Saturday, November 19, 2011

Twenty yards of trash

I ordered a ten yard dumpster, but they didn't have one available, so they sent me a twenty yard one. Good thing! Sherry had her nephew and a friend of his out yesterday to Lou's, and they filled half the dumpster and cleaned about half the basement. The basement is 800 square feet, and it was filled with boxes 3 deep of old paints, pieces of wood, wooden cut outs, ceramic greenware pieces, and just plain trash. A lady starting a ceramic store had already picked up the usable greenware and bisque after it was listed on craigslist.

Today it was back to the basement. We had Sherry's guys again (17 year olds saving for cars), Steph, Dan, Ralph, and 3 other guys that are relatives or friends of Steph and Dan. They all wore masks and gloves, and went up and down the steps about a zillion times. We split the crew, and some worked on the basement with Sherry supervising, and Ralph went in the attic and handed down boxes to others. I was the sorter, making executive decisions as to what can be sold for money. Not much. Most it it was out and out trash- bags of old clothes, yarn empty appliance boxes, broken small appliances. There were 5 Xmas trees! Mom wants one to put outside a window for birds to roost in. The others were put outside, and a man passing by stopped and took them.

Another man who scavenges metal took the junk metal. People in a huge truck came and took the wood scraps for kindling. The attic and basement and sunroom were a lot of trash and a very few treasures. It was incredibly sad, going thru and wondering why on earth items were saved.

Lou didn't handle it well. He wanted everything gone before he'll leave to go to assisted living, so we're not wasting any time. I want him safe and settled before the bad weather starts. He did some yelling and some cursing, and retreated to his bedroom. A hospice nurse came by, and she was talking to him.

I just keep telling him that I swore to Sam that I'd make sure he was well cared for. His hospice nurse told me that nothing I do will make him happy, so just do what I have to do. My friend Barbara gave me good perspective. She said that he knows that no matter how much he yells at me, I'll come back, so I'm his soft place to fall. I can live with that.

I fell the other night. I missed a step, tried to move fast to catch my balance, and it a brick wall with my right hand- the same hand I hit when I fell in Kennedy Hospital last spring. For a day or so I thought I'd fractured it, but of course nurses are the worst patients and I wouldn't go get it looked at. It feels better each day.

And that's the week so far. A little crocheting, some reading of quilting boards, but not a bit of sewing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm buried in papers!

It's 2 weeks today that Sam passed.
Yesterday Ralph and I, and Steph and Dan got to the house around 10. Hospice sent out a nurse for 4 hours, heaven knows why, but it worked out because she entertained Lou and cut bubble wrap for us.
Lou is adamant (at the top of his lungs, several times a day) that he can't leave til the last thing that was Linda's is out of the house. Except the furniture, because he thinks Steph wants it all.
So we came armed with boxes and bubble wrap and trash bags. We started packing and sorting, and we had so much for Sherry's charity that we called her and asked her to come over. She and Tony came over and helped for a couple of hours, and left with a carload.
Today Steph and Dan and I went down for a couple of hours. I took Lou coffee, as I always do. Steph and Dan were packing in the office room, and I was sorting in the living room, and talking to Lou.
I've brought home boxes and boxes and bags of papers, and sorted them. Deeds are mixed up with receipts from the grocery store. The bag I just sorted was old checkbooks of Sam's parents, and lots of papers of her Aunt Carrie's. Most to burn, so to just trash.
The moral of the story is, don't save every piece of paper you've ever gotten in the mail!

Tomorrow I hope to meet with Lou's hospice nurse on the way home from work, and get some input from her.
Tonight I think I'm going to veg out in front of the TV and crochet for a bit.
Back to work tomorrow.


Friday, November 11, 2011

In the middle of the night

Even the cat is asleep. She looked at me like I was nuts when I came into the family room a few minutes ago. Sleep issues and middle age seem to go together.

It's 12 days since Sam passed. Lou is having a hard time- he's grieving, and lonely, and frustrated. With his vision and hearing issues added to the weakness from his strokes, he is so limited in what he can do independently. His hospice nurse is on vacation til Monday, and his social worker got the bright idea that he needed to go to their respite care- in Trenton! 9 PM Wednesday she's at the house making this strong suggestion, which I flatly refused. So then she decided he couldn't be alone and had an aide come out for the night, which was OK but she annoyed him all night.

We had an appointment to take him Thursday morning to see the assisted living that Ralph's mom lives at. It's close to us, maybe 6 miles away. He was very impressed, and was talking to a couple of the men who live there. We had lunch there, and as long as his hospice nurse approves of the place, says he'll go. He's so lonely, and there is plenty of stimulation there, and he'll be safe.

Lou is a Marine, served in WWII and Korea. He says he is on duty, guarding the house until we get all of Linda's things (which includes her mom and aunt's things) out, then he can leave. So we're going to do a big packing this weekend. He doesn't care if it takes months- I want him settled in as soon as possible. I swore to Sam that I would make sure he is taken care of.

Who ever thought that an 86 year old husband would outlive his 59 year old wife?

And that's why I'm up in the middle of the night.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's November

It's November! The time changed last night, so it gets dark really early as the year winds down.
I was at Lou's for a couple of hours raking out the office room. 4 more bags of trash out of there. Then Ralph and I met Steph and Dan at the Olive Garden for dinner, and now I'm ready to call it a night.

In November we have birthdays! Kevin, Franny, Morgan, Donna and Joseph. It's also a great month to work in a school We're off Tuesday for Election Day, Thursday and Friday is teacher's convention, the day before Thanksgiving is a half day, and off Thanksgiving and the day after.

I read 18 books in October. 16 from the library, and 2 of my own. I just finished the next to last Bay Tanner mystery by Kathryn Wall. The library doesn't have the most recent one yet. I'm almost done another full sized afghan, this one with 2 strands of yarn worked together.

Good night all!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm exhausted.

This morning Ralph and I met Steph at Lou's. Sherry, who is another long time friend of Sam's, met us there with husband Tony and nephew Brandon. Brandon is 17 and wants a car, so he's been hiring himself out to Sam all year doing yardwork. Sherry manages an animal rescue charity, and was getting ceramic greenware and bisque from the basement to sell for the charity.

I haven't had the nerve to go into the basement. For years Sam had a ceramic business, and the basement was for storage. Things got damp from the last big rain, and it smells musty big time. Sherry and Tony made about a million trips up and down the steps. Ralph alternated between helping them and working in the yard with Brandon.

Steph tackled the kitchen. The cabinets were packed, as was the countertops, stove, and table. I don't think anyone has eaten at the table in at least 20 years. Steph went thru and bagged duplicates of pots and pans and glassware to go to Goodwill- she filled two boxes. Stale cereal will go to the birds, and fresh cereal, which Lou doesn't eat, was taken by Brandon.

I tackled the bedroom. Lou could barely get in to go to bed, and I'm so afraid of him falling when he's alone. He's given us carte blanche to clean and get rid of things. There's very little of Lou in the house, it's all Sam, with a touch of her mom. There were piles of clothes on the floor, in boxes, and on a hanging rack. Lou said they haven't used the closet in years. I boxed up all the usuable clothes for Goodwill, and tossed the worn or stained. I ended up with about 8 big bags for Goodwill, and at least that many trashbags! We cleaned out the closet and hung Lou's clothes in in, and the extra rack can be taken down. He had all his socks, tees and underwear crammed into one drawer of the 3 drawer bureau, now he can use all three.

We took a pizza break, then everyone got back to work. When we stopped at 4 PM, all the leaves that have fallen so far have been put out to the curb for the boro to pick up. Steph and I made a Goodwill run, and every trash can if packed, and there's probably 10 trash bags filled. When we left, Sherry was still in the basement sorting.

Lou was, as he said, staying out of the way, but checking on the progress each of us made. He was amazed by the fact that there is a floor in his room! And he can walk from the living room to the bedroom without turning sideways!

Last night Ralph and I hung out with Eddie and Julianna for the time between when Heather left for work and Ed got home. Whenever a toy commercial came on, Julie wanted the toy. Eddie's a little pickier about what he wants. He was leaning against me and I was rubbing his back- it's just so wonderful to have them back in NJ.

Ralph is already sleeping, and I'm about to go to bed. We ain't 21 anymore, we ain't even 41 anymore!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hoarders R Us

On the radio today it said that one in 25 people have hoarding tendencies. They were so describing Sam! Ralph and Dan carried out the old couch, and we started cleaning and recycling. We worked for about an hour and a half, and had to stop when we ran out of trash cans and recycling bins. Plus we were all starving.

We got Lou fed and settled for the night, and headed out. Ralph took me to pick up the Caravan, which now has two new tires. On the way in today, the car started to get a little shaky. Here, the one tire was like shredded on the inside! He had to come put the donut on for me.

We did a good afternoon's work, and Lou can now walk down the hall without danger of falling.