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, October 8, 2019


We've had several setbacks since I last wrote. 

The engineer that was going to approve our plans, so they could be taken to the building department to get the permit died. It set us back a couple of months, because there was no one else in his firm to approve it, and we got stuck in a line of hundreds of other people scrambling to find an engineer to approve the plans. Our inconvenience is nothing. Someone lost their life, and there are family and friends who are grieving his loss. We feel horrible for his loved ones! It did, however, change the course for us a bit.

The plans have been down at the building department for a month now. Apparently, new regulations went into effect on July 1 that are making things incredibly difficult to get things approved, so we wait. Just a few of the other things they needed that were a separate trip out to our house and back to the building department by the contractor: the size of the furnace - they needed to not only know the BTUs, but they also needed the physical size of the furnace-even though they approved it when it was installed 3 years ago! They also needed something having to do with the electrical system and a few more things outside the house that we didn't even realize until after the contractor had come and gone. At least we know it will be good to go when they are all finished.

But guess what?? The guys are in the garage right now working on pulling the walls down and putting in new floor joists as we speak!! We are FINALLY getting started on this! I can't even describe how exciting it is that we are moving forward in a way that we can see. I can't imagine how frustrating it has to be for the builder to have been put on hold all this time, too! I imagine it felt somewhat like a horse being restrained before the race started. The plans still haven't been approved, (hoping that happens in the next couple of days), but at least the gate is open! 

And we are chomping at the bit...

Monday, October 7, 2019

Well, that was unexpected.

Years ago, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I've known I've had it my entire life. It was incredibly hard to sit still in class when I was little, and my mind constantly wandered. I would often be out on the prairie with Laura, Mary, and Carrie in my mind. We weren't just picking wildflowers. We were building treehouses, fighting with riding horses, or surviving being stalked by a bear or mountain lion during math class. It hasn't let up. I still struggle with keeping my mind in one lane. The Fibro has made it worse. There are days the fog is so thick that I struggle to remember my own name. Okay. Maybe not my name, but definitely my birth year.

I had tried one of the name brands of ADHD medicines years ago, and I was amazed at how well I could put not only 2 thoughts, but 3, 4, or 5 thoughts, together at one time! Alsas, I was allergic to it. It raised my blood pressure and gave me horrible headaches, so I only took it for about a week. It was such a disappointment that I couldn't take it anymore. I was able to function efficiently for the first time in my life! However, being concerned about similar reactions to other medications, I didn't try anything else for my ADHD for another 15 years. Until recently.

Lately, thoughts bounce in an out of my mind at incredible speed. I try to focus on one thing and another thought pops it right out of my mind. So I talked to my doctor about my ADHD, and they agreed that I could try something else. I did really well with it for the first 9 days or so. I was able to have coherent thoughts without having to repeat what I was saying multiple times. However, on the night of the 9th dose, I noticed my upper lip was tingling. It felt like it was waking up from a trip to the dentist. However, it was gone in the morning, so I didn't think much of it.

The next morning, I had no tingling, so I took the medication again. An hour or so after taking the med, my lip started tingling. Then my left eyebrow. Then my chin was numb. Then my right eyelid, followed by my left cheek. An hour later, I was not only still struggling with odd facial tingling and numbness, but my scalp started playing Simon on me. Remember the light up game with the colors that would light up, and you'd have to remember their sequence? It was just a random pattern that pulsed, never made any sense, and could be dizzying to watch. Well, that's what my scalp started doing. It would jump from one patch to being numb, to another patch tingling, to yet another tightening.

It lasted for 7 hours.

Needless to say, I didn't take any more of the medication. And when I was still struggling with facial numbness and tingling a week later, I made an appointment with a neurologist. He talked about how migraines and a pinched nerve could account for the numbness and tingling, and we talked about an MRI I'd had done 11 years ago. (The neurologist at the time said that I had a couple of spots on my brain, but he also specifically said I did not have MS. However, he also signed me up with the MS Society to receive all the info on MS. It concerned me that he would do it, so I called and asked his office, if it said in my records that I had MS. It did not, so I asked them to remove my name from their mailing list. It was disconcerting to get requests to join clinical trials for something I didn't have!)

I had the MRI on the 30th and went in last week to find out the results. I had the CD in my hand, and the doctor asked me, if I'd looked at it yet. I hadn't. How unlike me is it that I wouldn't even look at it? Obviously, if I had been thinking clearly, the first thing I'd have done was pop it into the computer and looked at it. I certainly wouldn't have been thinking migraines and a pinched nerve had I seen it. The MRI looked like someone had spilled popcorn all over the film. My brain is full of lesions.

I have MS.

I'm so tired. So tired, exhausted and drained.

...but hopeful.

I'm just tired, but relentless forward progress and all.

We have a small storage container in the front yard right now. The first order of business when it was delivered last week was to bring all the boxes of Christmas decorations upstairs and put them in the back of the container. They're normally stored in the utility room downstairs, but the builders need them out of there in order to access water, gas, and sewer lines for the addition, so they had to go. The good thing is that it's the last time that we'll have to bring them up from downstairs, because they'll be stored in the new storage room in the addition. Do you have any idea how incredible it will be not to have to lug those massive totes up every year?!!

The garage is empty except for the spare fridge, which we will keep in there until it goes on its merry way. We haven't decided yet, if we're going to put it in the new storage room, or if I'll sell it, but it and cases of water are the only thing we have left in the garage. It feels weird to go out there and have there be so much space. I was in such a hurry to get started on clearing it out that I forgot to take before pictures of everything, but I am okay with that. I may still have a before picture that I took years ago of the garage, but I'm not going to worry about whether I do or not.

I was thinking I needed to get before pictures of the kitchen and dining room before I started packing things up, but I decided not to worry about it. I didn't want to take pictures of it being messy, because these pictures were not so much a before picture having to do with hoarding but one that had to do with the renovation and how much things will have changed once the work is complete. I know I have pictures somewhere of most of the things in the kitchen, so I'm just not going to worry about it.

I was finding myself literally frozen trying to make decisions about what to clean first, what to take pictures of first, and the order in which to pack things. My fibromyalgia has been acting its fool self off, and I am struggling to think clearly. I fought through the Fibro Fog and made a difficult decision. I realized that the whole thought of trying to clean the table off, dust the nic nacs, and scrubbing the floor for pictures was just too much for me. Not being able to make a decision has been frustrating to say the least, so finally making a decision, albeit not the decision I was expecting to make is freeing.

Sometimes relentless forward progress isn't about getting rid of anything but a mindset, and I'm okay with that.

*I originally wrote this the end of March and forgot to actually post it. Lots of dehoarding has happened since then. Relentless forward progress and all...

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


I'm exhausted, but I'm feeling very hopeful. I've had more of that relentless forward progress happening since I last blogged.

Are you ready for this?

The garage and the back porch are.....empty.

Ok. Maybe not entirely, but enough that the builder was 'flabbergasted' that I had gotten as far as I have with it. So now we're finally in the planning stage!!

There are still a couple of things in the garage. The big plywood fireplace that we bring into the house every year to hang stockings on at Christmas is out there, the spare refrigerator that we keep water and eggs from the backyard chickens is in there, and there's a bedroom set that we've got to get into Scooter's bedroom. The grill is still on the porch, as is the porch swing and a table. I'll be selling the table, but we're keeping the swing and the grill, so they'll just need to be moved out of the way when the time comes. Oh. yeah. There's also a barrel on the porch that has camp chairs in it. I'm not sure where I'll be storing those until we use them, but they have to be washed at the car wash before I put them away until we use them again.

Considering that the porch was completely covered and the garage was full top to bottom, side to side, and end to end, I'm feeling pretty good about it. I've sold several things and made a few hundred dollars. Hubster took the bath surround we'd bought a few years ago back to the big box store. Thankfully, it was still in stock, so he was able to return it. We now have a credit to be used toward the renovations we'll be doing, so that will be handy.

I can't even imagine how many hundreds, (thousands?) of pounds of stuff has been thrown away! There's been some stuff donated, as well, but for the most part the stuff has gone to the trash. I've kept some stuff to look through later, because I just couldn't think clearly enough to make any more decisions about it at the time. I think that what I actually kept was only between 10-15% of the total that was out there. That total will go down, as I have the time to sort through it all when I'm thinking more clearly.

I'm having problems deciding whether or not to keep the stuff we'd gotten to redo the bathroom years ago, or if I should sell it and go a different route. The toilet and sink are a matched set, and I love the look of them, but the toilet is just a typical height. We're so used to the taller toilets that I don't know, if we should keep that one...I'm wondering, if it would be a fall risk for Hubster, since it's shorter. We're also wondering, if it would be better to have a small vanity in there instead of the pedestal sink that matches the toilet. We'd be able to put a reverse osmosis machine in a cabinet, which would allow access to purified water without having to go upstairs. Granted, we wouldn't have any storage, but we've gone all these years without it that I don't know, if it would matter, anyway. I could always hang some cute baskets on the walls for storage, so there are options.

Decisions must be made, but the fibro fog is thick, and it is so hard to think clearly.

I think I need sleep.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Good Decisions and All.

For years the back porch has been filled to overflowing. In fact, there have been varying degrees of full since we bought the house 18 years ago. It has seen many things come and go over the years, but it's always been pretty packed . At one point we actually tried to tarp it off, so the things on it wouldn't be ruined by the weather, and so it wasn't as much of an eyesore for the neighbors, but the wind and the sun destroyed the tarps, and we had a mess. 

A few years ago when we started working on cleaning up the backyard, we actually had the entire porch cleaned off. Ok. Maybe not completely, but it was close. We still had a stack of chairs, and a big metal footlocker that Hubster had used in his work truck for years, but for the most part it was clean. Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way. It didn't take long for it to be filled with overflow when we tried to clean out the garage. (I did, however, get rid of the stack of chairs several months ago, and the footlocker went a few weeks ago. Yay me!)

I'd hired a neighbor kid to help me with it, but it was more than he could handle. Heck, I couldn't even handle things. Frank has helped me with it here and there, but he really isn't into working much, so it's been very hit and miss. Awhile back, I asked Atticus, if he was interested in earning some money and helping me to dehoard. He's between jobs, so it was a good fit. He also grew up with hoarding parents, so he's familiar with the mindset, and he's been a huge encouragement without pushing me to make decisions I'm not quite ready to  make. As a result, we've made huge progress! 

We finished cleaning the back porch off completely a few weeks ago. It's since been somewhat filled with other things, but it's because we're using it as a staging area. In one area, I've got the things I'm selling, in another there are things I'm keeping, and in another area I keep the stuff that's being donated. It's been nice, because as I go through things in the garage, Atticus can take them to the appropriate place on the porch, and I can deal with it further from there. 

I've sold a few things and donated a bit, but by and large I've either given things away or thrown them out with the trash each week. I've been able to get rid of things that I've hung onto for years with relative ease, and when I struggle to get rid of something and finally  make the choice, Atticus chimes in with, "Good decision!" It's encouraging. 

One of the big decisions I made last week was to get rid of papers I've held onto since I was in high school close to 40 years ago. I took classes in architecture and drafting back then. I liked it well enough, but I wasn't quite suited to it. I struggled to get the perspective perfect in spite of the tools I had at my disposal to draw them correctly. I just couldn't get it quite right. In a weak moment my junior year of high school, I cheated. I took another student's drawing, (with his permission), and I turned it in as my own. I was found out, and I ended up with a poor grade. I don't recall, if I got an incomplete in the class, or if I only got an F on that paper. It's been a long time ago, and a lot has happened in my life since then, so the details are blurry, but it has hung like a millstone around my neck all these years. 

I'm ashamed that I was so weak as to think that cheating was an option just because I was overwhelmed and I had a looming deadline. I'm not proud of myself for that. I think it's one of the reasons I've hung onto the blueprints all these years. I wanted to punish myself for my failure, because I didn't deserve to forgive myself. How could I forgive myself for such a moral failure? As a result, I've paid for that single moment of cheating many, many times over the years. 

Last week, I went page by page through the blueprints, as I told the story to Atticus. As hard as it was to admit, it was so freeing. I was able to forgive myself, to put the past in the past, and to move in to the future. 

Good decisions.