You Might Be A Hoarder? Trades, Treasures, Trash & The Facts. “HAPPINESS starts when NOTHING is EXPECTED, but EVERYTHING is APPRECIATED”

Finding time to go to Appraisal Appointments with a burdened schedule and a sick family pet isn’t easy. I had an interesting proposition come through The Pawning Planners last week but due to my schedule had to bump it until today. 

Anyone who has taken care of a sick child or pet is sleep deprived. You put your own needs aside in order to care for those you love. Over the past three weeks, trips to the vet and ER for Foxy have exceeded $5k. Foxy has bladder cancer and Foxy is like a son to my childless husband. Will we put Foxy through treatment and more surgery? No. Coming to terms with saying goodbye has been incredibly debilitating to my husband but like me he doesn’t want Foxy to suffer. 

If I had it to do over again, Matthew and I would have taken out pet insurance but Foxy’s too old and it’s too late. Luckily, we can afford the best of care for our Beagle. Hand feeding Foxy and giving him his medication has been a joint job of my husband and I due to my schedule. 

I’m on the road all next week and Matthew  has taken on the new role of President this year moving up from Vice President at McBee Homes. Due to our schedules, we have enlisted the help of my twin sister to care for Foxy while we are both on the job and effectively on the road.Anna had taken on a care taking role herself by moving her ailing father into her home. She hadn’t been planning to find love. How did she find Eric? She had signed up as a pen pal at her church to write an inmate. Innocent letters became love letters from Hutchins State Jail. Visits to Eric warmed Anna’s heart. Other than work and caring for her many pets, Anna had little in life to look forward to. Eric filled that void.

I’m always a little surprised that people who have never met someone can fall so deeply in love but, it happens.

Many of my clients are struggling to pay their bills, raise their children and get by on a single income. Very few are also taking care of a parent or parent in their homes but there are a handful of clients that do. 

Caring for your parents isn’t something most children or even adults “plan on.” 

Throughout my years as a premarital counselor one of the Deal Breakers for clients has been moving a parent or parents into the home of a couple. You lose privacy. You add responsibility and you don’t benefit financially. Caring for your parents is a hefty investment both financially and emotionally.

I talked with Anna between clients several times last week. Adding another expense of marrying an inmate didn’t appear to be in her best interest. Also, Anna had found a puppy near her home and taken him in too. From talking to her over the course of a few weeks, I discerned that Anna might be a hoarder. She had shared that picking up discarded items was a regular “thing for her” and that “people throw away items that can be used or recycled so I bring them home instead.” This was my first inkling that Anna’s home might be difficult to “walk.” 

I’ve been in hoarder homes for years. In fact, my dad’s girlfriend Gretta was a shopaholic and rooms filled with boxes that were never opened and racks of clothing never worn were the first time in my adult life I had encountered hoarding to such an extent that navigating through the house was arduous. Gretta kept an immaculate Cadillac and was always “dressed to the nines.” Meeting her away from her home, you would never guess that she was a hoarder. I didn’t. Cindy didn’t either. Our first visit to her home about three blocks from my own in an upscale neighborhood was surprising. Getting inside the front doorway was a series of twists and turns. 

Gretta prepared me for hoarders. As a child, my aunt Dorothy was the only person in our family I had ever seen bedridden. She was bedridden because she weighed over 600 lbs. In the 60’s, this was rare. Dorothy was a hoarder of a different type. She had been a nurse for years like many women in our family and somehow some way had given in to depression and developed an eating disorder. Her sink overflowed with dishes. Animals were everywhere. Her car abandoned in the driveway. Children half dressed running everywhere. I’ve seen poverty. I’ve walked through filth and I’ve learned there is a wide variety of hoarding. From pets to trash to online shopping to picking up items left on curbs, the reason people collect unwanted pets or items is almost always triggered by emotion. 

A traumatic event or experience. A loss. Something starts the hoarding spiral. For Dorothy it was a divorce. I was in my 20’s when I saw aunt Dorothy again and she was walking. This was shocking. She had undergone gastric bypass surgery. She was also headed to move in with her daughter Troy Mae. Obese people can and do lose weight but often medical intervention is necessary. 

Gretta never recovered from losing her husband. The love of her life was lost. She never had children due to an accident in her teens. She loved pets and adored her dog and enjoyed shopping. Gretta was also a professional gambler and happiest in front of a high roller slot machine. I miss her. I always will. Gretta had a laugh, a smile and a heart as big as Texas. Following her unexpected death, my father had a 40 foot dumpster moved to the driveway. My father moved everything he could out of the home. It was depressing to see the end result of a home I had been in for years walking around this or that left barren. It was also depressing to know Gretta wouldn’t be there. My visits became less frequent without Gretta. I’d pick my dad up in the driveway instead. The home was empty without her.

Anna wants to marry an inmate at Hutchins State Jail. Hutchins is a state prison although the name would lead you to believe otherwise. 

Anna also wants to barter her booking services for a TDCJ Officiant. Anna has an antique bed frame with ornate details. I’m concerned about the possibility of bed bugs and never walk a trade without a blue light. Why? Because moving furniture that has been contaminated into my storeroom will contaminate other pieces. The possibility exists and if you are unaware that flipping furniture has the possibility of bed bugs or even feces or cat urine, you need to know the facts. 

Flipping items takes time and money. From renting trucks to foam and fill and fabric to upholstery expenses and storing items while offering them for sale, going into a trade proposition, I go in with my eyes wide open on the front end.

Will Anna find love after lock up? Will Eric accept Anna’s hoarding? Will Anna’s father adapt to someone new in the home? I have no idea but, I’m going in…