Evenings are for turning this chimps enclosure of a house into something habitable. Or at least sanitary. The 2 nights over the weekend I was painting: turning Midi Minx’s old room into Mini’s, and turning Midi and Maxi’s now-shared room into something that will stand up to them and their playing. Alas, I can’t turn it into something I can scrub and hose down, so Dulux Endurance will have to do. Their room is in the ever-so-slightly off-white Timeless and the eyeball-searingly pink Sweet Pink. They love it! I’m so glad. It looks pretty good, considering I was listening to this while painting the single pink wall freehand (masking tape rips the new paint on the joining walls off)
All the rearranging has given me a brilliant opportunity to sift through old clothes, get rid of junk, find long-lost jigsaw pieces, and marry newly-found socks with their odd partner. I’m finding the sifting and, well, fixing, very soothing. The Boss is happy to see bags of outgrown baby clothes go to the Clothing Bank instead of replacing our clothes in the wardrobe. The excuse “The minxes can use them for their dollies” has worn thin.
My mother was a terrible hoarder. She died of lung cancer nearly 3 years ago. My younger sister did the lion’s share of emptying the house after Mum died: she did weekdays and I did weekends for months (our 2 brothers managed an hour or 2). It still irks me that I never managed to sift through everything. As the sole executor, I concentrated on trying to find paperwork that would help me sort out her affairs, whereas I wanted to look for old drawings from when me and my siblings were children, or old toys, or old photos. God, I really wanted to go through the photos! But the clutter was too much, and 10 months after she died, I called in a house clearing service.
I got very angry with my mum for leaving that kind of mess for us to clear up. It wasn’t just that I spent every minute feeling as if I was spying on my mother, as I looked into every single private aspect of her ife. Every single angry complaining letter she’d written; boxes of personal love letters; lawyer correspondence documenting my parents’ separation and acrimonious divorce (och, aren’t they all?). I resented the time I spent rifling through drawers and boxes of smelly, dusty, stained old receipts when I should have been looking after a-then 2 year old Maxi Minx and a 6 week old Midi Minx.
The memories of that year still haunt me and occupy a black little coal in my stomach that surfaces some mornings at dawn when I can’t sleep. I will never inflict that on my family, so I constantly battle my own instincts to hang onto EVERYTHING! Sometimes I win that battle, sometimes I don’t. For now, my OCD-induced sense of peace means my binman will hate me. Mainly because I was on so much of a roll sorting out 2 rooms that I finally binned 5 big boxes of old work clutter and notes. You can now see the floor in the garage. Crikey, there might be room soon to put the car *in* the garage (shocker).