The Pain of Passwords

courtesy of hdsoft.org

Are you like me and have just had it up to there with passwords?  I tried to access a site earlier and couldn’t remember my password.  Thirty minutes later, numerous screens, error messages, and two emails, I still don’t know the password.  That’s 30 minutes of my life I could have spent doing my cardio work-out.  (insert hysterical laughter here)

When I worked in a cubicle farm, a majority of us would stash our computer passwords under our keyboards.  We all knew each other did this, but nobody said anything because, of course, it was not an allowed practice.  But it was easy to remember.  And, that’s the problem with passwords — only a 12-yr old can remember any of them.

I tried using the same password for everything.  That fell apart when some jerk hacked an email account.  I got the notification, panicked, and realized I had 70 hundred thousand million passwords to generate.  And they all had to be different.  And I had to have them in my head and be able to retrieve them.  Oh my.  This would never work.

I got the bright idea of jotting down passwords in a small notebook.  That failed when the notebook fell on the family room floor somehow and EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer, had a midnight snack.  Ack.

Next, I decided to embed passwords into phone numbers.  Disaster!  I couldn’t remember which part of the phone number was the password, or if the phone number was a real one, and ended up phoning some rather angry people.

I had heard about smart phone aps that took care of passwords.  I quickly downloaded the latest ap.  I loaded all my passwords into it, then gave it a password.  Guess what I forgot?  The password to access my passwords.

I created an Excel spreadsheet and put all my passwords there.  Then I thought it would be a good idea to print it out, so if I died unexpectedly (like from a password event-generated stroke), Devoted Spouse would be able to get into all my records online.  But the spreadsheet was too big for my printer paper.  I had to scotch-tape the printed pages together.  It turned into such a mess, I shredded everything and opened a bottle of wine.

There seems to be no easy solution to this.  I have a copy of the spreadsheet that wasn’t taped together. I threw it in a file folder to deal with later.  I just don’t remember what I did with that folder…sigh…

We All Know What They Say About Good Intentions…

When I fired Gretchen the Immaculate I just knew doing my own housework would be no big deal.  Afterall I had plenty of time on my hands so I can do chores around the house.  I even thought about it logically (yeah, me logical) and set up a tentative plan of action for when certain chores would be done.

She’s been gone almost two weeks now.  I got the upstairs and the downstairs vacuumed.  I have dusted everything except the family room coffee table – and what hasn’t been dusted has been Swiffered to death.  I have cleaned all 3 bathrooms every few days and wiped down every surface with Clorox wipes.  The kitchen is tidy, the family room is a tad cluttered, and the table next to my comfy chair is a disgrace (but underneath the stuff the wood is nice and polished).

What I’m finding out is this cleaning house stuff is for the birds.  I took it on with a good attitude and told myself I would take pride in keeping my house spotless.  Oh who was I kidding?  There’s 3 days worth of newspapers on the coffee table and I truly don’t care.  There is a pile of books on my table and it doesn’t bother me in the least.  I’m not even sure I made the bed today — although in my defense that bed has been made daily!

A friend of mine on Twitter had links to her interior design friends and I just had to hit those links.  OMG those houses make mine look like a reject in the worst trailer park available.  My house is never going to look that well designed or that perfectly put together and I can live with that — I live in my home; I don’t use it as a showcase.  (Note to self:  don’t visit those sites anymore; they only increase your dosage of Valium.)

I bought one of those Shark steam cleaners for the kitchen floor  – I’ve been spot cleaning this floor since Gretchen left and the Shark is sitting in the corner still in the box.  That’s the big project for Monday – take the stupid machine out, put it together and steam clean this floor!  At least that’s the plan.

It’s about good intentions.  I just need to attack this housecleaning thing a little at a time.  I did manage to get the dining room back in order after Scriber’s Web-inspired collage challenge was finished – man that dining room table was a disaster area for a few days but it looks nice and pretty again.  Just in time to mess it up with my next craft project.  And just so you know I didn’t make up the collage challenge,  here’s my finished project for what it’s worth:

Did u think I would pick any other subject than EmmaLou??

But back to the cleaning…

I don’t know about this kitchen floor.  I’m thinking moving the rug around might work for awhile to hide the dirty spots.  I’ll get around to cleaning it…that chore really is on my list but I just remembered I have some other things to do on Monday…

My Kingdom for a Pen

courtesy of amtmarketing.com

I left one of my 10 faithful readers  Mrsupole a reply to her comment the other day about organizing.  She spoke of having journals around the house to help her with the CRS affliction so many of us share.  I mentioned that I kept a supply of Post-It Notes pads in every room so at a moment’s notice when a stray thought or a To-Do hits, I can quickly make note of it before the dreaded CRS attacks my neural network leaving me pacing  in circles while mumbling under my breath, “Why’d I come in here?”

What I neglected to mention was having these Post-It pads strategically placed around my home doesn’t do me much good if there is no pen in the vicinity.  And guess what?

I can’t find any flipping pens in this house.  It is as if the pens are in a different reality, a dimension all their own; they’ve dropped into (cue music) The Pen Zone.  Firmly convinced that pens are not inanimate objects but do, in fact, communicate with one another, I have tried to tune in my own super acute hearing to their frequency.  Nope — can’t hear the chatter of the Bics nor those roller ball Uni-things;  not even the Sharpies are making a sound.  Enlisting the aid of EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer returned a doggie response of, “Sharpies?  Sharpies?  Sharpies have moved into the neighborhood?  Can they come out and play?”  Poor dear thought I was talking about Shar Peis and she got so excited, well, let’s just say I had to run for the paper towel supply and the bottle of Resolve.  Turns out, EmmaLou cannot hear the frequency pens use to communicate either, but she can hear the rattling of cellophane on a fortune cookie from two floors away.

It isn’t that I don’t own any pens.  On the contrary, on any given day I can be found wandering the pen/pencil/eraser/highlighter aisle of my local Office Depot and it is rare, indeed, I leave the store without at least one package or box (a dozen is so much more comforting) of pens in hand.  So the pens are here in this house somewhere.

When I come across a stray pen (they sneak out at night and scribble then at dawn disappear back to their own dimension) I usually drop it into the pretty Longabarger pen holder in the kitchen next to the house phone.  Or I might stash it in an old chipped coffee mug on the desk in my  crap room home office neatly organized haphazard study area upstairs.  And, lately I have taken to grabbing the errant pen and jamming it into my purse or stashing it in a coat pocket so I can write a check at the grocery store.

But where do all the pens go that are normally placed next to the Post-It pads — like the cute Post-It pad that says Live Simply, Live Well, Life is Your Dance, which I keep on the table next to my comfy chair?  I thought this Post-It Note pad was significant because of the theme Live Simply but how can I Live Simply if I can’t even find a ^&$% pen?  Oh crap on toast.

You know what I CAN find around here?  hair scrunchies.  There are tons of them popping up in the oddest places (kitchen drawer)  and I know I’m not bringing them into this house  – I haven’t bought a hair scrunchie (scrunchy?) in ages because it’s just recently that my hair has gotten long enough to pull it into a ponytail and hair scrunchies are not all the rage any more.  I also have more than my fair share of those little wired green paper covered twistie tie thingies you put around the plastic bag of fruit from the grocery.  Those I have in abundance.  Ever try to jot down a note with a green twistie tie?  It doesn’t work.

Some day, far in the future, when I am long gone and this house is covered by several hundred feet of dirt, archaeologists will dig on this very spot and will discover 100,817 strange skinny plastic cylinders with the remnants of a dark substance in the cylinder, a few hundred pieces of paper that stick to each other but have no writing on them,  and pottery shards with strange markings which will be deciphered as the words “Bite Me”  from what once was an ancient coffee mug.

Finding those pens in this century is not looking promising.

Stress = Gimme the Big Fat Sharpie

I’m already stressed and it’s only the beginning of January.  There are a million things buzzing in my head all vying for first place on the master To-Do list.  Right now it’s more like a Ta-Da list; every few seconds that voice in my head goes, “Ta-Da”, another task I need to complete is brought to the front of my already filled-with-crap-brain.

What?  The dog is out of heartworm medicine?  Ta-Da.  Wait! I don’t have the right ingredients for my crockpot meal and Devoted Spouse took the car to the gun show..Ta-Da.  Christmas tree, Christmas tree, Christmas tree…Ta-Da.  Must exercise – oh crap – who put all that stuff on the treadmill…Ta-Da.  School starts soon – better preview some chapters and get a timeline done – Ta-Da.

I’m on a To-Do Ta-Da neural merry-go-round and I only got the seat on the bench, not the carousel horse.  Ack Ack.

I thought maybe a good idea to de-stress would be to pop in the yoga DVD and do some nice breathing and stretching.  I got a back spasm trying the first yoga position.  Where’s my percocet?  Ta-Da – you don’t have anymore…To-Do Ta-Da call doctor. Ta-Da, Ta-Da.

This year instead of just lining out tasks on my To-Do list with a regular pen, I’m getting out my Big Fat Sharpie so the task completed looks like it was a big deal.  Big fat black lines = major accomplishment.  Where’s my Big Fat Sharpie? Ta-Da. Gah…

That’s it, I’m tossing out the To-Do list.  Ta-Da…

New Year, New Beginning? Nah, Same Old Stuff, Different Date

I woke up entirely too early on January 1, 2010 filled with anticipation and the hopes that a new year brings.  It was a new year — the time to start over, get my life in order, get paperwork organized, the house de-cluttered; a chance once again to do things right this year.  This is the only day of the year I utter the phrase “clean slate”.

Phhhttttt!  I rolled over and thought about this new year stuff and decided to sleep on it awhile.  That didn’t work as EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer came bounding in to the room demanding I get up.  Could she know it is a new year?  Do doggie thoughts of chew toy organizing go through her head?    Crap.  Reluctantly, I got out of bed.  I went downstairs to sit in my comfy chair and read a book and surf online awhile as my brain warmed up.  I glanced over at the dining room where Christmas detritus was still strewn.  Wishing for a magic wand to make it all disappear…I went into the kitchen where Devoted Spouse, who unbelievably was up even earlier than I, had the coffee started.

With coffee in me I could look at the new year properly.  I could begin by making a list of what I wanted to accomplish this year…what are my goals and aspirations?  What was I going to do differently this year that would have any type of impact on how I lived my life?

Crumpling up that piece of paper I decided this new year meditation was a bad idea.  It reeked of resolutions and I’ll be danged if I’m getting hung up on that stuff again – nope – no planning what I expected from my new year.  No lists made of things I want to do.  I went back to my coffee and my book.

I decided that the problem of a new year is that we put too much pressure on ourselves.  On January 1, we are all expected to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and excited about opening our new calendars and organizing the crap out of everything.  Heck, I can’t get my table cleared off, why should I be expected to start a diet on this day and get all new folders set up for bills and important papers.  That big plastic box worked just fine for 2009 papers and calendars are just a reminder that you have to do something you probably don’t want to do.

So I had a dish of rum raisin ice cream and wisely decided the diet would start on January 4,  a more reasonable day, a Monday.  Diets should always begin on Mondays.   On January 4,  I will start dealing with the leftover Christmas mess, start taking down the tree and put the gifts away.  On January 4, I will pull out my new calendar and jot down some dates of things I may not want to do, but have to anyway (I hate my dentist).  And on January 4,  I will start the process of wading through the paperwork of 2009 looking desperately for anything to help me lower my tax bill.

It should be decreed that when New Year hits on a Friday, that day and the weekend should be reserved  for that last dish of ice cream, some college football, a couple of old Thin Man movies, and the pleasure of some more goofing off.  The 4th of January is time enough to ease into this new year stuff.

Does this make me a procrastinator?  I dunno.  I’ll get back to you on that.

I Deserve the Housewife Award

housewife2

D’ya remember a few days ago I wrote about sheets and not being able to tell which size they were and I actually showed you how my linen closet once looked and the after picture when I tore it apart trying to find the correct sheets?

Well kids, I got my butt in gear, I got out the old label maker, and I fixed that closet up once again.  Everything is where it should be — all the shelves are labeled for ease.  This time I’m only putting towels in this closet that go to the guest bathroom and putting the other towels in our master bath linen closet – made more sense.  Leaves more room, too.

The odd thing is I found sheets that don’t match and pillow cases that don’t go with any sheet sets.  What’s that all about?  I’m thinking perhaps we took one of the older sheets to use as a tarp when we painted a room and it may still be living in the basement (where no one in their right mind ever goes on purpose). Or there is the possibility that EmmaLou the Golden Retriever has set up a bed somewhere.   So I’m going to do some sheet hunting in the next few days and if I don’t find the matches, well guess I’ll be cutting up some new rags to use around the house!

Here is the before picture just to horrify you all once again (and humiliate myself in public).

linenclosetafter1

And here it is today, labeled, neat, tidy, orderly, and making me very happy.  So is the icepack on my shoulder…

cleancloset

I’m almost afraid I may end up cleaning the kitchen pantry, or heaven forbid, one of the junk drawers (you noticed I said one of the junk drawers which hints there might be more lurking around the house?)  This is scary.  I’m going to go take a nap now and maybe when I get up that demented notion of cleaning out anymore closets will be gone.

Time to Get Organized

time-management-mindmap

Some of my three faithful readers know I also attend Seminary working on my Masters.  Of course, I’ve been off for a semester while injured coz it’s just too hard to lift heavy textbooks and write research papers when you have one arm/hand strapped and bound to your body.  Plus I’m not so sure my Theology professors would have appreciated what I wrote while under the influence of Valium and Percoset — although you people don’t seem to mind.

Anyway, Wednesday my textbooks (about 40 lbs worth of books!) arrived. Devoted Spouse was perusing my books and we got into a conversation about my (poor) use of time and how I should become better organized.  You see, I’m the most disorganized person on the face of the earth and I don’t use time wisely at all – I fritter it away in any possible pursuit of something that will make me smile, laugh, or intrigue me (a good mystery).  I may spend time shooting at the range or fishing or blogging or just goof off with EmmaLou, the Golden Destroyer.  Is there a 12 step program for Slackers because I should definitely sign on.  Wait, I may be onto something here…can you get paid for being a Slacker?  Nevermind.

Interestingly enough in today’s local newspaper I found an article with tips to help you organize your time.  How exciting – maybe there is something here that I can actually use.   I read the article and I was a tad disappointed.  Then again, these are the writers of the Dayton Daily News, a paper in a city which the Forbes folks maintain is dying so what was I expecting?

Some of the tips:  Delegate.  Well, okay I’ve already done that while I’ve been injured.  Devoted Spouse faithfully does the laundry, takes out the trash, feeds the dog, feeds me (not necessarily in that order), washes the dishes, helps me dress (if Tim Gunn comes to the door, no-one let him in!), and generally does whatever I sweetly ask.  So, okay, I’ll delegate – he can write my research papers and I’ll concentrate on reading the textbooks and taking the exams.

Another tip?  Ditch perfection.  Obviously these people don’t know me – I did that years ago.  Duh.

Next tip:  Learn to say no.  I’m actually getting better at this one.  A long time ago I came up with a standard answer to anyone asking me to do something I didn’t want to do.  I give you all permission to use it; it works wonders.  Here it is:  “I’m sorry; I just can’t.” That’s it.  The cool thing is when you say that to someone they NEVER ask you why; they just accept you can’t help them.  Wish I’d figured that out years ago.

Yet another tip:  Unplug.  In other words turn off the crackberries, get off the internet and stop Twittering.  No, no, and no.  I may delete the Hoyle’s Card Game program on my laptop, but that’s all.  I’m new to Twittering and I’m not giving it up – it’s too much fun!  I may slow down on the blogging, but I can’t unplug completely.  Dumb tip.

One last tip:  Stop procrastinating.  Well, crap on a crutch, that’s what got me in trouble to begin with.  I can’t just stop.  It’s in my nature to put everything off to the last minute and then panic until my blood pressure is at stroke level and I stay up all night and write the most fabulous research paper ever.  It is tiring, though, so they may have a point.

Yeah, this time, I’m definitely going to get organized ahead of time.  My class starts May 11th.  That gives me lots of time to get ready.  I figure I’ll probably start the evening of May 10th.   And then I’ll just multi-task as usual…piece of cake.