Hot Firefighter Husband has bought me a new** car! It’s a 2007 minivan with 104,445 miles on it. But it’s very shiny. Pretty much. It came with a vial of touch-up paint.
**”new” = old; ancient. Lacking “new” car smell.
On the bright side, I will no longer complain about Splenda the mini-minivan being too small for us. By comparison , the new car feels cavernous. On our next trip, we might even be able to pack luggage. It’s a Honda Odyssey, which is the official vehicle of Suburban Mothers Everywhere. The kids have named it The Shark, or Sharky, or Jerry the Shark, depending on which kid you ask. There was some brief but heartwrenching drama because the Pterodactyl heard Husband and me making disparaging remarks about Splenda. “Mom, it’s just that I have so many wonderful memories of our time in Splenda,” he wailed tearfully. “It was part of our family!” So everyone agreed to come up with one pleasant thing to say about Splenda. She had pretty stripes on the seats! She could fit into small parking spots! Her Bluetooth worked so well! Damn, I hated that fucking car. I don’t want to talk smack, but it was a Mazda 5.
It’s not every day that Husband buys me a luxury gift. I don’t even mind that the the gift has been rode hard because he simultaneously lowered our car payment by almost $200. To recap: We traded in our 2012 tiny mini-minivan to get a larger regular van that’s so old it has a CD player that can hold multiple discs at a time. HAHAHA! Remember when those were the bomb?
But here’s what I’m finding: this whole Simplify My Life plan can’t end with us moving into a smaller house. It’s not just a goal that can be accomplished through a 10-step process. 1. Downsize! 2. Express gratitude! 3. Eat more chicken! No – this requires an entirely new mindset, and a conscious effort to change how I see myself navigating through the world.
Simple. Think of the word. Defined as not elaborate or artificial; plain; not ornate or luxurious; unadorned. Not complicated.
I’m committed to the premise; and I’m eliminating the belongings that complicate me. I’ve sold most of my valuables, and I’ve given away the fancy clothes. I have two pairs of flip flops and a pair of Birkenstocks to get me through summer, and that’s the extent of my summer footwear. (I know Birkies are expensive, but at my age I do need a quality footbed. And I bought them on sale!)
As a family, we’re spending more long late afternoons cooking dinner and listening to music. Last week we all watched the evening news together, and the Tyrant said, “Wow! The news is really pretty interesting, Mom!” And I was all, THAT’S RIGHT, SISTER! BE THE CHANGE! I’m cooking more dinners from scratch, and eating out has begun to lose its appeal – even for the kids. As I write, the Diva is making meatballs from scratch. For real. Just because she wants to.
I’m wearing less makeup and fewer clothes. HOW ABOUT THAT, HUH? HOLLABACK, BOY! But no, not fewer items of clothes at once; I’m purposely wearing what I like over and over until it’s dirty, then doing some wash and wearing it over again. I think I might have the most paltry wardrobe of my whole life, and I’m entirely satisfied with it.
Listen: I feel lighter, people. I still have moments, although in my defense, the Pterodactyl was TOTES being an asshole when I called him one. But my days look clearer and my nighttime dreams seem more cathartic than alarming. Which reminds me – if you come to my house in the middle of the night after returning from a trip you didn’t invite my daughter to go on and ask for the half-eaten bag of breaded brussels sprouts you left in my freezer, I WILL SNUFF YOU OUT LIKE A CANDLE. Just saying.
I’m feeling hopeful, I guess. Happy about life, hopeful about the world. So if you see me driving around in The Shark, bobbing my head to whatever ridonkulous music my kids are playing, wearing a purple tank top and denim cutoffs, wave to me and I’ll wave back. You should recognize The Shark – I’m ordering these cool wave decals to adorn the sides. Even a simple girl can have a little Boom Sauce.