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.

Monday, March 24, 2014

That Took Stones.

So tired. It's been quite the week, but I am grateful beyond words. Hubster went in for gallbladder surgery on Thursday.  It was only supposed to have been a 45 minute surgery, but we'll get back to that in a sec.

This was Hubster's first surgery ever. And he was a bit nervous. He wasn't nervous about the pain. He wasn't nervous about how it would turn out. But he's a bit on the claustrophobic side after a near-drowning incident years ago, and the thought of being intubated was concerning him. He was afraid he'd wake up with the breathing tube down his throat and become violent, if he panicked.  He didn't want to hurt anyone.

Thankfully, the anesthesiologist assured him that he'd make sure Hubster was completely asleep before placing the tube and still asleep when he removed it. By the time he was headed back, Hubster was feeling good about the surgery and just ready to get it done. I felt much better about all of it myself and prepared myself to wait.

While The nurse was escorting me back to the waiting room, I confirmed that the surgery should last 45 minutes or so. She said it was, but if I wanted to get anything to eat or drink at the cafeteria, I should go now and probably be back in 20 to 25 minutes, so I didn't miss the doctor coming out to talk to me. So I ran to the bathroom and proceeded through the maze to the cafeteria in the hospital next door.

Of course, the cafeteria was closed, so I got a couple bucks out of my purse and grabbed a breakfast bar and some peanuts out of the vending machine. They were the only thing that had any potential nutritional value in them, but I needed something. I called his folks to let them know he'd gone in and headed back, stopping at a little book sale they were having at the hospital. I found a couple things for the girls, called Mom to let her know he'd gone in and went back to the waiting room.

A good 45 minutes had gone by while sitting there, and I still hadn't heard from the surgeon, so I asked the receptionist, if she could see, if I'd missed talking to the doctor. I figured I'd been gone for at least 25 minutes, so I thought I'd just missed the doc.  The receptionist came back and said that they'd gotten started late, (at 11:00), and that the surgeon said he'd be done in the next 15 minutes. I knew they hadn't started at 11:00, though, because I'd called his folks at 10:47, and that was after the restroom break, the long trek to the cafeteria, and playing with the vending machine. Clearly something wasn't right.

I sat there silently praying that he'd be alright and playing with my phone. A few minutes later, the surgeon made an appearance. He said that Hubster was doing well. He'd just talked to him, even, but his gallbladder was, and he thought for a moment to come up with the least offensive way to put it, "rotten. Just plain rotten", as he shook his head at the memory. He didn't go into much detail other than that. Told me I could see Hubster in an hour or 2, so if I needed to go anywhere, now would be the time. So I called his parents and Mom with an update and hung out until they came and got me. It's funny. That wait didn't seem nearly as long as the wait for the surgery was, yet it was half again as long. Funny how time works that way.

Thankfully, Hubster looked great when I saw him. He was very relieved the surgery was over and especially relieved he didn't have to have the big surgery instead of the laparoscopic surgery he ended up with. Apparently, his gallbladder was "very diseased", and the surgeon was struggling to get it all out. He'd actually had the nurse call the hospital to tell them to expect Hubster to be admitted.  That he was going to have to open him all the way up.  But thankfully, right after he'd had the nurse make the call, he was able to finagle the rest of the gallbladder loose.

The doc said that as diseased as his gallbladder was, Hubster had been having problems with it for years and just didn't realize it. Sounds like things could have gone badly for him, if he hadn't gotten it out when he did. I'm anxious for him to feel better. To feel what life without gut aches and pain feels like.

For life without his rolling stones.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I'm Going Back to School.

Kind of.

I'm doing homework again. The other day, I started watching Hoarders all over again, starting with season 1. I realized I've been slipping into some of my old hoarding behaviors, and I just don't want to go backwards. I think the habits may be surfacing due to stress, but I'm not entirely sure. I know that my dehoarding has definitely slowed over the last few years, but the last few years have been very stressful, too. And while the dehoarding had slowed down, I wasn't actively hoarding anything. I just wasn't getting rid of things like I had been there for awhile.

But last week things changed.

I'd gotten the last yogurt out of the case, and as I was tearing the box up to fit it in the trash I noticed that there were Box Tops for Education on the carton. I know I've got a gallon bag of them floating around the house somewhere, and I know that they could bring in a few dollars for a local school, so I figured I'd start saving them again. So I tore them off the carton and figured I'd just go back and trim them down with scissors, so they'd be neat. That old perfectionism thing rearing it's ugly head once again. 

But when I'd torn the one off the carton, I'd torn the corner of the BTFE off. If I was going to trim them to be neat, I'd also need to tape that one back together. So I just tossed them on the counter with the thought of getting the scissors and going back to them right away. But then the phone rang, or I had to help one of the girls or something else took my attention, and I forgot about getting the scissors. I'd remember the scissors every time I went in the kitchen, but I'd never actually get the scissors. So they just sat there. For a week. And in that week, I noticed every other BTFE on every other item we buy that carries them. And I found myself searching them out with my eyes, so I would remember which products had them, so I wouldn't forget to cut them off and save them.  

And I found myself getting stressed over it, because I noticed some of them had expiration dates on them. And what would I do, if I spent time to save them up and then dropped the ball by letting them expire. And was it worth it in the long run? Yeah. I think they're probably worth it for someone who doesn't have a hoarding problem, but I realized it wasn't worth it for me. Heck. After this year, we won't even have anyone in school anymore. So after a full week of it sitting on the counter calling me names, and calling my name, and making me feel guilty for not getting the scissors and tape, I gave myself permission to throw the Box Tops For Education in the trash. I gave myself permission to not be responsible for saving the local school through little coupons on boxes. 

Twas small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

But while I was basking in the glow of snatching that small victory from the jaws of defeat, I was snapped out of a fog that I hadn't even realized had descended upon me. I noticed a light bulb I'd set aside last week when I changed the one that had burned out. I'd seen a couple of cute little crafts using old light bulbs that I thought would be fun to do when I ran across them, and I'd set the bulb aside. You know. For when I could get to it in my spare time. I mean, I could make all sorts of adorable Christmas ornaments out of them, but the one I really thought was inventive was where you take the filament out of the bulb and turn it into a vase. Cute!

And then I realized I didn't have just one light bulb set aside. I had 3 of them that had burned out at roughly the same time. Except one was on my kitchen counter, and was on the big television armoire we'd turned into a pantry a few months ago. And all of the sudden, I saw really sharp shards of glass cutting Hopper and Scooter, and I decided that light bulb crafts are not in my near future. They take up too much space to save at this time, so they're gone. If Bugster wants them for crafting, she can have them and can pick them up this weekend. If she doesn't, they will go in the trash. 

And then, out of the blue, I remembered the laundry basket of unmated socks that was still sitting downstairs waiting for me. It's been waiting for me for 3 years. That's long enough. So I tossed my hoarding issues aside and went through the basket. I found about a dozen pair of socks, saved a few socks that we'd purchased relatively recently that I knew the other half of the pair was around somewhere, and then I threw the rest in the garbage.  I think there had to have been between 150 and 200 single socks in there. I didn't take the time to count. 

There were 2 socks - 1pink, 1 light green - that still felt new, and soft, and unworn, but I didn't remember when we'd gotten them. There were actually 3 different colors, but I'd found one full pair of blue ones, and for some reason, I didn't keep the 2 singles. I tossed them out with the others. And wouldn't you know it, but a few hours later, I came across the other pink sock under a piece of furniture in Scooter's room. 


I knew I could go out to the garbage and retrieve the mate and nobody else would ever even know. Besides, I knew it was the last thing I'd put in the bag, so the sock would be right on top. And just like the Christmas tree tin that called my name from the trash that cold winter night over 4  years ago, the little pink sock was trying to get my attention. From outside. In the trash can. 


I've been fighting the urge to dig the little pink sock out of the trash and reunite it with its mate for the better part of the day. It was so unfamiliar to once again feel those physical symptoms I felt that night 4 years ago when I threw that tin away. And then I remembered that it was just a crew sock. And Scooter doesn't like that length of sock nearly as much as she likes knee socks. And she has plenty of socks in both lengths. And I realized that we can always buy another pair, if she needs some. I mean it's not like it would bankrupt us.

Besides. I need to do the homework. It's worth the cost of a pair of socks or two, and it's way cheaper than therapy. I just don't want to slide backwards down that slippery slope I so carefully climbed a few years ago. 

Granted, I still have a long way to go before our home is completely dehoarded, but I'll get there one day. 

I just have to do my homework.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Looking for that rainbow.

Had a bit of good news/bad news this week.

Good news: Hubster's hours are going to change again. Instead of working 12 days on, 2 days off, he'll go back to having weekends off and working 5 days a week. We can handle that. In fact, we'll really, really enjoy it! The 12 on/ 2 off schedule was a bear, and I don't know, if we would have ever gotten completely used to it. I'm glad it has come to its official end.

Bad news: Hubster has been sick the last few days. He was in pain all night long Tuesday night and ended up going to the doctor on Wednesday morning to find out what was going on. He'd been in 2 other times to talk about it, but they diagnosed him with reflux and sent him on his way. I figured a couple of months ago it was his gallbladder.

Good news: It is his gallbladder. I know. That doesn't sound like good news, but we think it is. It means there will be an end in sight for the pain he's been going through. He goes in Monday to get a referral to a surgeon and discuss his bloodwork. He's going to feel SO much better once he has the surgery! Now to get it scheduled.

Bad news: Hubster woke up with a fever yesterday and again today, so he had to miss work again. 

Good news: Hubster woke up with a fever yesterday and again today, so we have gotten to see more of him in the last few days than we have in the last month! 

Good news: Finally got the MRI done on Hopper that is required before she has surgery. 

Bad news: The person who read the MRI commented as though she's already had the surgery, and we have to get that corrected. She hasn't had surgery yet, and we don't want his mistake to keep the insurance company from approving her much needed operation!

Good news: The antibiotics the doctor put me on seem to be helping, and I'm feeling better than I have in quite awhile.

Even better news: I'm not having any sort of allergic reaction to the antibiotic. That's a nice change. 

Bad news: I have so much to do I don't know where to start.

Good news: That's not really true. I've started a list...