Saturday, July 6, 2013

Paranoia should be painful.

So I called my mother today, who is a hoarder.  It was late in the afternoon, and I was en route to do some shoe shopping.  (Who would have known that losing 115 lbs would mean that all my shoes are too big?  Someone at the women's shelter will be happy with all the shoes, clothes, etc. they are getting on Monday!)

I finally passed the kidney stone today that has been wreaking a small bit of havoc on me since late May.  I sounded a bit tired I guess... wonder why?  I just passed a 5 mm clot of calcium through a venue that was meant for LIQUID ONLY...

"... [Rather indignantly] What's up with you?  You sound pissed off."

Um... NO.  I finally passed the kidney stone today.  Last night and today was rough.  But, this is over, thank goodness.  Just want to put it behind me and move on.

"Did you keep it?"

Keep what?  The stone?  HELL NO!  Why on earth would I keep that nasty thing for?

"Well, it is your first born...<snicker>"

Really, it is not.  What she does not know is I miscarried with my first husband almost 25 years ago.  It is not a big deal, and I am not unhappy it turned out as it did due to all the horrific circumstances at the time... but really?  To say that to your daughter?  She is not like my friends with whom I think the running baby shower jokes are hysterically funny.  I guess context, appropriateness, etc. are concepts she does not get.  Nor will she.  But I digress...


"I have a question for you, and you may or may not know the answer because you were so little, but... do you remember the electronic thingie that your dad bought in the red case to mark his tools...  It has been so long now I guess it doesn't matter but..."

Yes.  His engraver.  I remember it.

"Did he?"

Did he WHAT?

"Did he engrave his tools?  And what did he put?  His initials?  His social security number?..."

Um.  NO.  No SS#.  If he got them all done, which I do not remember, it would have just been his initials.  

"Well, I did not mean his WHOLE SS#, just the last 4 or something like that."


"Ask you another question, and I probably should know better than to, but I am going to anyway."

Crickets chirping/silence from me.  Now, this type of framing technique is always for effect, and it is to ensure that she pisses me off.  Trust me o' mother, I know that with the dramatic framing it is either going to be crazier than usual or something so mundane that is blown up into made up drama that I will lose my mind.  So just.  Do.  It.

"You know what a door prop looks like?  One of the little rubber triangles you stick under a door to keep it open?  Well, they now have these ones in two parts that one is under the door or something like that, and it has an alarm if the door is opened.  Have you seen something like that?"

Yes.  They were originally designed for travelers with hotels in mind.  They have been around for 40 years or more, I first saw them as a kid in those crappy 'gadget catalogues' that came to the house.  There are several variations of them, and they are not a new thing.  And they are not intended for home security.

"Well!  This is the FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER SEEN SUCH A THING!  Are they loud?  Do they work?  Are they expensive?"

Can be.  Arguable.  No.

"How much are they?  $15?  $20?"

I do not know.

"Have you seen the thing that looks like a 'Y'... it extends and wedges under the door and goes to the floor..."


"...[she continues describing it in pedantic detail] so when it is under the door no one can be an asshole and open the door..."

That is not true.  

"Well, they would have to be REALLY STRONG, and it would make so much noise that..."

Not necessarily.

"I have to do something!  He [hated neighbor] will be in here some day!  He is escalating!  And when he does, I will be ready!  I will..."

Gotta go.  Talk to you later.  

DEAR GOD.  She already has one of those driveway alarms that is meant to alert folks in a house that someone has pulled onto their property... most folks use them when visibility to the driveway is limited.  Not my mother.  She has it in her kitchen.  She originally told me it was to let her know when any of her cats get on the sink.  Yeah... RIGHT.  From where?  And where would they land?  I hear it go off 20 times a conversation, and it is from her moving around it when we talk.  She is obsessing about hated neighbor, and I think the crazy 'booby trapping' and other types of barricading will kick into high gear.  She is constantly analyzing all the neighbors' actions, lack of action, etc. in such a way that I know she is in hyper-vigilance and is watching out the windows constantly.  

And she has a concealed carry permit.  And a semi automatic with a laser sight... along with other weapons.  

I say it again.  This will not end well.  And the sad thing?  I had a decent conversation with her the night before.  It was disarmingly normal, and it was heartbreaking.  She was somewhat empathetic, insightful, and supportive of me in the situation we were discussing.  I wanted to ask, "Who are you and where is my mother?"  It was surreal.  And after I clicked off my car's Bluetooth, I sat and cried a for a couple of minutes.  This.  THIS.  

I get a glimpse of this once, maybe twice every year or so.  And then it is gone.  The thing is, I have never had a true mother/daughter relationship with my mother, so I am not hearkening back to another time.  This is foreign in our relationship... but maybe I am just continuing to mourn the lack of a mother.  I do not know, and I guess it does not matter.  It also does not matter that I do not want her to live in squalor, in the hoard, in fear, in paranoia and in negativity... I would have liked to have got to known her like adult daughters sometimes get to know their mothers.  We could have traveled.  But none of that will happen.  Can happen.  Because of her hoarding.  Because of the hoard.  And more accurately... because of the pervasive personality disorder/mental illness co-morbidity that the hoarding is merely the symptom of.

Hoarding... No one wins.  NO ONE.  


  1. Kidney stones = DAWGAWFUL! I'm so sorry. I threw up so hard "waiting" for them to pass both my eyes busted blood vessels. Terrible things.

    Seriously mom? That's what I am to you? Just something you "passed"?

    I am starting to wonder what her (your) neighbors are dealing over with? There is no way they don't see her searching for evidence (I can hear the MI theme playing in my head while she searches Pink Panther style with a magnifier for clues to THEIR insanity.)

  2. Lisa:

    I am so sorry that you are in the 'sisterhood of the stones' too. I would not wish that on ANYONE. Hope you have not had any more of the dratted things.

    My mother still has to tell me about how painful the shots were in each hip to keep from miscarrying me. And how 'she did not sit down' for 5 months after my birth. Oh- and how I was 7 days late... The message I always received was my birth was nothing but problematic... and how grateful I should be, even 40-odd years later. I guess I am just something she passed out of herself.

    All the neighbors in her neighborhood, past and present, are also on my 'deserves to be sent flowers list.' They have my most heartfelt sympathies... She watches them continuously. I had an lovely elderly couple that did that for two years before they moved into assisted living. They watched every move. I. made. And they were nice, gentle people and it seriously triggered me.


  3. I'm glad you passed that stone. And here's hoping you dont' need to deal with another.

    A laser sighted rifle?!?! seriously? Wow. Do the neighbors know she has weapons?

    I'm a recent reader, my only exposure to hoarding has been those shows on TV. And wandering upon blogs such as yours while exploring uncluttering and organizing sites. The more I read about hoarding, and the affect on on those who have to deal with it as children... I can't even think of anything to say that won't sound like a comment someone who has no clue of the true horror would come up with. So I'll just say - I'm sorry you had to deal with that and your mother's other problems as a child and are still dealing with it. And thank you for having the courage to start kicking open the door on the subject.

  4. JustGail:

    Thank you. I am glad the stone is out, and I can mark it off the list... never want another. Wait... never wanted this one!

    On the weapon piece, I am sure that someone saw where she applied for and was granted a concealed carry license, and the few neighbors that were there when my dad was alive most likely knew of his military and military policing background. I know the one neighbor knows, and I strongly suspect she has warned others.

    Thank you for your interest, and thank you for your kind words of support. Many of us do it for many reasons, and one of the most common being to let other folks know it is not just the stuff, that there is a whole level of mental illness that goes with it. It is also great to share these things after being raised for years to 'keep the secret' at all costs. I appreciate your reading, and understanding.