December 2018 Island Trip 2 – Day Three

Today was filled with what felt like ‘lasts.’ Not because the house is rented, but because I did things like:

  • Donate mom’s couch to a community resource organization. Earlier this week my eldest daughter asked why I was keeping the couch. I told her it was part of a matched set, the other piece being in mom’s apartment. She raised her eyebrow at me. When it came time to load the couch into the truck, I asked my friend for her advice. My friend inspected the couch and declared it was very nice indeed, but truly worth about $100. She asked if any of the girls would want it (No). We went over the few small burn marks (because, you know, a fireplace, alcohol, and dementia are terribly hard on upholstered furniture…). She was essentially coaching me around to a place where I could let go of it, and get over my over-the-top sentimentality in regards to the couch having a mate, and a history.
  • My last act at the house was to unplug the modem. Monday I’ll cancel the wifi. The only thing I’ll keep is mom’s email address, which I can set up on my computer. Her livelihood, and vast correspondence with friends and colleagues all depended on that shitty modem, which needed constant rebooting, on its less than 1 meg of upload speed. She still hasn’t asked about her computer since 1/10/2017. Rendering the house communicationless, mute, feels symbolic of mom’s continuing and growing challenges interfacing with our world.
  • Emptied the house of everything, except toilet paper and a box of tissue. Well, there’s one drawer in the kitchen that has house related stuff in it, so that doesn’t count, nor do the few items the tenants and I agreed would stay, such as a fire extinguisher and an oil heater. But everything else, EVERYTHING, is out of there. On one hand it looks great. On the other, it looks barren. So much of my parents life was lived there. Not quite 38 years for my mama. I think more now than ever my perspective on any senior’s resistance to move to AL is crystal clear. Mom spent almost half of her life on that property. It’s taken me just over 5% of that time  to get the house in rentable condition, empty the tool shed, and empty most of one of the lean-to’s. Yes, that statement doesn’t encompass the breadth of work, decisions, and management that took place over the last 23-months, but that’s kinda the point… organizing, consolidating, filing, packing, storing, moving, respecting 83.5 years of the effects of a person’s life is not all scribalbe.

When my friend and I were discussing the couch, we turned to look at the deck and discovered about 12-15 square feet of roofing material (big pieces) had been blown off the roof. I tried to text the property manager, but of course, my phone doesn’t like to text him from mom’s house. We walked back to my friend’s house, where, after far too long, the text went through. Bottom line, he was able to get out to the house, use some composite ‘starter’ strips to make it water tight, and will patch it tomorrow or the next day. I think I’m gonna have to replace the roof in the spring. Granted we don’t get gusts that flex the windows every day, but I can’t have the roof be a weak point of a rental property.

The dump run went quickly, from loading the truck to emptying it. As I got into the minutia of the shed, after loading up the obvious, I found two chain saw chains that were so old and rusted, that they had actually lost mass as they corroded.

Also from this open shed came the aforementioned (a prior post) 3-gallon olive can, which we know doesn’t have olives in it… It’s a hazmat waste candidate. Well, the can tipped over in the bed of the truck (my bad) on the way home, and now I need to YouTube ‘how to clean an oil slick’ from the bed of your truck. I threw cat litter around in the dark, but additional mitigation is required. Sigh. At least the oil is clear. Again, my folks decanting all sorts of unknown solutions and medications into used food, detergent, and miscellaneous recycled steel containers, creates a nightmare when trying to triage potentially hazardous waste.

I may write a coda to this post, but now it’s time to get caught up on the holidays.

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