Most people would consider the massive piles threatening to collapse and smother me every week as my biggest challenge through all of this. After spending 3 months conquering pile after pile, I have to say that my mother is most definitely my biggest challenge. She shocks and amazes me with her ridiculous behavior week after week. I have to say we are working along better now than we have in the past, but old habits die hard. She constantly drives me crazy and it’s even more annoying that I feel like HER mother. For example, last week my mother had no newspapers for me. Did she have an off week? Maybe, I get it, some weeks you don’t want to do anything. But if I don’t constantly harass my mother, she would do even less than she does now. Even though, I am there every week working my butt off every week. Do I get a thank you? Ha, yeah right. So it got to the point that I had to threaten her to get me four bags this week. I walk into the house and I’m shocked to find three bags filled in the front hall with my mother diligently working to fill the fourth bag. In addition, the bags were all filled to the brim with newspapers. This is a big change because the bags are normally half filled or padded with other sorts of papers. I don’t understand why my mom can’t find this motivation herself. I am working so hard every week and I feel like she either is wasting my time by going through everything that I have already done, or she is being lazy and making me do all the work. Obviously the psychology of hoarding makes it all more complicated than this, but it’s frustrating.
I decided to keep working on the attic this week. The problem is that even though I got some garbage out last week, there is literally no room to move. I started going through some boxes near the door so maybe I can actually open it next week instead of thrusting my weight onto the door and forcing myself into the room. Some of the boxes were filled with old bills and others with old papers from when my mom was a teacher. I decide to leave most of these things aside for now because it will take forever to sort through them. As I start going through some of the plastic bags piled up near the door, I find lots of bags of garbage I had thrown out years ago while I was living in the house. I used to get so upset because my mother would go through EVERYTHING I threw away. It was a huge invasion of privacy then and it’s even more upsetting that all of it was stuffed away in a back room for years. I’m just happy I can throw this garbage away once and for all!
At one point my mother tries to open the door but it barely opens because it is now blocked by items I’m trying to sort. She freaks out and literally tries to break down the door with me sitting behind it. I guess she thinks I’m trying to hide something. I tell her to give me a minute as I clear a space so the door can open again. Among some of the items I had found were coupons from 1989 and 1994 as well as old newspapers. I’m guessing these were stowed away during a last minute Christmas cleanup. I open another box as my mother is standing on the other side of me and I’m shocked to find that it is also filled with garbage! My mother literally grabs one of the bags of garbage from the box and runs away with it. I am hoping she is going through it downstairs to help me, but I never find the bag. I am beyond frustrated at this!! I decided to hide the bags she would want the most and put the other bags in the hallway for her to go through. As I’m getting more bags ready to bring to my car I realize my mom has disappeared downstairs into the living room. I walk in to find her sorting through a huge garbage bag filled with plastic items for recycling. She is literally taking everything out and stacking it next to her. I get upset and start grabbing things back from her and start putting them back in the bag. She becomes affixed on an instruction booklet that she claims is for the clock in her bedroom. Mind you she doesn’t even use her bedroom. I make a point that she was able to live without the booklet for 10 plus years while it was hidden in the attic. She wouldn’t have known it even existed if I didn’t take it out. I tell her she still has a lot to get rid of and ask if the booklet is REALLY worth keeping. In the end, she lets it go. My father came into the room after hearing the commotion and helped urge her to stop going through everything as well. Even after all the commotion with my mother, I feel like I made a dent today and I’m excited because I can see more of the floor in the attic!
As I have mentioned in the past, my parents own a few other properties in addition to their house. This week I also made a visit to my family’s rental property. This was bought about 20 years ago because my grandma was getting older and was living alone in the middle of nowhere. My parents helped her sell that house and bought a two family house so my grandma could live closer to us. She passed away 6 years ago and the lower rental unit has been sitting vacant ever since. My mother still hasn’t cleaned out all of my grandmother’s old things and has also filled the house with items from my great aunt. The house needs some big repairs after being left neglected for more than a few years. I am here today because I had stopped by the day before to see how the house is doing and noticed a window broken on the garage door. In addition the back door to our vacant rental unit was ajar. This made me completely nervous and I was so happy my boyfriend was there to go through the house with me. I don’t know how long the door has been open for or who has been going through the house, but I don’t think anything is missing.
The fact that people are going through this house makes it more imminent to get the house repaired and rented immediately. I had a friend meet me there today to give me an estimate for new siding for the garage and new windows for the house (which have rotting sills and need to be replaced.) The yard needs a lot of work and grandmother’s apartment needs a new kitchen. Of course my mother wants to put next to no money into the place though they have the potential to make most of the money back within a year or two. I am so frustrated with this situation and with my mother in general at this point. I need to be careful or I am going to get burnt out very quickly.
4 bags of newspapers from mom (2 from last week)
2 bags old coupons
1 bag old newspapers
1 large bag papers
1 large bag plastic
1 bag garbage