Lili at her mother's house.
As much as I've complained about my brother, he has been a blessing over the past couple of years. And the stresses of having to deal with my dad and the family homestead has forced us to learn ways of talking to each other. Lili has not been so lucky. She ended up the main family member looking after her mom as her mom's dementia stole her mom's mind away from her. And afterwards, she is the person leading the efforts to fix up this house for sale. Lili is all alone in her effort, and yet, she has the support of her friends to get this job done.
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I had promised to Lili that I'd be there for her to help with cleaning out this house. Her mother's husband refused to let any of the family members into the place for two years - until they (as I understand it) paid him to leave the house a year early. So when Lili told me that the place was a mess, I didn't realize how much of a mess that I'd be walking into on Tuesday.
Morning came, and I knew that I'd need coffee to get through the day. I got dressed as Marian, and waited for Lili to pick me up at 10 am. By the time we got to her mom's house, it was 11:30, and the day workers were well into their task of ripping up the carpets and tossing them into the heavy duty roll-away dumpster taking up the whole of the house's driveway. (They were doing some minor demolition work as well.) I had looked into the dumpster, and it was approximately 40% full. Little did I know that we'd double that by the end of the day.
Unfortunately, the air conditioning wasn't working and I was starting to get extremely uncomfortable in Marian mode. (The wig alone adds 10-15 degrees to the temperature I have to deal with.) So when Lili started to be finicky in regard to dumping her mom's clothes into bags for Goodwill, I was in fine form. If I couldn't find a way to be comfortable, I'd be asking her to take me to the train station so that I could go home. Lucking, I found a small fan downstairs, and I was able to start packing the dishes we would be donating to charity.
Shortly afterward, Lili's friends came, and we were able to get things done. While I finished up packing the dishes, they worked with Lili to clear out a bedroom which was densely packed with clothes (and other stuff) to the point that one could barely enter the room from a side entrance. And this is where they started to bag up the clothes headed for Goodwill, while I started to empty several bookcases of old encyclopedias, Readers Digest condensed books, and other disposable stuff.
By the time we were done for the day at 6:30, we had at least 25 bags of clothes destined for Goodwill (see above photo), with much more work left to be done (see below photo).
You'll note that this room is relatively "empty" in relation to the bedroom I described earlier. Imagine a garage this size filled to the brim with stuff from other day's cleaning efforts, and you'll wonder how the husband of Lili's mom could have lived in this house for the past two years. If you look closer at this photo, you'll see the back of a semi-circular couch which has been eaten away by an animal of some kind. There is a space in the adjoining room where this animal had ruined the wall and exposed the outside brickwork, as well as a hole in the floor which the animal may have used for an escape. How could this fellow live in such a disaster zone? I'll never have the answer to this question.
At 6:30, we left the house and went out for dinner. I stuffed myself silly as well as sucking down enough liquid to drown a horse. (The food was good, I was hungry, and I was dehydrated from not having a drop to drink since lunch time.) And then it was time to go home. Lili dropped me off around 10 pm, and again, I was unable to get to sleep until after 3 am.
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I paid for my lack of sleep on Tuesday night by again not moving until late Wednesday morning. It wasn't until my brother called me to give a status update on our house that I decided to get up for the day. From what I understand, our handyman would fix a problem wit the toilet during the day, my brother would connect the upstairs radiator in the evening, and my brother's friend would complete the trim work in the upstairs bedroom tomorrow.
As usual, I didn't do much during the day except watch the talking heads on the news channel. While I was resting, Lili was on the phone all day - including a chat with the handyman who worked on my family's homestead. And tomorrow, he will be going over to Lili's mom's place to inspect the house so that he can give Lili an estimate for work she wants done.
Late in the afternoon, I got shaved, showered, made up and dressed, and readied myself to go out in Marian mode. I figured that I'd drive up to The Avenue in Newburgh and see if two pairs of shoes were still available for sale on clearance. One was a heeled sandal without a back strap, and the other was a slip on pair of sneakers with bungee cord like laces. I figure that I could break in this pair of sandals in what remains of summer, while the sneakers could be used year round. Well, I figured that I couldn't go wrong for $12 on the sandals, and for $19, the sneakers were a bargain!
While shopping, DD told me about how things have been going in her life. Her husband had just lost his job, as his firm is outsourcing delivery services to another firm. She is working extra time at both the diner and at the store, as well as doing house cleaning for two clients. DD is one of those women Donna Summer sang about when she performed "She works hard for the money." But this was not all. Her daughter took the family car, and got into an accident with DD's grandchild inside. Someone rear ended the daughter's car, and pinned the daughter inside the car. Her child called 911 for her, repeating the mother's words: "The Bitch hit me!" (If I heard that phrase without any context, I'd think child abuse was going on. However, DD's grandchild repeats phrases as a parrot would. And this is common for a child of that age.) Emergency services then asked this young child for information, and she said that her grandmother (DD) worked at the diner across the river and at a clothing store nearby. She also mentioned the type of store where her daddy worked (the kid was saying something like "mid... town" and Emergency Services wasn't sure if the kid said "Midtown" or "Middletown". Nor could the child identify where Grandpa worked. Eventually, Emergency Services called DD and told her to get over to her daughter and grandchild ASAP. But there is more. When the fire department got to the car, they had to use the "Jaws of Life" to get the mother out of the car. So the child was talking about an alligator taking a bite out of the car to get the mother out. No, I'm not doing justice to DD and what's been going on in her life. I'm just glad my life is going better than hers....
On the way home, I talked to both Lili and GFJ. Lili told me that her brother is reluctantly helping with the house, showing people the house and explaining what needs to be done from information prepared by Lili. After I was done with Lili, I called GFJ, and we chatted about the day's events. This is not unusual for us. But it is unusual for two people who are not "officially" in a relationship any more.