Sunday, May 25, 2014

Change is...change

Sometimes bad things happen for no reason. Sometimes, though...

Seven years ago, I had a decent job and a great boss, and then my life fell apart in a pretty spectacular way. I made a mistake, a big one (not job-related), and I've spent the last seven years paying for it. I'm not quite finished yet, legally speaking.

And here's the thing: I can't regret what I did. It served a greater purpose. My life was drifting along. I knew that my work was something I did because I was good at it, not because I enjoyed it. I longed for the satisfaction of doing work I loved, but didn't know what that might be. I wanted my life to mean something, to me and to the people with whom I might come into contact.

I had glimpses of this better life from time to time, and I wanted what I saw, but I was cozy, unwilling to step outside the safety of my comfort zone for long. What I was doing kept a roof over my kid's head, and food on the table, and responsible adults sometimes do work they don't like in order to fulfill their obligations. That's what I'd been taught as a kid, what I'd always believed. The universe knew that in order for me to find that extra something I was looking for, I needed to be shoved forcibly out of my cocoon.

The change has been painful and humiliating and the personal shame of making that choice has estranged me from both family and friends. My kid stuck by me. She was adult enough to tell me that she didn't like what I did, but understood why I did it. I withdrew and isolated myself from people I cared about out of the fear that if they knew what I'd done, they wouldn't like me anymore. Some of them have surprised me.  I've had friends who learn the whole story, from me or from someone else, and still welcome me into their lives and their homes. I'm grateful for those people, people who see me as a person who made a mistake, rather than a person who is that mistake.

Was it a bad thing I did? Sure. Did anybody besides me and my daughter get hurt? For the most part, that answer's no.

Did it need to happen?

I believe it did. The emotional, spiritual, and financial struggles of the past seven years have been critical to my growth as a human being.

My life is different now. I've learned and unlearned things about myself. I've forgiven myself for ancient transgressions that weren't even mine to begin with. I've fallen in like with new parts of myself, acquired and refined new skills, and have work I love to do. It's not enough work yet, but it's something that had I the means, I would happily do without pay. I do in fact do it regularly for nothing but the sheer joy of it.

Good things are happening now, small things here and there. It started slowly and is gaining momentum. I've been taking the shattered puzzle pieces of a boring, uninspired life and putting them back together into a new picture, somebody who can do what I've always wanted to do - help people. In as many ways as possible.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bzz Campaign: Kroger Spring Cleaning

I sign up for these campaigns, and I use the coupons, and then I forget entirely to post about them.

In this case, it was the Kroger Spring Cleaning BzzCampaign, and I received a number of coupons, good at Kroger, toward the purchase of cleaning products. I managed to get a good selection of things to give me a head start on cleaning, and only spent about $5 out of my own pocket.

The campaign was connected to their Fuel Points program, and for a limited period of time, you could earn extra fuel points for purchasing participating cleaning products at Kroger. I didn't earn many fuel points during this period, because the day I shopped for these items was the last time I went to Kroger, due to transportation issues.

I keep thinking I got one more thing that isn't in the pictures, but I can't remember what it is. :/ 

As you can see, I got two of the Kroger HomeSense products, as well as a Kroger brand of hand soap refill. The HomeSense cleaning wipes were/are wonderful. They cleaned up this mess...

...without requiring a whole lot of scrubbing, and they smell good into the bargain. They definitely made the bathroom smell nicer when I used them in there. I wish I had remembered to take an "after" picture, but I didn't, and the stove needs cleaning again, though not as badly as it did here. lol Without the coupon, I probably would never have tried these, and I'm really pleased with the way they clean and with the pleasant scent they leave behind. They compare quite favorably to the national brand.

I love the scent of the hand soap I got, Shea and Citrus, I think. It smells great, and doesn't dry my hands out. I wash my hands a LOT, and finding soap that doesn't leave my hands scaly and itchy is a great thing. I actually prefer this scent to any other I've been able to find in the national brand's refill selection.

The Oxi-Clean was a new thing for me. I've tried the little toss-in things before, and they've worked well, but in this case, some stains came out that I hadn't been able to get out before, and my clothes smell clean even after they've been put away a few days. It's been a long time since my clothes smelled fresh after I washed them, even though I run vinegar through the washer regularly.

I haven't had occasion to use the trash bags yet, since we've still got bags left in the previous box. The Glad containers were most welcome - I'd been trying to find a deal on some new freezable containers, and with the coupon, these were practically a steal. I've already put them to use several times freezing leftovers for later use.

Obviously, smell is a thing for me, more than it is for other people, and these products worked great for me. I was thrilled to be able to get these products at a deep discount. Thanks go to Kroger and BzzAgent for allowing me to participate.

Kroger was a great place to stock up on these things. They had a wide selection of products (I wasn't limited to only buying Kroger's store brand) from which to choose, and a number of things were also on sale on the day I shopped. Kroger frequently has good sales, both on grocery and non-grocery items.

I recommend checking out Kroger's HomeSense brand when you can find what you're looking for in their line-up. I think you'll be pleased with the products.