Parents are Moved & House Almost Clean
Posted 20 November 2011 - 12:17 AM
We did the back bedrooms in a few hours Wednesday afternoon, but the kitchen took us all day Thursday. The 2-car garage took all day Friday. I was there for a few hours today cleaning a bathroom, finishing stove, painting the wall around the kitchen stove and putting up curtains I had washed & pressed. As I was there in the cold weather with the threat of snow in the air, I realized I was close to my breaking point.
After getting needlessly yelled at by my mom this afternoon over getting rid of a fridge Dad told me to get rid of (it was broken and would cost about $200 to fix and they really couldn't afford to store it so he had me list it on Craig's List), I was feeling pretty frustrated and fed up. I realized I'd been scrubbing and scraping and cleaning messes I did not make...I couldn't get this smell out of my hair....I had paint *in my hair*, I hosed a pair of shoes, a set of clothes, possibly a jacket, and a purse (cleaner and coffee spill).
I felt very alone and put-upon. It stung that my dad may be getting dementia and my mom is pretty much quarantined herself to the house. She's so unstable she needs her walker and can barely see things around her. So, I stepped back and tried to see this through my parents' eyes.
Ten years ago, they had the house they were going to retire in. My dad was making good money, my mom had a good business. My sister died suddenly and they had to put her funeral on plastic. A few months later mom was really sick and almost died from a spider bite. About 6 months after that, she fell and broke her hip. The doctors discovered she's diabetic and that glaucoma is taking her sight. Bills are piling up and they end up losing their house and moving into this one they've just moved out of. This was six years ago. Mom is now completely handicapped and needs constant care. Dad can't work for a variety of reasons and gradually takes to doing odd jobs to keep money on the table. SSI and VA Disability barely provide so DH & I step in and help financially a few years ago.
So. Fast forward to now. They are completely dependent on SSI and state aid. They are eligible for decreased costs on meds but only some...diabetes meds are expensive. Food stamps, if used wisely, is barely enough. So DH and I offer to move them. I realize in a way, I asked for this. Part of getting my parents to live within their means is me being closer, geographically speaking, and helping ease the burden.
Having my mom yell at me hurt. But she's the one person on the planet who can punch my buttons like no one else.
I have to say, I have used household cleaners in a new way this week. I never knew oven cleaner could be used on anything other than the inside of an oven. Yep, it can. We used it on the TOP of the stove where the over-splatter from the cooking oil was. With a few applications, it did remove the grease. It dulled the paint, but now the stove looks "used" rather than "abused". We did the same for the side of the fridge - cleaning off the spatter really made a difference, as did a coat of paint on the walls.
The eye-opener was the garage. My dad didn't hire city garbage service so he made dump runs. Rather than leaving the trash in pails, he left it in the garage. We ran through about 50 contractor bags for trash - counting what we removed from the house. He filled a 15 x 12 trailer and a pickup bed FULL. There was literally a ton and a half of trash there.
As we cleaned the garage, it was plain to see mice and rats had invaded and loved living there. We were literally sweeping poo off shelves and boxes. It was disgusting. After it was all done, we probably had a five gallon bucket of poo. The rodents found a box of the Datrex survival rations and mowed through them as well as a BOB that had food in it. They also found some Mountain House food from the early 80's.
He had mislabeled some laundry products. Some homemade laundry soap was in a fabric softener bottle with bleach added...I somehow got it on me and ruined my pants, sweatshirt and shoes. We flushed it and tossed the bottle (and 20 more like it) into the recycling. He was saving empty water bottles (clean but with water inside and moldy lids)...the water had turned brackish.
Sadly, my dad's tools were just tossed, literally, into a pile. I separated them out into respectful groups, onto wheeled dollies for easy access. In these piles were miscellaneous nuts, bolts, washers, nails, rusty hinges, just garage stuff with no rhyme or reason. It was mixed in with mice poo so all the loose stuff was tossed. Disturbing was the collection of old doorknobs...just the knobs and very little mechanism. They appeared to have been gathered with no reason. Also annoying was a shelf that had solvents, open oil cans, a lighter and a box of matches in it. I'm really surprised the whole place didn't go up in flames and smoke.
So. Since knowledge shared is a good thing, here are some things I've learned this week:
Pine Sol is your friend. It's a great solvent and de-greaser. You can spray it on walls to remove spots, even on carpets to loosen dirt. When combined with Dawn in a bathtub full of water, it loosens gunk on mini blinds. On some, we just rinsed them and let them air dry. The smell also penetrates things and makes things smell better.
Oven cleaner can be used *outside* of the oven for stubborn stains. It will rescue knobs and appliances with hard-enameled finishes like fridges and stoves. It will bubble flat paint when applied heavily, so go easy.
Mop & Glo can be used to brighten up dingy floors after scrubbing with solvents and will leave a nice shine.
A razor-blade scraper removes tape residue from windows - even duct tape.
GLOVES: Wear them. Cleaners will dry your hands and crack your skin. Oven cleaner has lye and it will burn. They cost $2 for playtex, get an extra pair.
CLEANERS: For the love of your family and safety, DO NOT keep combustibles together. Keep oil and matches and chlorine cleaners separate. Cans can leak, crack, or rust.
Curtains: Cloth holds odors. Wash the curtains and iron them! If you still have odors when ironing, wash them *again*. When the heat from a vent hits them, the room smells nice if you use a dryer sheet when drying.
Deodorizers: For hair odors, apple cider vinegar does deodorize. Use it after a shampoo. Leave it on in a 1/2C to 1.5C water solution for as long as you can stand, then rinse. I followed up with a Burt's Bees deep conditioner. The smell seems much reduced.
From my reflective side:
Get perspective from a friend. Nothing is ever as hopeless as it seems. I would have walked away from this, but my friend said, "With 3 days of work, it's savable." We will have probably 4 or so FULL days, but still. There was HOPE. I was so close to the situation, I couldn't see it. That's very uncharacteristic of me, little Miss-Glass-Half-Full. Remember: Friends offer support. Good friends help you shovel garage stuff.
When all you see is poo around you, keep moving. It only leaves when you shovel it away.
Use what you store - if you have BOBS, keep them from critters. Go through them once a year. Keep food safe and critter-proof. Cycle food through the pantry. Diversify your preps. Don't be so over-done in one area you get caught with your pants down in another. My parents were "certified" CERT/NET folks and had tons of paper and BOBS but couldn't hold it together financially or health-wise.
I have to say, my usual bouncy self feels OLD. I'm not even 40. My parents are in their mid-sixties. I wasn't planning on dealing with dementia issues this young.
Please, folks, use this as a motivator - keep your stuff tidy, sorted, and CLEAN. Your kids and family will thank you.
Posted 20 November 2011 - 02:16 AM
Sounds like you had a h#ll of a week.
<<Please, folks, use this as a motivator - keep your stuff tidy, sorted, and CLEAN. Your kids and family will thank you. >> This is really good advice. I'm going to get working on my house. Thank you for the motivation. Getting organized has been on my mind but I think your experience really hit home for me.
One more thing - foaming bathroom cleaner is another item that is fabulous for cutting grease
in the kitchen. :-)
Posted 20 November 2011 - 05:51 AM
Also just remember that you Mom was 'seeing; that she couldn't do it and that by You 'seeing' the home as it was hurt her as well.
Things will get better with time - so hang in there!
THE AMISHWAY HOMESTEADERS
= = = in touch with the past = = =
<A class=bbc_url title="External link" href="http://www.freewebs....way_homestead/" rel="nofollow external">http://www.freewebs....hway_homestead/
Posted 20 November 2011 - 08:28 AM
Another cleaner I've used to degrease ancient gunk is Lysol liquid and I've also used the oven cleaner to clean the gunk on stoves and the surrounding areas. *shuddering at the memories*
God's, are Life.
Posted 20 November 2011 - 08:40 AM
Posted 20 November 2011 - 11:18 AM
Yes, Michael, I'm not regretting the time spent. It needed to be done and better me do it than a complete stranger who takes them to court. The thing is - it's been far more emotionally difficult than I ever thought it would. But it is a good thing they will be closer so we can keep a better handle on things.
And yes, by me describing this to my mom, I had to relate and remind her of things she *did* or had seen. When I told her it was MUCH worse than my grandma's house, she was appalled. I think I've used the word incomprehensible numerous times.
My own house has suffered because I've been spending so much time at my parents' place. Now I want to scrub everything in sight.
Edited by Crazy4Canning, 20 November 2011 - 11:21 AM.
Posted 20 November 2011 - 02:19 PM
It's a good reminder we all need to think a lot about how we store our preps and make sure they are mouse proof and rotated properly. I am not looking forward to dealing with my DH's parents home when they need to move or pass on. It will be that bad or worse. We may just have to remove any salvageable items and bulldoze the house...
Posted 20 November 2011 - 03:18 PM
We did this with my mom's house 15 years ago and my Mother in law 4 years ago. It's exhausting physically and emotionally for everyone. It has made me begin to look at everything we have with a different attitude. I purge regularly. I don't want my children to have to go through that because of me.
And great advice about storing stuff away from rodents. I discovered over the summer that rats will chew through boxes and chew off the lids of mason jars with stored wheat.
Posted 20 November 2011 - 03:50 PM
I'm trying to rotate some of the long term storage now that I will not have extended family to prep for as well as the two of us. There just is no reason to move so much long distance that can be fed to the livestock or dogs now. Also, feed is extremely expensive at the moment due to the drought and other issues and using the excess preps will help with that.
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. " Eph 5:15,16
"Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard" 2 Kings 19:6
Have you hugged your goose today?
Posted 20 November 2011 - 06:46 PM
I've had good luck with TSP cutting grease and grime in nasty situations. I get it at Lowes/ Home Depot. I usually use it in the garage and on kitchen cabinet doors and over head fan that seem to be grease magnets in my kitchen.
Posted 21 November 2011 - 11:22 AM
Dementia is an extraordinarially difficult disorder to handle. I volunteer at a local Hospice, and we have a LOT of people with various types of dementia who come through the doors. Early on, it manifests itself in odd ways -- like significant changes in personality or hoarding things. The collection of doorknob is an excellent example of that. Dementia is definitely NOT just losing your memory -- the brain changes and alters in ways that affect how a person thinks about the world, including what they think they need. In your Dad's mind, he very well may have thought he NEEDED those doorknobs for something important, even if he couldn't articulate the reason.
Bravo to you, C4C, for being the kind of daughter who is willing to go through so much for taking care of her parents. You are truly a bright example of the commandment to "Honor thy mother and father," and I would like to say that I admire you so very much. What you are doing is not easy, not at all, and I know you probably just feel like sitting down in the middle of the floor and crying right now (or maybe just punching a hole through the wall!), but please keep it in your heart that you are doing the right thing, and remember that many of us here are praying for you.
Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:26 PM
Today will consist of loading the last things - maybe 3 pickup trucks full (tools mostly) and the carpet cleaners and me mopping the kitchen floor and sweeping the garage one last time. I will be home around 7, for the last time, while taking care of this house. My dad should be able to return the keys tonight or early in the morning.
Last night we stopped by the new apartment and my husband adjusted their tv's and antennae (he's an engineer). My mom told DH that she liked the new place, it was quiet AND warm AND smelled NICE. While she never told me these things, at least she told him. I have to say, I'm glad.
I did have another moment of frustration when Dad showed up and began upending things in the garage in a fit of finding something. I made him stop, tell me what he needed, and what do you know, it was there right near him. When we moved a small chest freezer, I found berried from 2001....needless to say, they were tossed.
I will be dropping their paperwork by the social services office on my way out of town this morning and it will get things started in the system for them in this city/ state.
When we chatted about Thanksgiving, Mom & Dad secretly wanted it but said we'd done enough. My husband wants it for a return to normalcy...also so we won't have to go to his mom's house. So, we will have it. Not sure where, not sure what will be on the menu, but I'm not cooking a turkey or making a huge mess. I will weigh options of buying a dinner vs a small turkey breast and making a pie. That is something I can do.
Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:40 PM
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau
Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him...
Where are we going and why are we in a handbasket?!
Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:43 AM
Thank you for sharing about the cleaning. I have a dumpster out front and I'm cleaning out my pantry and garage. The garage has evidence of mice in it and I'm REALLY skeeved out by it, but it sounds no where near as bad as what you've had to deal with. REading about that has helped me feel better about dealing with this now so my house doesn't end up like what you're cleaning up.
Hope you're able to get some time to yourself over the holiday weekend and that you have a happy Thanksgiving.
Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:01 PM
My garbage disposal decided today it would finally give up the ghost. It didn't go out with a whimper though. First it backed up in both sinks so I had to rewash the dishes I had in the drainer drying. Then I felt something wet on my sock feet. It seems it somehow blew out under the sink and water mixed with ground up garbage had spewed all over everything under the sink and was running out all over the floor. All of the stuff was safe up off of the bottom of the cabinet floor as far as water damage but it didn't flow out of the pipes under the sink. It blew like a blender with the lid off.
So as I was cleaning that mess (still not done) I thought of all the nasty mess you have been cleaning and commiserated with you a little.
Reply to this topic
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users