One Lovely Blog Award..

I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Lets Talk About Family This is an emotional blog detailing a daughter’s experiences while caring for her father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  Dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimers is physically and mentally draining and she is doing a great job!  If you haven’t checked out her site, please stop by.  Thank you so much for nominating me!

There are a few “rules” that come along with the Lovely Blog Award.  First off, you need to thank the nominee (once again, thank you, thank you, thank you).  Second, you can answer a few questions of your choice, tell something about yourself, or give a few interesting facts about yourself.  Finally, you should nominate a few blogs for the award and list them.

As most of you know, my blog is anonymous to protect the privacy of my family.  Hoarding is not the most glamorous and I know my mother is embarrassed by the state of her house.  Even though, I can still tell you a little something about myself.  Two of my favorite things to do are traveling and cooking.  My mother instilled the importance of travel from a young age.  Therefore, I try to travel as much as possible while attempting to push my comfort levels!  Most of my friends would describe me as adventurous and impulsive and I think this shows through in my blog.  My passion for cooking started when I was a child.  Growing up my mother would always cook microwave meals for dinner.  When I went away to college, I immediately grabbed a cookbook and taught myself to cook from scratch.  I vowed to cook fresh and healthy from then on.  Obviously, life is busy so I can’t always do this, but I try as much as possible.  Cooking is calming to me and it’s fun watching people enjoy the food I have created!

The blogs that I would like to nominate are:

I’ve got a problem – Poppy Fox wants to help with your problems.  She delivers great advice for every topic ranging from love to careers, to parenting.

Just another blonde b*tch – The daughter of a dog breeder shares the trials and tribulations of growing up with 17 furry brothers and sisters.  Stop by for the pictures!  These dogs are so cute!

My cat sh!t crazy mom – A hoarders son describes what it’s like to deal with his mother, her obsession with arts and crafts, and a pile of boxes which he describes as “mount boxmore.”  I swear our mother’s are so much alike!

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Week 8 – Still Going..

These are some blue glasses/bowls that my mother put aside for me. I absolutely love them and I’m really glad I found them again!!

Sorry for the delay in posting this week!  I was about to post this up yesterday and realized that I wanted to include a few extra pictures.  I was super exhausted last night and didn’t have the energy to take the pictures and put them in the post!  Not like I have any more energy right now (I literally went to post this and the stupid system reverted to my old draft.  I might cry)..

Anyways, I’m feeling WAY under the weather this week, but hoarding never stops, so I dragged myself to my parents house.  Upon walking in, I saw my mom and began to express how awful I was feeling.  She cheerily replied, “you can take the two bags of newspapers and go home then”!  NOT SO FAST, I told her I would still grab some other stuff while I was there.  She then went off to watch dancing with the stars (yes I am a bit behind since I started a journal a few weeks ahead of my blog and I’m referring off that).  This was good to note for the future since she was COMPLETELY distracted.  I proceeded to go upstairs to my brother’s room and found there wasn’t much to take aside from a large box of blue dishes and a box or two of tea cups.  My house is filled with boxes of plates, glasses, and other items waiting to find their ultimate destination, so I decided to leave them behind for now.

I grabbed a box of my old stuff, two boxes that had been sitting at the top of the stairs, and a bag of old clothes.  This didn’t take very much time so I decided to go back to the garage.  Upon entering, I am stopped by the fact that there are a bunch of bags and boxes on the ground that are ultimately preventing me from going any further.  I look in the bags and find old food which I’m guessing is from my grandma’s house.  Then I come across a few bags of old garbage that I threw away years ago while I was still living with my parents.  I am surprised at the amount of anger that arises when I see my old garbage still sitting in the house.  When I was younger, my brother and I used to get into huge arguments about the fact that my mother would go through our trash.  Coming across these bags, It still feels like she is invading my privacy years later.  I decide to let the anger go and move on.

I finally dig my way to a pile of previously packed newspapers and one falls from the bag.  I look at the year and it says 1992!!  Ugh, really??  I grab a few bags of newspapers and then decide to clean the hallway since there are a mountain of things blocking the garage door.  I literally feel like I am going to fall over them every time I try to walk through.  My mother finally breaks herself from the TV and helps me sort through items for recycling.

This is the British Float. I had to do a bit of research to figure out what it was. Normally it has rope around it, but it was in bad condition so I took it off. Miles decided he had to be in the picture.

I get home and look to see what was in the boxes at the top of the stairs.  There are a few blue glass bowls that my mother had put aside for me years ago, but I wasn’t sure where the box had disappeared to.  I’m quite excited to find these items again!  The bag of clothes ended up having a lot of yarn and fabric in it.  It smells awful and there doesn’t seem to be any easy ways to recycle fabric, so this stuff is out (I have since found a few clothing/cloth recycling programs in the area).  I put together another box of items and find a British float.  I had no idea what that was, but I am excited about it.  Not too bad.

In the morning I get a call from my mother.  She angrily asks “WHERE IS THE WEED KILLER THAT WAS BY THE DOOR!?!?  WHY DID YOU THROW IT AWAY???”  I tell her that I didn’t actually throw it away, I just moved the box to the garage.  My mother wearily replied okay.  Then she was upset because I threw away a bunch of used paper coffee cups that my father normally takes to appointments with them.  My mother comments that he used one on the way to the doctor just the other day.  I told my mother I would buy him a travel coffee mug even though I swear they have a bunch in the house already.  In addition, I decided to buy my mother a compost bucket to replace the six milk containers she won’t part with.  She won’t get rid of the milk cartons in case she needs to use one as a new compost bin.  Of course her excuse for not using the new compost bin that I bought her is that “it’s too big.”  I get it.  I will never win.

There really wasn’t anything interesting this week. Except the animal scarf in the middle. I will include that on a later post when I’m having an un-eventful week. It’s quite the fashion accessory!!

I figure I am done at this point, but I get another call a few hours later.  My mother immediately states “you took the tea cups!”  Mind you they were teetering on top of some other boxes of junk in the middle of the floor.  I replied that I just moved them to the corner with the rest of the tea cups.  My mother replies “oh. And the bows, did you take the bows?”  This was in reference to a few packages of decorative bows that were laying on the floor.  I reply that I placed the bows in a box with the rest of the bows.  Again, my mother replies “oh.”  I’m obviously doing a good job so far if I can prove her wrong at every accusation!

I must also mention that my father freaked out because he thought I was taking his empty boxes out of the garage.  Mind you they are in a damp garage and covered by dryer dust, so I doubt they are useable.  I told him not to start with me as well and he left me alone after that.  I definitely don’t need two people on me!

This week –

5 Bags of Newspapers

1 trunk full of random garbage (cardboard, old plastic, lotion bottles, shaving cream cans, actual food, and a kid’s ride on toy

Fabric

Misc dishes and trinkets

Week 7 – Not losing hope – yet!!

We are at week 7 and I have to say, I’ve gotten further in this process than I had expected.  I really thought I would be banned from my parents house by now.  Yes, my mother has had some bad days, but she’s also has accommodated most of my requests so far.  I am not expecting this whole process will cure her and I’m not really sure what my goals are anymore.  All I know is that I can’t give up.

Kitchen supplies from my grandmother’s house. I’ve always wanted a melon-baller! I’m not even kidding.. I really have always wanted a melon-baller.  But really gram, why so many corkscrews!?!?

To put it lightly, last week was a disaster.  I can’t lie, I’m having major anxiety from my mother’s behavior.  I walk into the house nervously hoping that this week will be better.  I don’t think I can take another bad week.  I head straight upstairs and my mother joins me as I move a few boxes aside for sorting at my house.  She immediately starts going through a box of my grandmother’s old things and takes out a bottle of rubbing alcohol, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and a clock.  I am highly annoyed since they were such trivial things, but also relieved she only took 3 items.  I was shocked as she let me take everything else and even had two bags of newspapers packed and ready to go.  I mentioned that maybe she could even get up to 3 bags the next week.  She said she was busy, but maybe soon.  She didn’t say no!  I was also able to get three bags of newspapers out of the garage.  My mother was still watching me closely this week, but it was a much calmer process!

Random stuff from grandma’s.. Including a doll toilet paper holder! Sorry to say, she had to go..  And mom took back the watering can for my niece who still hasn’t seen it.  Sigh.

I got home and started combing through the boxes I removed from my parents house earlier that day.  Unfortunately I found it hard to get rid of anything since there were a lot of personal items from my grandma.  Even though, I packed a box up for goodwill and have posted the corningware dishes on ebay.  I left the other items to sort through at a later time since it seems the more I bring into my house, the less I will want to keep!  It’s all about baby steps..

Misc personal items from my grandma’s house..

Total this week – 2 bags of newspapers from mom & 3 bags of pre-bagged newspapers

1 Bag plastic bottles

1 Cardboard box

1 Box misc kitchen items and other personal items from grandma

Total from mom – 11.5 from mom plus 8 bags of newspapers

Week 6 – Picking up Newspapers

One of the nicest finds so far, a green punch bowl and glasses

I knew my parents would be out for the day, so I attempted to get to the house before they arrived home. I figured this could give me a chance to survey the house a bit more without my mother watching over me.  Nice thought, but I literally arrived at the  house as my parents were walking in the front door.  I decided to continue tackling my brother’s old room since there were still lots of items in plastic bags literally lying everywhere.  I placed a bunch of these items into boxes so I could organize them at my house.  Meanwhile I noticed I was slipping on small pieces of wrapping paper which were haphazardly dropped all over the floor.  I’m guessing these were in plastic bags at some point, but had fallen out at one time or another.  I corralled the used wrapping paper into a large garbage bag and put it at the top of the stairs.  The room was looking a bit more organized.  I was happy with this and decided to go exploring into an extra room we called the attic.  This used to be my father’s office and has always been a storage magnet for the family.  Of course now it’s out of control.  I grabbed a plastic bag full of old silver items from the room and placed it next to the bag of wrapping paper scraps.  I tried to go back in, but things were falling from every direction. I figured it was best to stop for now.

I turned around to go back into the hallway and there she was.  My mother asks harshly “what are you doing?”  I reply that I am looking.  She then asks what I am taking.  I point to the plastic bag filled with random silver items and tell her I want to take it to my house to see what is in it.  She says that she knows what’s in the bags.  I reply that I realize this, but the items need to be organized better and stored properly.  A plastic bag for nice silver isn’t really cutting it.  Then my mother sees the bag of wrapping paper scraps.  This seemed to hit a nerve, she was not having it.  I knew I should have hid that bag in a box! She grabs the bag and is now getting testy with me, proclaiming that it is her house and she is not going to budge.  My mother wants to go through the bag and supposedly she would give it to me the next week.  I figured it would be easiest to drop it at this point, but I don’t think I will see this bag again.

We went downstairs and my mother only had 1 and 1/2 bags ready for me instead of 2.  I said fine, get some more newspapers.  She firmly replied no.  I started to go towards a pile of papers that could fill 10 bags and suggested that we go through them together.  BIG no.  Finally she gave me a bag that had been sitting in the kitchen for at least a few years.  I said OK, I would take that in addition to the bag she filled and the one she still needed to fill up.  I decided to check out the garage in the meantime which was stacked full with stuff.  I have to say this is partially my fault.  One day while I was in high school, I got home from school and was sick of the mess.  I decided to pack up all of the newspapers in the house, which ended up being 75 bags!!  Of course, my mother refused to take them to recycling until she went through them all.  I decided to put them in the garage because I figured this would motivate her to get rid of them.  Not so much as the newspapers are still there among lots of other things they have added through the years.  I dug my way to the garage and took out an additional 4 bags while my mom was filling the final bag.

I started putting everything in the car, but when I walked back into the house my mother was suspiciously shuffling through the bags I just took out of the garage.  I looked into the bag she was supposed to be filling and asked her what year they were.  She took a paper from the middle and showed it to me.  I replied that I wanted to see the one she just put in the bag.  2003, yup she took some papers from the bag in the garage and acted like they were from the house.  Now I am FUMING!!!  I barely fill the car up before I leave the house in complete rage.  The fact that she would lie hurt me so much.

The loot from this week.. A punch bowl, some silver, and lots of dirty glasses. You would think my aunt drank a lot! I don’t think the glasses had been touched in about 20 years seeing the grime on them! Thanks to Miles who is helping inspecting one of the glasses. His conclusion – They are dirty!!

Later that week I had my mother stop over to look at a punch bowl and some glasses that I took out of the house.  She agrees to get rid of them, so this is good.  I thought this would be a good time to tell her how badly she hurt my feelings earlier that week.  I mention the fact that she has some really nice things that would look better in her house than the newspapers.  Not to mention how much work I am putting into this whole process.  I ask her why she has such a hard time getting rid of newspapers and she replies that she doesn’t know. The fact that she didn’t shut down and ignore me when I asked her is a huge step.  Hopefully we’re headed back into the right direction!  I have to say this was the worst week so far though 😦 .

This week – 1 & 1/2 bags of newspapers from my mother

5 bags of newspapers

1 bag of bags (as in shopping bags, lots of them!)

Assorted drinking glasses

Punch bowl

Silver items

Total – 9.5 bags of newspapers from my mother & 5 bags of pre-bagged newspapers

Week 5 – Stayin’ Alive.. Well, just barely.

Close up of some discolored/chipped plates from this week

So this week I brought my lovely and amazing boyfriend along for the ride.  Before we got to work, I stopped at the hardware store to pick up goggles and a respiratory mask.  I’m surprised that he didn’t run away at this point!  We got to my parents house (which he wouldn’t be allowed to enter) and I snuck him across the street to my grandmother’s old house.  I gave him a quick tour (it’s a very small house) and sent him up the creaky steps to the attic to move boxes.  The goggles and mask were because the insulation is falling everywhere and it can’t be healthy to breathe in.  He is such a good sport, he really didn’t know what he was getting into.

Meanwhile, I hesitantly ventured back to my parents house.  I happy to say that I’ve found a tactic that works with my mom!  I walked in and asked for potting materials to use for growing seeds.  She was so excited to show me all of the pots that she cleaned and organized.  My favorite quote from her was “You wouldn’t believe what a disorganized mess this all was.”  NO WAY!!  Like the rest of this house??  In the end she was actually excited to give me the potting supplies.  Score!

We then headed back upstairs.  As I walked towards the front door I noticed phone books.  Lots of them.  It doesn’t help that we have two houses that get about 5 phone books EACH every year.  I start throwing older editions into a box as she hesitantly thumbs through one while eying me at the same time.  I leave the 2011 to 2012 editions and mention something about a 2010 to 2011 copy.  My mother shrieks “WHAT!  That one is 2011?”  I reply “yes mom, 2011, as in last year” as I immediately bury it under an old phone book in the bag.  In the end, I pack up 4 bags of phone books.  I grab a few boxes I had put together last week along with two bags of newspapers my mother has left and go  to check on the boy.

Lots of Phone Books!!

Phone Books – 32 to be exact..

My wonderful, amazing boyfriend is NOT happy.  I tell him he did a great job and get him out of the house immediately so he can get home and wash up.  He states that the next time he goes over there he wants garbage bags and people to help move things.  I’m happy I’m not the only one who sees this stuff and wants to do something about it!  We get home and unload everything.  I am disappointed as it seems like there are mostly cracked and/or stained dishes.  There is a set of corelle dishes in good condition that can be sold and a set of 3 elephant statues that look like they may be ivory.  Everything else seems to be garbage.  Surprisingly, my mother gave me the go-ahead to get rid of the worn plates.  She then stated that we could keep the corelle dishes for my 6 year old niece.  Sure, let’s just pack them away for 20 years.  Ugh!!  I immediately take the worn items to Goodwill before she changes her mind!

An underwhelming turnout

This week – 2 Bags of newspapers

32 Phone Books

Corelle dishes, random plates, glasses, tea cups, ivory statues

2 plant-starting trays

Total – 8 Bags of Newspapers