Friday, August 15, 2014

Spelunking for treasures with Mom

The good news? My mom finally decided to downsize from her house to a small apartment. Yay! No more mowing her yard and all the other upkeep. The bad news? We have three weeks to get it done and arrange an estate sale; the house sold fast. Um, boo.

A hoarder extraordinaire, my mom never threw anything out, every item worth saving. Three stories of junk crammed into every nook and cranny. Six closets of clothing. Every drawer's a junk drawer. Boxes and boxes of junk. I'm finding such "treasures" as ancient broken candy canes, buttons, needles, empty boxes, candy wrappers, useless chunks of things neither one us can identify, doll arms (she's putting these aside to donate; I'm sure the needy will appreciate doll arms), sacks and sacks of fake green Easter grass ("I'm not throwing it out; someone might buy it."), more knick-knacks than you can scream over. Let's not forget paperwork dating back to the '50's. And shoes? Can't have enough shoes (although I exist on two pair). And she claims "memories" are attached to most of this stuff.

"Mom, I found two trash bags full of old shoes crammed into the basement. Let's donate 'em."

"Oh, no! I'll have to go through them!"

"Gah. You haven't worn them in 40're not going to start now!"

"You never know..."

It's slowing down the process. Plus with her failing eyesight, I have to identify every single "jewel" we encounter. It's extremely frustrating and nerve-wracking.

All of the estate sale people were booked, except for one guy. After several extremely long visits from him, he told us he didn't have the time. Well, it's easy to figure out where his time goes. He literally spent hours chatting with us, regaling us with his life philosophy and adventures. At one point, I just walked away. Still didn't stop him. I was upstairs working while he stood by the front door, yelling up at me, continuing the one-sided conversation. Eventually, he let himself out. I think. For all I know, he's tucked away somewhere in the house still reliving his golden moments.

So...we're going to have an auction. Not ideal. But we're out of time. Yet Mom STILL won't relinquish anything. How she's going to shove three floors worth of junk into a one bedroom apartment is beyond me. Every time I suggest she put something up for sale, she counters with "No, it's valuable!" Kinda' missing the idea of a sale, I think. I've already packed up twenty boxes of "valuable" China.

Sigh. I'm trying. It's a chore keeping my anger in check, truly it is. But I empathize with my mom. It can't be easy to let things go. Someone told me moving can be as sad and stressful as losing a loved one. So I keep that in mind. I'm grasping moments to reminisce over certain items with her. I think she appreciates it. Watching her get misty, then delight over a photo of a horse she had as a teenager, I thought...yeah, okay, maybe it's worth it. Time will wait. Slow down.

But, psst...I'm secretly still throwing junk away.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Stuart. I can't even begin to imagine. Doll arms! For the psychopathic child? I have a friend who has a husband like that. They store the 'great deals' from garage sales in the garage, and every few years, she hires a dump truck to take it all and dump it. Her husband's a lawyer!