Sunday, February 26, 2006

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I woke up about eleven AM this morning, but I still made Pumpkin Bran Raisin Walnut Bread. It would have been a lot better without the bran, but I can fix that next time. Meanwhile, I'm eating what I made. And Friday I bought low calorie/low carbohydrate chocolate peanut butter ice cream and I'm eating that no later than three PM. Harry always cooks up a storm. He's made Borscht from scratch, pancakes, and pierogies all recently. We've been going out a lot because we've been taking showers everywhere in the afternoon and then we eat dinner in a restaurant. But Harry gets tired of the mediocrity in restaurants and goes back to cooking pretty quickly.
I have been sneaking in painting and have two more paintings finished or almost done. I've just started a new one and I'm hoping to go shopping at Utrecht Wednesday when I'm in town. The errands are piling up for Wednesday because I don't like to walk around in the cold and my free time now--on good days--is being used by showering.
I'm still frantically looking up houses for sale on the web, seeing houses being built--that I'd love--in far-flung towns too far away to seriously consider. I really am a city girl; I can't imagine me in conservative suburbia. I like the little semi-suburban towns around Philly, but they are still convenient to everything I enjoy. And the people living there aren't all the same. And don't have to be the same.
When we lived in our Bustleton apartment thirty years ago--but people haven't changed--one neighbor complained about how we put out our trash, and I can't remember the difficulty with another but I remember them, and the noise from downstairs and the banging. I used to take Honey to kindergarten on my bike and I started a food cooperative. I began Art school at 23 and painted all night, had long hair and was obviously a hippie. (To my neighbors.) The community in general thought I was crazy. I've learned to stay quiet and alone but wouldn't it be great to have some "anti-establishment" neighbors? Wow! Please God, let me not reside next to any flag-waving George W. voters.
Yeah, I'm depressed by the lack of affordable ranch houses in Glenside. (I'm thinking Glenside is my kind of place but for all I know it could be an American Legion anti-abortion demonstrating guarded-personality stronghold.) I have yet to call my friend Randi who knows basically everything about everything (except vision and self-examination.) But she's a font of knowledge about vacations, real estate, education, and doctors and that's pretty good. She lives in Elkins Park and knows well all the surrounding areas.
And I haven't done anything about my eating habits or my fear of speaking up either. Since I'm a very opinionated person who yearns to be a star, that's pretty harsh. I have been thinking of doing EMDR which is a skill my (old) therapist taught me and that I still do with her. But I can do it with drawing. Honey tells me really good ways to request stuff from the universe, meditations and affirmations but I forget them all. It's easy to coast along when I have only to talk to Harry. I'm hoping I'll get around to doing the EMDR work, order books, get my unused clothes and shoes together to give away, etc. etc. I still love being retired; it's always Saturday and the only insanity is mine.

Friday, February 24, 2006

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We just watched the movie "Rent" and I'm depressed. Years ago I saw the play, but a movie is more immediate; it feels more real. There were emotions in that movie I've never felt. Maybe they're not real; movies usually don't present reality realistically. Gradually, I'm finding all my disappointment that might never have surfaced were it not for prednisone. I never want to repeat that experience but it opened opportunities I might never have tripped over, or maybe I would have but too late.
I don't understand yet why I don't want to eat healthy. It's more than loving food which I do. I see why it's hard for me to speak up and with my personality, why I resent folks who don't encourage me (which is kind of ridiculous, but really a problem.) And I wanted a different life, maybe a Prince Charming with all the accouterments. Sad. This is making me more depressed. Just seeing this stuff and understanding where it came from doesn't take it away. It hurts.
Running around for showers isn't fun either. Today I was out with Jerry and that's normally fun. It was, actually. Why I'm not bored silly when he tells me in detail about electrical lines, chess, or poker, I don't understand. But I enjoy my time with him even if he talks over me pretty often. He really is brilliant but he's afraid to feel stupid and that prevents him from experimenting. Or playing chess when he can't be a star anymore. Apparently, chess players peak when they're young and then gradually decline until I guess they have to play just anybody. Yet he can't understand why I care about people seeing my paintings.
We ate at a good deli in Bucks County then zipped around shopping. I finally bought a replacement four-cup coffee maker. I loved the one I had at work; I didn't miss anything else I left there. Just the little coffee maker. I wake myself up every morning with flavored coffee: Egg Nog; Pumpkin; Chocolate with and without mixing in Caramel coffee; Vanilla Cream with cinnamon sticks and added vanilla; and I have a couple more waiting. Plus I want to make myself some Pumpkin bread with raisins and nuts but I have no time with the shower vacations. I'm not sure about my energy either with the depression hanging over me.
Tomorrow is Bubba's shower again and then none on Sunday. Monday we're supposed to be able to use our own bathtub again. I hope so; I have too much scheduled.
I think I'm depressed about the house options too. A good number of the nice ones have oil heat which is out. And I liked the houses better in Kennett Square and Phoenixville than in Glenside or Cheltenham--all suburbs of Philly. I can't buy a very expensive house and I have to watch out for escalating taxes too. Plus I don't want to move to a conservative lily-white area. True Suburbia? I live closer to Glenside et al now and I think they match what I want better. This all makes me anxious. I've lived here for thirty years and I hated it for about twenty. At least. A friend of mine gave me the low-down on some areas in Delaware County and I'm grateful. Hey! The decision is made! It's somewhere in Glenside/Roslyn/Cheltenham or whatever!

Monday, February 20, 2006

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Katrina Genocide & What Makes Life Worth Living

Elephant & Child Feb.'06
I"m just taking a break from painting. I'm doing a lot of overlays, so I put one down for a day or two and take up another one. These are abstracts and about the most fun I can have painting. How can I jump from this to genocide in New Orleans and Africa? I had wanted to mention I believe at least part of W's and his crew's reason for allowing basically genocide in New Orleans was to "cleanse" the city of black people. And that's why they don't care about what's happening in Africa besides the fact that there's nothing to steal. Atlantic City better watch out; if there's ever a terrible flood there under W's watch, I think he'll let the whole place float into the sea and then rebuild the casinos. In Europe what he did is called "Ethnic Cleansing", but over here it's just called negligence, or a mix-up. what will history--if W doesn't hijack that too--say about him and his administration? I just put up the elephant & child which felt right because I was talking about Republicans doing irreparable damage to people, including children,
I didn't listen to the TV news tonight and I breezed through the newspapers today and didn't finish. It was a busy day but I didn't do anything special. We went out to a mediocre breakfast, looked for the ranch houses in Glenside and didn't find them, and went shopping. When we got home, I fed Blackie, the dog at the corner and painted. Blackie, who looks ugly and scary, is just a sweet-tempered untrained dog. He's outside most every day being friendly with everyone who passes by. He's part Rottweiler and Black Lab I think. Today, he was turning and twisting every which way so I could rub his neck and he could lick my face. He expects treats from me everyday which I can't live up to but I try. I missed my Sammy eating all the leftovers and I've very quickly converted Blackie to a waffle-eating pup. And Autumn now tastes all my food; she believes it's her right and I'm so old, I don't care. It's fine. She tasted cole slaw, eggs, checks out seltzer; you name it she tastes it. Life just zooms by but being with my family, our animals, and living my life makes it okay.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

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I'm just scanning a painting into the computer. I'm still working on two abstract paintings but I finished a little pastel tonight. I want to scan in some pen and inks too, but I suspect I'll be in bed first. Honey was here today; that was nice. Harry made enough vegetables with our Cornish hens so Honey could have a good meal too. The only thing missing was a gigantic ice cream sundae--perfect for diabetics.
I'm hoping I can get serious about eating right; I know I've been "eating up to" my diabetes medication. When people do that, they eventually go through the medication and end up on insulin. My brother is on that now and he's having trouble keeping his diabetes under control. This is a progressive disease. I don't know if it's possible to be careful enough but that's the direction I'd like to go in.
I"m still a little depressed, but it feels different now. I saw my excellent therapist yesterday. (I can see her only once a month so I try to make it count.) Through EMDR, I was able to see why I have trouble coming out from hiding when I'm not with friends. Good supportive friends or family. I feel foolish even looking into this at fifty-eight but I'd like to be truly happy before I die. It's horrible to look back as an adult and realize how much damage adults do to children. Most of it is unconscious too. And the majority of people either cover it up or just accept the pain as normal. I never knew how to be normal or acceptable for that matter. Apparently as a child I said things that weren't what my family expected. And needed more attention than watching "Meet the Press" on TV. That and Arthur Godfrey. I hated those shows. No wonder I hate music from the 1950's, Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra. Feh! Life is so boring when you don't know how to read and can't tell people what you want, or when they don't listen or think you deserve to be heard.
That's enough talk. My picture is still scanning and I don't know how to check and see how much longer it will be so I'll put another one on here for now.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

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I've been so busy--first painting abstracts in a kind of frenzy which would have continued if I hadn't had to tend to my mother-in-law's and my own health. I'm fine but she's not, which is no surprise as she'll be 85 March 5th. It used to be just Harry who took care of her but now, I've joined her team. Harry was missing important signs while he followed up every possible financial opportunity for her. So now Bubba calls me a few times a day to tell me what she's eating and ask my permission which she doesn't need, for food and medicine. She needs reassurance. I been getting social workers in and prompting everyone to notice what she needs. And I go with her and Harry to her doctor's visits. I soothe Harry when he's overwhelmed and doesn't realize how things can be done. All this takes a lot of energy but I'm okay.
My doctor thinks I'm having a reaction to the medicine for Osteopenia and that's not good. Since I'm taking steroids and my bones have been thinning, I need that medication. For now, I've stopped it and I'm taking Nexium. The Nexium is working so we'll see. I also went to the dermatologist for my thinning hair that was previously coming out in clumps (until I cut my Lamictal dose.) The dermatologist told me to use that hair medicine whose name I forget now, but I haven't even looked at the bottle. Harry bought it for me but I just haven't started. It has to be put on twice a day including an hour or so before bed. If it gets on the pillow and then onto my face, the doc predicted a beard for me. But without a real bathroom, and being so busy, I just can't handle any more.
Of course, I'm still looking at houses and trying to figure out how to get what I want. It would be easier maybe to move to Delaware with a modular house but Harry dislikes Delaware. He thinks the whole state is Alabama with no decent shopping and backward people. We got lost once and wandered into a couple of towns that gave him that impression and he can't shake it.
Our house is going to look terrific when it's done and I'd like to move to another one just as nice. When I look at those ranch houses in Abington, they really do look old and shabby. I would love a new house built for us.

Monday, February 13, 2006

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From Mrs. Chicken to Bathing In Oil Paints

I just ordered brushes; this is the first time in, probably, a couple of years. Last year, when he was a kitten, Moon chewed up a couple of the sable brushes and I needed to replace them. After the London/Barcelona folks told me about the interest in my abstracts, I couldn't wait to get to my oils and start painting abstracts. It felt as though they gave me permission and I've been enjoying painting them. So far, I may have finished one and I'm working on three others at the same time. I may run out of steam, but that's life. I think they're pretty and I like them. Actually, I have one hanging just to the left of my computer from maybe the 90's. I've always liked that one. I have my favorites in here and my studio. It feels WONDERFUL to be painting again. I love painting in watercolor, but I love oils more. They're messy, exciting, and I get completely absorbed in them in addition to coming away with souvenir paint all over my hands, face, and clothes. What fun!
I'm surprised I painted today though and glad. I spent hours shopping with the fellow who's doing all the work in the house. I was really exhausted. And one of my medicines, is, I think, making me sick. I've had stomach pain for a few days; occasionally it's excruciating. I still painted. I wish I could have laid on the sofa watching daytime television and painted at the same time. I want to pamper myself and paint too. (I guess that's what buying the brushes was about.)
The reason I wrote tonight was really to put Mrs. Chicken Goes Home on here. It's so cute and yesterday I finally scanned it into the computer. I got a kick out of painting it. And I'm still in my barnyard phase; the watercolor I've started (in addition to the oils) is an elephant with a child. So here's Mrs. Chicken. I hope you like her as much as I do.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

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Abstract similar to the one I'm painting. The new one has intense color.
The gallery organization in London/Barcelona told me people really like my abstracts and suddenly! I wanted to paint them. I always thought they were a cop-out for me, or a form of relaxation when painting people was overwhelming. It never occurred to me to paint any abstracts just for the joy of it. Given the encouragement and the opportunity, I had a ball and I'm still having a ball with the same painting. Since I don't have to please anyone but me, I'm playing with it.
I'm grateful for the outlet of that painting; my bathroom is basically non-existent. Taking a shower with plastic sheets surrounding you--sticking to you--is the only activity that can be done in there now. We have to go down the two sets of stairs to the basement bathroom. Our main bathroom is the first work being done to fix the house. I hope we can sell the house and move to Abington--a Philly suburb. I've been saying I want a ranch house with a fireplace, garage, two bathrooms and three bedrooms on the first floor. So far, looking at the houses available, very few have fireplaces or two bathrooms. There are a lot of Cape Cods on the market; they have one bedroom on the main floor and two upstairs. That would defeat our purpose of no steps. Looking at the interiors of the houses I see on the web, their kitchens and the whole houses don't look as good as mine! We did our kitchen about fifteen years ago and other than the fact that it's too small, it looks very good. These other ones look outdated and cramped. Ugly.
Speaking of ugly, no matter what I do or how many prayers I send, I'm still miserable and angry at people who don't "notice" me. Resentment and anger are a very nasty mix and I truly wish I didn't feel this way. I still receive emails from a group I used to call my friends. There is still a mutual friendship between some of the people and me. But boy do I resent those folks who were unfriendly. It's because of the vibes I got from them (and the fact that I had very little in common with any of them) that I can't stand to go to their dinners. Maybe how I feel is normal, I don't know. I probably said this before: they began to have parties with a part of the group and Harry and I weren't invited. Some of our friends were and the parties became a regular activity they all talked about at the dinners. I felt uncomfortable. Harry was okay with it probably because he couldn't hear what they were saying. But I could.
I can see, reading this, there's no fix. We were shut out and if we were ballsy, we could still go and that's how I wish I were. But I'm far from that. I'm easily offended, sensitive, opinionated and shy. I'm still working on "being". I think it's time to put that chapter of my life into the past. Sometimes that happens; it's not comfortable but it's reality.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

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The Joy of Cats

Today KeKay started working on our bathroom; we don't have a sink or mirrors in there anymore and all our "stuff" is out too. I'll have to root around to find my dental stuff in a couple of minutes. I thought all this confusion would drive me crazy but it isn't. Maybe I'll go crazy next week, but so far, I'm coping.
After KeKay left for the day, we went to Harry's mom's so we could both do what she needed then we took her to her doctor's appointment. It was a waste of time because her other doctor's office never faxed over her blood work as they promised. (That happens regularly in the world of new medicine.) Then we took Bubba out to dinner at her favorite deli. She ate very little and drank a little water and promptly started to cough and spit up into about twenty-four napkins which I kept requesting. She insisted she was fine but I wasn't; it's hard to eat when someone is throwing up across from you. I accidentally threw my icy glass of water onto my dress and jacket, but no problem, I was getting out. Harry's mom--Bubba-- has lost approximately forty pounds in about eight months because she really has no appetite. We've tried but we can't entice her with anything. The only reason she left her apartment was because she had a doctor's appointment. The only one eating well in her home is her cat Pumpkin. Whenever he walks into the kitchen, she figures he's hungry and she opens a can for him. He's got a great gig for a cat.
Pumpkin has a chronic ear infection from a past life so when I visit, I put medication in his ears so I'm not his buddy. He does seem to notice I clean his kitty litter though so he tolerates me. Our big guy, Moon, now has an eye infection which we think he caught from Autumn kitten, our baby. It's not wonderful to get the medicine into his eye but we're persisting. The vet thinks Autumn picked up a chronic respiratory infection from her littermates and whoever was with the bunch of kittens in her breeder's basement. The vet was "tsk tsking" when I said her breeder kept the cats caged in the basement and didn't invite me down. I realize that's a bad breeder. Good breeders bring the kittens into bed with them, never cage them, and charge at least $700 for a Maine Coon kitten who is to be a pet and never mated.
I'm thrilled with our Autumn though, sneezy though she is. She cuddles with me on the sofa every evening and in bed through the mornings. And Moon is the quintessential sweetheart male cat except that he never sits in my lap; he sits in Harry's. Moon is apple-faced with long gray and silver fur and Autumn has sharper features with red fur. We've always had cats and they've always been sweet; I guess we've been lucky. Oh! Autumn is just in to visit and remind me it's time for bed. So good night now.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

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Yesterday was Cousin Jerry's birthday; Brian took him out to dinner and today, we took Jerry and our son and daughter. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, a Thai-French one called the Alisa Cafe in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. It's been a restaurant week anyway because we've been out at dinnertime. Last night was seafood, the night before was home, but the night before that we were downtown and ate at Brigid's, another restaurant I like a lot. I can't remember what we did Wednesday except that I water my plants that day.
Tuesday the guys start working on the bathroom, tearing out the walls and eventually putting new ones in. I'm totally freaked about the impossibility of doing my normal toilette. I'm a woman with about six flavors of body creams which I revel in after baths. I love big soft towels and being about to brush my teeth without searching everywhere for the toothpaste. My brother would be fine with my coming to visit the whole time--in LA--but Harry can't stand to be without me. Ugh! One day in chaos and I'll be packing my suitcase. Of course, I'll still have to find my toothpaste because they will have started.
I'd miss our friend Leah's retirement party and that would be a shame, especially since Harry probably wouldn't go either. I'd be perfectly willing to postpone whatever appointments I have but we'll see.
My hair is becoming half and half--half gray and half blondish, besides being thin and straight. Being straight is a new development that I assume is a gift of one of my medications, but I'm not worried about it. I'd want to get my hair colored before I flew off though. That sounds strange even to me. I'm seeing a very thin or balding spot on the back of my head; I have to have it colored to ascertain if it's just the color. My sight isn't what it used to be (and neither is my hair.) I'd still like to play around with a wig or two; I miss long (thick) hair so much; putting it up and wearing it in different styles is fun. Since I don't want to spend a lot on wigs, I probably will get one someday.
I visited my girlfriend Theresa Friday; she and her daughter Kayla have magnificent hair. Kayla's is in braids about to her waist. They moved to Ardmore as part of Theresa's job and it was surprisingly easy to get there. So far, I'm finding my friends are still within reach. I thought Ardmore was near Exton, really far from Oxford Circle. It turned out to be just a few miles from Brian's. Theresa's an excellent artist who works at it and her being not too far away is a gift. We can draw together (if I can get myself moving.)
Honey gave me Reiki today toward helping me get myself together. I don't know what's necessary, whether I'm okay, or somewhere else. People always ask me if I miss work and that's ridiculous; I've been set free. Some of my issues are the same ones I faced dealing with obnoxious co-workers, but now I've got the energy and time to examine my feelings. I escaped the mini-minded tyranny of bureaucracy and the ignorance of the unenlightened. (Oh boy, doesn't that say it?!)
I worked with some nice people, some decent, and some with serious deficits. Jobs and promotions were always bestowed on relatives and friends. Regular people benefited only if they were between those two categories. Women, especially educated Jewish women and women of color were second class citizens there. The stereotypes were firmly in place. Being Italian or Irish gave anyone ten points on tests or transfers to better jobs. My last comment is I saw the administration drive a young woman to suicide. I think their involvement in her death was mostly through their lack of compassion and knowledge of mental illness.
When people promote the common American as all things good, kind and intelligent, I have to differ. Sadly, I believe people generally don't care a whit about anyone other than those folks who are close to them. I think most of our country is ill-informed and backward. If that were not true, W could never continue his rape of our nation.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

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Failing at Life

Now that my friend Theresa told me she reads my blog, I feel as though I have a reason to write. Once in a while, I receive an email from someone who tells me he or she likes it, but really I can't write this for people to read because that would be really ridiculous. Like my painting for the masses; what a joke! I know most people would read this or see my paintings and think both are crap--and that's the "experts". Regular people see my realistic artwork and believe that proves I'm an artist. It doesn't. Gallery people and art snobs can't see the value in my paintings because the former, although they won't admit it, are just sales people. And the latter, because my work doesn't fit into their world. Maybe they're right but I wouldn't know.
I realized maybe yesterday I was grieving, and that's why I don't feel like doing anything. I was complaining to one of my therapists today about it and realized I'm grieving my failure to live up to my family's and my expectations. I married someone unacceptable; don't really have much talent--I'm grateful for what I have though. I am not well-educated; and didn't achieve anything working that I didn't fall or sneak into through lupus. I'm not especially healthy; I'm an emotional wreck and it looks as though that will be for the rest of my life. I still bite my nails because I'm anxious. I overeat and I'm fat and I'm probably never going to exercise. That means I'll hurt and regret not exercising and have more to reproach myself for. The Warshaws didn't fool around; my cousin Jerry was okay because he was brilliant. Of course, they drove him crazy and now he's a wealthy hermit in rags. I was supposed to be Jerry in drag, winning prizes, turning heads, and earning truckloads of respect and admiration. Needless to say, I didn't make it and I never could. (I did consider that at least I'm not evil and don't have to face having sent people to their unnecessary deaths like W and his cohorts.)
I'm sitting up here typing and hearing items falling downstairs from one of the cats. I just heard a window open or close and thank goodness they can't do that. (It's next door.) Animals, plants and books are good for us depressed folks. Some movies too. And having lots of drugs handy--my house is a pharmacy loaded with discarded medications and others I "might" need sometime. Especially if I give some thought to W and where the world might be going. Or just me and how I feel inside.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

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A Retired Day

Brian playing in his car while I sit on the step at the house next-door.
I put a fancy silvery/diamond-type collar on Autumn tonight; I found it at Petsmart. She hates it and has done everything in the world to knock if off. Moon has one that's just shiny silver, not fancy like hers. And I got them clumping litter which I hope won't smell as bad as the other. They don't use the expensive kittly litter box; they like the $10 cheapies that don't have the bells and whistles.
And we've bought two new sheets--one red with a lower thread count but RED, and one with a 600 thread count and a yucky shade of brown. The higher thread count sheets are softer and as it turns out, not much more expensive, especially if you buy sheets only every ten years as we do. We also bought a few sets of thick towels; our old towels felt thin and they were shredding. They actually don't last as long as sheets and that sucks.
Lastly, I've been buying pajamas because suddenly I'm cold at night. Over the years I bought a lot of sexy nightgowns and now I freeze in them. So I've got about four pairs of nice pajamas now; Harry thinks these are sexy too. He gets turned off by the raggedy outfits I otherwise put together. I bought one pair of pajama bottoms in Strawbridge's today--that's another story--but I didn't buy the adorable sleeveless shirt that went with them. Why wear PJ's if you aren't going to cover your arms?
And Strawbridge's in Cherry Hill and downtown are closing. I don't go to the downtown one anymore because I'm retired but I do go to the Cherry Hill Strawby's. That was my standby store. I knew it would close eventually though when the original owners sold out to the May stores. Well, it's just shopping.
We were also looking for a rug to cover the water stain on our beautiful wooden floor in the living room. We have a big wool one but the stain is near the doorway. The big one was really expensive but it's gorgeous. These little ones were almost as much.
We're beginning to fix the house; that's why the rug. Last night, the fella who's going to do all the work came and gave us an estimate. We have to put all new tiles and walls in the bathroom because we have mold in there. And then there are lots of small jobs, some of which we have to do. And there begin the sleepless nights because I still don't want to do anything.
I want to magically be living in a spectacular new ranch house with a fireplace, attached garage, extremely functional kitchen and two plus big bathrooms. Somehow I don't think that's gonna happen. I have three floors overflowing with thirty years of our stuff and some from our parents. I'm not exaggerating and it is overwhelming reflecting on the coming days and weeks of work to get rid of all that stuff. It might really take a year of concerted effort; it's awful.