Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And in this closet...

I have returned yet again. The trip to GA was long and difficult. Lawyers and CPA's and probate judges and banks and so much more. So many things to do. I've never gone through this and I had no idea just how much was involved. And I learned two very important lessons very early in the trip...
  1. EVERYTHING takes longer than I thought it would take
  2. NO ONE on the phone can help me until they've transferred me at least four times
And I learned one other thing during my trip. Something I never really knew about my mom. She saved every piece of paper she ever saw in her life. Every bank statement. Every old check book. Every grocery receipt. Every Christmas card. Every one.

You may be thinking....so what, one little pile of papers. What is he bitching about?

Oh no, my friendly blog reader, I'm talking many big piles. Many piles in this closet. More piles in that closet. Some piles under a bed. Some on the shelf. Piles and piles.


But hope remained. Perhaps all those piles were neatly organized, thus allowing me to quickly identify recent documents needed for accumulating assets and paying her bills while blindly tossing the 1994 Halloween cards.

No such luck. It was a hodgepodge. A jumble. A mishmash. A melange. A potpourri of papers. (Okay, I'll stop now. But are you getting it? There was a LOT and it was a mess!)

So what was a poor boy to do with all that paper when there were other things to be done? A game plan was hatched. Mornings were devoted to meetings with attorneys and financial folks. Afternoons were devoted to packing things in the house. Evenings were spent looking through papers - piece by piece - and either tossing or saving, as necessary. And on the final day, I packed up two large boxes and mailed them home for later inspection. I packed an extra suitcase with papers. I crammed my carry on luggage with papers. And I came home.

Now our family room has a new piece of furniture. The card table where I now sit - surrounded by boxes of paper. I think I might be here for a while...finishing the task of identifying what is current and tossing or shredding the rest.

Anyone for a parade? I've got all the paper you need!

24 comments:

Star said...

The only advice I can offer is shred as yougo. I putit all off to the side, and there is litle boring than a day of feeding a shredder, and waiting while it ools down from overheating.

Jenster said...

Oh Em. What a monumental task. I hope it goes smoothly for you.

A said...

Ah Ha! I'd hoped you would find something wacky, or at least mildly out of the ordinary! Seriously, people are funny(my mother is the worst like this!). I'm glad you were able to bring some papers home. Much easier to fit IT into your routine, instead of stopping your routine entirely!

Now, if you don't mind . . . I think I have some of my own papers to shred(on my newly purchased shredder!) . . . or even just to organize. The conviction! The horror!

Seriously though~ Best of luck, glad you are surrounded again by the comfort of your family.

Amanda

Dorky Dad said...

Holy bats, Em, that's a lot of paper.

Could be worse. She could have collected cats. Or cans of beans -- my grandfather-in-law had stacks of boxes filled with canned beans in his house.

Em said...

Canned beans? Really? Geez...that is an ugly scene just waiting to happen!

A - enjoy your newly purchased shredder. Use it wisely and save your kids the trouble! LOL

Jazz said...

I have an aunt who saves everything. Unfortunately she doesn't just stop at paper, she keeps used saran wrap and foil, every wrapping and ribbon for every gift she's ever received, every magazine she's ever bought, years worth of newspapers, teapots with the spout broken off because "you never know"... Her place is scary.

Thomas said...

I understand your pain. My father passed last june and Saturday Mom and I finally tackled the garage.
It was dad central and after three hours we had filled a trash can (HUGE ONE) and we were done for the day.
There is still about 10x as much to got through out there.

I will never save things again. I have seen the impact it has on those who are left behind.

TV

Kati said...

Wow.... All I can say is that I DO hope you're saving some sentimental bits as well. A letter between your parents during a time apart, or a letter from your grands to your mom. Or the birth announcements from you & siblings that she kept all those years. Those are the TRULY important papers to keep.

But, best of luck sorting through & determining what IS junk, and what isn't.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I don't envy you that chore. I had to go through the same thing to a lesser degree when we moved my Mom a couple of years ago. I got the paper sorting/shredding duty. *shudder* I can't believe that the shredder held up.

citizen of the world said...

My grandfather saved everythign too, including every single penny he'd spent his entire adult life in tiny notebooks. It was unbelievable.

I'm sorry you had to go through all that. Probably virtually none is worth saving. (Although we did find some deliciously bad poetry written by my great-grandmother.)

Above Average Joe said...

When we walked through our house when it first hit the market it hadnt been cleaned out yet. The entire house was like that, papers on top of boxes with papers, etc. It was like an inferno waiting to happen.

Pendullum said...

Ooh, I now feel guilty... As I keep everything...
I have letters written to me in from grade two...
You do have quite the task at hand...

Robin said...

Somewhere on my blog is the story of my mother's death. You seem to have escaped the familial emnity I went through, but kept the top to bottom paper after tiny paper, that was maddening. I did find a beautiful thing in the midst of it all....I'm not sure I wrote about that.

I know I'm new here, but I've been lurking and wishig good things for you.

Still am.

wisdomstuff said...

Wow, that sounds like quite a job. Good luck with that. My Mother is the complete opposite, she saves nothing, which at times can be equally frustrating.

Melody said...

Oh my goodness. What a task you have done already and the task you have ahead I don't envy you.

At least it was only papers she kept. SOme people hoard strange things but we won't go there. And it is all recyclable too.

Chelle said...

Oh man....thats a LOT of papers!! Makes me rethink what I save!! Dont' want my kids having to go through piles of papers upon my demise!

I'm suare this is not a fun job for you..... :(

Jocelyn said...

I admire that you're still at it. My impulse would be to look through the top three inches and then just say, "Sod it" and throw it all in the recycling.

Well done!

me and the other me said...

em,
i'm sorry to read about your mom's death. no matter what mode or age or relationship, it's always difficult to let go. my thoughts are with you. and this post certainly gave me a pause. i do NOT want my daughter to have to deal with my chaos. so i am renewing my former unmet goal to get rid of all of this crap. i mean, seriously, do i need to keep every single letter ever written to me? will the IRS come after me if i don't keep every damn receipt or bank statement from god-only-knows how long ago? the clothes i will NEVER EVER get back into, even if every restaurant and convenience store within a hundred miles closed and i had to cook my own meals? methinks the answer is right in front of my OCD face!
take your time, dear friend. it ain't going nowhere. deal with it when you feel like it. and save some of it! yuu never know when you'll feel like opening up a can of circa 1972 beanie-weanies.

May said...

Happy Easter, Em!

Kati said...

Hey Em!!! Haven't seen you around in a while & I hope everything is starting to improve in your corner of the world.

Hope y'all had a fantastic Spring Equinox, and are having a Happy Easter as well. Many Blessings from my fam. to yours!

tulipmom said...

Happy Easter Em!

Winston said...

Are you still buried under those piles of paper? Surely not... I would've been tempted to have an accidental fire...

Hope to see you back here soon...

whimsical brainpan said...

Is everything copacetic?

Kati said...

*knock knock* ANYBODY HOME????? Em.... Wondering what's happened to ya. I hope the piles of paper didn't tip over on ya and bury you alive.

Seriously, I do hope all is ok with you & yours. I miss reading your posts and seeing ya around. Please give us a shout-out and let us know what you're up to these days!!!