Another Sunday in The Park

Another Sunday, another ‘day in the park’, excavating Mom’s house.  Snippets… as i can barely keep my eyes open.  They are itchy, burning and raw from the hour i spent in the hallway closet, hauling out first aid supplies from the 1960’s, scores of mismatched pillowcases, and about two dozen tubes of EXPIRED toothpaste, still in the box.  That’s right.  Expired.  It lasts about 10 years.  Most of these expired somewhere between 2001 and 2004…

Overload:  Mom is clearly overwhelmed.  She’s resigned to the process.  She knows it all has to go.  We are being patient, and trying hard to let her ‘touch’ everything and assign the disposition (keep, yard sale, church rummage sale, trash).  We quit early today because she stopped talking…

Progress:  The two-car garage has been completely excavated, and BJ is putting insulation/drywall on the exterior wall.  Amazing.  i haven’t seen the floor of that garage in 30 years.  There is hope.

Treasures:  Dad’s notes for his memoirs.  Found them.  Had a chance to look through them and there are some new items, and a few surprises.  Unfortunately his handwriting was bad, so it may take awhile to decipher them…  And most amazingly?  His tenor sax.  FOUND.  It was buried under boxes of trash in the garage.  Major victory in the excavations.  i take back all most of the nasty things i suspected about my niece’s first husband…

Estrogen:  My car was at the back of the driveway when BJ needed to make a run to the gas station for cigarettes.  Rather than play ‘drive-way hokey pokey’ and move the two cars blocking in his truck, i just tossed him the keys.  Returning, he handed the key back and said “What is that CD you had in?  Indigo Girls?”  A little embarrassed, i said “no, just some mellow chick stuff i was listening to – to keep me calm on the drive down”.  He said “Well, it made me want to go buy a gallon of ice cream and watch ‘The Notebook'”.  Not only is he functional, he’s funny as shit…

Need to go pour something medicinal in my eyes.  i think it was the mouse poo dust that got me today.  Or the mold spores.  Or the cat dander – from two cats ago.  Or…

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30 thoughts on “Another Sunday in The Park

  1. OMG! The tenor sax and his memoir notes?!?! There really were treasures to be unearthed in there… I hope you’ve stored them safely at your house now.

    BJ is truly an amazing man.

  2. My dad’s cleaning out my grandmother’s house. He found, among other things, a box full of the wads of paper they stuff inside new shoes to make them keep their shape. Might need those some day. Also, every greeting card she ever received, every bill they ever paid (water bills from the 1940’s, the house payment booklet – payment $22.50 a month), and dozens of 1950’s & 60’s era hats with the tags still on (going to a theater group). Maybe it’s something to do with growing up during the depression or something…

  3. This is making me hope that my father will live forever. In his study in the shop there are 18 4-drawer filing cabinets that contain, among other things, all the paperwork needed to file taxes since he first started filing taxes after he graduated from college in 1947, after De War. And that is just the paper.

  4. it’s been interesting catching up on your posts daisyfae. you have an entertaining writing style in spite of the seriousness of the topic.

  5. jenny – yes, two extraordinary finds! both of my sisters played that tenor sax in high school, and i expect my older sister will find a place for it. the memoir notes? hard to read, but there have already been a few unexpected nuggets in there… and BJ? At 25 years old, he is on my short list for sainthood. How he ended up with my niece is a mystery. Well, ok. Maybe not. But a reminder to most young men to never marry their first blow job…

    unbearable banishment – i had written it off as yet another reason to dislike my niece’s first husband, but there it was. amazing discovery. but we’re all so very numb at this point. so many things… found photos of Mom partying with her two gay roommates from the 1950’s… Mom was a Fag Hag. yes, that is also genetic…

    e4 – definitely a ‘depression era’ factor involved. but my guess is that there are thousands of us all dealing with that ‘save it, you never know’ mentality. hope that your father can find a few treasures amidst the piles… we’ve created a burn pile for mom’s old records. let her touch it, tell us about it, and tell us to burn it… she has to do it…. time consuming, but necessary.

    healingmagichands – oh, good luck! i hope he lives forever, too. 18 four-drawer cabinets? you have some serioius excavations ahead of you. i still havent decided if it’s better to do it while mom is alive, or if it would be easier after she’s gone. we’re finding a few treasures, but…..

    stephanie – a winner, for sure. but we’re all so numb. it’s pretty overwhelming. i almost took a match to the garage last week… but the moment passed. we are thrilled with the sax, and yes, it’s very playable! the memoir notes? hard to read, but i’ll make my way through them…

    savannah – separating the wheat from the chaff. SOOOOO much chaff, but need to find that wheat… ugh… and thanks…

    lynn – if i couldn’t laugh through it? i’d be bouncing off my own rafters by now. it’s heart-breaking (and back-breaking) work, but very necessary…

  6. Geez, now I am sneezing and have an inexplicable rash running up my arm. The two things I remember when cleaning my grandmas house were firstly the millions of souvenir matchbooks with those stupid friggin cardboard sticks which bend and tear in all the wrong places and secondly the little soaps, shampoos and conditioners collected from friggin hotels for decades. All just being saved for a rainy day 🙂

  7. Congrats on the garage, notes and the sax. Occasional positive reinforcement is the key to not blowing your own brains out. It might be time to supplement the dust mask with some of those sexy lab goggles.

  8. As I was reading this, I idly wondered whether you would find your dad’s tenor sax and, sure enough, you DID! Yay!

    BJ’s line was pretty funny.

    As I followed the comments about this on social media, it occurred to me that you all best take precautions, just in case there’s hantavirus hiding in that mouse poo.

    Sorry to hear that your Mom is having a tough time with all of this. At her age and in her condition, it can’t be other than stressful, which is not good.

    I’m starting to think that mandatory moves – say every 7 to 10 years – could be a life- and insanity-saving bit of government intrusion into our lives.

  9. Ooohhh …. don’t you just LOVE finding a treasure that you “thought” was lost for good?
    And the memoirs too?
    Fantastic!

    Just tell BJ he should be thankful he didn’t start lactating. 🙂

  10. I’m so happy you found the Sax..the papers are such an added bonus.

    I’m so glad you have someone like BJ to help you guys out. It’s truly an added bonus that he has your sense of humor..Made me laugh out laugh..startled the dogs right off the couch.
    when you’re done..come help with my bat problem..I wish we had mice.It would have been less scary

  11. beth – yes, it was unexpected… i’d written it off…

    frigginloon – welcome to the park! and yes, it’s so hard when treasures are buried under so much stuff… we threw out the cocktail napkin and matchbook collections a few years ago… and i just went through her collection of swizzle sticks…

    nursemyra – one less thing weighing on us… now to shake off a few more…

    DP – it’s the part of growing up that sucks, isn’t it? thanks… hugs appreciated today.

    chris – we’ve got gear, we just need to be more consistent in using it. sexy goggles. all the boys love a girl in lab gear…

    rob – we’ve got one good (charcoal filtered) mask for the really dirty work, and dust masks for the rest. i’ve been wearing gloves (spider deterrent, mostly), but we now need to add eye protection. and yes, i’m afraid this process is going to be the end of her… perhaps my niece’s rush to get it done is multi-purposed? (oh, that was dark…)

    blazngscarlet – i offered to kick him in the ovaries to shake the mood for him!

    hisqueen – i have battled bats, in my first house. not fun. highly recommend you get professional exterminators on it. that’s what we finally had to do. dangerous (guano) and freaky to boot…

    uncle keith – thank you. from you, this means much…

  12. yes the professionals are already on board…will officially be here at the end of march to do battle..in the mean time I lay low and keep an eye out for them..luckily they are stuck in the attic. we have blocked all the entrances into the main part of the house.

    stupid things are an endangered species in this part and it’s illegal to kill them. (thats the official version..my version is..don’t ask, don’t tell..what happens in my castle stays in my castle.)

  13. Wow, my brothers and sisters and I just did this for my mom, who inconveniently died on Dec 20th. While cleaning out her apartment, I found no less than 40 death announcements of her friends that had passed away before her. These papers were all bundled together like she was keeping her on personal census.
    Carry on…

  14. I am sending you boatloads of positive thoughts, the process of going through someone else’s stuff is mentally exhasuting (my mother had closets full of expired cosmetic products, why???). And a harsh reminder that the things we treasure will simply end up as someone else’s burden. Best thing is a stiff drink, a good sleep and the knowledge that this process will be over soon. x

  15. manuel – and we will be at it for quite some time. no photos, alas. this is too heart-breaking…

    hisqueen – depending on the breed of bat, to keep them from coming into the house, we were told to seal every opening greater than 1/4″. the little dudes can flatten and squeeze like rubber. none got into the house, but i was crazy with the whole thing…

    syncopated eyeball – no mammoth, but i’m still amazed that the sax was in the garage. it’s not a small thing. when it first went missing, i went through it pretty thouroughly. and thought i’d looked under the piles of boxes and bags where it turned up…

    carlae – sorry for the loss of your mother (not to mention the timing), and that you’ve personally experienced this particular brand of festivity. we’ve found obituaries. they are scattered, though. in a bag here, in a pile there… no organization. everything was in a ‘keep’ pile…

    tNb – thanks. oh, the cosmetics. every tube of lipstick. she had to open it, twist it. and if there was more than half? she wanted to give it to the church for the rummage sale… saying “they love this stuff, it’s the good Estee Lauder lipstick”. We had to draw the line there, explaining the health risk… stiff drinks? there have been a few. but there is no “soon”. we’re still a long way off… more stiff drinks ahead, i’m afraid.

  16. I wanted to make the change for many years, but it was outside of my power to do it. It took medication and therapy, and still I had to hire people to do it, or the process of looking at each and every thing to decide would have taken too long.

  17. My wife’s dad and uncle went through this 15 years ago when their mother died. Among the treasures, in a box with empty margarine cups, was a glass rolling pin. about 100 years old. Goddess only knows where she got it, no-one else remembers it.

    Grandma had the same hoarding gene as your mother, and passed it onto her sons. Luckily, my wife and I didn’t get it.

    I wish continued gook luck to you!

  18. couldn’t you arrange for her to go out to dinner and have the place mysteriously ‘burglarized’ of all her precious items? or would that dinner have to take a couple days?

  19. kono – yes, but strangely enough, i hadn’t thought about it in a long time. just listened to it again. dark, dark, dark. love the cowboy junkies (my fav: their versions of powderfinger and sweet jane)

    uncle keith – “outside my power”. i understand that much better now… thanks in part to the insights you’ve shared with me. she doesn’t acknowledge that it’s more than just being thrifty. i have suggested she talk to a therapist at least, but she’s not having anything to do with that. i am becoming convinced that this process is going to kill her. congratulations on getting that monkey off your back. i have a pretty good idea how hard it was…

    yogi – we all fight it. useful things. shame to waste them. might need them again… it starts as common sense, and thrift, and resourcefulness but transforms into something else… glass rolling pin? i think we saw one of those when we excavated 10 years ago…

    gnukid – considering bringing her up to spend a weekend with me, but as of sunday she didn’t want anything to do with that. i think she’s afraid that the place will burn down while she’s out of town…

  20. Yay!The sax is back. Consider yourself an archaeologist digging up long-buried treasures. I know you’ll savor deciphering the notes for the memoir. Once you get comfortable with his writing style, it will be a breeze to read through them.
    Good luck with the rest of your excavations.

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