26 July 2016

This has GOT to be a Reality Show, right?

This might seem strange but we (Kevin and I) didn't know that our niece is a hoarder.  We have only been to her house once because family functions are always up at our houses.

Well, she and her family bought a new house last month. The plan was to move closer to our family, but due to finances and impulsivity, they bought a house 45 minutes away from us.  Super.

It is very rural and up a wooded, steep, and rocky driveway.  The main road is prone to flooding every winter and is notoriously dangerous. We are not excited about their choice.  It's as if there are flashing "DANGER!" signs everywhere and they're blind.

This being said, almost thirty-years ago we moved 25 minutes away from the family when we bought our house.  It was also in a rural environment.  BUT, we are self-sufficient and prepared.  One of THEIR first questions was about internet service providers.  Yea, priorities!

We know that housekeeping isn't even on the top 10 of our niece's list. We have noticed in social media photos that there is clutter in the background. Unfortunately, she was raised in mess so we thought it is just her perpetuating the lifestyle in which she was raised.

She bragged on social media for a month prior to moving about packing and in the last week prior to the move, repeatedly stating that she was all packed.  Now, don't we all feel silly for believing her.  To be fair, and in reality, everyone's definition of being "all packed" is very different.  Moving is never easy or fun for anyone involved.

But she's a stay-at-home mom of a teenager.  Her mother-in-law lives with them.  She's married.  She has the aforementioned teen.  It was beyond our reality that she wouldn't be completely packed.

Wooo boy, we were ten kinds of wrong.

This is where I clarify.  I'm fully aware that I use my OCD for mostly good.  I'm able to keep the house I have because I work part-time and Kevin is wired very similarly.  I by no means judge people by the issues that I have.

This was a legit hoarder house.  This was not "We're moving and I haven't had time to sweep."  This wasn't "We've been gone so I haven't had time to do dishes or laundry."  This was straight-up, no joke, a hoarder house. I don't know that a broom, mop, or vacuum could even be found in the house, let alone used.

I was so overwhelmed that I walked back outside.  I.Could.Not.Even.For.A.Minute.

What a person could see of the floor was filthy with dirt, pine needles and pet hair.  Every surface had something on it, actually multiple somethings.  Dust, clutter, garbage.  There was not a clear space in the entirety of the house.  A person couldn't tell what was furniture versus boxes or garbage. 

After being raised by smokers and temporarily married to one, my lungs no longer have tolerance for any kind of poor air quality.  I couldn't stay inside, I'd actually feel my respiratory system begin to tighten.

So, it was with abject horror that the family had decided it was perfectly fine that Kevin's mom was sitting in the middle of all of it AND without her oxygen.  I actually said aloud "Well, I guess we'll find time to visit her in the hospital."

AND THEN, Nephew, wife and kids arrived.  I didn't realize it until I spotted the baby in his car seat next to the mom.  I walked out to the wife and "hugged" her while whispering in her ear "Get.That.Baby.Out.of.That.House.RIGHT.NOW."

They, also, hadn't really been inside the house.  And they live literally one minute away.
She went inside, saw the state of things, and poor sweet baby was banished to the middle of an empty garage floor.  (still in his car seat.  And perfectly happy because Best Baby Ever, don't make me fight you.)

You know when something bad happens and your brain self-protects by kind of fuzzing your vision and deafening your ears? (please say yes)  This is how I existed for the next hour or so.  I had to stop looking directly at anything.

There was just a path through the living room into the dining area then into the kitchen.   Again, I can't state this enough: it wasn't moving mess.  It wasn't It's Messy Because We're Busy and I Don't Have Time to Clean mess.  It was...ugh, I just don't even have the words to describe.  AND I'm A WRITER.

There was a half-eaten pizza, at least a day old, on the table.  I don't even think it was in a box or on a plate.  Did I mention they have cats and a dog?  Yeah.   There were dirty dishes everywhere in the kitchen, dining room, end tables, mantel. I was there for a full hour before I realized there was a tank on the mantel.  Fish? Reptile? Empty?  We'll never know. The kitchen was labelled as "All packed".  Except, NO.  There were still full cupboards. Everything was sticky.  If it wasn't sticky, then it was damp.

There were boxes upon boxes, some sealed and some open.  They were old boxes, with debris on top of them to show that they had  been sitting there for a lengthy period of time.  They lived there about two years so we're wondering if they never unpacked, just brought in more "stuff."

I didn't make eye contact with the bathroom, I just couldn't bear it.  I went to help their son empty out his room.  Although he was more packed than any other place/person, everything was still covered in a sheen of sticky, dusty, hairy residue.  Finally, I just went outside and told Kevin that I just couldn't anymore. 

We took two big trucks with trailers full of stuff to the new house and it was like they hadn't packed one box.  You couldn't tell a difference.  Yet, the new house was full and they still had truckloads to move.  The kid's plan was to move the furniture next in a box truck.  We waited until it arrived and helped empty a freezer, a dining set, a single bed and a bunch of crap.  We had to move the crap we just moved in to make room for the crap in the box truck and there was still a house full of crap left behind.

It felt like the Twilight Zone.  I kept waiting for the punchline.  Or the real plan.  Or the Hoarders television people to drive up.  Something.  Finally, it was like a switch was flipped.  Kevin came and got me "We're DONE" and we left. 

Oh, wait.  I forgot to tell you.  There was no toilet paper at the new house.  No soap.  Thank sweet baby jesus that my sister-in-law has everything and there was kleenex in her purse.  Also, I "won" a bet because I mentioned to Kevin that I felt like I should take a roll of toilet paper, just in case.  

My sister-in-law spent two full days afterward helping her pack and move the rest of it.  They had to rent the box truck AGAIN.  I'm certain that their rental deposit is a distant memory and I can't imagine how pissed the landlord must be.  It had to look like one of the Before Houses in the flipping houses television shows. 

Fast forward two weeks, the niece gets a great idea and videos the interior of the entire house then puts it on the facebook.  Curious, I clicked on it.  Upon the opening frame, I shouted "JESUS CHRIST!", much to Kevin's surprise and dismay.  I immediately regretted my choices.

"What happened?"

"Go on your page and look at the video she just posted."


"Just do it. I can't even.  She posted a video of the house like it's a NORMAL THING to live like that."

The new house, freshly cleaned, painted, and carpeted, was completely lost in crap.  Again, a person couldn't see the furniture or the floor.  Not the couch, not the dining table, the beds, the floor, the kitchen.  It was awash in boxes and mess.

This brand new to them house looked exactly like the house they just left, only bigger.  And she posted it on social media.  Including commentary like "There's the big tub, I haven't cleaned it since I gave the dog a bath last weekend."

TWO WEEKS.   They have been in the house TWO WEEKS.

Now they're having a barbecue in two weeks.  Kevin is working and I'm trying to figure out how to get out of it.  I just can't conceive of eating a single piece of food knowing how they live, that everything was filthy in the old house and it was just brought into the new house.

And I just can't take the thought/worry that they now own it and it is going to be utterly destroyed in a few years.  At least before, they had a landlord who would come do repairs or replace appliances.  I just can't think about it.

I mean, people get through their lives.  They make horrible choices, repeatedly, and they get through their lives.  I just have to assume that it will be fine.

Now, I can cross off "See a legitimate hoarder house" off my life list.

21 July 2016

Three Things

I whole-heartedly believe that things come in threes.  I've seen it happen too many times for it to be a coincidence.  So, it was a little surprising yesterday when I was caught a little by surprise.

The other day, our faucet sprung a leak.  Not one where you imagine, but on top of the actual faucet.  The metal had developed a pin-hole leak.  I blamed it on the water diffuser first but finally realized that it was the faucet.

So, no big deal.  I planned on going to Home Depot anyway.  Kevin worked on Saturday so the puppy and I slept in.  As I was getting ready, the hairdryer decided not so much on the working thing.  Still, I didn't think much of it other than now I had to stop at a different store.

I took the puppy to get treats at the mocha stand, loaded up the truck with recyclables, and headed off for a quick trip into town.  I didn't need groceries so I thought certainly I would be gone for a little over an hour.

Until I stopped at the recycling center (The sign says "Recycling Park", which made me laugh...nothing says park like junk and the lovely Eau de Dump)  During the second unloading of stuff, I spotted my truck leaking water.  Sh*t.  I ducked underneath and confirmed green water.  Radiator?  Hose?  Doesn't matter, really, I'm twenty minutes from home.

I unloaded the rest then drove the truck down the road a bit to a little, actual park.  Now the truck was having all kinds of water action.  I phoned Kevin at work (his favorite) and he phoned his dad to come retrieve me.

We decided to get my truck home, not stressful at all.  I'm watching the gauge and listening for any weird noises, stopped every 10 miles, and it was not a relaxing drive at all.  But I made it back home.

Kevin got home from work, put a tester on the engine, called our friend who is a genius mechanic, and next thing I know, I'm driving it AGAIN.  This time even further.  Super fun.

I realised as I was pulling into our friends shop that I shouldn't be surprised.  First, the faucet, then the hair dryer, and then the truck.  Theoretically, I can now relax.  Please, Law of Threes, be kind and true.

Oh, and then, our friend phoned and said Thank God that my pump went out because the timing belt was about to go.  This is a life saver as a broken timing belt would mean brand new engine/truck.  Technically, the universe looked out for me.

Vacation Slide Show...2016 Style

So, well, ummm, how's your summer going?  The only way I could think of to describe my summer was to screenshot the photo album on my phone.  The above represents about two weeks of our life.

We moved my niece and nephew into their first home.  There is A LOT to this story so that's all I have to say about that.

It's the Dog Days of Summer here, finally.

I fell down the stairs, again.

Sweet Baby is almost six months old and the best baby ever.

There was nationwide controversy in my hometown over a "miscommunication" about the welcomeness of police officers.

Our friend was caught being a creeper during a newscast about said miscommunication.  (he's in the orange Camaro in the television photo)

My 4Runner blew a water pump but saved us thousands of dollars in the long run so...that's good?

My faucet also broken down but now I have a cool new one that I love.

We had dinner with friends who live far away from us.  He's a Master Carpenter so he had opinions about the DIY television shows.  And we found out he's diehard Baptist.  Everyone discusses theology in Red Robin, right?

The grocery cart shot is because Kevin eats like a six-year-old if allowed.  He asked for Chicken in a Bisquit crackers, which I think are SO GROSS.

And, as you can see, I take way too many photos of the dog and it's obvious that we don't have children.

How's your summer going?

(Oh, I'm fine, by the way.  I'll tell the falling down the stairs story next)