Year of Liveability

Reclaimed Item No 1 – Flush Timer

Suddenly deciding to re-purpose an object casts doubt on all the things I've already thrown out!

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It had to happen.  In the process of sorting through the little pieces of utility collected over the decades, trying to convince myself to dispose of anything I hadn’t laid eyes on for years, trying to convince myself that possible potential is not the same as usefulness … it happened – the timely discovery of a timer.

Save Water Timer 2This little item, no bigger than my little finger, was part of a campaign to save water some years ago, probably during one of our bigger droughts.  The campaign encouraged us to have four-minute showers and this timer was provided to help.  And given I’ve admitted to not seeing it for years, I’ve just admitted that I’m not water wise in the shower.

But I’m not admitting to being a hoarder.  I do not have drawers full of old plastic bags or elastic bands or scarps of fabric no bigger than an inch square.  However, I remember when I first moved out of home, and for a some years after, not having a sufficient stock of useful items to fix this or that problem, not having a stock of fabric when I wanted to make something, not having the art supplies when I felt creative … and not having the money to immediately buy a solution.  Over the years, these stocks built up.  This year, it’s time to look at them critically.

So why I have I latched on to an old four-minute timer?

A couple of weeks ago, three to four minutes became the most significant time period of my daily existence.  It’s how long it takes for a hot flush to emerge, peak and abate.  I’ve been timing a few with the stopwatch on my fancy new phone.

The problem is winter’s coming.  Some days it feels like it’s already here – there is snow on the Brindabellas and its only April.

I’ve settled into a routine during the night.  Throw the covers off, note when my skin temperature starts to subside and then pull the covers back, one by one.  So far, I’ve only fallen asleep once before all covers were returned to their original spot, and woke up freezing some time later.

Other changes are being worked on.  No longer can I wear a coat when driving to work in the morning.  I’m toying with the idea of a blanket to keep me sane until the car’s heating system can cope.  A blanket is easy to throw off when the need arises.  I now understand why women in olden days wore capes and shawls.

The problem is that, historically, I don’t always notice when I get cold until it’s too late and the downward spiral has started, with headaches, stuffed nose and that horrendous lump of goop that gets stuck in the back of the throat on the immediate horizon.  If I’m fixated on a task, I rarely notice the creeping onset of cold.

Perhaps the water saving timer for the shower can be re-purposed?  Perhaps it can remind me when it’s time to return to the protection of whatever anti-winter mechanisms I set aside just moments ago?  Is this the way to limit the number of colds I will endure this season?

But there’s a bigger problem that impacts my Year of Liveability.  Suddenly, in the middle of sorting and convincing, an item’s worth is only obvious because of the timing of the find.

So, how do I convince myself to dispose of other items because I can’t see their “obvious” usefulness today?

Oh dear.

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