Hoarding Woes: Revisiting the Houses Today

Spent today visiting my mom’s home and my aunt’s home. Both required some tending to. I was going to try and dig up some plants that I wanted as the home is hopefully in the final stages of a sale. I discovered/remembered I had given away my keys to the realtor and could not access the garage for a shovel. I identified what i wanted. It is hard because the older roses are obvious but some had not really looked at this summer are past blooming. I cannot take them all. There are about 25 roses. Sentimental fool I am about my parent’s gardening efforts, it will be hard to leave some knowing they might not survive. Maybe I can revisit later, when the home is not mine and negotiate with the new owner/flipper and work a deal.

This darn plant holds a place in my heart, a sacred place. The upright Fuchsia was a favorite of my dad, mom and my aunt. It was always prominent. I suspect my aunt introduced it to my parents as it is well established there. Regardless, it is the most calming, beautiful plant to me.

The roses have been pruned back and are still a touch high for transplanting. It is a difficult time to make the transplant right now.

From my mom’s, I made my way down to my aunt’s house. I hadn’t been down there in awhile what with medical issues, work and spending my free  time visiting her at her adult foster care home. The appearance was disappointing, if not unexpected.

The flowers were past their prime. Old blooms hung withered and dark. The gardener had obviously not been tending to more than running a mower over the front lawn as weeds grew to five feet tall in places in back. 

I turned off the outside water for the Winter. The perimeter looked secure. I went in and turned on the furnace and set the thermostat. There actually was a fair amount to still be done inside and outside. As some of you know the effort this past summer was intense for two months until my aunt fell and broke her neck. There was actually a belief she might come home from the broken knee cap. But, truth be told, we did not grasp the extent of her dementia.

So. once my aunt bit the dust, so to speak, the work stopped. And, the forces of nature continued.

This pathway between the carport/garage and the patio was without any vegetation at one point. Of course at one point it was full of stuff.

This poor pathway has seen the transport of tonnage of debris from the back yard to the front. Pics from June/July, this year, on this blog amply show the amount of stuff The Team carried out barrel by barrel.

The pathway was originally blocked with stacks of boxes, tarps, metal sheeting. Here it was torn into and the process of clearing began. Hoarding Woes SB
The boxes were removed and the remaining debris was cleared to open up a pathway to the challenging back yard. Hoarding Woes SB
Oh, a wonderful moment in time. Darly, a valued Team Member, cleaned up this spot to perfection. Now look at the top pic of this spot and you see how nature and moving stuff reclaims a spot. Busting into the covered patio will no doubt reintroduce debris onto my cherished clean driveway too. Such is a hoarding cleanup. A little planning, say rear to front cleanup would be a plan, But, the front was log jammed with stuff prohibiting movement of stuff out from the rear. Hoarding Woes SB
What I did notice beyond tall weeds was the bulging at the sides of the covered patio. Previously, my aunt had rigged up bamboo supports and cross members to contain the bulging innards of stuff. The supports have fractured and disappeared (interesting). The internal stuff has shifted outward. This will be a focal point this Winter to make room for future sorting, boxing, donating and trashing. It is a large area, about ten feet in height, twenty five feet long by twenty feet wide. It is stuffed with all manner of stuff and there is a smell about it, as there was this Summer, that tells me critters have spent their last moments in there.

I spent the effort to look about the rooms, where I could climb into, to look for pictures of my aunt and family from the old days. I know they must exist because she talks about those albums, but I have yet to discover one photo album. Individual pictures exist of memorable days.

My aunt and her husband, the honorable Felix. He has been dead some 55 years. As you might recall, she has been desperately looking for him these past few weeks. Her mental fog has increasingly separated her from the reality.

I did find a lovely picture of her in a box, buried beneath linens and rugs. I thought to bring it to her, but the previous picture I brought of her in her wedding dress was sent home in a bag with me. She didn’t want to look at it.

My lovely aunt. On her wedding day....so beautiful and innocent. Well, to hear her stories, maybe not too innocent for a farm girl. The second prettiest of five sisters (sorry auntie, my mom was the prettiest of course).

There is work to be done there. I left it undone, so to speak, and it must be tightened up and battened down. Frankly, $$$$. At a crisp amount each month for care, I have calculated the rate of departure from the accounts and foresee possible large sales of stuff (relax now, this is stuff she had boxed for re-sale…not her keepsakes) to pay for but a few months of care. I am not sure about the practicality of all this. Weeks of sale upon sale to come up with money for one month of care.

I have to plan for this. And, if someday the stuff has to go, better it go up front for her care than after. But, it will be a commitment by The Team to hold these sales. What price love, duty, responsibility?  



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