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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

If Some Day Never Comes

The girls are sick again, which will limit the amount of time I can work in the garage until they're feeling better. Thankfully, I was still able to get out there today and get a bit done. I filled two large black trash bags full of stuff for trash pickup this week.

A few of the things had been hard for me to let go of in the past, but I had no problem with getting rid of them today. One thing was a small dog bed. When we first got our puppy a few years ago, she had a tendency to chew the stuffing out of her dog beds. Literally. And for whatever reason, I felt the obligation to keep them for Some Day, as though it were a holiday to be held in high esteem. The day that I would get my sewing machine, (or glue, hammer and nails, cleaning products, or whatever else my project seemed to need at the time to be redeemed to it's (almost) former glory), and sit down and fix it.

I was finally able to part with a mat for the front door, too. It was one of those nice and heavy ones, but the picture on it was fading. In the mind of who I used to be, it was worth saving for Some Day. I'd go ahead and paint a new scene on it, so it would look nice. After all, it was a nice mat. It stayed in place fairly well, and it had some weight to it. Something about it's weight made me think it was a quality mat, and you shouldn't just throw quality things away. Right? I patted my former self on the back and tossed it in the bag. 

There were several other things I tossed, but one of my favorite things to get rid of was the packing popcorn that had spent most of its life in the attic. I could not seem to rid myself of it in the past no matter how hard I tried. Bubble wrap, plastic bags, peanuts, and boxes have always hung me up a bit. I'm sure it's because I always wanted to make sure that whatever I sold on eBay was packaged well. But who's kidding who? I don't know, if I'll ever sell anything on eBay again. The bag of plastic bags made me pause, but for only a millisecond. Into the trash they went. 

There was one thing that made me pause a bit longer. It was a great big yellow foam cowboy hat that my parents got me in highschool decades ago. I'd taken great pride in wearing it to school events at different times. It was silly and goofy and fun. I took it out of the bag that I'd neatly stored it in years ago. Years ago I'd folded the brim of it neatly and slid it into the bucket of the hat. The foam was still the bright yellow of yesteryear. It hadn't aged like normal foam - maybe because I'd kept good care of it? I started toward the trash bag but immediately started to back as I bent down to place it inside. Memories started to overwhelm me, and then I pictured Mom and Daddy. When they bought me the hat for my birthday, they certainly didn't think I'd have it for the rest of my life! They not only wouldn't expect it, they'd feel guilty, if they'd known how hard it was for me all these years to get rid of it.

I slid it in the bag and smiled. 

Some Day has finally arrived, but I realized that it's not a special day to set aside to mend things. 

It's time to mend me. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It's gonna be a challenge.

Our home isn't all that large. It seems even smaller now that Hubster struggles with walking in tight spaces due to the Parkinson's. Even without the Parkinson's it's small. We can't open the dishwasher and oven door at the same time, because they'd hit one another. They're on opposite walls. Like I said. Small. 

Don't get me wrong. We love our house. It's our home. It will be our one and only home. We just want it to be a little more user friendly when the eventuality comes that Hubster will need a wheelchair. It is likely years away, but it will come. And we know from experience that our house is not built for someone in a wheelchair to get around. When Hopper broke her leg a few years ago, I thought we were all going insane from the lack of space!

We had a couple of major hail storms this year that tossed baseball-sized hail at our roof and patio cover. It destroyed them both, so they both will need replaced. The problem is that the roof on patio is entirely too small. Originally, there had been a brick planter all the way around, but the roof didn't extend over them. Now that the planters are gone, the patio looks like it's been the butt of a summer camp prank and has been short sheeted. Unfortunately, we can't replace the patio roof with a size large enough to cover the pad without new concrete being poured and a new structure being built.

We've also always wanted to convert the garage into living space, (think bigger kitchen and bigger living room), but we never even thought it was a possibility. It certainly isn't big enough for a car. Ok. Maybe a small car would fit in it, but there's no way an SUV or van would fit, and I don't see us getting by without one or the other. Come to think of it, I suppose the possibility existed, but the money to make it happen didn't exist, so we really didn't know when, how, or if it could ever happen, let alone get a carport.

We didn't want a little flimsy aluminum one that would blow into our neighbor's backyard with the smallest gust of wind, but a permanent carport that would protect the car from the hail, heat, snow, and ice. The thought of not having to shovel snow from the driveway seems to good to be true, let alone the safety factor. Where both Hubster and Scooter are at greater risk for falls, the thought of a driveway free of ice sounds beyond amazing! 

All of these renovations have been nothing but far-off dreams for years. Until now. We just found out that Hubster's disability claim was awarded, so we will be signing loan paperwork to get started on all of it in the next few days! We are super excited and can't wait for the additions to our home to be complete!

The flip side of things is that it's a lot of work. The garage is full. It's not as full as it used to be, because we have worked on paring down quite a bit, but there is still a massive amount of stuff out there. My mission, if I choose to accept it, is to get rid of every. single. thing. in the garage and on the porch. Once they pull the walls from the kitchen and living room down, any mouse or spider that currently resides in the garage will have free access to the house. If we get rid of everything out there, they won't have a place to hide, and we'll be able to eradicate each of them before the wall comes down. 

Totally worth it. 

This mission is going to be difficult, there's no doubt, but guess who's up for the job? That's right! I'm ready to put in the work to reap the rewards of a bigger, more comfortable home. I'm finding that dehoarding decisions are coming easier now that there's a real goal in mind, so I'm just going to go in each day that I work out there with the renovations in mind. 

This mission may be difficult, it may be a herculean challenge, but it is not impossible. 

I accept.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Forgiveness. It's what's for supper.

Lots has happened since I was last here. Lots. Mostly good. Overwhelmingly good, actually.

Shortly after I last wrote, we had to leave for almost a month to be with my mom. She had open heart surgery that went fantastically well. A hiccup here and there, but she's doing great, and we are very thankful! Without it, she wouldn't be here today. Like I said. We're very, very thankful!

We also found out Hopper has virtually no immune system. This doesn't sound like a good thing, but it really is. She would still have virtually no immune system, if we didn't know, and at least by knowing, we can get her treatment. The treatment is getting infusions of replacement immunoglobulin once a month for the rest of her life. It's harvested from the B cells in the plasma that people donate. Her infusions contain the immunoglobulin from no less than 10,000 donors, and as much as 100,000 donors for each treatment! That amazes me! 

While I know some people give plasma, because it pays well, I also know there are others who donate for no other reason than to save lives. Regardless of the motivation behind the donations, I just want to say that we appreciate each and every person who donates to save our daughter's life! From the bottoms of our hearts, thank you!

Before the 'dear friend', (that tried to derail me), contacted me to see, if we could rebuild our friendship, I had already forgiven her. Instead of feeling sorry for myself and holding anger towards her, I started praying for her. It changed my mindset completely, and I had complete peace about all of it. I'm not saying that I'll let it happen to me again. I won't. I refuse to willingly participate in the destruction of anyone's mental health, including my own. 

I told her I would be willing to try to rebuild our friendship, but I also know that I'm okay with leaving it like it is, which looks nothing like it used to look. It's more of an acquaintance thing for now, and it likely will be for quite some time - perhaps forever. I've moved on. I harbor no ill feelings for her at all, but I don't think we're supposed to be really close friends, and my heart is okay with that, too. 

In spite of everything, I continue to dehoard. There are days that it might not look like much, but with each thing I toss, donate, or sell, my mind clears, and my mood lifts. Earlier this month, we got a couple of little cabinets to store our medical supplies, so we we are using shelves instead of drawers. I cleaned our old one out, purged a lot of things we no longer needed or used, and came across one thing that actually made me feel a bit sad for that person that I used to be. That person who didn't know how to clear the cobwebs from her mind enough to know that it was okay to throw certain things away.

I was finishing up the last little pile of items to sort that came out of the drawers of medical supplies yesterday. In it was a pair of those clip-on sunglasses that were covered in what looked like whitewash paint. I felt sad for the old me, who couldn't seem to throw them away, but I know her. She wasn't hanging onto them, because they were 'so important' to her that she couldn't part with them. She held onto them, because they were a splurge at a time when we couldn't really afford them, and she felt guilty they were messed up. She felt that somehow it was her responsibility to at least try to fix them, so they were usable again, and she stuck them in a tin to fix when she 'got around to it'. She just never got around to it.

And do you know what I did? I gave her a hug, I forgave her, told her to forgive herself, and then I promptly threw them in the trash. And it was freeing for both of us. 

It's amazing how good forgiveness tastes.