Sunday, November 22, 2015

A week away, and my... She has been busy...

So... I did it.  I went and had a lovely, relaxing vacation.  Seven days in the Caribbean with my best friend and his wife.  Seven days of being unplugged from everything, including my hoarding mother.  

I got back and decided to give her a quick call so she did not start stalking my workplace or her neighbor to determine if I had returned (via social media, as the neighbor made the fatal error of telling her I friended her).  I also remember her slipping and telling me that she called AAA and several travel agents when I took a cruise in 2004 in an attempt to get a way to contact me.  She failed.  Thankfully.

So...  This would be almost amusing if it were not so stinking sad.  During the week I was gone she:

  • Declared war on the neighbors, especially the ones who had actually brought her food on the holidays and had been neighborly.  They paved part of the dirt road that she lives on, and she refused to pay for any of it, so they paved part of it and she is claiming that it has a drop off of over 8 inches near her driveway and she cannot get her car out.  She has called the county commissioners, the codes office, everyone at the courthouse.  She finally called the contractor who did the paving, and was miffed that the owner was out of town and unavailable until Monday, and despite it being only Saturday that he had not dropped everything and called her.  She also had phone and face to face altercations with the nice folks across the street, and went all 'scorched earth' on them.  She is now criticizing them in intentionally cruel ways, and was not happy when I called her on it and shut it down.
  • She had been referred to an eye specialist who she had a negative experience with about 10 years ago.  The morning of her appointment the practice called, stated they were canceling her appointment due to her past interaction, and they were declining her as a patient.  When she went back to her primary care physician that referred her, she stated he was distant, late for the appointment, and would not make eye contact.  I apprised her to have the conversation with him, but she prefers to find another doctor.  Another wonderful stranger just fell off the pedestal.  She also started freaking out that the place she got her hearing aid is in the same building as the practice who declined her, and was going to worst case scenario there.  She then proceeded to tell me that in 2005 she had not acted inappropriately or in a batshit crazy way in the doctor's office, when I remember that bit off-the-charts ugliness. Revisionist history anyone?
  • For some strange reason she happened to be discussing me and my car with a perfect stranger. Talking about how I had owned more cars in the past few years than she has owned in her life, and was going on about me trading my last car in on this car, and admitted that she asked this person how much the type of Volvo I have cost.  WHAT. THE. SERIOUS. HELL?  WHY?!?!?  I cannot fathom why she would be discussing me or the car I drive to anyone...  I suspect she was 'dragging her cross' and telling this new/wonderful stranger in training about her CEO (of a tiny nonprofit) daughter who just traded a Lexus (which was over nine years old) on a new Volvo (that was a retired loaner car and will soon be 4 years old) who is on a cruise (my first vacation in 9 years) but I cannot be bothered to come see her, etc.  I usually do not speculate, but in this case, she has done this enough that it is the rule and not the exception.  Some of her comments indicated this, and she presented them as 'oh how funny'.  GAH!  
She is simply determined to make life as difficult as possible by her behavior and her unwillingness to deal with her mental illness.  She is caught in the small, lonely and threatening world of her own making, and I am again reminded that you cannot want something more for someone than they want it for themselves, and you cannot help someone in spite of themselves.

I am lucky to be spending the holiday this week with friends.  I continue to be grateful for all that is good in my life, and also I am grateful for the lessons that I have learned from what is challenging.  I have friends that are my family, and two beloved kitties that are my furry family.  Life has its ups and downs, but it is very good, and peaceful.  And I work to keep it positive, and to keep it that way.  And it is WORK.  But it is worth the effort.  I either succeed or I learn. Either way I win.  I think that is a better stance than 'opportunity lost'.

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.  Have a great week everyone.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Under 30 days and counting...

So the clock is ticking down and my vacation is approaching.  And I am barely hanging in there. Lots of work crises, and other things happening.  I had a sick kitty, (my youngest- but I think she is okay now, I am just $900 poorer, but she is worth every cent).  

In the midst of all this, my relatively new-to-me luxury car that I have had 2 years and one week decided to take a major poo.  It was still under warranty, but I was not having a good relationship with the dealer, and long story short, this was going to be an uphill battle and a lot of wrangling with the dealer.  I decided to cut my losses, and traded the car on a much newer luxury sedan.  Last time I had downsized a bit, and had sacrificed a few amenities I had in my previous car.  In this car, I get all I gained with my Lexus, and all I had lost from the TL.  I also gained 300HP and a turbo, along with AWD.  The deal was done, and I traded.

Oh dear Maude, Murtle, and Harry the Turtle.  My hoarding mother figured out I had gotten a different car by a couple of things.  
  1. My calls via Bluetooth were much quieter and with less background noise.
  2. My turn signal sounded my different.
This, from the woman who is completely deaf in one ear, and over 60% hearing impaired in the other.  Turns out she had just replaced her hearing aid.  (She blames the cat for losing her previous one in the hoard).

Now she is fixated on wanting to know how much the car is.  None of her freaking business, that is how much.  I can afford it, and that is all she needs to know.  She has made a few comments about my impending Caribbean cruise, and my 'spending'.  Never mind I am working 70-75 hours a week many weeks at my job, and I have a consulting gig as well, basically a second job.  Never mind I have not had a true vacation since April of 2006.  Never mind that I am simply exhausted and need a week to be unplugged from work and from everything.

I just end the call when she starts passively aggressively digging for details, asks for information that is none of her business, and I continue to have her on the low contact plan.  I am a grown-ass woman that is closer to 50 than to 40, and I will take myself on vacation or buy myself a car I need for work as I deem appropriate.  And again, it hits me.

She sees this as opportunity lost, and is operating from worst case scenario.  Nothing is ever safe, enjoyable, worth the investment.  It also resonated when a friend speculated that she looked at my successes and happiness as a direct affront to her, a separation from the script she wants me to live by.

So sorry, I am not here for her to live life vicariously through me and re-script her life.  Tonight she complained when I mentioned that I was starting golf lessons in the spring and field hockey lessons in the summer that she did not know why I "had to try everything..."  I simply responded that I have but one life, and I choose to fill it with friends, fun and experiences.  That life is too short to live on the 'safe side of the street.'  I ended the call, and I felt a huge wave of empathy and sadness for her.  

What a small, frightening and bitter existence she leads.  I choose to NOT engage that life.  

Hoarding.  No one wins.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Does air-freshener cover up decomp in an aging Honda station wagon?

I can't even...  This is a blog that should not be written, but it is going to happen anyway.  I did purposefully wait until a little closer to Halloween to share this.

So- my hoarding mother's neighbor (the one that I talk to, and stopped by to visit last month) was on vacation with her boyfriend, and had left her precious little dog with a trusted pet sitter.  Her pup was a teacup poodle, was 13 or 14 years old with a pretty significant heart condition, but seemed to be doing well.  Long, sad story made short... The pet sitter threw the dog a piece of cheese, and the dog either had a heart attack at that instant, or asphyxiated on the cheese.  It was horrible.  The neighbor was on her way back from out of state when she got the call, and she had the sitter drop her dog off on her porch, in a box.  

Now, she was not thinking clearly, as it was 90 degrees or hotter that day.  (They had just had a cold snap when she left the state, and I do not think she realized that there was unseasonably hot and humid weather afoot).  At some point she called my mother to just make sure the dog was on the porch.  My mother drove over to her house, and picked up the dog until the neighbor got home, especially with all the roaming animals and vermin in the neighborhood.  My mother mentioned this in passing, but was more preoccupied with wanting to be macabre, morbid and bash the neighbor, the sitter, etc. and knowing that I would not be party to any of that.  I did not ask details, and changed the subject quickly.  Little did I know...

The next day she calls.  "Does that Febreeze stuff for cars work?"  Um... WHY?  "Why?  Do you not realize what happened here yesterday and I what I did?"  Oh my GOD.  She got the box with the dead dog that had been out in the heat, stowed it in her car, and parked in in her garage to... percolate for several hours in a garage that was hot.  She keeps her car closed up as well.  I was dry retching on the phone.  Decomp.  Her car smells like decomposition.  She has dead dog decomp going on in her car.  She acknowledged that since she has little to no sense of smell, the odor must be bad.  When I started asking questions, she started getting defensive and evasive, and ended that call as soon as she could, after changing the subject to tell me something about her feet that would make the most hardened person vomit.  

Add this to the list of horrendous odors that emanate from her house, her car, her person.

Dead dog.  Decomp.  I will never set a toe in that car again.  EVER.  

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

OMG... From the Mouth of a Hoarder (FTMOAH)

She has been on a roll the past few days.  From starting needless arguments at Kmart to harassing poor folks at doctor's practices and drive throughs... Her reign of terror continues.  It is time for... FTMOAH!

"I found an old starter pistol that must have belonged to your father.  It still has the price tag on it.  Do you know any schools I could donate it to?"

For what?

"For gym class or races.  They use starter pistols, right?  I guess I could donate it, but I hate to see some kid..."

You know that fires blanks, right?  And blanks are not toys, folks can die from a point blank shot from a blank (no pun intended).

"Sputtering... but I do not want it... Should I take it to the library?"  (Pronounced Li-BERRY)

For what?

"So they can tell me what it is worth..."
Later in the day, phone call from my hoarding mother... 

"I am glad I did not call the police station, the firing range or any of that - it is worth some PENNIES!"


"It is worth $75!!!"

Oh brother.
"Do you have problems with hair on your lip?"

No.  We are not discussing this for the 200,459th time.  

"Well, I ..."

<Dial tone>

"My legs are just so dry.  If I run my hands down them it looks like it is snowing, white flakes go EVERYWHERE!"

GAG.  <Silent violent retching>

"He has been in the house!  ..."

I asked if she kept a stalking journal (which I know she has not because she has said so in earlier conversations)...

"Yes!  That is how I know he has been in the house!  It was on the dishwasher... [dramatic pause] And now it is GONE!"

Shared I exceeded my goal of running over 1,000 miles in a year.

"[In morose voice]... You need to watch that... Your dad died because of his heart, and all that exertion..."

<Primal scream>

Just a few recent gems.  One of these days I am going to face palm so badly that I will wreck my car.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Well... THIS is not going to end well.

I am making a prediction, and I do not need any gift of prognostication or psychic ability.  I predict things are NOT going to end well.  As you know, this is not the first time I have made this prediction.

This weekend my hoarding mother's backyard neighbor was passing through my area with her significant other, and they stopped to have dinner with me.  This has been a lovely couple of weeks, as I had a high school friend stop by a couple of weeks ago with her family and now this friend.  Although I no longer consider where I grew up as 'home', it is nice to connect with those who have known you for years, if not most of your life.  I have been totally removed from that since I moved to the state in which I reside 16 1/2 years ago.

I heard more stories about my hoarding mother and her behavior.  I will spare you most of them, although my high school friend asked if my mother was dating anyone, and stated she has been in the local Walmart (in which my friend works) and she seemed sure that my mother seemed awfully 'cozy' with a particular gentleman.  Okay... may the odds be ever in his favor if that is the case!  But the fodder for this entry is apparently my hoarding mother is calling the police on the neighbors as a form of harassment and giving false addresses (like her neighbor that visited me) so she must have a 'burner phone'.  She also is shooting her gun in the air when she perceives there to be 'prowlers'.  In a suburban area.  She has tried to get the neighbor to shoot her gun in a similar manner, which she has refused.  

Bullets that go up, must come down.  I encouraged the neighbor to call the police when she hears gunfire, and I am at a loss at what to do.  She is a menace.  

Monday I called her to check in after 3 or 4 blissful days on no contact, and she ramped up on a discussion and stated that she thought they should bring back hanging people on the town square or burning them at the stake 'like they used to" and I got off the phone quickly after disagreeing and attempting to shut that nastiness down.  She constantly states things like "I could just watch someone beat [that person] to death and do nothing" or "I would like to see someone chop that lying ... pick your vile adjectives to depersonalize someone... [body part or body parts- usually tongue, hands, genitals, etc.] off" and I quickly shut it down.  

She has a concealed carry.  Someone gave this person a concealed carry permit for a firearm.  Any interaction she has lately is fraught with conflict and petty misunderstandings that explode into a full fledged confrontation.

And the hail damage that happened last March?  She still does not have the roof fixed on her house or on the garage.  And there has been lots of rain.  Bet that is lovely in a stage 5 hoarded home.

She continues to escalate, and deteriorate.  And she has not fallen far enough to get anything done despite herself.

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Life is good. My mother still hoards. This may be as good as it gets...

Sorry I dropped off the face of the earth for a small bit.  I have to say the death of my sweet, elderly kitty hit me really, really hard.  And I did what I do normally when I am in pain.  I put my head down, affix the blinders, and push through.

I miss her every day.  Her memory sometimes makes me cry, sometimes makes me laugh.  I had the opportunity to rescue an older kitty who, quite bluntly, is a handful, and I did so in her honor.  It cannot bring my gray girl back, but I can help another kitty, and keep the 11 year old from being too lonely.  Things have went really well, and although they can be a bit growly, hissy, or slappy from time to time, they are adjusting well.  I am hopeful they will be playmates, if not friends before long.  We shall see.  

I have continued running, and I am close to completing the goal of running over 1,000 miles in a year.  I am not sure if the full marathon is happening this fall or next spring, but I have to realize that sometimes life, work, and other gets in the way, and it is not all or nothing.  I can adjust.  That is life.  

I have done a couple of things for myself I would not normally do.  I replaced my 8 year old MacBook Air with a brand new MacBook Pro.  It was time, and it was much needed.  I also booked a cruise with my best friend and his wife.  In less than three months I will be cruising in the Caribbean and enjoying myself.  I will, for the first time in nearly 9 years, take a true vacation and disconnect totally.

What does any of this have to with hoarding?  Nothing.  And everything.  My hoarding mother continues her litany of complaints, her rumination, her speculation, her denial, her paranoia, and her inability to see anything in any frame of reference other than worst case scenario.  I have realized the impact her narcissism and mental illness have had on her, and on me growing up.  She was horrified that I bought a new computer.  She intoned darkly that I was going to be taking a cruise in hurricane season, and started going on about an expose' she saw on cruise liners.  I shut her down each time.  Not asking for approval, for permission, for forgiveness.  I am 46, and I will do what I feel I need to do for my well being and my comfort.  

And 9 years is too damn long to go since my last vacation.  That will NOT happen again.  I will not let it.  I refuse to live life as opportunity lost.  And when she starts to engage in her hoard-speak, speculating on people's income, fat or appearance shaming folks, talking about hair on her lip, moles, her bowel habits... I just end the call.  "Oops!  I am here.  Gotta go."

I remain very low contact.  And I remain relatively disengaged.  At the point of the 'final and only' clean out, I may come in.  Or I may not.  What will make that decision?  Whatever is healthiest and works for me.  No compromises.  Not anymore.

Thank you for reading!  Hopefully more humor to come...

One FTMOAH (from the mouth of a hoarder) moment... I was zoning out and came back to earth just in time to hear, "Do you have nipples?  I don't!  I just have pinkish brown disks!  They were always pulled in though..."

GAH!  I nearly drove my car into a guardrail while freaking out silently!  MENTAL PICTURES!  MENTAL PICTURES!  She is nearly 80.

I will leave you with that.  I should not be the only person to 'enjoy'.

Hoarding... no one wins.  No one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A blog that resonated.... Sharing...