Saturday, April 14, 2012

Exit Strategy Lesson 3: Unfinished business

I've been meaning to get to this post for awhile.

Each day I'd scribble in my journal: Write post about unfinished business.

But then the days went on and it never got crossed off the list. Until today mofo action item. Hi-ya! I karate chop you.

After I decluttered my apartment (Exit Strategy 1) and got real about saving or making extra dough (Exit Strategy 2), I looked around my apartment and saw that if I really wanted to eventually quit my job and hit the highway, I'd have to deal with my unfinished business:
  • Piles for Ebay, thrift store and yard sale
  • Magazines to toss... I wonder how the Pitt Jolie's are doing these days
  • Finished paintings that needed to be listed on Etsy
  • Blank canvases and journals
  • Books I never finished reading and never would
  • Recipes I'd clipped but never make... who was kidding who
  • Taxes... organizing bulging boxes of receipts
  • Gifts never given and store credits for gifts I'd received
  • More post-it notes than anyone needs in this lifetime
  • Sharpies from Costco (80 in a pack... Though I wish I had at least one Sharpie now. They don't sell them in Paris... and while we're at it, they don't sell popcorn, peanut butter, Ziploc bags or Crest White Strips.)
  • Paintbrushes galore, though I only use my five favorites and a palette knife
  • Phone books for the last five years
  • Old vitamins that made me want to hurl
  • Couscous I'd never make because the box was so old
  • Etc... it deserves it's own bullet point
  • Etc... maybe two bullet points 
Now that I wasn't going out for group lunches with Chugalug Chad, I had time to get done what needed getting done.

I started with two trash bags. One for junk (stale couscous and nasty vitamins) and one for recycling (Yellow Pages and magazines). I didn't sift through my magazines for one last look at whatever Amy Winehouse wore or did at a concert. I just chucked the rag mag and assumed it all went well. (I wonder if Nirvana is touring this summer. And when is Heath Leger coming out with a new film? I like that guy. Good hair. Yummy smile.)

I know I could donate magazines and get all goodie-two-shoes about it. But that attitude is what created the pile in the first place. I needed to devote to done. Recycling was as goodie-two-shoes as I was going to get. 

The toughest part of this stage was, believe it or not, tossing post-it notes. I couldn't put them in recycling. I. Just. Couldn't. Do. It. I snuck them back into the office supply closet I'd stole them from at work.

Most of the Sharpies were dried up. Tossed.

The paintbrushes, gifts and blank journals went to the thrift store. Note to gift givers: Writers are extremely picky about journals. Don't give me a journal unless it's the Twin Ring. Love.)

Once the recycling and junk was in the alley bins, the yard sale items were turned into a wad of onesies, and the bag hit the thrift store door with a loud thwump, I had the rest to do.

Like PayPal. I needed to remember my PayPal password and the email address I used to sign up for PayPal. It's a small thing but just annoying enough to avoid doing it. This bit of unfinished business was a pocket of plugged energy preventing me from selling on Ebay or Etsy and filling those pockets with coinage.

But I sat down one day, set my alarm for 20 minutes and raced through it. New email, new password and new link to a new bank account. Linked to Ebay and Etsy. Badabing badaboom! Done, bitches. And I had three minutes to spare. After that, I was a selling machine and inching my way closer to pulling out of the daily grind.

And then there were the taxes. Necessary evil. Sorta organized. But I'd likely be screwed if I were audited. Not  because I was stealing (I only did that with office supplies), but because I was disorganized. This job took considerably longer than 20 minutes.

I let myself off the hook about not finishing the books I'd started reading. (I'm sure it all worked out with Charlotte and Wilbur.)

All this unfinished business had been mucking up my mind. How can one think clearly when one is trying to remember their PayPal password? After I crossed the items off my list, I felt like I had a clean slate. I could finally think clearly about what I wanted to do once I quit my job.

So I turned to a map of Europe. I traced the roads, rivers and borders with my finger, picked up a pen and began to scribble a route for a nice long European vacation.

I never imagined I'd end up living in Paris, though. Oh this beautiful French life. It's amazing what a few moments of concentrated scribbling can do... and where it can lead.

Street art in Paris.
What unfinished business can you karate chop? Hi-ya!


  1. The things that clutter our mind clutter the apartment. I paid someone to do my taxes. I printed everything out. And there it all lies on my spare bed. I have company coming in 8 days - a good enough deadline.

  2. I don't think anything in the world makes me happier than decluttering and throwing everything out that I can get my hands on.

    And thanks for the exit strategies in case I ever need to bolt this joint.

    And thirdly, I am so, so, so sorry you don't have access to peanut butter. WTF? That's barbarian!

  3. So, get this.
    I finally got a paypal account.

    day 1
    1) create paypal profile account.
    2) enter personal account info

    ...wait 2-3 days to verify your info...

    day 3
    1) If paypal did what they said they would do on day 1, skip to #2
    2) verify paypal/personal account
    3) deposit funds into paypal (direct from personal fun, who knew?)

    ...wait 6-8 days to complete transaction...

    ugg, does this process ever end??...*annoying*

    It's a good thing I didn't know the extent of trials to use this paypal thing. Or I would have put it off.

    But the good news is, when I finally graduate from the start-up-paypal-101 program, I can have fun buying and selling online.

    and donating *wink*.

    Drove thru Clear Creek 3 days ago. Thought of you right away. Remember the haunted house down lakeshore(or the house that all the kids "claimed" was haunted)???'s still there.

    You and your writing never seize to amaze me.
    Don't ever leave.


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