Friday, January 29, 2010

January 29, 2010 (or what feels like a game-changing day)

Tuesday was my youngest's birthday. We went out to dinner and had a great time. Their physicals are scheduled for two weeks from now. My husband had mentioned on Sunday that we should talk to the doctor about little guy's forgetfulness. It seems like he is always forgetting something. Or he forgets that he remembered something and tells me it's at school, when in reality it is in his backpack.


Anyway, Sunday, he mentioned that his head hurt, so Mark was thinking maybe the headache and the forgetfulness are related. Check in two weeks when we go for physicals. Yesterday, after receiving bad news about a friend of ours who has an inoperable brain tumor that is cancerous, I asked him about his headaches. Here's the daily log of his headaches.

Sunday: Yes

Monday: Don't Remember

Tuesday (his birthday): Don't remember

Wednesday : Yes, headache

Thursday: Yes, headache (but don't remember if he woke up with one).


Couple the frequency of the headaches with the forgetfulness, which has, admittedly gotten much worse in the last few months. Plus, the bad news about our friend…..Plus, we know of three people who have been diagnosed with brain tumors in less than two years (two of them are related, one of them is a kid at the school, and two of the three are younger than my kids). I think it's time that we go to the doctor and get it checked out. My little guy is 9, and very perceptive. So I'm trying to tell him enough to let him know what the schedule is and why we are going to the doctor, but I'm also trying to not even remotely say something that might pop a question into his head. He's way too smart and I'm not ready for the questions he's likely to ask.

Which takes me back to why I am posting. Last night I was paralyzed on the couch with all these thoughts. I have seen my friend go through Hell with his daughter. They are the strongest family that I know, and if ever have to go through a similar situation, I just don't know that we are strong enough.


On a funny note, he went to the County Museum for a field trip. One of the kids on the bus was playing with an UNWRAPPED condom. One of the moms took it and it was disposed of, by when she was telling me about it, the boys were asking what it was that was found on the bus. I finally said, I don't think you are old enough to talk about this, but let's just say it has to do with boy parts J We've have the sex conversation, but I think that 9 and 11 is a little early to talk about contraception. And mom was not mentally prepared.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Decluttering the Extra Bedroom Downstairs (AKA why I became really, really mad at myself

The transition from cluttered and chaos to decluttered and organized is unique for everyone. It could take just a little while for someone with paper clutter only, or it could take a whole year for someone going through the process solo. It could take years, if someone has decades of mementos to go through. Here is where I think I am:

  • We have lived in this house for almost 8 years, enough time to accumulate crap.
  • Most of the stuff belongs to either myself or the kids; my husband saves very little.
  • We have had cleaning ladies coming to our house twice a month for the last five years. Hence, we have done the "stash and dash" every other Tuesday night in order to 'clean for the cleaning ladies'. This process has made my home WORSE.
  • I would love the help of my husband, or anyone else, but I have also learned that someone hovering over me to make decisions overwhelms me and I get less done. This will be a process that I have to do myself.
  • I honestly am not sure where exactly I should start, but I started with doing 15 minutes in the downstairs extra bedroom. No one lives in this room and it is the victim of the stash and dash. There was so much in that room that didn't belong in there.
  • I am a member of Clutter I am following their weekly plan of where ever they tell me I need to clean. I figure I'll hit everything eventually. For instance, I have now cleaned out my side of my closet and I just cleaned out the master bathroom this weekend. The bedroom downstairs is just a bonus!
  • I have some projects that I want completed before I have house guests in May, and they will be staying in the bedroom downstairs. So it is time to get started.

I started with the bedroom downstairs. It was so bad, I could shut the door, nor could I open it all the way. And I had to wrap the Christmas presents in the hallway. There was no walking room. You couldn't sit on the bed, and I'm pretty sure the cats couldn't get under the bed. There were two dressers, a full size bed and a treadmill in a teeny tiny room. Plus there were boxes of stuff that I had to go through. Here is what I discovered while decluttering, and you can probably see where I got angry:

  1. Four (4) of the straight edge tools for cutting wrapping paper. They resemble a pen and replace scissors. Apparently I bought one whenever I couldn't find the previous. Cost me about $20 total.
  2. Four (4) Christmas China plates which I bought on clearance after Christmas 2008. Very cute. I had stashed them in one of the dressers.
  3. One Book of Useless Information. That's the title. I bought it for my husband for a stocking stuffer. Then shoved it in the closet and forgot about it.
  4. One board game for my youngest for Christmas 2009-Snorta. It is now going to be his birthday present.
  5. Two of those weird desktop puzzles, like for executives. Bought for stocking stuffers.
  6. Four boxes of Jelly Bellys for Christmas 2009.
  7. Four Boxes of Christmas Tic Tacs for Christmas 2009.
  8. Two giant suckers.
  9. Several unused picture frames, still wrapped in plastic.
  10. A framed picture of my husband and I on our wedding day, which I believe I meant to give to his grandmother. We've now been married for nearly 13 years.
  11. One roll of scotch tape. I'm always losing scotch tape.
  12. Two unopened Crayola Creations. I bought for my niece for Christmas 2008, and then her list did not include it at all. I meant to donate to Toys for Tots and it never happened. Then in a stash and dash they ended up in the dresser. Out of Sight, out of mind.


    I don't think I have a problem letting go of things. I got rid of so much, including things I had held onto since we moved in. The problem I have is making the decisions. The room is much better. Although the bed still has items on it, the dressers are almost completely empty, and you can open and close the door! The treadmill is clear and I used it during the rainstorms.

When exactly I decided that something had to be done.

My dad had surgery a couple of weeks ago. I went to their house the day he was checked out of the hospital, and I was shocked. I wouldn't call them hoarders to the extent that is featured on the documentary, but I definitely see that there is an issue with purging the clutter, or at least having functional systems to deal with it. Stuff that is so treasured was probably ruined when the hot water heater exploded after Thanksgiving.

The problem is that there is a lot of deferred maintenance on the house that needs to be done. And because of a combination of not being able to get to the needed spots in thehouse, and my parents being embarrassed for anyone to see the house like that, they just haven't done the maintenance. Now there are significant issues: Broken Dishwasher, Galvanized pipes, Two showers that don't work, the microwave only works on "defrost" and you can only use the number 4 and 8 when selecting a time. The water heater exploded, and with a new one installed, it promptly went out the first day that my dad was home from the hospital.


The problem is extremely complicated. There is sooooo much that needs to be done; it is way too much for even my mom and I to do, and yet they don't want anyone else to see it like that. So it doesn't improve, and just gets worse. The house is now so cluttered that there's no spare room in order to move the boxes around and make the front room look functional and clean. The worst part is that they had guests over just one year ago. It has managed to go downhill this badly within 12 months.

I was there till midnight the first night and all day on Saturday. I went to help on Sunday for a half day and I left feeling like nothing got accomplished. Mom gets side tracked and starts working on projects that ultimately are not going to help clear out the clutter. Without a dumpster they are limited to what they can get rid of by the normal trash pick up once per week.

I woke up that Sunday morning full of anxiety, until I realized I was at my own house and that my house is not cluttered like that. Whew, I can relax, I'm in the peaceful house.

Except, there's that one bedroom downstairs, when I can't open the door all the way and I had to wrap presents in the hallway because it was so cluttered in there.

And I can't find a name tag that I need, so I have to pay to replace it.

And my husband and I had just gotten into a fight about how I always leave my wet towel downstairs.

And the Christmas decorations weren't completely put away.

And the downstairs closet has stuff falling out of it.


So maybe my house isn't terrible, but it's time to declutter.