Saturday, March 13, 2010
Well, you may be wondering at the lack of posts. I have a good explanation. We've all been very sick. Then I decided to go on Spring Break, which basically translates to me lying on my couch reading books, watching movies and coughing out my very soul. I feel like someone in a tuberculosis sanatorium. I have a great aunt who had to go live at one of those by the way. I've always wanted to know more about it. But before I digress any further, sickness has been rampant. I'm still not better, but I have to go back to work Monday so I had better muster up some semblance of good health.

My mother is very sick too. She has shingles, which is a bad, bad thing. That means very few people have been to Casa dei Sogni. That means no stories. I, for one, am actually banned from the home until my mother receives clearance from the doctor that she is no longer contagious. Why, you ask. Because I am one of those freaks who never had chicken pox. I have no idea why, but I never had them and I've never had a vaccine, so that isn't the reason. If you've never had chicken pox, you can get them from someone with shingles. As everyone knows, getting adult chicken pox can be extremely unpleasant and possibly dangerous. We are hoping that I'll be able to go back in a week or two. Just think of all the stories I'm missing!! It nearly sends me into a panic. Now, my sister had chicken pox, so I ask, how is it possible that I've never had them? I don't get it. I really don't. I mean, I'm not asking for chicken pox obviously, but I just want to know how I never got them because this is really inconvenient.

I missed Chastity's wedding, but I got a report from the rest of the family. It sounds like a small, nice affair with no drama and she's on her honeymoon now. I haven't heard from her. I think it's best that the Universe intervened and rendered me unable to attend. I think it would have stressed me out too much.

Because I've turned into a shut-in, I don't have much to write about. I could give you some reality recaps, like how on earth could Jake have chosen Vienna? My God, she's hideous and cross eyed and I know he has no personality, but really, if he wanted a girl like that he certainly didn't need to go on TV to find her. All he had to do was stop in at any strip club during day shift and he would have found Vienna's aplenty. And some Desirees, Shantays, Moniques and Serenitys too.

Today I watched a rerun of Clean House's Messiest House in America 3 and oh dear, the drama. You already know of my love for Hoarders, but Hoarders is all politically correct and sensitive and they bring in psychologists. Clean House is better because instead of all the mental health professionals they bring in some gay guys and a stereotypical sassy black woman to get the job done. I also like that they try to sell as much of the stuff as possible, which seems like a good use for it, but I can't help but thinking that the people who buy it are probably hoarders too and then it just contributes to the cycle of junk for someone else. So the people from Messiest House 3 really need to meet the people from the Wife Swap that I discussed last week because the level of crazy is about equal, though different. Sharon Baglien and her daughter Brigitte lived with so much mess that they couldn't move around in their home. The ceiling actually cracked from the weight of the crap in the attic. There were rats everywhere. Every square centimeter of their house was stuffed with junk and they were in total denial. Well, the mom was. The daughter wasn't as bad and wanted help, but the mother was really abusive and bullied the daughter, who showed some hoarding tendencies herself. Brigitte was only 20, so she's young, but she's lived like this for her entire life. Both mother and daughter threw fits throughout the show and during the big, clean house reveal at the end, the mother threw a fit and stormed off. She wouldn't return to finish the rest of the show. It was astounding to me, but of course I understand. She had anxiety without her stuff. It was too much for her to comprehend. A change that sudden and that drastic scared her. But still. The whole thing was incredibly disturbing to watch (although I certainly did watch it) and like the Wife Swap episode, it left me with a lot of lingering feelings and questions. How do people get like this? Why? How do they not see what they're doing? I wondered where Brigitte's father was and if his absence had anything to do with the hoarding. Did he leave because of it? Or did it start after he left as a way of dealing with the pain of a breakup or death? At one point Sharon mentioned a younger sister who died of cancer. Was the hoarding maybe a symptom of her grief over that, in that she couldn't deal with loss, so she symbolically holds on to objects? Does that somehow give her a sense of control over her grief? The show never addressed these issues, but I wanted to know. I want to know what makes people this way because I have relatives who are hoarders too and I want to feel more compassion for them instead of frustration.

I've always had a terror that I would end up that way, consumed by garbage and junk. I worry about myself at times. I catch myself not getting rid of things that I ought, although my house is clean and organized. Still, once in a while I'll buy something or receive a gift and never ever use it because if I use it, then it will be gone. I can't tell you how many times I've done this, knowing how ridiculous it is. I won't burn candles or use the fancy soaps. Sometimes I'll buy nice jelly and not eat it for the same reason. I grew up seeing my grandmother do this. She still has the same candles in her house. The things are older than me and the wax has gone mushy and sticky with age, but she'll never burn them. I asked her why once and she said if she burned them she wouldn't have them anymore.

But periodically I get fed up with myself and purge everything. I sell a lot of my old stuff, mostly books and clothes. I take food to the food bank if I notice myself accumulating too much. I try very consciously not to acquire too much crap, but sometimes I still slip up. I have to remind myself that the fancy soap is made to be used and that not having it anymore means I enjoyed it, which is its purpose and that it has to make room for new stuff. I also remind myself that memories are not stored in objects. The memories are in me and I can write them down. I don't need a thing to remember. I am the thing.

Sigh. But at least Ali is going to be the new Bachelorette, right? Just kidding. I need to get out of the house.


Consultant Calamities said...

oh god. I feel like I have the bubonic plague. My horrid cold has turned into a sinus infection. I had to go on antibiotics. I feel as if I will NEVER get better. I've been stayng away from people so I don't get anyone sick, so I've been like a hermit too. Its so bad, I was actually GLAD to go to the doctor!! :-O

The amount of junk tv I have watched lately is ASTOUNDING! (I love hoarders, too.) hope you get better soon!

Here's to spring!!!

Sixteen Chickens said...

Try the BBC show "How Clean Is Your House?" It's the best of the best IMHO.

Dayna said...

I had shingles once, the pain is RIDICULOUS!

Anonymous said...

I worry about these ppl too! I just know the producers of these shows try to stir up drama or at the very least, hope for some. You can't cure crazy with a clean house!

Miss Daisy

Anonymous said...

You might consider getting the chicken pox vaccine so that you can get out of the house. After all, your mother's shingles is not actually very contagious unless you rub up against it but REAL chicken pox is and you could be exposed anywhere- at the grocery store or even while you are teaching. It really isn't safe to get chicken pox as an adult and the vaccine is quite safe AND the vaccine seems to prevent shingles- which I personally think is a really good thing. It is, of course, your choice but it stinks to be banned from your mother's house.

RealityShowViewer said...

I'm so glad you comment on your tv shows. I work in a job which doesn't have much interaction with people so I look forward to reality shows with the windows on other people's lives.

I like Hoarders and I think it would be great to take a truck with a plow on it and shove it all the crap into a garbage truck.

I do get the idea that cleaning up a mess that size is overwhelming if you do it one object at a time as I saw one poor woman trying to do.
She examined each object in this mountain of garbage and tried to figure out what she would do with it and why she needed to keep it. She made no progress.

I recommend Housewives of the OC on Bravo. Those women are absurd. They, too, have no connection with the world the rest of us live in. It's hard to believe anyone can spend that much money on themselves.

BoB said...

my brother once shared this dilemma with me;

I buy milk even though it is expensive (this was when our beer budget dwarfed our food budget) and then I don't drink it because it is expensive. So I end up throwing out a lot of milk that has gone bad, after not drinking it because it is expensive.

His solution was to drink the milk.

Anonymous said...

I realized I'm a hoarder. It started with several moves, smaller housing and an economy that essentially trapped me here with no options out. In an attempt to try and clear some clutter it resulted in a severe anxiety attack where the pain of living with boxes and small aisles is less than the agonizing feeling of the open space that appeared and the small room that was filled to the ceiling that I couldn't use as an alternative bedroom when spouse was sick and kept waking me every few minutes. Its mental. There issues that need mental health assistance but I haven't the resources to afford and where I'm at the distance away holds another problem. I think a turning point was working at a job that took 16 hours a day and I had no energy to clean, organize, sell on ebay to reduce from my previous ability to have a hobby room, and the threat of works worries. The threat of NEVER being able to do any of my hobbies is like the threat of going deaf and blind and never to see a movie or read a book or hear music. Do you understand?

Wide Lawns said...

Sadly, no, I don't understand. Growing up around a lot of clutter, even a small amount tends to make me extremely anxious, so I can't relate to the feeling of being upset by open space. I love roominess and airiness and I find the less stuff you have, the easier it is to clean.

I hope you get some help. There are many places that offer free help or work on a sliding scale. Don't make your spouse live like that.

Call one of those companies like 1-800-Got-Junk to come haul it all away for you. If you haven't unpacked it, you don't need it.

Stuff doesn't mean anything. Stuff isn't more important than others or yourself.

Anonymous said...

I was watching "Punch Drunk Love" with Adam Sandler. When his sisters are calling him "gay boy" and asking him about things he did 20 years ago and instead of raging at them, he breaks things; well instead of raging against others, a mental defect if you will can cause you to hurt yourself, punish yourself, hold onto stuff in an attempt to calm. Like overeating.

Calamity Anne said...

Glad to see you're back! I like how you say that the memories are not stored in objects, but in you. Well said! Too many people don't realize that when you buy something, you bought it to be used, and not to just sit there and gather dust. I have a family member who is a terrible hoarder. When she was moving out of her home, the crap she saved was insane. Thankfully she parted with lots of trash, but she's back at it again, and her apartment is filled to the rafters. Crazy!

kerry said...

I hope you feel better soon, even though it's going to be Monday.

They have a chicken pox vaccine and it keeps you from getting shingles? Awesome.

The Hosta Chronicles said...

Hope you're feeling better.

So glad I'm not the only one with the 'if I use it up it will be gone and then I won't have it anymore' gene. I really thought I was alone with that - silly me. Recently, I've been making a conscious effort to enjoy the things I have, rather than let them sit around for years, collecting dust. It's working and I have less stuff to dust now. :)

Anonymous said...

My Grandma was a crazy hoarder, my mom's house is so sparse it feels like a museum and I fall somewhere in between. But I catch myself holding onto stuff for no reason and it worries me.

Anonymous said...

The people on Hoarders are definitley different than the people on Clean House/Sweep.
I think the Hoarders have true psychological problems while the others are people who got stressed, overwhelmed, fell into patterns with 'stuff' and also got somewhat lazy about it.
Generally, most Clean House people have lots of stuff but not necessarily the filth of the Hoarders.

Anonymous said...

I also have the 'if I use it I won't have it' syndrome. I even felt that way about my Halloween candy.
Drove my sister crazy cuz I wasn't eating it but she couldn't have it. After all, she had gotten her own, but since she ate it, didn't have it anymore. She couldn't now have mine.

Anonymous said...

I had moment of utter horror when you said that you cannot / will not use your fancy soaps. I *make* fancy soaps - or, at least, very luxurious hand made bars rich with emolients and filled with scentgasms (as we soap makers call it).



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