The Answers You've Been Looking For

Except not really at all, let's be honest.  But I did ask a couple weeks ago if you had any questions for me, so I'm finally back with the answers!  First, I do need to mention that I'm a liiiiiittle behind on responding to your comments... by like two weeks.  Ooopsie.  I promise I'll be getting to that today and this weekend.  Good thing I already have a blog post done and scheduled for every week day from now until the end of June (yep), so at least I'm winning something.

How did you and John meet?

John's sister, Julie, and I went to high school together, at a private all girls Catholic school in a suburb north of Chicago (right by the Home Alone church.)  Which meant that girls came from all over the surrounding suburbs to attend.  I don't remember the first time I actually met Julie during our freshman year, but my parents and John's parents live approximately 4.5 minutes (driving) from each other, making Julie the closest possible school friend I had near my home.  I mean, walking to their house is the approximate distance of running a 5k.  I'm not sure we hung out much freshman year but sophomore year when she started driving - early birthday, she's Christmas Eve - we started spending a lot of time together because she could drive me to school and home.  Plus it was easy to hang out on weekends with each other because neither of us had to travel very far.  So that's how I met John, who is two years younger than us and ended up going to our 'brother school,' the all boys Catholic school not too far away.  Just lots of time spent at their house in high school!  Heck, I used to play Batman race car video games with their little brother Eric when he was 10, and now he's 27 and playing them in my basement.  Time sure flies.  We always spent a lot of time together just between school events, home proximity, and working (all 4 of us, actually) at the same country club.

John and I have always stayed in touch over the years.  We were Myspace friends in college before Facebook was even a thing - we're old!  So when I broke up with a boyfriend, I called up John and we started hanging out again, right around this time 4 years ago.  Our official anniversary is in a couple weeks.

Which area is hardest for you to organize?

John's clothes and closet.  I firmly maintain that proper organization starts with decluttering and you will always struggle until you pare down.  John cannot seem to let go of a single item of clothing (hoarding can be hereditary, FYI) so keeping the dresser and closet maintained is always the biggest struggle.  Of my own things, I'd say kitchen cabinets where the food is, simply because I don't try, to be honest.  I don't stockpile food so the rotation in and out of those cabinets is frequent and I just don't feel like spending my time in there.

Where do you want to visit now that Alaska is checked off the list?

This question came from one of my college bffs, Courtney.  Alaskan cruise was always the #1 on my travel list but I checked that off last summer.  Since I'm not much for travel, I don't have a huge list and what's on it is all the usual places - Kentucky (always and as often as possible), Las Vegas (every couple of years), Iowa City (for tailgate and Tara purposes), Harry Potter world in Orlando (haven't been since they opened the 2nd half!), and honestly, probably back to Alaska again, I loved it there.  In the interest of possibly visiting someplace new to me, though, Nashville has been on my list for quite some time and I've never managed to get there.  One day.  I know it's only 2.5 more hours of driving to get there once I'm already in Louisville, but I get to Louisville/Lexington/Versailles and never want to leave.

Have you always had the same career path? /  What made you decide to go to law school?

Not exactly.  Ask my high school bff Sarah, I always told her I was just going to marry rich.  However, my dad did not pay for all that private school just so I could marry rich so I had to go to college and do something.  But I really had no idea what that would be.  I started in sports medicine (what a joke, I can't math) and journalism but journalism at Iowa is hard.  Really hard.  So I switched to English, which has always been my strong suit, and political science.  I forget why I picked poli sci, I just needed to double major otherwise I would have to graduate early and I was not leaving that party.  A double major in poli sci and English is essentially a straight path to law school, I quickly found out.  Took the LSATs to get a feel, aced those (I ended up teaching LSAT test prep for Kaplan), and just decided that staying in school for another 3 years was better than the real world, because I excel in school without really trying.  In high school I was voted something along the lines of most likely to succeed without trying/caring.  So I guess that came true.  Lawyering is just something I settled into.  Plus once you're past the first year of law school, it's way too late to back out.

What do you like most and least about your job?

It depends on the day.  Because some days, I really, really love the drama and that's my favorite part.  (I do a lot of divorce work.)  It's like a soap opera every day, but it has to be the right clients.  If they have kids and it gets really nasty, then it becomes my least favorite.  Having to get a court appointed guardian to look out for the kid's best interest is probably the worst part of the job, because it means that the parents can't do that themselves, which in my opinion is just sick.  Don't have them if you can't take care of them - animosity towards your ex shouldn't outweigh the needs of your child, that's just selfish.  And I don't even like kids.  But that's still the worst part.  The other least favorite part is voicemails, for the love of god why do people call the office at 9 at night and then leave me a 5 minute voicemail, I just can't.  Stop that.

As a minimalist, how do you get people to stop buying you stuff?

This is the toughest part of being a minimalist, I assure you.  It's not that people don't respect your wishes or are actively trying to clutter your house.  It's that they don't know any other way to show you how much you mean to them, so you need to teach them.  Approach the subject way before any holiday or birthday to give them time to get used to the idea and just explain that 'stuff' has become a bit of a burden on you, one you're trying to unload for your own sanity (never put the blame on them or somehow suggest their gifts in the past weren't good enough.)  And then, offer alternatives!  For something like Christmas, say 'I'd love to just spend time with you and do something good, what if we adopt a family in need and shop together for their wishlist, instead of spending more money on each other for things we don't need?'  A big key in that is making the minimalism go both ways - do NOT buy them 'stuff' and then expect them not to get you something.  People feel the need to reciprocate, it won't work.  For a birthday, don't just say 'get me nothing,' that won't work either.  Be specific.  'Honestly, I would love to just spend time with you, can we get drinks or dinner instead?' or 'I've been really wanting to get my nails done, Groupons to a nail salon would be really appreciated!'  Show them how they can still gift you something without it actually being a physical thing.

If you want a more detailed answer on this including lots more strategies for specific situations and gifts, let me know, I can make that post happen.

Also know that some (older) generations just will not catch on to this and you may have to smile and accept the item, knowing you'll donate it on your way home.  This is more about them than it is about you.  They don't want to be confronted with their own inabilities to minimize.  Getting rid of things, and part of not collecting them to start with, is confronting your own mortality.  It really is, this is why people struggle so much.  Because once you're gone, who is going to care for those items?  Holding on to them is somehow holding on to life.  It's a weird association, but it's the truth.  Like clinging to home movies of Christmas 1995.  Letting that go is admitting that one day, relatively soon in the grand scheme of things, the people who would actually care to sit down and watch that movie will no longer be around.  Getting things in the first place reflects this as well - 'if I have my stuff around me, it's a sign I'm living.'  People hold very tightly to that notion without realizing it, which is why they gift you things you've already expressed you don't want.  It's almost impossible to make certain people see this, so don't even try.  Sorry if it just made you confront it as well...

Will Hawkeye ever get a sibling?

No.  John thinks she will because he wants a big Boxer but Hawkeye is VERY much an only child.  She plays well with all other dogs but when they don't leave at night, she becomes very territorial over couches, beds, and John.  Sharing is not her forte.  When we pet sit my parents dogs for a week, she has to be on top of me constantly and always just appears to be anxious and doesn't settle down until we get home and she's alone.  She just doesn't want a sibling!  I don't blame her, I'm an only child too and I love it.

Hopefully that answered some things you probably weren't wondering at all.  Thanks Heather, Kathy, Alyssa, and Sara for asking the questions.  Happy Friday!


Thanks so much for stopping by.  You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.  In addition to minimalism and organizing, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #notentirelyperfect on social media so I can see your beautifully unstaged life.  On the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail to be alerted to each new post.


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