in the land of OCD

Friday, November 19th

Hey, what day is it? I’m so confused. Is it Friday or Sunday…what month is this? When am I going home? It seems like I’ve been here so long in the land of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorientation) that I’m really discomboobulated. My writing is only two days behind, but for some reason I can’t quite remember what happened on what day now! I’ve been fractured into so many pieces along the way, I’m not even sure that anything has been finished entirely! Every time I walk into a room I see more stuff that needs to be cleaned and/or organized. Every nook and cranny of this house is filled with trash, junk and things that will never be used.

*Hey, it’s actually Sunday right now, and I just happened to look out the window and I’m so excited…it’s SNOWING outside! (Just thought I’d share that with you!) Anywho, between running out to the transfer station with the extra recyclables and going to the Goodwill with all the donations I have most certainly lost many many hours of my life that I’ll never get back. Countless minutes loading and unloading garbage in and out of (2) cars. It took me an entire hour to unload and dump all the boxes of PAPER at the transfer center Friday morning, then another hour unloading stuff at the Goodwill. By the time I got back to the house, I was ready for some breakfast and a short siesta!

But there’s no rest for the weary, or the wicked, depending on who you ask! However, I deftly dove into the litany of garbage collecting in my mother’s room. Several years ago I spent an afternoon with her in that room hanging all of her clothes. But since her usual modus operandi is to take it off and pile them in a heap in FRONT of the closet there’s no reason to use the closet. People, the hangers inside had DUST on them. Nothings been hanging in there for years. YEARS. WTH?

I started on the heap and hope to make my way around the room. So far I have uncovered empty boxes of things she has purchased, I even uncovered boxes of things she purchased and simply never opened. Mostly (and this is the case throughout the entire house) I unearthed boxes of old mail, coupons, circular ads and magazines, catalogs, trash etc. Just shoved in a box to “sort” through at a later time. It’s a shame we can’t recycle paper goods the same way we recycle bottles or cans…I could buy airplane tickets for two to Tahiti if that were the case! And trust me, I’d much rather be there than here at the moment! ‘Cept the snow is rather pretty…oooh snowflakes. Sorry, got distracted.

Within the rubble I found a filing cabinet, which doesn’t appear to house any of her important ‘current’ documents, paint and crafts that are dried out and unusable, clothing that is torn, stained or moldy. Personal items that have been sitting for so long no one even remembers they exist. And my oh my how she loves a good yard sale and thrift store find, apparent by the plastic bags and stickers still attached on each treasure, too bad they’ll never get used. Empty pill bottles galore. Adult bed pads overwhelm. Wire hangers dangling to and fro. Just a sidenote that anybody who knows me has to know that is one of my biggest pet peeves, no wire hangers, EVER.

This room has given me some joy to revamp, it’s been a semi-cleansing if you will. I am far from being done, but it’s a good start and since I’ve been sleeping in here, well now I can stop worrying about the boogeymen living in the piles of crap! Plus, as much as I hate to admit, I want to make this a safe haven, even though it’s for the one person who could have prevented the majority of this calamity. I’d like to produce a “grown-up” room for her in hopes that she’ll want to follow suit and keep it that way, for a while at least.

Aloma

Relax. Breathe. Focus.

Tomorrow…more ramblings…

obsessive compulsive disorientation

Thursday, November 18th

Thursdays are the one day I plan my activities around the TV. . . I am shamefully addicted to Grey’s Anatomy and a close second is Private Practice. So I knew that whatever I tackled today would have to be finished and put away by 8:00pm so I could make time for dinner, put my jammies on and curl up in the chair for the big night in! There’s so much to do in this house though, my obsessive compulsive cleaning and organizing has gone from a disorder to disorientation! It’s alarming how blank my head feels at the end of the day…*shakeshake rattlerattle*

So I started my day by doing the usual; getting up early, writing to all of you lovely folks and then stealthily loading up the car with recyclables and Goodwill junk…errr stuff. I try to fill up boxes all day and night and then in one burst of energy first thing in the morning shove em out in the car. I filled up the Hyundai with some much stuff this time I was afraid I’d get pulled over…I felt like the little old lady who can barely see over the steering wheel! If only I had a truck here for this mess. If only I had some damn help! If only…

So the folks at the Goodwill will probably know me by first name by the time I leave. Some of em aren’t the smartest tools in the shed though. Both times I’ve pulled up and asked for help and they just walked a cart over to the car and watched me huff and puff for a few minutes wrangling boxes out of the back seat before they finally give me some assistance. I had to ask them for some boxes back this time too cause the house is still full of stuff and all my good boxes were going to them. I figured if they were getting all the stuff I’m getting rid of, surely they could be a bit more cooperative to help me along! The “helper” on duty didn’t see it that way, policy. Well I never met a policy I didn’t want to bend, not even a little!

The manager finally came out to talk about boxes and I told him I’d be back with at least another 4 or 5 car loads, I still had 2 bedrooms and a 2-car garage to sort out!  He was very kind and understanding and when he saw all the bins I had just loaded up, he quickly grabbed someone to empty boxes for me! The greasy wheel gets the squeak right? LOL I know, its backwards, but in this case…if you oil the cogwheels it helps it spin a lot easier! Cogwheels, manager, butter em up….yeah okkkkkkk. Moving on.

I cleaned took everything out the hall closets (except one) and completely reorganized them. I had to make room for things from the guest bedroom. And I’ve continued to sort mail and paper around my moms chair in the living room pretty much every night, tidy up a few things here and there and I did end up working on the other half of the guest bedroom for more than a few hours as hoped…I thought that project would NEVER get finished! I put a desk on Craigslist and a couple other small things grams said to kibosh. Once my eBay, Craigslist and study station is picked up, I’ll post some more pixys of the finished room. . .for now, well I need sustenance, I’m starving and certainly burning lots of calories on this trip!

Aloma

Relax. Breathe. Focus.

Tomorrow…it’s a mystery ScoobyDoo!

what is a hoarder?

Wednesday, November 17th

As the week has worn on I have uncovered a multitude of things, both big and small, that I’m certain no one even knows exist in this house. Forgotten treasures. Lots of them. Some things never used or even opened and with their shipping labels, packing slips and price tags still attached. I wish I had that kind of time and money to just squander it away…actually I don’t and I know my family really doesn’t either, so why then? Why rack up the credit cards and the banks accounts when you never had it to begin with and then just let it sit here and rot for all eternity?

I did a search on of hoarders just out of curiosity to see what the “clinical” definition might be…this is what I found on Wikipedia:

“Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding or disposophobia)[1] is the excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. Compulsive hoarding impairs mobility and interferes with basic activities, including cooking, cleaning, showering, and sleeping. A person who engages in compulsive hoarding is commonly said to be a “pack rat“, in reference to that animal’s characteristic hoarding.

It is not clear whether compulsive hoarding is an isolated disorder, or rather a symptom of another condition, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.[2]

Public awareness of the condition has recently experienced an increase with the launch of two competing reality television programs about the subject, Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive, airing on the A&E and TLC networks respectively.”

Although I have already put a sizeable dent in the monstrous heap throughout my grammas house, made several trips to the Goodwill with as much as I could cram into the Hyundai, stuffed as much recycling material into the Taurus station wagon and started a stockpile of trash bags next to the house, it seems like I turn around and there’s MORE. SO MUCH MORE.

I feel like crying today as I look around. And I see lots of the things that I can’t get rid of even knowing they will never be used. There’s no one able who cars enough to do anything about it that. I came home today from a quick errand and caught my gram trying to be slick and with her feet she was scooting a heavy box of papers into her room to sort. Gramma’s 83 years old, she uses a cane to walk and has a very hard time moving around, so why she thinks she has to do this on her own is a problem for me. She’s so accustomed to no one helping her that even with help right here, she still can’t ask me for it. That made me want to blow a gasket.

Our parents and elderly in general should be able to count on us to help them even if it means they have to feel useless, old or whatever. I don’t care how they feel, if they hurt themselves in the process it could be devastating for them health wise. And I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty selfish in terms of keeping my gramma alive a LOT longer. It’s so hard to negotiate this transition right now. Lord willing, I will continue to do the best I can.

This is the guest bedroom…this is where I typically sleep when I come up (using moms room this trip). Boxes, clothing, desk stuff, gramps old things (he passed on many many years ago), adult pads/diapers, christmas stuff and God knows what else is in this room. I emptied out a car full of Goodwill stuff and after hefty bag #6 of trash and box #4 of recycling stuff, I quit counting.  I will very well spend another few hours in this room before it’s “done”.

Aloma

Relax. Breathe. Focus.

Tommorow…you’re guess is as good as mine!

the arrival

Saturday Evening, November 13th

The first couple of days I vowed to not do too much cleaning, or rather none at all. I would have 16 days to get to everything done and I wanted time to visit my gramma as well as focus on my looming midterm. I chose to tackle my math test right away so it wouldn’t interfere with my “process”.  However when I arrived and did a walk thru to assess the damage of Hurricane Chrystol, I realized that might not be so easy. One gander in the kitchen and I knew there would be some problems…

I am not the haughty taughty snooty type that is demanding or particularly picky about what or where I eat. Heck, as a kid I used to pick stuff up off the ground and eat it just cause my mom never gave us candy or treats! I like to camp out and eat in the woods, at the river, in the mountains or pretty much anywhere. It’s not uncommon when we camp to find ourselves eating from a half cleaned plate that was rinsed off in lake water, so a dirty kitchen doesn’t make me faint – but this was nothing I cared to spend any amount of time trying to avoid.

Things were piled up on every inch of counter space, I hardly had room to put a plate down let alone fix a meal in there! So I immediately started in the easiest place and dumped about two grocery bags full of cans that were stacked up next to the sink. They had no use or reason for sitting there shucked, rinsed and stacked other than, no one had placed them in the recycle can. Check. Then I started throwing out the several glasses full of straws and chopsticks that were being saved from all the trips to McDonald’s, the various Chinese buffets, and every other fast food joint you can imagine. Yes I said several…small collections sitting so far back on the counter the rest of the mess covered them up.

There are only two women living in this house so why there should be 100 of these items baffles me, so in the trash *grin*. Check. I filled up the dishwasher. Check. Threw out the small collection of used paper plates that were being “saved” in a unusual effort to save money perhaps? In the trash. Check. Once I could see counter space I started scrubbing wildly to remove the food, grease and ants *frown*. And as I got more space available the more I realized I needed a chisel to remove some of the caked on stuff. And the stove, oh my word…that was in desperate need of some scouring! I took the stove apart. Piece by piece and in wonderment that no grease fires had risen from that holy mess! I don’t think anyone in 19 or so years has ever removed the metal dish that sits under the electric disk. It literally had ash sitting in it. Stove. Check.

Since gramma was napping, I took several hours to try to conquer the kitchen Saturday night, and I’m still not entirely done. I wasn’t able to clean all of the cupboard doors and drawerfronts, or the floor *ewwh*. But I will get in there again in a couple of days and chip away at it. I also plan to go through all the cupboards and consolidate and reorganize the many items so that everyone can get to things more easily. I’m fairly nimble, my gramma is not, so I know she must get flustered trying to move about in those cabinets.

Once the project was done I felt good about cooking some nice meals for gram, and every time she goes in there she comments about how pretty it is. It makes me sad to know that when I leave here in two weeks, and my mom returns…it won’t stay that way for long.  Sometimes our captors are not the dark cloaked creepy backstreet wandering weirdos we see in the movies…sometimes, and most often, it’s someone much closer.

Aloma

Relax. Breathe. Focus.

Tomorrow….the living rooooom! *music drum roll please*