Never did I imagine that I would find a similar beast amidst my very own family members.
Hi, Mom. I'm talking about you.
I made the offer several weeks ago to help my mother clean out her garage. I use the term garage loosely, because it has become more of like a spider-invested twisted gift store. A while back she used her garage to display and sell her Home Interiors items. It has been quite some time since those sales, but the tables and the "stuff" still remain, pushing the limits of the garage to a whole new level.
When my mom raises her garage door, I am sure the neighbors are thinking that this woman has a sickness and she probably also has a dozen or so cats roaming around inside. Her garage definitely gives off the appearance of "crazy cat lady" and makes you think of those loony lonely old women that collect everything, including felines.
The saddest thing is my mother is completely sane (well for the most part, but that's a different post). She doesn't collect cats and the inside of her home is surprisingly tidy and beautifully decorated.
So when I offered to help her clean the garage, I simply did it to gain favorite daughter status.
I can happily report that I am #1. After this post however, my ranking might slip.
It started Sunday morning. I arrived at 9am, gun-ho and raring to go. I pushed the button on the garage door to go inside.... and as the metal door slowly went up, my little heart sank. Jeez - this was going to be impossible. I made my way through the obstacle of junk to the door, and tried my best to put a smile on my face and keep up my enthusiasm.
Hoarder Whore, er, Mom was in good spirits and even had a hearty breakfast prepared for us. I couldn't devour too much because I knew the sausage gravy would surely weigh me down and inhibit my abilities to perform miracles.
We got started on the garage, dragging things out to the driveway so we could clear a path and at least get a since of where we should get started. The work was arduous and dirty - I have never seen so many dead spiders, crickets and festering eggs in all my life. We employed a shop-vac to suck up all the little dead monsters.
About an hour into it, the driveway looked like we were having the biggest yard sale in history, but the garage still looked hopeless. We chiseled away at everything, trying to group things together, condense half-empty bins and clean our way through the jungle of spider webs.
Somewhere around 11 o'clock, I went to go put away a pile that had been collecting inside the house. I nearly knocked myself out as I continued to proceed through the door that didn't budge. Haha... surely I was mistaken and didn't turn the handle fully. Try again. Nope, handle is not moving. Door is definitely locked.
"Hey Mom, is the front door open?"
"Hey Mom, do you have a key outside or in your car?"
"Hey Mom, where is your purse?" (Because my mom is famous for leaving her purse, her car keys and anything else a burglar might like in her unlocked vehicle where ever she goes)
"Oh, because we are locked out."
I will kindly shorten what was a three hour long ordeal. We jiggled every lock and window on the house, came to the conclusion that there are no spare keys mysteriously hid anywhere, nor did anyone else possess a spare key, and even employed her criminal-esque neighbor to try to pick the lock. An hour later, and one beat up damaged lock, we conceded and called a locksmith. He was about an hour away but promised he would rush to get to us.
So what else were we to do? We continued to clean and cross our legs in hopes our bladders wouldn't give out. The locksmith arrived another hour later and after about 30 minutes of fiddling with his bag of tricks and $75, he opened the door and let us in.
My mom said it was a small price to pay for a clean garage. She later did not feel so jovial when she found out my sister, who was only about 30 minutes away at the time, did in fact have a key.
We continued our cleaning and de-cluttering regimen. You can't imagine how much stuff this woman had in her garage. From hundreds of dollars worth of Home Interiors items, to Tupperware out the wazoo, to a collection of snowmen that would make the North Pole jealous, to a elephant's weight in magazines. It seemed endless.
But finally, about 8 hours after we began our journey - this was the result....
My mom was able to pull her vehicle in her garage, for the first time EVER, since she's owned it - that has been three years.
As you can still see, the garage is lined with innumerous boxes and shelves of "stuff", but its a world better than what it had been. After two trips to the dump, a massive Goodwill donation, and my van filled to the rim of goodies I wanted - we cleaned and cleared the garage.
I have threaten my mothers life if the garage ever gets to a state of such disarray again.
So Ma, am I still #1?!?!