Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Dead Parrots

Part of my decision to really start dealing with the hoarding problem of this house was to start telling friends I trusted about it.  That has mostly been positive.  Well, kind of. A few have stepped round it. One or two try and cheer at the little bits of progress made.  My ex laughs his head off at the thought of me managing to get the place under control.  Which I suppose is fair, since he spent quite a few years sidling round the hamster runs when he wanted to see me. It didn’t help our relationship much, I will admit.   The hardest one to deal with is my closest friend who comes round and sees the carnage.  He has seen it get progressively worse over the years and part of the reason why I started to try and get a grip on it was his pointing out how bad it had actually become.  He wants me to leave. Just pack my bags and get the hell out.  Some days I do too.  But I am frightened that after living like this for so long that I would take it with me. She has a problem and I have caught it.  And I think it is going to take both of us digging to get the hell out of this.  I understand my friend and I know it is because he doesn’t want to leave me in here.  He wants to rescue me.  Before I lose any more of my life here. He doesn’t believe my mother can ever get to a non hoarding place.  A fairy tale land of carpets.  The trouble is that I can feel his anger. The slight edge of a angry blade that cuts through all the explanations he knows since he has done his own research, to the why are things like this? It seems so easily solved.  JUST PICK IT UP. Especially to an extremely tidy person who lives in a very controlled environment.  No matter how rational he tries to be about it, there is that tiny bit  of contempt that he can’t quite stamp down.  He tries because he loves us both but even my mother has stopped telling him things like “next time you visit the place will be so different” and all those hopeful things to make it seem like this state is just temporary.  We all know better and his face doesn’t hide it any more.

The major problem I notice people have with folk who live with a hoarder is they don’t understand how you can let it and them get like that.  That is definitely the thread that runs through most of my confessions to friends.  The best reactions and support actually comes from those who have never seen it.  Even my sister who has overcome her own hoarding problems doesn’t really get it any more.  But they don’t have to have to have the conversations.  If you have been in this situation you know those conversations. The “can we throw this out?” conversation.  In its many forms.   Some days you will cry trying to have the conversation.  Some days you will laugh.  Some days you will actually throw something on the floor and flamenco it into a state were the hoarder will have to admit that it has to be binned. (this is generally my sister’s method. I am not always so tough.  Mainly as the recriminations can last years if she clocks on to what has been done.  You have to be really determined also have ninja speeds to break and bin before you are spotted.)

And sometimes you have to be John Cleese trapped in a world with Michael Palin and a dead parrot.  I was looking through an old online diary and I found this entry from 2009.
I am listening right now to the fabulous sound of clothes drying. Oh how I love you new utterly massive tumble drier, even when you try to drown out my music. Ooh no, sorry, condenser. I have no idea how it works but it is magic. And helped me remove yet another piece of dodgy furniture out of here since I had to make room for it.
After the obligatory argument with Major Dragon on the phone.
SD: Ok, this cupboard is dead.
MD: No! It is fixable!
SD: the internal shelf kept falling down and we have had it leaning against the outside of it for about a year now.
MD: But I want it for my shoes!
SD: With no shelves and doors that aren't closing properly?
MD: You could mend that!
SD: Mother...I lifted it and the base and contents of the cupboard stayed on the floor. It is 3 pieces of chipboard and a couple of hinged bits trying to make a hingey break for freedom. IT IS NOT A CUPBOARD ANY MORE.
MD: But...
MD: ...Oh. OK... Well make sure it is gone by the time I get home. As long as I don't have to see it leave.
At this point I was picturing her doing a tormented hand to forehead at her office desk, bless her.
It is now hidden up the side of the house behind the dead tumble drier where she can't see it. This will hopefully prevent her staging a resurrection with prayers and a tube of No Nails...
She didn’t manage to get it back in the house but it did live on the driveway for some months as I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it without her noticing…

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