Saturday, April 10, 2010

House of Pain

We are rapidly approaching the 6 month anniversary of the week I lost my dad and grandmother. Its been fine, really, I have moments of sadness and moments of loss, but overall, its been ok. I tend to miss my grandmother more - we had a good time when we were together and she was a source of information for family stuff (like the names of my mom's friends who I needed to invite to her 60th birthday party. Then I found out mom was turning 59, not 60. Oops. Some birthday present it would have been to throw a 60th birthday party for someone turning 59!)

What's not fine is the state of my father's house. None of us have wanted to touch it all winter. Its a sad place, filled with old furniture and creepy old toys we never threw away. The kitchen and laundry area have been untouched since October. Dad's pills are still on the table. His watch and glasses are where he left them on the last day he walked into the house. The ritz crackers I bought for him because he was nauseous and couldn't eat anything else are still sitting on the counter. Its creepy man. Creepy.

And I just haven't felt like dealing with it.

But yesterday, I took the day off work for the express purpose of making a dent in that damn house. Mom came over to help and we spent a solid 4 hours pulling shit out of drawers, washing stuff to take to goodwill, putting stuff in bags to recycle, putting stuff out for the trash... I filled my car (filled, I tell you) with clothes and bedding too worn out to give away and took it to the fabric recycle place. Mom filled her old suburban with trash and stuff for goodwill. It was gross, dirty work. Nobody, and I mean nobody, should ever have to go through their dead father's underwear drawer.

But that's what you have to do in these situations. End of story.

We found a bag that had two party dresses that my mom wore in the 60's - hand made by my grandmother. One was horrible - picture little bo peep in aqua, with lots of frills (and matching apron. wtf?). One was awesomely beautiful. It was reddish pink shiny fabric, and a cut that wouldn't look out of place at any fancy party today. I tried it on, and discovered that while my waist matches my mother's 1968 measurements, my back/bust is WAY bigger. I wanted to keep it, but what would I do with a fancy 40 year old party dress that didn't fit? We also found her wedding dress - balled up in a bag in the corner of the closet. It was yellowed, and (don't tell her) pretty ugly. Long sleeves, lots of lace. She said she paid something like 100 dollars for it. I think that was too much. I expected Mom to want to keep them all, but she put them in a bag to give away. It was hard to do, but someone will find those party dresses at Goodwill and crap their pants with joy.

Prof unexpected stopped by (ah, the life of a college professor) and my god, was it nice to have him there for support. I made him carry a couple bags out to the car, but he didn't get roped into any real work. Why is it that some boys have the knack of showing up just when the work is ending? I was surprised at how happy I was to have him there to lean on for a few minutes. Plus, he went to go get me lunch. Bonus.

At the end of the day, I smelled bad and was coated with the kind of dust that only lives in abandoned, un-cared-for houses. But it felt really good to take that first step toward dealing with the house.

Now, if only I could get my brother over there to do some work. Did I mention that he wants to buy it? Hello, family drama! Hello, blog posts!