Thursday morning I woke, stiff and sore. My head felt stuffy and clouded. I wanted coffee. I looked around my sister’s house but didn’t see a coffee pot anywhere.
I lugged my coffee with me, the coffee from New Orleans, not taking the chance leaving it at home with the Mr. HD, so he could drink it for me. As usual, in the mornings, I want my coffee. And by want, I mean really. I. Really. Want. Coffee.
No such luck.
After everyone is up and ready, we decide to finally get going. I really wanted to get to my dad and help him get a few things cleaned up so he could exist a bit in the house.
The thought enters my head, if I’m going to clean today, do I shower first? My COH friends tell me no.
We don’t shower. Instead we head off, go through my hometown onto the next little town that dots the landscape. With the little ones crying in the back seat for food, we stop at the grocery store. There are only two in this small town, and I think, dang, I’m know I’m going to run into someone I know. I haven’t showered, and both my daughter and I look — so not our best –.
After the food and treats have been gathered, it happens. I run into an old classmate. And what has my daughter done? She’s worn into the store, one flip flop and one red Valentine’s slipper. Her hair is falling out of her pony tail and she looks homeless. She looks a bit like a hoarder’s daughter. Or the GRAND-daughter of one, as she will readily admit.
Actually, she fits into my life from 20 years ago. I have lots of pictures of myself in mismatched clothing and my hair really could use a brush or a weed-wacker, whichever is handy.
Part of me thinks how funny this is, and another part of me wants to run and hide in a corner. I feel like I belong on “People of Walmart” or something. No shower, mismatched clothing. My sister, I notice, acts perfectly fine, even though I think she could end up on the website also. A thought comes to mind, this is her normal. She’s ok with this.
To hurry our escape, I pay for her stuff and mine. I am forced to make small talk with the woman, we’ll call her Mary since she’ll appear later on.
I can’t help think of how I look and how she looks so clean. I feel nasty. Inside and out. Welcome back hoard-ish feeling. Even after 15 years of being outside it, it’s still here, inside me.
We leave and drive to the coffee shop. (the coffee is pretty good but can’t beat the stuff I bought with me). At this point though, I don’t care. Just give me coffee and lots of it. I would take an IV if they offered.
We arrive back at my dad’s house (the hoard house) and get the kids inside. Then I realize a huge problem: my kid will have to eat in here. I should have let her eat in the car. I curse. Then I think how much I am changing into myself from 15 years ago. I’ve been cussing a lot since I arrived. Well, I cussed a lot in New Orleans also. Not my normal self.
My brother and his girlfriend come up from the basement and are helping pick up the trash in the living room. We talk a bit to my dad, find out the TV no longer works, it’s been on since he got it for my mom, and after she died he shut it off.
He’s trying to locate the receipt so he can take it back to the store. Good luck, I think. Since my dad’s friends are coming to stay with him the next day, I figure the bathroom needs to be cleaned and the bedroom. My sister is going to take the all my mother’s books. My brother has found some boxes, so we start packing them up.
In the bathroom, I start chucking items left and right. To me, my dad needs one thing of soap, some toothpaste and a brush, there a scented lotions and all sorts of items laying everywhere, mostly half full. I can’t even being to list all the things I’ve found. I throw away towels that looks crappy, dirty stuff I just don’t feel like cleaning. I have no attachment to anything here.
I feel good throwing this stuff away. I want my sister and brother to leave so I can just THROW STUFF AWAY.
I need to point out that the house is MUCH MUCH cleaner now than when I lived there. The bathroom that is currently in use, used to be a bedroom. My dad converted it into a bathroom years ago. The old bathroom has a toilet in there and a washer and dryer.
This is clean nasty. I lived in nasty.
It doesn’t take long for us to fill up the large trash can outside, so my dad starts loading items in the back of his truck. I offer to take the truck to the landfill.
As I’m filling up trash bags and digging through the mess, I come across some Godiva in the bathroom. I dug toilet paper out of this box and bags of other things. It’s hard for me to understand why anything food related would or should be stored in the bathroom, but then I must remember this is my mom and she has done this all her life.
My sisters says to me, “I just bought that for her.”
“Want me to save it for you? I will.” I snicker. I think of all the germs crawling over it. I can’t help it.
We spend the day cleaning. My daughter, bless her heart, tries her hand at cleaning. I cringe. I send her back upstairs into the “clean” section and ask her to play. Her and my sister’s kids break a light bulb with a hammer. I try to remember that she’s never been exposed to something like this. Well, not long term anyway, but that’s for another day and post.
We are looking for a band-aid and can’t find any. The jokes are made that my mother used to duct tape us kids when she couldn’t find any band-aids. Sue from the previous posts, told this story nonstop on the day my mother died. And at the funeral home. Restraining myself proved difficult, but my kid has an amazing memory, and the last thing I wanted her to see or remember was me killing that woman.
Sue swears my mother used duct-tape bandages all over our legs and let us run around town that way. While Sue is much older than I am, I am very sure I would have remembered this. I am allergic to tape.
While the duct tape jokes are funny, I have the right to say them. I’m her kid. She wasn’t. Her family and mine fought for years as neighbors. Same goes for the hoarding jokes. If she’s not your mom or your not a COH, shut up, k? I think most kids feel that way growing up. We are allowed to make fun of our family, hate them, etc… but you, unrelated, are not. I’d never make fun of your mom (Sue) even though I am very sure I have the content to provide jokes plenty.
So, as the cleaning progresses, I feel the need to give up. What the heck am I doing here? We have filled up the back of my father’s truck and we still haven’t cleaned anything much. There is still crap everywhere and nothing looked cleaned.
I help my dad look for the elusive receipt for the TV and we still can’t find it.
My brother’s girlfriend brags to me how clean her house is and tells me that for the last 2 years she’s helped clean my mother’s mess up. I’m sure she’s helped, my brother has helped, and my sister and father.
She reminds me when I can’t find something how I’ve not been here for x amount of years. Why not tell me something I don’t’ know? There is a reason I’ve not been here, in this house: I want to live. She gets on my nerves with her “conditions” and talks about how the house bothers her “conditions”. I. Grew. Up. Here. I know!!!
I appreciate your help, brother’s girlfriend, but really, your constant complaining isn’t helping me get this house clean”er” for my dad’s friends. I would give you a gold star if I had one.
I do find my mother’s “urn” and clean it up for the funeral director. I have to laugh as the urn came “pre-loaded” with junk.
Anyway, I don’t think anything amazing happened other than cleaning for the rest of the night. My clothing ended up stained and I stuck my hand in more frick’in melted tootsie rolls than I care to count. If I ever ever ever see another one, it maybe too soon. My mom’s bedroom had food tucked away and candy, which my daughter tried to eat and was shot down. As if baby girl.
My dad told me my mom wasn’t a hoarder, then later during the day, he was cracking hoarding jokes. For awhile, he made me question my memories. I took pictures so that yes, while I no longer lived in the house, it was still a craptastic hole. And I would remember it. And while this is bad, I knew there was a time, it was much much worse. I’m going to write about the denial I encountered in another post since this is way too long.
The video from the basement. Nobody knew I was taking this video. I had to stop when my daughter needed me. I’ve also included some pics for documentation so when I feel in doubt, I can remember this as CLEAN. Folks, this isn’t NOT what I grew up with. This is CLEAN.