brother and his wife were in town this past week. each day, as soon as i walked in the door from work, the wife would put me to work clearing junk out of the garage and attic. she’s a teacher, and very used to bossing people around.
finally had to start telling her i needed a moment, i just got off work, lemme eat something. junk can wait.
she didn’t realize how traumatic it was going to be for my mom, clearing the clutter, and filling two big junk trucks and a dumpster with stuff, and it barely put a dent in the garage junk. there’s still another attic to do as well.
the stuff is useless, but mom still would pick through the trash bags and pull out arbitrary items. i doubt she needs video 8, beta or vhs tapes of the gulf war or some cartoon my kids used to watch, but they’re sitting upstairs in her bedroom now. maybe it’s that the sticker has my dad’s handwriting on them. i think the players for them already went into the trash, or otherwise didn’t work and went into the trash.
was a battle of wills clearing out the pantry of out of date food items dad had bought over the years, and promptly forgot about. he used to eat stuff no one else would touch—oysters, anchovies, sardines, pickled pig parts, etc.—and yet she wanted to keep stuff in case anyone ever asked for it. i had to ask her how often a guest would arrive and ask if she had any prince albert in a can? never, but she doesn’t want to waste anything. well finally said, stuff is way out of date, and you wouldn’t even be able to donate it to a food pantry, so it needed to go.
sure, we’re disturbing her comfort zone. all this could wait another decade until she’s gone, but we’re trying to make some room, make it safer, make it her own.
took a few days of her in tears, and cussing—which she doesn’t do—for her to mourn her lost stuff. sister-in-law has said she is done, and probably won’t be back. she’s on her plane home by now.
my brother stayed behind, so they are still emptying stuff from the garage attic. his find for the day so far was my dr suess lunchbox from first grade.
i’m in whittier, for what seems my weekly cry. somehow we end up talking memories of my dad, so then the tears come again. it’s ok.
better half got out in the morning and got half his shopping done. i should be able to be home a little more often while my bro is staying with my mom. she was telling me the other day that she is perfectly fine being left on her own, but, when i called her earlier, she asked if i was coming back tomorrow. and she isn’t on her own.
looks like it wants to rain, and usually looking out this window, i’ll see old cars driving by; not one has noisily rumbled by today. we’re also in the flight path for LAX, but the planes must be coming in from the other direction—not seeing those either—and they would typically be coming in low, under the clouds on a day like this.