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
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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