Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

K Sare Ah. Sare Ah.


Wheezy and snotty.

Wheezy and snotty and tired. 

Really, really tired. 

I'm trying to keep things together until our insurance kicks in 5 weeks from now. I have been fighting something, but I'm not exactly sure what it is. I think it's likely just allergies, but whatever it is has decided to play games with my asthma. Stupid whatever it is. And it's not that I'd necessarily go to the doctor even, if we did have insurance. It's just that I'm trying to keep things together, so it doesn't get so bad I have no choice but to go in. That's all. It just feels weird to be without insurance for the first time in almost 20 years. I think I just sort of took it for granted when we did have it and assumed it would always be there.

Needless to say, I'll be happy to see the insurance cards come in the mail when the time is right.

I have slowly but surely getting my mental energy back. The physical energy is coming along bit by bit as well, but I have to admit that I look forward to being able to being able to put in a full day's work more often than I have been without being totally worn out for the following few days. I need to get back into taking my vitamins more regularly. I sort of got off track back in February when I had my second tonsillectomy, and my train is still derailed.

I do have to admit that part of the fatigue today has to do with the events of the weekend. We finally got the second raised garden bed in the backyard built last weekend, and we got it all filled with the good soil and manure and compost and such yesterday. So now my tomatoes and peppers are all planted! I'm so excited!

I still want to get the pallet garden done, so we can have lettuce and spinach and peas and such, but at this point, I honestly think I'll be okay, if it doesn't happen. I mean, I'd really, really like to get it done, so I haven't ruled it out just yet. I just don't know, if it will happen this year or not. 

Whatever will be, and all, right?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy! Happy! Happy!

Buster thinks she's coming down with an ear infection, so she stopped by this morning and asked me to look in her ear with our otoscope. There's definitely something going on in there, so she'll be going to the doctor to have them check it out. She hung around for awhile afterwards, so we could catch up on the latest with work and the rest. 

I always love when she stops by and we get to see her unexpectedly. It just brings sunshine to my day. And while we were visiting, the day just got brighter and brighter...

Hopper and Scooter has stayed the night at Bugster & Bubster's house a couple weekends ago when we went on a date. They'd taken their clothes and strings and such over in duffel bags, because they were quicker than getting out the little overnight case that's stored under the stairs and takes a bit to get to.

I'd unpacked Scooter's duffel bag earlier and had put it away, but I hadn't gotten around to Hopper's. We've been busy since our overnight date installing exterior doors and other such adventures, so I'm behind on things around the house again. So I just hadn't gotten around to unpacking it. That's all.

And sometimes this morning, Hopper decided to use it to carry her strings and boots around. The girls are funny that way. They love to pack and unpack bags, purses or even grocery sacks. So the duffel bag was just an extension of that. Nothing out of the ordinary.

And while I had done a quick inspection of her duffel bag when I was looking for Scooter's shirt, I hadn't torn it apart. What I'd seen when I looked in was the same thing that I'd seen when she brought it home from her weekend at Bugster's. But while Bugster and I were talking, Hopper pulled something out of her bag...               

It was red.

I saw a flash of black and white, and I just held my breath while Hopper worked at turning it right side out. 

It was the butterfly shirt!!!! 

Scooter was sitting there and was just beaming! She was definitely excited that it was still here! She decided to put it on, so Bugster could see it, and so she could go show her daddy, and all this was with a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon on her face! Heck! We all had smiles that wide! We are so very happy! So very, very relieved!  

We're so relieved that she didn't throw it away, even though she pointed to the picture of the garbage can. Then again, I hadn't drawn a picture of a duffel bag, and she may have pointed to that picture, because she'd put it 'in' something. It's a frustrating thing that we all deal with with her inability to communicate. I'm just so very thankful it worked out in her favor! 

I feel like I've got Snoopy in my head doing the Happy Dance right now! 


Friday, May 10, 2013

When clothing is more than cloth and thread.

A few years ago, Scooter wore a shirt to school that Bugster had given her. She loved that shirt. After all, her sister had given it to her. It was a black thermal underwear shirt that had little skulls all over it. I personally can't stand skulls on shirts, but these were so little that it was easy to forget that they were on there, and because of her affinity towards it I let her wear it. It did say, "La De Freakin' Da" on it, but she didn't know what it said. She just thought it was fun.

She wore it to school at least a couple dozen times with no problem. Then one day when she wore it, someone said it was inappropriate to wear to school, and she was told to turn it inside out and wear it like that for the rest of the day. She had no idea what she had done wrong. (Neither did we, for that matter, since they'd never had a problem with it the first 2 dozen times she'd worn it!) She just knew she felt horrible and was totally humiliated by having to wear it inside out. After all, that meant that any student or faculty who saw her knew that she was a bad girl for wearing it. 

We still don't know why the teacher didn't: a) call us and let us know there was a problem, b) put a tshirt on over it that we'd sent in for spare clothing for her in case of an accident, or c) take it off and have her wear a spare shirt for the rest of the day. But she had the same teacher that sprayed her with industrial strength air and surface sanitizer. So poor Scooter didn't have much of a chance in the entire situation. When she got home, she was heartbroken.

She got off the bus absolutely glaring at me and hitting herself in the head alternating with trying to pull her sleeve off. She was exceptionally upset. When we got inside, and I read her communication notebook, I guess I could understand where they thought it was inappropriate, but I still didn't understand why they felt the need to humiliate her. Then again, we didn't know that she was being sprayed yet, either.

She immediately tore her tshirt off and wanted to throw it in the garbage. She wanted nothing more to do with it. I told her I'd wash it up and get rid of it, but we didn't need to throw it away. It was gone within the week, and she never had a problem with it again. 

Until last week, that is.

Scooter's classroom had a community outing, and the forecast was for it to be 85 degrees. It didn't get that warm. Only got to the mid-60s. She'd worn her very favorite long-sleeved tshirt that her my mom and sister had gotten her. She absolutely adores butterflies, and this tshirt had huge ones on it. It couldn't have been more perfect. Long sleeved and butterfliesShe wore a denim jacket, because it was chilly when she went to school, and we felt that was perfect with the weather the way it is. I mean, she can wear long sleeves in the summer and never break a sweat. I've never been able to do it, but she sure can!

When she got home, though, she wasn't wearing the shirt. She was wearing a spare short sleeved shirt that we'd sent in for use in the case of a spill. She was so upset. Before she even got off the bus, she signed to me that it 'stinks' and 'broken'. The broken had to do with her necklace that had come apart, but the 'stinks' was because she didn't have her shirt on. I just figured she'd gotten it dirty. 


The teacher felt like she would be too warm in her long sleeves and denim jacket, so she took her tshirt off her and had her wear a short sleeved one for their community outing under her denim shirt. I didn't receive a phone call. Just a note after the fact. While I was reading the note, I saw in my peripheral vision that Scooter had taken the shirt and had headed into the kitchen with it. I assumed she tossed it downstairs, so it could be washed, but I didn't check that she had.

The next day was trash day, and Hubster took care of it. I didn't really think much of it until it was time to get the red clothes washed yesterday. I looked all over for the tshirt. 

It was nowhere to be found.

My heart just sank. When she got home from school, I drew her a picture of the shirt and reminded her of the situation, and then I drew a picture of the garbage can and a picture of the stairs with dirty clothes at the bottom. I asked her, if she'd thrown the shirt away in the trash can, or if she'd tossed it downstairs to be washed.

She pointed to the trash can. 

I asked her, if she'd thrown it away, and she signed, 'yes'. Then she signed, 'sorry'. I just about cried.

Even though she apparently had no negative reaction at school to changing into a different tshirt, she obviously thought about it for the rest of the day. And I know that in her little mind it was no different than when she had to wear the tshirt inside out, because she'd been 'bad'. 

My heart breaks for her. That was probably her favorite tshirt. She would get it out of the dirty clothes and wear it, if she didn't feel like I'd gotten my act together quick enough with the laundry. She'd wear it dirty for weeks at a time, if I didn't insist that it needed to be washed. And it just makes me so sad that even if she was confused about what I was asking her, and it shows up somewhere around her that it will never be as special to her as it once was. 

It's not like she gets to ever have a boyfriend or even a real friend. She'll never be able to get a job or go to college or have a family of her own. She doesn't play with toys much at all. In fact, her scarves, jewelry, boots, and clothes are really all that matters to her. I mean, she's got a toy here and there that she loves, but they are the  rare exception. I think one reason that they mean so much to her is that they are a way for her to express herself. And being nonverbal, expressing oneself is really, really important!

I know that the teacher was doing what she thought she could to help Scooter be more comfortable during their outing, but I really wish she'd have called me first to check with me before she took it upon herself to have Scooter change clothes. I made it very clear that I am not angry with the teacher but that I expect her to talk to me before she does something like that again. 

And then I cried my eyes out at Scooter's loss. 


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Inspiration comes from the strangest places.

About 10 years ago, I lost about 65 pounds. I was on top of the world. I felt the best I had in years, and I was ready to take on the world. Except that I didn't. Life intervened, and I lost myself again. 

I lost myself to the grief of 3 miscarriages within a year, a malfunctioning gallbladder, a child who was lost in her own little world of anxiety, who took it out on me physically for over 2 years, and the loss of my church family somewhere during all of this. Things were just starting to get on track when we found out Scooter needed to have a spinal fusion, followed by the death of my dad just 5 weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer, the suicide of my nephew 5 months after that, and the imprisonment of a nephew, just a few years younger than me, for the death of the driver of the car he hit when he was driving drunk sent me into a tailspin.

In the midst of the paralysis of my grief, the basement flooded, and we had to deal with mounds of stuff and how to get rid of it, followed by a winter consumed by the swine flu, several allergic reactions to medications, and the stresses of hospitalizations with the kids and dealing with Hopper transitioning out of high school as well as the whole guardianship debacle. 

Needless to say, I haven't really concentrated on me, and all the weight has returned and brought extra friends to the party. Creeps. Each and every one of them.

Anyway, a memory of something someone said to me after I'd lost the weight several years ago came back to me yesterday, and that's what started me along the line of thought of my weight. It just takes me awhile to get to my point.

I have a friend that used to live just a few blocks away but has since moved out of state. A few months after she moved away, she asked me, if I'd gained the weight back yet. She seemed like she was actually hoping that I had failed at it. Granted, she's heavy herself, and I'm sure that played a role in it. She was hurting. I totally and completely get that. But I don't know that I'd ever known anyone I'd considered a friend who had actually wished for me to fail. I'm sure that there have been plenty of people, both friends and others, who have waited for me to fail, but I'd like to think not many have wished it.

And I realized that after she said this, our friendship was never quite the same again. That's just how it is with some friendships. Some of them just fade into the mist like a distant memory, and others are still just as wonderful and vibrant no matter the distance and years between you. I have the compassion for her that I lacked as a child, and I understand that part of her wishing I would fail has to do with the fact that she, herself, hasn't had any real success with losing weight. And I honestly feel no ill will toward her. 

However, I realize that's part of the reason I've been avoiding my blog. I know that if my friend can wish me to fail on my weight loss, that there are those out there who are wishing me to fail on my dehoarding. That there are those out there who want me to fail, because they don't want to think of me as anything but a slob, because they hate hoarding and what it means to them, whether they're a hoarder themselves, or whether their a family member of a hoarder.

And you know what? I'm not angry with them. Because I don't know what things in their lives have caused them to feel that way, and I don't know what they've been through. All I know is that I made a commitment to myself all those years ago, when I realized I was a hoarder, that I am going to make it through this in one piece. 

I am not beaten. I have not given up. And I will not leave this for my family to deal with once I'm gone. Not only will the hoarding not get the best of me, but the weight won't either. I know in my heart it will happen, and I will be successful. It may not be on anyone else's timeline, but it will happen.

To those who are wishing me to fail, I'm sorry you're going through whatever you are that makes you want to see me stumble and fall. I'm sorry you're hurting. I pray you find peace.

And to those of you who are silently and not-so-silently rooting me on, thank you from the bottom of my heart.