Tag Archives: winter


I took a lunchtime walk yesterday on the Kennebec River Rail Trail, as I usually do during the workweek.  The day was moderately sunny, although it had begun rather cloudy and certainly cold-a chilly 6 degrees Fahrenheit at my house.  It was around 30 degrees at noon.

I started out bundled up with my heavy winter coat, knit cap, and wool mittens.  I usually shoot for a 30 minute walk.  By the time I was five minutes in I had to remove my cap because I was heating up.  By the time I reached the half way mark, I had also removed my mittens, and shortly thereafter I had unzipped my coat.  I actually had worked up a light sweat by the time I got back.

Here’s the thing:  I had prepared myself for my noon walk based upon expectations I formed at 6:30 in the morning regarding the temperature.  What I should have done was check my smartphone for updated weather information prior to my walk,  instead of relying on outdated expectations.  As it turns out this principle applies to a lot of things in life: make decisions based upon reality not preconceptions.

A hand holding a thermometer in front of some icicles.

Baby, it’s cold outside! Or, is it?

He Who Has Two Coats

He answered them, “The person who has two coats must share with the one who doesn’t have any, and the person who has food must do the same.”  Luke 3:11

Last Sunday a gentleman showed up at my church before our early service, seeking assistance. I understand that he was without a coat and gloves, even though the temperature was in the mid-teens. While we didn’t have any cash on hand to give him as he asked, he was given one of our Agape Bags and invited to stay a while. Apparently he did stay for a little while but chose to leave before the service.

When I was told of this, the first thing I thought of was that I still have a couple jackets that I don’t need. In fact I haven’t worn them for a long time. One is a ski jacket and one is a light spring jacket. I took them out of the closet, hit them with some Febreeze, and dropped them off at church last night. The intent, which you probably already figured out, is to have them available as “emergency” coats if this situation arises again.

I wish I had thought of this earlier.  It’s truly unfortunate that this gentleman left without a warm jacket in this climate, at this time of the year.  Part of my simplification process has been to donate excess clothing to charity. But now I see a more immediately useful way to redistribute my excess, even if after the fact.

Worry is a Big Waste of Energy

I hardly ever dream, or if I do, I don’t remember the dreams upon waking so the net effect is the same as not dreaming. The past couple nights have been unusual for me on the dream front, however. I have awakened last night and the night before from a dream. The same dream, actually, which is also kind of strange for me.

In this dream, I was worried about my water pipes freezing. If you don’t know, I live in Maine and at the moment winter is in full effect. Anyway, back to the dream: I am in my kitchen and I suddenly hear my pipes breaking. They sounded like someone setting off firecrackers. I knew what it was and I rushed over to my kitchen sink and looked in the basin.

The whole bottom of the sink basin was gone, and below was a very deep pit. There were jagged ends of copper water pipes and the PVC drain line protruding over the pit, dripping water. Seeing this I lost my sense of worry, because if the pipes were dripping water they were not frozen. I somehow knew that the missing pipe sections contained the frozen bits. All I had to do now was solder and glue new copper and plastic sections in, which I am perfectly capable of doing, and all would be well.

If I had to theorize, I’d say that this dream means that I have been subconsciously worried about my pipes freezing, which has happened in years past. I’d also speculate that I was telling myself to not worry, because I know how to deal with the problem should it arise. Basically, I was worrying needlessly. By eliminating worry and focusing on knowledge and solutions, we can effectively simplify our emotional lives.

As for the pit under the sink, honestly, I haven’t a clue!

Blizzards and Ice Dams and Snow Drifts, Oh My!

Decrappification is not about having less stuff.  It is about perspective.  Let me tell you a story.

The past few weeks have been quite challenging up here in Maine.  Between blizzards, subzero temperatures, and ice dams I can’t say I’m enjoying winter too much lately.  Recently I had one day where my main door to the house froze shut and the secondary door was drifted in.  So I had to crawl out a bedroom window and wade through the drifts to open the main door from the outside.  Then it wouldn’t stay shut.  So I worked on that until I got it to close properly.

As I got ready to drive off to work an hour and a half later, I found that my parking brake on my truck was frozen.  After rocking the truck back and forth an inch or so each way the brake finally let go.  I admit that I was so discouraged that I just wanted to sit there and cry that morning.  It felt like everything was going wrong, and the whole of creation was conspiring against me.

That mood stayed with me until well into the evening, when my dear friend called me.  She is dealing with a second occurrence of breast cancer.  I should have been cheering her up and being supportive.  The fact of the matter is, she consoled me and got me out of my funk. My problems with the house were nothing compared to hers, but she was the one doing the cheering up, because she has a great and caring personality!

Like I said: perspective.

Snow covered Ranger pickup.

My Ranger is in there somewhere!

There’s a Chill in the Air

Here it is, early September in Maine, and it’s already getting a bit chilly at night.  Last night I had to get up and get an extra blanket.  This morning on my way to work, I turned on the heater in my truck.  The real sign of cool weather though was waking up with all three of my cats snuggled on my bed.

So what does this have to do with decrappification?  Basically, it reminds me that I need to plan for the coming change in seasons.  I have several annual projects involving storm windows and foundation banking that will need to be taken care of.  It’s best to not leave these until the last minute, and thereby waste heat and by extension, money.

I also am going to take stock of my winter clothing.  I know for a fact that I have a ski parka in a seldom-opened closet.  (I can’t believe I once thought fluorescent green and purple was cool!)  I’m sure someone else can put that to good use.  I’m going to go through my sweaters as I have with other clothing, and anything I didn’t wear last winter goes to Goodwill.

Finally, before it gets too chilly I want to relocate my kitchen to its original location in what is a little used dining room in my 1888 house.  Then the present add-on kitchen (from the 1920s) will become a workshop with a separate mud and laundry room where the present entry is.  This will reduce the amount of heated space by about 1,800 cubic feet.  I will still have more than enough living space.

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is.  But decrappification is not a one-and-done thing.  Rather it’s an ongoing, constantly refined process.

Man holding a pile of winter clothes.

How much is too much?