Clearing the Decks

Maybe, I thought, I could finish everything at Mother’s quite quickly, reclaim Das Boot from the spiders, spend Saturday night afloat and chill a little on Sunday morning. Fat chance.

Nephew had told me Mother’s flat was almost clear. Either he deliberately lied, or he wanted to prevent me having a nervous breakdown in the middle of last week.

I had it, almost, on Friday evening instead. Apart from cherry-picking the contents of kitchen cupboards, meaning it was a bloody good thing I’d brought my coffee filter and fresh supplies, and that my heart hadn’t been set on the Sabatier knife or the pretty white jug, Nephews One and Two had left the kitchen intact.

The sitting room was strewn with boxes, files and God knows what.

I must have some of Mother’s tenacity, because after a few minutes of hyper ventilation, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. At midnight I had a much needed shower and climbed into the wonderfully comfortable aerobed. Not Cat, who didn’t know his hours at the scheme were numbered, forced the window in the night and woke me up at five thirty trying to get back in.

Actually his hours were nearly numbered full stop at midnight on Thursday when he broke my favourite vase. But that’s another story.

Up again at eight, and worked all day, packing things up, ferrying then to Aunt’s, Das Boot and Mother’s. I did a good sales pitch with the sherry glasses, cider vinegar, dustpan and brush and a resident left happy. Another gladly accepted bed linen, cushions and tea-towels. I persuaded my favourite octogenarian that she wanted half a large box of Fairy washing powder, and she snapped up the pretty writing paper. The ironing board, pegs and airers went to the laundry. A carer thought they’d find a home for the bucket.

At the marina I cleared out spiders’ webs, mostly with my hair, washed spider poo from the surfaces and changed the bed linen. I don’t remember Saturday’s dinner. I just know I ate it standing up. Followed by a huge whisky so I could recycle the bottle.

Sunday was more of the same. Why I bought the newspaper on saturday, I don’t know. I barely opened it. I was keeping to a deadline. Nephew was due back today to collect a couple of things he wanted and pick up some cash owing to Mother. I was doing pretty well when Favourite Octogenarian nabbed me. She was fed up. Very fed up. Her beau, who lives upstairs in his own flat, was being very demanding. She listed the various ways he had assaulted her independence over the past twenty four -hours. She was struggling for words. I decided to help her out. As the rap artists would say, I told her, you are not Stanley’s bitch.

She needed no elucidation of the term. That’s right, she said, I am not Stanley’s bitch. I am my own person and I am not going to be taken over. I promised to visit her, we swapped telephone numbers, and I headed back to the flat.

I couldn’t have got another thing in the car. It was packed to the roof. Luck was on my side and I had green lights all the way to London. Not Cat cried occasionally and tried to break out of his caddy, but for him, he was pretty good.

I posted last night and went to bed. I think it’ll be a repeat performance tonight.

Later this week I’ll start to tackle the boxes in the car. At some point it’ll sink in that Mother’s flat now belongs to someone else.


9 thoughts on “Clearing the Decks

    • Yeah, maybe.
      But the hardest was when Mother moved into the scheme four years ago. That was the official moment of recognition that she could not cope in her own home and needed help at hand 24/7. That was like a bereavement.

  1. I went through a similiar version of “the great clean out/move out” some years ago with my Mom so I TRULY understand what this is like. Once it’s finally DONE, it’s quite a relief. Then you move on to the next step….there’s always a next step even once they’re in care. I agree that the hardest part is seeing them realize “it’s time” and they need the help.

    With empathy from across the pond….

  2. Sounds as though you need your sleep at the moment Isobel. Love the sage advice you gave to your favourite octogenarian “you are not Stanley’s bitch.” Made me laugh out loud! Just what she needed to hear too.

    • Oh I do I do. Cleared a box this evening and Freecycled Mother’s electric blanket. No takers for the other items yet.
      What I loved about my Favourite Octogenarian’s reaction was that she completely understood what I was saying at once. 🙂
      Letting Not Cat run about a bit, then it’s bed for me.

  3. Great job in clearing the deck and all. Its not easy and takes so much energy but we all need to do it. I had a major garage sale this Summer. It was hard but was all worth it. My attic is clear now and we had some delicious dinner from our sales that night. I also make a fun post to relive the moment s as well as remind me of the sentimental objects I gave up. Have a blessed and fun day.

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