15 December 2020

December, at last

 It wasn't a sure thing, but we've made it to December.  I'd cheer, but nothing is over yet, not this terrible year, not the terrible pandemic, not the terrible political situation, ETC!  Still, it's December and it feels as if we might make it through.  Somehow.

Ok, that sounds dire.  But, it all feels kind of dire, doesn't it?  You'll get no Pollyanna sentiments from me this time.  

In November, I spent two more weeks down in the Southland rendering aid to my buddy.  She had to go in for yet another surgery.  Talk about a rough year.  Fingers crossed that her health status is stable for a while.  She needs to get her strength back so that she can have a transplant.  

I'm not much in the mood for the winter holiday.  There is just one week left until the Solstice.  I put up some of the seasonal decorations, more out of a feeling of determination rather than cheerful excitement.  I guess it's my 'Fuck you, Virus! You can't take this away from me!' moment.  

Still, a vaccine is coming.  A new president is coming.  There may be other good things on the horizon.  I'm trying to hold the good thought, no matter how difficult.  It's a challenge!

Stay healthy, friends!  Stay in your bubbles, wear your masks, wash your hands.  Strength, resilience, and sheer determination will get us through.  That, and science.

26 October 2020

Friends Outdoors

 Hello Women!

My friend Angela invited me over this last weekend to test out her new outdoor socializing set up.  It was a chilly and windy day here in the Rose City.  We have gotten together at her place a couple of times during the pandemic.  Outside, under the awning, spread apart by well over 6 feet.  A couple of times I have gone over for a game of dice and we sit on diagonally opposite corners of her patio table.  It feels reasonably safe, I hope we are not disillusioned!  

So, Saturday.  The temperature was in the low 40's and the wind was gusting heartily.  I know that those of you from the Great White North would scoff at these conditions, but we are delicate flowers!  I bundled up for outdoor weather which meant adding more layers to my indoor bundlage.  Long sleeve t-shirt, hoodie, puffy coat, scarf, hat.  (My indoor layers are the same minus the scarf and puffy coat.)  Jeans, thick socks, shoes.  I didn't put on any long johns this time but I might in the future.

Angela has purchased a table top outdoor heather (infrared, not propane) and it served well to keep our face and hands warm.  She also purchased a heater to go under the table to keep the legs warm.  In addition, she bought a pair of heated throw blankets.  It's a lot of gear, but it worked!  We also cups of hot tea which warm the insides and the hands.  We were able to sit comfortably outside for a couple of hours.  We sat and talked and played two rounds of farkle.  Good to know that we can still safely get together despite the virus and the weather.  At least, until the weather gets significantly worse... which it will!  This is more of a fall and spring accommodation.  

I hope you are all finding ways to connect with friends or far-flung family.  I tend to be something of a hermit anyway, but there's a difference between choosing to be alone and not having the choice.

Cheers, m'dears!


15 October 2020

Back and Resting

 Well, I'm back.  

So nice to be home!  So nice to be somewhere green!  So nice to need a hoodie!  I've missed the PNW.

Lisa is now well on the way to reasonably good health.  She is driving herself to and from dialysis and even going to the grocery store.  She is being very careful about masking and distancing, but enjoys getting out of the house (don't we all).  I knew she was ready for me to go when she started getting snippy with me.  Lol.  It's a sign of health!  I say that with great affection.  She is hugely, profoundly grateful for the care that I and KA gave her as she recovered from this medical nightmare.  

On my way home, I spent a long weekend at the ranch.  Ouch.  After a fairly sedentary stretch of time with Lisa, the long days of physical work on the ranch were a shock to the system!  I came home with bruises and exhaustion, and a cooler full of lamb.  Still, there is something very satisfying about working outside in the relatively fresh air.  

And now I'm home.  I have dozens of delayed chores and tasks to get done before it's all rain, all the time.  I'm just in time for leaf raking, the trees are beginning to turn.  My negligible garden needs to be put to bed (all those volunteer tomatoes!).  There are still huckleberries to pick, and lots of jam to be made.  The jam can wait for inclement weather but I'd rather prune and rake and dig in the fleeting sunshine.

My big kitty was happy to see me but not overly effusive until last night when he relented and chose to sleep on the bed.  He doesn't hold a grudge long, ordinarily, but this last trip was trying his patience.  He had to put up with Sara for a week, then Zoe, who brought her big male cat, for two weeks, and then good neighbor Donna for a day and a half.  It's too much, I tell you!  I need to stay home for a long stretch.

So, I'm here and I'm chilly.  I left the summerlands in the south where the temperatures were in the 80's and 90's.  Arrived home to temps in the low 60's.  I'll adjust, of course, but it sure feels chilly right now!  

I'd best finish this post and get to work.  I've got a long list!

Cheers!

23 September 2020

Home and Away

 Hello Women,

I was home for a couple of weeks but now I'm back in SoCal.  Lisa is getting better but still not able to manage some daily living tasks.  I devoutly hope that she recovers enough in the next 3 weeks that I will be able to go home and not turn right back around.  

While I was home, we had a very scary interlude with forest fire.  Ugh, the city was filled with acrid smoke that stuck around for far too long.  The fires were too close for comfort.  My cousin's daughter, son-in-law, three kids, two dogs and a cat were evacuated and moved in with the cousin.  Nice that they had a place to go but scary!

My poor state and beautiful forests!  So much destruction, so much death and despair.  Some people have lost everything and we have all lost a precious treasure.  Same story in California.  It's horrible.  

Oregon is getting some rain, which is so desperately needed.  California hasn't gotten a drop. It all feels so dire.  But, the whole country, indeed, the whole world, feels so dire right now.  This downward slide is getting steeper.  Is this how it all ends?  In firestorms and flooding, under the control of dictators and fascists?  What a terrible thought.

I'm struggling to find the good these days.  My country is a toxic mess.  The pandemic runs rampant here, virtually unrestrained.  I won't mention politics because ... it's beyond bad.  I'm sorry that this sounds depressing.  It is depressing.

I guess I'll just have to consider myself lucky to be able to spend time with my lifelong pal.  No, it's not quality time, but it's a lot of hanging out together and I'll count that as a plus.



17 August 2020

Greetings from the Sick Bay

 Hello Women,

If you were hoping for a post about the continued uprising in the Rose City, I'm sorry to disappoint.  Ok, I will say that things got really tense for a while there but it seems 1% better now that the goons are staying on federal property and not assaulting citizens.  It's still a shitshow, though.

Meanwhile, I am back in Southern California.  My friend is quite, quite ill and I came down to take care of her.  No, it's not Covid, thank the Goddess.  She has been tested, so that's a tiny relief.

As you may recall, Lisa has end stage renal disease.  She gets dialysis 3 times per week.  Over the course of the last few weeks she has had a total of five surgeries or procedures to work on the arm that gets the needle.  It's a lot of surgery for someone who is in poor health.  

Her sister was staying with her while she was so ill but they don't get along well in the first place and things were getting pretty testy, I gather.  Lisa texted me and asked if I could come down and help her.  So, of course, I hopped on a plane and here I am.

So, the plane ride was the first thing to be concerned about.  I wore two masks and nitrile gloves.  I wasn't the only one in gloves, by the way.  The airline kindly kept the numbers low and all middle seats were left empty unless you were traveling as a group.  Nice.  On the downside, they have reduced the number of flights between our cities and none were non-stop.  Had to spend an hour and a half cooling my heels in the Oakland airport.  

Got down here to find Lisa quite sick, quite tired, and quite angry.  Fortunately her sister left immediately.  I'm really glad because I might not have been able to hold back my fury.  She was complaining about how dirty the house was but never picked up a broom, or a mop or dust cloth.  Never cleaned the toilet.  Didn't strip the bed she had been sleeping on when she left.  Worst of all, she left Lisa sleeping on bloody sheets.  I mean.  It raises my blood pressure just thinking about it.  I'm super angry with that narcissistic, callous, arrogant bitch.  But, enough of that.

So, I started in.  Stripped both beds, scrubbed the blood stained sheets.  Swept and mopped and wiped down counters and surfaces, cleaned the stove.  Lisa can't physically do these things right now so of course her house is messy.  For Fucks Sake!

The real issue for me, though, is the bandage changing.  If you remember back to when T had her cancer surgery, I had to change her dressings and empty the drainage bags (or whatever they're called). I have an aversion to blood and bodily fluids (to the point of passing out at times) so this is a real challenge for me.  It's definitely not my strong suit!  But, as before, I have managed.  I haven't passed out or puked once, but it's been touch and go a couple of times.

Once Lisa got somewhat sorted out, she started to get better.  Tiny bit more energy, able to eat a bit more, able to move her bowels.  You know, baby steps.  The problem was that the incision in her arm has not stopped bleeding.  I've been changing dressings several times a day.  I've been changing her sheets every day and washing the blood out of them and out of her clothing.  

Her labs showed a blood infection and she had an IV antibiotic drip in the hospital, and has gotten IV antibiotics at dialysis every other day.  Apparently it hasn't been enough.  She called her surgeon for an urgent consultation this morning and he took one look at it and readmitted her to the hospital.  She's there now.

I feel terrible for her.  She's scared and sick and exhausted and is afraid that this is going to kill her.  I have bolstered her spirits the best that I can but how much good does that do?  I can't sit with her in the hospital, hell, I can't even sit in the lobby.  I hope she will be discharged tomorrow but I'll just have to wait and see.  I feel like I have let her down, failed her in some way.  I thought she was getting better but she's definitely taken a couple of steps back.  It's discouraging.

Of course, I know that I'm not responsible for her health.  But, I thought that with consistent, supportive care she would rebound and get back to her previous level of health.  Well, I still hope that is true.  She'll need the same care that I've been giving her when she gets home.  

I've been here for a week and my plan was to stay for two weeks.  That's how long I could get my cat sitter.  Sara's got another job lined up.  My daughter said that she would go stay at my house for a week and take care of Pierre.  She works from home these days so she can do that at my home too.  That'll give me an additional week.  After that, our other friend KA said that she would come down and render aid and assistance.  We'll see how it all goes.

I guess I just needed to write it out of my system.  Thanks for reading.  I'm tired and heading for bed.




03 May 2020

Spring 2020

Hey!  How about that Pandemic!

We are still sheltering in place here in the Rose City.  I've lost track of how long it has been.  Since sometime in March and this is the 3rd of May.  Can't be bothered to do the math. 

For a retired homebody, the stay at home order has made minimal difference in my life.  True, I haven't seen friends or gone anywhere but the grocery store, but still... I can't complain.  In fact, it has alleviated the need to make excuses for not going out.  Lol. 

The biggest thing I miss is my public library.  I bought a couple of books early on in the lockdown.  One I had planned to purchase anyway since it was written by a friend.  The Royal Abduls by Ramiza Koya.  So proud of her!  So amazing to have a novel published!  The other one was the third book of a series that I was reading.  I had book #2 from the library and had to finish the series.  (The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.)  Now I'm just trying to read from my own shelves.

I was texting with a friend last week, asking her how out of control her hair had gotten.  This friend is very butchy and gets her hair cut every three weeks.  She was going nuts!  She couldn't stand it any more and bought a hair clipper and did it herself.  It doesn't look half bad! That gave me the courage to try it myself.  I watched a video (some fashionable young Canadian man, to judge by the accent) and he made it look if not easy, at least doable. 

Here's the thing, I only have dog clippers.  The University of YouTube* assured me that it's ok to use dog clippers on humans as opposed to the opposite.  So, I rummaged around until I found them (my old dog with longish hair shuffled off this mortal coil several years ago and I haven't used the darned things since.)  Step one was to take some steel wool to the blades to get the rust off. 

Anyway, I did it and while it's far from perfect, it feels a whole lot better!  Here are some pix:


This is the before picture.  My hair looks like a thatched roof!




So much better!  I need to decrease the length of the top but I'm pretty satisfied with how it turned out.  And, really, it's only hair and mine grows fast.  I hope you are entertained by this saga! 

Other than my hair drama, I haven't done much of anything.  A little quilting.  Made a bunch of masks and gave them to friends and family.  Still working on a rug for my neighbor.  Just the usual pastimes of my old fart self.

So, tell me, what are you doing during these strange times?

* One of The Rancher's part time helpers has named it this and it makes me laugh.  :^)

09 March 2020

Almost Spring

Hello Women!

I saw a draft in here that said Winter Greetings but there was not a single word written.  Oops.  So, jump ahead to nearly Spring, I guess...

I have recently returned from points south as part of my ongoing 'friend helper' project.  This time I went to Southern California to clean out Lisa's garage.  Wow.  So much stuff!  It was different stuff this time, though.  My friend Lisa is a retired teacher.  She taught English as a Second Language (both here and in Spain), English Literature, and Drama.  And some other stuff, but mostly those three subjects.  She had so much saved paper!  Lessons and worksheets and study guides and handouts, etc, etc.  All recycled.  Nobody wants the hard copy anymore!  She started teaching before everything was available on line and teachers carefully stored their master copies of everything.  It was a LOT of paper.  And, you just can't give it away - there are no takers.  Fortunately, paper is easily recycled.

Another thing she had in vast quantities was costumes.  Her former high school was remodeling the theater and had no room to store the costumes.  Most of these had been made or sourced by Lisa, and at her own expense (of course).  She donated some to a local community theater and some to the thrift store.  (Aside: while they are remodeling the theater, they have also cut Drama out of the schedule and who knows when it will return. So frustrating!)  Also boxes of props and stage makeup and all sorts of drama-related things.  Boxes of hats.  Crates of art materials.  Stuff.

Her third big space consumer was linens.  Holy Bed Sheets, Batman!  I made her go through them with me and was able to decrease the number of sheet sets that she kept to ONLY 15!!!!  (I also emptied and organized the linen closet in order to get it all sorted out.)  Fifteen sheet sets is excessive, but it's half what it was.  Throw in the 6 - 8 duvet covers and spare blankets and, well, yes, it all takes up a lot of room.  It was a lot of work and a lot of laundry.  But, we got it done!

I was in SoCal for about 2 weeks.  While I was there, the temperature shot up to the upper 80's.  What the actual fork!  87 degrees Fahrenheit in February.  It's bullshirt!  The weather is broken.  We have broken it. 

I had a good time hanging out with my pal, despite the slog and the weather.  We didn't do much in the way of extracurricular excursions since the task at hand was so large, but we did go out to see a wonderful community theater production of Guys and Dolls.  Really well done!  It was at the Gem Theater in Garden Grove, if I remember correctly. 

Another fun highlight was our mutual friend Tania met us for lunch one day.  We all went to high school together.  She has had a rough time this past year.  One of her replacement hips became infected, broke, had to be replaced.  Then the replacement went septic.  She has a second replacement now and has just graduated to walking without a cane but she is definitely a little unsteady on her feet.  But, she got herself out of the house and across town, so big props to her.  It was good to see her!

On my way back north, I stopped at the Ranch to help out for a week.  I had a specific project that I wanted to accomplish but I will have to tackle it later.  Tam is having the house repiped and everything was torn up.  The project I wanted to do was to set up shelving in the back room and get all of her veterinary supplies out of the living room.  But, there was too much stuff piled up in the back room and I didn't have the stamina to tackle the whole thing.  Perhaps I'll go down in the late spring and get that done.

The baby lambs were adorable but I didn't take any pictures this time.  I should have because these ones are ridiculously cute.  Her neighbor has given her a pair of black and white rams (her other rams are white) and the huge variety of white, black, and black&white lambs is glorious.  One ewe had triplets and had one of each, lol.  They are cute little buggers but a lot of work.  I spent most of the week feeding, shoveling, raking and generally wearing myself out.  I'm trying to get her to see reason and decrease the number of market lambs she raises.  It's too much for a single, older, half-crippled woman to keep up with year after year.  I want her to diversify into wool-bearing sheep.  The product is the fiber rather than meat so all you have to do is keep them alive and shear the wool off.  Which is done by a professional, by the way.  It would be a lot less work for her.  She's stubborn, though. 

So, that was my late winter excursion.  Some people go to the beach or the desert, I go clean out garages.  Lol.  Basically, though, I went from Winter to Summer to Spring and home to Winter.  It's still chilly here in the PNW.  And, now my internal thermostat is all messed up!  As I'm writing this, I have on my silk longjohns under my jeans, socks and slippers, long sleeve t-shirt under a hoodie, the hood UP and a scarf around my neck.  In a little bit I'm going to put on my puffy and walk to the Library.  That'll warm me up!

I hope you are all healthy and reasonably happy and surviving the season.  I'll not say anything about the state of the world or nation because it's all just too forking much...

Cheers, m'dears!
E









25 November 2019

Nearly Thanksgiving

Hello!

It's November and you know what that means -  National Novel Writing Month! 
I surprised myself by finishing early this year.  Over 50k words written by 21 November.  It's definitely my fastest finish yet.  This year I wrote a story that takes place after the floods created by climate change.  It is set in the region where I live, which will all be underwater in 100 years.  The Willamette Valley will be the Willamette Sea, that sort of thing.  There are a lot of 'flood maps' available on line if you are interested in looking things up. 

Meanwhile, back on land, we are getting closer to winter and it is getting quite chilly around here.  There is a threat of snow in the forecast but it's unlikely to materialize.  A snowy Turkey Day will have Portlanders in a panic!  Good for our mountains, though.  We need the moisture, in any form.

Holiday Plans: As I have done for the previous several years, I will be making a small dinner for my dad and my brother on Thursday.  I think they enjoy it, I hope so.  Then, I will be taking a short trip North to have a second (and probably more festive) Thanksgiving with my daughter and her husband on the weekend.  I'll be counting my blessings on both occasions.

I went out with T this last weekend for dinner and a dance.  Her birthday coincided with a lesbian dance that's held once or twice a month.  She's actively looking for a new girlfriend.  She hasn't had any luck with the long distance option, so she's looking locally.  She didn't get any phone numbers this time, but I hope she finds someone nice.

Did I already tell you about this?  A friend of mine from high school (!) has moved to Portland and he is an enthusiastic appreciator of live music.  I have gone out with him several times to hear a variety of music.  So far, the clear winners are a blue grass band and a Monday night jazz jam session.  There is no way I would be doing this if I were still working - most of these shindigs don't get started until 8 or 9 pm.  I'm not a night owl by any stretch, but I do force myself to go occasionally.  I think Ken goes out several times a week but I can only manage it once every couple of weeks.  Still, it's been fun.  He's an interesting guy and makes friends easily so he's often got an entourage with him. 

Do you remember that I made a braided denim rug last winter?  It turned out great, by the way, and Pierre has not been too bad with the claw sharpening.  My neighbor loved it so much that I told her I would make her one this winter.  She's been collecting jeans all summer and now my living room looks like a denim factory.  I've got the jeans all sorted by color (shades of blue) and the new rug is coming along.  I'm making it slightly larger than the one I made myself.  I have discovered that I like having a project to work on while I'm watching reruns of the baking show.  Lol.  (I watch other stuff too, but that is like my background music.)

Well, I'd better get out there and rake again.  The deciduous trees are almost done dropping their leaves.  My shoulder is feeling it! 



11 July 2019

Back and Resting

I know, it should be 'back and ready' but I'm not quite there yet!  I've been back for a week but let me tell you, the first few days I could do little more than get out of bed and drink coffee.  I'm recovering, though, and will soon resume being my productive self.  Ugh.

So, mission accomplished down in Cali.  The room is restored to functionality.  The closet is usable, there is nothing under the bed, the four (yes, 4) dressers contain just a few needful things.  It's now possible to sit in the rocking chair - and rock, if so desired! 

There is still a bunch of stuff to be gone through, but that is the task of the adult children.  So, in other words, nothing will happen.  Stasis.  Still, it's a functional stasis, so there's that. 

I made some interesting discoveries while sorting through stuff.

First, I will say that I have known this family since childhood.  I've been friends with the daughter and son for nearly 50 years.  Friends with the mom, too.  The dad was usually away as he was a marine engineer and worked at sea.

So, when I cleaned out the back room I felt a keen regret for the life the mom wanted to have.  It seemed to me that she would have been happy being a ranch wife rather than a rancher.  She loved crafts.  She was an expert seamstress, she knitted, crocheted, made stuff out of wood, plastic, found materials, etc (I found more than one box full of pine cones, for example).  For a while she had a craft business - I found plenty of her old records of purchases and sales.  Of course, she made no money doing that.  But, I think she enjoyed it.

I formed that opinion based on the evidence in the back room.  When I got to the bedroom, I had other evidence to consider.

The woman threw nothing away.  Every letter, every card, every receipt, you name it, it was squirreled away in her bedroom.  Most of it was very pedestrian and ordinary.  I kept the letters the kids had written to her, and the letters the dad had written from sea.  I think the kids might like to look through those at some point, but maybe not.  That's up to them.

I found some other letters too.  I found a series of anonymous letters accusing the mom of breaking up someone's marriage.  It was a bit of a shocker!  It was virulent and threatening.  The letters were full of things like: We know where you were last night; we're watching you; you won't get away with this; etc.  I have to say that I didn't expect something like that but when I put it together with some other info, I had a more... nuanced understanding of the mom. 

I wasn't sure what to do with those letters.  The rancher and her mom already have a rather strained relationship and I certainly don't want to add to it.  But, I didn't think it was up to me to dispose of them.  So, I put them together and tucked them under some stuff in one of the dresser drawers.  It'll be quite a while before anyone looks in there and I can probably retrieve them unread if I change my mind.  It's all water under the bridge at this point and I'm not sure what it would serve to bring them to light.  I just don't know which way to go on that one.

Oh, how I wish my mom was alive!  I really wanted to ask her about their mom and what she knew back in the day.  I'm sure she could have provided some context.  Maybe I'll ask my mom's best friend.  Janet might know, but I don't think she spent any time with the woman back then.  Still, we grew up in a small town and everyone usually knows everyone else's business in a small town.

But, why?  What the hell difference does it make at this point?  None whatsoever.  Just curiosity, I guess.  It doesn't change the way I feel about the old gal, or change how I interact with her.  I guess I see her with more layers now, not just the surface that she presents to the world.  Although, given that she is in the depths of dementia, there is not even much of a surface layer any more. 

What do you think, wise women?  Should I consign the letters to the fire? 






22 June 2019

What's up, plus a little backstory

Hello Friends!

Let's see, it's June, just past the Summer Solstice.  Are you having long, beautiful summer evenings where you are?  Or, do you live in the Southern Hemisphere and have winter beating you down?  OR, are you in the upper to mid-Atlantic states and have unending rain combined with warm temperatures resulting in paralyzing humidity?  Or something else...

I keep looking at the weather in my hometown and it looks perfect.  Mid 70's, cloudy with showers... that's how I like it.  Unfortunately, I have to look in the newspaper as I am not currently in residence.  I am down in that hellhole known as California, specifically the Sacramento Valley.  Well, the Sierra foothills, if you want to be specific, but the effect is the same. 

It's overly warm here.

What am I doing here, you ask?  Well, I came down to help my friend, the Rancher.  Her mom is currently residing in an assisted living place and I volunteered to come and help get a grip on the house.  Her mom is a hoarder, or at the least, someone who never threw anything away.

Here's the backstory:
I came down here back in March (meant to blog about that trip but was so exhausted I never got around to it) in order to clear out the 'back room' of the house.  It's a room that had been added on to their tiny house long before they bought it.  It was poorly constructed but it was put to use as a storage room.  I know what you are thinking and you are absolutely right.  A hoarder with a back room is trouble in the making!  Well, that is the truth.  The back room was so packed with stuff that one literally could not set foot inside.  The mess came up to the doorway.

So, I set to work.  There were layers to the hoard and it was a little like archaeology.  On the top was the worst layer, the layer where people had recently just tossed stuff into the room from the doorway and walked away.  The perimeter and the deeper layers were well organized and packed for storage.  But, the Rancher's aunt had died recently and loads of her stuff was superimposed over the existing hoard.  I could see the difference between the recent stuff and the original stuff.

It didn't make much of a difference.  Old useless crap is old and useless no matter how long it  has been sitting in a back room.  I'm a good sorter and I divvied things up into useful groupings.  Trash, keep, donate, etc. I was lucky enough to find an outfit that did art outreach and accepted many boxes of art supplies.

All in all, I ended up moving a LITERAL ton of material out of the back room.  The Rancher has a dump trailer (cue heavenly music) and I filled it up.  When she took it to the dump, the weight was 2,144 pounds.  Reader, I carried every ounce of that ton!

It wasn't the most fun of visits and I worked my ass off, but it was very satisfying to clear out that room and send so much garbage to the dump.  It wasn't all trash and I worked very hard to redirect useful things to appropriate destinations.  But, seriously, the woman never threw away a jar.  Not just canning jars, but all jars were washed out and stored on shelves, in boxes, in bags, etc.  Every mayonnaise jar, peanut butter jar, pickle jar, everything.  All washed and put in the back room.   That wasn't the worst of it, just an example.

So, yeah, I came here and cleaned up a big mess, but it was only the first mess.  Now, I am back and cleaning out the mom's bedroom.  Here's how the room was: you opened the door and stepped in the room.  The bed was about 4 or 5 feet into the room, bedside table on the left, door to the closet on the right.  That was literally the only open floor space in the room.  In order to make the bed you had to lie on it, or roll over it and try to squeeze your feet into the piles of stuff on the far side of the bed.  It was impossible and a damned fire hazard.

I've been here since late Wednesday, so I've had three days so far to get a grip on it.  It is now possible to walk around to the far side of the bed!  I have sent a large bag of small clothes home with one of the ranch hands (he has a whole passel of kids to clothe), I have a big stack of boxes and bags to go to the donation place (Goodwill, or whomever), and I have been filling up the trailer again.  There won't be nearly as much stuff this time around, but I need to go through it carefully.  There is an unbelievable amount of paperwork.  For one thing, the woman never threw away a piece of paper.  There are receipts and notes and greeting cards dating back to the 1950's.  I'll have plenty of interesting things for the Rancher and her brother to sort through and make decisions about, but the big bulk of it is going out.  I've found so many brand new, tags-still-on, unworn articles of clothing!  I've got a stack to take to the Mom's new home (well, after I wash it all), and it includes shoes and slippers and shirts and pants and shorts, and, and, and...  But, the bigger stacks are things that are no longer of use here but might be worth someone else's while.  I mean, she'll never wear these 20 coats again but someone else might.  I've saved her out a couple that she can wear. 

My next step is to gather up the donation items and start taking loads to drop off.  That will be satisfying.  In the meantime, I'm plugging away at it, reducing the mess bit by bit, bag by bag, box by box.  It's slow going but I'm making progress.  My back is killing me, though. 

If this post is rambling and unintelligible, I apologize.  I'm tired and need to lie on the floor for a few minutes.  Do a few gentle stretches.  Relax and breathe non-dusty air...

I'll make another dent in it tomorrow.
Cheers!