Dont Mince Words

Archive for the ‘Family’

The great clean out, v2.0 0

Posted on March 19, 2014 by Marna
Box recycling run

Box recycling run

One of my friends asked me if it was difficult cleaning my mother’s house. No, it wasn’t. My anger overshadowed memories and sentimentality.

My mother was a member of The Greatest Generation.  She grew up during the The Great Depression and rationed during WWII. That means she’s a saver.  After my Dad died, I did the great clean out version 1.0.  The house was painted while my mother considered moving to a retirement community.  She never made that move, but it gave her 18 years to collect more.

A lot of what I pulled out of the house was pure recycling.  Boxes, paper, glass, and plastic.  That’s what made me angry. I made seven trips to the recycle center, one run to the county dump, and filled her big blue recycle can five times. What was funny were the things I thought she had too many of.  She averaged 1.3 pairs of scissors per room.  She had more boxes of toothpicks than the cast of Hee Haw could use.

Once my brother and I took what we wanted, there were still a few things we hated to leave for the bulldozer:  the bunk beds my Dad built and the IBM Selectric II typewriter my mother used.  I volunteered to come back one more time and conduct a donation-based “estate” sale.  The proceeds would go to hospice.

I wrote a best-of nominated Craig’s List ad inviting hoarders and collectors to come clear out the house.  A half-hour before start time, they were lined up with their tote bags, ready for a grabfest.  I quickly learned that hoarding is a family affair for couples in their early ‘50s.  I opened the door, they ran in and went floor to floor.  Most people would stay at least and hour.  As they would make their donation, they’d tell me what a great idea it was to make it free. Then they’d tell me how excited they were about finding X, Y, or Z.  A found item artist is going to pull apart the Selectric and make an art piece.  A 20-something kid took the bunk beds so he and his roommate will have more room.

While mom wouldn’t approve of strangers milling around her house, I think she’d be happy that we were able to pass on some of her clutter to folks who could use it or hoard it. A good cause will benefit and I can safely say, I’ve done my duty.  The door is shut. The house is sold.

Round and round 1

Posted on February 10, 2014 by Marna

bigwineMy biggest fear when I moved to Virginia in the winter was exercise.  I know, I know. But in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles I did a lot of walking and hiking. To move and immediately get hit with single-digit temps was scary.

Five additional pounds later and I developed a solution based on my age and physical capabilities. Your Layoff Lady of Leisure / Heiress bought an elliptical trainer. I created a home gym in my second bedroom. I hate going to gyms and this is the only piece of equipment I’ve always loved. In a week, my FitBit tells me I’ve gone 45 miles and shed 2.5 pounds. I credit new sneakers and a reduction in my Cougar Town-sized glasses of wine (except when it snows).

I’m not sure what you are supposed to do when you inherit money, but I know my mom, who has told me to lose weight my whole life, would have approved of this purchase. Giving up excesss volumes of wine? She’d question that.

Squirrel patrol 0

Posted on January 02, 2014 by Marna
Blurry, wagging tail.

Blurry, wagging tail.

There’s a strong possibility my shoulder will get dislocated soon. Dixie has discovered squirrels and I’m not sure a pinch collar will hold her back from the fierce chase she wants to have.

Dixie is a girlie girl dog. She was discovered on the mean streets of Long Beach, California during the housing crisis with pink nail polish on. More than likely, someone opened the door and let her go right before foreclosure. She was impounded, sterilized, and picked up by my rescue agency. You know the rest of the story.

When we lived in Santa Barbara, she saw a few ground squirrels on the cliffs at the beach, but they are like chipmunks on steriods. A month before we moved she saw her first squirrel.  Every day we passed that tree she’d stop and look up.  Up until this point, she liked her prey slow moving and her most notable captures were four possum and one skunk.  At the end of the day, she was a lady of leisure and liked the sofa more than outdoors.

Now we live in a neighborhood where there squirrel-to-tree ratio is bananas.  With the leaves off the trees, she sees everything.  She groans and whines to see the critters.  I now let her have one good run a day, if no one is around walking other dogs.  She chases them to the tree then circles it until she figures out they are not coming down to play with her.

Many people have worried that this southern California dog would not adjust to the east coast weather.  Neither freezing rain nor snow keeps her in the house. She has happily traded sunshine for squirrels.


  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 377 Posts, 131 Comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Tag cloud

  • Old Posts

↑ Top