Friday, January 28, 2011

LONG TIME NO SEE... or even THINK about hoarding.

It's obviously been quite some time since my last post. I'm not exactly sorry, but do wish to be somewhat apologetic. Let me clarify, I am NOT sorry that I've been ignoring my Mother's hoarding. I am sorry that I haven't been keeping a detailed journal to look back at.

Now let's get on with the reason I am back... it's fascinating.

Christmas day this year brought much joy into the lives of all in our family, and not all in the ways you are probably thinking. My kids got a Wii and they are happy. My husband got a big screen TV and he is happy. Are you wondering what made me SO happy?

My parents had a kitchen fire at their home on Christmas day... A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

Here's the story in a nutshell. Mom was cooking a turkey on the stovetop (boiling it down for soup, I think). My sis dropped by and mentioned she was on her way to my place. A last minute decision was made and Mom hopped in the car to join her, forgetting the stove was on. Several hours later, my parents returned to a house FILLED with smoke and a burned up pot on the stove. By the way, it was REALLY STINKY smoke (something to do with the proteins in the meat?).

Now for the fun, or not so fun, part of the story - depending on your point of view.

At first, Mom thought she could just air out the house for a day or two and all would be well. She then decided to wash all the walls and ceilings with vinegar (don't you know that vinegar cures everything?) This little plan did NOT work out. After a visit to the house and a phone call to the local Disaster Cleanup Services, we let Mom in on the "terrible" news. The smell is not going anywhere. The cleanup is going to be time consuming (the DCS people told us this without even knowing that Mom was a first class hoarder) and costly. They mentioned a lot of things specifically, but I'd like to just point out the one that made me the happiest.

In a fire of this nature, it turns out that plastic items are now considered toxic and must be thrown out. It isn't exactly flattering of myself to admit, but I really enjoyed telling Mom that part. "It looks like your hundreds of empty plastic yogurt containers/peanut butter jars/cool whip containers/lids/useless empty pill bottles/crap/crap/and more crap are all going to have to be thrown out. Along with all those filled with food and herbs that you are hoarding for that "emergency" someday... sniff". (The sniff is me trying to cover my extreme desire to jump up and down with joy with some sign of remorse)

I then made one more phone call and the time for laughing was officially over...

More tomorrow.


Diane said...

I discovered your blog today and read the whole thing. I can relate to so much. Our house wasn't too bad growing up, but I was ashamed of it. Even though my house is much nicer and cleaner than my parents house was, I still don't like to entertain at my house.

I resent so many things about my mother now. I live about 3 hours from my parent, but I haven't been down there in years. My children are never invited to spend the night ( not that I would want them too). I really resent how detached my mom is as a grandparent.

I could go on, but I hope you blog again soon. Oh, I can totally relate to the food storage too, It is part of my culture also. My grandma hoarded food. When she died, we had to throw away 30 year old rice and old home canned fruit. My parents are sleeping on 35 year old freezed dried food. LOL

Anonymous said...

Haha love your blog!!! My adopted mother was/is a hoarder, and it literally took a kitchen fire, a blown hot water heater, and a flea infestation for her to finally start addressing the hoarding problem. This was all in the span of 18 years. I am 29 now, and reading blogs like yours makes me happy inside. It was hard enough for ME to live in a hoarding household, with all brothers, and me being the middle son. I was always the only one who spoke up about it to my school, counselors, and friends. I always wonder if the internet and hoarding reality TV was around in the 90's if my cries would have been heard.

Good work with the blog, keep it up sweetheart!!!


Thalia said...

Oh congratulations, Jamie on the plastic crap/crap/and more crap being toxic now. Oh, no, awwww, that's just too bad, isn't it? Unless you think she won't consider that a 'real' reason to throw them away; then that could be a problem. Still, congrats!

jennifer @ what would jen do said...

it took a flood that ruined most of my mothers hoard to get her house cleaned out. i was giddy. i am still dealing with the after effects as the flood is new. it's hard, but i can't even begin to express how HAPPY i am this happened. which in turn, makes me feel bad.

Steven Kurutz said...

Dear Maintenance Free,

I'm a reporter working on a story about children who have hoarder parents and came across your blog. I was hopign I could interview you for the article. I can be reached at:


Anonymous said...

Hello Jamie,

I just found your blog and read through it. I'm one of the 'interested observers' in your poll. There's no hoarding in my family (that I'm aware of anyway), although there are addictions. Thanks for the insight into your mother's condition and how it's affected you and your family, it does a lot to de-sensationalize what we see in the media.

Michelle in Mx said...

It always felt like a dirty little secret the happiness I would get out of hearing that one of my mother's animals died. I would be happy that *that* animal was no longer suffering - because if my mom had it, it suffered.

And many is the day I've wished for some natural disaster to just come and swallow the mess all up.

We, my siblings and I, have not been so lucky.

Anonymous said...

So what happened next??? Keep posting!

Anonymous said...

I am Laughing/crying at this blog. Both my parents hoard. Although i think my Mother is the worse offender. My sisters and I have tried to help but total resistance. We are in our 40s. Parents in their 70's. Wasn't always so bad because growing up dad was in military and we moved 15 or more times! Now, the reality is they have filled up two homes. And too cluttered/dirty for grand kids or their own friends to visit.
What's the deal with the pastic containers.... She Cannot make herself even recycle them. Sad.

Cat Calsolaro said...

I'm sure I will be sharing a sentiment common among most children of hoarders here when I say that every single day when I came home from school alone starting in the fourth grade, I dreamed up many many many ways to burn my house down without being caught or hurting my neighbors houses in the process. Unfortunately I never followed through on this desire and I still (at 20 years old and living on my own) regret it.