Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Start As You Really Don’t Mean To Go On

2012 is getting off to a slow start. A very slow start. I think a glacier just overtook us. Also glaciers do a better job of picking up shit and moving it. Gah.
Major Dragon was on festive holiday. This means she spent a lot of time at home in front of the tv.  Fatal for a shopping channel addict let me tell you, FATAL.  (don’t even ask. Well do, I will likely tell that tale in the next post)
We did end 2011 well.  There were plans and the MAJOR RUBBISH UPLIFT.  I lifted my eyes to the skies and could have sworn I heard clutter cleaning angels singing.  I am a bit capslocky in my emotion here. For we got rid of the Table.
The story of the Table. (you knew there was going to be one) Major Dragon came home one day with it.  A workmate was throwing it out and naturally MD couldn’t turn it down. A metal picnic table. Rusting and manky. I shrieked in horror but no, MD had a plan. (you knew there was going to be one of those too) She was going to put this table up in our narrow hoarded kitchen and put things on it while she sorted them. This naturally didn’t go well. In a hoarded house any surface is a storage space. Cans went out of date in the actual kitchen storage behind the table.  You cooked at the hob leaning in over the table from the centre of the kitchen.  We had a table argument every year FOR YEARS. I would clear it off and fold it down and go away for a few days or something and whoops, the table would magically pop up again in all its rusty glory, smugly greeting me as I returned to the kitchen and gritted my teeth at the sight of it covered in yet more hoarded stuff.   2011 was where I hit my kitchen limit. I started to clear it out. Not at speed. I just quietly started putting things in the bin. An extra binbag a week in the autumn. Finally a couple of months later I was starting to see a kitchen again. The bin started to get too full too fast.  And I got ill again as I always seem to in winter.  The darkness and the chaos start to get to me then little bugs grow into more and more horrific things as I get depressed and then run down.  I think I might actually be solar powered.  My battery strength definitely lessens in the winter months.  The kitchen started to sink back into the mire. 
The trouble with undoing hoarding is things are resting on things which are resting on things which are stacked on top of something else.  You start moving, well you better move fast.  It isn’t tidying.  It is fighting.  You are fighting a room for supremacy. You are fighting goddamn gravity.  You stop without preparation and you will have a landslide.  When you clear you clear using every part of your body.  Sometimes the only thing between you and concussion is a swift elbow.  You can of course just let stuff collapse to the floor and sort from there but really that is the final phase if you can possibly manage it.  Working on your hands and knees is depressing.  It hurts. Particularly when doing an entire room. Sure you can sit on the floor but that is for considered sorting.  And to be honest, I find I slow when I sit on the floor.  I get cranky with pins and needles from crossed legs, I start sneezing from dust.  And if the exhaustion overtakes me, I have discovered I will nap on anything while down there.   Even filled binbags.   So to ensure dignity and actual clearing I stay away from the floor till strictly necessary.  Which isn’t difficult considering what we have in here. 
So there I was, my ninja clearing becoming slower and slower.  Before it ground to a complete halt I rang Reformed Dragon in desperation.  A week later, she arrived. With a steely eyed Break and Bin expression on.  10+ bin bags later she advanced on the table. Out the back door it went while I cheered and danced.  And there it stayed for a couple of weeks, stacked against the bags of rubbish that wouldn’t fit in the bin.  All was peaceful. MD had managed to part with some sentimental things, like a jumbo sized rice steamer that had belonged to her mother and was nearly as old as I am, with surprisingly little heartburning.  I should have realised we may have won the table battle that day but we had not won the war.  I had to go away for a weekend.  I left MD filled with zeal about how she was going to continue the kitchen clear. 
I forgot her original plan.  And also the fact she gets overwhelmed easily without someone holding her to the sticking point.  I thought at the very worst she just wouldn’t have done anything.
I was wrong.
And here is where we all remember that hoarding is a mental illness. 
Well I did after I did this.
And texted the table pic to RD so she could have a good swear at it. “PUT IT BACK OUT! JUST PUT IT BACK OUT!”  she yelled.  With a lot more bad language.  
By now I was completely done reasoning with MD.  Nothing on that kitchen was going on that table. I didn’t care if she found a new lifeform in the back of the fridge, it was not going on that damn table, it would catch something.  I lifted it straight out the back door again when MD was out.  When she asked where it had gone I told her it was weighting down the rubbish bags we still hadn’t gotten rid of in the winter’s strong winds.  Then bless the skies for they snowed on it and finished off buckling it nicely.   When the winds died down I organised the mighty rubbish angels of the council to come and take away our bagged former kitchen hoard.  (they still sing to me)  We dragged the rubbish bags on the table to the street for the uplift and MD only tried a small argument about the table.  I regarded it as a tiny verbal hoarding hiccup of an argument.
Oh.  Well no it wasn’t.
Unfortunately for me a Hoarder never forgets.  MD can’t remember what she had for dinner yesterday, what I said to her five minutes ago, where she left her favourite pair of trousers that were just in her hand…but she will never forget that table.  And when she is allowed into the kitchen unsupervised she remembers.  A month later and she is still bringing up the table when she is out of sorts and remembering her kitchen plan.  She hasn’t done anything in the kitchen because she can’t. Because I ruined the plan.  If the table was in the kitchen then it would happen.  Interestingly she forgets the table was there for four years or so waiting for this plan. Pointing out there are other tables in the house is also not a winner since Surface = Storage Space if you remember.  And apparently they would be ruined by a sojourn in the kitchen. (I have no idea.) Hiccups always come back, don’t they? Sigh.
So what have I learned from the Great Table Saga of 2011?
Well only that, when my tutor at university asked us if tables change our perception of reality…? I should have maybe taken him a tiny bit more seriously.


  1. HI! I've been reading your blog, and want to say way to go!! Keep up the good work! The table saga is so very, very, very typical, and I'm sure you'll have several more "Table" sagas as you continue, go for it!

    1. Thank you very much :)

      Oh yes, I foresee a LOT more table sagas in the Dragon Hoard's future...