Habit Hooks and Hamster Tracks

Clump #174:  Get a clump to Goodwill.

So far I’ve had a good record for using my tickler file.  My strategy: I’ve promised myself I will look inside the day’s folder before I look at anything on the computer.  The two are close to each other, so it has been a cinch … kind of a habit hook.

Today’s folder contained a couple of Christmas carols that my younger daughter had found in a whirlwind of room cleaning.  I know just where to put them!  And, even better, I’ll know just where to find them next December.


I developed the other part of my strategy on day two, when I skipped looking in the folder because I knew there was nothing inside.  It occurred to me that I need to know there will always be something inside a day’s folder in order to maintain the habit … thus, a second promise.  I will put my to-do list for the next day (using discarded pages from a page-a-day calendar) in its folder the night before, and do it before I turn on the television, pick up something to read, or otherwise chill for the evening … a nightly habit hook bookending the morning one.


On today’s list was a trip to the Goodwill.  My husband had weeded a bunch of clothes out of his closet , and my younger daughter was galvanized to do the same, adding books and other sundry items …


including the cage and hamster toys for her dearly departed hamster, Steve.  I had no idea he had a “HAMTRAC.”


Giving these things away felt good and made walking into her hamster-barren room much easier.  Let’s all imagine Steve enjoying an awesome HAMTRAC in the sky.


It was a perfect day for spring cleaning and crossing off errands from the list:


warmer temperatures, bright blue sky, and puffy clouds like bright white linens snapping in the breeze.

To Do and Don’t List

Clump #65:  Take back shirt and call OPT OUT.

This box is a physical to-do list filled with action-needy things I came across in clearing out the den (formerly the den of doom and gloom).  It would have stopped my momentum to address each of them at the time, so … into the box they went with an “I’ll clump you later.”


I groaned as I pulled out a bag containing a white golf shirt I’d bought for my husband and needed to return.  I did have the receipt, but here’s what I found when I looked at it:


Even through the fog of the picture, you can see that if I had found this on the day I started my September challenge, I would have been able to return it in time.  D’oh!  But return it, I did.  To my surprise and delight, the woman at the exchange counter fiddled around for a minute with her register and said, “I can still give you the refund.”  I have nothing to do with SteinMart, but I’ll plug them here for that favor.  Wow, indeed.IMG_2054

I ended up buying my husband another shirt, so it worked out well for all parties involved.  The clerk, another female customer and I had a discussion about whether our respective husbands would wear the color I picked out. The older woman said hers would never wear it, but she wished he would ; the clerk said she forced hers to wear it (along with lavender); I said I’d see what my husband thought and that I might be back to the exchange counter again.

For the record, my husband wore it and looks mahvelous in it.  It’s actually a bit brighter than the picture shows.  Let it be known that my husband is not afraid of wearing edgy golf shirts!


In the midst of all the paper purging, I, fortuitously, came across a little article in The Philadelphia Inquirer entitled Protect yourself from identity theft.  One of the tips offered to fight this scourge is to call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-57-8688) to opt out of pre-approved credit cards, “The easiest way for a fraudster to commit identity theft is to fill out pre-approved credit applications we receive in the mail.”  Boy, did I shred a load of those.

I called the number to opt myself out.  The irony is, you have to give your social security number to them in order to do it.  One of the other rules listed in the article: “Shield your Social Security card and numbers.”  I googled around for other people’s experiences, and apparently the number is legit.

Feeling the need to close with a little beauty of the season I recently captured: flowers dying and valiantly still blooming …


In colors both reserved and flamboyant.