Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Call It My Pre-Intervention

I did something the other night that probably won’t earn me any Mother of the Year awards.

One kid was in his room, the other was downstairs. I was in my room, folding laundry and watching
Intervention on A&E.

This isn’t a show I watch often. I find it depressing. Somewhat like

But, because I like the other A&E shows like
Criminal Minds & CSI, more often than not, when you turn on the TV, it’s already on A&E.

Such was the case that night, and how I happened to be sucked into Intervention.

A few minutes into the show, Adam walks into the room.

I immediately reached for the remote, as Intervention isn’t something I make a habit of watching with my almost 10 yr old.

I wasn’t quick enough.

Just as I’m about to change the channel, Adam hops up on the bed, looks at the young guy on the TV and asks, ‘What’s that, Mom?’

It was again one of those moments where
my brain split in two.

One side said, ‘Tell him, 'nevermind what it is', he’s too young to know, and change the channel’

The other said, ‘Take this opportunity and use this show as a learning tool!’

We've already had the drugs and alcohol discussion.

You know, the basics.

Drugs are bad for you. They can slowly kill your mind and body, completely destroy families, and once you start, it's one of the hardest things in the world to stop.

And of course, they can kill you.

Suddenly, my mind flashed back to that 80's commercial. The first one to really draw the worlds attention to the fact recreational drugs were no longer socially acceptable.

Surely you remember it.

That one commercial won numerous awards and honours, and made an impact.

Today, we have kids (and adults of course) on a little show called Intervention.

Would he make an impact?

I've learned that you can talk, lecture and preach to some kids, and they just get it.

Others, like Adam, are more visual learners, and need to see it to believe it, to really understand the impact of the point you're trying to make.

I can only hope neither of my boys ever end up as drug users.

But in the end, all I can do is warn them, and teach them, and hope they get it.

I slowly turned my head away from the TV, looked Adam in the eye and said, 'that my dear, is heroine, a type of drug.'

At the same time, the junkie was trying to find a vein in his arm. That brought about the next obvious question from my boy's curious mind.

"UGH! WHY is he trying to put that needle in his arm?'

I simply said there were different ways to 'take' drugs, and this was one of them. I also made sure to point out how horrible and sore his arms looked.

A few minutes later, it showed the young addict almost passed out, mumbling incoherently.

Adam asked, 'Why's he acting like that? He's not making sense!'

Alright, Mom, time to make your point ... 'Because, THAT'S what happens to your brain when you use drugs!'

'Is he dead?'

OK, time to drive it home ... 'Not yet. Not THIS time. Next time, he may not be so lucky.'

And then, the Mom in me just HAD to throw out, 'Don't you EVER get into that crap, Adam!'

Thankfully, he came back with the words I've committed to memory, and will hold him to forever, 'NO WAY, Mom! I'm never doing drugs!'

And so goes my drug conversation with my soon to be 10 yr old.

I understand some may think ten is too young for this type of visual introduction to the drug world. That I shouldn't have let my kid watch the 15 min or so of Intervention with me, that he did.

Hence, the Mother of the Year comment at the beginning of this post.

The way I see it, he's already aware that drugs exist, he's heard about the older kids 'smoking drugs' down at the skate park.

The scary part is, 'older' isn't really all that much older!

From something as simple as a news report on the radio, he knows 'grown ups' partake in the illegal activity too, even though they shouldn't.

I can't hide him from it.

So, if I can turn him off the whole idea early, remove the mystery and maybe even scare the crap out of him when it comes to just saying NO ... then I'm going to do it.

I'd rather discuss it now, than end up with Candy Finnigan on A&E later.

Call it my pre-intervention.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Dirty Little Secret

I've started watching a new show.



That's the first thought that comes to mind.

Then it goes along the lines of 'omigodhowcanpeoplelivelikethat'.

Clutter is one thing.

I think everyone has some form of clutter in their lives.

But this?

This goes beyond clutter. It's a complete behaviour.

From the Squalor Survivor website:

"3-part definition of clinical hoarding:

  1. The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value (Frost and Gross, 1993).
  2. Living spaces are cluttered enough that they can't be used for the activities for which they were designed (Frost and Hartl, 1996).
  3. Significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding."

During one show, I can remember the homeowner calling it her 'dirty little secret.'

I felt bad for her.

I couldn't believe the condition of her home.

She looked completely overwhelmed, and defeated.

I think many more people than we realize have this dirty little secret, to varying degrees.

I know I do. I always have.

Don't get me wrong. My house has NEVER looked like any you've seen on the hit A&E series.

Or anything like THIS ... EVER!

Pic taken from ScienceDaily

or this ...

Pic taken from Ugly House Photos

As I wrote this post, I walked around the house and snapped pics of a few rooms in their current condition.

You can get through my front door, without falling over something.

OK, maybe a sneaker or two will be laying around, but you CAN walk in the door without walking into furniture.

Or over it.

Then, there's the dining room.

We eat at our table regularly.

Yes, sometimes there's other 'stuff' on it, at the 4th person's place setting, but for the most part, you can always still SEE our table.

In the living room ...

you will occasionally find something that the dog has dragged from the garbage, and the boys are forever throwing their jackets on the couches, but ...

when your butt needs a place to park at 6:30 when you're waiting for your coffee to heat up around the corner, you HAVE a place to sit!

Yes, there's 'stuff', hanging around in some areas there shouldn't be, but overall, you can move around without stepping on anything.

Be that as it may, today I'm coming out and admitting that for particular items, and particular AREAS of my house, I have hoarding tendencies.

This is my dirty little secret.

Why am I exposing it to all of you?

Because watching those people, live in that squalor, scares me to death. And makes me look at my own shit and think 'gotta go gotta go gotta go!'

And now that I've DONE something about it, maybe it'll be enough to give someone else the kick in the ass they need to look at their OWN stuff, and think 'well hell, if SHE can do it ...'

Ya know.

So , let's start with the little thing.

I've always been a book (and magazine) hoarder. My mother, ex and kids can easily attest to this one :-)

There are books in most every room in my house.

Yes, that includes the bathroom, too.

And sets. Maybe not complete sets, but once I find an author I like, I kind of go nuts and get everything I can find on them.

And I can't get rid of them. Cause, ya know, you can't get rid of the books you like.

So, with that in mind ... Hello, my name is Kim, and I'm a book hoarder.

Then, there's the BIG things.

And what would a hoarding post be, without a shot of my (W)rec(ked) Room.

Gawd. I can't believe I'm doing this.

Although one side looks somewhat livable.

The other ... not so much.

This is what was supposed to be the toy/playroom.

OK. Here's the deal.

Have I mentioned I hate my (W)rec(ked) Room!

It was supposed to be a fixer upper project for the Ex, that didn't quite get fixed ... up, down, left, right ...

And I certainly don't have the skills to do it myself, or the finances to have someone do it properly for me.

So it's stayed as is. Partly finished. Partly not.

I've sat in this (W)rec(ked) room, watching Hoarders, and then glanced across the room to my dirty little secret.

And I hate it.

But I don't know where to start.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know, start small, give yourself small accomplishments and the job won't seem so big.

All wonderful, sensible advice.

When you're not the one looking at your own personal nemesis.

Finally, one night last month I got up, literally yanked up my sleeves, looked at all the junk and said out loud to the empty room, 'it's ON Baby!'

Picked a spot, worked my way through it and either tossed, donated or found a home for it on a shelf or temporarily in a bin.

Again, yeah yeah yeah, I know the bins are cop outs, but I was going for the quick fix in some areas. Especially toys!

And after a bit of work ... progress!

Threw a bit of carpet on the floor, strategically place a few 'toy bins', and more progress ...

It's by no means perfect, or pretty, but it's functional.

And for now, functional works for me.

We can work on the pretty.

Now that I've tackled and conquered the beast that is, the (W)rec(ked) room, I'm going to tackle the other hoarding spot in the Korner.

Oh yes. There's another one.

My closet!

Although one side is (mostly) organized ...

... the other is a complete disaster.

What started as a 'catch all spot' has exploded into the 'pit of shit'.

It must be stopped

However, that's another post for another day.

One dirty little secret at a time, People ;-)


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Damn You Jim Reeves, AND Your Old Christmas Card!

Once, during an argument, my ex threw out the statement that I 'still haven't gotten over your dad's death!'

That was after we separated, so it would have been going on a couple of years after dad died.

At the time, I disagreed with him. I told him that yes, I missed him, and always would, but I thought I was moving along with life nicely.

It's been over 7yrs now, and I wouldn't be honest if I said I didn't miss him.

And still think about him at certain times.

One of those times is Christmas. Obviously.

And there are two Christmas songs that always remind me of him.

I heard Kenny & Dolly's 'I'll be home with bells on' many many many times this year. It originally came out when I was Alec's age, 13.

It became even more personal as I grew up, because I always went home for Christmas.

And though it still brings back memories, it didn't bring on an emotional reaction this year as it had in the first few years after dad was gone.

That argument with the ex came back to me, as it does at times, and I thought to myself, maybe I'd 'moved on' another step in 'getting over it.'

On Christmas Eve, long after the boys had gone to bed, I was wrapping presents.

I was tired, and the emotional guard was down when it came on the radio.

That song.

Dad's song.

Jim Reeves, singing An Old Christmas Card.

Damn you Jim Reeves, AND your old Christmas card.

I was doing OK until I heard that song.

My fingers stopped wrapping.

I closed my eyes and could picture, clear as day, my father saying to me, 'turn that up Kimberly!' as this would come on the radio, then him turning to my mom and saying 'let's dance Di.'

And he'd either take her in his arms, right there in the kitchen, or drag her into the living room.

For so many years, this memory had been my reality.

I didn't even realize I was crying, until that first teardrop made a small 'thwack' on the wrapping paper still in my hands.

But I didn't try to stop them.

Not that night.

Not during that song.

I do think I've 'gotten over' my dad's death.

As well as any person can anyway.

But I do still have my moments, like Christmas Eve, when I'm alone, and the guard is down.
Moments that bring me back, make me remember, and sometimes, make me sad that will never be again.
But then the song ends.

I wipe the remaining tears on my sweatpants, pick up the tape, and continue to wrap the present that was momentarily forgotten.

And simply did what we all have to do when that song ends ...

Just keep wrappin'.

Cause Christmas morning is going to come.

And two boys are going to rush expectantly into the living room to see what Santa left under the tree.

And life is going to go on.

As it does.

And all we can do, is just keep on wrappin' ;-)

I hope all of you, and yours had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday, and all the best in 2010!