I intended to exercise this morning, but my neck hurt when I woke up, and then I sneezed and made it far worse. I was tired anyway, so it’s probably for the best. The flip side is that I could have used some outlet for my black mood, so here I am, hoping writing will help.
When my dad moved in, back in 2016, we thought it was temporary. We were providing shelter from a storm, literally. Time passed and we realized that he wasn’t going anywhere and we all just settled in. From that point on, there have been a series of decisions made in reaction to immediate circumstances that were not well thought out. I liken it to playing one of those tile puzzle games, which I am terrible at, we just kept moving things around. We moved me out of my office to make room for dad. Since it was my office, there was a large desk and other work surfaces and the closet was used for storage. The bed we had immediate access to was a queen, which was too large for the room, but given the immediate need would have to work. So we jammed it in there. It made opening the closet very difficult.
Time wore on and we had to make more accommodation since my dad wasn’t going anywhere soon. This meant a place to hang his clothes. Since the closet in the room was blocked by the bed and also full of my stuff, we got a little rolling wardrobe thing. It was relatively small, but took up what little space was left in the crowded room. We still thought this was ok, because we were going to quickly sell a piece of his property and get a new house for him. Right?!
I could bore you with the details of all the other small moves and adjustments we’ve made over the years but instead I’ll just say that at the end of it all, he had very little space, but had still managed to accumulate and stack years worth of bullshit onto every available surface, including the floor. This meant that I couldn’t even vacuum in there anymore.
The time had long come to make some changes, but I avoided it because it’s easy to ignore what lives behind a closed door and I knew it would be a battle to separate this man from his treasures.
When a bed became available, a basically brand new day-bed that was a size smaller and free, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. But I still did. Can you blame me?
I finally pulled the trigger yesterday. I kicked him out of his room and promised I wouldn’t throw any of his shit away without asking. I can say now that I did not break that promise, even though I really wanted to. He loves boxes and bags. If a thing came in a box, he still has it squirreled away somewhere, and the clumps of shitty plastic shopping bags are legion. I asked early on if he felt the need to keep some or all of these, given that a new one is provided for every purchase and we have a clump of them in the kitchen at all times should the need arise. He launched into an explanation of why he kept them, which condensed to ‘I take one when I go to the storage unit so I can use it to dispose of the DampRid bag’ – First, yea, you read that right, he has a storage unit that I pay for that is filled with bullshit he already forgot about, but he still hoarded up my house. Second, his bag reasoning was stupid. I didn’t say so, but I asked if he could just use of the bags from the kitchen and he agreed. So I won that battle, but the fact that I had to fight it was fucking frustrating.
Keeping in mind that he tried to justify keeping a million plastic bags, imagine the tedious stories I was regaled with in defense of every box. If I am ever put in charge of torturing prisoners, I have just the thing.
This went on for hours, until finally I cleared enough shit to get the bed out of the room. Then I had to clear the hoard from UNDER the bed. Once I could see the carpet, I filled the vacuum up three times TO THE TOP. I am sure I could have gone for four if I was so inclined. This is not a big room, y’all.
Oh, almost forgot.. I told dad before all this started that I needed him to just stay in the living room and let me handle this. He agreed, but every time he had to pee he would stop in and start touching piles of stuff and telling stories and being in my way generally. I haven’t taken Xanax in a long time, but man, am I happy I had it on hand because otherwise I would not have been able to stop myself from saying very hurtful things.
Once the bed was out and the floor was clear, it was time to open the closet. This was kind of exciting because it has been so long we had forgotten what was in there and also were hoping to find some long missing items. Since I had no real place to move this stuff, I ended up just chucking it all into my new office space, so I could go through it later. It was a sad affair, because I know how much space I have and I know it won’t accommodate all my stuff, so I will have to get rid of some of my sentimental possessions, like my wedding dress, to make way for my dad’s fucking box collection.
It was finally time to go get the bed. We had planned to stop and grab some food on the way, because I wanted to sit down and take a breath before round two began. The first place we stopped had a 30 minute wait. Fuck. Second place? Closed entirely. Third place, we didn’t even like but it was close. However, 25 minute wait. At this juncture, Emmitt is now super furious and I’m just starving and defeated. We decide to just go to Moira’s house to wait until she gets home to pick up the bed.
She arrives and opens up the garage and there are the components of the bed. Which is large and doesn’t look much like a day bed. I shrug it off. I figure it will all make sense when assembled. Except it doesn’t, because it’s just a regular bed. Fuck it, I can still push it up against the wall and it has a trundle, which I will just use as a giant under bed drawer. Except the hardware for the trundle is missing. No worries! The base is on wheels, so we can still slide it in and out and just keep it under there until the hardware is located. Except nope, because the bed is too big to go into the space available without blocking the closet AGAIN which would defeat the purpose of everything I set out to accomplish. I took another Xanax.
I wasn’t planning to move the rolling wardrobe yet, because while I had cleared out one side of it, the other side that had little shelves was piled high with his underwear and socks and various other dust coated bullshit. Including a watch, which I had been told at length could not be moved because it was solar powered. Because the sun is apparently only available on that patch of shelf. JUST. KILL. ME. NOW. Unfortunately, since I had to move the bed, the rack had to go. I chucked every shelf into it’s own box/bin to be dealt with later, moved the rack and moved the bed. Emmitt was still fighting his simmering rage while he puts together shelves we had no intention of fucking with that day so we could have a place to relocate dad’s crap.
Also, in the process of determining that we would need to move the rack, there was a part of his floor hoard which would need to go. This consisted of a pile of plastic shopping bags filled with things like vitamins and band aids. You know, things that could go into the perfectly good cabinet that is available for use in his bathroom. I decided to fight that battle another day, and just lined the foot of his beautiful, newly made bed, with garbage.
The shelves came in and I rapidly relocated his shit, and not a moment too soon because the dinner I ordered just arrived. Before we ate, I had him come into the room so he could see where all his stuff was and how much more room he had and how clean things were. He grumbled. I explained that I was going to get him a smaller desk and some drawers so he didn’t have to have his stuff on the floor and so everything would have a place and his space would be nice. He grumbled some more and I gave up.
We went to eat dinner and he complained about how his was cold. As I was heating his meal up, he effusively thanks Emmitt for everything he did today. All his hard work. What a guy.
As of this morning, my father has still not thanked me. I’m writing this, sitting in the middle of the disaster borne of fallout from a project wholly geared toward making a better life for him. I sit here prepared to spend more money and time to continue making his life better and I’m pissed. I’m resentful and my feelings are hurt. I’d like to think that deep down he is grateful, but I remember back when my sister did something similar and on a much larger scale at his old house. He still hasn’t forgiven her. To this day, if he can’t find something he blames it on her.
I don’t even know how to end this. It’s already far too long yet I am still feeling very unresolved. I supposed I’m just going to have to let it go.