Monday, December 21, 2015

Can I just hide for a bit?

Today is the Monday before Christmas.  It has been Monday all day, if you know what I mean.  Not all bad, but intense and full of ups and downs.

Today I got a call from my hoarding mother as I was within 10 minutes of the office.  I told her I was almost to work, and I would call her when I started home this evening.  And I did, post doctor's appointment with the chiropractor.  I knew that I would hear from her since it had been a few days since we last spoke.  

She was in a ruminating mood, and first she said that she got a poundcake in her mailbox which is most likely from the lovely couple she went scorched earth on since they dared to try to improve the dirt road they all reside on.  I did not comment or give any feedback, and she progressed to accusing the hated neighbor 'in the turn' of stealing a scale from her laundry room and hanging it on his porch, stealing a chair from the attic of the hoarded garage and putting it in his flower bed, and stealing a wind chime set and putting on his porch as well.  Oh- and he stole a wooden ladder from her that against his garage.  I told her we were done on that topic, if she felt he engaged in theft to call the police, and if not, it was all speculation and not worth the headspace.  She then said she wished he would "move to [the city where his brother lived] and get a job as a pizza delivery driver and run from the police".  The hated neighbor lost his brother several months ago.  His brother relapsed, and while out delivering pizza ran from the police and was killed in the pursuit, he was shot fatally.  Just an absolutely hateful and shitty thing to say.  I advised her we were done on the topic, and that was simply enough.  I ended the call, grabbed some dinner at the local taqueria and went home.  

There I found some lovely holiday cards, I have the best friends anyone could ask for.  One sent a card from my kitties to 'Mom Grey'.  Then I got to the final two, and they were from my sister and my mother's sister.  And I felt like a set of cinder blocks dropped on my shoulders.  My sister's card was over the top sentimental, and I got the "I love and miss you" stuff.  Yeah.  Actions speak so much louder than words.  My aunt's card was full of scrawled writing still going on about the incident in May where she called the police on my sister, and a whole lot of paranoid craziness.

I just can't.  Cannot.  Will not.  I am in a really strange place where I simply need to withdraw from all of them, and I have decided that it is time to seek a therapist that understands hoarding to work through whatever this is.  I cannot remember feeling this tired ... and I cannot even describe how I feel right now.  I find joy in my job, my friends, my cats, my hobbies, but for some reason this is a quagmire.  

I am not sure what is happening.  I was a bit low this past birthday, and I was glad when it passed.  I just want this holiday season to be over so they will not have the usual excuse to reach out and give me a poke.  

I have some decisions to make.  Nearly 20 years ago I essentially estranged myself for self preservation and so I could have a shot at a life.  I think what is happening now is my willingness to deal with the narcissistic behavior of those who are supposed to love me, but only see me as an extension of what they want to happen, is getting very depleted.  Is this what the space before the jump into no contact feels like?  

I have created a safe and quiet life for myself, and yes, work is exceptionally stressful and very busy, and my side business is booming, my friendships remain a key support for me, as do my fuzzy family members... my cats.

Why am I allowing these folks who are related by biology but not necessarily affinity to send me into a tailspin?  Enough.  Just enough.  If they keep pushing me, I will just *poof* on them.  I am good at that, sadly.  

Sorry for a whiny and rather repetitive post.  I will post a humorous one soon.  Have a great holiday if, and how, you choose to celebrate.  

Thank you for reading.  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Gaslighted Christmas...

Yesterday I checked my mailbox.  Something I do not do often as all my bills are taken care of online, and I receive very little in snail mail that is substantial. 

I received a Christmas card from my hoarding mother, one full of schmaltz and nostalgia for me as a child under the tree, yadda-yadda-yadda.

In the past couple of years she has resumed signing cards 'Mom' instead of her first name, something she did for nearly 30 years as some sort of punishment for setting boundaries as developmentally appropriate as a pre-teen.  The lovey-dovey and overly sentimental cards are a relatively recent development too.

And they make me sad.  And a bit angry.  

If I felt that I existed as anything other than an extension of her, or at best, an extra in her drama that she plays the main character and protagonist, maybe I would have a different reaction.

Maybe it is just because I am so stinking worn out from 75-85 hour work weeks between the day job and consulting, and I am a bit concerned something might be happening health wise.  I have appointments with my doctors so no worries there.  My running game is improving, and my race last weekend was a personal record, so I think it is just stress and lack of sleep.  

I maybe have erred in not taking the next two weeks off as I usually do, but honestly, I just am not in the 'staycation' mood and I want the holidays to hurry up and get past.  I am in a bit of a funk, but thank goodness for my cats, a job I love, and my wonderful friends and supportive people.  

This too shall pass... And still I rise...

Have a great holiday everyone, if you celebrate any kind of holiday tradition.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Oh no she didn't! She is pushing me closer to going no contact...

Let me start with what a rough week this has been.  Nothing earth shattering, but just a tough week at work, in my personal life, and this is a tough time of year it seems.  I am also getting sick, and am really tired and not sleeping well.  And what does my hoarding mother do?  Makes it that much more difficult.  Just because she can...

My last post was about my amazement at her soaring over boundaries.  Oh... that was just the warm up for today.  Let me give you a bit of background.

A few years ago my mother met a slightly older woman who was narcissistic as she is, and definitely on the hoarding scale.  They hit it off, but as any relationship with her is doomed to fail, this one did.  Sadly, the friend (who I will call Edna) developed severe dementia, and the drop into confusion and paranoia was UGLY, and for her, relatively quick.  When my hoarding mother became the newest villain in Edna's lifetime drama, my mother went no contact.  Prior to that, she was obsessing over a small pedigreed dog Edna had purchased, and had never potty trained, crate trained, or fed dog food.  I asked on Facebook if anyone knew of a rescue for that breed of dog, and a high school friend stated that she volunteered with an animal rescue and she loved those types of dogs, and she would be glad to help.  I let my mother know that I had found a resource when the time came, if she had the opportunity to get the dog.  This was most likely almost a year ago.  I did not give her much information, but I must have inadvertently said this person's first name.  And it is a common first name, and is shared by one of my best friends in high school that has worked at a local discount store that my mother shops at for the past 20+ years.  Not that my mother speaks to her or acknowledges her, but she knows she works there.  I will call her Gidget.  

So... Today...  I run a residential nonprofit, and it is an understatement to say that some days are a bit busy.  Today was one of those days.  I had a 7:30am board meeting for a civic service club I am part of, and then I (with two other staff, one being my business office professional I will call Meg) had an appointment at the courthouse for a work related matter.  Since we have to go through security, I did not take my phone or purse to the courthouse.  I was there approximately one hour.  I returned to the office, met with staff on a couple of matters, when I went downstairs briefly to the staff main office where I encountered one of my front line staff members who seemed confused and conflicted, and asked if Meg was in her office and had listened to her voicemail after a bit of stammering and awkwardness.  I went upstairs, and the staff had reached Meg, who told her that someone calling the direct services number rather than the office number had called and asked if this was our agency's name, and identified herself as my mother, sounded really upset, and that she needed to speak to Meg right away.  (She has pulled this crap of calling Meg to try to get information before, and Meg has her MO).  

I looked at my cell, and I saw a missed call and a voicemail.  At that point it was about 70 minutes ago, so she would have called about the point I left for the courthouse.  I did not listen to the message, I just called her.

She sounded escalated and upset.  She told me of Edna being out in the yard naked waving her pistol (that she has a concealed carry permit for) around and the police were called and they got adult protective services over there, and Edna ended up being 302'd (involuntarily committed) and she will go to a memory care center when she is out of crisis and medicated properly.  Her stepson had flown up from FL, and called my mother and asked if she could see about the dog, which started her off and going.  She said since she could not get me, she called Gidget and Gidget acted like she did not know what my mother was talking about, and she mentioned she found her at a local school.  I asked her who she called... and she clammed up on that part, only saying APS called the humane society and they had the dog, and one of their volunteers 'fell in love with it and is adopting it'.  I ended the call.

WHO DID SHE CALL?  I was furious.  I briefly considered the only Gidget she knew that I knew was the one that worked at the discount store, but I did not understand the school piece my mother mentioned so I dismissed the thought that she would have called her.  

I was also furious that she again made something a capital-E-emergency that was not, and called the direct services line of my organization.  Now, I tend to be a bit of a private person, and I have not had the discussion with new staff that I have a seriously mentally ill mother.  Now, thanks to this, I had to have an uncomfortable discussion with a few staff members, and as I left the room I saw their look of empathy... 

I went on with my day, and it continued to be a long and hard one for multiple reasons.  I left to come home, and I decided to call my mother to get to the bottom of who she called.  She again directly evaded any discussion of her calling Gidget.  I ended the call and ran a few errands, including picking up some Chinese take out.  I got home, checked social media on my phone, and saw a message from Gidget, my high school friend.  This IS who she called.  Gidget said she called the store multiple times, and somehow found out where her son goes to school and that she works there on Wednesdays, and called her being demanding about the dog.

I was horrified, embarrassed, angry, and I am also just so defeated at this point.  I know this will pass, and I reached out to a dear friend to vent to.  Thankfully, Gidget was gracious and saw the humor in this.  

She exhausts me.  I may have more to say on this later, but right now, all I can think about is this is why I jumped at the chance to move over 7 hours away.  This is why I keep her on the low contact plan This is why I do not visit, and why she sits alone on holidays and the like.  She is absolutely toxic, and that toxicity just tears me apart.  She keeps working to puncture the nice, organized life with appropriate boundaries I have created for myself.  And she seems to go for the sphere that is the most off limits... my career space.  I have not listened to the voicemail she left earlier today.  I may just delete it without reviewing it, as I feel it will just stoke all the feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness that I am trying to process tonight so I can keep my game face on at work tomorrow.

She is getting worse.  Much, much worse.  And she still has a long way to fall before she can be forced to accept help.  I just hope we do not have her shooting her guns naked in her yard someday before that happens.

Thank goodness for good friends, and my two sweet kitties that have showered me in love and affection tonight.  I do not know what I have done to deserve the folks and furry family in my life.

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.  This will not end well.  Thank you for reading.  I think I am heading to bed.  Tomorrow will be a long day as well.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sailed over THAT boundary


That is all I can say after the phone call today.  WOW.

My hoarding mother is apparently on a mission to alienate everyone that has shown her a bit of compassion.  If not through her off-the-charts and 'scorched earth' reactions, then to her inability to maintain the most mundane of boundaries.

A neighbor a few streets over has a dog that tore his ACL a couple of months ago, and has not responded well to surgery and is now up for a consult for laser surgery.  The poor thing has been in a cast for almost 2 months.

So what does my mother do?  She calls the emergency vet clinic and 'blue skies' the scenario with whomever answered the phone.  Her takeaways from that call were:

  1. There is only one vet in that town qualified to do that surgery, and it is not the one used.
  2. The other options are university hospitals with veterinary programs about 2 to 2 1/2 hours from where both these folks live.
I am sure there was more, but I was just gobsmacked.  Then it gets better.

My mother calls this woman and imparts her newly found knowledge to her.

I ended the call before she could tell me the reaction, but I know what many folks' reactions would have been, and they would not have taken kindly to such presumption and intrusion.  The arrogance of such an act boggles my mind.

I suspect she talked to a reception professional or a veterinary technician, and I am sure they were THRILLED with that phone call.

I say it again.  Wow.

Have a great evening, and thanks to all that read this!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I should NOT be surprised... but I am amazed...

So I called my hoarding mother as I traveled to an appointment after work.

It seldom is a 'good' conversation, and this one had me shaking my head as I got out of my car, and when I entered the place of my appointment a friend who was there asked if I was okay... she stated I had a 'WTF!' expression.

Now, I do not expect her to be a mother.  She was simply incapable of that when I was young.  I simply only exist as an extension of her, from what it seems.  

After a short period of silence she asked "Didn't you have a stomach tumor?"

Um...WHAT?  When?  No!  

"A couple of years ago when you had something taken out..."

Do you mean two years ago when I had an almost 11 pound Fallopian Tube tumor removed?  No.  It was not stomach...

"Well- whatever it was... Was your belly swollen or sore?"

No.  It was only sore if actively pushed on.  

"Did you gain weight?"  

No.  I was actually losing weight at a scary pace since the tumor was 'eating' so heavily.

"That is weird.  I find that hard to believe...  That is so strange you had that, but I did have an ovarian tumor and have had many cysts removed..."

Whatever.  She has not seen me since 2 months before the discovery of a thankfully benign tumor that nearly took my life two years ago.  I had to have a second surgery last summer, and recovery has been a long hard road, and I have physical reverberations I will deal with the rest of my life.  However, no complaints- if this is the price I pay for the tumor not being malignant, for it not rupturing, and for me not needing additional life altering and disfiguring treatments and surgeries, I take it gladly.  And now, her revisionist history tactic has been employed to minimize this.  She had the opportunity to see me last April, which would have been her first and only chance to see me since that happened, and she declined for insignificant reasons. I have to not get stuck in the "what kind of mother does this?" type of contemplation.  I know what kind.  A seriously mentally ill, narcissistic person.  

She then begins discussing her crusty feet, her dry lips, and creams, etc. she is now using.  YUCK.  She also starts complaining about the paving on her street, about her neighbors, and how they must be mad at her since they did not bring a plate over on Thanksgiving like they have for years, and are not speaking.  She further states that "it was okay" since she had "decided [she] was not taking anything from them anyway and would throw it away if they left it in the mailbox."  I did not say anything.  She refused to pay to help with the project, then wants to armchair quarterback now that it is done, and has verbally escalated on the neighbors on the phone and in person.  Being able to imagine the bat-sh*t level of scorched earth she most likely went on them... No WONDER they DO NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH HER.  I had to get off the phone.

I am simply exhausted.  Work has been really busy since my return from vacation, and in a span of a week I have given over 13 media interviews and spoke at a protest rally.  I am in grant season, dealing with multiple projects and crises, and also continuing to work a long term consulting project, and because I am a total glutton for punishment, I may be teaching a class at a local college for the spring semester since I do not have anything else to do!  <Heavy sarcasm>

I do not expect a pity party or a medal.  She seldom asks about my life in appropriate ways, like "how is work going?  Any new projects?" Or my personal life... Perhaps "what is is new and different?  Meet any new friends or experience anything new?"  I am dating a bit, no one that is exclusive, but just having a bit of fun (or I keep telling myself...hah!) and making new friends.  She never asks.  My new 14 year old rescue kitty, she seldom asks about her or my kitty that will soon be 12.  She asked little to nothing about my vacation, like activities, food, places, none of that.  She never asks if I have any races scheduled or about my fitness/running goals.  I see the relationships some of my friends have with parents, and I am so happy for them and their relationships.  It is bittersweet, because it is something I have never had, and never will.  She is not capable of it, and even if she was, she is unwilling.  I think that is what cuts the deepest... Yet despite having a serious W.T.F. reaction, I am just numb to it and I am not surprised deep down- although sometimes it annoys me temporarily.  

I guess I have done my grieving years ago, and this blog helps in putting things in perspective without (to use a gross analogy) figuratively ripping any scabs open... and I am so lucky that I have very little to complain or be unhappy about.  I have a successful career that challenges me and gives me a lot of satisfaction.  I have my health.  I am happy at my home.  I have my furry family, and friends that ARE family of choice.  I have much to be grateful for, to enjoy, and experience.  I am surrounded by a warm, affirming, functional and minimalist home that I am comfortable having anyone over at any time.

Sometimes the best strategy (to use a mixed analogy) is to live life at full volume. And that is what I do.  Each and every day... It just makes me sad for her that her life is what it is, but she is the only one that can change.  I still hope that she will, but she turns 79 years of age this month.  I suspect it is too late due to her refusal to try.

Hoarding... No one wins.  No one.  Thank you for reading.

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...   

Does it always have to be all about her, all the time? The answer is YES.

Sorry for dropping off the map a bit again.  Hard to believe that it was nearly 6 weeks ago since my last post.  

I will get right to it... A little over a week ago, I lost my sweet kitty who was 18 years old.  The one I fell in love with the moment I saw her at my best friend's home when she was almost 3 years old, and the one he gave to me at 5 years old.  We have had quite the good run of it, she and I.  Her mind, spirit, feistiness and unwavering love for me never changed.  Her poor little body just started to fail.  And she fell.  Badly.  It happened suddenly, and I had to take her to the emergency vet, and in the end it was awful, but I did the best I could for her, and the last kind act I could.  And I miss her every minute of every day.

I was to present at a local university that afternoon, and I did what I had to and got through it.  I did not call my hoarding mother until later in the evening, because I would not be able to keep the professional mask firmly on, and I had several meetings/events that day.  I had not talked to her since the week before, so I called her.  

I get the normal peevish 'I hadn't heard from you' routine, and I told her my sweet girl was gone.  She immediately started a monologue about all the animals she has had that passed, started speculating about what happened to my cat, and then trumpeted, "Well, at least you did not have THREE leave in the same week... How do you think that feels?!?"

Um... NOT ABOUT YOU.  NOT ABOUT ME.  This is there here and now, and is about my sweet, gray girl.  I was absolutely furious, and got off the phone quickly.  I have not talked to her much in the week since, and if she starts ruminating on past pets and especially their deaths, I get off the phone immediately.  I cannot stand it.

Her neighbor saw my post on social media and called to check on me, and was FURIOUS that my mother did not tell her that this happened when she spoke to her that day.  I got a lot of empathy from her, and from my other friends- for me, for my gray girl, and the kitty left behind who is lost.  It has been hard, but we are muddling through.

Now - I hope I am not making an ill advised decision because I am grieving. I have the opportunity to rescue an older cat (mid teens) that is a couple hours away that is in a rescue, saved from a high kill shelter after her owner died.  Apparently she has been there for months, and although she can be sweet, she has a quick nip response and has a pretty larger than life personality.  I still am unsure, but she needs a loving home.  I can give her that, and she would be company for my youngest cat, who at age 11, has never been alone (save a couple of days in 2010 when my gray kitty was hospitalized).  I am going to do it, and I hope it is not too soon, or a mistake.  I can never replace my special girl, but I can forge a new relationship, and help a kitty in need.  That little I can do.

This weekend I go to meet her for the first time, and she will come home with me if everything works out, and she likes me.  I did mention her to my hoarding mother.  I should know better, because she immediately fixated on the cost of rescuing this cat from a couple states away, the age... immediate worst case scenario.

I do not care if she approves or disapproves.  This is also not about her, but about the fluffy bicolor cat that has had a series of traumas over the past year, and I think I can provide the quiet, stable home she needs, for however long she is here.  

My hoarding mother has said a lot of really obnoxious things (even for her) lately on a variety of her normal topics, and it is more of the same.  But this event just really, again, reinforces why I am low contact and I do not visit, do not ... well, you all know.

Thank you for reading.  Hoarding, no one wins.  NO ONE.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Oh dear... Mold in her ear...

So the drama with my hoarding mother's health continues.  At least according to her self report, which can be difficult to sift through to determine what is accurate, what is fact based, and what is not.

She has been complaining of ear pain and discharge.  In gross and terrifying detail.  She has seen one doctor over 10 times since February, and has seen 3 other doctors in that time as well.  She went to a new doctor, a specialist, out of town.  (This is after her rigidity caused her to miss a referral to a prestigious teaching hospital two hours away.)

Long story short (saving you the drama, trauma, and craziness inflicted by her manufactured hardships and inflexible world view) she has mold in her ear.  A lot of it.  She does take a medication for lupus that suppresses her immune system so she is more vulnerable to any infection, and living in a stage 5 hoard makes this a guaranteed issue.  

She has been going on and on, speculating where and how she could have come in contact with a mold spore.  Of course, it could not been her home!  She has been coughing and hacking a lot, and keeps complaining that it happens now even when she has not been outside.

Um... No mystery here.  It is the hoard.  Her accommodation to the filth, dust, and other things that go parcel and packet with a hoard, even a 'dry hoard' is starting to leave her very medically vulnerable.  And her mental illness and her refusal to treat it will make a bad situation, untenable.  I can only imagine what she is telling the doctors to explain it, and I hope that they (the medical personnel) are not that naive...

This will not end well.  Whether it is today, this week, or two years from now.  Hoarding... No one wins.  No one.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Not your normal post- Skydiving!

This is not necessarily hoarding related, but thought I would share!

I did it.  Today I jumped out of an airplane.  And it was all I hoped it would be and more.  I had so much fun, it was such a rush, and I want to do it again soon.

I did not share that I was doing this with my hoarding mother, however I am certain that she will know at some point since her neighbor and the 'Flying Monkey/Wonderful Stranger' Chiropractor are on my social networking site and most likely saw the many photos and other things posted today.

She will be PISSED.  And I simply do not care.  At 46 years old I do not need, nor do I require, her permission or approval.  She will be angry that I did this and 'kept it from her'.  She will be angry that should could not verbally vomit her negativity, fear, and threatening worldview prior to it.  She will be upset that it was such a lovely day with friends, and that nothing she can do can change it.  And that is all her stuff, none of it is mine.

I stepped way outside my comfort zone today.  I am really not a fan of heights, and small planes.  I do not surrender dominion of myself easily.  And today I did all of it.  And it was fun!  (And no 'oopses'...)

I will continue to live life at full volume, very unlike my hoarding mother who considers life as 'opportunity lost'.  She is making a choice, as am I.  I choose happiness, experiences, relationships... I think I know what is important.

Hope you had a great weekend.  Thank you for reading!

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Hoarding and Narcissistic Family Tree

Egads.  I am still processing my relationship with my NPD, hoarding mother and am low to no contact with other relatives... Or so I thought.

One day post 46th birthday I was rushing home from a lovely Ethiopian late lunch with a friend and had to change into 'professional CEO lady' clothing to attend an evening dinner event.  I rushed home, and was getting out of the car when my mobile rang.  I had been talking to my staff about a shelter issue, so I answered without looking.


It was 'narcis-sister'.  My 1/2 sister who was given up at birth and found us when I was 26.  The thing that terrifies me is she is proof that there is a strong genetic link to this thing, with the narcissism, hoarding, and she is also struggles with Oxycontin addiction.  I got the "Hey little sister, sorry I missed your birthday by not sending a card, so happy birthday, and by the way, [your mother's sister] went insane and is seeing bugs and lizards in her house, stayed over here with with me and called the police on me today for domestic abuse..."  I explained that I thought that was unfortunate, but I needed to get dressed for a work event and ended the call.  She asked me to call her back... Hope she is not holding her breath on that.  She kept repeating she wanted to give me a heads up that I "will be getting a call" from my aunt.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.  I had just left a dinner date with a gentleman I have seen a couple of times now, and had just left my polling place and went to the grocery store.  I had just pulled in when my mobile rang.  It was my aunt, who also scares me on the genetic link piece.  She also is on the hoarding scale and is also demonstrates the clinical indicators of narcissistic personality disorder.  I selected ignore on my phone, removed it from the holder on my dash, dropped it in my leather handbag, and entered the grocery store.

Now, there are a couple of things that could have happened... Perhaps I did not lock my iPhone, and the leather from my handbag was enough of a contact with the touchscreen to 'buttdial' my aunt back.  I think the more likely scenario was she called, I hit ignore, she left the demanding voicemail that I retrieved later, and she immediately called back and my handbag 'answered'.  Either way, I hear her shrill and demanding voice screaming my name.  I knew if I disconnected her she would then continue to call my phone, and if I blocked her, would go to neighbors, etc.  So I answered.  

For over 40 minutes, other than my initial 'hello' and 'I have to go, I need to cash out my groceries' I said nothing.  I did not have to... It was a solid monologue of made up drama.  The short version is...  She was hospitalized with her back, and she claims that some meds they gave her made her see dead people and dead bodies in her yard.  She asserts the lizards, the rats, and the men talking under her windows at her home and at my sister's home was real.  She states that she was in the mental health unit for 5 days, but she has papers proving she has nothing wrong with her, that it was the medicine, and she has most of the blankets and towels off the windows now.  She states she is DONE with my sister, and told the story regarding the events that culminated in her calling 9-1-1.  She also is angry at the 'wonderful strangers' that she has included in her will chose to leave when she started having 'problems' and have not been accessible since.

Ugh.  Double ugh.

I think I have enough of this with my hoarding mother.  I simply cannot, or will not, deal with 2 others, and I will not allow myself to be triangulated into their pettiness.  

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The final day in the month that contains Mother's Day...

I truly have no issue with May, although from my last few posts and the title of this one it seems that I do.  This was just a hard May for me, and full of events that put me in a place of introspection.  Although I often state that some wounds do not need to be reopened in order for a body (and figuratively… mind) to heal, opened they were. 

The weekend of Mother’s Day I attended a retirement party for a woman I have known professionally for nearly 16 years, and the last year as a member of her Board of Directors.  I was part of the CEO search, and another person I know from the organization was selected, someone I have also known for the same amount of time.  It was an unusual event to say the least, irreverent and quirky, and honestly I would expect little else. 

Since it was the evening prior to MD, many folks brought their mothers.  The incoming CEO was one.  I had the pleasure of sitting with her, and another senior member of management that brought her mother as well.  The woman who was the incoming CEO emceed a good portion of the event, and the outgoing CEO recognized her for her work, her loyalty, and her new position.  The new CEO spoke about her early days, the mentoring she received from many in the room, and spoke to the large role her mother played in inspiring her, putting her on the path to where she was, and her mother’s selfless service to others as a public health professional.  I watched her mother’s eyes well up with pride, and the happy tears.  I watched the other mothers in the room, and saw their appreciation of, and pride in, their daughter’s achievements.  I was so happy for them all.  And I also wondered what it must feel like to have that kind of unconditional love…  Especially as an adult.  I enjoyed chatting with the folks and the mothers, and I drove away in the warm evening air. 

I dropped the windows and opened the sun roof to let in the warm air… I drove my little sports sedan, I thought of achievements I had worked so hard for.  I thought of school achievements such as recognition for grades, science achievements, scholarships, and the like.  And how most of those I attended alone.  I never experienced the selfless pride, the love I saw that night.  I thought about working my way up from direct service to professional staff, to management, to executive management, and to the position I am in now as a CEO.  I thought of earning my Master’s Degree, and the other recognition that folks had kindly bestowed upon me in the past several years. Very seldom had I had someone there with me.  My earning of my Master’s was unacknowledged by anyone.  Even running a half marathon, which I had to overcome huge and overwhelming obstacles, was not something she found worthy of saying ‘well done’ or expressing any sort of pride.

Now, in previous years, and posts… This was fodder to be as sad as I allow myself to get.  Not tonight.  It was not happy, but I just recognized it for what it was.  It is my reality.  As I often quip, I am like the Green Day song… Boulevard of Broken Dreams where the refrain is “I walk alone…”

There are worse things in the is life.  I have experienced MANY.  And I survived and overcame.  This is one of those curious things that arises from those circumstances, and I take this as the learning experience that it is.

We have had a couple of lovely and exciting things happen at my job.  My agency was recognized and nominated for an award, and we managed to secure a large grant for a huge unmet need, and we did not expect to succeed.  When I mentioned it to my hoarding mother, her response was “Why?  Why did they pick you?”  She immediately launched into her tired collection of petty annoyances and overblown misunderstandings, and has not mentioned either the award nomination nor the grant award since.  Her depth of narcissism is so sad.  And the saddest thing is her decision to do NOTHING to address her issues will have lifelong reverberations for everyone around her.  Unlike her, I choose to use these experiences as a springboard to learn, to evolve, and to move forward.   As I have said many times, to her life is a small, frightening and limited place.  She operates from a place of ‘opportunity lost’.  I refuse to do that. 

So the point of this blog?  I am continuing to make the life I want, and I continue to choose to be happy.  Just in the next few weeks I am doing several things that I have wanted to do for a while, and for circumstances beyond my control, was unable to do.  Well, they are happening in the next few weeks.  In two weeks from today I am skydiving.  It is scheduled and paid for.  Three weeks from today I am taking a Segway Tour of a nearby historic community with friends.  In a week I am going horseback riding.  I am in the process of scheduling a zip-line excursion, and am hosting or co-hosting two parties. 

Life is meant to be lived at full volume, and live it I shall.  I am also training for a full marathon in the fall.  I have taken some steps back, but sometimes it is like the analogy often promulgated on Facebook, before an arrow can fly, it must first be drawn back.

I am ready to fly.  And folks can either support me, or clear the way, because either way, I will not accept defeat.  If there is a positive to what I have experienced, it is that. 

Thanks for reading!