Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yard Tour

Okay, this one is going to be pretty picture-heavy.

I figured that it might be a good idea to post some pictures of the yard and buildings as they are right now. Just so that you all (and us all) have an idea of what we are talking about when we say that my father was a hoarder and we lived in a junkyard. So I walked around today with my newly returned camera and got loads of photos. The attics and cellar, while also full of stuff, will be for another time.

The crazy thing is that walking around I was like, Oh this isn't all that bad. Why I can see plenty of grass/floor! Which sounds like a good thing, but not with the way my hoarder-trained brain twisted it around. Because instead of thinking Oh! Look at the progress we've made so far!—because believe me the fact that you can even see that much grass or floor is the result of our cleaning efforts—instead my brain thought, What are you complaining about! It's not that bad, so shut up already, so many people have it worse! Et cetera. Well, at least I realize that's fucked-up, right? Grrrr.

So, okay, let's take a tour of my yard, shall we?

We'll start with the garage, since that's what we've been working on. Here's a panoramic shot, taken from a spot by the stairs to the garage attic. The bench we got cleared off is on the left; the white pipes and other things on there now are some of my stuff we put there to get it out of the way.

And another view, from over by the door to the breezeway:

This next one is a panorama of the shop, the building my father constructed when he ran out of room in the garage because of the hoarding:

And another view:

Then several of the yard in back of the shop:

And around to the shed, another outbuilding, one which was never finished. Starting with a panorama of the interior of the thing:

It's a little hard to see, as these panoramas are by necessity sort of condensed to fit, but over there on the extreme left, under what is otherwise a gorgeous lilac bush, is a pile of broken concrete blocks. These are another one of those things that I don't actually know how to get rid of. The dump doesn't want them, recycling won't pick them up, you can't put them in with the household trash. Who will take them? What do I do with them?

Ai yi. So now to the stuff around the shed:

And to one of the big messes of the yard, which I've got in my sights right now to go, the old woodpile which I'm quite sure is home to an entire civilization of carpenter ants. Well, I'm afraid the Antpocalypse is nigh, sisters:

And approaching the downstairs garage:

And the downstairs garage itself, again in panorama form:

Then to finish up, the downstairs breezeway:

It really is so much better than it used to be. And, I will admit, I am still somewhat ashamed to show these pictures. But only a little. My anger right now is greater. Anyway, you know what they say about the disinfectant properties of sunshine, right?

Let this be cleaned, and healed.


Michele said...

Wow. Just - wow.

You two have so much on you and have been working so hard. I was going to say that you both deserve medals, but maybe just pictures of medals would suffice...

Amazing progress.

Anonymous said...

Good job! Congrats on your progress. Good luck with the rest of the clean-up.


Rosa said...

Man, that place is huge! It's picturesque now, it's going to be beautiful when you get done.

For the concrete blocks: there's a dump that will take them, probably for a bigger fee bacuse they're so dense.

Because of the extra cost, when I had a bunch of concrete chunks to get rid of, instead of dumping them I used them to lay out raised beds in the garden - mine is a veggie bed so it's kind of ugly, just chunks of concrete and full of dirt, but with broken blocks you could maybe put them good side out and get something that looked decent painted.

Dave said...

Nice job. Hard to believe you have so many interesting old cars left. Surprising that nobody would want them.

Amanda said...

That's like a large-scale version of what my ex did to our garage, shed, and back yard.

Okay, and the driveway out front as well.

I swear you could hear the neighbors cheering when I finally got him to remove the three "classic" cars he had left with me because he didn't have room at his new place...

You all have done a phenomenal job. It's killer, but it's great to get it done.

Sid said...


Thalia said...

Thanks for the encouragement everyone, we appreciate it.

Rosa, when I've come across bricks I've used them, like for laying down paths in the garden and such, but I'm not sure about the concrete blocks. I did some research after posting this and after some sleuthing found there are such things as concrete recyclers. Most of the ones I saw it looked like it was for building demolition, so I don't know if they would handle a smaller amount (although who knows if what we have is actually that small an amount); but it looks like the scrapyard we've been taking our iron to might do it, so I'm going to ask next time we are there.

Dave, we have been selling cars here and there. I'm not sure about the state of the bugs out by the shop, as they've been sitting there out in the elements for maybe 30 years now; we have stuff like a Karmann-Ghia and an Austin-Healey inside, but we haven't been able to get to them just yet. It is definitely part of the plan (The Plan) to sell stuff off, and we (well Tara) has been putting out feelers lately, so hopefully something will come of that.

Anonymous said...

Concrete blocks! Lord do I know those. We dug a pit and buried our blocks. They're good to use to fill in low areas. Throw them in a pit and put some top soil over the top.

Of course we still have tons of full concrete blocks left (thanks Dad!). But we will deal with those later.

Do you ever wonder why hoarders are so selfish to not care what they leave behind for their children to clean up when they die? I do.

Thalia said...

Well now that's the thing. I don't even know that it's selfishness, though it certainly looks like it from our (normal) points of view.

But I'd say for my dad, it never would have crossed his mind that he was leaving his kids a mess to deal with, because he had no concept that it was a mess in the first place. It was just what he did, and what he had an absolute unquestioned right to do. But my dad is one of the least self-aware people I've ever known or heard of, and that's even among parents of fellow children of hoarders. Most hoarders, from what I've heard, have at least some awareness that what they are doing is odd, unusual, or bad. There's some concept of embarrassment and shame about the condition of the place they hoard in. My dad? No idea whatsoever. With him it is simply a brokenness in the brain.

Anonymous said...

As for the broken concrete blocks, we discovered that one of our local stone/gravel yards has an unadvertised public drop-off site for these kinds of items. They crush and reuse whatever the public drops off in a designated pile there. We found this out when we attempted to dispose of some concrete and rock rubble at our local dump (not accepted there) and were directed to this nearby company. You might make inquiries to your community's gravel yards or even trucking companies that haul stone and might be familiar with outfits with crusher/recycling equipment.

miette said...

I'm glad you've got the concrete block problem solved, and I'm certainly a latecomer. I don't know what part of Massachusetts you're in, but I hear the Elder Services of Merrimack Valley has a really good hoarder program. They can probably direct you to local resources, if you're outside their range.

I am super glad you're getting money for all this crap and all this work you're having to do.