Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Massacre

Seeing ads for Mother's Day presents reminded me of everyone here. Like most holidays, Mother's Day is a time of the year that I cringe at adverts. Amazon suggested for the outdoorsy mom, I should give her a plant and gardening tools. But you've all seen her "garden."

For the fashionista mom, I should give her a pair of hot shoes, or some banging jeans. But you've all seen her "closet."

For the hoarder mom, Amazon doesn't have many suggestions. Neither do I. I waited the whole week to see if I would hear from her, telling me what she wanted or where she wanted to go to celebrate. I never heard anything so Sunday was spent celebrating the beautiful day with grilling out and relaxing at home.

After 3 p.m. I received a text from my sister asking if I had texted my mother. I had, at 8 a.m. that morning, texted her "Happy Mother's Day!" Apparently my sister had contributed a facebook post along the same lines, and my mother posted a rebuttle on facebook. Something along the lines of "I hope those who still have their mothers appreciate them and cherish them. It's pathetic that a three word text or facebook post is the only thing a mother gets anymore." My sister had to share this with me, since I'm not facebook-friends with my mother. The whole thing is ridiculous, but because my mother and sister like to push each others' buttons, my sister also responded and spoke for both of us; saying it upset us and was stupid that she expected anything without telling us what she wanted.

I've had a beautiful cutting board on my counter, for my mother. It matches the rolling pin from a few Christmases ago. I expected them to come to town, or ask us to come to their house, and I wanted to have something to take, even though I knew that it would never be used or would quickly be lost or broken.

Later Sunday night, my mother sent me a facebook message that explained her reasoning behind her post:
I understand you are up set about a posting I made. I don't know why you would think it was addressed to you since you and I aren't even fb friends so Why would it be directed at you? Since you read the first post I hope you read the second one as well and more clearly understand that my posting had to do with my grief and sense of loss of my own mother. And although that post wasn't "aimed" at either of you, yes I am disappointed that you sent me an early morning 3 word text and Amanda sent a 4 word fb post...no other effort or time invested. I get that you both think I have been a lousy mother, it is something I live around but a day like today it is a major slap in the face and incredibly hurtful.

Reading this again makes my stomach fall. I'd been able to forget about the worst parts of my mother because it had been a while since I had seen her, and even then it's only been in public, at a movie theater or restaurant. When this is the way she communicates with me, this much of the reason I avoid contact. No one should have to be this stressed about a greeting-card holiday. I suppose nothing I could have done would have made her happy. We don't talk much normally, but I guess she wanted us to fake it for the holiday. It's a shame.

Before all this, a few weeks ago, my parents took in water in their basement during some heavy rain. My dad texted us girls suggesting we call her and chat because she has been depressed that she has to throw out our baby clothes because they're ruined, and she's upset that we haven't given her grandchildren to pass all of our stuff to before it goes to waste. She later called me and hung up when she realized I would not give her the drama-filled response she wanted.

1.You should have cleaned the basement out years ago
2. How dare you guilt me for not ruining my life so that you can have a plaything on the weekends.

I've come out on the other side and it's now Monday evening. I had a great day at work, and I'm looking forward to going home to my loving family that consists of myself and my partner. No needy mothers, no spawn. I will continue to do what I can for my mother, as she allows me. I'd rather leave now before things get worse.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Decluttering Schedule

This is a great pin I found on Pinterest while celebrating *ehem* National Margarita Day.

http://www.mysimplerlife.com/2012.htm


Monday, January 21, 2013

IKEA bump

I am a sucker for IKEA, and I am so glad to refer you to these links.

IKEA Living Together 
IKEA Chuck Out That Chintz

7 Month Update

 The Master bathroom has less wallpaper than before, still featuring the stink of a cat litter box.

 Many of the doors and walls still sport these little renovation notes with no sign of progress.

"Small Bath: flooring, cabinet under sink, elevated stool"


The half-bath between the full bath and master bedroom is more cleaned out, the white carts are gone, but all horizontal surfaces are covered.


The master bedroom is...bad. It's clear that only one person sleeps here, and while my mother may have thrown away a few things from her closet, we are definitely of the breed that tends to make a mess while cleaning. There are still two walls of horizontal surfaces between the full wall dresser/entertainment cabinet and the dresser in the far corner. Again, every horizontal surface is full. The photo frame on the wall, however, seems to be in order.


This is the room my dad sleeps in. This room is in much, much better condition than when I first moved out. But this room also makes me the saddest. My dad is trying to seclude himself from the hoard and it's a sad existence.


The foyer isn't bad, always boxes in front of the closet, which means it's probably full, but the doors shut which is a good sign. The living room is pretty much like it's been for the past 4 years. No seating on the couch to the left, one open cushion on the couch to the right. The table was cleared off dinner, which was encouraging. The new window is in, but not finished so there's spray foam all around it to secure it until the framing is done. If it's anything like the kitchen windows it'll be several months. Also, note all the wallpaper is now gone.


The kitchen was decent before dinner was started. I am the first to admit that I make a mess when I'm making a meal, especially from scratch. But every night we clean it up. I didn't get an after shot of the kitchen, but I could tell the dishes would hang around for a quit a while.


The view from the kitchen to the dining room (made better by the margarita). The (2nd) dining room table is still covered with random things, and the floor between the freezer and closet was full.







The refrigerator wasn't worse than the last time, still several dishes of uncovered and improperly stored leftovers.On the door, was an assortment of receipts. My first reaction was "that looks awful." Then I realized, oh shit. I do that all the time. I keep receipts on the side of my own fridge. I usually feel like it's warranted, a short exchange policy, or something, but the fact of the matter is I don't need to keep more than maybe one a month for a valid reason.These receipts were dated for 2011 and 2010.



The silverware tray...was disgusting. Dried lettuce or something, and lots of bits of who knows what. I didn't look too close for fear of regretting my use of the utensils.

The back deck is about the same too, the only addition I noticed were the two dog pools, one broken in front of the grill, the other full of ice.


The family room was only empty right before eating, so I had to graph a photo quick and could only get the one angle. The hot tub is covered with papers and junk. There are still three vacuum cleaners next to it. My mom even mentioned that the cat refuses to use her two cat houses, but she refuses to get rid of them. There was just enough seating, but the room quickly filled up because we exchanged Christmas presents. We really did appreciate the pillows, but we got lots of little things that don't have a place in our home. My mom even texted to let me know she found another one of my gifts on her desk down at the shop.


I didn't want to sneak around too much, and the point of all this is certainly not to embarrass them, so I didn't get every space in the house. This is what I saw of the basement. Compared to my last visit, the hoard seems to be encroaching on the stairs. Notice the only clear path is to the right, which is where the laundry is, their only reason for going downstairs.

The current pile in the hall closet over the stairs. The inner door is shut, at least. I did wonder where all of the Tupperware had gone.It wasn't on the living room couches, and there wasn't near as much in the kitchen or dining room. Then I checked what used to be the game closet.







Thinking of my preface post, I'm glad I went, and I'm glad I saw my family. What I learned from the visit though, made me pretty sad for my family's future.

Spring Reasoning

 I'd like to preface the 7 month update post with the good. I want to begin with what I've learned from my experiences up until now. It's very simple in concept, and very complicated in practice.

Yesterday, during our weekly house cleaning...I'm cutting myself off here: our cleaning routine. We share the space, and we share the responsibility for it. Sometimes, I have the best time of the weekend when cleaning with my boyfriend.

...we started pulling things out of closets and finding things all over the house that we didn't need, and suddenly didn't want anymore. We had gone shopping and all I could think about was how I wanted to buy art and decorations for the house to add color for spring. When we got home and started looking around we still had art in the closets that we hadn't gotten up since moving in! I put up a great piece in the living room, and the many of the others suddenly didn't seem so necessary (nor did the urge to purchase more).


So on the guest bed we collected a scrapbook album from my art modeling days, several cheap prints in cheap frames, curtain rods, an old slightly decrepit dell laptop/parts/bag, two yoga mats, pull up bar, and a plastic bag of random things. I made an appointment at our local consignment shop and it seems silly that we kept these things so long after disuse.

After all this, I still had the tiniest hankering for something new. I had grabbed snap shots of the art I liked at a store (commercial, not original works!) and decided I could incorporate my favorite in my own way. I did a mini art project and my boyfriend even joined in!

Time + Love = Appreciation + Happiness
This is not a strict formula, but it sure as hell made my weekend. We usually do everything together on the weekends, but this was special. Watching X-Files and coloring...it was sweet.



 And in the end, I got exactly what I wanted. Buying myself or the house something would not have made me happy. Instead, I had quiet time with my family and got to express a little creativity in the process.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Room A Day #15

15. The Deck and Garage



Ack! We're heading to my hometown soon, as in we will be there at 2 p.m. but we forgot we wanted to stop at the mall out there, so I'm really rushing this last post. I'm also going to take advantage of the panorama function of my iPhone so my posts aren't full of tiny pictures.


I remember the deck being built in time for Easter when I was about six years old. The patio furniture excluding the swing were presents from my sister to my mother to help them spruce up the deck a few years back. The swing was a present from my dad to my mom for mother's day at least a decade ago. The big plastic trunk is meant to store patio cushions, but since all the furniture was left out for several winters in a row, everything is rusted and junky already. I don't remember where the fireplace came from, but I remember it being stored in the original garage (now the family room) and for the past ten years or so it's been on the porch. Sometimes my mom gets a hankering to weed or clean up dead vegitation, but it doesn't get farther than being thrown on the deck or blown around.

The safe in the photo below came from the first house my parents shared in another state. My mom insisted that it be moved with them when they moved to Iowa, and then to this house. The bottom is rusted out so it doesn't hold anything, no one knows anything about the keys or combination anymore, and the cement underneath it is deteriorating. To make it more convenient for my mom and her pets, they took out the screened door from the sliding glass door in the family room and replaced it with a magnetic mesh net that the pets can push through and it magnetically closes behind them. I'm not sure why my mother put up a small picket fence, because if the dog goes outside and is corralled in this area, it can't get to water, grass, or off the hot/cold cement.

 This is the inside of the greenhouse on the deck. This was the most recent mother's day present from two or three years ago. It looks like she was excited the first week, and started sorting her tools and making it a nice little place. But now there's a bedsheet on the deck, all the plants in the greenhouse are dead, and the tools and containers are all over the place. I worry about the pets getting into fertilizer or pesticides, but luckily it has a door on it.

This is the overgrown area between the family room (original garage) and the two stall garage. The sidewalk is pretty well hidden here, you can see the trellis is up but there is picket fence behind it because when I lived there my dog would dig out. A rusted wheelbarrow, and the rusted trash can caddy are back there too. I can never recall my parents using the city trash service. I understand the merit in keeping it for when they sell the house, but honestly? Who wants "Oh and the 20 year old rusted trash caddy is included!" Toss it, and if you feel so-inclined, buy a new one when the house is on the market.


 I've lumped in the two stall car garage as well, because I would love for this building to be cleared out and used as...I don't know, a garage. This is so much bigger than just the building though, because the stuff in here is very, very old, and therefore attached to much deeper memories and emotions.


 My parents actually brought this cooler to our house warming party over a year ago. I can't believe I drank anything that was contained in it.

Here are all my grandpa's tools that my dad took home after he passed away. All the bikes my sister and I ever used are hanging up. 

This is the old entertainment cabinet from the family room TV. When my dad got a bigger TV, my mom refused to let him throw it away, even though it's older than I am.


I remember when they built the garage. My dad was excited for the window, he was going to work in the garage all the time. I think it was also in the original plan to insulate the garage.


Here you can get a small glimpse of the junk they store in the rafters. Oh and the lebaron. The last time this was driven, I pulled into the driveway freaking out because it was smoking. This was an anniversary present from my dad to my mom, and she has never really liked it.




Okay, we did it. I'm off to shower and change for the trip. We'll make a couple stops on the way, and then...well we'll see. 
\

A Room A Day #13 & #14

13. Stair Closet
14. Game Closet



















Like any house full of closets, ours have always been dysfunctional. In our condo now, our linen closet isn't great, and even though I blame it on the angled shelf design, I usually care enough to neatly place folded towels on the shelves about every other time that I put the away the laundry.

As long as I can remember, the hall closet over the stairs has been full of stuff. It was relatively organized for a few months, I remember tearing it apart and folding everything before putting it back. Everything was in there. Sheets, towels, blankets, old Halloween costumes,baskets, bags of craft supplies, and random scraps of unidentifiable things. This is how I found it a year ago.



Off the top I see a basket, sheets, a lamp and cord, pillows, stuffing, and the giant faux fur blanket that my dad made my mom for Christmas several years ago, I took the last year or so that I lived in the house, and then left it when I moved. The problem with this closet, is that it's not strictly vertical like most. To the right it stair steps up and I climbed up to get a shot but it was packed. There's actually a door that shuts off the stair stepped area, but it's crammed so full that the door is stuck behind the pile of sheets and the basket on top, with stuff spilling out of the side area. It doesn't look like it, but there are shelves in there.

The game closet (no picture, sorry) is between the back bedroom and the third, smaller bedroom. As a kid it always had tons of board games, card games, party games, and all of them were in varying states of disrepair and stages of lost pieces. There were also usually plastic grocery bags of random fabric scraps and craft supplies shoved into the cracks, packing it solid. If you wanted a game, you had to prepare for an avalanche. Just after I moved out, I think my mother went through it in an empty-nest rage and tossed everything. Then she called my sister and I to tell us what she had done hoping for a reaction. At that point, I hadn't really identified as a hoarder or COH, but I was so frustrated with my own issues that I told her I didn't care about the stupid games. Now I still don't care about the games, but I wish I had known better how to encourage her and use gentle reinforcement to diffuse the situation.

A Room A Day #12

12. Bathroom


















The main bathroom has always been in a transitional state. It's gone through phases of ivy, white, pastels, Americana, and most recently birdhouses. The floor is only about ten or fifteen years old, the window and shutters are probably about the same age. Everything else that is permanent, is original to the house.

The counter top is the late 60s early 70s style of pink starbursts and gold sparkles. The walls that you can see in the photo were painted and wall papered at one point, but the humidity from the shower brought down most of the wall paper. If I remember correctly, the wallpaper that is still up is taped. The wall section that is jutting out is from the attached bathroom off the master bedroom. The right side of the nook area is the shower and tub. The wall you can't see, across from the toilet and sink, is all built in cabinets that match those under the bathroom sink. At one point, I think my mom was considering going to a white-wash country style, so 50% of the trim down there and around the door is painted white...but nothing else.
 



I have cleaned the cabinets and drawers out several times. At some point, I'd go in for a shower, and look for something, shampoo, or something, and realize that there was shit from my parents dating days in there. They lived in a different state then! I found a wedding present of bride and groom figurines that held perfume and cologne that my mom hadn't seen since they moved there in 1989.

This bathroom, like the other one, is small, but functional. The smartest thing to do here is clean it out and paint it something neutral. The giant pane mirror is nice, but a new, double vanity would fit, and the built-in cabinets need help.

You might be wondering why the mat on the floor isn't closer to the toilet. It's actually for the cat. My mom had moved the cat's litter box into the cabinet, and put the mat there so she could clean her feet on it. This was such a horrible surprise when I visited last. The last place I would put a litter box, is the one place that company is sure to go eventually. I guess they haven't had guests in a while, and maybe it made sense to her. I hope this has moved, especially with the boyfriend's allergies.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Room A Day #11

11. Third Bedroom


















The third bedroom is the smallest, and was the last room I lived in from high school until I moved out. I was in this bedroom when I threatened to move out at 18 while in college. I had packed up half of my stuff and found a place to move, but my mother told me if I was adult enough to live on my own I was also adult enough to be cut off.

It's where I lived when my boyfriend came over for the first time, while my parents were out of town. I was so embarrassed by the state of my room that I tried to keep him out. He eventually saw it and the rest of the house, and wasn't shy about voicing his surprise at how messy everything was. Shortly after that, I decided to do a make over. My parents were in Colorado for a few weeks, and I took advantage of that time.


The following is my bedroom makeover from about six years ago.


First I cleaned up. My room was very Oriental/Tae kwon do themed at the time.




Then I started packing things up. I dismantled this desk and meant to take it to goodwill or the thrift store, but I think it's probably still in my parents garage in pieces.


I put up three sheets of fabric on the wall adjacent to the living room, two black pieces on the ends and a piece of metallic bronze on the inside.


Then I painted the wall with the door and the wall with the window.






With several years and miles distance, I would have a slightly different style :) But at 18 this was amazingly empowering transformation for me. 

After I moved out, it took two weeks for my mother to hoard the room. If she knew I was coming over, she'd lock the door. Some time later, she moved most of her stuff out of this room, painted, and my dad moved in. The bookcase is one of a pair that I borrowed the year I lived alone. It was originally in the family room, but now it holds my mom's junk in this room, and the rest is my dad's bedroom. 



Thinking about resale, this room would be best as a guest room, library, or in-home office.