Friday, October 25, 2013

An Ode to Sightlines (safe for work version)

Oh Screw, you do your job,
No acknowledgement, no complaint.
But alas, the parts you hold together
Were not meant to last forever,
Today you get reprieve.

You're the last binding post
In a place behind the visual world
There's evidence of your presence
In your stubborn hold.

My fingertips, with knowing touch
Find your subtle indentations,
Align the blades, press, rotate
Release you of your charge.

The dirty cleaned, the burred reamed,
The squeaky wheel now greased,
The destroyed ready to be employed.
Time to return to your post.

Now my fingertips once so agile
Are now nun-chucks wielded by child
Flailing about, smacking my snout
Making me scream and cry

As the seconds turn to minutes
and minutes turn to hours
I move around, lift off the ground
Shear skin from knuckles and then howl

'You dirty funky curt bench hole
I swear I'll hurking kill you
You dirty bench, you mother friendly witch
Why the puck do you punking hate me.'

The flashlight, useless in this space,
Has explored the wonder of flight
I try to see, with mirrors I plea,
But nothing gives me sight.

When soul is bent and skin is broken
Miracle occurs
At long last screw, MY lonely screw
Find your thread, FOUND YOUR THREAD!!!

Cautiously my fingers rotate
Your head while maintaining
Downward pressure, must be measured
Cannot lose this place

The shoulder strains to maintain.
Contact with your slight engagement
One final twist, our final tryst
I lose you, and plead, 'DAMMIT!'

Then from corners dark
Comes an unexpected hero.
'That sure sucks, couldn't you just
Come over here and remove this panel?'

Fighting the urge towards
Child abuse I move over my gaze.
Remove the plate, filled with hate.
And send you easily to your place.

Eff. me. And Eff this damned machine.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Annual and a half update

So I haven't posted in a while.  Like a year and a half.  It's been pretty busy, and some progress has been made, but it is incremental at best.  The hallways are pretty much clear!  All 3 children have a legitimate bed to sleep on!  In a legitimate room!  This by itself is enough to allow me to get by most days without a hoarder rage spiral and that is great. 

There is still lots of work to do.  The living room is pretty crowded, and Eldest's bedroom (formerly Destroyers uninhabitable room) is very crowded as well.  The kitchen and dining room are in a state of flux, but improved from a month ago.  Hoarder's and my bedroom is as bad as it's ever been, but that's okay if the rest of the house is improving.  The real down side to this is school is starting in a few weeks and Hoarder is going to burdened with getting that done instead of getting the house done.  We'll see how it turns out, but I imagine she's going to struggle to find the time to do both.

On a personal note I have had an excellent summer.  The outside of our house no longer looks like the home of a hoarder.  Some serious work got done in the yard; including storage for the kids toys, a leveled out play area for the kids, a new garden bed and a boatload of new plantings.  No more garbage in the front or back yard.  The other day Destroyer and I were playing a game of soccer all across our backyard, which would have been impossible at the beginning of summer.  Or any time in the last 6 years.  It was pretty dusty out there when we got done.  It must be getting dusty in here, too.  I'm having trouble seeing my computer screen.  Just a little blurry.

Over the summer I've left Hoarder to her own devices inside the house, focusing mostly on getting stuff taken care of in the yard.  She has been pretty good about continuing to make progress over the summer while she has relatively little responsibility in other areas.  As always it is slow, but it has been much more tangible this summer than it has been in years past.  A couple of full truckloads of stuff (mostly clothes) have made their way out of our house (and out of the truck!).  Good on ya, Hoarder!

The battle continues, but for the first time in a long time the battle lines are actually moving, which is amazing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Destroyer strikes again

So this morning after I went to work, but before my hoarder got out of bed, Destroyer of Things got into some flour in the kitchen and distributed it liberally throughout the house.  This should be a funny story about how cute he looks when he is guilty and how exasperating it can be taking care of a young boy who likes to destroy things.  At worst, a story about ruined electronics.  Instead, it becomes a story about trying to find all the places where the flour got to; finding flour in a nook or cranny weeks or months later; going through piece after piece of mind numbingly mundane items that provide little to no benefit to us to make sure the flour is out of all 'my stuff'. 

It really should be a simple matter of vacuum, sponge, rinse, garbage with a little detailing mixed in.  It becomes all detailing with the hoard.  Then hoarder and I have a fight and everybody wins.  Ugh.  Sometimes it amazes me how little a thing can set me off when the whole problem is around me at all times.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A good morning

Hoarder and I had a good conversation this morning about clearing out Destroyers bedroom.  It still needs a lot of work, but there is a clear-ish path from front to back and most of the piles are visible from any accessible point in the room.  She seems really committed to pulling his room together and I pulled back from my rage spiral enough to address my thoughts in as non-accusing a way that I know how.  She interpreted what I had to say more or less how I intended it and the conversation went well.

I visited a couple of other hoarding blogs and sites yesterday and I think writing this and reading those are helping me to stay calm and be more understanding of her plight, at least in this short term.  Hopefully it will help both of us long term.  It was nice to have a conversation about purging and not have it turn into a yell-fest. 

On a more tangible note, a pair of boxes of old dishes went out today, as well as a handful of board games.  Win.

Friday, March 30, 2012

What gives me hope!!!

Last summer I liberated my garage of about half the junk that was out there in an attempt to be able to use some tools and build something.  IT... WAS... AMAZING. 

I cleared out a space of maybe one hundred fifty square feet.  That small space was like a little patch of heaven I could go to and accomplish something without looping into a hoarder rage spiral.  I put together a couple of poorly constructed planters, built a speaker box, fixed a friend's guitar amp, worked on about 5 or 6 electronics projects.  I was in heaven.  I almost didn't even need to go inside the house because the dusty, ugly garage had become such a beautiful place.  Prior to last summer I had a 8X6 foot space in the garage to call my own.  It was like working in a cubicle, except I had the hypnotizing hum of a clothes dryer on the opposite wall of my cube. Cramped and noisy...YES!!!

It wasn't easy for my wife to stay out of the way, but she did.  It caused a bunch of fights and she has some resentment about some of the things I got rid of, but I was up front about what I was doing and the results are still evident.  Just typing about it makes me PUMPED!!!  She has moved a little bit in Destroyers room, but at this rate it will be June by the time it's done (assuming there is no regression).  Still, any progress is progress and I do have hope.  Hope is what keeps me engaged.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"My Stuff"

Since I discovered that there is a condition called compulsive hoarding, I have been making observations around my life and when talking to others with similar problems.  In this time I've grown to LOATH the phrase "my stuff." 

'My stuff' is so many things.  It is a way to declare that you have a hoard in a publicly acceptable manner.  It is a way provide value to things that are virtually worthless.  It gives permission to ignore others' advice about things that 'aren't theirs.'  But more than anything else, it is the equivalent of the 5 year old favorite, 'MINE!'

I've come to recognize 'my stuff' as a buzzword for hoarders.  You don't have to know what all is in your stuff to refer to it as 'my stuff.'  You just have to know that it is in that general area over there.  It's proximity to your property is what makes it 'my stuff.'  Need something; I'll look through, 'my stuff.'  I know I have it, I just have to dig it out of 'my stuff.'  You can't go through 'my stuff.'  You have no idea what is valuable, so don't touch 'my stuff.'  I know where it is, just let me go through 'my stuff.'

I've seen it in people that I talk to. I've seen it on shows like Hoarders, Clean Sweep, Oprah, and others.  Oh sweet mercy have I seen it in Hoarder and Momma Hoarder.  If you want to know if someone is leaning toward having a hoarding problem, listen for the term 'my stuff.'  The loose or occasional use of the phrase 'my stuff' don't necessarily mean anything, but when there is ANY level of passion behind the phrase it is no good at all.  Don't confuse 'my stuff' with any of the following:  my junk, my fishing stuff, my sewing stuff, my stereo stuff, my storage unit, my garage, etc.  In my experience, anything that denigrates the value of the stuff, or specifies a small collection of things rather than a collection of everything indicates that their mess is orderly and under control.  'My stuff' is bad.  Bad, bad, bad.


Really Bad.


How I'm useless when helping with the hoarding.

Every time I try to involve myself in cleaning of part of the house, it starts off well enough.  I pick up a few things, throw a few things away, move some stuff around.  Getting stuff done!  Soon I start to realize that I've spent ten to fifteen minutes trying to sort absolute junk and have only managed to move stuff around in a small section of one room.  Then the ire starts to well up inside me because all I want to do is to take 4 out of every 5 things I see and make its way into the trash, with some force if possible.  If I have the patience to soldier on my mood continues to get worse.  This is when my head goes all red, I start breathing slowly and deeply, smoke starts coming out of my nose, followed by my ears, then I float in midair while stiffening my legs and pointing my fists to the floor and whistling like a locomotive, then I scream (I have video, but last time I posted it Warner Bros. had it removed for copyright infringement). 

As funny as this is for the casual observer, my kids don't like it, my wife doesn't like it, and I don't like it very much either.  For this reason, I rarely help with the cleaning of the house unless it is targeted to a small area or involves copious amounts of garbage.  The goal is to get her to get rid of the stuff, to be a part of her getting well and resetting her mind.  It isn't working now.  I hope to be a part of her solution without undermining her healing.  It is difficult to wait for her, and I don't think she is eager to get better.