done that work well?

  82. “What I’m wondering is if it is common for frackers to overstate the amount of non-sleep time a person is spending in bed. ”

    My fitbit does the opposite. It thinks I am asleep even when I know I woke up or took longer to get to sleep. Maybe I am just not moving around as much when I am awake in the middle of the night as you do when you sleep.

  83. Ivy,

    You can do a steak as RMS mentioned. But, if you want to get the full effect do a 48 hour chuck roast. You take the cheapest cut of meat and cook it for 48 hours and it turns into prime rib. The book that came with the device will have the temperature guide.

    I would add that I wasn’t a medium rare guy before the sous vide but after getting I prefer all my beef medium rare. So, if you usually prefer medium (which is IIRC 140 F) I’d do 138 or 137 and see what you think.

  84. CoC, I responded to your email.

    I haven’t been able to check in here because I’m dealing with a Con Ed nightmare. Again. They dug up the road in front of my house. No notice.
    I had no gas so it was not fun. I returned to find out their subcontractor cut the main conduit to our home. So, they cut Fios and Optimum.

    Do they care? No. I love being ConEd. The local fire department came too because a neighbor called in a gas emergency. The Con Ed subcontractors left cigarette butts all over the work site. The fire chief told me that this happens all of the time with their subcontractors.

    Anyway, I have wifi now because I’m in the city for a meeting. The only nice thing in this whole mess is how warm it is for January. We didnt have to move to a hotel.

    I can’t imagine what I’ll find when I get home later. Each day is a new adventure in my driveway.

  85. I’m a medium rare person for steak, so that is one of the allures of the Anova – perfectly medium rare steak with a crispy sear!

    I’m also hoping to be able to put chicken breasts with some seasoning/marinade in the sous vide bucket in the morning, go to work, come home and just sear them & cook some veggies on the side in 10 minutes. I’ve heard it is magic for chicken breasts because the seasonings really penetrate the chicken & it is both free of salmonella and not overcooked in any spots. That along with longer projects (like the chuck roast which sounds delicious), and there is also a brisket recipe I saw on Twitter that looks great.

  86. Many people love chicken in the sous vide; personally, I find the texture can become a little odd. You’ll have to try it and see.

  87. Risley – ha! I don’t have the upper body strength to last a minute on the course. I have noticed that they have modified the course over the years so that rock cLimbers do the best, where in the past the parcor guys were most successful.

  88. Thanks Ivy. Always interesting to hear counterpoint.

    “At my age I don’t do naked” Go to Germany (or Skandinavia, I think). Skinny dipping is an old person thing there.

  89. Risley, if you want to try climbing once without joining a climbing gym, try your REI store. Some of them have climbing walls in store.

    This is my yoga studio’s retreat. They do one in the summer that is more yoga-focused, or at least they have for the last couple years. Looks pretty plebeian compared to Greek isles.

  90. Sky, another suggestion is weight work that doesn’t stress your ankle, e.g., upper body work, leg extensions/curls, adductor/abductor, abs.

    If you want a cardio workout, try high rep circuit training.

    If you have access to an arm bike, that’s another way to get your heart rate up.

  91. “I blew out a knee from cycling”

    How did that happen?

    When I hear “blew out a knee,” I think torn ligament. Was it that, or something else?

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