Monday, May 13, 2024

The end is near!

Thanks for the stories in the comments. I've mentioned this before, but I'm not alone in dealing with hoarding issues. I hate to say that it runs in the family since my parents both have issues. All three siblings have hoarding tendencies, and I see it in M. I found an interesting article about hoarding—check it out because it's interesting. 

Hoarding is now being labeled as a branch of mental illness and is widely discussed, and some companies will come and get rid of the stuff, etc. But it's only recently in my world I've come to realize that we are not alone. It is embarrassing when I look at their apartment, but I realize now that it's not intentional. 

I know my brothers, at least my older brother, still grapple with my parents' issues. What's interesting is that it's like the kettle calling the pot black. He can see their issues, but he can't see his own. 

I'll openly admit that I tend to hoard, especially when it comes to craft stuff—I'm right up there. As my cousin said the other day, " If things have a home."  Imagine that coming from a 50-something-year-old single man! I was shocked! The fire departments use a scale of 1-10 to gauge the severity of a situation. I'm not a 10, but I'm not a 0. And it really depends on the area of my house. I won't have much time when I get home as I'm off on another adventure, but I plan to start tackling more stuff. That office really needs to be completed. It is NOT a hoarding situation, but it's about 2 on the fire department scale. 

There's a little glimmer of hope as Mom asked me yesterday if I wanted any ribbons. She pulled two tubs of ribbon off the shelf, and I went through them. Now, I misunderstood—I thought she didn't want any of the ribbon, but no—she just wanted to get rid of some of it. That's OK—most of what she wanted to get rid of was used and stained—stuff that she dare not throw out because it could be useful. 

I took each piece of ribbon in my hand and she said "yes" or "no". She said that!! Do you know how monumental that is? I've never seen it happen in my lifetime. I quickly got a bag for the rejects, and it's in the car. I will sort it again as some would be useful to a crafter, one or two that I'll take with me, and the rest will be trashed as it should have been years ago. 

I asked if I could consolidate the two bins into one. OH NO—that will never do. So, we still have issues, but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. 

When I was cleaning up after dinner, I noticed huge stacks of empty margarine and yogurt containers under the sink. Hmm—that needs to be dealt with. Those are precious, so it might be a struggle to get her to see the light of day on that one. 

When I return here, well, as mentioned, we'll be tackling parts of the apartment, and I think we'll be able to deal with the scrapbooking stuff, which will be HUGE. She even admitted that she bought way more than she should have. So all this is a positive, and it's all baby steps!

Even though it was Mother's Day, I spent much of it with Dad. We had to drop some stuff off at the Museum, and I saw the plasma cutting table he built. When I see all the little gadgets and things he's made or that he has fixed, it's hard not to be impressed. More importantly, he's surrounded by like-minded volunteers and employees at the Western Development Museum, so he's happy at "work." And at 91, I bet he could work circles around many people. Maybe not physically, but ethically, he could. 

I didn't take pictures of his setup at the Museum, but trust me -- he's pretty clever. 

For people who call Saskatchewan boring and flat, you haven't been to the area where I grew up. It's on the banks or close to the North Saskatchewan River. We had gone to the farm to do something—I'll tell you in a minute—and on the way home, we took some detours to check out things. 

Pictures never do justice to the pitch of hills, but some of the hills in the coulees are incredible. 

Two steep hills - one down and one up

It was fascinating as we drove because he knew everything about the area. This is not a place that I would usually drive. I certainly wouldn't take my car, as there were a few soft spots and mud!

There are a lot of gravel pits in the area (which are extremely valuable), which would have been left behind by glaciers. So we took a detour to see the newest one. There were so many backroads, but it was a fascinating detour. We saw four coyotes, one fox, and ONE tick, which I discovered on the side of my nose under my sunglasses. The bugger!! 

We stopped at the small local cemetery, where Dad made the gate. It's called Beyond the Sunset. 

Dad and his gate at the cemetery

While Dad didn't make these particular markers, he arranged to have some metal markers made for the unmarked graves in the sparsely populated cemetery. 

With Dad's sense of humor, he made this for himself. 

Dad at his future gravesite

We got back to the truck, and then I thought - DUH -- take a picture of him by the sign, which says "Future home of Stan Mills." I think it's pretty funny, and when I took the picture, he asked if I wanted him to lie down! Ah, no -- that's OK.

I did not know this, but apparently, there are huts in this area where hunters come to hunt in the fall. What do I know about that stuff? Anyway, here's another shot of the crazy roads we were on. I think there were two coyotes in front of us, but you can't see them in the photo as they blended right into the road. 

Backroads of Saskatchewan

So why did we go back to the farm? Well, I had brought in a pile of crocheted cushions, and Mom and I rescued them from the foam pillow forms. These are not-so-nice cushion forms, and I wanted them out of the house, so we trudged them back to the farm. While there, we wanted to get the remainder of the cushions to rescue the yarn, which Mom will crochet into something. It's a good thing—it keeps her busy, and she will donate them. 

I guestimated there were twenty cushions on that top shelf. HA! I was totally wrong. There were close to forty, if not more, and I passed on a couple since they were made of Phentex. 

Cushions to deal with

I removed the forms from several, but they are either sewn or crocheted together, so it's not like we could just open a flap and remove the form. It makes no sense to bring all those forms in and then take them back. I'll go back tomorrow to rescue the rest of them, and I want to look for one more small thing. Then, I'll close that chapter of my life forever. 

One good thing about all this cleaning is that I'm getting to spend some time with two of my aunts - both like to sew or quilt. So that has been a bonus of all these trips, and I'll continue to visit in future trips, but we won't be dealing with crap at the farm. 

You may wonder why this took eight years. There was NEVER a need to empty the house; we just wanted to recover stuff that we felt was useful to someone else. I struggle with that myself—there is NOT much value in what we own, but it might be useful to someone else. Most of it is junk! It took years for Mom to release her claws on stuff and years for us to feel comfortable getting rid of stuff. 

My younger brother is happy to sell anything for a few bucks, but is that the best use of his time? It works for him, but I can't be bothered with small stuff. 

Could we have cleared the house in one day? I don't think so, but if push came to shove and we HAD to clear the house, we could have done it in a week. But that would have meant getting a dumpster or digging a pit so you could literally clear it. We didn't go that route so we just took our sweet time. 

I cooked dinner for the family, and my two brothers and SIL were there, so Mom had all of us around for Mother's Day dinner, which hadn't happened in a long time. 

After things were tidied up, I went back to the hotel. It was early enough that I could go for a walk—my Fitbit will be going into cardiac arrest soon! There is a small trail near the hotel. 

Walking trail near the hotel

So I wandered on that for a bit and headed out to get a geocache. It was a tricky one and well-hidden, but I spotted it in no time since there wasn't much else around. 

The geocache

On the walk back, I got to see a gorgeous sunset. 

Beautiful sunset

I'll stay in town today as I have some things to do. We're back at the bank, where I have many questions and am not happy with what they did. Before I go into a big rant about that, I don't have the answers yet, but I think they took advantage of my parents and certainly did NOT follow the instructions, nor did they do what they said they would do. I'm not sure it can be undone. So, I'll wait before I rant on that issue. 

I have some stuff in the car that I need to sort and find homes for today, so it'll be all fun and games!

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a super day!



  1. Hoarding most definitely is not intentional. Psychologists finally put it in the DSM in 2013!!! My brother's home caught fire in the ceiling and it raced across the house. His youngest daughter (30yo) was actually a bit happy about it as SIL is a hoarder. Niece directed the folks who were going through determining salvage vs trash. She feels like half the future work was done by the fire. Although accumulation has again begun (2y to build a new house), it's not nearly as bad as it was.

    Curious mind here: some things are left behind at the farm. What is the plan? Will it be emptied? Hiring an auction? Off to a dump? The farm is going up for sale?

    I'm glad you're able to bring closure to this step in life, reconnect with family and move forward.

  2. I am not sure who would call Saskatchewan boring. When we drove through, we passed a huge field of sunflowers, all with their faces turned toward the sun. Spectacular! Also saw some of the biggest sunsets I’ve ever seen.