Sometimes you just need to get away…

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post..  I apologize for not responding individually, but I will get to it one of these days!  I am feeling a bit better mentally, but unfortunately I’ve been sick for almost 3 weeks with some sort of bronchial infection.  So I figured it was best to avoid my parents house since I was already coughing up a lung.  I was literally passed out by 9am anyways!

I am actually writing this in an airport right now as I am headed to Australia for a much needed break.  I booked this trip about 2 months ago and it really couldn’t come at a better time!  This also means that I probably won’t have much progress in my mothers house for the next month or so.  

I must say, she has been quite helpful lately.  She even vacuumed my floor and cleaned my counters and tables while I was getting ready.  Oh and she also took the yogurt and other food out of the garbage to take home.  As well as some of my recycling.  I just hope I don’t find it in her house.  I decided to keep my mouth shut since she was driving me to the airport!! 

Okay, my flight is about to leave.  Thank you again for all of your support!  I really appreciate it🙂

And motivation is lost..

I am sorry for being a bit distant the past few weeks.  Unfortunately I have been going through some personal issues.  The boy and I broke up about a month ago.  We agreed it wasn’t working at this point and decided to go our separate ways.  Of course I am regretting this decision now as he was such a great support through this whole process and through everything else in my life.  I felt I wasn’t able to dedicate enough time to him.  Even though I was hesitant to break up, I was excited to be able to take some time for myself.  I’ve had a huge mental to-do list that has been growing for months.  The first week went well; I started yoga, listed a bunch of items on ebay, cooked food, and caught up with my blog.  This was going to be easier than I thought!

Then depression set in quick and hard.  I had been through this situation once before.  An ex had suddenly broken up with me years ago and I was crushed.  I woke up nauseous each morning and could barely function.  I literally went out every single night that summer to get my mind off everything.  I knew it was partly because I was living in my parents’ house at the time.  I realized I had taken refuge at my boyfriends’ house and created a temporary solution.  Now I had to go back to living in my parents’ house 24/7 once again.  It really brought me back to reality and made me realize how unhappy I was with my living situation.  I ended up going on anti-depressants for a few months and finally got through it.

Now I have my own house and I thought I was happy with where I am in life.  So it’s been quite frustrating that I’ve fallen back into depression again.  All the things I hoped to accomplish on my own haven’t happened.  I can’t even stand to be at my house alone.  So of course my house is a huge mess and that makes me feel even worse.  I haven’t been to my parents house in two weeks (my mother is probably ecstatic) and I don’t have any active listings on ebay.  I even have an extra dining room table at by house because my brother and sister in law gave me theirs.  I haven’t become motivated to get rid of the old one.  My life is literally a mess.  I went to the doctor to be put back on anti depressants and have been on them for about two weeks now.  I’m not sure if they are actually helping in the end, but time will tell.

I have always known that both of my parents (and most hoarders) suffer from different degrees of depression, so it is no surprise that I would have it as well.  I’m hoping to get out of this funk soon and get back to normal, whatever that is.  I will attempt to continue posting on my blog and get back to cleaning my parents’ house this week.  Wish me luck!!

Week 18 – Bonding Over Vegetables

 

 

So I’ve found a bonding point with my mother; vegetables.  Who would have known, right? She planted 9 cucumber plants earlier in the summer and they have been sprouting everywhere!  Unfortunately she isn’t very diligent about picking them immediately, so we’ve had some pretty large cucumbers which are harder to pickle.  Yes, we have so many; I decided to start pickling them.  Why would one person plants 9 cucumber plants you ask?  Well last year she only planted about 2 and she claimed she only got one or two cucumbers out of them, so she didn’t want to be disappointed again this year.  The weather was perfect for growing them this summer, so they took off.  I normally take a walk to the garden with my mother when I first get to the house.  I feel like this breaks the ice a bit and makes my mother ease up a bit more.  That means less tension between us, which is always good!!

I was pleasantly surprised as I walked in my house because my mother actually had two bags of newspapers packed and ready to go.  She also had another bag of papers ready for me.  Unfortunately, this was a bag she took away from me when I was there last week.  She claimed that she “had to go through them”.  I’m not sure what she took out of the bag, but I’m guessing half of the contents are now on one of the piles downstairs.  When walking into the attic room, it’s always hard to actually get into the room because there are a few boxes of papers located behind the door.  I can only open it half way, which makes it harder taking things out since I can barely fit myself through the door.  When I had first looked into some of the boxes behind the door, there seemed to be a lot of bills and old bank statements.  These are too much work to go through and my mom is really touchy with throwing these sorts of things away.  Therefore I had put them aside for another day.

Well, today is that day!  I decided to go through one of the larger boxes which was sitting on the side.  I really had no clue what I might find but was happy that most of it ended up being junk mail.  Why would someone save junk mail you ask?  I have no clue, but the mail was still in their envelopes and she wrote on each envelope to identify what they were.  These were mostly for museum memberships, auto insurance, and other random offers.  Obviously the whole box was easy to throw away since everything was from about 20 yrs ago.  Of course my mother freaked out when she saw that I was throwing them away.  She tried to make some excuse about needing them.  I smiled at her, nodded, and continued to throw the envelopes away.

After going through the junk mail, I decided to tackle one more box before I left.  I ended up finding my school papers from 5th grade.  Yup, 5th grade, that was almost 20 years ago.  Most people would probably love to find some of their old papers from school.  I could see this, but trust me, it gets old quickly.  I have to say it was actually fun going through some of my old papers.  Then there are more papers and more papers.  It’s nice to see one or two book reports, but it gets old quick after you go thorough every paper you ever submitted from the entire school year.  It was time for them to go!  I was never a good student anyways.  Therefore there is no need to re-live my sub-par work more than once!!

In addition to the papers, I was able to pick up an old car vacuum.  My mother though it might still work.  There is always an excuse for hoarders, so I had her take it out to the cars and test it.  Thank goodness it didn’t work because she wouldn’t have used it anyways.  There was also an old children’s shopping cart of mine that had been sitting in the hallway since I started this process.  The plastic is so old it’s pretty much fallen to pieces.  My mother had put it aside for my dad to fix, but that obviously never happened.  I finally looked at it today and convinced her it was time to go.  She was happy because we have pictures of me using it when I was younger and that seemed suitable enough.  Was that my mother using a bit of common sense?  Shocking!!

*The additional toys and items were from my mother’s classroom when she was a kindergarten teacher.

This week:

1 box papers
2 bags newspapers from mom
1 bag papers
1 telephone
1 car vacuum
1 children’s shopping cart
3 metal cookie tins
8 cardboard boxes
2 bags dolls
1 bag garbage
8 batteries
1 little tikes house
1 little tikes pirate ship
1 tea kettle
1 box clothes

Week 17 – More boxes of crap?? What a surprise!!

This week I got to my parent’s house and was surprised to see my mother wasn’t home.  My father said she was up at my brother’s house feeding the cats.  I am happy to hear this because I can take some time to get some cleaning done downstairs.  I quickly walk around and take a handful of newspapers from each pile.  I was easily able to fill two paper bags and I don’t feel like you could notice that I took anything from the piles (obviously this is bad because I didn’t even make a dent, but good because my mom won’t notice).  I wasn’t sure when my mother would be home and if she would look into my car, so I hid the bags in the recycling bin outside.  I then looked around and realized that my mother hadn’t even taken the presents that we had gotten them for mothers and fathers day out of the bag.  I put the “too big” compost bin on the counter and threw away the milk cartons she had been using for that purpose.  I then took out the new phone we bought them and set that up.  It all took about 10 minutes and made a bit of space in the front hallway.  My father was very eager to help me which was nice.  Unfortunately my mom was upset I hadn’t gone through the messages on the old answering machine.  I told her the old phone was upstairs if she would like to grab the old messages.  I don’t think she’s even thought twice about it since.

I finished downstairs and proceeded to go back to the attic where I have been slaving away for a few weeks now.  I came upon a box of old children’s clothes and decided to start by finding all the pants where the elastic had gone bad.  This normally eliminates half the box.  We have found a few recycling centers for clothes nearby so we won’t have to throw these away.  This makes me feel a bit better because we have a LOT of old clothes that don’t seem to be suitable for donation because they are ripped, soiled or the elastic has gone bad.  I find some boxes from my father again.  I still can’t believe how much my father loves to jumble lots of random things into boxes.  These seemed to be from 1981 and contained items from his old job as a computer programmer and random items that have been sitting there since 1980.  Overall, there are a lot of magazines that will ultimately go to recycling.

I finally condense 4 boxes down to 2 and I’m happy with this.  I have finally cleared my way to another closet that is off the far side of the room.  This leads into another area under the easement of the roof towards the front of the house.  I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was greeted by more boxes as I opened the door.  These were filled with kitchen supplies and personal things from my grandmother’s house.  I let out a big sigh.  I try to do my best getting some stuff out of this back room, but I still have piles of crap at my own house so most of these things will stay for now.  I have been adamant about not bringing anything else into my home unless I can either post it on ebay immediately or I actually want it.  I take a few things out of the boxes for myself and try to get as much garbage out as I can.  Overall, it was a successful night, but extremely frustrating.  Every time I feel like I am making a tiny bit of progress, I am faced with another wall of boxes.

My mother still managed to make me angry because she didn’t have any newspapers for me.  Her excuse for this is because I came on a Monday instead of Tuesday and she “wasn’t expecting me.”  She left me alone for most of the night, but zeroed in on a bag of my father’s old papers that I had bagged up.  I looked out into the hallway and there were literally papers everywhere as she was taking everything out of the bag.  I got quite upset that she was going through every single paper after I had already done this.  I made the point that she didn’t have any newspapers for me this week.  She could be helping me by packing newspapers but instead she is wasting her time on double checking something I have already done.  I’m not sure if it got through to her, but I have been thinking of putting up a white board up so she has tasks to complete every week.  I really feel like I am dealing with a child, but I don’t know what else to do or how to motivate her.  I made the point that if she actually bagged a bunch of newspapers up every week, I wouldn’t have room in my car to take anything else.  Therefore she wouldn’t have to worry about me going through her stuff.  Wishful thinking!

This week:

Computer Speakers

Bag of metal hangers

Bag of plastic hangers

2 bags of newspapers (me)

2 bags of paper

1 bag cardboard

1 bag garbage

1 box of mugs for goodwill

Week 16 – Clothing, boxes, and coupons.. Oh my!!

Books for donation

Last week was quite fun nearly killing myself in the garage.  So now I’m going back to cleaner pastures back upstairs.  I have decided to start wearing a dust mask since I have gone home feeling absolutely horrible every week after I’m in the house.  My nose starts running immediately when I walk in and I can’t imagine the air I’m breathing is healthy.  I also had a weird musty/woody smell affixed to me that would NOT go away after working in the garage, so I’m avoiding that area for now.  I’m guessing I will also have to wear gloves in the future when working with the dirtier items.

While I was at my parent’s house over the weekend for the hazardous waste drive, I decided to spend a little extra time digging further into the attic room.  As I was rumbling through the room I was shocked when my mom asked if I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  Um, what?  I thought this could be a ploy to distract me, but in the end it was a nice and welcome surprise.  I guess she doesn’t hate me as much as I thought.  Either way, spending the extra hour or so helped because I was able to organize a bunch of items for later in the week.  I figure it will cut down the amount of time I spend going through things and I can basically go in, load my car up, and leave.  I was surprised to find more bags of coupons and cardboard boxes for almost anything we ever bought as children.  I basically spent most of my time breaking down boxes!

I went back later in the week and as always, as soon as I walked in the attic room, my mother comes upstairs.  She asks “so what are you doing today?”  I respond “same thing as always, mom.”  Surprisingly, she actually helped me carry everything downstairs today.  I think this is more so she can see what I’m taking out than actually wanting to help though.  I have learned to hide certain bags from her and take them out to my car quickly so she can’t go through them.  I got caught this time as she asks “what did you take to the car that you didn’t want me to see?”  I had to laugh a little at the fact that I was caught.  I explained that it was all paper and I didn’t want her to see it because she would have gone through everything and it’s frustrating after I spend so much time going through it to begin with. 

Clothes for Goodwill! I don’t think any of these clothes were actually ours.. Hmm..

As I go through these extra rooms, I am still surprised when I find bags and bags of clothes.  I have come to the realization that we have so many clothes in the house.  Since we were younger, there have always been 3 big boxes of clothes stacked at the top of the steps.  They make it so hard to get stuff out of the attic room, so I decided to take one into the other room and go through it.  Most of the clothes with elastic in them are so old that they are no good.  This is almost a relief as I don’t have to fight about getting rid of them with my mother.  She helped go through the box with me and was happy to separate the  clothes for recycling.  Unfortunately, I don’t think any will be good candidates to sell since they have been sitting in boxes for almost 25 years and smell like cardboard.  I ask her to help me get bags of clothes out for goodwill and she helps me sort two bags, so I’m happy with this.

The boxes of clothes at the top of the stairs. They are frayed at the edges from our cats used to scratch them. And yes, those are bags and bags of napkins sitting on top. Why? I don’t know

A few weeks ago I exclaimed that there is one thing my mother loves more than newspapers.  That is money.  I had made her pinky swear that she would owe me $100 if she didn’t have 4 bags for me the following week.  I was really happy when she kept up with her side of the deal and delivered 4 bags the following week.  Unfortunately, I have had problems getting newspapers consistently from her since then.  I figured I would try the bet once again.  This time she would owe me 6 bags or $100.  I had high hopes since she was able to follow through with this a few weeks ago.  I was quite disappointed when I asked and she only had one bag for me.  She stated that she felt overwhelmed by the thought of 6 bags and said it wasn’t a good way to motivate her.  I guess its back to the drawing board!  Overall, I was happy because I was able to take a box of old books, a bag of misc. papers, a new kids on the block poster, some small rugs, tin cans, a bag of plastic, and a bag of styrofoam out.

This week

Cardboard boxes – (27)

1 bag newspapers (mom)

1 large bag papers

3 bags coupons

1 nkotb poster

1 bag garbage

2 small rugs

1 bag tin cans

1 bag plastic

1 bag styrofoam

For Donation:

1 box books for the library

2 bags clothes for goodwill

Week 15 – Watch out for hazardous materials!!

Hazardous Items – Ready to go!

This upcoming weekend the city we live in is having a hazardous waste removal drive.  I see this as my chance to clear all the hazardous things I can find from the house.  Entering the house, I make a beeline to the garage because I have to imagine there are so many hazardous things swimming around here.  As I walk in, it becomes clear that everything I need to get to is on the other side of the garage.  I start by clearing a walkway through the garbage so I won’t kill myself attempting to walk across all of the trash.  Having a clean path will make it easier to take things out as well.  I get rid of a bunch of newspapers and garbage that are in my way to start.  Then I come across a bunch of my father’s “organized boxes.”  These are normally filled with the most random things ever.  Magazines, papers, pencils, screws, tools, whatever you can imagine.  I have already found a few of these boxes so far and they are so annoying to organize because they are always a random hodgepodge.

I’m pretty sure my dad got this out of the dumpster in the first place. I definitely tried to get rid of this about 10 years ago. Now it’s GONE for good!

One box is filled with magazines so I put them in a bag to try to throw them out.  Of course my mother stops me and tells me they might be worth money.  I take the nice ones out and put the rest aside for now.  I will figure out if I’m really going to try to sell them at a later point.  Of course I get a call from my mother the following day stating that she went on ebay and saw some of the same types of magazines for sale for $12.  I double checked this and noticed that most of the magazines she was referring to didn’t actually have any bids and were never sold.  I went to the trunk to see what magazines I had left and realized that I ended up throwing out the bag of magazines by accident anyways.  Oops!  I don’t think anyone would want to buy these things since I had taken them from an area that was full of mice/squirrel feces.  Yuck!!

Old turpentine and paint stain cans

So, back to cleaning up!  After I got through that mess, I finally made my way to the other side of the garage where there were plenty of hazardous things for us to take out.  Yes, I am saying “us” because my mom actually helped me today.  She helped carry a lot of the garbage and hazardous items through the house!  I was shocked to find that the 15 or so paint and 6 turpentine cans were actually empty!!  My father used to paint doors on the side when he was involved in construction, so they were probably used for that.  That was about 20 years ago though!  I am happy to see they are empty because they will be much easier to dispose of!  We ended up pulling about 4 boxes of wood stain, paint, turpentine, and other random hazardous items out.

At one point my father was watching as I pulled out container after container of stuff and he commented “wow, that’s a lot of junk!  It used to be good, but now it’s a lot of junk!”  I looked at him annoyed and dumbfounded.  I responded “Yes, this is all of your junk!!!”  I shook my head and proceeded to go through more of his piles of crap.  We finally filled up my car and I left as quickly as possible.  I would have pictures, but I was a filthy mess and my mother was around the whole time so I couldn’t let her see me take any pictures!  I did snap a few pictures as I was waiting in the car for my mom on Saturday though.  Sorry for the poor quality!

Paint? We’ve got tons of it!!

Saturday (hazardous waste collection day) came around and I called my mother.  I said “hey mom, I’m coming to help bring stuff to the hazardous waste collection thing.”  She said she had already loaded up the car and was ready to go.  I told her I wanted to check out the house across the street for more stuff, so she told me not to take too long.  This is the same person who says she is coming over in 10 min and shows up 1 to 3 hrs later.  I head to my grandmother’s and grab a few things.  I also asked my mom if she got rid of the paint in the basement.  She acts like she doesn’t know what I’m talking about.  I go downstairs and find about 5 boxes of spray paint my father used for making die cast model cars.  I started packing paint away to take to the hazardous waste drive and my mom comes down.  She hurriedly states that some of the paint has never been used.  Mind you they have a sheen of dust over them, so they aren’t very desirable in their current state.  I ask her what she’s going to do with them and she says she is going to put them on freecycle.  Great, she got that excuse from me last week as I said we could get rid of some things from my grandmother’s house on there.  I throw as many cans in the box as possible (prob about 40 cans) and leave back another 40 or so as my mother is getting more and more annoyed.  At least I can say I tried.

2 Bags garbage

6 bags newspapers (2 mom)

8 bags paper

1 stuffed animal

15 empty paint cans

6 cans turpentine

4 boxes hazardous paint/stain/chemical cans

What NOT to buy your favorite teacher (and a few things they may like)

My mother was a teacher for over 30 years and there are a few items you should probably think twice about buying for your teacher.  How did I come up with these items?  Looking quickly around my parents house, I found about 3 or 4 of each of these items, obviously unused.  Multiply that by 30 years, and you have a lot of unused gifts.  Below are some items that I recommend you avoid buying your favorite teacher:

  1. Anything that says “best teacher”  or has something to do with school or a classroom.  Yes, this is a nice gesture, but if she actually tried to put all the “best teacher” items around her house (or classroom when she had one), it would look a bit crazy.

A school box AND a mug. Great.. (I’m being sarcastic)

  1. Any type of potpourri.  Just say no!!

Potpourri!!!

  1. Candles.  Although, these actually sound nice, not everyone uses candles, and some are just plain UGLY.

Cute, but not for me..

  1. Mugs.  My mother doesn’t drink coffee or tea or anything that may go into a mug.  If anyone knew her well enough, they would figure this out.  Even if she did, she probably wouldn’t use half of the mugs she received.

Muggggsssss

  1. Picture frames, clocks, soap, or anything you might want to re-gift.  One can only have so many picture frames and places to put them.  Even an empty photo album will go to waste.  Too many different albums end up getting bulky and the teachers are so busy during the year, they probably won’t take the time to fill an album up when they get home!  Everyone has clocks in their house, I doubt they need more.  Soap may seem like a nice gesture since everybody needs soap right?  Well, this is a fairly common present, which adds up to a lot of soap.

Nope.. Thanks Anyways

  1. Anything with an apple.  I don’t know why an apple was chosen for teachers but enough with the apples.  Once again, if my mother filled her house with apple picture frames of every class she had, it would be overkill.

Multiple Apple pencil holders.. Two too many if you ask me!

So what should you get your teacher?  A photo book like a shutterfly photo album would be nice, a gift certificate to a department store like Macys or Target, or a gift certificate to a nice restaurant.  Anything relaxing, quiet, and without too many screaming, bratty kids!  If you still want to buy that nice mug or picture frame, try to imagine 10 of them in your house.  Would you want 10 mugs/candles/clocks for your home?  I doubt so!  Not everyone likes the same things that you like, so make the present meaningful and unique!

Now for a present I like:

Now this is cute!