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, September 27, 2011

Don't think I'm going to make my deadline, but at least I have pictures.

*Every cancelled check and check blanks for bank account that we closed 26 years ago before we got married.

*My metal Pinocchio lunch box from grade school.

*The test results from Hopper's DNA karyotype that changed our lives so completely 21 years ago.

*Unopened Sesame Street and Highlights For Kids magazines from 15 to 18 years ago.

*Card from Hubster's grandmother from 1997. It still had the $5 she sent for us to buy ice cream in it. We did.

*Birthday card from Hopper's 4th birthday from her uncle that still held the $5 he sent her. That was 17 years ago.

*Box from mug Hubster and Bugster got me for my birthday when I was expecting Hopper. Mug said, "I Y my job like I Y having my finger slammed in the car door." with an adorable note from Hubby on the inside flap.

*The beginning lines of a story Bugster started to write when she was about 10. "There was a boy named Jack, who didn't know the difference between a Life Saver and a nickle. He was a very lonely little boy." And that's where it ended. I would have loved to have read more.

*Bugster's beginning music book for French Horn and her beginning, intermediate and Christmas music books for flute.

*Plastic glasses from a comedy show we saw in our first year of marriage.

*The boxes from Hopper's first set of hearing aides.

*The assembly instructions for the wheelchair Scooter used until she was 7.

These are just some of the many, many things I've found in the boxes of paperwork I've sorted through the last couple of days. 

I set a goal to get through all the boxes of paperwork in the study before the end of September, but I'm not sure, if I'm going to make it or not. The whole situation with Scooter set me back a bit, so I will probably have to be okay with finishing up in October instead.

And just so you don't have to go searching for the before picture, or clicking on a link to see it, I've uploaded it below.


In the meantime, I can see the back wall of the study where the boxes were stacked 3 deep and all the way to the ceiling. The first row is completely gone, and the second row no longer reaches the ceiling, but I still have a long way to go. 

I sent 4 more bags of shredables out the door this morning after sending 7 bags out yesterday for a total of 25 grocery bags of preshredded for the month of September. I've also sent 4 huge black contractor bags of trash out that consisted of paperwork I could throw.

I've been able to let go of things I've hung onto for years in the hope that I would eventually fix them. The most liberating of these items has to be the story books that were torn up. I always felt such a huge obligation to repair them to the best of my ability and practically laminate each page with tape, so they couldn't tear them again. I did manage to do this a few times with some of the books over the years, but more often than not, they were just tossed in a box. I am sure some of the missing pieces of pages I never found ended up in someone's digestive track somewhere along the way. I didn't check too closely.

I'm just glad that I was finally able to dispose of them guilt-free. 

I've come to the conclusion that I'm not responsible for everything that goes wrong. It's not my job to fix it all. I don't have to save everything associated with our children's lives to be a good mom. 

It's better to throw it away than to throw my life away worrying about it. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Paging Mr Man. Mr Red Man?

Two weeks ago, when Scooter had to be admitted to the hospital with the fear of a blood infection, they had to put her on some strong IV antibiotics. One of those antibiotics is called Vancomycin. It can cause what is known as Red Man Syndrome. It is basically an intense flushing of the body due to a histamine response to the antibiotic.

We were told it's not necessarily an allergic reaction, but she needed antihistamines each time she got a new bag of antibiotics, so we could try to get the redness under control. When she was discharged from the hospital that Wednesday, we noticed that the redness was worse. We asked, if she could have more antihistamines, but there was only an order for it to be administered by IV, and her IV had already been removed. We decided not to wait for the doctor to write more orders, and just took her straight home and got her
started on them at home.

In spite of being on antihistamines every 4 to 6 hours, the redness was getting worse and was looking more like a bad rash. Her poor stomach felt like leather and sandpaper at the same time. She was covered over her entire body, except the lower arms and legs. She was miserable. The rash was hot to the touch, it stung, and it itched like crazy. She started steroids that Friday night to try to get the rash under control.


By Sunday, the rash started crawling up her neck and onto her face and scalp. We took her into the urgent care clinic. The doctor said he figured that her body was overwhelmed with antibiotics that didn't have an infection to work on, and it just couldn't handle it. He said to continue the steroids and antihistamines, stop the oral antibiotics she'd been sent home on and to have her see a dermatologist as soon as we could. 

We got an appointment for Tuesday and waited while the rash got worse. 

The dermatologist said that he thought it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic she'd been sent home with from the hospital. He also said it could still be the Red Man, as there are instances when it has a delayed reaction and gets worse about a week out from the original episode. (Her reaction started within minutes of being on the Vancomycin, which is normal, as far as Red Man goes, but the delayed reaction definitely fit in with the timeline of the rash).

He increased her steroid dosage and prescribed an steroid ointment for the rash. He also told us to use an amazing hypoallergenic cream, and he'd see us in a couple of weeks. Within a couple of days, the rash on her trunk started to fade as she started to peel like she'd had a sunburn over her entire body. The sheets on her bed are covered every morning with little pieces of peeled skin when she gets out of bed.

And while the rash looked better on most of her body, we watched it creep down her arms and legs. She looked like she had Scarlet Fever or something. The good news is that her doctor said her pneumonia is gone, even though she'll still have a cough for a couple more weeks. 

Thankfully, it appears as though her rash has stopped growing and has all but disappeared. Her skin is still a mottled purple and looks like raw hamburger or something, and she's still peeling, but she's feeling so much better. The ointment and cream have helped tremendously, and we are so very grateful. 

It's so good to see her smiling again!

Now, I can hopefully get over the temporary paralysis that seems to set in when there's a big medical stressor like this.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life, loss and letting go.

For years, I've had trouble holding onto things.

Obviously, or I wouldn't be a hoarder, right?

Now that I'm back on my medicines and thinking more clearly, I'm making hard decisions about some of those things. With other things, my decision is not to make a decision right now.

For example, I've decided not to get rid of the ultrasound pictures of two of my pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. I didn't get an ultrasound the third time. By then, I knew what was happening, and I didn't want the heartache of seeing what was happening on a screen. I didn't want a picture to remind me. I don't regret that decision, but I also don't regret the decision of getting the pictures of  the first two.  

The pictures still bring me back to the loss I felt at the time...

The physical and emotional loss of the miscarriages themselves was hard enough. After all, we'd wanted every single baby I carried. But to be told that the little sac was empty was about more than I could handle. To know that our little ones had stopped growing just shortly after conception somehow made it worse. To know that they'd never even had a chance just killed me. 

It also made me feel like I had nothing to mourn. That I hadn't actually lost a baby, because there had never been a heartbeat. It didn't help that others actually told me I'd never been pregnant, since the sac was empty. That I didn't lose a baby. 

But I did. 

Three times.

I don't know, if they thought they were helping by minimizing my loss, but their words made it no less real. If anything, they made it worse. 

So I've kept these ultrasound pictures all these years. They are the only proof that we lost our babies. The only proof that they ever existed in the first place. Somehow, I feel that letting them go is saying they were never important to me. That somehow it's saying I didn't love them. That I didn't start thinking of names, imagining the nursery, picturing our babies' little faces in my mind the very moment I knew I was pregnant. 

I'm still not there. I might be someday, but only time will tell.

In the meantime, I've made some progress.

In the last several days, I've sorted through two small boxes that had each held six boxes of baby wipes, two apple boxes, and two  18 gallon totes full of paperwork. I've filled two huge black contractor bags with trash and ten more grocery bags with shredables. Five of them went out the door on Friday, and the rest will go out the door tomorrow. The stuff I've kept has been sorted into 3 categories. 

A small crate holds bills, paystubs and medical miscellaneous that I will scan and eventually toss into the shredables. A small box holds greeting cards and letters from loved ones that I will eventually scan. I don't know that I'll actually ever throw them away, but I will be scanning them, so they aren't lost forever, if something should happen to them. And the third is an apple box less than half full of drawings the girls did, stories written, IEPS and other miscellaneous things I'll be scanning when I get to it. 

My goal is to discard as much as possible once I've scanned it. Normally, I would try to scan it all as I sort it, but I've got to get through the boxes as quickly as possible, so I can find the birth certificates and social security cards I need. If I could just go down to the courthouse and order more, I would, but all 3 girls were born out of state from where we live now, and it's not as easy as it seems. It would take several weeks and $30 to $40 each to get copies, so I'll just keep working on the paperwork and scan things later.

I'm making progress. It's slow, but it's steady.

And I'm learning to let go. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

With an ending reminiscent of LOST

Imagine, if you will, that for the last six years, you've watched your favorite television show develop into something you could have never envisioned. You've watched actors come and go. You've watched love blossom between your favorite characters. You've watched as the plot thickens before the mystery is finally revealed. You've laughed. You've cried. You've gotten to know these characters, and you love them. They feel like a part of your family.

You've become emotionally invested in the program and it's characters.

Then betrayal hits. 

The producers of the show, in their infinite wisdom, decide a fate so cruel. You find out what you've been watching is only a dream. It didn't really happen. You get angry over them wasting your time. Wasting your emotional investment.

Welcome to our world...

Only in our world, it's a dream we can live with and we're thrilled with the outcome.

The reports finally came in on the blood tests.

The blood culture had apparently been contaminated somewhere along the line. Scooter does NOT have an infection roaming the hallowed halls of her little blood vessels.

Somewhere, between the needle prick on her arm that lead to that fateful phone call, and the lab, the blood culture was compromised. 

Our shoulders are carrying a much lighter load tonight, as Scooter is sleeping a sound sleep tonight without nurses interrupting to take vitals. Without beeping machines. Without tangled wires. Without fear.

She is still sick. She's still needing antibiotics and breathing treatments. She still has pneumonia.

But it's *just* pneumonia. 

It's funny how a parent can be relieved that their child has pneumonia, but considering the circumstances, we're beyond relieved. 

We're also a bit angry that Scooter had to endure big time, heavy duty antibiotics, when she didn't need to. That it cost us a couple of days of our lives. That it may cost us big bucks, if we have to pay the 10% deductible for the hospital stay. 

But mostly, we're just relieved. 

Above all, we're relieved to know that Scooter should be able to kick this pneumonia to the curb with the antibiotics she's on. That she was protected from ... well ... horrible things. And I'm thanking God that she's going to be fine.

We are beyond grateful that the hospital acted so quickly when they thought Scooter had a potentially deadly infection in her blood. They took it just as seriously as we did, and it's good to know that we can count on our local hospital to come through for us like that. The doctors were all absolutely incredible, and again, we're thankful.

We're eternally grateful to friends and family who have been there, praying for us, and for emotional support that helped us through this in ways they can't fathom. Thank you!

And lastly, we're so very thankful for our very comfortable beds to snuggle in tonight, and for soft pillows on which to lay our heads.

We are indeed blessed.

And we are so incredibly, incredibly thankful!

Scooter update.

Got a call at 10:35 Sunday night from the emergency room. Apparently, the blood culture they'd taken on Sunday when Scooter went in by ambulance to the hospital started growing something. We needed to bring Scooter back to the ER immediately.

Since she's been in, she's been on round the clock IV antibiotics. We still don't have the results for either the type of bacteria that is in her blood nor for the echocardiogram, which will determine whether or not she has an infection in her heart valves. Hoping to get answers to both of these today. Answers will help determine when she gets to come home.

She's doing quite a bit better, but she's getting sick of the hospital, the poor thing. 

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. They mean the world to me.

I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


at hospital with scooter. blood cultures from yesterdays visit are growing. to b e admitted for iv antibiotics. needing to rule out mrsa and incfected heart valve. please pray.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Perfect Storm, or Why We're Sort Of Ready For 2011 To Go The Way Of My Get Up And Go...

We've had a relatively healthy year, in spite of Hopper spending a week and a half in the hospital and 8 weeks in a wheelchair with her broken leg this summer. When I say we've been fairly healthy, I mean we've had fewer than our normal number of colds and stomach bugs. Some years, the girls have missed 3 out of the first 4 weeks of school, so overall, we really are doing well.

Friday seemed no different. The girls were doing well. Scooter had missed a couple of days of school last week due to female problems, so it didn't really surprise me when she decided to take a nap on the couch. She just seemed a little tired. We all need a nap from time to time. I honestly thought nothing of it.

Saturday morning found Scooter horribly congested. By Saturday night, we were giving her nebulizer treatments to open up her lungs to help her breathe better, and gave her some of the nighttime cold medicines that help a person sleep while they work on the congestion and stuffy or runny noses. We were a little surprised that we had to give it a second time, because usually one dose is plenty. When the second dose didn't work we pulled out the big guns. We went with the cough syrup with codeine, and she was finally able to get some rest.

She slept in Sunday morning, and I was just thankful she was getting some rest, so it wasn't a surprise when she didn't come out of the bedroom until 10:00 or so. She came out and curled up on the couch, and Scooter never curls up on the couch. She sprawls. So I knew she definitely wasn't feeling well. I gave her a nebulizer treatment hoping it would help, but she still seemed off. I noticed her coloring wasn't right, so I checked her with the pulse ox. Sure enough, her oxygen levels were low, and I knew we needed to take her in to be seen.

I went in the bedroom to call the pediatrician's office to see, if they had any openings, and to wake Hubster up. When he heard what was going on, he said he'd get showered really quickly and take her in, and I said I'd get her dressed. He headed to the shower, and I picked out some clothes for her to wear.

I decided to just help her get dressed where she was, rather than making her walk all the way back to her bedroom. She was already short on oxygen, or her lips wouldn't have been blue, so I figured it was the safest bet. I got her clean underwear on and told her to keep standing, so I could put her bra on. I didn't even get it up on her arms before she pitched forward. 

I realized she hadn't just lost her balance. 

She was out.

I tipped her back, so she'd fall toward the loveseat to cushion her fall. Once she landed, she started twitching, and her eyes started rolling back in her head, much like Hopper's did during the Vagal Response she had at the hospital. 

Crap! Here we go again!

You know those little toys that collapse when you push up the bottom? They're ones when I was a kid were wooden, but I've seen plastic ones in later years. The figure on the top of the base is rigid, held in place by taut string, and the moment you push the bottom of the base up, the string is no longer tight, and the character collapses. You know what I'm talking about, right? 

That's exactly how Scooter looked. 

It was terrifying.

I got her to the floor and laid her down as best I could. I started screaming for The Hubster, but he was in the downstairs bathroom, and he couldn't hear me. Hopper started yelling, "Daddy! Daddy!" in her best hysterical scream, and he still didn't hear her. I told her to go down and get him, so she stood at the top of the stairs and repeated her cry for help between sobs. I told her once again to go downstairs and get him, and somehow, she was able to hear me.

Hubster came running upstairs, and by the time he finally got up here, Scooter came to. She was disoriented, but she was awake and breathing. We realized that she needed to be seen in the emergency room immediately, but we also knew Hopper couldn't go. She was a bundle of yelling nerves. She needed to stay home, and it was going to take a few minutes for Bugster to make her way over to sit with her, so we could leave. And neither of us was comfortable with driving her without someone in the backseat monitoring her the entire way. 

We called 911. The paramedics were there within moments.

Poor Hopper was in hysterics, crying. As much as we tried assuring her that Scooter would be fine, she couldn't seem to fathom the possibility. Having 6 paramedics in the living room didn't help a bit. She was terrified. She knew I was scared, and I knew that didn't help, so I tried my best to stop the shaking in my voice. 

Once the paramedics realized Scooter was stabilized, they helped her out to the ambulance. Hubster rode to the hospital in the front of the ambulance, while I stayed home with Hopper and waited for Bugster to show. It wasn't even 11:00 yet.

I got ready as quickly as I could while trying to calm Hopper's fears. By the time Bugster got here, I was ready to go. I was shaking as I got in the car to drive to the hospital and had to thoroughly concentrate on driving, in order not to speed or get in an accident. That was the last thing I needed. 

Scooter and Hubster were waiting for me in Scooter's room. She'd already had her blood drawn and was hooked up to an IV. A short while later, someone came in and did an EKG, a strep test, (we have a tendency to not have any pain or fever with strep, and my brother suffered from Rheumatic Fever as a result of untreated strep due to a total lack of symptoms when he was little), an x-ray of her lungs, and got a urine sample. It felt like and eternity as we waited for test results. About 2:00, the doctor came back in and let us know that all the tests looked good. We were a bit surprised that the x-ray didn't show anything. We figured she had pneumonia as quickly as things hit her. Even the doctor was surprised.

He said she was definitely dehydrated, in spite of drinking a ton of water throughout the night, and that she had bronchitis. He started her on antibiotics, so it wouldn't turn into pneumonia and got her started on her second bag of fluids. He said he wanted to keep an eye on her heart rate, as it was running high (117 to 135bpm), but he figured it was from the dehydration and fever. He said we should be able to go home in an hour or so when the second bag of fluids was gone. Her heart rate had gone down some after the first bag of fluid and the acetaminophen, and he figured it would just continue to go down. 

He came in around 4:30 when the IV was almost empty and said he was a little concerned about her heart rate. He said the only other thing he could think of that could cause her heart rate to stay so high like that was blood clots. Was she on birth control pills, by chance. 

Yes. She was.

He sort of talked himself out of running a blood test that would show markers, if she was at risk for blood clots. He said that he figured it was just due to the dehydration, and that we should make an appointment to see her cardiologist just to have her checked. He said someone would be in to finish up paperwork, and we could go home.

Less than 2 minutes later, he came in apologizing. He said he felt like he couldn't take the risk and not run the test. That they could use the blood that had already been drawn, and the test would be finished in 30 minutes or so.

We were relieved. The doctor told us he just wouldn't have been able to sleep that night not knowing and wondering, if he sent her home prematurely. We agreed. We wouldn't have been able to sleep a wink either!

An hour or so later, he came back in to let us know that the test results were in. They showed that the markers were indeed elevated that would indicate potential blood clots. She would need a CT Scan to rule them out. The test would only take about 5 minutes, but it would take 20 to 30 minutes to have them read. 

An hour and a half later, we asked, if the results were in. Sure enough, they were, and the doctor would be in to talk to us. 

Emergency rooms are always busy. I just wish they'd be realistic about times. Go sit in this room for 3 hours, and if you're lucky, a doctor will be in to talk to you. Having tests run? You can count on at least a 6 hour emergency room stay on top of your wait in the waiting room. By ''30 minutes'', we really mean "2 hours".

But I digress. 

The doctor came in apologizing for keeping us so late. Thankfully, the CT showed she did not have any blood clots, and we were all (including the doctor) incredibly relieved. However, he said that the scan did show something the x-ray didn't pick up. 

She has pneumonia. 

He said to just keep up on the breathing treatments and cough syrup, to make sure she got her antibiotics daily and to follow up with her regular doctor. He said he figured that she'd had a mild febrile seizure that was brought on by the dehydration and a spike in fever and was complicated by her low oxygen. It was a perfect storm.

We left the hospital to come home around 8:00, grabbed something on the way home to fill our bellies and had Scooter in bed with all medicines on board in short order. She woke up this morning feeling much better. She still isn't feeling well, and her chest is still tight, but it's a far cry from yesterday. 


We are ready for 2011 to be done. 

We need a fresh start.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My get up and go got up and went.

I've been a bit discouraged lately. I've fallen out of some of the good habits that I worked so hard to establish. It's not that I'm actively acquiring things and adding to the hoard that lives in my house, but I've noticed my thought process isn't working nearly as well as it has at the height of my dehoarding. And while I realize my oomph and will for reaching my goal will ebb and flow on a daily basis, I have to admit that I'm tired of the ebb. It's lasted too long.

When we got the word that Hopper had broken her leg and would need the emergency surgery back in June, I started to stumble. That stumble turned into a free fall the moment I thought she had died in my arms and continued through the hospitalization and rehabilitation once we got home. When Hopper seemed to be getting back to her old self about 6.5 weeks after she broke her leg, the speed on the free fall slowed quite a bit, but I was still in a descent. 

A few ago I realized why I was feeling so out of control. With everything going on this summer with Hopper's leg, Bugster and Bubster's wedding, and the situation at school for Scooter I had completely forgotten about taking my meds. It explains why I've had such a hard time getting back in the groove of things, and why I can't seem to think straight.

I've noticed lately that I'm struggling with making decisions about getting rid of things. I've been second guessing myself, and as a result, I've put off dehoarding and even writing in my blog I've been so discouraged. I've felt almost paralyzed as a result of my indecisiveness, and it's driving me crazy. I want to get things done like I did at the height of my dehoarding. I want to get this stuff out of my house.

I started back on my meds a few days ago, and I will be diligent about taking them daily from now on. I can't afford to be paralyzed mentally like I've been. I feel like I'm trying to make it through quicksand. Like I'm being crushed to death by the weight of the pressure. Hyperventilating. Unable to draw a breath into my lungs. 

So yeah. I won't be forgetting my meds again anytime soon. 

I'm slowly but surely finding my way out of the dark. 

I made my way back into the study the last couple of days. I sorted through 3 more rather difficult boxes, with at least 95% of the stuff going into the shredables, the trash or into a 'get rid of' box. 

I do have to admit that I was excited to find some things I saved over the years as a reminder of just how far the girls have come. I found Scooter's feeding tube and feeding button she had to have when she was little, along with Hopper's ear pieces from the hearing aides she wore when she was much younger. (We donated the actual hearing aides years ago). In another bag, I found the images from when Hopper had her heart repaired as well as the spare coil they didn't have to use. I joked around that we needed to keep it, in case she needed an oil change. 

Mom didn't laugh, but I thought it was funny. 

And as odd as it seems to keep these particular things, I don't know, if I'll ever be ready to throw them out. They represent some major milestones in the girls' lives, and they're a physical reminder of just how much we've been through as a family. I want to make them into tasteful Christmas ornaments for our tree.  

Don't look at me like that.

It can be done!

Hubster took 9 more bags of shredables out the door yesterday, so that makes 72 grocery bags of preshredded documents to have left the house since I started this journey 18 months ago. I updated my sidebar to help me remind me of just how much I have accomplished. It just helps to see that sometimes.

I did use the portable document scanner the other night that Hubster got me for my birthday this summer. I can't explain how truly wonderful it was to scan some of the paperwork and then put it directly in the box to shred. I felt like I could breathe just a little bit deeper with each document that found it's way into the shredables.

I like breathing. 

I think I'll try to do it a little more often.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Necessity is the Mother of Invention, but who's the Mother of Necessity?

You've probably all heard the adage, "Waste not. Want not," right?

It's an awesome saying, and a wonderful way to live. That is, if you're not me. From the time I could remember, I have felt a moral obligation to not waste stuff - to find a use for anything that had any use left in it. I think I can squeeze use out of things that really have none left, and seeing the potential for practically everything is really cluttering to the mind.

I'm sure part of it came from growing up in a large family with not a lot of extra to go around. And I'm sure the fact that we've always been a single income family has played a role as well. But I think it's deeper than that. I think it's part of who I am to the core. Part of where I came from...

My grandparents raised their family during the Great Depression. Times were so incredibly tough then. At a time in history when women just didn't work outside the home, my grandmother cleaned the schoolhouse after hours to help make ends meet. I've heard stories all my life about how ingenuous she was. She absolutely amazed me my entire life. I adored her.

One of the things Mom has told me many times, is how Grammy would pick up left over construction paper off the floors when she was cleaning. Because this was during the Great Depression,every inch of available paper was used by someone. Nothing went to waste. The pieces of construction paper were often just slivers, but no piece was too small. She gathered them religiously.

Money was so incredibly tight during the Great Depression, that Mom and her brothers and sisters got one new pair of shoes a year. By the time the school year was over, the shoes no longer fit or had huge holes in them. They were all but abandoned, but that never seemed to be too much of a problem, for summer had arrived, and the kids would run around barefoot. 

Shoes weren't the only luxury for my mom's during the Great Depression. Clothes were, too. Grammy made most of the clothes for the entire family. Socks were darned until they were so well used they were literally falling apart. Clothes were handed down from the older kids to the younger until some clothes were worn by every child in the family, regardless of their gender. Like many women raising families during the Great Depression, my grandmother used feed sacks and flour and sugar sacks for fabric to make dresses for the girls and dress shirts for the boys.

But that wasn't enough for Grammy. She wanted to take away the sting of poverty. In spite of the fact that the girls knew their dresses were made from feed and flour sacks, Grammy wanted to make them special. She wanted her girls to know how much they meant to her. To know that they were more than their current economic status. So she got creative. 

When it was time to make dresses for her daughters, she would painstakingly separate the colors of construction paper and put them in a large vat of boiling water on the stove. She would then add the flour sacks that she'd thoroughly washed beforehand to the water.  Once the sacks, which had been opened at the seams to make a flat piece of fabric, had boiled long enough, she would rinse them and hang them to dry. Then she would get busy cutting out dress patterns on beautifully colored fabric and start sewing.

By the time Grammy was done, the girls would each have a beautiful new dress. Mom said it made her feel so incredibly special, that Grammy would go to all that trouble for them. It would be apt to say in this case that necessity truly was the mother of invention!

However, things have changed. Drastically. Overall, Americans today don't know what it truly means to need something. I know it's not the steadfast rule, but even in these rough economic times, the vast majority of homes have at least one computer, one cell phone and one car, if not two or more of each, plus cable or satellite television. We just have access to an overabundance of stuff - especially clothing. We can buy at thrift stores, garage sales or from the clearance racks for just pennies on the dollar, and that doesn't even count the bags and bags of clothing people give away every day on Craigslist or the different online free groups that are out there.

Unfortunately, hoarding and overabundance go hand in hand. Sort of like the Titanic and icebergs. It definitely makes the waters a little rougher for me to navigate. It doesn't mean I can't or won't be able to keep my head above water.

It just means I have to learn how to swim.