Must Have vs Nice to Have

Part of my plan in preparing for my temporary move up to Fort McMurray was to take a one week exploratory trial run in order to check out our living space. I needed to find out what I would be dealing with in terms of day-to-day functionality.

The condo turned out to be a pleasant surprise, with two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, open kitchen/living area, and a decent-sized deck with room for barbequing (a must-have) and a view of the Clearwater River from the far side. It was better than I had hoped.  The condo is furnished so, after taking an inventory of the contents, I discovered our basic needs were met with linens, cutlery, everyday dishes, coffee maker (another must-have), pots and pans and even 2 rice-cookers that I wouldn’t use in a million years. (Really, who uses those?)

My first day in town, my husband took me to Staples so he could buy me a writing desk for a little spot I could call my own by the sliding doors out to the deck. It is a simple little desk that can be assembled and disassembled easily. It will go where I go.

As the week went on I kept a running of list of the items I would need from home other than my standard reading and writing materials. Here is what I came up with.

  1. Cotton Throw – I love a little blanket to curl up with in the evening. (It has been too warm and I haven’t used it yet)
  2. Candle – Ambiance. (It has been too light out. I haven’t lit it yet but it looks nice on the mantel of our fake fireplace)
  3. Pillows – I sleep better with my own.
  4. Place Mats – Makes the dining table look like someone cares.
  5. Cookie sheets – to heat/bake items in the oven. I might bake cookies when Princess visits.
  6. Cork Screw – a must-have!
  7. Coffee Mugs – I mean a good-sized mug. None of the 2 sip-sized cups that keep you heading back to the pot!
  8. Home Depot Bill – must be paid.
  9. Hoodie – nice to have. Haven’t worn it yet.
  10. Old and New Journals – to track my new adventures and revisit my old.
  11. Flatware – a person can never have too many knives, forks and spoons.
  12. Measuring Spoons – well, a cook needs to measure.
  13. Lotion – I had just bought a bottle of “Cucumber Melon” from Bath and Body Works and I was not leaving it for the kids.
  14. Magic Bullet Blender – for plans to make healthy smoothies. Might make Margaritas.

I had pictured myself stuffing my belongings into the car but all of this fit nicely into my Honda Accord with room to spare.  What had I forgotten? Oh, wait a minute, the 5 x 7 of the kids taken while we were in Florida in May. That is it.  That is all I need.

After my arrival in Fort McMurray, I bought –

  1. Four Decent Soup Bowls – you know, the ones that actually have depth.
  2. A Large Un-slotted Spoon – how many slotted spoons can a person use, yet not one un-slotted in this huge drawer?
  3. Fridge Magnets – for the “little reminders”.
  4. Paper Clips – I can never find one when I need one.
  5. 4 Zip Lock Food Storage Containers – So the few bowls I do have don’t wind in the fridge full of leftovers.
  6. Printer  – must have!

I have now been here just over 3 weeks and I am making out just fine with what I have. Once in a while, I start to think about what I am missing from my life in Calgary and it isn’t stuff. I miss my kids, my sisters, my best girlfriends and at times, familiar surroundings.  Okay, I’ll admit, it would be nice to have a painting to hang above the couch.

Life here is simple. I can clean the condo in an hour and a half and everything I need is within walking distance so I am saving a fortune in gas. I have time to write, email friends, plan and prepare healthy meals, visit the gym regularly, explore my surroundings and read for both learning and entertainment. What more do we really need?

For me, it is all about relationships. The spare room is vacant, so come up for a visit.

I think the Danish are on to something when they say, “Less Stuff; More Life!”

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