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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bugster's Cameo

Mom and dad are on their way to their semi-annual date night, so mom asked me to be her "guest blogger."

As you may know, I also have the hoarding gene. Thank goodness, since my new husband and I have lived in our new home, the tendency has yet to rear its ugly head. This is a result of diligence and a strict "it-doesn't-come-home-with-us-if-I-have-no-intention-of-using-it" policy. But it was not always this way.

Shortly after my husband and I met (and by shortly, I mean a few months) he was deemed trustworthy enough to enter our house, (which embarrassed me enough) and significantly more mortifying, my room. He was never judgmental and always polite, though I knew he didn't really like the waist-high mess in my room. I was 18 at the time.

Fast-forward a year or two. "Bubster" and I were considering marriage (for the first time, lol) and he expressed a concern that the as yet unnamed hoarding would enter our adult lives and settle in, resulting in a problem similar to my mom's. Again, he was never judgmental, he just didn't want it to be a part of our lives, and who can blame him? I didn't want it to be a part of my life any more than my mom or my dad or anyone for that matter.

This, I think, was when the "anti-hoarding" seed was planted. It terrified me to think that, 20 years down the road, I would be facing the consequences of my inability to get rid of or say "no" to things. This was made worse by the fact that it bothered "Bubster" so much. So I made a concerted effort, when I moved into my first apartment at age 21, to pare down all the junk, and be extremely discerning when adding new things. I wanted him to realize I could have a tidy house, without all the junk.

The reason I decided to post about this particular topic during my cameo on "Confessions of a Closet Hoarder" is that today, after a session of frenzied cleaning, my husband asked me why I was grumpy. I replied, "Because there are three people living in this house and I am the only one cleaning it. I can't do it all myself, and you were the one who was worried we would have a messy house someday." Now, don't get me wrong, I love that man more than anything in the world, and I know what I am experiencing is completely normal. Men don't like to clean house. But there's a slight difference. There are actually four of us living there: Bugster, Bubster, Frank, and Hoarding.

This afternoon, Bubster told me to sit down and relax while he did the dishes. This little gesture may seem insignificant but it kept me from just giving up and letting the boys suffer with dirty dishes and a messy house. And I appreciated that oh so much. <3

The point is, it is vitally important to have not only the support of your spouse and family, but also to have their active participation. I'm sure Mom will agree that she needs my dad's participation and support as much as I need Bubster's. Participation isn't always there in spades, however, so on mom's behalf and my own, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your supportive comments (which she has shared with me often), because they have filled in the gaps, and inspired me to keep it up.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Rubber Ducky You're The One!

Several years ago, when one of the local stores still had layaway, I decided to get organized. They had a tremendous sale on 18 gallon totes. You know the kind. For storage. Because when you have a lot of stuff, you need to be able to store said Anyway, these totes were something like $3.50 each. I'd never seen them so affordable. The cheapest they'd been to this point was $5 each, so we stocked up. We got some to use right then, and we put a load of them on layaway. I can't remember the exact number we got, but I want to say it was close to 50. They didn't have enough in stock at the store, of course, so we got a raincheck on them, so we'd get the sale price and promptly stuck them on layaway when they came in.

They were great for storing holiday decorations. I didn't have to worry about boxes crumbling and falling apart. They stack so nicely, that I didn't have to worry about an avalanche when I was getting the Christmas decorations every year. They were just...handy. So I used them to pack the baby clothes I was keeping for the girls and for my maternity clothes. You know....just in case. They came in handy for storing all sorts of things. But I think they maybe hid part of my hoarding problem from me. With them being stacked so neatly, I could forget that there were things in the tubs I really didn't need.

Fast forward to yesterday when Frank was here. Not only did he cut down a huge number of trees, but he lugged tubs for me to go through, too. I am so grateful for his help, because I'd never have gotten as much done as I did, if he hadn't been there to do the heavy lifting for me. All told, I was able to go through 5 of the 18 gallon totes and 1 1/2 that are at least 3 times the size and have hinged lids.

I emptied 4 of the smaller tubs and 1 of the larger ones completely. And parts of it were really hard. I went through my maternity clothes, some baby clothes, clothes that used to fit me when I was several pounds lighter than I am now, shoes, and toys. I filled a trash can with stuff I tossed. I filled another bag with shoes to go up on Craigslist. I filled a huge black trash bag with maternity clothes and baby clothes and toddler clothes that will also go up on Craigslist. I would drop them off at a thrift store, but they have a musty smell from being in storage so many years, and I don't have time to wash them. If I put them up on Craigslist, I'll explain that, and if someone still wants then, they'll come and get them.

There were some things I wasn't able to get rid of. At least not now. Maybe never. Remember I said I sorted through 5 tubs, but I only emptied 4. The fifth one holds those things that I'm not ready to part with just yet. The lid doesn't quite close on it, but I couldn't bring myself to put it in 2 tubs. I am hoping everything will all fit, if I repack it, because I just sort of threw it in there as I was sorting. I'm afraid, if I start a second tub that I'll look for things to fill it up. I know I have plenty to fill a second one, and I eventually will. For now, I want to savor the fact that we have empty tubs.

Wonder how long we can keep them that way.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Elm trees and apologies.

I try to only turn my computer on in the evenings, or I can easily get stuck on it all day long, and then I don't get anything done. But I do have my phone set to receive emails, so I am able to read the comments from my blog on my phone shortly after they're posted. So I have the chance to read each and every comment, and I do. However, by the time I get the computer turned on at night to sit and write my post, I either forget about responding to the comments, or I'm so tired I can't seem to stay awake long enough to make any sense in my reply

So I wanted to apologize for being so lax with this. I'll try and do better. I do want you to know that I appreciate the support you all have shown me by reading my blog and leaving the comments. They spur me on to continue in the direction I'm going and to fight the good fight. They help me more than you could possibly know, and I'm very grateful for your kind words and support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now...back to your regularly scheduled program...

Frank came over today and helped out. He cut down some elm trees. Some were probably 15' tall, but I don't think any were more than a couple inches in diameter. Have I mentioned before that I really can't stand the things? If I haven't before, let me now. I can't stand elm trees! Ok. So they're beautiful, if they haven't been struck with Dutch Elm Disease. No doubt about it. They provide plenty of shade, homes for birds and squirrels, and they look good.

However, they shoot up all over the place. By the time you see a sapling of only 10" or so, the roots are as much as 2' deep, so they're almost impossible to pull out. And in the older neighborhood in which we live, elm trees were planted as hedges around the edges of yards, so we're constantly getting new seedlings in the front and back yards as well as in the gutters of the house. Thankfully, they always die out quickly in the gutters, but it's still a pain that they're there in the first place.

We've had all of the elms cut down in our yard a couple of different times over the years we've lived here. However, thanks to all the neighbors' elms, we're never in short supply of new elm saplings. And those saplings grow quickly! We've had some that have grown 6' to 10' a year. Which is great, if you live in a rural area where you're in need of trees for a windbreak or for shade. To have hundreds of these elms growing in one yard in a suburban area? Not so good.

Hubster finally found something to put on them that will kill them, and he's used it with some success this year. Every tree he cut down and painted with the stuff has died, except one. You'd never know it though, because there have been several new trees that have already grown to replace them. It's a never-ending frustration for us. We're hoping that we can get them under control soon, though. Maybe, if we can paint all of the trees with the "elmicide" any new ones will be scared by the death they see all around and will decide to try and grow in someone else's yard.

Anyway, Frank cut almost all of the trees that were at our other neighbor's fence line down. I can now use all 4 lines on my clothesline, instead of only being able to use the first one. It will be a huge help, as I have tons of laundry to get done as soon as possible. I am ever so grateful for Frank's help today.

Right now, though, I'm so sleepy that I know I'm starting ramble. So I'll post tomorrow about the tubs I went through today.

Let's just say I'm pleased.

And goodnight. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I am a rock. I am an island.

When I was little, I was fascinated by rocks, pebbles, stones. You name it, and I loved it. Not all of them, mind you. There had to be something special about them that caught my eye. Perhaps a little marbling of colors, the sparkle of quartz, the shape, or the beauty of agate. I loved smooth rocks. I liked the way they felt in my hand. I liked how they would skip across water. And I loved to paint them, so they looked like an insect. I was just as likely, if not more so than my brothers to have rocks or pebbles in my pockets come wash day.

I walked a mile or so to school every day, so I had plenty of rocks to examine on my way home or on the way to school. For years, I collected them. It was something all of my family did to a degree. Mom and Dad went agate hunting many times over the years. Sometimes it was a date with just the two of them. Other times it was a family occasion. Daddy found one agate in particular that was absolutely beautiful and had it cut, polished, and made into a pendant necklace for Mom. She still wears it from time to time.

I remember spending many hours at my elementary school trying to dig out one little rock or the other that had caught my eye on the playground. I don't know that I was ever successful. If I was, it certainly wasn't a regular occurence. Asphalt isn't very forgiving of the gems it envelopes before hardening. Not even the marbles we would find while sitting in the boundaries of the yellow Four Square pattern while playing house or talking with friends were loosed of the asphalt's tight grip. A little girl with plenty of determination still wasn't strong enough to win out.

Tonight, as I was trying to clean out some of the stuff in Hopper's room, I happened across a rock. It was in with some craft things that I had sorted. It was a charcoal gray - dark on it's own, but it would easily be black, if it were to be wet. It was smooth but porous. It reminded me of lava rock, but not quite that porous and not nearly as rough. It was about 2" long, 1 1/4" wide and no more than a 1/2" thick. I left it to deal with last, as I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. It had all the qualities of a good rock. The kind of rock that drew my eye when I was a child and even grabs my attention now.

I had thought of just tossing it outside, but we don't have a lot of rocks out there. At least not intentionally. And this could make quite the mess, if it was picked up and thrown by the lawnmower. I considered putting it in a potted plant, but we really don't have any large plants, and it would look really out of place in a small one. However, the thought that kept coming back to my mind over and over again was that it would be so much fun to paint.

Perhaps to turn it into a ladybug, a bumble bee or even a smiley face. You see, if it were painted, if it looked cute and like a little bug, it wouldn't matter what size pot it was in. It would show under the edge of the plant, and it would sit there patiently waiting to be admired. It would be really cute, if Hopper and Scooter painted it. Or maybe I'd get some more rocks. I'd go for a walk with the girls and scour a pathway like I did when I was a little girl, and we'd collect rocks, and we'd bring them home and paint them. I'd make sure they were weatherproofed, so they could sit out in the flower garden to be admired and the paint wouldn't fade. Yeah. That's an idea!

Then, like a car screeching to a halt after the driver saw the 'Road Washed Out Ahead' sign, I started seeing the danger in my thinking. I quickly realized that I have no idea when I would be able to get the paints out and have a rock painting party. It's just not on the priority list that I have running through my mind on a continual basis. Then I started imagining boxes with nothing but rocks in them waiting for me to get to them. To make them pretty. To make them mine. Shoot. I already have boxes that are literally filled with shells from the beaches we've been to. I can hardly lift them. I can't imagine trying to lift a box of rocks.

After arguing with myself all evening on the pros and cons of keeping the rock, I threw it away. I then promptly took it out of the trash.


I did finally just leave it in the trash, and I'm sincerely hoping I forget about it when I go work in Hopper's room again. I fear I may try to reclaim it. Even as I write this, I find myself torn and wanting to go dig it out and save it. To make sure it has a good home. To make that home be mine, where I can enjoy it. Where my children can enjoy it.

I know. It makes absolutely no logical sense at all.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Interrupted slumber.

A quick update on Bugster, Bubster and Frank. The paperwork was official enough that they can get Frank enrolled in school, so they've started the process. They really don't want him in the district they live in, because the schools there are pretty rough, so they're trying to get him in the one next to that. They'll find out in a couple of days, if the boundary waiver was accepted. If it is, they'll be ready. They already have the enrollment paperwork filled out and ready to go. Now it's just a waiting game. Thankfully, it shouldn't take too long.

We have got to get Hopper's room cleared out. It's holding a bunch of stuff that came from the main room downstairs when it flooded a little over a year ago. She and Scooter have been sharing Scooter's room all this time, and it's time they each have their own room again. Poor Hopper needs her space.

I'm not sure what set her off tonight, but she's been crying off and on for a couple of hours. She'd calm down for a few minutes, and I'd think she'd finally fallen asleep, and she'd start up again. She can't tell me what's wrong. Only that she has 'sad face'. She's exhausted but cant seem to relax enough to go to sleep. To say this is unusual is an understatement.

She is the Princess of Prolonged Repose.

She often sleeps 12 to 13 hours a day during the school year. And granted, the school year hasn't yet begun, but even during the summer 10 hours is about the least she sleeps. It's rare for her to be up past 8:00p.m., and here it is 10:30. Thankfully, she's no longer crying, but both girls are up now. They have eaten a snack and will be retiring again shortly. Tomorrow will likely be a long day for them.

Yep. They need their own space. And soon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's official. I think.

Today I decided to give my back a break from standing on the concrete that is the floor of the patio. I might give my back a break tomorrow, too, since it's supposed to be in the high 90s. The rest of the week is supposed to be a lot cooler, so I'll probably head out to finish things up then.

In the meantime, I did get both Hopper and Scooter's hair cut today. At least for the most part. I know that over the next few days, I'll see a strand or two of hair I've missed, or I'll see where I need to do a little touch up. It's always been this way whether I cut their hair, or somebody else does it. The biggest part of it is out of the way. The rest is easy.

I do take the girls in every once in awhile to get their hair cut, but I like the way it turns out when I cut their hair. I know how it lays. I know that I have to undercut it in the back more deeply than a stylist does, or it doesn't lay right. I can give them a break and let them move around a little more freely than a stylist can, if need be. Plus, I can use the television to keep their attention.

The main reason I decided to cut their hair today, is because I had to do more than trim it. Haircuts can be stressful at times. Especially for Hopper. And where she's had a problem with her anxiety and meltdowns a lot over the last couple months, I was afraid she might melt when she saw I was cutting 5 to 6 inches off. She's really struggled with that sort of thing in the past, so I just wasn't sure. Instead, both girls were thrilled with their new hairdos, and I was happy they were done.

Best thing of all today? Bugster, Bubster and Frank (doesn't that sound like the beginning of a really bad joke?) got great news today. The boys' dad some money for child support, a notarized power of attorney and something (also notarized) granting Bubster and Bugster temporary legal guardianship of Frank. It's good for a year. We're not sure, but we think this means the kids are officially Frank's legal guardians as of this moment.

However, we're not positive. There is a chance that Calamity will have to sign as well, and that doesn't look too promising. She's drinking again, and that's never, ever a good situation. I think Bugster will find out tomorrow when she takes the paperwork to the school to get Frank registered, if they have everything they need, or if they're going to need Calamity's signature. I think we'll all sort of be holding our collective breath until she finds out.

I, for one, am looking forward to breathing again.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jitters. What jitters?

Today was sort of an off day. I wasn't able to get started on the porch until late afternoon, but I'm satisfied with the little bit accomplished in that the two hours or so we were out there.

We had a huge stack of laminate shelves that someone had gotten for us and dropped off a few years ago. We'd initially looked at them when they were for sale thinking they'd be great for storage in the garage, but we decided against getting them. A short time later, they were put up on a free group online, and we decided to pass on getting them.

In the meantime, an acquaintance saw the online posting and decided to pick them up and surprise us. Let's just say they did a good job. We were definitely surprised, and not necessarily in a good way, but we didn't know how to tell them we didn't really want the shelves after all. Then we had to find a place to store them. And they'd been in the garage for a few years before we moved them to the porch about 2 years ago.

Right now, over half of them (33 total) are sitting at the curb waiting to be picked up and taken away. I put them up on Craigslist, and someone will be here in the morning to get them. I have backup names, should they not show, so it will be nice to get them out of here. There are still 26 shelves that are slightly bigger than the ones that are pending pickup that we decided to keep and use.

Then, when I was writing this post, I got another email from the 2nd person on the list to pick up the shelves. They asked, if maybe they could split the amount of shelves with the other person, (I'd stated that they all had to go to one person in my ad). And I realized that in all reality, I have no idea when, or, if we'll ever use the shelves that were still on the porch. Plus, I have such mixed emotions when I see them.

I see their potential. I could use them to organize the laundry room a bit better. Or we could use them to organize the garage and get stuff up off the floor and on the wall instead. We could make them at a height that we'd be able to see everything that was on them in a glance, and it would make life easier on us. So I planned every time I'd see the pile of them sitting there.

But they also make me think of the person who picked them up and surprised us with them, and I don't like to think of this person anymore. At all. I found out that she was not the friend I thought she was over the years, and that she'd actually been trying to drive a wedge between me and Bugster for quite some time. She was undermining our relationship. I don't need people in my life that are toxic to my family. Needless to say, I don't like to think of her.

So, I decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone, so to speak. Our porch and lives will be free of these shelves. We won't have to look at them. We won't have to store them. We won't have to feel guilty that we haven't used them yet. And we won't have them hanging over our heads anymore. And best of all, they won't bring *her* to mind anymore. It's a real win-win.

The other big decision I made was made yesterday. It wasn't as big as the shelves, but it was big enough for me. The hubster just took care of it for me today. I had a small wooden chest of drawers on the porch that I was going to place atop another small piece of furniture and paint it in vibrant colors for Hopper's room. The drawers had all been chewed on by dogs before we'd gotten it, so they'd been trashed a long time ago. I was just going to put some plywood or something in the areas where the drawers had been and have it be a cubby area for her clothes or toys or something.

But yesterday, I realized that I am just not up for it right now, and I'm not sure when I will be up for it. And I'm okay with that. And when and if I am ever up to it again someday, I can easily get a damaged chest of drawers to paint. So my wonderful husband broke the frame of the little chest of drawers up and he threw it away. So that's one less thing on the porch. It's one less thing hanging over my head mocking me, because I haven't gotten it done. And it's a little less weight I have on my shoulders.

As I write this, I have a slight urge to email the person back and tell them they can't have the shelves. And I have a few small physical symptoms. My legs are a little restless after having made the decision, and my heart is racing just a little. But it's nothing like I've had before. I honestly think part of it is just excitement knowing the things will be gone, and I'll never have to deal with them again.

I'm thrilled that decisions are becoming easier for me to make all the time. It doesn't mean I don't still struggle with certain things. I do. But I'm moving in a forward direction, and that's exciting for me. It gives me hope I'll make it to the end of this journey in one piece.

Oh! And the best part of the day? I got to catch up with a dear, dear friend that I haven't had a chance to talk to in several years. It was wonderful hearing her voice!

It really was a good day.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What a Sweetie!

Worked all afternoon and part of the evening on the back porch. I'd say we're close to 2/3 done with cleaning it off.

I filled up one trash can that had a really big trash bag in it. I thought the gargantuan bags were gone, so it surprised me. The typical ones we use are already oversized at 39 gallons, but the gargantuan bags are probably at least 18" longer. I pulled it out the rest of the way out of the can and filled it as much as i could before tying it shut. Then I filled another trash can lined with a 39 gallon bag all the way to the top and sent it on its way.

I'm not sure how many boxes I got through today, but it was enough to make a good sized dent in the mess. At least half a dozen, I'm sure. One box in particular took me off guard. There was something sort of yellowish, orangish brown and crumbly on several things, and I had no idea what it was. I threw most of the stuff in the box away, because I realized I really didn't want to deal with it, until I got to the bottom of the box.

There at the base of the box lay a pretty bright red and black teddy bear. It was one my parents had gotten for Hopper when she was younger. It's hair was somewhat long, had jointed limbs, and he was the prettiest Christmas red, not the orange-red of most toys. And right over his heart was a big glob of the yellowish, orangish, brownish crumbly stuff. Along with part of a beautiful yellow and black bumble bee.

It was the beginnings of a hive and the crumbly stuff was honey!

It was so bizarre. It was obvious that it wasn't a really successful hive, since there was only part of the bumble bee still there. Well. That and the fact that I wasn't attacked the moment I picked up the box! Still, it was interesting seeing the individual little sections where they'd tried to get a hive going in the middle of the teddy bear's heart. It was a little sad, too.

I'd thought about taking pictures, but the camera was in the house, and I just didn't want to interrupt myself. I was making good progress. I did blow the little red one out with the air hose to get as much dust out of his fur as possible. He was then relegated to the laundry room, where he will stay in his grocery bag until I can get him run through the wash. I figure that he'll either survive the wash and live happily ever after with Hopper, or he'll go in the trash, if he falls apart. At least I will have tried. After all. He is such a honey.


Oh come on! It wasn't that bad!

You know it's rude to roll your eyes at me like that, don't you?


On that note, I think I'll go to bed before you hurt my feelings anymore.

That. And I need copious amounts of sleep.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I don't like delays.

I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow. I just know that Scooter and I will feel better and be back up to speed. I want desperately to get the porch finished or as close to it as possible.

We had to postpone Frank coming over today to help, because of some sort of stomach bug that hit. We're hoping we'll be able to have him over tomorrow, so we can make some major progress.

I don't like days like today, where I can't make any headway on the whole dehoarding situation. I think it's one reason I push myself on days when I can. I so want to get this done, but my body betrays me, and I'm not able to go full force every day. So I feel like I've got to get as much as I absolutely can handle done on days that I feel well enough to work on things.

I feel a real pressure to get as much done as I can in the next two weeks. I have a minor surgical procedure coming up, but it will waylay my progress for awhile. It's nothing major, but I won't be able to do certain things, so my progress will slow considerably for awhile. I'll try to take that time to catch up on some sewing projects or paperwork or something light.

I just want to get as much done as I can before then.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Because somebody needs to look after the ants.

Bugster has always loved animals.


She's had a wide variety of animals while growing up. Hamsters. Gerbils. Dogs. Rabbits (close to 30 at one point, after some of the does had litters). Sugar gliders. Toads. Snakes. Frogs. She had a rich pet history when she was growing up, because it was so easy to nurture that love of animals when we could. It made her truly happy.

A few years ago, we were disappointed to learn she would not be pursuing any sort of animal husbandry in college. She felt like she may not be cut out for it after all...

Her rabbits lived in their hutches outside. She dutifully fed and watered them daily, so she always knew right away, if something was wrong with one. One day, she came running back in the house crying and was shaken to the core. The metal food dispenser had come out of one of the rabbit hutches, and the rabbit had apparently decided to try to get out through the hole. When she discovered the hole wasn't big enough, she apparently pulled her head back in forcefully enough that it dislodged her eyeball from the eye socket. It was unexpected to say the least, but it wasn't horribly gory. Just...odd.

We knew a vet tech from church, so I called and told him of the situation. He said to bring the rabbit in, and he'd see what he could do, and he'd ask the vet, if nothing else. So I loaded up the younger girls, the diaper bag and Scooter's wheelchair and hurried our oldest along. The broken rabbit sat in Bugster's lap in a towel all the way there. I think she thought she was comforting the rabbit, but I know the rabbit comforted her more than anything.

When we went in the exam room, everyone was very friendly, but curious, so they all gathered around the bunny for a bit. They discussed how they would handle things. It was decided that the eye was a bit dry, so they wanted to flush it with saline. Poor Bugster. I don't think she was completely privy to all of that conversation, because she became quite alarmed as the vet tech brought the saline out to irrigate the eye.

I was watching Bugster who was waiting against the wall. She was so nervous. I suddenly noticed her turn green and her eyes get huge, so I turned around just in time to see the tech bring a syringe with the needle attached up to the bunny's eye. He was only squirting the saline out to rinse things, but by the time I looked back, poor Bugster had melted all the way down the wall and was sitting on the floor sobbing. There was no more being brave for our little girl. We're still very thankful that the wall was there for her to slide down, or I'd have had to had help carrying another child to the car that night, as she was on the verge of passing out.

The vet did take a look at the rabbit. He said that her eye would likely go back into the socket once the swelling went down. He gave us some ointment and saline. We were to irrigate it and apply fresh ointment several times a day. Within just a few days, her eyeball did in fact go back into the socket, and she was fine. We had her until she died a natural death much later.

But this incident shook Bugster so much that she gave up her dream of ever working with animals. When it came time for her to decide what she was going to do for college several years ago, she went with what was practical instead of what she really wanted to do. She went for a business degree. She has her AA, but t's taken her awhile to get her BA, because she was living on her own and working so hard to pay expenses. So she still has a couple of years left, if she goes to school part time, which is a bit discouraging for her.

More than anything, though, she realizes she no longer wants to be practical. She called tonight after visiting a local college. She's decided she's going to pursue her dream and become a vet tech herself. She'll get her degree in less than 2 years, and she's beyond thrilled, but she's also a bit nervous.

We are so proud of her and so glad she's decided to pursue her passion! She'll love it, and she'll be so good at her job. Besides. Critters need to know that there's someone out there looking after them.

Remember how I said she's always loved animals? I'm serious. From the time she could talk, she loved animals. You know those little cocktail umbrellas? Every little kid loves those. They're great for pretending that you're in high society or singing in the rain. Each little twirl stokes the imagination. With Bugster, it stoked her compassion. Before she reached the age of two, she would lovingly put them on the anthills, "so the ants don't get sunburned!"

We're so very proud of you, Bugster! So happy you're pursuing your dream!

Because somebody needs to look after the ants.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A bit of a lazy day.

I didn't get a lot done today. Had a pinched nerve between my shoulder blades all last night and most of the day today that caused a lot of pain in my left arm. A pain pill and muscle relaxants helped, but I can still feel it wanting to rear it's ugly head again. I think it's from sleeping wrong. My hair is too long again, and this sort of thing always happens when my hair gets caught between my shoulders and my pillow. Time for a haircut.

After getting the girls showered this afternoon, we went back to school shopping for clothes. We'd gotten a coupon for 30% off everything in the store, including sales and clearance merchandise, so we made good use of the coupon. The girls are set for the most part for school to start. New leggings (as low as $2!), skirts (as low as $3) and dresses (as low as $4.50) for Scooter and new jeans and t-shirts for Hopper.

It's too much to have Scooter try her clothes on at the store, so I paid for them knowing that I might have to return a few things. Thankfully, I only have to return 3. Everything else fit. I know they have a bigger size in the one shirt that I want to exchange, but the others were the last on the rack. That's okay. She made out like a bandit and is quite pleased.

Hopper is thrilled with her new clothes, too. She's always been so easy to shop for. She's a t-shirts and jeans sorta girl. She doesn't like dresses at all, but she did wear a red skirt with black dots on it and leggings for Bugster and Bubster's wedding. She was willing to dress up for that, because she knew it was special, but I think for the most part she just feels like dressing up brings unwanted attention.

I'm happy that we got most of the school shopping done already. It's nice to get it out of the way. I'm looking forward to hopefully working out on the porch again tomorrow. I will on Friday and Saturday for sure. Frank will be coming over to make a little money and help out. It would be so awesome, if we could get the porch cleaned off completely by the end of the weekend.

I'm looking forward to getting back out there again...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We have to bribe the trash man.

Every trash can we own is full. We have 6. Plus we have 2 huge bags of trash besides them to go tomorrow. *And* we have two boxes full of flattened boxes that also need to be picked up. So we are going to get a 6 pack of soda and pack it in a bag of ice or something, so they'll pick everything up for us. It's amazing what a 6 pack can do to help out in times like this.

I tried getting a picture after everything was out by the street for pickup, but it was raining, and it was dark, and I couldn't see, so I missed one can and one bag. Can't do this every week, though, we'll go broke buying pop!

It rained today after I got back from my appointment across town, but I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to work on the porch after it stopped raining. It was fairly cool outside compared to what it's been. It was in the low 80s vs the high 90s and low 100s. But the humidity was really high, because of the rain, so it felt hotter than it was. I don't like the humidity, but I love the rain, so I'm not complaining.

Hopper helped me out today by literally dragging the full garbage cans and boxes up to the front of the house where the trash cans are and bringing the empty cans back one at a time. She loved being helpful, and I so appreciated the extra pair of hands. It's amazing how much more one can accomplish with even a small amount of assistance at times.

I worked on sorting 3 boxes that I'd sorted before several years ago. One box was full of stuff I was going to keep to either sell or keep for our future grandkids. One box was full of stuff I was going to sell on eBay or Craigslist. The other was full of things I was going to donate to a local thrift store. I knew there were toys in some of the boxes, but I was a bit surprised that all 3 were full of toys, and I wasn't prepared at all for the memories that flashed when I saw them.

Some of the decisions were easy. If the toy was a soft toy, it automatically went in the trash. Even the full set of Simpsons dolls I'd gotten back in the late 1980s when the show was brand new, and our oldest was just a tot. I think I was hanging onto them more, because they were sentimental than anything, but when I was going through the box, I realized I never really liked them that much anyway. They just brought back memories of Bugster when she was tiny. But I still have those memories of Bugster when she was tiny, and that's enough. I can deal with that.

So I put what the former me would have done aside, and I tossed them in the trash. It took a few minutes, but I did it. I actually even got them back out for about 30 seconds and wondered why I was doing that, and I put them back for good. Wanna know what I would have done in a past life...a life that was mine before January 2010?

I'd have sorted them all into their own bag. In my head, I would refer to it as, 'The Simpsons Bag' with capital letters to give it the respect I felt the memories deserved. I would have thrown anything Simpsons related into the bag, whether it was the soft dolls, the Maggie hand puppet, the Bart windsock, the little rubber figures or the pack of 10 Simpsons posters that was still sealed in it's original plastic but had a tiny bit of water damage on the corners. Then, I'd obsess in my mind about all I had to do with each and everything in the bag.

I'd have to wash the little rubber figures really well in soap and water. I'd use a toothbrush gently on them, so I didn't scrape too much of the paint away. Then I'd soak them in bleach water for at least an hour being careful not to touch the paint while it was still wet, in the hopes that they'd still be the right color once they dried. Then I'd gently remove them from the water, rinse them, and put them on a paper towel to dry.

I would have to take the dolls, the puppet, and the windsock and vacuum them first. Then, I'd start the washer on the gentlest cycle and a cold water wash. In my head, I'd be screaming that it really needed to be hot to make sure it killed any bugs that might be living in them, but then I'd justify not using hot water, because I'd be using bleach anyway. While the washing machine was filling, I'd need to get the puppet turned inside out as much as possible, and put each doll in it's own pillow case and tie it shut. Then I'd wait impatiently while the washing machine did it's job. When it stopped, I'd grab the first pillowcase I saw, untie it, and check to see, if the eyeballs were still all intact. I'd be irritated as all get out, if they weren't because I knew I wouldn't get any money for them the way they were, and I'd just wasted all that time.

Then I'd try to figure out what I needed to do with the posters. I wouldn't hang them on my kids' walls, because they wouldn't even know who they are. They'd just know that Mom hung posters on their wall, and that I got irritated when they tore them down and ripped them to shreds, because they were bored. So I'd try to figure out a friend to give them to. I'd probably ask at least 4 people, if they wanted them. When they all said that they didn't want them, I'd throw them in the box to go to the thrift stores, because after all, they were still in the original plastic. Surely, someone would want them, even with the little bit of water damage in the corners. Besides. I had to give the responsibility to someone else. I would realize that it was more than I could handle to throw them in the trash myself, even though nobody would want them, and they were damaged anyway.

And all of this flooded through my mind while I was sorting the boxes. And I realized I am no longer the former me. I am me. I'm living in the now, and in the future, and I want a new life for us. A new life with fewer complications, because we have way too much stuff around the house to handle. So I threw them away.

The funny thing is that it paved the way for me to throw almost all of the other stuff away as well. We're talking a 3'x2'x1' box, an 18"x18"x18" box, and a 1'x2'x2' box of toys. And what I kept would fit in a 1'x1'x1' box. So I did pretty well. But it wasn't just a simple thing. I sorted through each box thoroughly. Every single item was in my hand or in the dustpan for me to sort through at a quick glance before tossing them in the trash can.

I found it incredibly difficult to toss the little figures that come in fast food meals, or that they got from the treasure chest at school for doing such a good job. Almost all of them could be washed and bleached. And someone could have used them. But I don't have the time to bleach all of them. They would have been in the girls' bedroom when I cleaned it out a few months ago, instead of out on the porch, if I'd had time to do it in the last several years that they've been outside. I couldn't give them to someone else and expect them to bleach them, because I wouldn't forgive myself, if a child got a hold of one of them without the parent's knowledge, and they got sick as a dog from them. So I tossed them all!



I picked out the magnetic letters and numbers that go to toys that had been in their bedroom or are in the pod. I can bleach them. And I will. But they go to toys the girls will still play with. Toys that are educational, and ones I don't want to have to pay for again. They're electronic and cost too much to replace. There were less than a dozen such magnetic letters and numbers that I saved, so they take up very little room, and it won't be too time consuming for me to bleach them.

However, I found myself picking out Legos to bleach. Not the little tiny ones. I hate them. They're so small, and they hurt so much, if you step on them. So I only picked out the medium-sized Legos. I stuck them aside in the bag with the letters and numbers. However, since I've been in the house, I've been thinking about how I won't be able to get into every nook and cranny with a toothbrush, so if there's any dirt in there at all, it will probably stay there, and no amount of soaking in bleach will actually dislodge the dirt. And then there's that thing with the unsuspecting child getting sick from it going in their mouth. So I've decided I'm just going to toss them in the trash. They can be picked up fairly cheaply at thrift stores, anyway. Plus, I'm not sure, if the girls will even play with them any longer. So I'll be tossing them the next time I go out on the back porch.

I did find the little die cast airplane with Grover at the controls in one of the boxes, though. It was part of a set that we had when Bugster was a little girl. She played with the Big Bird dump truck the most, but she loved the little airplane, too. I haven't come across the dump truck since the girls' room was cleaned. My friend said she never came across it, either. So I decided I was not going to throw Grover away. I'll bleach him with the letters and numbers. I think I may just keep him around. He doesn't take up that much room. Besides, I think I can allow myself to keep a few things.

The last thing I kept for myself I really kept for me to play with our future grandkids. I don't remember what they were originally called. We called them 'Mr. Man'. There are a few different ones with different outfits. There's the cop, the fireman, the thug with the stocking cap. I've never seen anything like them before or since I bought them. They're rubber balls about the size of a golf ball with 3D noses and faces on them. They're absolutely adorable.

There's a little rubber car that goes to the set. There's a rocking chair and a bed. And they live in a these little round houses that sit atop one another. If you move the floor aside, you can attach the elevator to the top of the building, and crank them all the way up to the top floor. I just love them. And I played for hours with Bugster with them when she was little. And I want to play with Bugster's babies with them someday, too.

Since they're all rubber, I can safely bleach them and know that they're clean. The best part of it is that the houses were all in a heavy plastic bag with a real zipper that had held bedding at one time. So they weren't exposed to all the stuff that everything else in the boxes were. I'll be able to just wipe them off and not have to soak them in bleach, which is good. They have paper scenes that would peel off, if they were soaked, so I'm glad they were protected.

At one point, I came across a lot of Scooter's crib toys. It killed me to get rid of them. But there was just no way that I could get them clean enough to trust that they'd be clean enough for a child to use. But Scooter used them for years and years on her crib, because it took so long for her to sit up. She was in her crib until she was 5, because she couldn't even sit up until 2 weeks or so before her 4th birthday. So they had a lot of memories associated with them. And it killed me to throw them away. Thankfully, Scooter had gone inside to watch TV for awhile right when I got to that box. I'm so glad. It would have devastated her to see what I was throwing away.

So. There ya have it. Today was good. I got things done in less than 2 hours today that I couldn't have done in a month, had I attempted it 7 months ago. It was physically and emotionally exhausting, but I'm so glad to have gotten it done. I'll not miss a single thing that was thrown away today once the trash is picked up tomorrow. It will just be a part of my past.

Monday, July 19, 2010


My allergies and asthma have been bothering me all day today. I pretty much felt like I'd been run over by a Mack truck. A Benadryl here and a Benadryl there, and I think I'll be okay tomorrow. I really wish I didn't react like this when I'm around Bugster and Bubster's dog. I miss her terribly, as she used to belong to us, but I can't even pet her when I'm over there. I pay for it dearly, if I do. I pay regardless, but it is worse, if I've been loving on her.

At one point this morning, I thought about going out to work on the porch, but it was just too hot. It's supposed to be a bit cooler the next few days, so I'm hoping to get out there and get some more accomplished. I may try to just get one more bag of trash ready for pickup on Wednesday. Every little bit helps me mentally.

Every little bit helps physically, too. It gives me less to trip on.

I hate having things too near my feet. It makes me strain my back, because I know it's there, and I'm trying to avoid it subconsciously. Hubster has a habit of unpacking his lunch cooler and leaving it on the floor in the kitchen. But the floor space in our kitchen is literally less than 5 feet square. You can't open the stove and the dishwasher at the same time, because there wouldn't be any room for you to load or unload either of them. There just isn't much space at all.

So when the cooler is sitting in front of the stove, and I'm loading the dishwasher, I can sense it there. Ready to trip me. Bending over to load the dishwasher hurts my back anyway, but just knowing the cooler is there has my back so tense I'm a mess. I realize I'm a mess. I know my back hurts. But for some reason, I usually don't pay any attention to it until my back starts going into a mild spasm. Then I feel like kicking myself for not noticing it and just moving it out of the way when I came in the kitchen in the first place.

Another thing that kills my back is having stuff in front of my feet when I need to bend over - like to make the bed. If there are shoes in the way that prevent my feet from going under the edge of the bed, it just kills me. Or showering the girls in the bathtub, because I have no room for my feet, and I have to bend so far over my feet to reach what I need. I try to only shower them in the shower, but sometimes I have to use the bathtub's shower instead. I always end up hardly being able to move when I'm done.

The back porch has been like that for years. I've hated it with a passion, but I've lacked the stamina to get much of anything done, because of my back. However, we were able to accomplish so much with the porch on Saturday that I'm hopeful that I'll be able to get some more done on my own, or with a bit of Hopper's help. She feels so important helping me out even, if it's just getting more Gatorade or bringing her radio along for us to have something to listen to. And Scooter loves sitting there and hanging out with her family.

So I really, really want to get this porch cleared off completely. I want to spend time with the girls outside enjoying ourselves and not being consumed by guilt, because there is so much on the porch.

Yep. I think I'll be working out there this week for sure.

Got time for a quickie?

That's all the time I have.

Just posting to say I'm still here. Very, very tired, but still here.

Had the birthday party over at Bugster and Bubster's house. It was a lot of fun. Tried to make homemade ice cream, but something wasn't working right. Think it might have been some cookies in the freezer bogging it down. Thought we'd crushed them small enough that they'd go through, but when we took the baffle out, they were sort of stuck in it. So we never had ice cream. It went back into the fridge for the kids to try again tomorrow.

We did have chocolate cake in the shape of a butterfly for Scooter's birthday. She was so excited about the butterfly things she got for her birthday. That and her Hannah Montana DVD, bracelets and necklaces she got. She made out like a bandit and was so happy! It did our hearts good to see her like that.

We didn't get back home until 11:30 tonight, so it was a long day. We were thrilled to find that the cabinet and a pair of sawhorses were picked up by my friend. It's nice to know that's just a little more out of here. It's slow, but somewhat steady progress we're making. It's good enough for me.

Now I'm off to sit on my heating pad before crawling to bed.

I'll be back tomorrow-hopefully with a report that I got something done.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I feel...accomplished.

We decided to work on cleaning up the back porch today, although it's technically a patio, since it's not closed in. It's just what Hopper started calling it when we bought the house, and it's stuck. It's not a one day job. There's stuff on there that's been there for literally years. But we felt we needed to tackle it before emptying the pod on the driveway. Besides, the code enforcement officer said she would extend our time on that, if we needed it. Mostly, there is stuff in the pod whose permanent home is the porch/patio, and it doesn't make any sense to stick it out there, if there's no room for it. It will just be ruined, and we've ruined enough stuff.

I worked out there a from 10:00a.m. until about noon, took a break, ate lunch, and went back to work about 12:30. We were out there until about 4:00 when I had to stop for a heating pad break and some pain medicine. We were in for about an hour for this break and went back out and worked until shortly after 7:00 this evening.

All told, we got rid of 4 huge (39 gallon) trash bags full of garbage. There were 2 dog blankets that my husband had to throw, because the smell about took me down. They smelled very much like dog, and being allergic, I couldn't be around them. But just for reference-we haven't had dogs in over 2 years. There were also 2 large tarps that had started to steadily disintegrate from the elements. It was hard to see the waste, but it was such a relief to have it all gone.

Hopper helped me re-bag 3 of the 39 gallon bags with aluminum cans. We'll recycle those. We probably won't get a lot of money, but we'll be getting more than, if we didn't turn them in. The money will go into the Found Money Fund. Before we turn them in, though, we need to get an aluminum truck topper ready to go with them. We have to remove the screws, gaskets, and glass, so it's only aluminum. We're hoping for a little extra change from it, too. And for what it's worth, I tried repeatedly to give that truck topper away, and while people would promise they were going to come and get it, they never showed up. So we may as well get the money from it.

But I digress...

Although it's not technically gone just yet (my friend will be picking it up tomorrow), we did get a heavy wooden cabinet off the porch. It's made sort of like a baker's rack, with shelves up above and doors down below, but it's old. It needs to be refinished or painted, but it's a good, solid piece of furniture. I had plans and dreams for it, but I don't anymore. I don't need it, but my friend does. She's helping me tremendously by taking it. I'm just glad it will help her.

Last summer, we bought a twin sized bed. The footboard had a cedar-lined blanket chest/toy box attached. I had grand ideas of fixing it up and painting it for Scooter's bedroom, but it never happened. So I stuck it up on Craigslist. It was still solid, although it was a little weather worn, but I did say that it needed painted or refinished. There were 6 or 7 people who responded to the post. It was gone within an hour. We also gave them a couple of bedrolls/camping mats, because let's face it, we're not going to use them again.

Bugster even took a few things. One was a wooden medicine cabinet that's about twice the size of the one they have in their bathroom. She's going to paint it and spiff it up a bit. She also took a little rose bowl/fish bowl thing and a thick cardboard tube that she'll either be using for her gerbils to play in and chew on or to organize cords. I'm very proud of her, though. She didn't take anything she wouldn't use. She's very much aware of her own hoarding tendencies, so she's making very wise decisions and takes nothing she won't use. Hopefully, she'll never be in this position ever in her life.

I went through several boxes and emptied them out, saving less than 1% of the contents. The rest of what was in them went to the trash or recycle piles. All told, I think we got through at least 1/4 to 1/3 of the stuff on the porch and got rid of it. It's a good start. I'll take it.

Plus Hubster got the lawn mowed, trees cut down and hauled over near where we will chip them, (although they were small, so Hopper loved stepping up to the plate and hauling most of them!), and pulled weeds besides helping me on the porch. It was a fruitful day for sure.

Now, I'm going to go enjoy the rest of the weekend with my family. We'll be celebrating birthdays tomorrow, finally, so all I'll have to do is frost Scooter's cake and wrap a few presents before I have the day off. Looking forward to that!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stress and the dreaded butt dial.

I have no idea what to write about tonight, so this will be short.

It's been a long day. My neck and shoulders have been killing me. I am not sure, if I just slept wrong, or if it's from the stress of all the meltdowns the last several days, or a combination of both. I think it would take a professional masseuse at least 1 hour a day for the next year to unkink all the knots in my neck and shoulders. Wouldn't it be nice to have enough money to hire someone to rub your neck, back and shoulders every single day? Sounds divine.

The other night, the home phone rang after 10p.m. It was my niece. She'd accidentally butt dialed me with her cell phone. Butt dialing someone really isn't that big a deal. Seriously. It happens. It's accidental. If it were intentional it would be another thing, but it wasn't. So no biggie.

However, she scared me to death when she called. It was after 10p.m., and calls after that late on the home phone in our house only mean one thing: trouble. I could tell she wasn't in any trouble, and I called out to her on the phone just in case she could hear me. She couldn't, which is pretty typical. And overall this isn't something that bothers me in the slightest, but I'm a little irritated. It won't affect our relationship, (I'm not *that* petty!), but I am a little miffed.

However, wouldn't you think it would warrant an apology since it was so late and late night calls have the tendency to induce panic? I'd have been satisfied with a text saying she was sorry, even, but I think it's a little arrogant on her part to not care at all how it affected someone else.

What is the etiquette when you butt dial someone late at night?

What would you do?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An interesting blog I came across...

The other day I was searching the internet for blogs about hoarding - especially those written by someone who is trying to get rid of their own clutter. It's helpful to read how others are dealing with hoarding, but I've found very few. Unfortunately, the ones I have found are often abandoned for months at a time, and I was hoping to find something a bit more current than that.

I did come across a very interesting blog, though. It's called, "If I Were a Hoarder". I find it encouraging in a different way than I would find a blog from another hoarder encouraging. It's stories and pictures remind me of why I'm doing as much dehoarding as I possibly can - even when on days like today I'm finding it hard to do a single thing.

I drank my last can of soda yesterday, and I'm sure that plays a very big role. I'm having the roughest time trying to keep my eyes open! Hopefully, I'll never drink anything with caffeine in it again. It's just not worth it to me. Remember. You read it here first.

I'm going to go sleep off my caffeine withdrawal...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Queen of the Ghettomobile.

Last week when I went to the dentist, I came out to the lock in the driver's side door being way inside the door. It looked like someone had pushed it in an inch or so. I could barely get my key in to unlock the door. The next day Hubster heard it fall to the bottom of the inside of the door.

So he took the door panel off the driver's side door a couple of days ago. All he needed to do was tighten a nut, but as luck would have it, ( really has nothing to do with luck - it has more to do with the lack of overall organization in our house), he couldn't find the right tool. He needed a metric wrench to get in there and tighten the nut back down, but he could only find the non-metric tools.

Bugster, Bubster and Frank came over last night to check on the car door. Thankfully, they've not been married long enough to lose half of their tools in a nightmarish mess of confusion, and Bubster had the right wrench to tighten the nut that needed tightened, and the lock now sits where it's supposed to within the door. However, he was hesitant to put the door panel back on lest he forget to reattach something. Understandably, he left that for Hubster to do. We were just very thankful he'd taken the time to come over and tighten the nut for us.

This didn't really affect me until today. I had to go to the dentist for my coronation, as my crowns had finally come in. I am now officially royalty. However, driving around with the panel off the driver's side door doesn't look all that good, and sadly I realized I was nothing more than Queen of the Ghettomobile. Still. I held my head up high and did my best royalty wave as I left the dentist's office and hurried off as quickly as I could for fear my rolling kingdom would be exposed.

This evening I find myself without a kingdom. I am no longer Queen of the Ghettomobile, as Hubster put the door panel back on today. He would have done it last night, but he wanted to be able to use the daylight to his advantage as opposed to using a flashlight between his teeth to see what he was doing. It was nice having the door look none the worse for wear, and I appreciate that he did such a fine job. But it leaves me in a quandary as to my status. . .

We've all heard of King of the Hill, but what does that make me?

I fear I am nothing more than Queen of the Heap.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A day of updates.

I felt quite a bit better today, but I still didn't get much done. I did actually get to take a nap which was nice, since I didn't get to bed as early as I'd hoped last night.

This morning when I went out to water the the umbrella garden, I felt a bit off from the heat again, but it didn't affect me as strongly as yesterday. I did wear a hat when I went out today, though, so I'm not sure if that made a big difference or not. Then this evening, when it was about the same temperature outside as it was this morning, I went out and wasn't bothered by it at all. So I'm really leaning toward it being a stomach thing rather than the heat. Although, I suppose it could be the direct sunlight and the hat really did help.

I just hope it clears up soon, whatever it is. We've got to get that pod on the driveway unloaded. Speaking of the pod, the code enforcement officer drove by yesterday. She called my husband, but he isn't used to his new phone, and it was silenced, so he missed it. Anyway, she said that we still hadn't gotten the pod moved back (she originally told him we didn't really have to, since we'd be getting it cleaned out), and that he needed to get rid of the branches beside it. He'd forgotten that he'd put the small trees he cut down before we went on vacation on the side of the pod. :::sigh::: And she mentioned that she'd given us until the 15th of June to get the original issues under control.

Huh? Nope. She gave us until the end of July. So Hubster called her back this morning only to find that he had missed her call again. She said she'd totally forgotten to write it down in her book that she'd given us until the end of July. And she wasn't too concerned about the container. It was just the elm trees he'd cut down at the side of the container. So he'll get them out of there before work tomorrow. Hopefully, they're not too dry to go through the chippers. The chippers will eat them up just fine even, if they are dry, but it's much harder on the person who's feeding them into the chipper. The dry ones hurt!

I wasn't successful at stopping my consumption of soda before we left on vacation. I drank 2 cans on most days and 3 cans a couple of days. I'm down to one can a day, and I will drink it tomorrow morning. I can already tell it's making a difference for the good. The nerve pain in my legs has diminished substantially. I'm really hoping it will go altogether when I cut that last can out completely.

Best of all, there were no meltdowns today. Hopper seems to be getting back on track.

Now for the rest of us.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Incoherent ramblings of the stomach bug kind.

Lost my entire post just now. I didn't need that tonight.

Long story summed up as short as I can manage tonight.

I don't feel well today. Got sick from the heat, but it could be a 24 hour bug. I don't think I was in the heat long enough to have gotten sick from it, so I think it's something else. Besides. It wasn't even that hot when I was outside. It was only in the low 80s. It felt like it was 100° to me, but it really wasn't all that bad. The air conditioners did a wonderful job keeping the house comfortable today. They didn't kick the breaker off at all, so we're very, very thankful we replaced the breaker box/circuit panel when we did. The rest of the week is supposed to be hot, hot, hot!

Last week the key lock on our car door disappeared almost all the way inside the car door. We've never had this happen on a car before in our lives, but the same thing happened to our daughter a year or two ago. Strangest thing. It just wasn't tightened down enough at the factory, and the lock came loose and disappeared. So my husband decided to try and fix it before he left for work.

The car door panel is still taken apart tonight. It's sitting in the back of the car waiting patiently to be re-affixed. So I was out trying to help him a little with it, and the heat really got to me. I was only outside a total of about 15 minutes. And while I'm fair skinned enough that I have been known to sunburn that quickly, it's odd for me to feel sick from 15 minutes of 80° weather.

But it really affected me emotionally. I was in total despair over the house and all that has to be done. I was totally overwhelmed just wondering how I would ever be able to get anything done this summer at all. It's the first I've really felt despair since I realized I was a hoarder back in January when I started this journey. It was disconcerting and depressing both.

Then I realized that I haven't taken my medicines and vitamins every day since we got back from vacation a week ago. I've taken some religiously. Others have been very hit and miss, though. And the hit and miss ones definitely affect my outlook when they're missed. So I'm writing a note to make sure I get all my medicines and vitamins ready for the week and remember to take them every day. They're just so much easier to be on top of when I'm feeling well, and they help me feel well, so it's imperative I get back on my schedule with them.

I didn't get much of anything done with the way that I was feeling today. I've had chills off and on all day. I forced myself to get as busy as I could, and I did at least get 3 loads of laundry done. So the day wasn't a complete waste.

If this is a stomach bug of some sort that made me feel so sensitive to the heat this morning, then I'm sure I'm not alone with it. It would go far to explain why Hopper has been so incredibly emotional. She was much better today than she was yesterday, so that was good. We haven't missed any of her meds at all. Even the night I wondered if the hubster had given her the Theanine he had, so I'm sure it has to do with some sort of a stomach bug.

So I'm off to bed now hoping I can get some decent sleep and feel better when I wake up in the morning.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Melting children. Again.

I so wish I knew what the problem was.

Every time the hubster has gone for his run this summer it's resulted in a mini-meltdown. It's actually resulted in a couple of full grown meltdowns as well.

The last two nights before we left to come back home from our vacation, Hopper melted in the middle of the night. She and Scooter slept in a bed beside us. And for whatever reason, she started freaking out about her dad wearing his running pants to sleep in.

It's not that it's abnormal for him to wear running pants or sweats around the house when he's trying to relax before bed. She's seen him in them thousands and thousands of times. It's nothing new. Seriously. So why she decided to fixate on it during vacation is a mystery to both of us.

Two nights before we left, she saw that he was getting ready to change into them and go to bed. She flipped. She just kept screaming 'NO!' and crying. We didn't want to disturb anyone else, so he just put them aside until she fell asleep, and she fell into a fitful sleep. A few hours later, he picked them up again to go in the bathroom and change, and it woke her up. It was like she was just waiting for him to pick them up. She started flipping out and screaming and crying again. He decided to just sleep in his jeans.

The next morning, however, she was fine. She even got his shoes and his water bottle for him to help him get ready for his run. Then about 5 minutes before his run, she started crying again and saying "Opee it?" It's her way of asking, if she can open the door for him when he gets home from his run. He calls her his "opee it girl" which could probably be misconstrued by the wrong person. He's just saying it like she does, but it comes across like she's on drugs or something because of the pronunciation.

While he was gone, she cried off and on until he got back. We have no idea why it's happening. And the last night we were in town it was a repeat of the night before. I know that the vacation was tiring for everyone. Nobody ever gets as much sleep or as good sleep on vacation as they do at home. We know fatigue played a role. But it's happened since we've been home, too, and she's gotten plenty of rest.

So when the hubster decided to go for a run tonight, and she'd already gone to bed, he asked, if he should wake her up. I told him that I didn't think it was necessary. If she woke up, I'd explain that she was sleeping, and we didn't want to wake her up, because she needed her sleep.

Can you guess where I'm going with this?

That's right. She woke up about 30 minutes before he got home. Granted, the yelling hasn't been as loud, and the crying didn't last quite as long, but the obsession with opening the door for her dad was right there on the top of her list. Listed right after opening the door on her list was taking his shoes off. And when he came home, she asked, "Who is it?" when he knocked on the door and let him in. She then promptly took his shoes off. And yet she's still melting. It's exhausting for everyone.

I really wish I knew what the problem was.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cool cats

I think I'm almost as excited as the girls tonight. We finally got the ceiling fan installed in their bedroom. It's going to make such a huge difference in how hot their room is, and it's just such a relief to have it done!

Before we could work on the fan we did have to go through and label all the breakers in the new circuit panel. It took awhile, but it's worth knowing what breaker controls what light or outlet. The only thing? There are now 3 unlabeled breakers. We have no idea what they control. We probably need to find out.

Oh! And neither air conditioner has popped the breaker since we had all the work done. The house feels darn right chilly at 76° today! Yay!

Calamity found out today that Bubster and Bugster are going to be going for guardianship of Frank. I'll leave it at this: it wasn't pretty. I really hope she doesn't give the kids too much trouble over it. The boys' dad is all for it, and since he has had custody for the last 3 years, he's hoping he can somehow transfer guardianship to the kids and help them avoid having to pay an attorney.

The whole thing just totally turns my stomach. I'm very thankful Frank isn't going to the state. I'm very thankful and proud of the kids that they're stepping up and taking responsibility. But my heart aches for Frank. I'm sure he's feeling a bit disposable.

I'm going to go spend some time with my wonderful husband and forget all my worries for awhile. Worry-free nights are good.

Friday, July 9, 2010


The first time I met my father-in-law, he said something I've never been able to shake completely. I just found out today that it has affected my husband the same way. It still stings just a little every time we think of it.

We were going to a trade school that was just down the street from a convenience store. We didn't have much time for lunch, so when his dad said he wanted to meet me, we just met him at the convenience store, because we could grab lunch, have more time with him, and we didn't have to worry about being late getting back to class. We talked and laughed and joked for a few minutes, and out of the blue his dad started shaking his head and said, "I don't get it. How did you two get to know one another? You both talk so much I don't see how either of you got a word in edge-wise!"

We laughed, but I wanted to cry. I remember distinctly that I got that horrible lump in my throat that I get when I'm threatening to cry and trying to keep things under control. I believe I made some excuse about heading back to class, so I wouldn't be late, and we left together. I just remember choking back tears and feeling so very thankful that my future husband was by my side squeezing my hand in little spurts to let me know he knew I was hurting and that he was there for me.

My entire life, I've been told I talk too much. My first grade teacher remarked at her retirement party that her two favorite students in all of her years of teaching couldn't be more different. "One," she remarked, "I couldn't get to talk until halfway through the school year, and one I couldn't get to stop talking!" I was one of those students. My very, very shy younger brother was the other one. She retired many years after we had gone through her class, and she never once let on like either of our social styles bothered her in the least. She was an absolutely incredible teacher. She died several years ago, and I really miss her.

Later on I often got research papers and compositions returned to me in school with a minus after the letter grade, because it was too long. Yet I never knew exactly what I could cut out. It always seemed so important to me to include what I had included in the paper. And several years ago, a friend told me I was her 'most wordy friend'. Once again, it stung.

Today I was looking up information on a show called "I'm Pregnant And..." Each show is something different. I'm Pregnant And...Have Cancer, ...A Nudist, ...A Hoarder. Discovery Health is putting it out, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the hoarder episode. I really hope that things have gone well for the woman, and I hope that she feels she can reach out, if she ever comes across my blog, but I digress...

While trying to find information on it, I stumbled across this article about hoarding on For the most part it was stuff I'd already read before, but something struck me like a bolt of lightening in the list of symptoms in the article:

Symptoms common to hoarders include:
  • Indecision (e.g., whether to keep or save things)
  • Fear about not having or losing something
  • Distress about throwing things away or having them removed
  • Perfectionism, which makes them avoid tasks and perform slowly
  • Poor organizing skills
  • Using too many details when talking
  • Not letting people in their homes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
I was aware of all the other symptoms on the list and had experienced each and every one of them. However, my breath actually caught when I read, "Using too many details when talking". When I read it to my husband, he responded with shock as well. It all just sort of made sense.

My husband then told me (as he has many times over the years) that he has so often wished he could stop himself from talking. That sometimes he feels powerless to do so. That he feels he has to finish his thought, or he'll look stupid, because what he said up to that point doesn't make any sense. I have so been there!

I was talking with Bugster about it, and she said she has had the same thing happen to her as well. And her entire life people have made comments about how much she talks or given her nicknames like, 'blabbermouth'.

I hate that. I really do. And I think of my throat catching that day when I met my future father-in-law, and I so wanted him to like me, and all he could do is comment about how much I talked. And how I felt belittled. And how I didn't want that for our girls, and yet he's done it to Bugster before, and he does it to Hopper every single time he sees her. And yet I don't know what to say about it.

For that matter, I don't know, if I could say anything over the lump that suddenly appears in my throat every time I hear it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Of royalty and service men.

In spite of greeting the receptionist and dentist with my best royalty wave*, I did not get my crowns today. Shoot. I didn't even get a tiara. The dentist was dry fitting the crowns before permanently cementing them in and had me bite down. I don't know, if it was just the angle of the bite or what, but we actually heard the one crown crack, so it had to be sent back to have the porcelain redone on it.

So. I opened my handy dandy coin purse on my wallet and pulled out the temporary crown that had fallen off during our vacation. After scraping the old cement out of it and cleaning it up a bit, the temporary crown was put back on my peg leg tooth. I'm glad I hadn't accidentally set it down on Mom's table or something and totally forgotten it. Thankfully, I'll get the new crowns next week, and it should be a completely painless procedure. Yay.

The guys came out and cleaned the air conditioners. There were big clumps of fuzz and dust that they removed from inside the backs of the air conditioners. In spite of me keeping the accessible part of the air conditioners clean, the gunk in the back really affected the performance. They ended up not needing to charge the coolant, and now we know what we have to do to the air conditioners once the extended warranty has expired. They said that the gunk is a result of the cotton from the cottonwood trees being sucked into the backs of the a/c units when they're running. I wish we could prevent it.

I was busy when the technicians were here, so my hubby handled everything, and overall everything went smoothly. However, there's a little knob that needs to be pulled in for fresh air or pushed out to recirculate the air in the house that they may have lost. It's gone on both units, though, so I'm hoping they're just hiding behind the front covers of the air conditioners. I supposed I'll try to locate them really quick before we call them out again. No sense in them coming out, if we can fix it relatively easy. However, we'll be calling, if we can't find the knobs or can't fix them ourselves.

Ok. Took a couple of minutes and fixed the one, so I know I'll be able to fix the other air conditioner. (The knobs were indeed hiding behind the front covers). Good. I really don't like having strangers in my house. It's not something I liked even when my house was clean in the good ol' days! Now all we have to do is take a few minutes to fix the other air conditioner and spray some new insulating foam to seal them, and we're done. It will be nice to be able to check it off our ever expanding list of things to do.

Speaking of things to do...I have laundry calling me my name, but sometimes I think it I can hear it cursing, if I listen very carefully.

Guess I'd better get busy.

*Yes. I *did* do the royalty wave at the dentist's office. My sister dared me to, and I'm not much for stepping back from a dare. :D

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I need a swift kick in the pants.

I'm plumb worn out tonight. Not sure exactly why, but I'm hoping tomorrow dawns with a bit me a bit more energized. Tried to take a small nap today, but I made the mistake of having Scooter lie down at the same time. I don't think more than 2 minutes went by without her hitting me or poking me to show her displeasure at having to attempt a nap.

I do have to say that I'm thrilled beyond thrilled that the electrician got the new breaker box/electrical panel installed today. It's huge compared to the old one-2 to 3 times the size. So it's got plenty of room for more breakers to be installed, if we need them, and it's got plenty of breathing room to help keep things cooler in there. Now I'm almost anxious for Friday, since it's going to be warmer, and we can see how the air conditioners work. Mostly though, I'm just anxious for Friday, because it means I can sleep in a little, because I won't have to get up for anything.

The service techs will be here in the morning to clean the air conditioners. I'm hoping they don't take too long. Then I have to go to the dentist and get my permanent crowns put on. They said it should take about half an hour. I lost one of my temporary crowns while I was on vacation, so I'm sort of looking forward to having something that looks more like a tooth when I smile instead of looking like I have a really short peg leg in my mouth.

I'm going to bed now, so I can some sleep. I just need to reboot.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Melting children.

So. We found out today that we need to replace the electrical panel. Remember how the window air conditioners kept flipping the breaker? Well, even though we had dedicated outlets installed shortly before we left on vacation, the breakers are still flipping. The outlets are rated 15amp (although tomorrow they will be 20amp after the upgrade), and the air conditioners are only rated 11.5amp, so they shouldn't be overwhelming the circuits at all even now. But we're still having a problem with the breakers flipping. Apparently, it is because the current electrical panel is as old as dirt and is overheating enough that it's flipping the breakers when it shouldn't.

By noon tomorrow we should have stable breakers that don't flip every 10 minutes. I'm very much looking forward to that. It will be nice not to have to stop what I'm doing to go push the breaker back on. Yep. It's going to be nice. Thankfully, both tomorrow and Thursday are supposed to be cooler, so it won't be too hard to deal with the complete lack of cooled air for a few hours.

The technician came out today to look at the air conditioners as part of the extended warranty protection. The one air conditioner isn't working worth a darn. He figures it's because it needs removed from it's case and cleaned well inside. He and someone else will be coming back out on Thursday morning to thoroughly clean the units. If that doesn't make the one window unit cool like it's supposed to, he'll charge the coolant. We may make it through summer after all!

I'm so glad we'll be able to have a cooler house in the next few days. I need to make a birthday cake for Scooter. Can't believe our baby will be 17 already.

It's been a very long, emotional day. I'm glad it's over. I had to deal with a couple of melting children today. I am thinking they maybe the hubster forgot to give them their Theanine last night. I need to check with him to make sure. It would definitely explain the meltdowns they both had today.

I'm looking for the new start that the morning brings, a cool house, and no melting children!

Monday, July 5, 2010


This might take a bit, so bear with me. To say I'm a bit distressed and more than a bit irritated would be an understatement...

Bugster met her husband almost 5 years ago. Bug's hubster (I'll call him 'Bubster') had to step up and be the man of the family when his dad took off with another woman to another part of the country leaving him and his younger brother in the care (and I use that term loosely!) of their mother. It's been an absolute nightmare for the kids.

Bubster was signing his paycheck over to his mom (I'll call her 'Calamity') to buy groceries when he was only 16 or 17. She would buy minimal groceries and drink the rest away. She hasn't had a job that lasted for more than 2 weeks in the entire time we've known Bubster. She has been evicted from every place she's paid rent in that period of time for nonpayment and has been kicked out of friends' homes each of the other places she's lived.

Calamity stole a credit card application out of the mail that was in Bubster's name and stole his identity. He had no idea until the creditors came calling for a card she'd maxed out. She routinely left Bubster and his little brother alone to hang out with her boyfriend who was in jail. That's how the boys spent their last Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year together before Bubster moved out on his own-alone for the holidays and forbidden to come to our house for dinner.

She supposedly threw their brand new video games in the trash, because she was mad at the kids, although we suspect she pawned them for booze. She promised bicycles and gifts to the kids and drank the Christmas/birthday money away instead. It was just a hopeless situation.

After one of the evictions, she moved with Bubster's little brother (I'll call him Frank) to the next school district. Calamity did absolutely nothing to enroll him in school at all. Instead, she let him play video games all day long and called it 'homeschooling' (this kind of thing is what gives homeschooling a bad name, and it drives me nuts!) while she'd drown herself in the bottle. We got involved, since we knew the principal of the school he was supposed to be attending, and the principal got the ball rolling. If the principal hadn't gotten involved Bubster's little brother wouldn't be turned over to CPS, because that was the next step we would have taken.

At the end of that school year 3 years ago, Calamity sent Frank to live with his dad, because she 'just couldn't handle it anymore'. It was probably the best thing that could have happened to Frank, as she spiraled even further out of control. The fact that Bubster somehow not only survived this woman but has actually become a decent, upstanding young man is beyond us. We are very, very proud of him and proud to call him our son-in-law.

Fast forward 3 years. Frank came to spend the summer with Bugster, Bubster and Calamity. And although she'd known for months that he would be coming, Calamity did nothing to prepare for his arrival. She had no food. She hadn't done the laundry. Nothing. Can you imagine how welcome he felt?

So Frank, now 14, has spent a lot of the time he's been here with Bugster and Bubster. At this point, he doesn't even like spending time with Calamity. Not only is there nothing to do at her apartment, but she has him babysit for her boyfriend's kids or grandkids for free! He's never met these people before, but she makes him feel obligated. It's just so wrong on so many levels!

Anyway, I've been on the phone most of the day with Bugster. She's at her wit's end. The boys' dad has decided that Frank will not be coming home, because he 'just can't handle it' now. As of right now, it looks like Bugster and Bubster will have Frank living with them. They are looking into guardianship, and there is hope that she will willingly sign Frank over to them, so they don't have a problem with her fighting them.

However, it appears as though they're ready to fight.

Frank is not a disposable child.

They will not let him be thrown away yet again.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


The time I had with my family was fleeting and went by so incredibly quickly that I wanted to spend every waking moment soaking it in. I decided my blog could wait. But I'm back home now, and I hopefully won't be missing any more.

I have tons of stuff to do. I'm motivated to get back to it, but I'm taking the day off. We've been invited to The Bugster's house for a BBQ to celebrate Independence Day. We'll go over sometime this afternoon. The girls are still sleeping, so it might be awhile.

We got home this morning around 4 a.m. It was a long car drive, but it was uneventful overall. PMS ruled the backseat, so we had a few issues on one stretch of the trip, but smiles eventually prevailed. I'll take smiles and laughter over PMS any day. Let's just say we're glad to be home where we're not held captive by 4 doors and 4 wheels.

It was hard leaving to start our journey back home. I usually can't talk for the first 50 miles or so because of the lump in my throat. This time the lump lasted about 150 miles. This was the first we'd been home since we lost Daddy. It still felt like home, but there was a definite emptiness without Dad. The strangest thing though, was that it didn't really hit me until we were pulling out of town. I'd once again pushed my feelings aside until I could deal with them. I grieved again like I haven't in a very long time.

It's always hard leaving to come back home. We have to leave family. I know my family is unique. The more I'm around other people and hear about their families, the more unique I know my family is. The depth of love that we have for one another is unrivaled. And our kids flourish amongst their aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. Shoot. We all do.

The hubster and I talked a lot about it on the way back to our home. We've lived here for 17 years, yet we still consider our hometown home. How weird is that? We discussed all manner of things, but the crux of the conversation lie at the feet of our desire to move home again someday. We are both feeling a pull to go back permanently. We always do. Every single time we visit home. But this time, I think it's different. It's no longer a gentle tug but an all out tug of war kind of pull.

This time, I think we may actually do it. This time, I think we're serious. Only time will tell, but we've made very tentative plans to move back in 5 years. At that point, both girls will be out of school. The dehoarding should be complete. We would be debt free. And we'd have a little more equity in our home to make things easier.

On the downside, we'd be leaving Bugster and her new husband. That would be so incredibly hard.

Maybe they'll be ready for a move then, too.