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, February 26, 2011

Collecting and broken butts.

I've been busy. 

Suck on inhaler.

The Hubster went in for an MRI last week. He got the results on Monday. His butt is broken. Well. Not exactly, but it feels like it is. He's had horrible pain from sciatica for the last 5 weeks. He can't sit down due to excruciating pain. He tore his hamstring where it attaches to his hip. Or his butt. However you want to say it. For all intents and purposes, his butt is broken. Add the pain of a bulging disc on top of all of that, and he says ready for an amputation. Thankfully, he's just smarting off, but he really is in terrible pain. I so wish I could take it away. We're hoping he can get in for an epidural steroid injection to get some relief.  Soon.

I mentioned I've been sorting things. Sometimes it's seemed totally overwhelming, but other times, I feel totally in charge of the entire sorting process. Sorting through things made it very obvious I have a problem with decision making and with collecting things to recreate happy memories from when I was a child. 

For example, when we were little, Mom tie dyed shirts with us. It's one of my favorite memories. I have always wanted to tie dye with the girls, so I've collected Rit Dye over the years when it was on sale. I didn't realize how much I had collected until it was all in one place. I counted it this afternoon. I have 32* boxes and 13 different colors. I am not sure, if I'm going to save them and try to get them used, or if I'm going to donate them, so someone else can get the the good out of them. For now, they're sitting in a 2.5 gallon zippered plastic bag on a shelf in the laundry room.

I'll be storing school supplies on a bookshelf in the laundry room, too. I definitely have a fondness for school supplies. I'm sure it dates back to when I was a little girl. I remember loving to inhale the smell of the new crayons and theme paper. They smelled so fresh and clean and new. They smelled of the future. Of stories yet to be written. Of adventure yet to be lived. There's nothing quite like opening up a new pack of crayons, notebooks, pencils or paper. 

And while I already did give away several reams of paper as well as several boxes of crayons and pencils, I still have lots left. At last count, there were 32 packages of college ruled theme paper along with roughly 2 dozen single subject spiral notebooks on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. We only have a half dozen 3 subject notebooks, but I haven't even started counting bottles of school glue, dozens of pencils and boxes of crayons and markers we own at this point.

We'll be keeping the school supplies, but not just because of the emotions they evoke. With Hopper and Scooter still in school for a few years we'll use them. And now with them all in the same place, we'll be able to see with a glance, if we'll need to buy anything at all at the back-to-school sales. I have a feeling we'll be set, though. Besides. Notebooks and notebook paper are such cheap entertainment for the girls. It's hard to beat the hours of amusement 200 sheets of notebook paper purchased for 10 cents can buy.

*I found 3 more boxes of dye after I started composing this post a couple of weeks ago. I'm hoping I don't find anymore.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Don't judge me.

Receipts from 2005.

A 2004/2005 phone book.

Various socks. Some with mates. Some without. Most belonged to The Hubster, but there was one little one that belonged to Hopper or Scooter many years ago.

Dust hares at least 3 times the size of common dust bunnies.

A Sgt Grit catalog.

And a lung.

Ok. So the lung wasn't actually under the dresser. I coughed part of it up yesterday and the rest today - well after I finished cleaning our bedroom Tuesday night. 

It's the cleanest it's been in the 9 years we've lived here. There is finally a place for the sweaters that are only used in the winter months. There's a place for our shoes. We each have a place to hang our clothes. And the floor is bare and clean not only in the closet but all around the bed. The window is clean and the curtains are washed and rehung.
The one room in the house that I figured was the least pressing, because it was the one that had been kept up the best over the years still took 3 days to dig out. Granted, I was moving slower than normal with this respiratory bug Scooter so generously shared, but it's done now, and our bedroom is once again the sanctuary we intended it to be.

I'm so very thankful for its calming effects when I finally crawl into bed at night with my inhaler under the pillow and a cough drop in my mouth. Scooter is still coughing during the day, but her coughing has all but stopped during the night. I'm so glad. I hate when the girls are sick and don't get real sleep.

I'm very thankful that in spite of the fact that The Hubster, Hopper and Mom are all sick with this same crud that it doesn't seem to be hitting them quite as hard. I can't tell you how happy this makes me. 

Another thing that makes me happy? 

The pieces of my lung sitting in the jar on our closet shelf.


I never said I was going to get rid of everything!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Waiting to be seen.

The Hubster and I are at the urgent care clinic with Scooter waiting for her to be seen. Thankfully, Hubster brought his netbook, so I've pirated it away to do a quick blog post. Scooter has a slight fever and a heckuva cough. The cough just started yesterday, and we've had to give her several nebulizer treatments to get her asthma and cough under control since yesterday morning. She sounds like she used to when she was younger and was hospitalized repeatedly with asthma. She's not nearly as sick as she used to get, but it is still unnerving. 

So to take my mind off things a bit, I decided to do a quick update post. Lots has been going on...

Mom is still staying with us. I'm so excited she decided to stay a little longer to help out, and I appreciate it so very much. We're going to try to get as much done on the house as we can in this last week as we can, but we've already gotten so much accomplished it's unbelievable.

Scooter's room is finished for now. I'll try to paint it in the next few months. We have some construction work we'll get to eventually, but for now a paint job will make it look a lot better until we get around to it. In the meantime, she's got her own room back, complete with trundle bed and a place for everything. She's really enjoying the solitude, and she's resting much more comfortably than when she shared a room with Hopper.

Hopper's also enjoying being back in her bedroom. She's sleeping more soundly than she did before. Something about sisters sleeping together seems to make the sleep more fitful. So right now, Hopper's enjoying Gramma as a sleepover guest. She's loving it. And Mom's dog is thrilled having not 1 but 2 beds in Hopper's room to choose from when he wants a nap.

Mom's been helping me in our bedroom. We started on the closet. It had gotten totally out of hand. It's a tiny little thing, but it held way too much. It wasn't really being used as a closet anymore, because stuff was piled as high as 4 feet in there. Now the floor is bare, the clothes have been cut by at least 50%, and the shoes have been pared down as well. 

We've also cleaned and dusted under the bed. All that's left is sorting stuff that's on and in the dresser and doing some dusting. It shouldn't take too long once we get back in there. Hopefully, that will happen after we get home from the clinic. It will be nice to have one more room checked off the list. In fact, once we're done dehoarding and cleaning the bedroom, everything on the main level of the home will be finished except for the study. We're hoping to get to it too, but we'll see what happens. We have a lot on our wish list of things to accomplish.

Mom's hoping to help us get enough done that I'll be able to finish things without The Hubster's help, if it comes down to that. Right now, there's not a lot he can do. Three weeks ago, he woke up in excruciating pain. The day before, he'd done some new stretches before going for a 9 mile run, and when he went to get out of bed the next morning, he could hardly move. 

He's been to a couple of different doctors at this point. They're not sure exactly what he did, but he's got pain running down his left leg from his buttock. His sciatic nerve has been aggravated, and the poor man can't even sit down. He's in pain pretty much nonstop, and pain meds don't really seem to be doing much to calm it. 

He finally went to a sports medicine doctor a few days ago. He was given a 6 day course of oral steroids to try to get it under control. The doctor said that he'll need to go in for further testing, if the steroids don't work. So. Guess who's going back in for further testing? I wish they'd have just run an MRI on him 3 weeks ago, so they could get to the bottom of his pain. No pun intended.

The sports medicine doctor figured he pulled or tore something in his hip or buttock area near the sciatic nerve. Considering the fact that he's not really gotten any better in the last 3 weeks, we're thinking it was an actual tear. Of course he's totally out of vacation and sick days at this point, and he won't get anymore until May. He used them all up when I had my surgery. You know where this is going...the doctor wants him to take a week off work. Unfortunately, unless we win the lottery that's not going to happen. 

So that's what's going on around here. I know this isn't the most coherent post I've ever written, but I'm a bit distracted. Between the coughing that surrounds us in the waiting room to the cries of tired and sick children to knowing my poor husband is in so much pain I can't concentrate that well. Maybe next time.

I hope each of you is staying healthy and warm. 

I shall return!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It rhymes with moon.

We started working on Hopper's room last week. So we've been working on getting it cleaned out for going on two weeks. We are for the most part finished. I do have to hang some things, caulk around part of the baseboards some more and clean off her desk, but overall it's done. It's such a relief.

Seven years ago or so, we bought some peel and stick linoleum tiles for the floor in Hopper's room. At the time, it was Bugster's room. And I worked as hard as I could to get the tile all down while Bugster was on a missions trip to Mexico, but I never quite got it finished. At the time, she said she didn't want me to finish it, because she didn't want to wait to move everything back in and enjoy her room, so it's sat unfinished all these years.

This time, I decided to finish it once and for all. I cut the last small piece of tile last night and put it in place. Before placing that last piece of tile, I'd replaced about a dozen full tiles that had been gouged or ripped up. Putting the new tiles down wasn't any big thing, but it took some elbow grease and way too much time to get the old ones up, but it was worth it. The floor looks so much better now.

I got the baseboards installed and caulked in the last few days, too. They look great, although I do have to go over some of the caulking. The floor in the basement is cement, and it's anything but level, so parts of the baseboards sat as much as a quarter inch off the floor while other parts of the baseboards were flush with the floor. Caulking tends to shrink a bit as it dries, so I need to go over the parts where it's obvious that it needs a bit more. I'll make sure to put some touch up paint on any nail holes I missed the first go round, too.

Mom helped me sort the stuff that was piled in the bedroom when the basement flooded almost 2 years ago. There was a lot that went in the trash or the donation box. It is so nice to have it all out of there. Mom also helped by washing the windows and the bedskirt and curtains for the room. Then this morning, she scrubbed the floor for me. I cannot express what a huge help Mom has been over the last couple of months while she's been here. We have accomplished so much with her help that I'd still be working on alone, if she weren't here!

We picked up some new mattresses for Hopper's bed a week or so ago knowing we'd be getting her back in her bedroom soon. We had a pop up trundle bed under her bed, but we didn't have a mattress on it yet. We just hadn't gotten to that point before the basement flooded. So now Hopper's bed has it's new mattress on it, and her trundle is in use as I type this. Mom is Hopper's sleepover guest tonight, (her first ever), and they were both excited about it. 

Once again, I'm so very thankful for Mom being here. Having Gramma sleep in her bedroom the first night she's slept alone in almost 2 years has proved invaluable. Hopper was freaking out about sleeping down there again and had a bit of a meltdown. We're hoping the anxiety she's suffered over the thought of sleeping in her own room again will be a thing of the past now that she's spent her first night in there.

Tomorrow, we'll work on getting the mattress on Scooter's trundle bed and take down the part of the bunk bed Hopper's been using the last couple of years and put it in the garage with the other half. Her room is going to look so much bigger with only one bed in there! Gramma will be Scooter's first ever sleepover guest tomorrow night. They're both looking forward to it.

I'll get before and after pictures posted someday. I'd say soon, but I'm not sure when I'll get around to it. I've got to find the card the before pictures are on and take after pics. I don't want to take the time while Mom's here. I'm enjoying having her around way too much and don't want to miss out on any time with her.

I'll be back soon, though. 

It just depends on what your definition of 'soon' is.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Forgive us our tresspasses...

When we were growing up, Mom and Dad had us say The Lord's Prayer every night before bed. They said it together every night for 58.5 years. As a result, I watched my parents 'let bygones be bygones'. They showed us an amazing example of how to live, how to treat others, and how to be better people.

I have not been quite as faithful in saying The Lord's Prayer. I find that I get busy with everything that's going on, and I often don't take the time I should to be alone with my thoughts or to pray. That's one reason I find that I love painting, doing crafts or even laundry. It's really the only time I am alone with my thoughts.

Tonight, I was working in Hopper's room. The Hubster and I had gotten the baseboards cut over the weekend, and I wanted to work on installing them. I started in the closet, and while I was successful there, I didn't get much more accomplished as far as baseboards go, but I did get some shelves hung in the corner and painted. While I was working I had plenty of time to think.

I kept coming back to the mug I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. That and the quotation marks that have bothered me for years. Was I holding onto things that I needed to just let go? 

The answer? Guilty as charged.

The thing is, I have no regrets about getting rid of the mug. The mug was a reminder of much more than just the quotation marks...

The Hubster was deployed when I received the mug with flowers in it for my birthday. He was gone for a total of 15 months. Hopper was only 3 months old when he left. It was an exceptionally scary and stressful time for me. I was dealing with my husband being on the other side of the world, with Hopper's health and her lack of development, and I was also dealing with my in-laws, who thought there was nothing wrong with her, and that I was making everything up.

It didn't matter that we'd had genetic testing done that showed the chromosomal abnormality. It didn't matter, that she was hospitalized several times due to dehydration. It didn't matter that she wasn't progressing normally. It didn't matter that we had to feed her with a syringe that had IV tubing attached and running along the side of our finger to allow milk to be dispensed when she sucked correctly. It was my fault. I was the one that was overreacting and babying her.

Yes. My in-laws made sure to tell my husband every chance they got while we were separated by thousands of miles. My father-in-law also made sure to mention it repeatedly to my parents when he'd run into them around town. 

I could do no right in their eyes, and the mug is just a constant reminder of that, and I don't need to be reminded every single time I see it. It just makes me sad to think of that time in our relationship

It's been on my mind a lot lately, and I want to,  to let (I need even) to let it go. It weighs me down in way too many ways, and I don't want to become bitter over it all. I fear I've wandered a bit too far down that road as it is.

Over the last few weeks, though, I've seen things in a totally different light...

Nobody ever knows how they're going to react in any given situation. People don't know how they'll grieve when they lose a loved one. They don't know how they'll  handle themselves in a crisis situation, whether it be a diagnosis of cancer, a divorce or a car accident. 

My in-laws were reacting to having a granddaughter with severe special needs, with developmental delays, with hearing loss in their own ways. Their way didn't include encouraging words to me, but it was the only way they could do it at the time.

I get that. 

We do what we can to survive any crisis at the time. And if it means blaming someone else, that's what we do. Hopefully, at some point in the future we'll come to our senses and at the very least change our behavior and attitude, or better yet, we'll apologize for hurting another person with our actions. 

In the meantime, I choose to move on, forgive, and try to forget (and getting rid of the mug in the meantime will help with that) the hurt. Just because someone doesn't accept me with all my faults and warts doesn't mean I can't accept them.

After all, a wise person once said, "As soon as I'm perfect, I'll expect you to be." 

My husband is a wise, wise man.