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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ouchies and bandages.

From time to time, something current reminds me of a painful part of my past, and I will likely be writing about it on my blog. Such was the case of yesterday's post. A friend's friend lost their baby this week. She was 19 weeks along. The memories of my own miscarriages came flooding back.

Much of the time when dealing with grief and loss in my life, I've pushed my feelings aside and not dealt with the feelings. And because I started this blog to try to deal with why I have fallen into hoarding, I feel like I must acknowledge my feelings in order to get past them. Obviously, ignoring the hard stuff hasn't worked so well for me.

Writing often helps me process what it is I'm feeling. It helps me move on instead of staying in the past and living in the hidden grief. I'm just muddling through the best I can.

Plus blogging is cheaper than therapy.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I was 5 years old when my dad brought mom home from the hospital. She had gone in to have our baby brother. She came home with empty arms. Our baby brother died when he was 3 days old as a result of an alcoholic doctor. Lawsuits were not common 40 years ago when we lost him, and I don't know that my parents would have sued anyway. The doctor, whose negligence resulted in his death, was very dear to my parents, and to say he felt bad about it was apparently an understatement. From what I understand, he stopped delivering babies after he inadvertently killed the youngest member of our family. It tore him apart.

But I don't think it could have affected him nearly as much as it affected our family. My mom never has gotten over it. For a full week before and after his birthday every year she is almost non-functioning with grief. I'm sure she pictures what he would have looked like, what he would be doing for a living, how many children he'd have had, but along with that, I know she has to wonder what he'd have been like as a little boy. Would he have been more sensitive like my younger brother or more of a rebel like one of my older ones And I'm sure she has wondered repeatedly what she could have done to have prevented it from happening and probably even suffered a bit from survivor's guilt. My mom's heart is huge, and she'd much rather have given her life, if his had been spared.

And while we never lost a baby after birth, we did lose 3 little ones who never made it into this world. The grief was overwhelming. We fell in love with every single one of them the moment we found out we were expecting. We wondered who they would resemble. Would we finally have our little boy? What would it mean for Hopper and Scooter? If the babies didn't have the genetic condition the girls have, would they ever think that they weren't good enough, and that was why we tried for more? What would it mean for the baby having 2 older sisters who they would eventually surpass in ability?

We hadn't come to an answer for any one of the questions when we lost them at 16, 13 and 9 weeks. We picked out names. We felt the first one we lost was finally our little boy. We named him Shamus Andrew. We sensed our next was another little girl. We named her Sylvia Adeline. We didn't name our last one. We didn't know about the pregnancy long enough to get a grasp of who we had lost, but the loss was tremendous.

It's amazing how big a void losing a child can leave in your life. Suddenly all the hopes and dreams you had from the moment the morning sickness started are ripped out of your hands - no matter how desperately you try to hold on. Sadly, it is totally out of your control, so you reach out to try to maintain control as you feel yourself free falling. You cling to what you do have. You hug your children a little tighter and more often. You never want to let them go.

For me, not only did I cling to my girls and my husband even more tightly. I hung onto anything and everything of theirs that had memories attached. Baby toys. The baby and maternity clothes were the hardest. I take that back. I still haven't been able to let go of the baby blankets I made. I'm not sure I'll ever get rid of them. I held onto the hope that one day, some day, I'd have a reason to wear my favorite blue and black plaid flannel maternity shirt that I wore with all 3 girls. That someday we would put the little pink bonnets and lacy dresses on another little sweetheart with a thick head full of hair.


It's hard to give up Someday.

Someday is so full of promise.

Someday is so full of hope.

Someday is so filled with dreams.

It's really hard to give up Someday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Circling the drain.

I didn't get to sleep when I was hoping last night. I got about 4 hours of sleep before I had to get up to get Hopper off to school. Scooter stayed home from school today since she wasn't feeling well, so once Hopper was up, I needed to stay up for the day. I decided I'd face my fears and stay home to meet the appraiser and take her through the house with my husband.

So I cleaned up here and there as I could. I got some laundry started and worked in the kitchen a bit, cleaned up in the bedroom, made the girls beds and straightened up in their rooms. At that point, my back was hurting, so I sat down on my heating pad for awhile. I thought I was just going to sit for a minute, but my heating pad felt so good that I started to drift off. I set the alarm on my phone to go off in 30 minutes, figuring it would give me enough time on the heating pad, and I'd be able to work on something else.

Yeah. That didn't happen. I had the time set right for my alarm to go off, but I forgot to click it over to AM, so it stayed on PM and didn't go off. Scooter was watching The Price Is Right, and I heard in my sleep that they were showing the showcases, and I woke up immediately. I ended up sleeping for a full hour instead of just the 30 minutes I'd wanted. At that point, I only had time to shower and get ready for her to show up, so it probably worked out for the better.

The appraiser showed up when she was expected to show, and my husband went out to meet her. (You know the best way to get the phone or doorbell to ring, don't you? That's right. Listen to Mother Nature's call and take that exact moment to use the restroom. Happens every time!) She'd brought an assistant along. I met the assistant while my husband brought the appraiser to the back yard. She took a couple of pictures and they came inside. Both women were very nice. The Hubster had called the appraiser yesterday to explain that we were recovering hoarders and to explain the situation. He was as nervous as I was about it.

Did I mention that they were both very nice? I also think they were expecting much worse than they got with how the house looked. Thankfully, they just noted that there was a garage, and they didn't go in or take a picture. It was more obvious to The Hubster and me that we really have gotten rid of a ton of stuff when we were taking them on the tour. The appraiser did say that the house appeared to have good bones and was structurally sound, so that gave us hope. We also showed all the things that we have done since we bought the house to improve it.

Part of our fears, aside from having our dirty little secret exposed, was that 2 of the 3 bathrooms we have are in rough shape. One has been ripped down to the studs, but we have gotten the new subfloor installed, gotten the backer board up, and installed the shower pan, but that's as far as we've gotten. We do have the tile needed for the shower and floor, the new pedestal sink, the new matching toilet, and the drywall tape and texture stuff all out in the garage, but that's part of the problem. It's in the garage and not installed. It will happen, though. We absolutely will get to it. It's just a matter of when.

The other main bathroom upstairs is going to need to be ripped down to the studs eventually. The bathtub is not level. The subfloor is sunken or rotted away by the toilet and bathtub. But to be fair, it was when we bought the house. We just didn't know about it until after we moved in. The elderly woman we bought the house from had throw rugs all over the bathroom floor with furniture on top of them, so the inspector didn't catch that there was that much damage when he went through that room. It was also obvious that tub surround ineffective at keeping the water out of the wall, because the first time we used the bathtub and put our hand on the wall, it caved in. Again. We didn't find this out until after we moved in.

There was also evidence of the wall having gotten wet and having been replaced beside the bathtub. They hadn't done a really good patch job. And someone took great advantage of the elderly woman we bought the house from when they installed the new sink. Instead of getting a regular sink to put into the counter, the idiot got a sink with a backsplash but didn't remove the existing backsplash when he installed it. In spite of the fact that it sticks forward further than it should, it isn't far enough forward. The old vanity that's in the bathroom is about 4" deeper than the sink is, so the sink is way too far back. He should have gotten a sink to drop down into the existing hole in the vanity. Not a sink that was basically a vanity top.

And when this scam artist installed this sink for her, he broke a bunch of the tiles around the sink. They were the really ugly dusty pink from the 60s and an even uglier brownish mauve. As you can see in this picture, he didn't even attempt to replaced the brown one that fell off.

Instead of looking for anything that looked even close or trying to save the old tiles, he installed white ones that hang over the edge of the vanity. The broken tile in the picture broke from one of the kids putting their weight on it. Installing it to stick out over the edge made it weaker than a tile normally is. We were just very thankful that the girls didn't get hurt.

Seriously! It's not that hard to cut them down to the correct size! It's an absolute mess. And we know that with all the work that needs done in there that it will definitely affect the value of the house. We can't wait until we can get it renovated, but to spend money on doing it right now just isn't an option. Believe me, if we had the money, it would be the thing I'd fight for the hardest. I hate that sink! It kills my back every time I wash my hands!

Anyway, the appraiser said that we'll know in a week or so what the appraised value of the home is. We think we'll do okay, but we also know that in spite of the fact we've made improvements that the bathrooms will definitely count against us, so we're still a bit nervous. At the same time, there's nothing we can do to change it. Things are what they are, and we won't know what they actually are until next week. Hopefully, we can just put it out of our minds until then.

After the appraiser and her assistant left and Hopper got home from school, I worked on painting on the back porch again. I think I'm done with the bookshelf, but I'm not 100% sure. I'll need to see it in the light earlier in the day tomorrow. The sun was in my eyes when I was looking at it today, and I just couldn't tell. I was also able to get some sanding done on another piece of furniture that will be used downstairs. I'll finish sanding it tomorrow and will hopefully get it primed and get a coat or two on the doors, so we can get them installed this weekend.

I didn't get on the treadmill yesterday, even though it was my scheduled day. I was too nerved up, and today my back is hurting so much that I've decided to give myself a break. I'll work out tomorrow instead of risking hurting my back even more.

And hopefully, tonight will be different.

I'm counting on wonderfully deep and restful sleep.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nerves schmerves.

The main reason I post daily on my blog is to keep my mind on the dehoarding and make sure I don't forget what I need to do, but I don't think I'll ever forget. At this point, it's in my blood. It's in every single glance around this house.

And today, it's settled into every single nerve ending. Because in spite of the fact that I know that we have accomplished so very much, I can't even begin to understand how I'll be able to get the rest of it finished.

Most days, I have my nerves under control. I have a slight idea what the next 10 steps will be for me.

Today? I can only see what I have left to do.

Tomorrow is the appraisal.

And today, all I can see is what is left to be done. And I've been a bundle of nerves as a result. My arms have literally been tingling most of the day.

It didn't help that I had to go in for an unexpected doctor's visit once again today, because of yet another potential complication from the surgery I had at the beginning of August. It appears that everything is okay, and it's not a complication, but it just added to the stress level today.

Plus the school called right before I got in the shower to get ready for my appointment. Scooter wasn't feeling well and needed to be picked up. And while I'm thankful she was able to be home and not suffering at school, I hurt for my kids when they're not feeling well. It definitely throws me off my game.

So I'm going to go to bed. Hopefully, a good night's sleep will be just what I need, and I'll be prepared to face the day tomorrow. I still haven't decided whether I'm going to confront my uneasiness and anxiety about the appraiser coming over tomorrow by staying home, or if I'm going to allow myself a break and leave the house.

I guess it depends on what sort of sleep I get tonight.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I was shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

Today has been a busy, busy day.

The kids were thrilled that the morning started with freshly made French Toast after I got the first load of laundry done for the day. We don't have French Toast but a few times a year, so they were very happy with that. Once we were done eating, I got the dishes done up really quick and started another load of laundry, fluffed and hung the first load on hangers, and got them hung outside on the line to dry.

I then went back downstairs to work on outlets in the family room. I'd replaced most of the outlets a few years ago, but there were still several that needed replaced. I started with the ones that only needed to have the extenders put in, so I could at least get them out of the way. I knew replacing the actual outlets would take a lot longer to do, and if we got the easier ones out of the way first, we could look back, and see that we'd accomplished something.

I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but I was not expecting that it was going to be as hard as it was to line everything up. The screws that came with the extension boxes were about an inch too short, so we had to scrounge up longer ones. Thankfully, we found them in the bag with the extenders. We'd thought ahead when we bought them a year or so ago. So I worked on the first 2 outlets for a good 45 minutes or an hour. Yes. It really did take that long.

The next outlet was a new one on an inside wall, so it only needed an outlet cover, so we skipped to the next outlet. It, too, was on an inside wall, and we still had the electricity off, so we got to work on it. For whatever reason, I couldn't get the one wire stripped. The plastic sheath just didn't want to give, so I asked my husband, if he could do it. So we traded. I held the flashlight, and he started stripping the wire back, so we could attach it to the new outlet.

As he was pulling the last of the plastic off, he yelled. He said he thought he got shocked, but he wasn't sure. He thought he maybe just got poked with one of the wires that was sticking out. We shrugged it off, because he said he didn't have any tingling that is often present after a mild shock. So I started bending the wire in a little loop, so the wires could be attached. And wouldn't you know it, but I no sooner started than I yelled when I got a little jolt.
So hubby runs upstairs and shuts the other breaker for the basement off and comments that every outlet from here on out will be checked personally by him. It's not worth the risk.

I agree.

He decides to work on the outlet that's squeezed in by the treadmill. It's located on an inside wall and shouldn't be too much of a problem for him to tackle on his own, so I decide to go work on laundry again. I fluff and hang the load that's in the washing machine and start another load of clothes and get the latest load hung outside on the clothesline to dry.

After about 30 minutes, The Hubster has finished his work. It's taken longer than the other outlet, because the ground is so short it needs piggy backed with another piece of copper wire to make it long enough to reach the outlet. That. And hubby literally has only about 15 inches clearance to get to the outlet to switch it out. He starts working on one of the last two outlets that need to be done. Not only do they need new outlets, but they're both on outside walls, so they need the extensions, too.

Time is running a bit late, though, and The Hubster has to use the restroom. He's hoping we can finish this all up before he leaves on his run in a few minutes, so I decide to work on the outlet while he's in the bathroom. He'd already snipped the old outlet off, so I started with stripping the wires. I get the neutral stripped without a problem, and I start on the hot wire. And wouldn't you know it, but I get zapped again. It got me on the back of my hand between the knuckles of my first and second finger.(I have a little blister from it even.) I yelled.

I think I scared my husband a bit, because he yelled at me from the bathroom with great concern.

"Are you OK??!"

I assure him that I am but that I got electrified again.

He finishes up and goes upstairs and turns the breaker off again. At this point, I don't even remember why we'd turned it on. I think we figured we had only outlets on the same circuit to work with, and it was a lot easier to work with a treble light than with only a flashlight. At any rate, it had been turned back on, I got a little juice, and the hubby turned it back off again.

I finish up that outlet while The Hubster works on the last one. I have a little trouble getting the bottom screw threaded through the holes, so he takes a look at it and is able to fix it straight away. He finishes up the last outlet just moments before he's scheduled to go on his run, so we check the rest of the outlets with the tester we have that shows whether or not they're wired correctly. They are. So we straighten up, run the vacuum cleaner really quick, and he takes off on his run.

While he's gone, I make burgers for supper and get some bacon in the oven. I had seen on a cooking show that bacon turns out perfectly, if you bake it. Just toss it on a cookie cooling rack over a cookie sheet and bake it at 325. I figured I'd give it a try. Let's just say that it did indeed turn out perfect! It was super crunchy, perfectly flat, and there was very little grease. I was pleasantly surprised with how good it tasted. I normally don't care for bacon, because the grease gives me a stomach ache, but this was different. It was just good all the way around.

After the kids were in bed and while the bacon was baking, I browned a pound and a half of ground turkey and fried the boiled potatoes I'd diced yesterday. I decided I'd do a casserole for breakfast tomorrow morning. It will last a few mornings and will make my life so much easier. I crumbled up several slices of baked bacon in with the potatoes and there was a knock at the door. Hubby was home from his 8 mile run.

He had to run to the store. We needed more outlet covers. So while he was gone, I started his turkey burger in the skillet and proceeded to slice up an onion and some tomatoes and peppers from the garden to add to the mix. I no sooner finish mixing the ingredients all together when my husband comes through the door. He sits down to eat his bacon cheeseburger, and I tear up some bread, line the bottom of the baking dish with it, pour the ingredients I've got ready in on top of it, crack open a dozen eggs, whisk them up with a little bit of milk and pour the eggs on top of everything in the casserole dish.

The casserole gets covered with plastic and stuck in the fridge. I'll stick it in the oven when I wake up at 5, and it will be done for the girls to eat before heading off to school. After cleaning up the kitchen, washing the pans by hand and loading the dishwasher I head to the laundry room to fluff and hang the last load of laundry I'd done earlier. The Hubster helped me with the fluffing and hanging, plus he dried the pots and pans, so I took advantage of the hot oven and baked him a batch of brownies.

It's been a really long day, but I'm thrilled with all that was accomplished.

And now...I'm pretty much beat.

I'm off to bed.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just a stressful day in the neighborhood.

The Hubster helped me on the porch today. He helped me get the bookcase/entertainment center dry fit together. We won't put it together permanently until we take it downstairs, but I'm thrilled, because it gives me so much more room on the porch for other painting projects. I didn't get around to putting the last coat of paint on the pieces that needed it, but I should be able to tomorrow, and it won't matter that it's dry fit together. The last few places that need touched up are just on the face of the bookshelf and the drawer, so painting them will be a snap.

I am thrilled that we got even more of the porch emptied off today. The Hubster has a workout station he can use to do pull ups and dips and other such exercises. The thing is a monstrosity. It's huge. It stands 7 ft tall and takes up an area on the floor that's over 3.5 ft square. I've had to work around it on the porch, because he uses it several times a week, but it's really been a bit of a nightmare.

Well. Nightmare no more! We took it apart today, because there is no way we could have taken it downstairs in fewer pieces than we did. While it was apart, I used a bucket of hot, soapy water and a scrub brush and scrubbed every nook and cranny. It was pretty muddy and dusty from having lived on the back porch the better of 3 years. Surprisingly, we only saw 1 spider, but I'm sure there were more lurking in crevices. So while the individual pieces were laid across the clotheslines to dry, he sprayed the thing with bug spray to hopefully keep any spiders from coming in and making it home for the next 12 months or so.

Once it was dry, Hubster dragged it downstairs piece by piece and brought it into the workout room. It took some finagling to get the holes lined up to get the bolts back in, but we finally got the thing together. When we were done, he took the Ab Lounger out of the plastic it's been stored in for the last couple of years and put it in the only remaining floor space in the workout room. We will now be able to use all of the workout equipment we have, such as it is.

I'm thrilled. Seriously.

After doing the dishes this morning, I boiled the rest of a 10 pound bag of potatoes. Unfortunately, there were a few that had started to go bad, so they went into the compost bin. The other 7 pounds or so were boiled, peeled and either diced to use for breakfast burritos or made into a potato salad for tomorrow. It's really nice to have them out of the way. Besides. The tater salad tastes good. Looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

It doesn't sound like a lot was done, but we were busy all day long. I even got in a few crunches on the Ab Lounge and 15 minutes on the treadmill.

Oh. And we got the call from the appraiser. She'll be out on Tuesday.

I may just use that time to go get my expired driver's license renewed. It needs done before the refinancing happens anyway, and it would get me out of here, if my stress level gets too high.

It's already on the rise.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Five Green Apples A Hangin' on The Tree.

The painting is finally finished on the bookshelf we'll be using for an entertainment center downstairs. There may be a couple of small areas that need touched up tomorrow, but there also might not be any areas needing touched up at all. It's good to know it's done. It will have to sit outside for a week or so to try to let the smell dissipate a bit before we bring it inside, but I'm so glad it's done. Now I'll be able to work on other paint projects in the coming weeks. I definitely need to take advantage of this beautiful weather that's expected to continue for some time.

My back is really bothering me. I'm thinking I may have overdone a little on the treadmill. I think I'll only get on it every other day until my body is used to working on it a bit better. Between the treadmill and standing on the concrete of the back porch to paint, I'm very much feeling the need for pain meds. I don't like needing pain meds, so I was glad when my husband thought of something while he was at work today that might help.

A year or so ago, the place my husband works was going to throw out some anti-fatigue/stress floor mats, because they'd replaced them with new ones. So he brought 3 of them home to put on the front stoop to help Scooter feel safe when she got off the bus in bad weather. She gets really tensed up, if her footing is even slightly compromised, and with her back totally fused, she can hurt herself so easily. But the weather is fantastic right now, so Scooter doesn't get tensed up when she's walking to the door.

After talking with me from work today, Hubster remembered the mats. He asked, if I thought they would help, if he put them on the back porch for me to stand on while I'm painting. I'm so glad he thought of it! It will absolutely make a huge difference in how my back feels, if I can stand on them while painting or working out there. He'll be moving them out tomorrow, so he doesn't disturb the paint while it's still wet on the bookcase. I should be completely done with painting projects by the time the bad weather and snow hits, so we'll be able to move them back up front by the time Scooter needs the stability.

Did I mention that I'm really glad he thought of it?

Worked on paperwork in the living room today. I made a small dent but a dent nonetheless. I'll take it.

We'll be picking apples off our apple tree this weekend. We have friends coming by who will be picking some and taking them home for their families, too. There are thousands of apples on the tree. They're not very big, but there are lots and lots of them, and they are so tasty. They're little green apples with a slight tartness to them. Some are starting to turn a bit yellow in places. We think they're Yellow Delicious apples, but we're not sure. They're more tart than I'd expect a Delicious apple to be, so I really don't know.

I think they'll make a good pie or two, though, so I'll try my hand at that in the next week or two. I'll probably make some apple butter, too. Or maybe apple sauce.

Something appley, anyway.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baby steps and all.

Taking a break right now and watching Biggest Loser. It's incredibly inspiring, and I desperately need inspiration to keep going on the treadmill. It kills my back especially after not having been on it for 2 years. In fact, I had to take pain medicine and a muscle relaxant when I was done walking tonight. I'm hoping that as I lose weight and build my core muscles my back pain will go away or at least lessen enough I don't need steroid shots anymore. Eventually, I'm likely going to need surgery, but there's no way they'll touch my back at this weight. I easily have over 100 pounds to lose.

So tonight, my second night on the treadmill, I did 15 minutes instead of only 10, and I increased the incline to 2 for part of the walk. It's not much at all. I used to be able to walk miles with no problem. In junior high and high school I was in track. I often ran the mile or two mile, and even though I wasn't the best, I did it. It will likely be awhile before I work up to a mile on the treadmill. The doctor has told me I need to only be on it for a few minutes at a time, so I don't overdo and hurt my back even more.

The main thing is that I need to be on it regularly.

I've at least started.

And at least we've put the treadmill in it's own separate room with other workout equipment, so it can't get covered with clothes, papers or books.

I will do this in spite of myself just as surely as I will finish the process of dehoarding the house. It will happen.

So now that I'm done with the pep talk I needed to give myself, onto other things.....

I was able to finish the last coat of paint on the majority of the bookshelf/entertainment center today. I will hopefully be able to finish it up completely tomorrow, so it can sit on the back porch to air out for a few days before we take it downstairs. I have well under half of it left. It is looking really nice. I'm pleased with it, but I'll tell you's a lot harder to paint bead board than it looks! The paint has to basically be forced down into the grooves. It doesn't go in willingly.

When I was done with the painting, I went downstairs to work on the outlets. We need to replace the outlets in the workout room and a couple in the family room. We also have to add spacers to some of the outlets, because they're recessed so far back into the walls. You see, the outlets in the outside walls in the basement are in concrete. And whoever put the paneling up on the walls likely did it, because the outlets would be recessed, if drywall was used. And since we chose drywall, we need to extend the boxes the outlets are in by at least an inch and a half.

I was able to get two of the outlets finished, but right as I was finishing up the 2nd outlet, the light went off. I think it overheated. It's a halogen treble light. So I guess I'll have to work on them during the daylight when I can see a little better without artificial help. I was going to work on replacing all the outlets in the workout room and the few I have to do in the family room, but I can't find the box of new outlets, either. We used them recently when we installed the ceiling fan in Scooter's room and replaced her outlets, but for the life of me I couldn't find them when I looked today. I'll look again tomorrow or go buy more. We have enough outlets that still need replaced that we'll use the ones in the box eventually anyway. I just want to get them finished.

I'll be going to bed early tonight, because the muscle relaxant is going to kick in hard and make me really sleepy soon, I'm sure. It's probably a good thing. I still need to get on that elusive schedule.

Instead. I sleep like a baby.

A few hours here.

A few hours there.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Decisions delayed.

I'm so frustrated. I feel like I got nothing accomplished today at all. Heck. I didn't accomplish anything today. At. All.

It rained today, so it's probably a good thing I didn't plan on painting anything. The humidity reading is 99% tonight. Blech. I don't do well with humidity. I'm hoping to get out there and get things finished up tomorrow, if I can, but the forecast calls for wind, so we'll see. Painting outside when it's windy is a bit counter productive.

I realized the other day that I never gave an update on The Rock. It was the one that I couldn't decide, if I was going to throw away or keep. I really struggled with it, taking it out of the trash after I'd thrown it away and then throwing it once again. I decided to leave it in the trash bag overnight and take it out the next morning, if I decided to keep it.

I left it in the bag. By the next day, I'd all but forgotten it. I'd remembered it was in the bag when it was tossed, but by then the impulse to rescue it was gone. I'm finding that I can make better decisions sometimes, if I delay making the decision for 24 hours.

I know that delaying decisions is one of the things that got me into this mess in the first place, but i am finding that delaying the decision on a single thing really does help. I try to give myself no more than a day or two, but I find that when I go back to the item after I've had a break from it I know how I'm going to handle the situation.

Several months ago, I'd painted a small cupboard that had 2 doors below 2 small drawers with a hutch on top with glass shelves and doors. We had every intention of using it for part of a an entertainment center for the family room downstairs, but once it was painted and put in position, we realized it wouldn't work. It was going to go on one wall in the corner, and the bookshelf I have outside that I'm still working on was going to go on the other wall in the corner. However, the first one would block the view of the second one, and the second one is where the TV would be located.

Once I realized this, I tried for a couple of days to decide where I could use it. I realized that I couldn't. I decided I was going to get rid of it. We no longer needed it, and at the very least, I could get the money we'd put into it out of it. I told Bugster about it, and she loved it for her bedroom, because it really did look nice with the new paint job. She bought it for the $30 bucks I put into it, and I didn't have to mess with selling it.

Plus, I have a little more money to add to the Found Money Fund.

I'll take it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Every journey begins but with a single step.

I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and head in one direction instead of dilly dallying around the mountainside.

Let's just say I'll be really glad when the painting is done. I don't like feeling light headed or high from the fumes. I just really need to take advantage of this nice weather and get the painting done while it's still warm. I think that most parts of the bookcase only need one more coat. I think I'll skip working on it tomorrow, though, so it will have an extra day to dry before the next coat. I'll see, if I can't work on painting the doors instead.

Once again, I didn't get as much done as I had wanted to today, but I got enough done that I'll take it. Paperwork. Laundry. Painting. And a few minutes on the treadmill. It wasn't much, but it was good to be back on the saddle again, so to speak, after 2 years. I look forward to more time on it.

Right now, I'm off to bed with a slightly sore back and pure fatigue.

I really need to get on a better schedule.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who else thinks we need 30 hours in a day instead of only 24?

Once again, I'm sitting down to blog much later than I should. In fact, I should probably be in bed by now, but here I sit.

I worked on painting again today, but between the painting and the scrubbing yesterday my wrists are both a bit sore. So I braced my left wrist and worked on paperwork instead.

Have I mentioned I really detest paperwork? I hate having it hanging over me, but I put it off, because I can't stand doing it. So then it just flaps in the breezes of my mind waiting for me to get to it. The flapping finally got to me today.

This is insurance paperwork. Stuff I needed to do, so we can be reimbursed for things. Gah. I still have more to do, but this was the most important, so at least I've done my part. The rest is up to The Hubster. He'll have to fax some paperwork, but it should be done by tomorrow night. That's a relief.

I'm making this quick tonight. I've got to get some sleep. I hate how busy I've been lately, because I have put all online activities on the back burner out of necessity. It's good, because I've been able to get more accomplished, but it's frustrating to me, too. I would love to have about 8 hours a day to read blogs and do general web surfing, but until I have a spare 8 hours, I'm afraid I'll be limiting my time.


I'm sure things will slow down eventually.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Better than shuffleboard.

We had carpet installed in the basement for the first time after the pipe burst and flooded the basement 18 months ago. Before it was carpeted, the floor was linoleum covered concrete. The linoleum was a dark, depressing gray with darker gray spots in it. The only color on the floor was the shuffleboard court that had been pieced together with colored pieces of linoleum.

It was horrible on so many levels. When we first bought the house, I had visions of Bugster's having friends over and playing shuffleboard in the basement. It could be fun. I knew they would think it was silly, but that they'd have fun with it. However, within a few months, I realized that would never happen. I knew we had way too much stuff to ever have the entire floor cleared in order to dedicate half the basement to shuffleboard. Wasn't going to happen.

The walls of the basement were depressing enough. They were wood paneling, but they were the dark gray with darker shades of gray in the grain of the wood. If I look back at pictures, I'm sure the walls won't be as I remember them. For all I know they won't even be gray. One thing that I know I remember correctly is that they were very, very dark. Add the two tones of gray for the floor, and the basement was melancholic and cave-like.

There are other reasons the basement felt oppressive, but I think you get the idea. It wasn't really a place where we wanted to spend a lot of time, and I wanted to change that. So I hung a huge chalkboard on the wall for the girls to play with, and we put a cute little wool rug in front of the faux fireplace, so they could pretend to be sitting by the fire when they dressed up in their dress up clothes. At one point, I even moved the furniture around toward the end of the room around to create a partition and put a bed back there for a spare bedroom.

I tried. In one attempt to make the family room more appealing and cheery, I painted the paneling. I'd paint the large sections a light green followed by a skinny section painted light blue followed once again by a large light green section and ending the overall pattern with a skinny stripe of light pink. In the pin stripes between the larger vertical stripes, I used a small syringe filled with white paint to allow it to flow all the way down the wall in the grooves. It filled in the areas between stripes nicely and with the baseboards painted white and the fresh coat of white paint on the ceiling, it looked like a totally different room. The only problem was that I'd only gotten half done with the paint job before life exploded, and I didn't get back to it before the flood.

Fast forward to today...

The Hubster and I worked on our new family room today. It doesn't come close to resembling the room it was when we bought the house. The shuffleboard has been replaced with a thick and amazingly comfortable carpet. The walls, which are no longer paneling are painted two shades of sage green topped with a nice white crown moulding and tall white baseboards. There are still a few holes that need filled with wood putty and painted over to finish it off, but we're almost done down there.

Besides working on the crown moulding today, we got the treadmill in it's final resting place. It was much easier said than done. Treadmills are heavy even when they fold up and have wheels to help making move them easier. We put it off for entirely too long, so we're thrilled it's finally where it needs to be, so we can use it. We got the chain shortened on the hubby's heavy bag that's hanging mere feet from the treadmill, and got the mats put in place, so we can eventually move his pull up/dip/exercise station down there as well.

We finished cutting the holes in the rest of the doors that we'll have hung downstairs by next weekend.

I used Goo Gone to get rid of the tape residue on the oak cabinets we'd gotten to use in my craft area. As i was cleaning the gunk off them, I started really getting excited about organizing my craft things. They sparkled, and it was just plain contagious!

I'm excited that we're getting that much closer to finishing things up. Once we're done down there, I can get back to the dehoarding.

I'm ready.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My husband ran out on me....

....but he came back.

A few months after we started renovating after the basement flooded last year, we bought new doors to replace the ones downstairs. The doors we had were in pretty rough shape with little chunks out of them in different places and in desperate need of paint jobs, so we decided to replace them. We got the door blanks without the holes pre-drilled and just got a kit to put the hole for the door handles and hinges in ourselves. The doors were about half price of the ones that came with the holes already drilled out, so it only made sense.

The only problem is that they've been dutifully waiting for us to finish them. For over a year. So today, we got the kit out and decided to figure it out. We lined up an old door alongside a new door to make sure the holes would be in the exact same place, so they'll hang correctly. It took quite awhile for us to finish the first door, because we had to keep reading the instructions on how to work the elements of the kit. When we finished the first door, we had to stop, because The Hubster had to go for his run before darkness set in. So we had to leave the rest for tomorrow, but they shouldn't take that long now that we know what we're doing.

I look forward to getting them hung. I think it will totally change the look of the basement. It won't feel as much like a basement. They will be brighter and that's always good. We'll hopefully have all of them hung by next weekend. A couple of them still need a little more paint. I'll be working on that this week when the girls are at school.

My husband also brought the 2nd set of sawhorses up from the basement, and we got another work station set up on the porch for me to use. I was able to finish putting the last of the primer on the bookshelf thing we'll be using as an entertainment center, and I was able to get the first coat of paint on several pieces as well. It looks like each piece will only need 2 coats of paint, which is good. It is going to really look nice once it's done. It should be done by next weekend as well.

I also worked for several hours in the kitchen today. It's amazing how far behind things can get when you're laid up. Hopper had gotten in her birthday cake, and while I don't mind her getting into her cake, I was a bit frustrated with the mess. There was frosting smeared all over inside the refrigerator, on the stove and in the silverware drawer, and there were crumbs everywhere. I ended up having to take everything out of the silverware drawer and wash it as well as scrub the frosting out of the drawer itself. I cleaned the refrigerator out, too, so it's nice and shiny clean once again. I'd put cleaning the cake up for a couple of days, because I just got busy with other things, so I'm glad it's out of the way.

We also had several bags of cereal stuffed into the cupboards and on the stove and counter top. Hopper has a tendency to stuff bags back in the cupboard even when they're for all intents and purposes empty. Normally when we get cereal, I put them in some plastic cereal keepers. We started using them when we lived in the South and bugs were a potential problem. They kept the cereal fresh in the humidity for much longer than it would without. They're really handy to keep the cereal in, if things come up, and we don't get to the cereal quick enough to eat it before it goes bad. With the cereal keepers, cereal retains it's freshness for much longer than in a box. It's a win/win situation.

However, one of the main reasons we had cereal bags shoved in the cupboards was my fault. It's been awhile since I washed the keepers, and I don't like to put fresh cereal in the containers, if the cereal or cereal crumbs in the keeper have been in there for a couple of months. So I took them out and washed them by hand, and I was able to put away the 2 bags of cereal that actually had anything in them once the keepers were clean and dry. And it may seem like it doesn't take long to do these, but it takes longer than I'd like.

I also got the stove and counter cleaned off, ran a load of dishes in the dishwasher, and did several hand wash dishes before I was done. I hate when the kitchen is dirty. I hate having dishes piled up, because I've given other things a higher priority. It's just nice to have the kitchen clean and not hanging over my head. I'm not sure how long it will last, but at least I'll sleep a little better tonight knowing it's done.

Speaking of which...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Truth in advertising. When 'odorless' isn't.

I'm one pooped pup tonight.

I didn't get as much done as I'd wanted, but I got enough done I feel okay with today.

Several years ago, there was a catalog store that went out of business in our town. They sold all of their display racks, light fixtures, and inventory for very reasonable prices during their going out of business sale. When I found out they were going out of business, checked it out to see, if there was anything that really caught my eye. There was one particular display rack that I wanted, if we could get it for a decent price.

It was a solid pine display rack that had once displayed Russ bears. The top part is an open hutch with one shelf that goes all the way across the width about halfway up the top section. There are several holes to either add more shelves or to adjust the one that was included. Right below the hutch is a drawer that goes across the width of the display unit. When opened up, the drawer is divided into 5 sections. Then under the drawer there is open storage with one fixed shelf halfway up.

It is rather large. I can't remember the measurements. It's been awhile since I've needed to check them. However, if I remember correctly, it's 4 feet wide or a little more and about 6 feet tall. We used it as a bookshelf and for game storage in our living room. We bought a couple of pine 1"x10" shelves and stained them to match to add to the hutch part of the unit. We kept pens and pencils in the drawer and added dividers in one of the compartments in the drawer to store batteries. It's just been such a great piece of furniture, especially considering the price. We paid $20 for it.

Several months ago, we took it downstairs, so we could get it painted and use it for an entertainment center in the family room. We figured it would be perfect to be able to store DVDs and any VHS movies we decide to keep. We'll set the television on the base and have the first shelf situated above it. It should look nice.

There's only one problem. It doesn't match the oak furniture we have downstairs. Plus, we always had to put some clear vinyl on it to keep glasses or water bottles from leaving water marks on it. The vinyl only worked so well, so there were also some minor water spots that made it look a little dingy. So we decided to paint it.

A couple of weeks ago, Hubster brought the pieces of the shelving unit outside to the porch, so I could work on them. I finally got around to it today. I sanded it thoroughly and then wiped it down well, so there wouldn't be any dust getting caught in the paint. I then primed it using some primer we had left from our renovation downstairs to get it ready to paint. And even though Kilz has an odorless option, it didn't smell odorless today. I still feel somewhat light headed from it.

I am thrilled that I finally got this started, though, and I got a fairly substantial start to it today. I'll be able to finish priming the areas I wasn't able to get to today, and I'll be able to hopefully get the first coat of paint on it this weekend as well. I'm hoping that I'll only have to do one or two coats of paint, since I primed it. It will be nice to not have to use coasters on it, because I'll be painting it with the oil-based paint. It will be a bright high gloss white. I think it will look nice.

The best part? It will be easier to see spiders with a death wish against the bright white paint!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yay. Progress!

I'm so excited. Today I made headway for the first time in a very long time.

Today was an early release day at school, and Frank came over to make a little money for the upcoming dance. He was here almost 5 hours, so we got a lot accomplished.

Several weeks ago, The Hubster and I put bamboo shades (although these are plastic and not actually bamboo) around the porch to basically enclose it. Having the shades up will prevent rain and dust from wreaking havoc like it has so much in the last several years. We literally scooped up gallons of dirt out there during the course of cleaning the porch, and the shades will help keep the dust/dirt level to a minimum which will make painting the furniture I need to finish painting much easier.

The only problem we had was that the shades blew around a lot and still allowed a lot of dust onto the porch. They helped stop the rain fairly well, but the dust was a different story. So today, Frank helped me secure the shades to the concrete. My husband and I worked on putting eye hooks in the concrete a couple of weekends ago. We'd drilled holes in the concrete (I could have sworn I blogged about this before, but for the life of me, I can't find the post), put some cement repair stuff in the holes and then added the eye hooks. Once the eye hooks were in, we built up the concrete a little, so nobody would stub their toes on the hooks and left them to dry.

When Frank came over today, the first thing we worked on was securing the shades to the concrete. By now the concrete had fully cured, and the eye hooks were firmly in place. So we took some nylon cord and tied it to some small double ended hooks Hubster had picked up at the store for our project, and proceeded to tie them tight enough that the shades will hopefully be somewhat secure, if the wind blows. Once we had the tension right on each one, we burnt the ends of the knots, so they wouldn't come untied or unraveled. It took awhile to get done, but I'm thrilled they're finished. We should be able to unhook the shades and roll them up, if we want more sunlight or fresh air on the porch, but for now, I have a usable workspace for which I'm very grateful.

Once we were done with that, we worked on cutting shelves to go on the bookcase that will be used to house hubby's books. I had 5 oak plywood shelves that i was going to cut to make enough for extra shelving in the shelving unit we'd gotten for his books. I was able to cut some extra wood off 4 of the shelves to make them the right width and then cut the remaining 4 shelves in half for a total of 8 shelves for him to use. The other shelf I used to cut a shelf to go in my craft cupboards. I'm not sure, if I'll need more shelves in my craft cupboards or not, but at least we know where we can get more, if we need them and cutting them will be a breeze.

Frank acted as my muscle today and carried all the shelves back downstairs for me to save my back a little. I'm so thankful! I decided to wrap things up on the porch, because I wanted desperately to get the plastic off the carpet downstairs. It's been covered for the last year to try to keep it clean while we were working downstairs painting. It did it's job, so Frank helped me pick it all up and either throw it in the trash or fold it up to take home, so Bugster and Bubster don't have to buy drop cloths when they paint their home.

I also got a couple of loads of laundry done. I'd have kept going, if it weren't for my back. Even though Frank hauled stuff for me the entire time he was here to save my back, my back still screams in protest tonight. I'm hoping a good night's sleep will make for a productive day tomorrow.

I have so much to do!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wake Up Little Suzy. Wake Up!

I slept today.

A lot.

I've just been beat today, so I figured I probably needed the rest.

I wasn't able to get a lot done besides a couple loads of laundry and the dishes, but what can I say? I didn't have much time after sleeping so much.

I did use Old English polish on the shelving unit we'd gotten for hubby to use as a bookshelf for his collection of books. It turned the dried out and drab looking oak into something quite presentable. He is now free to load the thing down with books. Well...almost.

Tomorrow the kids have an early release day at school. So Frank will be coming over to help me out and make a little money for the school formal dance that's coming up. So I'll have him help me with cutting some extra shelves to go in the bookshelf unit for Hubster. It should be easy enough to cut the shelves. It's just a matter of measuring and cutting, and it shouldn't take very long.

This is one of the things that we need to have done before we can get the storage pod emptied on the driveway. At least by having the shelving unit ready, Hubster can get the several boxes of books in the pod emptied and put away. Not everything in the shed has a place to go just yet. But it will make things so much easier overall, if at least some of them have an immediate place to go when they're unloaded.

This is something we've needed for a very long time. A place for my husband to put his books. Shortly after I wrote this post, I happened to look at the dresser in our bedroom and noticed all the books my husband had stacked on his side of the bed. I only counted what I could see. I didn't count the ones that were stacked on the floor-only those I could spot easily. We were both quite surprised when I counted 56 books in view. That's a lot of books. Hubster has since cleaned the books off the dresser and just boxed them up, but he really deserves a place to store them on a more permanent level. This is it.

So in spite of the fact that I slept most of the day, I feel like I got something done toward the whole dehoarding/decluttering/organizing process. It will be nice to cross it off my list entirely tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My house is queasy.

I'm feeling quite a bit better tonight. My pain level all day was no more than a 2. It's gone up to about a 5 tonight, but I can at least deal with that, but I am sure the pain meds will take it down a notch or two.

Thankfully, it looks as though I won't need any more surgery for now. My body appears to be doing its best to heal itself. We'll see how this goes, and if I'm not better in a few days, I'll go back in and discuss surgical options. I'd rather it not come to that, but I'm prepared should it happen.

I'm really hoping I'm feeling better tomorrow. The house looks like it vomited on itself, and I have a lot of catching up to do. I'm hoping I'm up to it tomorrow. If it needs to wait another day, because I need to rest, so be it. I'll rest. I'll be no good to anyone, if I don't get through this in one piece. And housework will wait.

It has no say in the matter.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let's just say I wouldn't make a very good drug addict.

Woke up this morning in horrific pain. On a scale of 1 to 10 it was a 9. I took some prescription ibuprofen, and it did nothing to touch the pain, so an hour and a half later or so, I took a Vicodin. After waiting an hour for it to kick in, and it deciding not to, my wonderful husband, being very concerned about me, insisted I go in to the ER.

Bugster watched the girls for us, and Hubster took me to be seen.

It appears as though I have some sort of complication from the surgery I had at the beginning of August. Looks like more surgery to fix it in the very near future. I'll find out tomorrow when I see my doctor, and we have the opportunity to discuss how to deal with it.

I'm having a hard time putting coherent thoughts together as a result of the stronger pain meds the doctor put me on. Hoping they don't make me get sick to my stomach again. I told you I wouldn't make a very good drug addict. I don't like nausea and wooziness they cause, but I need them to help take the edge off this pain.

I'm thinking this might be a long few days.

I'm off to bed for whatever amount of sleep I might be able to get...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Is it really worth it? Probably so.

Yesterday, we met with the mortgage broker and got the refinancing started. The paperwork took longer than we anticipated. I'd asked the broker before we went for our meeting what all I paperwork I needed to keep from the original home loan or from when we had refinanced before. Bless her heart. She told me to bring it along, and she would go through it with me, so I could know what could be tossed. She also told me what should or shouldn't be kept after we close this loan as well, so I know what can go straight into the shredables when we finish with everything. I'm so thankful she took the time to help.

I've always struggled with what to throw away as far as paperwork goes. It's hard to differentiate between what should be kept and what I should toss. That's why I had 28 of bags of shredables in such a short period of time once I started sorting through things months ago, even though I haven't added to the count for several months. The bag count is up to 30 at this point after having worked on paperwork last week and this weekend a bit, but I expect I'll add a good 50 bags to the total before I'm finished with my journey.

I don't have a problem with certain types of paperwork. I can get rid of newspapers easily most of the time. I have a crate I keep them in until I drop them off to be recycled. However, when The Hubster tried to drop them off today, he found the drop boxes are just gone. Because I don't have a place to store them, and because I don't want to keep the papers for fear of not getting rid of them later, they'll be going in the trash this time. I'm not willing to take the risk.

But I digress.

I made a purposeful decision that I knew was going to make me horrible uncomfortable last week. I was right. I was very uncomfortable when the decision was confirmed yesterday at the broker's.

We will have to have an appraisal of our house in order to refinance. I knew last week when I talked to the broker the first time to find out more information. I knew that someone would need to come into our house to determine it's value. And while I was conscious of that fact, I wasn't worried or concerned. At least not at that point. I knew the discomfort would come, but I also knew that I wasn't going to hide from it. I need to face my fears in order to get past this hoarding issue I have.

Yesterday, the fear hit when we were talking with the broker. Heart palpitations. Sweaty palms. Stomach in a knot. You get the drift. And while I knew that an appraiser would be coming in the house and would take pictures outside, it didn't dawn on me that they would be taking pictures inside. But they will. They will be taking plenty of pictures, and there will be a lot of people who see the pictures. I'm not really looking forward to that, but I will deal with it. I have to. If things get really bad, and I don't feel I can handle the stress while the appraiser is here, I'll just leave for awhile. I'm hoping not to do that. I think it will help me more in the long run to stay here and deal with the stress rather than to run away.

It won't be pleasant.

It probably won't be easy.

But I think it's necessary.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you?

Nine years ago, I had just gotten the girls on the bus for school when I sat down to watch the morning news. I sat there dumbfounded watching the screen and trying to make sense out of what I was seeing. The first plane had gone into the Towers, but there was still confusion over what had happened. Nobody really knew just yet.

I called my sister, because she used to be a stock broker. She knew several of the people in the Salomon Smith Barney office. I didn't know, if she had heard, and I needed someone to talk to. She quickly turned her television on, and we watched in quiet horror as the second plane hit. We wondered what was happening to our country and what would come of our nation when we saw the devastation at the Pentagon. We were were sat in stunned silence when we heard about United Flight 93 going down in the Pennsylvania field and how valiantly our American brothers and sisters fought to save others.

Time stood still while terror gripped our hearts wondering where it would strike next. I remember feeling like a zombie for several days. I remember I never cried and thinking it was strange that I didn't cry, but I was just...numb. I've cried many times since then, but I think it was a coping mechanism at the time. I needed to be strong for my kids, so they wouldn't see exactly how scared I really was. And I think I was afraid, if I started crying I might not stop.

Nine years later, and my heart still hurts.

Shortly after the attacks on our beautiful USA, Alan Jackson wrote and released "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning).

It's still such a fitting tribute.

It helps me remember.

May we never forget.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Best laid plans and all that.

I have high hopes for this weekend.

The girls are feeling better and were more like normal today than they have been. The sore throats, upset stomachs and headaches seem to be gone. Hopper still has a fairly substantial cough, but there is huge improvement over all.

We have hopes to make some decent progress this weekend. We'll be picking up lumber to finish the windows downstairs and to put shelving in a cubby we had built under the stairs. We will still have to paint everything, but at least we'll be able to get them cut out and sanded this weekend. I hope.

We have other things to do besides that, though. Like meeting with the mortgage broker about refinancing the house. The interest rate is hard to pass up.

Like we don't have enough on our plates.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome to the future.

Let me just say that I can tell why Hopper and Scooter have been sleeping so much. At the height of whatever this bug is, Hopper was sleeping as much as 20 hours a day. Scooter was sleeping about 16. The fatigue hit me today. I was awake for a couple hours this morning and just couldn't get warm and couldn't stay awake. So I went back to bed and froze for a couple hours. I was a bit warmer when I woke up, but I periodically fell asleep while working on paperwork today.

I wasn't able to get as much done as I wanted, which seems to be my mantra of late. I did what I could to get paperwork that has accumulated in the living room this summer gathered up, so I can sort it. However, between the spontaneous snoozing and the pain going down my right leg from my back, I didn't get a lot done.

On a good note, though, Hopper and Scooter were awake most of the day today. Longer than they have been in days. I'm hoping this means I'm just a day or two behind them. I want to get busy again. If nothing else, I'll plug away at paperwork and see, if I can't make a dent in it between nap attacks.

The other night, I was watching, Hoarding: Buried Alive, since I was feeling so punky. I try to watch Hoarding shows for homework, so my focus stays on the big picture. The gentleman featured on the show collected newspaper articles. He had stacks upon stacks of newspapers he still had to go through as well as stacks upon stacks of articles he'd already removed. He ended up not really liking the professional organizer, as their personalities clashed, so he decided to do the work on his own. I have to admit he did a really good job of clearing things out.

But the thing that caught my attention was that the organizer brought a portable document scanner for him to use to scan the articles and keep them in his computer. About a year ago, a friend had suggested I get some sort of a card scanner to use for receipts and business cards, since we have so many doctors' cards due to the girls, but I'd totally forgotten her suggestion until I saw the show. We do have a flatbed scanner as part of our printer, but it can be cumbersome to use, and it takes forever. First, the document or photo you want scanned has to be previewed, and then accepted, and each scanning takes at least 2 minutes from beginning to end.

The scanner that was shown on the show was almost instantaneous. It was similar to the card scanners used at doctor's offices, only bigger. It was big enough to scan legal documents, so I think it would work for any paperwork we had. If we eventually get one, I'll have to do some research to see which one to buy. I'll also need to see, if the documents would somehow be memory hogs in the computer, or if I'd need tons of SD cards to store all of the information I scanned.

While it may not happen for awhile, I am thinking this could help us tremendously. I think of all the time it would save. We have more paperwork than we know what to do with. I have already purged our home of 28 grocery bags of shredables, but I know I will likely have dozens more by the time I'm done dehoarding. That doesn't even touch all that I haven't sorted or have saved.

This is definitely something to take into consideration.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Slow getting started.

Today was a day where nothing got done but nursing sick kiddos and headaches.

I can't even concentrate enough to write anything tonight, so I'm hoping I'll at least be able to write coherently tomorrow even, if I'm not able to do anything more than I was today.

Hoping for a good night's sleep for everyone.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Over the course of the last few months, I've had several comments that people can sense a change in how I'm doing with everything based on my writing. I'm not sure exactly what it is they see, but I find it interesting. I can tell I've changed through this process, but I wasn't exactly sure I could put my finger on how or why, so I've been thinking about it for a few weeks.

When I first began my journey, I would blush from embarrassment even acknowledging we were in this situation. It's not an easy thing to own up to. I was mortified. I mean this was humiliating! I was afraid of telling anyone, although I did trust a few close friends and family members, because I knew I needed the accountability. I was afraid that, if I kept it to myself I would fall into old patterns.

I think maybe I was trying to convince myself, fairly regularly I might add, that we would actually be able to get through things. It was just such an overwhelming task that lay ahead, and I needed a pep talk from time to time even, if I had to give it to myself. The future loomed, and it was scary. Could we even get it done? Would we?

I find I no longer need to give myself pep talks like I used to. I still need one from time to time, so I can finish a goal I've set for a certain time frame, but not for the overall task. I've made enough progress that today I feel confident that we will indeed accomplish what we set out to do. I have a peace that one day we will have an organized and dehoarded house.

I no longer just hope that it will happen. I have a confidence that it will. A confidence that stems from the successes we've already had.

It's no longer going to happen. It is happening.

Monday, September 6, 2010

And so it begins...

A typical school year starts out with the girls home sick for several days to a week or more within the first couple of weeks of school. This year, Scooter was home sick one day in the second week, but everything has started late with illnesses this year. We're starting the 4th week of school tomorrow, and the healthy streak around our house has finally ended.

Hopper, Scooter and I have all been feverish and had chills and tummy troubles today. It all started last night. Hopper slept most of the day today, which is what she does when she gets sick. And Scooter fell asleep on the couch yesterday in the middle of the day which is not typical of her at all. So it's very obvious they're worn out from being sick.

Unfortunately, I am, too. I've had no energy today, but my stomach is feeling better tonight. I'm hoping that I'll feel well enough tomorrow to get something accomplished, because I've had enough down time recently. I want to make some progress!

Yesterday we made some gains on the porch. We finished cleaning it off several weeks ago, but I've been using it as a workshop of sorts. It's been wonderful to be able to spread out some of the things I'm needing to paint to work on them. However, because it's technically a patio and not a porch, it's not enclosed, and dust can really fly when the wind picks up. Dust isn't really good for paint projects.

We decided to hang some outdoor bamboo shades to try to keep the dust level down and the repainting to a minimum. We hung some of them a few weeks ago, but we just finished hanging the others about 10 days ago. And while they've really helped keep the house cooler, they haven't done enough where the dust is concerned. We needed a way to anchor them to the ground, so they wouldn't sway and flip in the breeze and allow the dust in. We worked on that yesterday.

Hubster picked up a drill bit that could be used on concrete at the hardware store and some eyehooks. We already had some hydraulic cement powder (it can adhere guardrails to cement or patch holes in concrete walls to stop water leaks) at home that we just needed to mix with water, so we were ready to go. It took a lot longer than we anticipated, though, because it's not nearly as easy to drill into concrete as one might think. Drilling cement is also pretty hard on battery life.

Once all the holes were drilled, we put some of the cement we'd mixed up in and around the holes and screwed the eyehooks in place. We built up the cement just a little around the eyehooks for a couple of reasons. First, we figured it would help solidify the hooks in the cement a little better, and we wouldn't have to worry about the wind picking up and pulling them out. Second, we thought if we built them up a little around the eyehooks, it might be less damaging on a toe, if anyone ran into one of them. That's more of a probability than a possibility.

We finished the last hole as the mosquitoes were coming out, so we couldn't have timed it much better. And while most all of the eyehooks and holes were still curing by the time we stopped, we tested the first one we'd done, and it was very secure. By the time we get the string and clips we're using to secure the shades to the eyehooks, they'll be fully set, although it does say it cures in 3 to 5 minutes. The extra drying time isn't going to hurt a thing.

Hubster's brute strength was in overdrive yesterday, too. He had to carry the tables downstairs that I had painted. The bases are the on es my friend's little boys helped paint. They're cast iron and probably close to 75 pounds and very awkward. And the table tops, which are now bright white and look nothing like the pictures in the link, are probably about 45 pounds and also quite awkward. So he took two of the table bases and two table tops downstairs and got the 3rd table top out of the pod on the driveway, so I can work on painting it this week. It wouldn't have been difficult for him in the slightest, if they weren't so darn awkward. I'm very thankful I'm married to a strong man, because there is absolutely no way I could have moved them!

Add a few more loads of laundry to the mix, and we feel like we got something accomplished this weekend. We were pleased with that. Really glad we at least had that, since today seriously lacked accomplishment.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

And now for your reading enjoyment...The Hubster.

Several years ago, I put a humongous dent in the side of our van when I was backing down a narrow alley with a cinderblock wall. This was less than 2 weeks after I'd already caught the edge of the sliding door on a wooden light pole and folded a small part of it back like a sardine can. And even though I knew he wouldn't be mad at me, I was afraid to tell my husband what I'd done.

We had to meet across town, so he could watch the girls when I ran in for an appointment, and I drove straight from the accident site. When I got out of the car, I was on the verge of tears. I felt horrible! I mean, in a time span of 2 weeks, I put a few thousand dollars' worth of damage on our vehicle. I couldn't believe it. All I could think of when I was driving to meet him was that he works so incredibly hard to support us, and I just blew way too much money on a careless mistake.

He was waiting outside his work truck when I pulled up. He had a big smile on his face when he saw me, and I just started crying. He pulled me into his arms and squeezed while I just kept saying how sorry I was. His response? "You know, Jude, as soon as I'm perfect, I'll expect you to be."

I was speechless.

His kind words and love made me totally forget how horrible I was feeling over this huge mistake I'd made.

Our family isn't perfect. We're obviously not perfect people, or we wouldn't have a hoarding situation. We get irritated with one another. We argue at times, but we realize that to get respect from one another we must give it. So we don't run each other down to anyone, ourselves included. We don't tell others about our arguments. We don't shred one another with personal insults even when we are at our angriest. And we certainly don't share one another's short comings in a public forum. Ever.

I can't imagine how betrayed I'd feel, if I found he was telling others how much he disliked this, that or the other thing I do that bothers him. I'm know he'd feel betrayed, if I did, too, and I would never want to hurt him like that.

He's my best friend.

My lover.

My husband.

I am indeed blessed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Plastic surgery.

Didn't get quite as much done as I'd envisioned today, but I got a fair amount finished.

We worked in the basement today. As we were working on getting the plastic we'd put down to protect the carpet a year ago pulled up from the floor, some of it got stuck around the wheel under a heavy bookshelf. In our attempts to free the plastic from the wheel, we tipped the bookshelf back a bit too far, and one of the wheels snapped off. It's fine that we didn't need the wheels on it, because the books would have likely weighed down the shelf too much to be able to use them effectively anyway, but it took awhile to tip it over and get the other wheels off.

And let me tell you, it was heavy! It took brute strength on my husband's part to maneuver it into position. Unfortunately, I had no brute strength to contribute. We finally got it tucked into the corner where it needed to go, but it wasn't easy. It's hard to move heavy furniture into place on carpet. The carpet tugs and catches on the base and makes it feel 100 pounds heavier than the 100 pounds or so it already weighs. Still. We got it in place.

We also emptied most of the main room of the basement that had been flooded over a year ago. We still have to finish filling the holes in the trim that we've been wanting to get to for months now, but I'm hoping we'll get to them tomorrow. Without all the excess down there, it is a lot easier to move around, so I'm hoping it will go fairly quickly. Once the patching has been done, all we'll have to do is dab a little paint to cover up the patch jobs, and we'll be finished.

I got the doors put back on a cabinet I'd painted some months ago, and we secured the hutch to the base, so it was one more small accomplishment. The only problem is that I realized it's a bit too big for where I was thinking of putting it, so it looks like I'll be figuring out where this piece of furniture will go. Who knows? Maybe I'll try to get my money out of it on Craigslist.

We also got all the furniture that I still need to paint out on the back porch. I have to put another coat on 3 different doors that we're replacing. They've each had 2 or 3 coats, but they still need one more. Then there's the bookcase that we'll be using as an entertainment center that needs painted. It needs at least 3 coats of paint. Thankfully, I'll be able to paint these pieces of furniture whether the girls are at school or at home, so I'll be a painting machine this week.

I'll also be working on even more laundry. I was able to get 5 loads washed, dried, folded and put away today. While I don't always get the clothes put away, I always make sure to fold them when they're dry. I absolutely can't stand wrinkles. Ok. I accept some wrinkles. I'm trying to age gracefully. I just can't stand wearing wrinkled clothes. They don't feel right. They bunch in places they're not supposed to bunch, and they're just not comfortable. So I fold them. I don't necessarily get them out of the baskets and put away right away.

But at least they're folded.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Almost human.

Today I felt almost normal.

After we got the girls ready for school, but before they were out the door I'd gotten the turkey I'd been defrosting for a few days in the oven. Then I went back to bed for a little while. I am still needing a bit more sleep than typical, and I may as well catch up on it while the girls are in school. I enjoyed the nap, but I awoke from a dream about a creep from my past. I woke up shortly after he said he didn't know how I could do it with the girls. That he'd tried but couldn't. (Just for clarification, this creep was out of my life long before our girls entered the picture). He then started walking away and said, "Love ya!"

Ewww! I sat straight up in bed with that and felt like throwing up. He's not a person I ever care to see again. Ever. Even in my dreams. So I'm not sure exactly why he showed up this morning. I hope he crawls back to the rock under which he belongs. I never, ever want to go back to that time in my life. Not in time. Not in memories. Not in my mind. Not in my dreams.

Some might say I have issues.

I just say I've moved on.

I showered to start my day, got dressed, and started deboning the turkey. It hurt. The turkey was hot. I thought I was going to have blisters on my fingertips by the time I was done. So I took a few minutes and got a load of laundry started in the washer and then finished deboning the turkey. I got my biggest stock pot down, put the carcass and some celery in the pot and filled it up with water to make broth.

Then, shock of all shocks, I didn't put off cleaning the turkey roaster. I typically don't debone the turkey right away and that results in me putting off cleaning the roaster as well. They're close to the top of my list of things I hate to do. Really close. So the fact that it's all done is just...well...nice.

While the turkey carcass was brewing on the back burner, I went outside and painted the final coat of white on the table tops. I was going to do it yesterday or the day before, but both Wednesday and Thursday were windy, and I didn't want anything getting in the paint. Good thing I waited. The tops of the tables were covered in dust I had to wipe off before painting them.

When I came in, I got the girls something to eat and emptied out a couple baskets full of laundry and put the stuff put away. The laundry included clean towels. And even though I'd cleaned most of the linen closet out last week, I still had work I needed to do. The top shelf was where I tried to neatly stack all the placemats, tablecloths, doilies and napkins over the years. Except there was nothing neat about it. Anytime anything had been removed, the rest of the stuff ended up all cockeyed and disorganized and looked awful. Besides that, I had no place to put our sheets,

So everything came off the top shelf in the linen closet. It's in a laundry basket. So in some ways, I just traded baskets of stuff, because the sheets have been in a tote for the last several months. A tote in the living room. And I was ready to get it out of there! So the sheets and blankets were put on the top shelf of the linen closet, and it looks organized and nice. I'll work on sorting the placemats, doilies and napkins this weekend and getting that basket emptied and finding a permanent place for it's contents.

By the time I was done with the linen closet, the turkey broth was finished cooking. I left it to cool for awhile and then removed the bones and strained the broth. I'll skim the fat off it tomorrow after it's had a chance to harden in the refrigerator. Then I'll freeze half of it for the next time I need turkey broth. I'll be making soup in the next couple of days with the rest. The girls have brought sore throats home from school, and even though it's going to be hot this weekend soup just sounds good.

Yep. I'm feeling almost normal again.

I'm looking forward to getting some dehoarding done this weekend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I give up.

Feeling a bit better today. I didn't have to be on two different kinds of pain medicine to keep things under control. This is a huge improvement over the last few days. I'll gladly take it. I hate when things are out of my control. Especially when I've been making so much progress and then ... nothing.

I've always had control issues. For as long as I can remember.

*I alphabetize my spices - it makes it easier to find them when I need them.
*I sort my canned goods according to size and content - makes it easier to see at a glance what I have.
*I have a compulsion to sort hangers. That's why I now have nothing but white ones.
*I have found that I can't help but sort our new dishes as I take them out of the dishwasher to put them away. The stacks from bottom to top: stripes, purple or purple w/polka dots, flowers, topped off with green or green w/polka dots and repeat. The only ones I don't worry about are the dessert plates. They're tiny. Only about the size of a saucer. Maybe even smaller. But we don't have an even number of them, so I can't sort them evenly, so I don't even bother. But we have 12 of each of the other pieces, and I can't help it. I tell myself I do it, because I want them to wear evenly and not have one pattern wear out more quickly than any of the others, but I think it's just that I have to control over them. It doesn't take a ton of time like the hangers did. I have a routine, and I follow it, and I can do it rather quickly, so it's really not a big deal.

However, for years we went without a dishwasher. So when we bought our house, I was so thrilled to get a dishwasher. I'd wanted one for years to help lighten the load. However, the load never seemed lightened. The dishwasher never seemed to get the dishes clean. So I would spend hours each week making sure there wasn't a speck of dust on them before loading them in the dishwasher. There could be grease. Just not specks of food, because they'd end up in the bottom of the glasses, and I'd have to rewash them. It drove me nuts. I also noticed that there were always soap bubbles in the bottom of the dishwasher when I opened it up which always surprised me, because I only used about 1/4 the amount recommended.

It dawned on me that maybe I wasn't giving the soap enough to work on. I mean, our dishwasher was expensive. It was a good machine when we bought it. The best in our price point, at least. But we never had clean dishes. I often used the dishwasher for a dish drain. I mean, if I was going to spend almost as much time rinsing and soaking all the food off the dishes before sticking them in the dishwasher, I may as well just wash them by hand. Right?

Like I said. Hours. Each. Week.

I told you I have control issues.


The next step was hard for me to take.

I stopped rinsing everything off the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Granted, I put them on a longer wash, but I'd done that before, and the dishes hadn't come out clean. I expected no less this time. To my utter amazement, the dishes came out clean.

It took awhile for me to give up control over the dishes completely. Even though I'd seen the results, I still couldn't quite believe it. For a few more weeks, I'd rinse the dishes sometimes or do them by hand. Other times, I'd throw them in the dishwasher on an extended wash and still not quite believe that they were actually clean.

A few weeks into my experimenting, a friend sent me the following article. It talks about how using too much soap in your dishwasher or washing machine lessens the life of the machines considerable. I've always used less soap than called for, because we have a water softener, and you don't need to use as much when you have softened water. However, the article also addresses the very thing I'd discovered on my own. That dishes get cleaner in the dishwasher, if you can allow yourself to give up control and just let the dishwasher do it's job.

I'm still a control freak. I probably always will be. But I am so glad i gave up control over this particular thing in my life. It has saved me countless hours. Hours I can use to dehoard the house.

So glad I gave up.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

At a standstill.

I'm not sure what's going on with my health. I may have another infection from my surgery. I've been pretty worthless the last several days.

I went to bed at 9 last night. Woke up at 5 to get the girls off to school and went back to bed at 7. I didn't wake back up until 11, and I could have slept several more hours, but I had to go to the school for Scooter's staffing.

The doctor wants me to take pain meds tomorrow and rate my pain level on a scale of 1 to 10 and chart it. I already know it's worse when I am on my feet for more than 5 minutes or so. So I have a feeling I'll be sleeping a bit tomorrow. Pain meds usually knock me for a loop, which means I can't think straight to do paperwork, work on my blog or sew.

I'm at a standstill.

I don't want to be.