#23 – Sell my dad’s house. Check.

Over the years, my bucket list has primarily focused on the fun and unusual, but it’s always been sprinkled with a few responsible, laborious tasks, as well. Getting my principal’s license or teaching a college class are good examples – they certainly aren’t fun, but they move me forward in other ways.

Let’s be clear: in 2016, I didn’t say to myself, “Gee! Selling my dad’s house should land on my bucket list!” No, no. Instead it was a, “If I don’t put this on my bucket list, I might never get it done.”

I would like to thank my career as a teacher for preparing me to move my father into a retirement home while also selling his house, and holding down several jobs at the same time. I’m one hell of a project manager. In no means do I consider myself an expert in transitioning elderly parents or real estate ventures, but I did learn a lot that I can reflect on if I have to do this again (god forbid).

Top 5 Things I Learned Selling My Dad’s House

  1. Ask people for help. Find a few very trusted, reliable and handy people who are willing to move furniture, clean bathrooms, and not ask a lot of questions. I would actually say those who had no connection to my dad were the most helpful because they didn’t have any emotional attachment or context – they just saw what needed to be done.
  2. Don’t ask people for help. Once it was out there that my dad was moving, the vultures started circling. People I barely knew offered their “help” which turned out to be very complicated, and made the process worse. I quickly learned to keep the process controlled and quiet.
  3. Offer Up is the best app out there. I’m so disappointed I didn’t use this earlier. I gave away SO MANY things out of sheer desperation. EVERYTHING MUST GO! But once I started using Offer Up, it was a gamechanger. That clock I don’t know what to do with? Those bunk beds I can’t take apart? The box of dishes that are too nice to donate? Someone is willing to come buy it in the next hour. Boom!
  4. Plan a vacation. Some days, the only thing that got me through was knowing that I had a trip planned for spring break. At the same time, after spending 150+ hours on the house alone, I’m treating myself to a vacation at the end of the summer. Consider it my commission.
  5. Start thinning out your own belongings. What if you were paralyzed tomorrow? Or even died? Who is going to go through all of your stuff? Do you really want your family or children to have to put their lives on hold so that they can box up those books that you’re never going to read again? We spend our lives amassing belongings only to have someone else get rid of them. Do everyone a favor and get rid of your shit.

This year has been rough. I feel several years older, and not much wiser. At the same time, I’m lucky that I don’t have siblings who want to bicker over the tough decisions, or that I have a flexible job that allowed me to take an hour off here and there during the day. Had I have been teaching in the classroom, surely I would have set the house on fire (just kidding…).

The good news (great news!) is that it’s all done. I signed the papers last week and the new owners have taken possession. It’s DONE. Which is a good thing because my Saturday’s are immediately reserved for coaching soccer – no rest for the weary!

Now the focus returns to the fun and unusual bucket list items, and already I’m planning my time capsule, looking for crows, and working on my planks. I also added a new item (#24 – Join a social club) that I will be writing about very soon, which definitely falls under the fun & unusual category.

BTW, my dad is doing great. He is official an ambassador of his retirement home and shows the newbies around (even if he can’t remember where things are). He goes swimming weekly, has a personal trainer, and has pretty specific advice for the Blazers as they move into the playoffs.

 

Run #4 – Paris, France

My last (and only) time in Paris was a bummer because my knee was taking orders from my knee surgeon to take the summer off from running. I couldn’t get it out of my head that I never got a chance to run in Paris, and felt a redo opportunity would have to present itself at some point.

Lucky for me, that “some point” was this week. Though the first couple of days I was still shaking off some jet lag, yesterday morning I woke up and hit the road at 8:30am (a.k.a: the crack of dawn for the French). During mid-day, the sidewalks and bridges are clogged up with pedestrians and rogue bikers, but in the morning there are relatively few people out in the most touristy areas. I randomly chose to run up and down the Seine, along the paved paths rather than the uneven stone sidewalks on the street level.

Along my route, I saw many other runners (sadly none of them women), commuters, and the occasional fisherman.

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See? No people.

It was also a nice time to catch Notre Dame before it the tourist rush filled the square.

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See? Just a few people.

As I knew we would be walking the rest of the day, three miles was plenty, and just enough to get me started for a day of eating all of the things.

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Today we took the train to Barcelona so you can pretty much guess what Run #5 will be. Lord knows I need to exercise off egregious amount of food we are eating.

A lot of things are happening right now. At work, I’ve been joking that I should change my email signature to “The Fixer” as I’ve been assigned to some of our biggest crisis schools, which is seriously time consuming. (Sidenote: … Continue reading

Full Catastrophe Living

I only made it officially through one book in February (which is an all time low for me), but one powerful book is better than two or three crappy ones, right?

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It all started when my colleague was complaining about her new-age instructor for an education leadership class. Apparently his love for dream-catchers and meditation was his answer to being a great principal. The more I asked about him, the more I grimaced at the thought of sitting through the class – but I was still curious about the “required reading.” One of the texts was by John Kabat-Zinn, and through a bit of surface level Googling, I impulsively purchased one of his other books, Full Catastrophe Living.

What’s it about? Here’s what the back of the book says:

“Stress. It can sap our energy, undermine  our health if we let it, even shorten our lives. It makes us more vulnerable to anxiety and depression, disconnection and disease. Based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s renowned mindfulness-based stress reduction program, this classic, groundbreaking work—which gave rise to a whole new field in medicine and psychology—shows you how to use medically proven mind-body approaches derived from meditation and yoga to counteract stress, establish greater balance of body and mind, and stimulate well-being and healing. By engaging in these mindfulness practices and integrating them into your life from moment to moment and from day to day, you can learn to manage chronic pain, promote optimal healing, reduce anxiety and feelings of panic, and improve the overall quality of your life, relationships, and social networks.”

First off, I read anything like this with a grain of salt. However, the traditional medical treatments when I blew out my knee seemed very limited – one time the doctor even held up his hands and said, “I don’t know what to do with that,” when I described a horrific pain in my foot after knee surgery. But chiropractic and naturopathic treatments have worked in slow, steady increments (in fact, my chiropractor fixed my foot with a simple touch later that day). Admittedly, the acupuncture that required wrapping my knee in chainmail and tin foil was dubious, but I feel generally fantastic since prolotherapy.

You see, I’m just not the kind of person who wants to just take a pill. There’s got to be another way.

During Full Catastrophe Living, I found myself saying out loud, “Yes! That’s me! I understand what you’re talking about!” Although I’m not dealing with terminal illness or the tragedy of losing a spouse, I do feel daily aches and pains that I know are related to stress.

But also – my mind keeps me up at night. Whether it’s the burden of being a public educator, or I’ve just spent too much time on Reddit reading about MK Ultra, I wake up at night with too much going on in my brain. Donald Trump isn’t helping.

giphy.gif I already use my Headspace app regularly, but that feels a bit surface level. What I appreciate about Full Catastrophe Living is that it goes into the research of mindfulness and meditation, as well as gives a lot of practical strategies.

If anyone can relate to thinking that this is all ridiculous fluff, I can. A few years ago, I laughed in my naturopath’s face when she suggested I meditate. It wasn’t until I worked for a raging bully and was considering a medical leave that I thought, Maybe I need to give that meditation thing a try. I even mediated in secret because I was so embarrassed – and now here I am blogging about self-help books, for all the world to see.

“Catastrophe” to John Kabat-Zinn does not mean disaster, it just means that we have all these things going on in life – and learning how to manage them in a mindful way can make people realize that the things that feel overwhelming can actually be rewarding. For instance, people complain about work, but many people who are chronically ill or incapable of working would give anything to have a job. It’s a matter of perspective.

If you think mediation is boring or you don’t have time, they say “That’s ok,” and give 30 second strategies. If you have been meditating for awhile, it gives more advanced strategies (of which I am so far from being able to do).

As many people know, the stress of dealing with my dad’s house has been paramount in my life right now, but I’m working on experiencing the catastrophe rather than fighting against it. Speaking of which, the house goes on the market in three weeks.

 

1,000 Burpees

Is there a single year that I haven’t blogged about burpees? I highly doubt it. They are my most favorite, albeit torturous, exercise.

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A couple years back, I almost hit my goal of doing a burpee mile (I think did something like .75 and stopped to spare my ailing knee). And friends of mine know that I’ve forced them into monthly Burpee Challenges, but this year I’m taking it to a new level: I want to do 100 burpees in one set, with no stopping.

Yeah, I kind of just barfed a little bit, too.

I hold the burpee on the exercise pedestal – it’s intense; it’s whole body; it’s the thing that makes everyone go, “Make it stop!” You know me, I like a challenge.

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On February 1st, I decided that I would do 50 burpees everyday for 50 days (ending with my trip to Europe for spring break). Today is February 22nd, and I’ve “eaten the frog” everyday (minus one day where I moved furniture and shampooed carpets for 10 hours). 50 burpees x 20 days = 1,000 burpees so far.

There was a time where I could crank out 30 burpees easy, and often did 100 – 200 within a workout. Sadly, I’ve fallen off the burpee wagon as of late, and now that I’m back to square one, I average 20-25 before I have to stop. I have a looooong way to go before I can master 100 without stopping.

But now that I’ve been cranking them out on the regular, 100 doesn’t sound too hard. My biggest question is whether I will still be doing burpees in my top floor AirBnB in Paris. Excusez-moi, je faisais juste mon burpees.

Do you also love burpees? Do you hate them but know they are good for you? Have you never tried but would like to? Here’s my VERY FAVORITE resource for getting those burpees into my workouts:

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/01/27/the-burpee-the-one-exercise-to-rule-them-all/

How many can you do…?