Drama? In a Trailer Park?

The e-mail from my sister, S, had been sent around noon on Thursday.  Doing a quick e-mail check en route to happy hour* and SCUBA class last night, the subject line sort of got my attention:

i’m not always the most perceptive, but my Spidey-sense was tingling.  Yes, perhaps there was something going on down in the Trailer Park.   The message itself was blank.  So i replied, asked “What happened?” and eventually got a report on what seems to be an increasingly smelly pile of family doo doo. 

We did a serious round of excavations last Sunday, and are going back in this weekend.  Mom is a hoarder.  No, let me rephrase that…. MOM IS A HOARDER! 

We’ve “helped” her clean, organize and eliminate her belongings many times in the past, but somehow it continues to get crapped back up again when we’re not paying attention.  We gave up.  She seemed to buy less when she didn’t have open spaces to fill, so we quit creating open space.

The flare up, which triggered my sister to “resign”?  Mom apparently barked at her about throwing out something important – then piled on by calling us “scavengers”.  She wondered what other treasures we’d walked off with last Sunday.

And now a note from daisyfae to her mother: 

“Scavengers”?  Seriously, Mom?  You were apoplectic that we didn’t WANT any of the shit we were boxing up for the church ‘rummage’ sale, or the yard sale to be held this Spring.  i pretended to want some vintage plastic cups** from my youth just to make you feel better about the disposition of some of this shit…

Now we’re scavengers?  Oh, for fuckssake, woman.  We didn’t make this mess…. You have a choice.  We throw this shit out, or you go wallow in it until you die.  Pick one.  You can’t have it both ways…

And so it continues.  i’ll be up to my nostrils in mixed bits of glassware, pieces of 30 year old string and the ubiquitous “plastic storage containers” again this weekend.  Wearing a dust mask provides only slight interference between the mildew, mold, cat dander, mouse poo, dust, crud and dessicated spider husks that fight for space in my sinus cavities…

And so it goes…. Grrrr…… (sigh)….

* For any of you who are tracking “dive safety”, it was a classroom night… i wouldn’t be so stupid as to drink nearly a full bottle of wine before diving.  Probably.

** Goofy Grape, Lefty Lemon, Choo Choo Cherry are now in my possession.  And i’m liable to throw them out… but they really are kinda cute, aren’t they?

26 thoughts on “Drama? In a Trailer Park?

  1. My mother’s garage is so full she can’t hope to get a car — or a bicycle — in there. Among the treasures, the only remaining white plastic canister of a set. No lid, of course. I feel for you.

    On the other hand, the Funny Face stuff is too cute to throw out. Maybe eBay.

  2. I don’t look forward to the wallowing I’ll be doing when something happens to my parents. They upgrade to a 4500sq ft home just to hold it all. At least I will have the original boxes and receipts for the numerous Hummels, Nutcrackers and other collectibles that are useless to most people. God help me when I have to get rid of the clothes from the 50s till now. 2 rooms full..note..not closets..rooms.
    I really like the Goofy Grape and encore..Keep them for when your spawn have their own spawn..it will be fun to play tea with Grandma.

  3. Ugh! My future in de-cluttering is nowhere near as nasty as that. (And I steadfastly refuse to do anything when it comes to my sister’s “Oprah intervention” place.)

    I’d get rid of the plastic cups. Not only are they ugly as sin, but they’re probably loaded with bisphenol-A.

    Bonne chance, daisyfae, bonne chance.

  4. chris – you remember “Funny Face”? when i went looking for the pic, i found all sorts of crap. they might be eBay-able. or i might plant herbs in them… but yeah. the greatest generation has a few quirks…

    hisqueen – 4500 square feet? oh, man. that’s grim. mom’s got about 1200, and it’s packed. we haven’t tackled the attic yet – raccoons denned up in there a few years back and destroyed the stored stuff, but we still need to clean it…

    rob – they managed to get the ancient 8′ long chest freezer out of the utility room today. the compressor had stopped working. apparently a couple years back. oh my god. the lid was jarred off – and the ensuing stench made two grown men throw up. a third ran for a respirator. it’s gruesome down there… round two sunday.

    beth – of course not… therapy in the ether. it was rattling around in my head, but i’d never say it to her… we are being patient. the plan now is to NOT throw anything else away, or prepare for the yard sales. it will all be boxed up, and should she survive this process, she can go through it item by item as she unpacks it. my guess is that she’s not going to make it much longer. her shit is going to kill her in the end…

  5. Dude, eBay that shit. Do you now what hipsters would pay to have those Goofy Grape, Lefty Lemon, etc. in their apartments? They’d damn well blow their entire Pabst Blue Ribbon budget for the month on those.

  6. the plastic cups? but just think of how your popularity would soar at work if you brought this in and used them at the next big meeting with the boss! you’d be the talk of the office…. well, for other than that unfortunate incident with the goat, the job intern, and the vat of angel hair pasta.

  7. renalfailure – quick look and i’m stunned! they’re on ebay for $10-20. but who has time to sit and load shit on ebay…. wait. niece has no job. sits on the computer all day… hmmm….

    nursemyra – i smiled at the thought of us marrying our children and making the coolest grandchildren the world has ever known. but we’ll find other things for the mudpies!

    imeantno – we all did. save up your envelopes of Funny Face and send in for FREEEEEEE PLASTIC CRAP! it was the 1970’s. what the hell else could we do for fun?

    DP – exactly. they triggered a minor “awwww”, so i figured i’d be able to pretend to want them…. but in fact, i’m thinking there’s $100 worth of crap if i can find someone to ebay the damn things for me.

    gnu – hmmmm…. rob is probably right about the bisphenol-A. are there people at work i’d like to poison? as for the intern? he was asking for it. the goat too….. “baaa” doesn’t always mean “no”….

  8. I was in your shoes.
    Till the basement flooded with raw sewage.
    EVERYTHING had to go.
    Sadly, some of my stuff was in that mess, but it was WORTH IT!
    I didn’t have to wade through the cottages, light houses, 100 years worth of papers, clothing, knick knacks, crockery, dishes and various other SHIT!

    Not hoping that happens to you or your Mom, but it was a HUGE weight off my shoulders.
    BONUS: I was only “yelled” at once for when his collection of empty wine bottles was gone.
    Yes, empty wine bottles.

    Don’t ask …..

  9. Goofy Grape and Choo Choo Cherry? OMFG! Those were my favorites when I was a kid. Er — when my MOM was a kid and she held onto them for me . . . (Did that come across as the truth?)

    Aw the glory days of Kool-Aid and diving on the Slip-n-Slide to the tick-tick-tick of the sprinkler.

    I’d have scavenged these . . .

  10. Oh man, that’s tough to do. My old man does this with newspapers, he’ll let them stack up three or four feet high. Ever been around a stack of newspapers that have sat a while? Musty off the charts.

    Random/possibly crazy theory – seems like with a lot of people in their 70s and 80s, there’s some latent Great Depression PTSD. And it comes out in these random obsession with collecting anything, because…you…just NEVER KNOW when the world will collapse again. My parents were around in the 1930s and 1940s, both experienced childhoods that were in the bottom tax bracket (definitely), and were hand to mouth on more than one occasion.

    Now? They’re fine – I guess. But every once in a while I’ll mention throwing out say, a bunch of tupperware that I’ve carted around for years, and they’ll say something like “Are you sure you won’t need them?” and I know that’s muted/time-altered code for “Are you f***ing nuts??? That $2 container could be worth something some day!”

    Like I said, ‘possibly crazy’ theory. But I only hear about this with crazy _American_ parents, all in the same age group, so…you never know.

    Making up my absence with a long comment (nice post!),

  11. I know whereof you speak. Only in my case it was my grandparents. All four of them. Fortunately, we only had two houses to clear all that crap out of. But the one grandmother’s house I had the most to do with would rival your mom’s for mouse turds and other assorted goodies. Not to mention the rotting food. Oh, and the other ones had bags, boxes and cans of crap they’d bought that was way out of date down in their cellar. I’m told it took two big U-Haul loads to get it all to the dump. I don’t envy whoever did my dad’s house. Just the number of books was awe-inspiring.

  12. Hoarding skips generations. My parents – hopeless. My Nanna got good at de-cluttering from moving countries so often, wars are also helpful in travelling light. The only good thing about hoarders is that, in my experience, they are less averse to letting their space be used for free storage. Ya reckon?

  13. blazngscarlet – i hauled many empty wine bottles home last weekend, telling mom that i’d find a good home for them. in my recycling bin… sewage would certainly speed things up. ugh…

    squirrel queen – i don’t have the entire set, just a few of the mugs. the goofy grape pitcher is still somewhere in her house, though… seems we all had a set growing up!

    fragrant liar – another Funny Face koolaid junkie? wow. the power of kitsch… slip n slide…. there’s something that i’d love to do again, if i weren’t afraid of busting a hip joint!

    syncopated eyeball – if ‘stuff’ isn’t getting in the way of living your life, or if the ‘stuff’ doesn’t take precedence over health & safety? it’s probably not a problem… i have my own ‘tendencies’. have to catch myself from time to time when i want to wash up the ‘good’ plastic cutlery…

    nursemyra – from the pics on her site, i’d say she’s got some groovy stuff goin’ on… glow in the dark skellies? cool stuff, indeed!

    sonny – welcome back! have dealt with musty papers, and know that particular joy. i think you’re right about the ‘depression’ impact. clearly, they had to be resourceful and thrifty, and perhaps hoarding is just that tendency to the extreme. but it didn’t hit all of them… my former in-laws were anti-hoarders. my father, who grew up a poor immigrant kid in the 30’s, wasn’t obsessed with ‘stuff’. i’m a fan of ‘goodwill’ donations – if stuff can be re-purposed by someone who needs it? i’m a happy camper…

    silverstar – going back today for another round. mom was so freaked out by the adventures last week, that we have agreed NOT to get rid of anything. just box it up so she can go through it ‘later’. right. the rotted meat in the old chest freezer had liquefied over the years. hoping like hell the smell is out of the house before i get there today… ack.

    mitzi – great point on the storage! my mom has two storage sheds in the back yard. when we excavated those about 8 years ago, we found TONS of stuff that belonged to my oldest sister. crap that her current husband wouldn’t let in their house… i tried to get my stuff out and disposed of during the first round of excavations in the 1990’s, but every now and then, i still find an old treasure… which i am generally inclined to toss out!

  14. I, too, got sucked into the Funny Face memory lane time warp. Thanks a lot! Do you have any Wham-O products lying around the house? A pair of Click-Clacks, perhaps? Or my favorite, Super Stuff? (Fucked up my mom’s carpet with that.)

  15. i know i’m late and you already did the research but those cups and pitcher rock and yes hipsters will pay top dollar for that shit so they can out hip their hip neighbor… and yes i had the whole set when i was a kid and now i’m kicking myself cuz i could just walk down the street in my neighborhood and make serious coin.

  16. unbearable banishment – click-clacks? mom took ours away because they weren’t safe… we could have used them as ninja weapons or something. but i’ll keep my eyes peeled for super stuff… i know i had some…

    manuel – i am delighted to provide you solace. and knowing that this sort of thing is ‘global’? helps. it helps a lot… i didn’t know they had trailer parks in belfast!

    kono – i’ve really got to find the rest of those. we found a “weebles” haunted house, did an iPhone google on eBay: $75-$100. Unbelievable. There may be a possible “job” in this for my niece… she could STILL stay home and make money…. hmmm….

  17. i sold all my old Star Wars shit from when i was a kid, not even in the box, i wasn’t a geek i actually played with the shit and netted over a grand when it was all said and done. Takes a little bit of work, not much and like everyone on Ebay you can gouge on the shipping for a little extra dough. truth be told i was lazy and let my friend do it and gave him 15%.

  18. kono – i’d be happy to give it to someone to sell on commission. my niece, home full time, could earn a living if she’d do it… we found a ‘weebles’ haunted house, i was going to throw it out, but she found it on ebay for $100-$200. weird… glad you made some cash…..

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