Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Galactic Housekeeping (#13 - Relocation, Enucleation and Discombobulation Edition)

The move to the new-and-improved Death Star has been completed.

Some notes on hoarding.

If you're a devotee of "reality television" then you are familiar with a show on the A&E network called "Hoarders", in which you are introduced to people with deep-seeded psychological problems which manifest in a desire to collect and save absolute junk. Eventually, the Hoarder becomes trapped in their own home, held hostage by a growing pile of often-disgusting and useless flotsam and jetsam -- complete with the full spectrum of vermin and pathogens --and watches helplessly as their home falls into a dilapidated state that requires immediate action to save the poor bastard from homelessness and potential death.

Mrs. Overlord is a Hoarder.

I discovered this some time ago: she has what appears to be a severe emotional attachment to literally everything that was in the house.

Did not matter: useful or not, broken or functional, obsolete or modern, if she had it, it stayed, and very often, stayed in the same place for the nearly two decades in which she occupied the house. Our home had become something of a museum, which is to say that it was cluttered with the odds and ends of her compulsions...and her life, pre-Overlord.

Unlike the television series, our house was never in danger of being condemned, nor did it ever approach the disgusting cesspool one normally associates with this condition. Her obsessions tend towards dishes and glassware, clothing and shoes, photographs, and furniture. The house was literally stuffed with these items, every closet full.

The problem was the Other People who had lived there previously.

For Mrs. Overlord had been previously married, and subsequently, widowed. In addition, her father also lived in the house for many years before his passing.

And these two guys were Hoarders, too.

In the case of Dad, he was a child of the Depression and so everything to him was useful, regardless of condition or state and so he dragged home anything he came across that he thought he would be able to use or which might one day be worth something. His particular obsessions revolved around fishing gear (his favorite pastime), greeting cards (the man saved every greeting card he ever received), drafting or artistic things (he was a draftsman by trade), jewelry, silver, and strangely, linen. His OCD ran to such an extent that he labeled everything, as well.

The Late Husband fancied himself a chef. He collected cooking gear, cookbooks, all manner of magazines devoted to haute cuisine (all bundled up in binders), and electronics. In addition, the man was a double amputee and so the house contained all the accessories that come with that; prosthetic legs, crutches, wheelchairs and so forth.

And so it came time to move. There was just Mrs. Overlord and myself living in a 2,600 square-foot, 10-room house that was a property tax nightmare (thanks Cuomo, you bitch!), which required a ridiculous amount of money every month to heat and power, in which Mrs. Overlord, due to her own disability, was trapped because of the numerous staircases.

Personally, I hated living there because the house was more like a  mausoleum than a home; photographs of all the dearly departed (and there are many) festooned every bare patch on the walls, the dust was accumulating at a prodigious rate, the lack of maintenance was becoming a chore (and huge expense) to correct.

(In the 10 years I lived there I had replaced a roof, all the siding, the concrete in the driveway and walkways, overhauled the furnace completely, revamped the plumbing from basement to upper floor, landscaping galore, not to mention the occasional electrical repairs, replacing appliances, painting, windows, and a whole lot more).

For all intents and purposes, it is a brand-new house. But, it was still little more than a shell that contained the same old stuff, much of it never moving from the place where it was originally deposited years ago. To sell the house required cleaning out the equivalent of King Tut's tomb.

Long story short -- three trucks, two dumpsters, and approximately 18 carloads of donatable things to Salvation Army later -- the job was completed. Mrs. Overlord is not happy, because she had to make decisions about what to keep and what to throw away, and being that these things were mostly hers and she has an emotional attachment to them, the process was difficult.

To say the least. 

In the end, practicality had to take over: we were leaving a 2600' house for a 900' condo. It just wasn't possible to take it all. 

And the Overlord's back was going to have to bear the brunt of the removal. Six 16-hour days and about 300 gallons of sweat later, the task was completed, the house was sold and we have moved on. But the discoveries!

High-end watches stuffed away and forgotten about. Silver coins left in pill bottles secreted away in nooks and crannies. Half a dozen sets of prosthetic legs and four wheelchairs donated to the DAV. Four sets of silverware hidden in crawlspaces. Three sets of china (in addition to the one we're taking) left in unmarked boxes in the garage. Crystal everything carefully packed away and never used. Piles of broken and obsolete electronics. Food processors (would you believe a dozen?) still in their boxes. Old furniture stashed in the shed, covered in plastic against the day when they might be used.

I now have a better appreciation of the psychology of the Hoarder and I am determined to break Mrs. Overlord of these habits. Here's hoping I'm successful, or I'm going to be up to my ass in 103 individually-wrapped-in-plastic packages labeled "Tablecloth, Linen, Holiday Theme" and stiletto heels in every conceivable color all over again.

Personal Health Notes: The Overlord was surprised to discover a growth in the back of his throat one evening several weeks ago. It was not so much "a discovery" as a jarring experience of being awoken from a sound sleep by near-asphyxiation. For whatever the thing was, it was hanging out of my uvula and blocking my airway.

The funny thing, if there's anything curious or amusing about this, is that it simply just appeared. It wasn't there one day and there it was the next. A growth, approximately a half-inch in diameter.

So, I went to see a doctor, naturally. He identified it by sight: it is a papilloma. According to him, 98% of the time, these things are not malignant. The most-likely cause is a virus, and the most-common viruses associated with them are chicken pox and HPV, which I'm told you can catch practically anywhere (like shopping carts, doorknobs, shared restroom facilities, and any other thing that can be touched by a sloppy skank with a rancid cooter and poor handwashing skills. Something you would think people would have mastered in the past 18 months).

It is even possible that in the panic to kill COVID we have made other viruses more-potent and opportunistic, not to mention abundant, so that some of them will become quite prevalent in the coming months.

Yesterday, the doctor excised the unwanted, raspberry-like piece of shit for biopsy. I did not dread the procedure, nor the possible prognosis of cancer, as much as I did the thought of someone having to stick a needle into my soft pallet in order to anesthetize me before proceeding. So, you can imagine my relief when the doctor came in with a spray bottle of topical anesthetic.

Then you can imagine my horror and discomfort as the damned stuff wore off three minutes into the process. He was going to spray me again, but I told him not -- with the idea that it would probably just hurt even more -- to and to just finish up. He took his time, much to my displeasure.

The upside is that I can eat all the popsicles and ice cream I'd like, just to dull the pain.

The downside is that I didn't kick the stupid fuck in the balls when I had the chance.

We'll know something by the end of the week, I reckon.


MN DELIKAT said...

That was humorous!!! I gave away or chucked to the curb at least 3/4 of my "stuff" when I moved from FL back to MN. I still managed to fill a large moving truck. While I'm using a large part of what I shipped across country there are boxes and bins that remain unpacked and good amount of that will go on the local online auction sites but there's all those "other" boxes of stuff I'm not ready to part with

HMS Defiant said...

Following the divorce and the sale of the 2200 sq.ft house in SOCAL I took what I wanted and put it all in my VW Jetta and drove to Ohio. I went back for the Persian rugs and my golf clubs but that was it. It is marvelously liberating to shed all the useless crap and leave it behind.

Matthew Noto said...

No kidding!

It's nice to be able to maneuver through a home that isn't an obstacle course of "don't touch that!" and "watch where you're walking!".