Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Idiot Box and Comfortable Carrots

I have nothing exciting to impart about the Great Hoard Clearing Attempt of 2012.  We are still staggering along.  Avon items for ebay are roughly priced after Reformed Dragon had another small shouting fit (there was a bit of a moment where Major Dragon tried to create a list of the things she wanted to keep out of the sale list. RD did not take this well and said quite a lot about that.  It featured quite a few swearwords.  RD is quite talented at sweary rants.)

The bins go out and come in again on the rubbish tides.  Sometimes there is even rubbish in them.

Generally I would rank the Dragons as doggypaddling along rather than drowning.  There are no great achievements but no utter disasters for the time being.

I think that might rank as a great achievement in itself. 

A lot of my  time has been spent finely tuning things to be just annoying enough to make Major Dragon want to deal with them.  This is a verbal alchemy that only a child knows, the right way to say things to mildly irritate a parent into action.  I could mend a lot of little things for her but all the books say tis better for a hoarder for make these decisions themselves.  I don’t know if it will work but I am a gobby bugger and might as well try it out.

Case 1: The tv or the freeview box has broken in the living room.  We aren’t sure which.  This doesn’t particularly bother me.  I am not a mad tv watcher so it doesn’t grate.  However Major Dragon has a fairly large idiot box addiction.  BUT of course, she has stacked so much stuff in front of the tv that it isn’t easily reachable to test, fix, swap for another tv out the stash of them MD has acquired over the years.  And I am not doing it.  A rough count tells me we own 7 televisions.  I think. They are the ones I can see anyway. There may well others I have forgotten.  Well strictly speaking I own one of them.  But no tv reception in my room means MD kept appropriating for her occasional tidy up attempts so it drifts round the house like it is lost usually.  It is a small flatscreen tv so it worked for her “getting stuck in” moments.  Which apparently need to have the tv going as she works in case she gets bored. This applies to just about every domestic chore from cooking to ironing.  Don’t even ask me to explain.  It makes the red mist rise.  She will spend more time farting about setting up the tv and watching than clearing when she has one of these attacks.  I have put it beyond her reach for the time being so when MD is feeling ill used that is good for a complain and insistence since I don’t watch tv it should be her tv and she should be able to use it any time she wants. Ha, NO.

Anyway. That was the first shot in the campaign. No tv, no free floating tv she could set up hurriedly meant she would have to clear, yes?  Well she is still holding out for the time being since tv can happen on her laptop but happily it BSOD’d the other day (possibly from tv streaming exhaustion) so I live in hope that eventually an MD going tv cold turkey will eventually lead to some clearing effort.   I can wait it out longer than she can.  And am happy to gently point out if the stuff moves out the corner of the room I will sort out the television and do all the crawling about behind things and meddling with cables.  So there is the quest.  Perfectly achievable with minimum effort, (the couch really isn’t all that far away to drag stuff to so she can sit and sort.) and the reward carrot of a nice working tv.

Case 2: I am taking the television carrot reward idea and running with it.  Major Dragon’s bed is covered with boxes.  I think I mentioned that before. She sleeps in a small space on one side of it.  I started out by pointing out how uncomfortable that must be.  And bad for her health (dusty and she has asthma) but mostly uncomfortable.  She hates the bed anyway. Why not get one of those lovely beds with TELEVISION space in the foot of it.  I think they are hideous but perfect for Major Dragon. I have extolled the virtues of a comfortable, convenient bed, tv perfectly stationed to watch comfortably in it.  I have never used the word comfortable so much in my life. I am hoping eventually the word will result in a Palovian dog response.  “COMFORTABLE” *madly tidying parent*  I naturally had no hesitation in looking the beds up online and checking prices.  I have drawn beautiful verbal pictures of MD snuggled up in her bed in winter in a COMFORTABLE warm room watching tv.  The little wheels are turning in MD’s head so we will see if that will work.  I am sneaky wee git but not feeling much shame. 

All this effort did lead to a five star hoarder conversation though.

SD: So what is in those boxes in your bed anyway?

MD: um. Magazines.

SD: Seriously? That is a lot of magazines MD. You totally don’t need them you know.  I read that a magazine is 80% adverts to 20% content.

MD: It is only this years magazines! I am much better about them now. I read and then I stack for recycling or to show you something in them!

*SD looks at double bed covered with boxes* *looks at MD* *Lip trembles slightly trying to hold back laughter* *MD realises what she has just said and has similar lip tremble*

SD: MD… it is only March. And your magazines are monthly.  I don’t really think it is possible for that to just be this year’s magazines. 

Thankfully we laughed together on that one.

Actually I might mark that as the achievement for the month.   I still am not sure what is in those boxes on the bed though.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Magic In The Mess.

Well that was a bit of a holiday for you all from me wasn’t it?  But fear not!  I have returned!  Fully medicated!
How did February go?  Well, to be brutally honest, a lot of it was on my face in my bed with a biscuit or ten gripped in my hand.  That was a fun week or two for all the Hoard inhabitants. Thank you to all who applied gentle and not so gentle verbal levers to my prone form. 
The thing I really had to choke down on in the past few weeks along with the biscuit crumbs was the shame.  And not just mine either. There was a reeling moment of “What the hell I am doing?”  “WHY the hell I am doing this?”   The initial shame of the Hoard and remembering this isn’t how I want to live and that I didn’t always live like this (that part can get far more easily lost than you think) also morphed into worry about forcing someone to living how you want them to.  Even an extra worry about this blog.  It forces Major Dragon’s life into the public domain.  I suddenly understood why so many children of hoarders chose to let it go and just empty a house after the hoarder has left it.  If they are not there then that is half the problem solved in terms of a hoard and your own problems can take the lead.  (And boy do children of hoarders come blessed with a plethora of problems.  But that is a post for another day.)   I had lengthy talks with friends that helped me so much but when I mentioned this to MD she was actually quite upset at the thought of me discussing her with them.   My needs vs. hers are a very fine tightrope to walk.  It is quite a hard decision.  Every time I choose to talk I choose to put myself first.  I am certainly no saint but that isn’t just a difficult decision that has been made, it has to be made every time.  It still does feel a bit selfish even if, ultimately, MD benefits.  I have to keep reminding myself that it does help us both in the end. And watch this a few times. (hat tip to BrenĂ© Brown for inspiring the name of the post. Her blog is over here if you are curious)
Anyway, the Hoard Status report:  Still Hoardy.  A good few of the verbal lever appliers reminded me that baby steps still count.  So I shall count it as a success that it might not be any better than a few weeks ago but it isn’t any worse.  Actually in a hoarding situation that requires a lot more work than people assume.  When you are in a guddle there doesn’t seem much point bothering with picking up after yourself.  After all it doesn’t make much a difference to your surroundings.  My walking on the hoarding spot policy is, even if none of the Hoard is undone, that a full bin WILL go out weekly.  Even if does mean standing at 7 in the morning shouting at MD for her to give me her rubbish bag out her bedroom.  And actually in a bid to fill the last of the bin there is a quick shoot about to gather up stuff to pitch which eventually should begin to show a difference.  I have stationed rolls of binbags everywhere so there is never a search for them (well in theory,)  moved the wheelie bins to the house door passed through and by most often.  I don’t know if that makes a difference but I feel all organised and stuff. Line up brain, bins and hopefully the body will follow.
Next time on the Secret Dragon Hoard, Boxes and the Idiot Box. Unless I have a squirrel moment.