Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bug bites.

I think I've been bitten by a stomach bug. I have not felt well for the last couple of days. I'm hoping that sleep will help, so I'm going to go to be going to bed really early tonight.

I haven't made near the progress I would like to make in the last couple of days, but I understand there will be days like this. It happens, because life happens.

I was able to get the second coat of paint on the table tops today. I was going to yesterday, but it was too windy to paint. I think they'll need a third coat of paint to make sure everything is nice and even, but I'm thrilled with how nice they're going to look. They look so much better in a solid bright white than they did with what looked like placemats painted on them. They'd have been great with a checkerboard pattern on them, and I suppose I could still do that around the edges, but I don't want to take the time right now. Maybe someday. In the meantime, I'm happy with them being white. I'll probably put the last coat on them Thursday and give them a few extra hours to dry thoroughly between now and then.

Right now, I'm just going to go to bed. Maybe if I get enough sleep tonight, I'll feel more capable tomorrow.

Monday, August 30, 2010

On the wings of a shiny green fly?

On yesterday's post, I received the following comment:

BinaryPhoenix said... I'm late to the party - I found your blog a few days ago, and it's taken me a couple of days to read through and catch up to this point. I just have to say, that you are an amazing inspiration to more people than you know.

I thought you might find it interesting that I was referred to your blog by someone I met through Have you heard of it? It is an entire site dedicated to decluttering and establishing daily habits and cleaning routines. The friend that referred me forwarded your blog to several others in my area who are members of the site, and I thought you might enjoy checking it out. I've been a member for several years, but I've never found the inspiration there that I've found right here on your blog. While I myself am not to the point that you are at, I have noticed hoarding tendencies in myself (lets just say I have to force myself to stay away from craft shops and pet shops), and you inspire me to do better at keeping junk out of my house. So thanks for that.

I left off the last little bit of the comment to keep it relevant to today's post.

First of all, thank you for your incredibly kind words and for taking the time to read through my entire blog! As far as long comments? They're not a problem at all! I appreciate it, and if it were not for the support that I've received from people who have left comments and have followed me for so many months, I don't know how successful I'd be in this journey. Don't get me wrong. I would still work as hard as I could, but I can't explain how much the support I've received buoys me, so I wonder, if I would be able to push myself as hard, if it weren't for all my cheerleaders.

At the same time, I am writing this blog for myself, because it is nothing short of therapy for me. I often don't even know what I'm feeling until I start writing, and I owe it to myself and my family to write for me. It's the only way out. And I know that my supporters all know this, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you!

On to today's post...

I've had several people ask me, if I have used flylady, and I have in the past. However, I do not currently subscribe.

I think it's an amazing tool for those with general organization and clutter issues, and for cleaning tips. But for me, it was absolutely overwhelming and stressful.

I was receiving email upon email that told me what I should be doing, and over and over I felt like I wasn't living up to expectations. Granted, they weren't expectations that my family had placed on me, or that I had intentionally placed upon myself. But I felt the full weight of those expectations as certainly as I would feel a 100 pound bag of rice draped across my shoulders. I felt like I literally couldn't breathe from the guilt of my failures.

Early on in my blog, I touched on how too many emails were cluttering up my mind. That they were hanging over my head. And as odd as this may sound, I literally felt them over my right shoulder. It's peculiar, I know, but when I think of emails, they're always over my right shoulder. When I think of laundry, it's usually down in front of me on the floor ready to trip me up. Going out of the house for shopping, doctor's appointments and the like is always over my left shoulder. Birthdays and other important dates are directly behind me.

The hoarding has always been a huge, thick, dark gray cloud hanging over my head. It's enormous, and I could hardly see the edges in the far off distance. There were no rays of sunshine or hope making their way through little openings in the cloud. It was an ominous presence that loomed at all times.

I think it's probably odd that when I think of certain things I feel them in certain areas around my body. I've never asked anyone else, if they feel the things they're thinking of in a physical sense, but it can be exhausting feeling boxed in. Every single time I got a new email, the load over my right shoulder got a little heavier. And the emails I received from flylady added to the oppression.

Being a hoarder, I have always had such a problem getting rid of things I might use at a later date. It's a common thing. So I had the hardest time in the world deleting the flylady emails, because I knew that I really should be able to use that information to help me get my act together and get my house cleaned. So hundreds of emails piled up in my inbox and the weight upon my shoulders got so heavy I couldn't think straight.

One day, in a moment of clarity, I realized flylady was not helping me but was instead crippling me. I unsubscribed from the local and national groups and proceeded to delete the mountains of emails I had accumulated. It is not that I found no worth in flylady, but that I found too much. Eventually, I will likely find my way back to flylady but not until I have finished dehoarding, and only if I find that I need it at that time. If it feels like I'm spending more time sorting through emails than implementing the advice, I will once again walk away.

Although the hoarding cloud still looms to this day, I've noticed that the periphery seems closer than it ever has before. The cloud is not quite as dark as it's been in the past either.

And every once in awhile I see the occasional ray of sunshine filtering through.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yield not to calamity, but face her boldly. -Virgil

Took the day off today from any major dehoarding. I just got the kitchen cleaned, the refrigerator wiped out, disposed of anything old in the fridge, and ran the dishwasher twice, so I felt good at least getting something done.

Had the kids, (Bugster, Bubster and Frank) over for dinner. I made 10 layer burritos for supper. They were a real hit. I wish they weren't quite as time consuming to make after a long day. I suppose they're not really that time consuming. They just feel that way with a sore back. They're an inexpensive and healthy way to enjoy a fast food alternative.

For anyone who wants to try it:

LaFavorita tortillas. (They're by far the best store bought tortillas, as they're soft and pliable and taste homemade.)

1:Fat free refried beans with green chile and lime
2:Browned ground turkey with burrito seasoning
3:Rice (white or brown)
4:Diced tomatoes with green chilies (I use canned for burritos, because they add a little extra moisture to the mix, but I use fresh tomatoes for tacos.)
5:Fresh diced onions
6:Fresh bell pepper sliced thin (I used an orange bell from the garden today.)
7:Fresh banana pepper sliced thin (again from our garden)
8:Diced boiled potatoes
9:Fat free sour cream (Used Greek yogurt for hubby's burritos, because he can't eat sour cream while on the antibiotics for TB exposure.)
10:Shredded cheddar cheese

Once the burritos are loaded and folded (fold sides first then turn and fold ends in) place them opening side down in preheated skillet sprayed with cooking spray. They get a nice crispiness to them that's to die for. They're just...well...yummy. You can really add as many or as few ingredients as you'd like. We just like a lot. One burrito is typically a full meal, although I can never finish mine.

That's what husbands are for.

You can also wrap them in tin foil and grill them to get them crispy. I just prefer using the skillet, because I'm not as apt to watch them closely enough to keep them from burning on the barbie.

I cooked up enough turkey burger and have enough potatoes left that I'm going to make breakfast burritos tomorrow and wrap them individually to use later. It will be handy to be able to take them out of the freezer in the morning and have a decent breakfast for the girls before school. They will just be turkey burger, eggs, potatoes, sour cream and cheese. I know the girls will love having a nice meal like this before school, and we'll love the convenience and ease.

Before they came over, Calamity came by Bugster and Bubster's house to spend some time with Frank. It was a disaster as usual. Within 10 minutes, she started asking Bugster, if she could do a load of laundry, when she knew that the kids had specifically said they do not want her doing her laundry at their house. They have had to have set firm limits with her, because if you give her an inch, she'll take a mile. Thankfully, Bubster took her aside and told her that she would not be washing laundry at their house, and that it was unfair for her to put Bugster in the position of saying no each time, because they've already had this discussion repeatedly. The answer will always be, "No!"

She said she was having problems breathing around the kids' cats, so she didn't want to stick around their house. She asked Frank to go for a ride with her instead, so she could breathe. Then, instead of actually driving around with Frank, she drove over to her boyfriend's and spent no time with the poor kid at all. She hadn't seen Frank in over a month, and then the time she spent with him today wasn't with him but with her boyfriend instead. Within an hour she insisted Bugster come pick him up, because it was "a waste of gas to drive him back" to their house.

It's just such a sad situation. And now that she knows they're coming over here most weekends to spend time with us, she insists she'll be coming over every weekend to try to insinuate herself into their lives. Hopefully, the kids can figure out how best to handle the situation. It may mean setting much firmer limits. I don't envy them, but I am so incredibly proud of both of them.

They've been thrust into such an indefensible situation, yet they're rising to the challenge better than adults twice their ages. I stand in awe of their courage and determination.

They are my heroes.

Oh. The quote by Virgil? Bugster found that today. Couldn't fit the situation much better, could it?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sock puppet anyone?

I'm thrilled with the progress I made today, even though it may seem like nothing. I feel like I'm making strides in decision making, and it's making the overall job so much easier. It's making it so much easier to let go.

I've mentioned a few times that I've been working on sorting through laundry that I've quite literally been trying to decided what to do with for the last 9 to 10 years. It's been an ongoing frustration that got worse every time I put it off. I just couldn't seem to figure out what to save, what to throw or what to donate out of piles upon piles of clothes.

Add baskets of socks to the mix, and fast forward to this morning. Yes. Literal baskets of socks. Three to be exact. And that's how I started this morning.

Let me back up a bit.

Several different times, I've tried to sort these socks, and several times I've had a certain amount of success. Over the years, I've donated countless socks we no longer used but still had plenty of life in them, I have thrown out socks that had holes in them or whose elastic would no longer hold them up, but I've always had baskets of socks that didn't have mates. I just knew that I'd eventually come across the mates, and then I could decide what to do with them, so I'd hang onto them.

At one point, I thought my problem had to do simply with a lack of organization and ability to sort them into certain groups. So about 6 years ago, I got several 2.5 gallon zippered storage bags, and I started sorting socks according to style and color. I had several of these bags to make it easier to find mates when I came across an unmated sock.

There were the solid colored dark socks, the solid colored light socks, the white anklet socks, the white longer socks, the white socks that had patterns on them, the colored socks with patterns on them, the little girls' white anklets with lace around the top, the little girls' colored anklets with lace around the top and baby socks.

It did help to a degree. When I'd find a sock that needed to find a mate I always knew where to look. But it was time consuming, and it was a pain to find a place to keep the bags, and then the girls would get in the bags when they were bored and were looking for something to play with, and they'd end up all over the laundry room or the basement. I know that I threw a couple of the bags away when the basement flooded. They had socks in them that had gotten wet, but I knew I didn't have the time to deal with trying to disinfect them, so I threw them out.

Over the course of the last couple weeks while I've been trying to rewash the enormous amounts of laundry that had been put in Hopper's room when the basement flooded, I've come across a lot of socks. So many socks that when I sat down to sort this morning, I had 3 laundry baskets full of socks.

That's a lot of socks.

I threw over half a basket of socks away while sorting. These were mainly socks that I knew we'd never wear again even, if I were to find the mates. I sorted not quite half a basket and saved them for the girls to wear, although I'll be going through these periodically and getting rid of them more frequently than I have in the past. And I got about a basketful ready to donate. At the end of about an hour of sorting, I had about 3/4 of a basket of socks that have no mates.

I saved only those socks that have no mates, because I believe I'll come across the mates when cleaning out the pod or the garage and while finishing up the dehoarding. Eventually, I'll find all the mates that are out there to find. Once I find all the mates that are to be found, I will throw the unmated socks in the trash, and I'll donate the vast majority of socks to people who can use them.

And while this may not seem like progress to anyone but me, I'm thrilled. Because there is a definite end in sight to the baskets of socks in our house. Because this is the most progress I've made in 9 years to get rid of the excess socks.

Because now I know I can do it.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Yay for finishing antibiotics. My head is clearing, and I seem to be thinking more clearly. I'm so thankful! I'm feeling a bit better physically today, too, so I'm very hopeful for next week and how I'll be feeling then.

I was able to work on laundry yesterday and today. I didn't count how many loads I did, but I'd guess it was about 10. I'm satisfied with that. I also got most all of them sorted and was able to part with things that I've struggled with for years. The clarity was finally back today, so the decision making was much easier. I was able to get 7 bags of clothes ready to donate, and I think there's probably another full bag in the dryer.

I still struggle with making certain decisions, though. For example, when Scooter had back surgery almost 4 years ago, she needed to wear a custom made brace for several months. The brace was hot and uncomfortable, so we bought little undershirts for her to wear underneath to help keep her more comfortable. I gave most of them away a few years ago, but I did keep a few, because they come in handy. They're nice in cold weather or for her to wear under a shirt like a camisole.

Because the undershirts were between her and the brace, they were somewhat protected from wear and tear, so they still look like new. Except for one. Overall, it still looks brand new. However, it has rust stains on it. I'm not sure where the rust came from, but it very well could be from the washing machine itself. We've had problems with rust in the washer over the years. This particular undershirt has had the rust stain almost as long as we've had it.

I've struggled for 4 years as to what to do with it.

I couldn't bring myself to have her wear it under her brace, because of the stain. I was afraid someone else might see it and judge me a horrible mother, because I let her wear something stained. I also couldn't bring myself to throw it away, because it still has so much life in it. I couldn't send it to the thrift store. They wouldn't be able to sell it. I've decided to cut it into pieces to use as rags. I'd rather have it as a rag than throw it away, because we can always use another rag, and eventually it will be thrown anyway. At least this way it will get a little use and 4 years of struggling are finally over.

I was also able to bring myself to throw away some clothing that I realized nobody will ever wear, because it's either stained or not worth mending and that won't work for rags. Things that come to mind are Scooter's favorite pair of leggings that she wore so much the was a huge hole in the behind. In fact, one leg had gone completely through the leg when I took them out of the wash. She's pretty much forgotten about them, so I tossed them without her knowing.

There were other pieces of clothing I've had waiting in the wings for me to make a decision about for years that I finally got around to today. The thrift store is going to be getting a lot of little girls' hats and purses in the next few days, and my load will be so much lighter as a result.

I also got a good start on painting the table tops white. I sanded them well yesterday and got the 1st coat of paint on them today. The 2nd coat will either be applied tomorrow or Sunday. I'm hoping 2 coats will be enough, but I'm prepared to put a 3rd coat on later in the week, if need be.

I'm just thrilled to have finally had a couple of productive days complete with little breakthroughs after what feels like an eternity of not being able to do anything. I look forward to seeing what the weekend brings.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Of plans and dreams and such.

My hubby and I were discussing yesterday's post over at If I Were a Hoarder shortly before bed last night. In the post, Zoltana quoted Randy Frost and Gail Steketee's work, Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. In it they discuss Impulse Control Disorder and how many hoarders have it but don't have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, even though the general thought is that hoarding is connected to OCD.

I apparently had this on my mind, as well as this post from because I had the most bizarre dream before I woke up this morning.

I was at one of the many stores where things cost a dollar. I had filled my shopping cart to overflowing with stuff from the aisles of junk. Stuff like the lotto pen and the grocery list and the denim paint that were all part of The Purge of 2010.

In my dream, I got up to the register to pay for a cart heaped to overflowing full of impulse buys, and the manager of the store told me that I was not allowed to do this every day. I thought he meant I wasn't allowed to come and shop at his store and line his pockets anymore. His complaint was that I was holding up the line with all my purchases. It didn't matter that I was apparently dropping several hundred dollars a week buying junk in his store. I was holding up the other customers in the store who only had 1 or 2 items to purchase.

So I got irritated with him, and after I'd paid for everything, I painstakingly went through each and every purchase and sorted out what I really wanted to keep. I suddenly started seeing the items through the eyes I've been looking through the last few months. I was shocked to see that I had gotten an entire pile of notepads that weren't even cute, junk like the lotto pen, and like the massive amounts of stuff I've sorted through and thrown or given away over the last several months. I think I kept a couple of things, but I came to my senses and was returning everything else when I woke up.

I do know that compulsive shopping years ago added to the mess I'm trying to dig my way out of now. I had very poor impulse control for years. I only bought stuff that was deeply discounted on the clearance endcaps, but if there was one thing I liked, I got one of every color offered, or I got one for every person I knew that might appreciate it. I spent way too much money on things that have been ruined over the years or that have been wasted in some other way.

I feel horribly guilty over the waste I've contributed to in the 25 years my husband and I have been together. I think of the money I could have saved, the stress I could have prevented, and the life we could have had as a result. But you know what they say, "Hindsight's 20/20", and I can't live in the guilt. It's part of my past, and I want it to stay there. I can only live consciously and not add to the clutter and do my best to dig my way out.

Sounds like a plan

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Better than UGH.

I looked for an hour or so for the tickets/gift certificates this morning, but I couldn't find them to save my life.

Thankfully, my life was not on the line.

I called the chuckwagon place, and the woman who answered assured me she would do everything she could to help me. So I explained the situation. She then told me it was her first day on the job. Ha. Still. She was exceptionally sweet and really wanted to help. So she took all the info I could give her on the gift certificates and my phone number and promised to call me back. The phone rang less than 10 minutes later.

The gentleman who called was very nice. I quickly explained the situation and asked, if there was any way they could check to verify to see that I wasn't lying. He laughed. He said he had the all the information verified already and that new gift certificates would be mailed out. I could expect them in a day or two.

Whew. What a relief.

Haven't started on the insurance paperwork again. My head's not in it just yet.

I did pull a lot of threads, though. I will eventually be making several skirts with the strips I'm working on. It's at least something I can do when I can't do much of anything physical. I should be finished up with pulling threads soon. Then I can start piecing the skirts together, and I'm really looking forward to it.

I got several loads of laundry done today, so I guess it wasn't a complete waste of a day. I have to admit, though, that I'm looking forward to next week. I should be no longer be feeling lousy from the antibiotics by then, so I can hopefully get back in the swing of things like they were before surgery.

Looking forward to that!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One word to sum up my day?


That pretty much sums it up.

For Christmas last year, my sister and Mom bought some (8 total) tickets to a local chuckwagon show for us to enjoy sometime this summer. I put them in a specific place where they would be safe the moment we opened them up. However, they've been moved. Here it is 8 months later, and we have no idea where they are. I spent hours looking for them today to no avail. I'll be looking for them tomorrow as well as calling the venue to see, if they can replace them for us. Unfortunately, I'm not too hopeful about them replacing them for us, because they were purchased as a fundraiser for a cancer victim. I just have a feeling we'll lose out, if we don't find them in the next couple of days.

I'm feeling stressed tonight with several things hanging over my head. I have to remember to get the insurance paperwork redone. The same insurance paperwork that I spent hours and hours on several months ago needs to be redone. The payout they paid us was based on depreciated values, which is understandable. However, they depreciated what we'd already depreciated, so I have to start over again and give them a non-depreciated value on things. I feel like throwing up at the mere thought.

The insurance agent just kept telling me to do my best on it. I already had. I gave it my all. And telling me to do my best doesn't take any of the stress away. It adds to it, because I tend to be overly thorough when I do my best. Perfectionism has it's place, but it's also a pain in the neck in situations like this. It's super hard for me to lump things together instead of redoing things line by line. I'm not looking forward to it.

I felt a little better today, but it's mostly due to the ankle wrap I found and used. Well, the ankle wrap and pain pills. The one antibiotic I'm on makes me hurt all over, but due to allergies, it's the only one I can take that will work on this infection. I don't think it's just the fibromyalgia flaring up. I'm pretty sure it's the antibiotic itself, because I've hurt the last several times I've used it. This particular antibiotic is known for causing tendon ruptures as much as 6 months after it's been taken to clear up an infection. And my ankle/heal has hurt nonstop for the last couple of days. I realized part of it is the type of sock I've been wearing as well, so I've been wearing slippers all day to keep from having anything tight around my ankle.

The ankle wrap helped today, and I'll wear it and the slippers again tomorrow, so I'll be able to get something more accomplished.

It's just been.... frustrating.

I'm hoping to get something done in the form of paperwork tomorrow, so I can get this stuff off my mind. I hate things hanging over my head, and especially when it feels like I have so many things in the air at once.

Monday, August 23, 2010

That'll be the day. Will this be the week?

Not going to beat myself up. Friend's orders. But I am a bit discouraged that I'm going to be out of commission a bit longer than I expected. I'm feeling better overall. Just hurting. I pretty sure the pain will go away once I stop taking the medicine I am taking for the infection. I just have to make it through the next week.

So I'm doing 'homework' in the form of watching hoarding shows and pulling threads for broomstick skirts while I'm at it.

Considering I have to take things so easy the next few days, I'm hoping that I can try to get some laundry done. I still haven't gotten everything finished from all the laundry that I took out of Hopper's room a couple weeks ago. In fact, I found several other loads in her room the other day. Once again, I have probably 30 loads or more to get caught up on.

Maybe this is the week I get caught up on it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Tisket a Tasket. A Revisited Blue Basket.

The antibiotics are starting to kick in. I'm so very thankful. While I'm still a bit weak and still quite tired, I've felt better today than I have in a week. I think going back to bed for a long nap after I'd been up for an hour or so helped, but I still didn't have much energy. Working on the dishes wore me out, so we ordered pizza when the kids came over tonight. I'd planned on making burritos, but it looks like that will be on the menu for next weekend when we get to spend more time with Bugster, Bubster and Frank.

It took awhile, but Scooter and I cleaned off the love seat and cleaned out her blue basket again. I haven't spent much time worrying about the love seat and all she had piled on it, because the major dehoarding has been a bigger priority for several weeks. I could live with Scooter's obsession with little pieces of paper, the clothes, and the toys that she would pile beside her while she sat until I had the opportunity to go through it with her again. Once again, there was an entire basket of laundry she had collected and 3 shopping bags of paper trash along with assorted toys.

I know I shouldn't have allowed it to get this bad again, and I should have helped her keep things under control, but I had so many other things on my mind. This just wasn't one of them. However, I will make it a daily after school chore for her to put things where they need to go instead of piling them on the love seat beside her from now on. Surprisingly, she had very little in her blue basket. However, she had gathered several empty sports drink bottles and had them heaped in it atop her toys. We don't normally drink a lot of sports drinks, but with this summer having been so warm and us working outside so much, we have had more than usual.

Instead of buying several new bottles at a time, we bought the powdered Gatorade at the grocery store and I'd make it up at home. Once I stirred it up, I'd fill the clean bottles half full and stick them in the freezer. When we needed something cold to drink to help with the fact that we'd been working so hard and sweating all electrolytes away, we'd fill them to the top with some that had been freshly made. It has really helped to keep us hydrated and keep us from being overwhelmed by the heat.

In the meantime, we've found that Scooter likes to hoard empty sports drink bottles and itsy bitsy pieces of paper as well as medium sized pieces of paper and large pieces of paper.

I wonder, if she's trying to tell me something.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'll take what I can get.

This is driving me nuts. I haven't done much of anything today. Trying to stay off my feet like the doctor ordered. It's really hard to do.

Being the good girl I try to be, I worked on pulling threads in the fabric to make the broomstick skirts. If you snip a piece of fabric at the selvaged edge, and carefully take hold of just one thread and pull it, it will go directly across the fabric to the other selvaged edge. The thread often breaks when pulling it, so it can take several minutes to pull a thread on a piece of fabric, but it's worth it. If you're wanting a straight line, so the fabric doesn't twist once the garment is finished this works.

I don't sew many things that need to have a thread pulled to make sure the edges are straight. I always pull threads when I'm making a baby blanket, but this is the first I've made a broomstick skirt. I knew I'd want to do it for the skirts, because I have to have several strips of fabric that are the same height all the way across. This is an easy way to make sure it happens, if you don't have a rotary cutter and cutting mat available.

I need 9 even strips to make a broomstick skirt to make the 4 layers of the skirt. The 1st layer will actually be 1.5 strips, the 2nd will be 2 full strips, 3rd layer is 2.5 strips and the bottom layer will consist of 3 strips. I'll take pictures and post them at some point when I'm done with the skirts. In the meantime, I still have a few threads to pull. I have almost enough to start sewing on 2 different skirts. If I'm not feeling enough better tomorrow to work on dehoarding or sorting or something else productive, I'll probably finish the skirts. Considering that I've been wanting to find time to work on these skirts for months now I should be happy that I finally found it.

Since the paint on the craft drawers was dry, I did fill them up with spools of ribbon and other craft stuff that didn't have a permanent home. And while some of the craft items I put in the drawers are still not in their permanent home, they are at least no longer sitting around in boxes or bags. It's a small improvement, but it is indeed an improvement.

I'll take it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Doctor's orders.

I'll be taking it easy this weekend. I have orders from the doctor to take it easy. I do indeed have an infection. A serious enough one that she put me on two different antibiotics. She expects me to feel much better by Sunday. I'm looking forward to that.

In the meantime, I'll either be sitting on a chair directing the hubster as to where things go, or sorting through boxes that are at a height that don't bother me much. Either that, or I'll be working on some sewing projects I have in my mind.

I want to make some broomstick skirts for Scooter. I'd make some for Hopper, too, if she'd wear them. I may just have to make one for her anyway. Because maybe she'd actually wear one, if it was there for her to wear, but she wouldn't consider it, if it was offered and not around for her to see. I may just have to...

So no major plans for this weekend for me. It's really frustrating. There's so much that needs done and so much I want and need to do. And in spite of today being quite on the nonproductive side, I did finish the last coat of paint on the ribbon drawer.

Better than nothing, I suppose.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Breezy little butterflies.

Unfortunately, today was much like yesterday as far as what I was able to accomplish. I'm hoping seeing my doctor tomorrow morning may shed some light on things. It looks like I may have an infection as a result of the surgery I had a couple of weeks ago. I guess I'll find out tomorrow. I am just needing to get my energy back. I have entirely too much to do to be sick now. Phooey.

I did at least get the last coat of paint on the craft drawers I wrote about yesterday. Actually, I did the last coat on the cabinet that holds the drawers and the first coat on the drawer fronts. It's supposed to be hot and dry tomorrow, so I'm hoping I can finish them up then. It's not much, but I can at least check them off my list.

Speaking of projects...

This is what the shutters looked like before the curtains:
I still have work to do on the shutters. I'd like to paint them a gloss white eventually, and I'd like to trim off the decorative shapes at the top, so they're even all the way across, but it's just so not a priority right now. And yes. The louvers are aimed up on 2 sections of the shutters and down on the others. I'll fix that when the time comes, too. I just can't do it until the top is trimmed off.

All in due time.

This is what they look like with the little curtains on them. Scooter was thrilled. They look much better than the dark green sheet that we hung over them to keep the light out. She was particularly thrilled with the butterfly fabric I chose. Butterflies are the quintessential cherry on top of anything she owns.

So. Other than making Scooter particularly happy, doing a load of laundry, the dishes and the painting, I didn't get much of anything accomplished today. It's frustrating to say the least, but there's always tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dumpster Diving Diva.

My neck and shoulders thankfully felt so much better this morning. I had a lower back ache all day, though, so I took it easy. I got some laundry done and did the dishes, but nothing of substance with dehoarding..

I painted a little particle board drawer set that I've had for years. It was totally unfinished. Looked horrible. So I painted 2 coats on it today. It has 3 drawers. I'll be using it for storing my spools of ribbon. I'm hoping to be able to fit all my ribbon, curling ribbon, and maybe even some lace in it. It will be nice to have it all in one place. It will also help with sorting when we empty out the pod, because we will know where to put at least one thing as we sort through the boxes.

In other news related to what I did today....

Several years ago, I did a dumpster dive. Well. Sort of. But not really....

Someone who lives a few blocks from us had what looked to be 2 pair of shutters in the trash. You know those louvered swinging doors that are always shown in old Westerns that are typically in a saloon? That's what they were. And there were 2 pair. I wanted to use them for Scooter's window, so we asked, if we could have them, or if they'd rather we not take them. They weren't actually in a can-just beside it, so it wasn't a technical dumpster dive.

We brought them home, and I got them scrubbed up thoroughly. Then I bought a couple of piano hinges and attached 2 doors to one another. Piano hinges come in various sizes, but they're what are used on pianos on the covering for the keys. Then we installed them on her window, and they fit perfectly. They don't do much as far as insulating, so we've hung a dark green fitted sheet over them to keep out the light, so the girls could sleep better. It helps a bit with keeping the room more comfortable, too.

However, it's really frustrating that we can't open the shutters without removing the sheet, and it's a pain in the behind to get hung just right. Plus it look horrible. So I made curtains for each shutter today, since there wasn't much I could do physically around the house. It's going to take a bit to make sure I have the 2 curtain rods (1 for the top and 1 for the bottom of each curtain) hung on each shutter evenly tomorrow, so I decided to wait to hang them. However, as soon as the girls are off to school...

I'm off to bed early again tonight. I hate trying to get back into a schedule when school starts!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'll leave that to my husband from now on.

It sounds as though things went well for the girls at school today, which is always a relief. Got the list of supplies, and I have to admit that I always get a little irritated when the lists come home.

Because the girls are learning basic living skills, they need hygiene products at school. That doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that their deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste came home unopened last year. I'm assuming they didn't use their brushes to brush their hair, either. And while I understand that things get busy, I don't understand how they could all come home unused.

And I'm not sure what I'm going to do as far as Hopper's list. The new teacher wants 6 washcloths for daily use plus an extra one for when they have P.E. I'm sure it's so they use a new one each and every day, but I still don't see the need for that many washcloths. I think it's ridiculous. Yet, if I say anything about it, I don't think it will exactly set a positive tone for the rest of the school year. Teachers seem to get so defensive over questions, and while I understand that to a certain degree, I think the parents have a right to know why 7 washcloths are necessary when it seems as though 2 or 3 would be sufficient.

Oh well. It's not worth stressing over, I suppose.

I messed my neck and upper back up yesterday trying to start the lawn mower. I never did get the stupid thing to work, yet I'm paying for even trying today. Last night, Hubster tried rubbing my neck and shoulders to get it to loosen up a bit. It didn't. Instead, I had sharp shooting pains travel at a rather quick pace down my left arm. They stopped as soon as he stopped, but not before I tensed up and made things even worse.

As a result, I haven't accomplished nearly as much as I'd wanted either yesterday or today. I've done some laundry and dishes and a little painting on one of my projects, but that's about it. I'm really hoping tomorrow brings relaxed neck muscles and a bit more energy than I've had today.

Heck. I'm just going to count on it happening. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

School tomorrow? 17?

Hopper's been asking that very pair of questions at least 50 times a day for the last 2 weeks. Her questions will finally be answered to her satisfaction tomorrow morning when she gets on the bus for the first day of school. And she will be free to obsess over something else for awhile.

She's nervous and excited at the same time. She will have a new teacher this year, as the one she's had for the last 3 years has taken a different position. Thankfully, she was prepared for this for several weeks before school ended last year, and I don't think it will be too hard for her to get used to the new teacher.

But bless her little heart. She's so anxious and excited about school starting that she wanted to go to bed at 2:00 this afternoon.
It's not unusual for her to go to bed really early during the school year, because she deals best with stress by sleeping. The more she stresses the earlier she goes to bed. Plus, the girls get up at 5:15 to get ready for the day, and they need more sleep than typical, but 2:00 is still a bit too early to be in bed for the night. I made her stay up until about 3:30, but I'm really wishing I could have kept her awake a little longer. It's going to take awhile to get into the routine of things again.

Scooter is thrilled school starts tomorrow, too. She's ready to be the little fashionista that she loves to be and start wearing all her new outfits to school. It will be hard for her to choose which outfit to wear first, because she has so many new favorites. She is just so ready to see old friends and her aids and teacher. She's probably even looking a little forward to showing off her black eye.

We're so very thankful that the girls love school. They've had great teachers and aides over the years. They've had outstanding bus drivers and aides, too, and I think their importance is so often overlooked. They help set the tone for your children to not only start the day but to end it as well. And in all the years the girls have been in school, there hasn't been a single bad driver or bus aide. Not one. There was one that I wouldn't categorize as super, but all the rest have either fallen into the exceptional or superb categories. We are very thankful for each of them and the positive effect they've had on our girls.

So tomorrow is once again the beginning of the school year at our house. This time of year is always so bittersweet for me. I always miss the girls during the school year. They go to bed so early that I don't get to spend nearly the amount of time with them than I do in the summer, and I do love spending time with them. But we also rarely get a break from one another during the summer, and we need an occasional break, so I also appreciate the time that I have when they're in school.

I'm looking forward to seeing what this school year brings.

Hopefully, it won't bring every virus on the planet home to roost at our house.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What was I thinking?

So we decided not to work in Hopper's room today and to work in the garage instead. The garage has been packed pretty much floor to ceiling, wall to wall, since we moved in here over 9 years ago. And we realized that a couple more weeks sleeping in her sister's room won't bother Hopper nearly as much as getting the garage at least straightened around and partially cleaned out for now will help to get the pod emptied. And we need to get that pod out of here. We're hoping before the end of August.

Filled up 2 huge trash cans to the brim with trash. A lot of it was just plain trash, but there was some stuff that I'd saved thinking i would donate it when I got enough stuff together. Never happened, because I couldn't find it when the time came to get it together. As I was looking at it today, I wondered what I was thinking when I had set it aside to donate. I'm sure that some of the stuff would have gone directly into the charity's dumpster had I ever gotten as far as dropping it off.

It's a subtle reminder that I am indeed a hoarder. That my mind works differently. That I struggle with making decisions on the value of an item and often assign too much worth to the worthless.

I'm so afraid of sliding backwards and getting even deeper into hoarding that I feel I can't slow down. I'm afraid the H in the ADHD has kicked into overdrive. Which is good in many ways. I'm getting a lot accomplished. At the same time, I'm definitely overdoing on some days as well. But I know a slow down is coming. It always does when the weather starts to turn cold, school starts, and viruses grow out of hand. It's beyond frustrating.

I'm really hoping that the progress we've made so far will spur me on to continue on my quest. And while I know that I will always have hoarding tendencies, that does not mean I must surrender to them.

I refuse to unfurl the white flag.

I can and will beat this.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Just a bobblehead doll.

What is it about running errands that is so exhausting? It's always much worse/tiring when we have the kids, than when I can run out and run them alone. As I sit here typing this, I can hardly keep my eyes open, and I already had a 30 minute catnap with my head flopped over to the side. My neck hurts now. I really should just go to bed.

We picked up some white oil based paint that I'll be using to paint the wood grain on the tables white. The more I look at them, the more scratches I see on the wooden parts, and this gives it a worn out look in spite of the new sage green paint. I'll put white around the outside edges, too, so I'm hoping they'll look like a brand new set of tables. Normally I don't use oil based paint, but it just holds up so much better to use, and I'll be using these tables regularly, so I thought it was a good idea. I'll have to leave them outside to cure completely, so the smell is gone by the time we take them inside. I'm thinking they'll look pretty good.

Didn't get much of anything done around the house today, but I was able to work in Hopper's bedroom last night and got quite a bit done. We're hoping to finish it up tomorrow, so she can start sleeping down there again tomorrow night. It won't give her much time to get used to sleeping in her bedroom again before school starts, but I don't think it will take much to get used to peace and quiet again.

I have a whole list of things to accomplish tomorrow, so I think I am going to call it a night. No sense in having a sore neck tomorrow on top of everything I have to do.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Overthink things much?

Lately, the more I get stuff done, the more I find myself wondering whether or not I really am a hoarder. So I'm so very glad I started this blog back in January. It allows me to remember the physical feelings I've experienced several times since starting this dehoarding process. It helps me to remember how incredibly hard it is to let go sometimes.

Most of all, though, it helps me to stay on task. Because I come here every night and have to really think about how I got in this position and the steps I'm taking to get out of it.

The other night, when I wrote about the tables, I started to add a label before publishing the post. However, before I did, I realized I wanted to link to another post. While looking for it, I saw my list of labels/tags that I've used. It's so incredibly long. Much longer than it should be.

I have such a hard time making decisions. It's a common trait among hoarders. I also have a real problem with getting distracted easily. I often get sidetracked by the silliest things. For example, say I'm working on paying bills, and I need to grab new check blanks, because I've used the last one. So I go in the other room to get one, but I have to use the bathroom, so I stop on my way to get the checks. While in the bathroom, I notice that the towels are dirty, so I go start a load of laundry downstairs.

But while I'm down there, the dryer is full of dry clothes, so I decide to fold them, so they won't get too wrinkled. On my way back upstairs, I pass through the kitchen, and I notice the dishwasher needs to be unloaded. So I start on it, but I don't finish, because I remember that I came in the other room in the first place to grab more check blanks. In the meantime, an hour or more can go by the time I realize that I'd left something in midstream. And it takes me several more hours before I make my way back to finish unloading the dishwasher.

And as much as I really want to clean up my list of labels, I think I'm going to leave it as a reminder to me that it's okay, if I have a tough time making decisions at times. The world isn't going to come to an end. My blog won't explode, if I don't clean it up and shorten the list of labels. And I have way more important things to do than worry about whether or not I have too many labels.

Not even going to discuss the number of labels and files I have in the filing cabinet. Not going to go there.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Turning the tables.

I'm trying really hard not to freak out over my ever growing list of things to do. I know I've made huge progress in the last several months, but sometimes it's not enough just to know that. I'm so afraid that I won't get it all done, or I won't get it done in time for Bugster and Bubster's shindig next year, and it's an absolute must that I do get everything done.

I had plans to make a master list a few weeks ago, but I never got around to it. I think I'll sit down tonight or tomorrow and try to make it. It's easier to see what you have to prioritize, if it's all written down, I think. Plus it's nice to be able to see things crossed off as they're finished. It's just that there are certain things that have to be done as quickly as possible.

Fall is quickly approaching, and I'm afraid of what Fall, Winter and Spring mean for me health-wise. I'm just so in hopes things will be different this year. I guess we'll find out as early as next week when the kids start back to school. They always bring colds and bugs home that knock us all on our behinds for a week or more. Maybe it won't happen this year. Maybe the tables will be turned in our favor.

Speaking of tables...

I got started painting the table tops today. They will sit on top of the bases that I posted yesterday. I was also able to get the last coat of paint on the ones the boys did yesterday and clean the rust off the other one and get all the coats of paint it needed applied. I think they'll look so nice when they're all done.

They used to have powder blue sections. I'm painting them sage green to match the walls in the basement. I'm hoping the weather is more conducive to drying paint tomorrow. After having hot weather for several weeks followed by massive thunderstorms in the evenings, today was mild, on the verge of cool, even, and very breezy. I am just hoping for warmer weather tomorrow, so I can apply the second coat of sage green paint.

I haven't decided, if I'm going to leave the look of wood grain, or if I'm going to paint those sections a bright white. My decisions is made a little more difficult, because only 2 of the tables have this pattern on top. The other one is a solid wood grain. I'm probably just going to leave them like this (minus the painters' tape) and repaint them next summer, if I want a change.

All I know for now is that I like the sage green much better than the powder blue. :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Scooter came out of the bedroom looking like she'd gone a round or two with Mike Tyson this morning. We're not 100% sure what happened, since she's non-verbal, but we're think she or Hopper accidentally opened the shutters in her bedroom right into her face.

She had this silly smirk on her face whenever it was mentioned. She likes the attention!

The scrape above her eye is right on top of a permanent bump on her forehead. When she gets mad, she hits herself out of frustration. She has a matching bump on the back of her right wrist. She's had the bumps since she was 2.. Thankfully, she doesn't hit herself nearly as much as she used to. It is so hard to see it happen and have no idea how to stop it.

That's the big story of the day.

The next biggest story of the day?

I finished the porch.

At least all the sorting and purging is done. We still have to wash all the 18 gallon and 2 gargantuan totes that were on there that got so dirty over the years. We also have to dislodge the mud that is caked in the gutter on the awning over the porch/patio. It's not quite an awning, but it's also not your typical shingled roof, either. And there is caked mud in the gutter part of it.

We're not sure how we're going to clean it out, because it's at such a horrible angle it's hard to get our fingers in there. We're wondering, if we can clean it out with a pressure washer. It's a possibility, so we're hoping we can borrow one from somebody. If not, we can always rent one at a home improvement store.

My friend's boys came over today and helped clean and paint the cast iron bases for some tables that had been stored out there for several years. They were a bit rusty and somewhat dull. First they scrubbed the rust off with a wire brush. Then they painted them. I can't get over how much better they look!

All 3 of these tables will be in my craft and sewing area downstairs once we get them finished. I'll have them in an L shape or all 3 against the wall. It's just going to be so nice to have such a large area to work! You can see the underside of the table tops up against the house in the first picture.

I'm not sure yet, if I'll be painting the table tops or not. Two of them are already painted in a checkerboard pattern, but the paint is dull and faded. If anything, I may just paint over the existing paint. I need to decide pretty quick, if I'm going to get these done, so we can put them downstairs this weekend.

Oh. And the stack of chairs you see in the background of the second picture? They came with the tables. Only 2 per table, which is sort of odd. They're on my list of future projects. They'll need repainted and reupholstered.

Some day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's not like we actually got rich.

There is nothing like a nice hot shower after 2 days of working outside in dust and grime. Nothing quite like it. And the water was just so much hotter than I remember it being just yesterday. Ahhh. So refreshing!

We still have some work that needs to be done, because things weren't up to code. So between the repairs and the cost of the permit, we had to add an additional $300 onto the cost. It didn't help that installation was almost $300. I really hate that we couldn't have done it ourselves and saved a few hundred bucks, but we weren't comfortable working with the natural gas. At least we have hot water again. I'm not complaining!

Another thing I'm not complaining about? There were a few boxes of paperwork that had been out on the porch. I had to sort through them quickly to blow the dust out of them with the air hose and put them in a plastic tote to keep the bugs out, but I found something interesting when I was going through them. I found the receipt to the shower surround that we had to sell on Craigslist, because we couldn't find the receipt.

It wasn't just a store receipt, because the surround we'd gotten had been on clearance. They had to look up the number for us to get the price, because it was no longer in the system way back when we bought it even. So I was thrilled yesterday when I saw the receipt said we paid $105 and change for it. We sold it for $110. It was really nice to not have lost any money on it even though we'd had it for 8 years.

I still have the cash from it, too. I really should put it in the bank, so nothing happens to it. It's just nice to know we have the Found Money Fund in cash. You know. Just in case. You never know when something is going to come up. I'm trying really hard to save up for a piece of antique furniture, so we have something to show for our efforts when all is said and done. Time will tell how big our fund gets and what we'll end up buying. It's fun to know the money is there and waiting for us.

Know what else is waiting for me?

My bed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Clarifications and then some.

I feel I need to clarify something about yesterday's post.

It was very difficult to admit I was having such difficulty dealing with the loss of my dream of our daughter's wedding. I knew I'd been having problems with it for some time, but I had no idea what the problem was. I just knew that every time Bugster would want to talk about the more formal wedding ceremony that they'll be having sometime next year, I would either get irritated or start crying. And I had no idea what the problem was.

Shortly after I went through dealing with the tote of yard toys, Bugster and I were on the phone. She started asking me questions about next year's celebration, and I got a huge lump in my throat, but I didn't have any idea what triggered it. So I told her I needed to get off the phone. That I couldn't talk about the wedding right then, and that I'd talk to her later.

She asked what was wrong. I told her I had no idea. I didn't. I had no clue. I told her that I wasn't sure what it was, but that I would be blogging about it, because I knew I had to deal with things. So she did know the post was coming, but neither of us knew what was wrong. And as I started to write my post, I realized there was a lot that I hadn't dealt with, and it seemingly came from nowhere.

I just knew that whatever it was that was wrong I needed to face. It is totally unfair to Bugster for me to cry or get irritable every time she brings up next year's 'shindig', as she calls it. I'm sure she would eventually pick up on the fact that it happened every time the wedding was brought up. It would take all the fun out of any dreams that she had for their ceremony next year, and it would not be fair. At all.

So I faced it. And I feel bad for Bugster being sad that I was sad, but I'm okay now. Really. And we were able to talk a bit, and we're both fine, and we're on to planning next year's wedding. And she sprung it on me tonight that *I* am responsible for making the wedding cake! I'm not sure, how I'll do it, or if I'll try to do something along the line of the one I made this year for them. Next year, I'll definitely start planning it more than a week before the wedding, though. And I'll do what I can to practice on birthday cakes, so I can do the best job I'm capable of doing. I just hope it lives up to her (and my) expectations.

So there you have it. Things turned out quite well, and I'm feeling much better than I was when I wrote yesterday's post.

Actually, *better* is a bit of a subjective term.

I did accomplish quite a bit out on the porch today, but I just wanted to get busy, so I decided to forgo the shower. Yeah. We all know where this is leading, don't we?

I'd gone downstairs to start yet another load of laundry from the 'last 9 years pile' when I discovered water all over the laundry room floor. We have sewer back ups from time to time, so I assumed it was the sewer backing up. The spot on the floor was right near the drain, and the swath it cut was the appropriate size for a sewer backup, so I called the emergency number for the water district. They came out and checked the lines in the street. Unfortunately, this is something that happens at least once a year, sometimes 3 times a year.

They cleared the line, even though things didn't appear to be blocked as a precaution, and I appreciate it ever so much. They did ask, though, if I would please run the washing machine on a rinse/spin cycle, so I could see, if the water was still coming up from the drain. So I ran downstairs, turned the washing machine on, and glanced over at the floor again.

I was surprised to see that the water hadn't drained very well. It looked almost like there was a leak, because the water was still pooled in areas. When I looked a little closer, I noticed water dripping off the water heater. Actually, it wasn't quite dripping. It was running. We looked up the symptoms after we sent the water district employees on their way, and it appears to be the pressure valve.

And while a pressure valve isn't all that expensive, the heater is already 9.5 or 10 years old. So we really probably shouldn't put any money into trying to fix it, since the average life of a water heater is only 10 years anyway. So we've got that going for us.

Oh. Yeah. The point I started to make earlier?

I didn't get my shower today.

Oh joy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My soul needs cleaned.

It's a good thing that tears cleanse the soul. I've shed quite a few lately.

Yesterday, when I was dealing with the loss of the dreams I had for the girls to use the outdoor toys, I was hit smack dab between the eyes with a sense of loss I've been struggling with for a few months now, but I wasn't even sure what the problem was. And while this loss doesn't directly have anything to do with hoarding I'm afraid that, if I don't deal with it, if I don't acknowledge this loss, if I continue to stuff my feelings that it will backfire on me. I'm concerned I will stop moving forward and my progress will come to a screeching halt. I don't want that to happen.

Let me start off by being really clear about something. I, myself, am responsible for my feelings. They are just that. Feelings. They are neither right nor wrong. They just are. But pretending they aren't there, that they aren't real does me no good at all and has actually been quite detrimental, so here goes...

From the time Bugster was little, I dreamed of her wedding. There was nothing really specific about colors or particular flowers, just that ladybugs would definitely be incorporated. I dreamed of her being walked down the aisle by her daddy. Of her having memories of that incredibly special time with her dad like I have of mine. The whispers, the nervous giggles, the "I love you's", the "You're going to be just fine's", the voice catching in the throat and threatening to spill over, because tears of gratitude and happiness are just under the surface, and the squeezing of hands until you can hardly move your fingers anymore, because the blood is long gone from them. It was replaced by the love that passed between your souls as you share this incredibly special moment.

And to be honest, I wanted something for me. As I said yesterday, I come from a very large family. I have 8 brothers and sisters. And I always assumed that when Bugster got married, that they would be there. Granted, the chances of all of them being there was slim to none, but some
of them would be there. They would be there to share in the celebration of our daughter starting her new life with her new husband.

They would be there to support me when I was overwhelmed with emotions. When we went down Memory Lane and saw her as a baby and then a little girl who turned into a lovely young woman, they would be there with me, so I didn't have to go down Memory Lane alone. They would be there to laugh with. To cry with. To hope with. To pray with. To help me wonder where in the world the time flew and how went by at mach speed.

And I know. I know. The wedding isn't about me. And I totally and completely get that. It is absolutely the bride and groom's decision, and not only do I get that, I support it. It was their choice to get married at the courthouse, and I respect that.

But I also feel a little cheated. I feel like Hubster was cheated out of walking his daughter down the aisle. He was cheated of that special walk that prepared him to give his daughter away. The one that's long enough for him to come to grips with saying goodbye to his little girl. Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful that he was able to give her away at the courthouse, but walking her through the doorway isn't the same as a long walk down the aisle. It's so abrupt. There's no time to prepare for what's coming, because by the time you realize exactly which foot is supposed to go first, you're already at your destination.

And I will forever be indebted to Mom for making the trip and surprising Bugster for her wedding. I honestly have no idea how I'd have made it through it without her. It was incredibly difficult, and I was on the verge of tears the entire time. Not because of happiness that my baby had started her new life with Bubster, but because of an intense sadness. I felt so alone.

Calamity decided to drink, even though she had been adamantly been told that she could not order drinks when she asked. We were by and large ignored, while Calamity sidled up to Bugster and Buster's friends at the wedding table at the reception. She then accused me of glaring at her, and thus I was the reason she supposedly drank. What's funny is that I did everything I could to ignore her, because as much as it didn't meet my expectations, this was Bugster's and Bubster's day, not mine.

I wanted nothing to detract from that, and I was afraid I might say something to Calamity that didn't come across right, and give her an excuse to behave poorly.. I don't hate Calamity. I hate what she has done to the boys, but I don't hate her. I don't like her, either, though, and I wasn't raised to be phony, so I did my best to avoid interaction with her. That way, I didn't have to compromise my integrity, and I didn't have to pretend to like her or pretend that I was gloriously happy that they were getting married.

Don't get me wrong. I wasn't horribly unhappy that they were getting married, but I also wasn't gloriously happy, either. It was just so rushed. So. Incomplete. Shoot. Mom and we are the only ones that brought them gifts. Granted, there were only about 20 people in attendance, so it's not like they would have had a table overflowing with presents to get them started in their new life together, but to see that we were the only ones that brought gifts hurt my heart.

You see, our little girl deserved more than this. She deserved a 'real' wedding. Bubster did, too. Especially after having the childhood he had. After what Calamity had done to him over the years we'd known him. It needed to be something more than it was. It needed to be as special as they are.

And I know that they'll be celebrating next year sometime with a more traditional ceremony, but it's not quite the same. Because once you're married it's not quite the same to get married again in another ceremony. Although, I am hoping that there will be a way for family to make it down. To help everyone celebrate their wedded life. But them already being married will change things. It just isn't going to be the same.

I am trying very hard to look forward to the celebration, but it's hard. I'm hoping, if I deal with these feelings that I'm having that I'll be able to celebrate with authenticity next year. That I can be gloriously happy and not feel cheated. That the tears that catch in my throat are tears of happiness and not anguish. After all, Bugster is married to a wonderful young man. He has exceeded our expectations as her husband. He's matured more in the months since they were married than we ever anticipated, and we're so very grateful. He's become a young man instead of the boy of a year ago, and we're beyond thrilled that they're happy.

I'm sure that part of the grief I am feeling is knowing that she's the only one of our daughters that will ever get married. It was our once chance for our dreams to come true, and it hurts terribly that it didn't work out the way we'd hoped. It hurts that it wasn't as special as she is to us.

I'm really hoping I can get over myself and get through the grief I feel, so I can be the mom my daughter deserves next year. Because as much as it hurts to admit it, she deserved more from me this year, too.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream.

We worked on the porch again today. At this point, everything has been sorted except for a tote of Christmas decorations, a tote of Easter decorations, and the toys, which I combined all into one of the gargantuan totes. I've decided to store them all in the garage at this point, because I really don't have time to go through them.

Not right now.

Right now, I need the porch to be completely finished. I need to have it done, even though it will likely have stuff from the storage pod on it in the next few weeks. But I will have completed it once, so I will know I will be able to complete it again.

In the meantime, I had to decide what to do with this elephantine tote that had sat unopened since I put the contents in it years before. The contents of the tote represented a dream that I had hung onto for dear life for so long. A dream I had to let go today, and it has been far from easy.

That big blue tote with the wheels held barbecues in the park, kids playing volleyball, teaching the little ones how to play croquet, horseshoes and badminton in the backyard. It held Scooter and Hopper jumping in a little bouncy house and playing basketball with the inflatable ball that would fit through the inflatable hoops attached to the house. It held laughs and friends and family time and lots of fun blowing gigantic bubbles with the gallon bottle of bubbles at the back of the tote.

Except that it didn't.

Almost everything in the tote was still brand new. The barbecues, picnics, and fun in the backyard or at the park didn't happen. Bugster grew up, never had her friends over en masse, although she had them over several at a time many times over the years. She just never had enough over at the same time to make a volleyball team. Or to have fun playing croquet and horseshoes. Or to dress up in the dress up dresses and play badminton like the ladies of her favorite Jane Austin novels.

Today, I had to take a look at reality.

It glared at me.

But I so want to overcome this hoarding thing that has consumed my life that I didn't look away.

Instead, I looked in the tote chock full of yard toys and realized that it was okay to let go. I took a quick inventory.

1 volleyball net with poles - new? or maybe only used once.
1 volleyball net - new in package.
1 gallon bubble solution (I didn't check to see, if it had been opened or not, but it was full).
1 croquet set - brand new.
1 set used horseshoes, slightly chewed on by puppy.
1 camping roll - used.
1 bouncy house/play structure thing with extra props - brand new.
1 backpack with air pump, never inflated balls, and a triangular boomerang.
2 sets of those little discs with the Velcro on them that allow you to catch a ball - 1 used. 1 new.
1 set of bottles that break apart when you throw one of the balls in the set at just the right spot.
3 kites - new in packages.
1 used and slightly weather worn elephantine tote to hold it all.

I figured I'd put it up on Craigslist and make a little money on it. Actually, I wouldn't really make money on it, but it could go into the Found Money Fund. First, though, I needed to ask my friend. My friend has a rather large family. She and her husband have 8 children. And you know, this would be perfect for 8 children to enjoy with their friends, with their cousins, or even just with one another. And I felt like I needed to know where these toys went. I needed to know they wouldn't just be used for one party and tossed. That somehow, they'd be used for a few years. Perhaps several.

I come from a large family. There were 9 of us kids running around growing up. We would have thought we'd died and gone to Heaven, if we'd have had something like this when we were growing up. The way it was, we used the clothesline as a volleyball net, and we had enough kids to play baseball, even if it was just us and no friends came over. And it was not uncommon for us to break out the croquet and play when relatives came over, or if we were celebrating a summer birthday in the yard.

And while I know part of it is a hoarding characteristic to try to find a home for each and every thing, this was different. I felt like the toys deserved more than just sitting in a tote for years waiting for someone to enjoy them. I wanted a family like the family I had growing up to enjoy them, because they would appreciate them. And they in turn would bring the family closer together and make life long memories for the kids.

And I think I needed to still fulfill a dream. It might not be my original dream, but it was a dream, no less. She asked, if maybe I wanted to go ahead and list them on Craigslist and get more money for them than what I was charging her, but I explained that it wasn't about the money. It was about the dream. And she helped salvage the dream I once had for the toys that were not meant for my family.

But it was hard.

Realizing a dream has died is never easy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Who knew my 200th post would be about a 1-legged mouse?

I'm a bit frustrated today. Looked all over for the restore CDs, so I could reformat the computer, and I can't find them anywhere. I seriously looked. All. Over. Hubby helped look, too. Nothing. So, I shall be waiting until I come across them in the future instead of taking much needed time away from my other priorities to look for the discs. Let's face it. The computer still runs, and I don't actually have to have the reformat done just yet. It's just not high on my priority list.

What irritates me, though, is that I had to have put them up for 'safekeeping'. I just am so good at safekeeping that I'm keeping them safe from me! Glad to know I'm good at something. Hubby's thinking of just ordering a home edition of Windows 7 instead of waiting for me to find the Vista CDs. It's not because he's totally against waiting for me to find the discs, but he's tired of us not being able to even install the new mouse, because Vista isn't recognizing something. In the meantime, our little mouse is on it's last leg, so we'll need to act within the next few months. Stay tuned to hear the conclusion of the 1-Legged Computer Mouse drama.

I think I may have overdone yesterday. I was just feeling so much better than I expected after my surgery that I may have overextended myself a bit. I got the refrigerator taken apart and cleaned yesterday. Hubby helped me with the heavy parts, and I'm ever so grateful for the help! I can't stand when the refrigerator gets dirty, and it had been a few months since I'd cleaned it well. I also did some laundry and a couple loads of dishes.

The thing is, the doctor said there were no restrictions in place. I was just not to have any heavy exercise for a couple days. And what I did wasn't heavy exercise, but I think I may have been on my feet a little too long. Let's just say I'm paying the piper today. I'm really tired. Plus the girls got me up early, and I couldn't seem to fall back asleep. It's that mom guilt thing. I was able to get a bit of a nap in on the couch this afternoon, but I feel I could sleep until morning, if I were to go to bed right now. And that's not going to happen, so...

I haven't done much today. Just a couple loads of laundry, cooked lunch and did the dishes. I'm definitely taking it easier than I did yesterday, but I am trying to do as much laundry (that can be dried in the dryer) that I possibly can. It's slow going, but it all has to get done, right? If I can get a total of 6 loads done, I'll be thrilled.

Next thing on my list? Making a list of things that we absolutely must get done this weekend. School's going to be starting before we know it, and there are just some things. You know?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm doing well. The computer? Notsomuch.

I decided to write my blog early today, because I've got to take the computer apart. Well. Sort of. I'll be busy reformatting the hard drive, so we hopefully won't have any more problems with the computer.

Other than being quite sleepy, I'm feeling really good today, which is a relief. I was afraid I'd be waylayed by the surgery more than I think I will be. This is good news.

Other good news that came in the mail the other day: my new hand held vacuum cleaner I got for the stairs. Even though I'd vacuumed the stairs with the attachments on my upright the other day, (after I cleaned it all out with the air hose), I was shocked at how much came out of the carpet on the stairs when I used my Eureka. It's got a powerful little motor. Seems to be of much higher quality than the others I looked at. I'm just thrilled with it.

And just so you know, I'm not reviewing this for any other reason than I believe in letting others know when I find something of quality for a decent price. I'm not getting anything for it. I bought it, because my poor stairs needed serious help, and I can only do so much with the upright. This little thing is perfect!

I'm hoping to have the reformatting done on the computer before long, so I can be back to blogging tonight or tomorrow.

Hope to see you then!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Loopy thankfulness.

Everything went fine today with my outpatient surgery. Thanks to those of you who emailed me and for the thoughts and prayers of everyone else. A dear friend took care of supper for us and had a tasty casserole, homemade bread, and homemade pie with fresh whipping cream waiting for us when we got back.

I'm sort of loopy tonight. The pain meds do that to me. I will probably be a bit loopy tomorrow, too. Hubby took the day off tomorrow to be with me and to take care of things while I'm out of commission. I'm so very thankful for him. And equally thankful for Bugster who stayed with the girls while I was in the hospital today. It's easier to relax when you know things are being taken care of at home....especially to know the girls are comfortable and safe.

As far as the dehoarding goes, I arranged for my friend to take two large bags of dress up dresses when she came over with the food. So I even made a little progress today. I'll take it where I can get it.

Right now...I'm going to take my rest where I can get it, which will be in my big comfy bed. I don't know why they can't make a comfortable hospital bed, but they sure don't seem to have that one figured out yet.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Laundry. When will it end?

It's been a long day, and I'm beat tonight, but I got a lot done. I worked on laundry and sorting clothes to donated, and I made a good dent in the overall amount. I did 10 loads or so today, but I think I still have at least 20 more to go. At least it's all sorted now, so it won't be too hard to grab a load and get it started.

Thankfully, I woke up early enough that all but 1 load of clothes could hang on the line to dry. The others I hung in the laundry room, since it was raining so hard outside. And although I love the smell of sun dried towels, I also dried a couple of loads in the dryer. They were just too heavy to haul up the stairs and outside to hang. I was very glad we were able to get all the clothes in before the first sprinkles started. Even though the rain doesn't hurt the clothes and helps the wonderfully fresh smell permeate the fabric, it does stir up the mud and that also permeates the fabric. That's a bit harder to get out.

I am hoping to finish the laundry a few loads at a time as I'm recovering from surgery. I go in tomorrow. I'm not expecting any problems, but I am fairly certain I'll be on lifting restrictions for awhile. Hopefully, it won't be too long, and Hopper can be my little lifter and help me out from time to time, if I can't do it. Otherwise, the laundry has waited this many years...another week or so shouldn't make too big a difference. Plus, I will never, ever have to deal with the majority of these clothes ever again, since they're being donated. I love the thought of that!

I am ready to be through this surgery, so I can keep going with the dehoarding. I don't want to lose too much momentum. I've been making such headway lately that it's a real concern. Then again, I've been making so much headway that I'm tired. I'm looking forward to the couple days of rest I'll be getting. They may be drug induced days of rest, but at this point they still sound good.

Speaking of rest...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Today, I was my mother.

Before Hubster and I left on our date the other night, Bugster used our upright vacuum cleaner for a split second. She remarked that she must be really spoiled by her really good vacuum, because she would hate to have mine. It had no suction at the time. I noted that the bag probably just needed changed, and I added it to my mental list of things to do.

I knew it had to have been close to full, because we've used it repeatedly to clean up the sawdust in the basement. We've cut a lot of wood downstairs since the flood last Spring, and a lot of sawed wood equals a large amount of sawdust. I wasn't concerned. After all. It was just a bag change.

So yesterday afternoon, I grabbed a new vacuum cleaner bag, headed to the basement, and opened the vacuum to change it out. I was shocked and horrified when I opened the vacuum cleaner up. There, on top of the HEPA filter was a good 4" of sawdust, carpet fibers and dirt. I'm not sure which of us took the old bag out when it was changed last, but whomever it was forgot to replace it. No wonder my poor vacuum cleaner had no suction!

So, I grabbed the canister vac and cleaned it out the best I could. It then went upstairs by the back door until I could get to it after my appointment this morning. Once I got home, I changed into work clothes, donned a face mask, and fired up the air compressor. It was one messy job!

Even though I'd vacuumed so much of the dirt, dust and sawdust out, there was a solid cloud of brown when I started blowing the thing out with the air hose. I took out all 3 HEPA filters and blew them out to the best of my ability. I used the air compressor on each one for a minimum of 5 minutes each. I waited until there was no visible dust cloud emanating from the filters.

I then took apart every inch of the vacuum that I could get to with the tools I had on hand. I figured it was wise to clean it as thoroughly as possible, because we'd let Bugster use it when she moved into her apartment. For a year it was used to suck up dog hair, dog dander, and hamster, rabbit and gerbil fuzz, none of which is good for my breathing. I wanted to get every single bit of gunk I could out of that vacuum!

Then I washed everything that I could possibly get to, although I'd have been able to have reached more, if I'd had a toothbrush. While it doesn't look new, because it has paint scraped on it where it got a little too close to walls, it looks so much better. And best of all, the suction is back on par, so we won't need to buy a new machine.

I know I could have taken it down to a vacuum shop for them to service, but I also knew I could do it on my own. Mom taught me that. She taught me when I was little not to be intimidated by appliances. That I had the brain to figure out what to do on my own. She taught me that I could rewire lamps or vacuum cleaners or toasters. That I could fix them, too. And that just because I was a girl didn't mean my place was in the kitchen. It could be in the workshop, too.

I can't tell you the number of times we tore the vacuum apart, or the sewing machine, or the fan and got them working again. I watched my mom rewire all sorts of things, and I remember always being so proud of her. I still am.

I'm so very thankful that my vacuum is working again like it should. And thankful beyond words that Mom gave me the confidence to tackle things like this on my own.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A nice little break.

Hubster and I went out on a date for the first time in months last night. Bugster watched Hopper and Scooter, so we could go out and relax and also agreed to guest blog for me. I can't tell you how incredibly grateful I am for her help! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and it was just nice to be away from everything else. I'm glad we had the time with one another, because it will be several months before we get that time again. We just need a break from reality from time to time.

I started a major project when I woke up yesterday, and it was hard to leave it for the time we were gone for fear of losing momentum. It's been years and years in the making, but it switched locations last year when the basement flooded. I'm talking about...laundry. Not just ordinary laundry. I'm talking years and years of laundry that's built up. Well. Sort of.

I have a tendency towards perfectionism. A strong leaning, even. I think it comes partly from hearing, "If you can't do it right, don't do it at all!" when I was growing up. That has been my personal mantra on so very many occasions. It's why I don't take on something new until I can see the outcome in my mind. It's why I obsess about pinatas before I make them, why I fluff our clothes in the dryer before hanging them to dry, and why I am in the mess I'm in. It's why I don't do a lot of things, and it can be maddening.

This particular project I started at least 8 to 9 years ago was laundry, but not just your everyday garden variety of laundry. This was the sort-each-piece-of-laundry-and-make-sure-it's-clean-before-packing-it-up-to-donate-or-save-but-it-must-all-be-clean-before-sorting-may-begin-kind-of-laundry. I cannot tell you how many times I have started this laundry over the years. I've washed it only to forget about it and be frustrated to find it covered in dust and have to be washed again. But this is the last time.

Hopper's bedroom became a catchall when the basement was flooded last year. For some reason, the people who packed things up and took them out to the storage pod when they were cleaning put all these baskets of laundry in Hopper's room. I'm thankful in many ways. At least they're not sitting out in the heat of the pod cooking in stains and odors, but it also means I need to take on the task of finishing it up, so Hopper can get back into her bedroom, or I have to move it again. I voted for option 1.

So I brought all of the baskets and boxes of clothes out of Hopper's room and began to sort them Saturday morning. There were 5 of the 18 gallon totes (like the ones I emptied on the porch the other day), 3 large laundry baskets of clothes, and 2 boxes. I know. It was as lot. I'm not sure why I was even surprised at the amount, but I was. Anyway, I got busy sorting, washing, and hanging the clothes out to dry on the line.

Thankfully, only some of them needed washed. About half. And most of those are still waiting for me to wash them, dry them, fold them and put them in their proper places whether the proper place is the trash, the donation pile, or the save box. It's going to take a few days, but if the weather holds up, and we don't get too much rain, I'll be able to get most of them done tomorrow and will hopefully be finished up on Tuesday.

I already sorted the ones that didn't need washed. Right now, we have right at 20 grocery bags stuffed and ready to be donated. They just need to be loaded in the car and dropped off. I figured I'll wait until the rest of the clothes are ready before loading the car, but I'm very much looking forward to getting them out of my house!

One thing that's obvious about the clothes is that they have dog dander on them. I've been sneezing and wheezing the entire time I've been working on them. I know part of the sneezing and wheezing has to do with the brilliant move one of the workers who helped clean out the basement after the flood made. They put some wet clothes in a black plastic bag, put more stuff on top of the bag, so the clothes had no way to breathe and actually dry out and no choice but to grow mold and mildew in cosmic proportions, and then put it in the bedroom. I found it yesterday.

Yeah. So *that* was a fun discovery. I'm just hoping it doesn't prevent me from going in for my surgery this week. I'd rather just get the procedure over with, but I'm not sure, if the doctor will be comfortable putting me under with my asthma acting up. I'll be taking Bendadryl again tonight before heading off to bed. I'm hoping it might help the situation.

Oh! I almost forgot! That huge bag of clothes from the porch as well as the bag of shoes? Listing them on Craigslist was the perfect answer.

They're in their new homes.

They're no longer my problem.

Best of all?

They're no longer here!

Victory, I say! Victory!