Monday, February 01, 2021

Working bee Saturday

Most of the family met at Mother's to try to clear out her house before settlement and we came pretty close. Most worked so hard and it was also a good family day.

The local large charity shop has stopped taking donations so quite a bit was put into charity bins. Mother's rubbish bin has been seconded by someone in the units next door. It appears in front of her house and is taken in by a kind neighbour, but then disappears until the following week when it again appears in front of Mother's house. It is just being borrowed but we need it.

The Salvation Army did take a couple of things, the delightful bright yellow perfect condition laminex kitchen table and something else I can't remember.

Her lounge suite which was her mother's went off in a horse float to be reupholstered and French polished by the person who did the same in about 1979. 

Sister took quite a bit of stuff, even though she said she wanted nothing more. Bone Doctor slogged away in the junk room until it was clear. Tradie Brother and Hippie Niece made a pile on the nature strip for council collection. The size was limited to two cubic metres and that was breached but by the time it is collected, it will be reduced by people taking things from the pile. Unseen by any of us, a working microwave oven disappeared as the stack was being made.

We took a late lunch break at the local bakery cafe which was really nice. 

Tradie Brother had his four day old sandwich for lunch and in our absence the couple across the road came to collect some things they wanted, a crate of old vinyl records, a roll of new linoleum and something else. I don't know what it is about my mother but everyone is so kind and caring towards her, except for her own children who only feel a strong obligation, and her various neighbours over the years have always been roped into her world.

Soon to be dowager Mother and ABI Brother appeared, Mother shaking like she had St Vitus Dance. The neighbours from across the road came back. Mother and the male neighbour embraced and cried. His wife works in aged care and no doubt has seen it all before and was a little more stoic. They stayed for a good while as we mostly paused our efforts and Mother held court. Sister told Mother we are just as sick of hearing about your hospital stay, medical problems and your moaning about your Best Friend Forever as you were with your hospital stay. Of course Mother ignored her and on she went.

Ex Sis in Law's daughter, her partner and a mate were there all day Sunday filling an eight metre skip and a four metre skip has been ordered for tomorrow for them to fill. I gave Ex Sis in Law's to be son in law my credit card details to pay for it all. I hope it is not a case of famous last words, I trust him.

Another council collection will be ordered for collection of two clothes dryers and the washing machine. R and I will make a final cleanup and that will be that.

R was concerned Mother would become emotional and she was when the neighbours came across, but she wasn't at all about the house she lived in for 55 years. Tradie Brother took her for a walk around the back garden for the final time. Hippie Niece was in the tool shed as I tried to find a tool to unbolt a bed and she was looking at some of late Step Father's budgerigar prize certificates and she burst into tears.

Bone Doctor found a ladder somewhere and looked into the ceiling space to see if that was where late Step Father put her confiscated skate board after she broke her ankle, but it was not to be found.

While I never lived there, it is a house full of memories that seems to be beyond the physical building. In three weeks, it will belong to someone else. 

Once settled, Mother can repay her children for the cost of rewiring the house just three years ago and the new side fence two years ago. I told R I will buy him a new phone.

I'll try to leave you with a laugh. Ex Sis in Law's son in law to be, about 21 and quite attractive came face to face with a resident possum when he was clearing Mother's garage. He ran out of the garage with shrieks that could be heard kilometres away. I have seen him behave very girlie when he has had a drink or two.

 


33 comments:

  1. Smiling. In a working bee shortly before my father died my youngest brother put a pick through the gas line. Emergency services had to be called and the whole street was evacuated. We were told we were unable to start cars and father flatly refused to be carried so we made our slow way up the street on foot - father pissing himself laughing the whole way. He laughed even louder later that day when a news report talked of the damage being caused by a home gardener (something brother despised). Someone (and given the street evacuation it must have been the police) stole the firies walkie talkies while they were busy.
    I am glad that yours was productive, and isn't it amazing the things which can move us to tears.

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    1. What a great story EC and your brother made the news, kind of. Bad biz about the stolen walkie talkie.

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  2. Darling Andrew,

    This is such a bittersweet post.

    Memories can always be cherished and things never stay the same for very long, but this is a significant life moment for you all. And strange how it is often the tiny details which reduce one to helplessness. The bigger things seem strangely easier to cope with.

    Good to hear that you are safe and well.

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    1. Dearest JayLa. I think of you of often and frequently and wonder how you are faring, but I never worry. I agree with your point. I have never cried about my mother but I can crack a sad news headline.

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  3. One of life's milestones, beautifully told. A day well spent. Sounds like your mother had some choice items to give away.

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    1. Aw, thanks Cynthia. Sadly beautiful old crystal is not in demand.

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  4. Anonymous11:25 am

    I was wondering how the day went. I'm glad you were able to get most of it done. It certainly is the end of an era for your family. I hope everyone is well. Bunyip

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    1. Yep Bunyip. None of my siblings who all lived there seem emotional about it.

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  5. Such a mixture of emotions at these once in a life times events for a parent. I hope Mother does well in her new location. And so wonderful you all turned out for her big farewell and evacuation.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, she has been living at my brother's for two years now and is pretty used to it and they get alone most of the time.

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  6. A laminex kitchen table with four corner metal legs :) I remember the 1950s very well!

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    1. Hels, while the table was mid seventies and a bright yellow and an elongated oval to easily seat six people, eight at a crunch. But.....there was a table frame with a missing top and you have made me realise that was the old red 50s laminex table.

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  7. I did laugh at that last bit.
    Oh my, a laminex table and the chairs, that reminds me of our first kitchen setting and of course my parents. They were great.
    Fell sorry for your mum, the hugs from neighbours and so on. How wonderful of you all to clean everything up - so much in a house to give away.

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    1. Margaret, he is such a nice guy. They don't make kitchen furniture like they used to.
      We all feel sorry for Mother. It ain't easy being 87.

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  8. When I cleared my people's house, I sent a huge removal lorry full of stuff to a saleroom, kept one or two bits for myself, then filled a skip with a lot of very useable things. The local Gypsies soon discovered the skip and it was emptied almost at once!

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    1. Cro, you should have just piled the stuff up for the gypsies.

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  9. The possum shrieks is definitely worth a laugh, but a four day old sandwich? Yikes! I'm so glad it is all nearly over for all of you.

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    1. River, there could be a week old pie too. Cast iron stomach I guess.

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  10. This reminds me when I had to empty my father's house when he passed away, only I was all alone in a country (Germany) where I just know the language but nothing else. It was terrible I didn't know how it worked there to get rid of the furniture and all that stuff, I still don't know how I managed it. Fortunately my son came over for a week and helped and dear Mr G showed up on a long weekend when everything was closed ! I found some interesting things, love letters from a woman to my father and on the dates I realized that my mother was pregnant with me at that time ! Nice isn't it ?

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    1. Gattina, your father was careless to leave such letters to be found. I wonder if you were really shocked?

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  11. It's odd. After my mother's death my sister went in and took everything she wanted. Then called me. There were things I wanted, but my sister took all the real jewelry and left the paste stuff for me. (still a sore subject)
    I fear the young man, who faced the possum would not last in New Hampshire where it seems we have a new critter a day.
    Glad it is done!

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    1. Maribeth, at least that happened in this case in a very minor way.

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  12. I wonder who will clear this out when I am gone.

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  13. My parents were both gone. My sister and I took what we wanted, which was surprisingly little.

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    1. Same here Debby. There was very little we wanted.

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  14. At least it was a nice family get-together and everyone helped clear the house.
    I'm sure the neighbours will miss her when she's been there for such a long time.
    We seem to accumulate so much in our lives...my sister always tells my parents she doesn't want to clean up their house as they have far too many knick-knacks and far too much paper, books, etc.

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    1. Sami, and you are safely such a long way away to be any help.

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  15. It's amazing how much stuff accumulates in a house over a long period of time. Bravo to you for tackling it all, and showing patience with your mother as she parts with her home. She may not be showing a lot of emotion but she might be feeling it.

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    1. Steve, I expect she is feeling it and she will crack at some point.

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  16. I was not present when my parents house was cleaned out by my brother. I got nothing but a pressure washer that didn't work and probably hadn't in a decade. I don't know why my brother would deposit that here. My father's care help had stolen quite a lot already though, before he died, which seems so common. Your story of the clean out is very heart wrenching in many ways.

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    1. Strayer, what a strange thing your brother gave you, working or not. That's bad about the theft. I suppose that happens here too.

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  17. There's nothing funnier than a man shrieking like a girl 😀😀 Wonder if your mum is being stoic for you guys, she surely will miss her home of 30 years. You all did an excellent job sorting things out for her 💜

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