Tuesday, August 9, 2016

She wasn't a hoarder, but she wouldn't let us throw away anything!



On this blog I have not explained how we FINALLY got mom into another living arrangement, but I will save that for the book.

It had almost been a year since Dad was gone, so we decided to get the home ready
to sell. I have abbreviated the community she moved to and called it PC.


Cleaning out my mother’s home was a nightmare. She grew up during the depression and they were poor. She had the mindset that nothing should be thrown away. My dad was the same way. Needless to say, she had bankbooks from accounts closed in the 1950’s that she wanted to keep. NOTHING was worth throwing away.  Every piece of clothing or old rag was an argument. This was all before we sold the home. She was moving from a 1900 sq. ft. home with a full basement to a 2 bedroom apartment. She did not want to give away my dad’s clothes, even though he was gone. We even found clothes that weren’t his!  She had clothing for herself in 3 sizes. Since she had lost some weight, I decided that the biggest size would no longer be necessary to keep. I had to hide them from her and give them away when she was at her new apartment. She insisted on taking everything and boxing up the dishes and I kept them at my home. She did not need to cook where she was going. All of us inherited some of her junk. She said, “What if I decide to move again and need these?”

We tried giving the clothes from dad and the tools to relatives. No one was dad’s size, and the guys all had tools by this stage of life. There was so much in the garage, barn and basement that we ordered a good sized dumpster. It looked like a large boat in her yard. We also had a guy come over that bought scrap, and he loaded up his truck. We tried selling some of the larger items. My dad saved everything. He was a very neat and orderly man until he got sick. His garage used to be spotless.

We went into the garage and there was literally a CARPET of mouse droppings on everything. There were bottles of screws, nuts, bolts, washers, vices, saws, hammers. The guys took what they wanted and mom didn’t want them to throw anything away. We girls kept her busy and the guys loaded up the dumpster. It was filled to overflowing.We also had a "scrapper" guy come out and take a lot of metal items.  Every time mom walked outside she would grab something out of the dumpster and say, “We paid good money for this.”  We would distract her and put it back. Their home wasn’t really cluttered. Dad just saved everything and systematically stored it all in containers on the shelves. 

She had to rent the biggest, most expensive unit in PC. She crammed hundreds of items in the closets and her drawers, putting all her shoes under the beds. What did she need 10 quilts for? She fought us on everything. Her apt. is so cluttered. I am just glad I don’t have to live there. She kept everything she possibly could.There were at least 5 artificial flower arrangements just in the small living room-and they are old and look bad.

One sad thing about moving her is that 4 years later she still was asking us about clothing we gave away, a tv set that was in the dumpster, and countless other items she did not need. But with dementia she could not remember anyway. 

Mom’s car was the craziest story. After Dad died we noticed a horrible odor in the car. It was like something was decaying in the trunk. But we cleaned it and disinfected it but could not find the source of the smell. Dan finally took it to a detailer. He had to drive with the windows down in order not to throw up.

The detailer called Dan and with a thick, foreign accent said, “Mouse. Mouse everywhere. Mouse babies, dead mouse, mouse parts everywhere.”
 “What?”
Apparently, when the mice got in the garage to eat the grass seed, they squeezed into the car doors. Then they had babies. Then they died. They were stuck in the doors. That is why it smelled SO bad!!! It cost over a thousand dollars to get it refreshed.

After Dad got sick the mice must have taken over the garage. It used to be the cleanest garage I have ever seen. You could have eaten off the floors. He put grass seed in a filing cabinet and must have forgotten it was there. That is great mouse food, so they found it and took over his whole garage.


The biggest challenge we had in moving her was the rent payment. For the 2 br 2 ba apartment it was $4300 per month! Now there were 3 meals a day, some light housekeeping, bus service, and entertainment. There was no "care" in the cost, but at this stage mom did not need care. She needed to have a social life, and this was perfect.