Friday, January 25, 2013

Joe is Destined for "Hoarders"

I have to confess I do not watch TV especially reality TV but I do not live in a bubble so I am at least aware of the show Hoarders.  Of course, I also know what a hoarder is since I live with one.

For background, I keep some things but I also pitch, donate or sell a LOT!  I really do not see a need to save baby toys or every craft the kids ever made.  I also try to get rid of books I know I will never read again or DVDs we will never watch again.  I will confess that pictures are a huge weakness of mine but I have even been known to throw away pictures.

So keeping this in mind, why am I so convinced that Joe is destined for Hoarders?

When Joe was in elementary school he was very into what he called "crafts".  Of course sometimes his craft was nothing more than writing a word or a phrase on a piece of scrap paper and cutting it out to show to people.  He would then pile the little scraps of paper on the dresser in his room.  About every two weeks I would go up there when he was in school and throw away two thirds of the crafts off the top of his dresser.  The first time I did this I thought he would get angry with me, but he didn't even notice.  He also labeled lots of things.  We used to buy tape by the case at Sams and DH would bring home scrap paper from work by the box.  He built some amazing things out of paper, string and tape!

This was also a time when he would tell stories over and over and over and over again making very slight changes.  For example, he might tell the story of the gingerbread man, but change it to a gingerbread snowman and then wonder why DH and I did not want to listen.  He would do this so often, DH and I got very adept at pretending to listen.  We both felt bad and yet it was so exhausting to have his chattering at us for hours on end saying nothing really new. 

During this time we were carpooling to private school and the other student we carpooled with was Tina, an adorable little gal with ADHD.  We used to say they were perfectly suited for each other because while Joe would tell the same story 15 times in a row, Tina would appear to be listening attentively because she couldn't remember the last 14 times because of her ADHD.  We later discovered that Abilify made Joe very OCD in this way and after we took him off that medication he improved remarkably.

One year shortly after Joe went off the Abilify, Alan started back to school before Joe after winter break so I told Joe we were going to clean up his room.  I figured now that he no longer needed to make and keep the goofy little crafts he would be a bit more willing to clean up his space.  And while he was willing, the experience was quite an eye opener!!

I found:
  • hair toys that were not mine (he had picked them up from parking lots and playgrounds) 
  • used sucker sticks (eww!)
  • about a half dozen flashlights, rulers, old batteries, and tape measures
  • the wrappers from bandaids
  • toys that Alan played with but Joe decided to keep in his room so that Alan could NOT access
  • a set of little toys like you buy for party favors that we had never purchased for him (shoplifted?)
  • one of DH's old pay stubs
  • a key to our safe deposit box
Yikes!  It has now been four years since the massive room clean up and while all the  boxes are still there with their cute little labels and contents intact, he is still a hoarder.  He saves every card, letter and ticket he can.  Here is what his room looks like now.

So while this picture doesn't look too bad, I do have to share the story that brought about this particular blog entry.

Joe loves running errands for us.  He is so sweet that way.  He will tell me "that's what I'm here for!"  So one day last week I sent him to the supermarket with some cash and the request that he buy milk and animal crackers.  He comes home and asks if I want the receipt.  It was cash so I tell him "no" and then he says he is going to go put it upstairs in his card box.  Huh?  I can see wanting to save ticket stubs and cards, but why in the world would he EVER want to look at a cash receipt from the time he went to the store for mom and got milk and animal crackers?!?!

Hoarders here we come!

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