Hoarders is funny when it happens to someone else. When it happens to you it’s just a bummer.

So my grandmother and step-grandfather both died this year, within a few months of each other and left a house full of crap.

It wasn’t all crap.  But the crap to useful stuff ratio was way worse than I would have tolerated.  I vaguely remembered that when my grandparents got married 20 years ago, we all went over there to clean stuff out of the garage and some of the other rooms.  I ran this by my cousin who confirmed that it happened (we were in high school at the time) but that it didn’t stick.  My new grandpa was a hoarder and was not about to change.

So my aunt put out a call for our family to assemble and make one last go of getting the house in order to sell it.  I could only make it up there for one day this weekend (most of the rest of my family lives much closer), but it was a good day.  Kind of a bummer, but also pretty fun.

I don’t know how other families are, but on my mother’s side it’s at least 95% fun all of the time.  I’m the oldest of my generation, but I have seven cousins and one brother.  The next eldest is six months younger than me, my brother is two years younger, my other cousin is three years younger and the rest are in their 20’s, except for the very youngest, who is 11.  So we’ve always had a pretty good group of kids.  And some of us kids never really grew up.  Some of our uncles never grew up either.  But we all pretty much like each other, which I imagine is rare.

My cousin who is three years younger and I have always got along really well.  I spent a lot of time at their house in high school and we’re both into similar things- going to the beach, music, skateboarding, beer.  California dude stuff.  Pretty much every time we’re together it’s madcap hijinks. When he showed up to help we immediately came up with a set of goals for the day – find the liquor and find the nudie mags.

We were not disappointed.  We found some tequila- the drink of choices on my mother’s side (my father’s side= whiskey).  We found some Playboy magazines and even tried to dispose of them quietly (well, we did tell one of my uncles) before any of the women could find them, just to save grandpa’s reputation, but the old man outsmarted us by placing them in several places around the house and in the back shed.  My mom found one and said “well, it just proves he was a man.”

My grandpa loved to discuss history and current events, and I’m pretty sure he’d have wanted me to read a few of his books.  So I took a few that looked interesting.  I doubt they’re worth auctioning at the estate sale.

It was hard work though and the shed was the most appalling.  Just full of junk.  This is now the second hoarder house I’ve visited and I’m going to generalize and say, it’s not collecting stuff that makes someone a hoarder.  Everyone has collections of something.  It’s not throwing away stuff that has no use.  There had to have been at least 3 records players in his garage and several more in his house.  There’s really no need for that many record players, especially since I doubt the ones in the garage even worked anymore.

By the afternoon I was covered in dust.  I had wrapped a bandana around my face for the worst of it, but even that got too dirty to wear.  I was there from 9 to 5 and my back was aching.  But I had a great time.  It was kind of nice that so many people showed up and were laughing and having a good time.  It was a nice way to send off my grandpa and grandma.


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