Friday, December 21, 2012

Getting there.....

Well...the photo is a little fuzzy...but that's the inside of my PODS unit on the driveway.  21 days into this work of going through all the boxes in my garage from my parents.....and I'm down to about 30 smallish boxesThe miracle of actually getting through a whole PODS of stuff was not lost on the universe....since the low hanging sun of winter even shined in the unit last night.  

I feel a sense of accomplishment and order....I've given away lots to Goodwill...threw some stuff out....and sorted things for garage sale and selling online.  Last night....I opened a box of beautiful vintage blazers and a few dresses from my mom.  They were gorgeous and as you would expect of classic quality clothes...have held up well even in storage.  I know nothing about selling things online but will start next fall.  As I patted the sleeve of one blazer with amazing buttons and crisp pipping...I thought of how happy some woman might be to own such a fashionable quality least that is what I'm thinking right now.

Funny, in my mother was always dominant...she did the finances....she was uncontested leader of the family....and architect of our life. But as I go through this boxes with so many many interesting things....collectables...vintage was my father that saved all of this.  I have virtually nothing from my mother....she destroyed her own records so I wouldn't find out her real age...there are no school paper trail.  Everything in these boxes are items my dad found interesting and I did too....because I saved them from the Estate Sale.  Sometimes, I scold myself and say...."You should have let them sell this"...but most of these things that are left are what I have found unique from their life too....and hope to pass on to the kids and even to the other folks once I learn how to do that.

Interesting....the only papers I have found are in my dad's collections of the hundreds of binders he kept with news articles and magazine photography ....stuck somewhere in the binder I have come across grandparents marriage of my parents wedding....or the personal papers of my dad.  I have often wondered why he hid such interesting papers, documents and photos in these binders of articles.  If you don't search these binders page by page you would never find them!

Yesterday as I found an interesting note from my grandfather to a tenant.... and the thought suddenly hit me... was he actually hiding these artifacts from my mother?  She was known to go through stuff and toss everything away...she thought everything old was "junk".  Consequently...I have no documents from my maternal legal business documents...nothing.  Whereas my dad, squirreled away hundreds of things.  I wondered if he hid these documents in his binders because my mother wouldn't find them there...she wouldn't be able to tear them up and toss them out.  

Of course the risk for dad, was that maybe I wouldn't find them either (I'm an only child so there was no one else to discover them).  Perhaps he planned to tell me they were there at a later time.  Of course, when he had his stroke, he couldn't talk or write....and he was soo soo frustrated.  He tried so hard to talk to me...sometimes I look back and wonder if he wanted to tell me where all this stuff was....if he wanted to tell me to search through each binder for papers and family mementos....look through the napkins on the bar for the cash he hid....look underneath the stairs in the crawl space to find some silver coins.  I didn't know these things when I started dismantling their house...but I quickly learned ...that dad had obviously hidden things away from my mother...and I learned to search every nook and cranny of the house as well as innocuous things like his stash of innocent binders.  

I guess that's why this process has taken so dad hid things and the times it takes for discovery is huge. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Busy busy busy since the Pod landed

Well....what was I thinking a couple of months ago?  

I guess something like this....Hmmmmm renting a POD for a month would be a great idea.  I could empty out ALL the boxes I've stored in my garage from my parent's house, clean out the garage, go through the boxes....and finally deal with them.  Wonderful idea Gina.  Now, let me go online and fill in the boxes and put my credit card info in and let them deliver it to me on DEC 1st.

Now...I am thinking...what the hell was I thinking getting a POD delivered on DEC 1st?  I mean there's winter, Chanukah, Xmas parties and New Year's....things to do, places to go.

Well....whatever....the PODS unit arrived on DEC. 1st and hub and I got down and dirty and emptied all the boxes into it and then cleaned the garage perimeter. Then I made some rules...I will pull out at least 6 boxes a day....(cause 6 x30 =180 boxes) and I will go through the box and put the stuff in three piles....Goodwill/ garage sale/sell.

I set up a folding buffet table smack dab in the center of the garage...with tape, screwdrivers, box openers, magnifying glass, string, etc all the necessities I could need for opening and sorting my IPAD for looking up stuff.

Then asked the men folks to start hauling them in.  Well, I had the right stuff to open boxes....but within 24 hours I quickly ran into a problem....tubs and/or boxes that could not be examined in an hour or two.  

 I opened at least two boxes filled to the top with my dad's papers....World War II papers....pamphlets....notes.....letters... pictures.....etc. etc.  Well you just can't go through something like that in an hour or two.  So I had to invent a new category.....Too Complicated to Deal with NOW.  So far I have 6 boxes in this category stacked in a corner of the garage.  I'm trying to keep this pile small.....but the fact remains after this round of culling things....there will still be stuff to go through.  I'm disappointed but realistic.

I've been surprised with the contents of some boxes....they show how nutty I was....or tired....or too much in grief to think.  

I opened one small box and it contained an old beach towel, two of my dad's used t-shirts and about ten pairs of his old socks.  That's it.....I looked at the contents and thought what was I thinking???  The beach towel was old with no memories attached to it....and the socks and t-shirts were just socks and t-shirts.  I placed them in the Goodwill bag and was happy I could get through that box in less than 10 minutes.

There are some big big plastic storage tubs in the PODS unit.... I bravely pulled out one of them last night. I had NO IDEA what was in it...I didn't mark it....I don't remember it....but I was nervous...a big tub means lots of stuff...and I really don't want to deal with lots of stuff.  I don't want more stuff in my house (after all.... all these boxes lived outside of my house and I didn't need a thing from any of them) and I didn't want to find complex things...and I didn't want to puzzled by valuable things I don't know what to do with.  So I took a deep breath.....and opened the lid.  

HOOORAY!   So this tub there was a new frying pan....(okay I could use that) some rags....(Okay these were soft ones I could put in the rag bucket) and about 24 double rolls of Bounty paper towels.  

Man...I was crazy.....why did I pack all these paper towels??? What was I thinking?? The only explanation I could dream up was... I discovered these paper towels in my dad's garage or basement....probably a Sam's Club purchase....I used some of them to clean the house....I probably thought the tub was a nice storage container to take home so I packed the paper towels in the tub along with a few items I could actually use.   Phew.  Dodged the bullet on that one.

I got so brave I pulled another big tub out tonight for tomorrow's work.  I peeked.....ugh.

Xmas stuff....piles and piles of Xmas stuff....obviously something I packed before the estate sale.  Maybe I wanted the kids to have some stuff?  Maybe I thought they were valuable? Boy...I shut that sucker tight and took a deep breath and will face whatever the hell it is ....tomorrow.

Tomorrow.  Day 12.... half way through...

may the remaining boxes and tubs be kind to me.   

The Pod

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Tits as weapons

In some ways....tits have always been used as weapons.  

I'm reminded of my time spent at the country club pool when my kids were little...trophy or simply very narcissistic wives would wear unbelievably skimpy bra bikinis to show off their assets and advertise to each other.  The advertisement went something like this:  mine are bigger ...firmer...rounder than yours which means I'm better than  you in catching rich gullible men prone to liking this type of arsenal.  (Meow.)

Of course women have used tits as weapons against men forever....flashing them at vulnerable men....and making them shake with desire.  In this case, they are more like Nerf guns....they mimic something dangerous but they're actually soft and fun.

It seems, however, a woman has actually used her breasts as an actual weapon ....instead of teasing a man into submission ....she tried to suffocate him with 36DD's.

 "Franziska Hansen, 33, is reportedly charged with “attempted murder with a weapon” after her lawyer boyfriend claimed she tried to smother him while pretending it was a sex game."

"(The Lawyer) told a court in Germany that the couple had been having sex in May this year when Ms Hansen suddenly grabbed his head and pushed it between her breasts with all her force.

He is quoted as saying: “I couldn't breathe any more, I must have turned blue. I couldn't tear myself free and I thought I was going to die.”

Mr Schmidt, who weighs 13 stone (182 lbs), claims he managed to wriggle free and fled naked to a neighbour, who raised the alarm.

He told the court that the couple’s four-year relationship had been strained after they moved to the town of Unna, where his career as a lawyer took off and she struggled to hold a job.

I  told this story to my hub.....and he said really? and then just laughed.

By the way....I think they have the facts wrong in the story....if these are actually the weapons (story taken from the Huffington Post) I would say they are more like 36 DDD.  I think you would need more than two D's to do some serious damage.

Sorry...had to remove was toxic and leaving snippets of text in other blogs.....but you can google the story and google the weapons.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Mysterious Disappearance of Granny Cat

We are not sure of Granny cat's real name or age. She's lived with us for 3 1/2 years since my parents died. I didn't want to inherit this cat plus her brother but I couldn't find a shelter or any one to adopt them in Chicago because of their age and temperaments.

I believe my mom called them "Minnie" and "Mike." Although I love cats, I never had a lot of interaction with them.  They would scoot away when I approached them and were often sequestered in the basement.

I always felt sorry for them.  My mother disliked cats yet she found two kittens in their outdoor shed and had my dad bring them into the house.  She loved them when they were kittens...fed them with a bottle...kept them in an enclosure with soft towels....but when they became cats and started walking around the house and when my mother discovered they were not dogs...i.e. pets that would run to her ...obey her....and cuddle with her on command...she banished them to the basement and allowed them to come upstairs to the main part of the house for a couple hours a day.

My dad spent a lot of time in the was the typical finished basement in and was dad's man cave.  He was a kind man and he liked the when he was in the man cave in the evenings....they frolicked around him and allowed him to touch them. They were more normal in their behavior with him.  Once upstairs though...they became skittish....aloof....and "spooky"...easily frightened by people or things.

As I mentioned, when my parents died...I inherited them.  While I was cleaning and remodeling their house...I tried to normalize the cats.  I let them come upstairs for longer and longer time periods...I tried to touch and handle them.....and talk to them.  "Minnie" seemed to respond to me a little...but Mike was as skittish as ever. 

 When no one agency would take them for adoption, I decided to bring them home with me.  There really wasn't any other solution except to put them to sleep.....which I couldn't do....not with my parents death being so recent.  In moving the cats out to my car to drive home....the male cat....escaped....and dashed down the block at lightening speed. I never found him.  So just "Minnie" came home with me.  I imagined she was petrified....not only was she out of the basement and into the world...but my father, her familiar keeper, was gone and so was her brother...both constants in her life since she was a kitten.

At my house, she remained fearful and skittish.  We carved out a territory for her as we had another cat.  For some reason, I had to go back to Chicago I left her in the care of my husband...a bit of animal whisperer.  When I returned, it was obvious she had imbedded herself on him.  She wouldn't even look at me...even though I fed her and took care of her box and needs...she lived only for my hub's presence . She would jump into his lap and purr...a behavior we had never seen in my parents' house.

She was round and fat and had this furry hanging belly so we called her "Fat Cat." But within a couple of weeks, she became very ill. I took her to the vet.  He was very pessimistic and felt she didn't have much time to live....liver problems....digestion problems....weight loss...all bad signs.  He suggested we try some steroids so her last days would be comfortable.  Well, that was 3 years ago....Minnie, Fat Cat...pulled through somehow...her coat became soft and glossy and she continued to eat like a cow.  Sometimes I even called "Cow Cat"....cause she ate and pooped like one.

Her name continued to evolve.....and  we started calling her "Granny cat" to differentiate her from our new young cat.  Despite a loving home and many names, she remains mostly a spooky cat...always wary...until she spys my hub then she transforms into a more normal cat. She turns into a purring machine, jumps on his desk and rubs up against his face. 

Late Friday evening....I noticed she wasn't waiting for me when I went to feed her.  Hmmmm....but...we were cleaning and getting ready for my daughter's visit so I thought all the house activity had upset her and she was hiding as usual.  I didn't bother calling for her because she just ignores me.  On the radar screen started beeping....I realized I hadn't seen her.  I asked hub...when did you last see Granny cat?  My daughter was now here so again we dismissed her disappearance to the fact that a new person was in the house. But then...with a nagging bad feeling.... I checked the cat box....nothing...clean as a whistle...and this cat was never constipated in her I knew she wasn't hiding...she was gone.
So...I gathered the kids and we searched the house....flashlights out....looking under couches....checking the closets....looking beyond her usual territory in the house. No cat.  

She is declawed and never goes out the front door but now we were concerned she had gotten outside.  More family gathered.... we did a systematic sweep of the front and back yard.  Now someone remembered Ozzie the Wonder Dog had barked at something in the morning and chased it.  Could he have chased Granny Cat?  Was she hiding in the bushes near the front door and he ran her off?  

My head was whirling. Damn...she had no collar or micro chip.  Any time anyone attempted to put a collar on her she worked on it till she tore it off and we never chipped her.  It was getting late in the day....and we had no clue where she was.  We did another systematic search of the front and back yard.  Granny Cat was not a smart cat or a responsive one so yelling her name seemed futile...all we could hope to spot her in the leaves or under a bush.

At this late hour, there wasn't much we could do.  I started a plan in my head.  Tomorrow posters.....the next day a call to the Humane society/pound...another look in the morning around the house.

My hub  was looking sad by this time....he was the only human she had bonded to since my dad....and although she was old....we didn't want her to come to a lonely or painful end....starving to death outside....hypothermia.....or becoming dinner to a fox or coyote.

We opened the front door a hundred times and just looked outside. 


 Finally...I decided to make one more search of the house. I started in my daughter's room....and searched  all the rooms on the second floor.  I decided to check the attic again even though there's very little traffic in and out. I opened the door....looked...listened and called her name.  Nothing.  I decided to check the very back of the attic with all the boxes piled up and grabbed a lantern.  

There it was...a flash of red eye near a box...Granny Cat! How the hell did she get into the attic???....and now I remembered.... I had put a suitcase in the attic on Friday afternoon and a short time latter realized the door was a jar...but since this section of the house was Fancypants domain, I made sure Fancypants was  around and simply closed the door.

I flew out of the attic and called to my hub....come quick....she's here but I don't want to spook her.  I went back to the far depths of the attic and put the light on her again....she was terrified ...hunkered down on some boxes...she had obviously not moved as there were pee stains on the boxes.  

My hub joined me and started talking and cooing to her...but she didn't move.... we figured by now she hadn't eaten or drank anything for at least 36 he found a folding chair and sat down and started talking to her.  

I left the attic....hoping she would feel more comfortable.  Slowly...very slowly....she crept away from the boxes and came to my hub....meowing pathetically.  He made a quick grab for her and burst out of the attic with the cat in his hands.  He placed Granny Cat near her food and water and shut the door.  We just looked at each other.

We had gone into the attic a couple of times with our search party but we hadn't seen her and in her frightened state she wouldn't vocalize or answer us when we called to her.  She could have died right there in our house...I'm not even sure I would have rechecked the attic again because there was simply no reason to believe she could have gotten in there.

  My hub reminded me she was not smart....and not well socialized so turning to us was not her first option.  Not like our other cats....who see us as their come fetch them when they're not happy.

So Granny Cat is back.  She looks a little was a tough experience hiding among the boxes...on a cold night in the attic.  She's been dozing on her blanket in hub's study....sleeping deeply.

I came into the study to check on her today. I reached out my hand to pet her and was shocked when she stayed in place on the couch. I gave her some scratchies... cooed words of encouragement ...and petted her until I reached her human contact limit.  I tucked the blanket around her to keep her warm....and left....hub would be home soon and she would be happy to see him.

She is a small not-so-bright little animal who shares our home and our lives....she is not the greatest pet....but she is ours and we our hers....and sometimes that is just how the arrangement works.