self-care

Recycling Something I Love and a Confession

So….I’ve had a conundrum as of late beside the coffee, which I am back to drinking after an 80 hour hiatus….My photo gear doesn’t really fit in all the bags I have for it. What’s worse, is that the sturdy bag that protects everything as I slosh it around on wedding days is heavy, so it’s not really practical for bumming around town. One of the bags I have, a messenger bag, is really too narrow to hold the current cameras (it worked with previous cameras), so it sits unused most of the time right now.

I cannot tell you how many bags I have purchased in the name of finding just the right camera purse or camera bag or what have you. It’s ridiculous, I know that. Thankfully, I bought a lot of them from Goodwill and I’ve held onto most of them. So knowing my recent dilemma, I set to brainstorming. I really needed something else I could also bring on wedding days if need be, but I really also wanted a bag that was okay for bumming around town with the biggest camera if I wanted to, and maybe also good for the laptop too. The same conundrum I have “solved” probably 15 time prior to now, using way too much money to do so.

My first solution was to look at a duplicate of the gorgeous vintage style bag I use at weddings. It wasn’t expensive as far as those things go and was steeply discounted from the price I paid for my original, but it also wasn’t in stock. And it was also heavy, and I knew it wouldn’t serve a duplicate use of daily bumming about town.

Then I combed Amazon to see if there were any other bags that struck my fancy that wouldn’t break the bank. Not a one of the designs appealed to me in the 30+ pages of bags looked at. And anyway, I didn’t want to be spending $30-$70 or more on a new bag. I am trying to be smarter with our money, particularly in light of the upcoming Disney/Universal trip.

But something else came up amongst those 30+ pages….a soft, fleece, shockproof, waterproof, suede type cinch bag meant for putting a camera in another bag, like a purse or a backpack. For ridiculously cheap.

That gave me an idea….

I have a favorite backpack that I bought probably 3 years ago now that I rarely use because the backpack itself has no form to it…it’s a sturdy cotton but it doesn’t hold a form on its own. It has spent the bulk of its life in my closet though, because aside from carrying books around, it hasn’t felt like it was practical for much else. Which means putting a camera or computer in it by themselves is risky, much less putting them in there together so they crash into each other. But the bag is gorgeous, and boho style….I love it when I have something I feel like I can use it for.

And I already have a leather shockproof sleeve for my laptop which gives it protection for that backpack. And I have used it with that backpack on the odd occasion. I just had no real solution for the camera, particularly with the 50-140 lens which is the lens I would really prefer to be toting around when I carry a camera.

So…… there ya go. I cheap solution so I can re-use a bag I already have and love. Super-excited about this solution.

A Confession

Jared and I made an extravagant (to us) purchase Monday night. A new leather double reclining couch. If you follow me on Facebook, this is not news.

I was the instigator. Mostly, I hadn’t been out of the house all day on Monday or Sunday and I needed to get out, even if it was raining. That causes problems sometimes for our budget because when the weather is bad, we can’t just go for a walk or to the park with Oliver or something like that. It means going and browsing a store, a dangerous thing.

I had seen on Facebook that Robinson Salvage Overstock had gotten a bunch of “high end” furniture in (though after seeing it, “high end” is definitely according to taste and gold painted furniture that is not comfortable to sit on is definitely NOT my taste, no matter how high the price). But I wanted to see if they had any new recliners because I still wanted matching chairs for Jared and me and the tax refund had come through and sometimes they have good deals.

Jared and I went back and forth about it. The purchase means less frivolity and tightening our belts between now and June to avoid putting Disney or Universal on credit. And, admittedly, if either one of us were walking into a regular furniture store we would not generally go for an electric recliner. It means that I still need to go to Home Depot and get one of those cord hider things that go on the floor when you have a cord draped around a walking space, because we have that behind the new couch. It means telling Oliver “no” and limiting the time he can play the “up and down” game with the buttons on the side of the couch.

And I always feel guilty about brand new purchases, even from salvage stores, because there are perfectly good things available at thrift stores and on Facebook Marketplace. While I don’t think much about picking things up at thrift stores or FB Marketplace if the price is right, Jared and I do not make “new” furniture purchases often. The last time we bought a new piece of furniture was when I was pregnant with Oliver nearly 6 years ago. And before that, it had been in 2007 when we bought our Essex Drive house. And it’s not like we didn’t already have places to sit, even if my places to sit weren’t particularly comfortable for my finicky, uncompromising back.

I try not to complain about having a fused back. I mean, it saved my life and I would make the same decision for any of my boys if it came to it. But 90% of the sitting surfaces I come in contact with make it impossible to relax. Given that I’ve lived nearly 3/4 of my life in this state of a fused back, I don’t really know the difference though I do know when I am uncomfortable. Jared’s green recliner, along with the one that I had that matched it, were neither one good for my back. Prominent lumbar support is pretty imperative if I am going to be comfortable anywhere. It’s one of the reasons I am extremely grateful that no one at church says anything when I grab one of the several pillows scattered throughout the sanctuary on Sunday morning. In general, one lives in my usual spot, in fact. I am so grateful for that because church was one of the more uncomfortable places to sit when I first had my surgery. I LOVE the 100+ year old wooden pews and wouldn’t change them for anything. But they were not designed with anyone’s comfort in mind.

So anyway…..back to the reclining couch….. My parents came to our rescue on the spot because we had no truck to transport it home. The Robinson Salvage people were fabulous and wrapped it better than I would have asked to get it home safely in the rain. Jared and Daddy got it in the house mostly no harm no foul to either of their backs, though Jared said afterward that the house hunting absolutely HAD to stop because he was not moving that couch anywhere else for a really, really long time. Apparently it rivals hide-a-beds on level of heaviness.

The new couch is the most comfortable sitting space in our house, reclining or not. That’s what I am getting at. Assuming the electric part holds out, we will not be parting with this couch for many, many years. And I no longer have to worry about the occasional purging of dog smell from the upholstery. And we both have recliners again. The only problem is that it makes me want to sit all day when I am home by myself and there are things I should be doing.

My friend Dena is responsible for the current lay out of our family room where our two couches are, and she had been sending me Pinterest pictures of two couches in the layout. And originally, I tried putting my Nannie’s couch in the place where the new leather reclining one was. That did not work at all because Jared wouldn’t give up a reclining surface and there was no place for his recliner. So I had resigned myself to two chairs and a table on one side, with our old leather couch on the other side.

But the look really does look better with the two couches, and we have 6 sitting surfaces in the room since the couches are each a decent size.

Here’s to eating lots of ramen between now and June. LOL. Because Disney and Universal, as much as I want to do that for the boys, is NOT worth accruing any amount of debt.

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