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The Uncle We Never Knew, Current Status

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Its fascinating uncovering the layers of a hoarder's life. My stepdad, at first mortified going through a dead person's possessions that he knew is now captivated by the old, antique items now being dealt with. They were trying to figure out what this heavy metal furnace was and why there was a huge empty space in the middle of it. They now think it was a space heater!! But it weighs a ton and will take some good strong people to haul it up from the basement. There were some old, heavy, wooden downhill skis tucked up in the rafters.
My poor brother has been working over there every night and weekends. He no longer has any vacation pay left and is spending lots of money on trips to the dump. They do recycle what ever they can, but are unwilling to deal with a garage sale or trying to get money for any items that may be of interest or value. My brother has to wade through a storage room of papers in boxes. Just when he thought he found all of my Uncle's assets, he discovered Fred had purchased a house! So now he may have to do a title search. He is tempted to just let it slide. We uncovered papers and cards showing Fred socialized with his illegitimate daughter's family right from when she was born. Both his lover and her husband were long time friends of his right from when they immigrated. We saw the lawyer's letter of the DNA paternity test, but have not yet uncovered one of the results. It turns out he had a whole other life with his German friends he kept from us. These immigrants stuck together right off the boat. A group of young men would travel, do everything together and when my father built a house, they all crashed there. When my uncle got his first car, they all used it to travel around with. Apparently, they stuck together no matter what over the years, a very tight knit community. Even though he was in Canada from age 22 to 80, my uncle was never interested in assimilating any Canadian customs, food or language. He spoke English with an accent and really had to concentrate to bring up English words he wanted to communicate with me. He was all German, all the way. Its no wonder we 'Canadians' were left out of the loop, we were not German and not good enough to be included in his personal life. His gifts at Christmas time were money for the grandkids and an endless supply of the exact same European & German chocolates & cookies as North American stuff was no good. A closet full of these chocolates were found, many past their due date, the ones that were not filled my brother's freezer. Have no idea what he will do with them as none of us really liked them and don't want them.
I am not sure what to make of all this, or how I really feel about it. But it does make you feel like you are an outsider, more of a casual acquaintance then a relative. I know my sister is upset and bewildered and trying to make sense of a life we really never knew. I am interested in his other life, but its not going to bother me if I never know his full story.
I am busy with my own life and dealing with my health issues to worry about someone else's ancient history. My six days off I was hoping to spend over at Mom's to escape from the smoke has evaporated. On Wednesday, I have my Humira injection and physiotherapy. On Thursday, I have to do month end at the club. On Saturday, my sister is coming in with her family to stay over night prior to leaving at 4:30 am Sunday for their vacation. So no window of opportunity. The long ongoing allergy attack has now clogged into my sinuses and I can feel my ears trying to plug up. Very frustrating. I think there is no way to deal with my neighbor's smoke when there is shared hollow space and venting systems within the dropped ceiling. I saw how extensive it was when they had to replace my light fixture in the kitchen when water flooded it from someone's overflowing bathtub above me.
I have been having non stop GI tract issues and someone suggested maybe its my medicine. I have been trying to ease up on the fiber, but still are going over what is suggested almost every day. My family Dr. is allowing me to go back on acetaminophen, which my specialist had taken me off because its hard on the liver and I had been on it a long time. She says my liver function tests have always been good so doesn't think its an issue. She is also telling me to take the gabapentin three times a day. So I still am having pain, but its not as harsh as it had been. I still cannot sleep through the night though. My back pain stills come through. Must keep moving. It feels better than sitting. Would love to spend some time curled up with a good book, but still have no really comfortable way to sit for long. I need to hit the garage sales and thrift shops to see if I can find something that would be comfortable with my size and back.
I am really liking the new dynamic tracking system Sparkpeople came up with. It suits me well with my variable exercise hours that changes daily based on how I feel. If I had a healthy body, you can bet I would be taking as many fitness classes as I could fit in in a day ;) Its not entirely true that the Fitness and Nutrition Trackers didn't work together before. They did, as long as you pre set how much exercise you would do in a week, then it would give you a accurate calorie range based on that. But for most people, life can get in the way and they may not reach their goals of fitness for the week. So that is why this is such a great idea. It accounts for those bumps in the road. You can't go back to the old way once you have set it. I am not missing it. The less fiddling around I have to do with things the better.
Have a totally terrific Tuesday! if you made it to the end of this long winded blog, congratulations! You have the patience of a saint and are wonderful friend!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ENUFF81020
    I wonder what happened to my response to this blog from the day you wrote it. Oh well. My husbands parents passed away about three weeks apart from each other--a precious love story. The reason I mention it was that they left a big "hoarder" type mess as well. They both lived and struggled through the depression from which neither family recovered well. Anyway to fast forward, my husband and his brother and sister found cases of stuff stored all over the house. There were cases of out of date ketchup and syrup, canned foods, paper products etc... It appeared that they were purchasing what they were using and simply saving all of that stuff from flour and sugar to condiments and baking supplies. It took months to clear it all out of there. I think the time they did without pushed them into such behavior.

    We are all products of our experiences. I don't think much about that until something like this comes up. Interesting thing about my husband's parents is that I understand they were the most kind and giving people around. They would give or share anything they had with somebody else who needed it. I have heard so many stories about their kind and giving nature. I only can pray that others speak as kindly about me some day.

    Peace and hugs,
    1752 days ago
    I haven't caught up with you forever. Some how I got dropped from your emails. Thanks for commenting on my blog, now I'm back. Great to read your blogs again.!!
    1756 days ago
    Wonderful to learn about family history!
    1757 days ago
    I've been thinking about your uncle and your fascinating account of what you found in his house. It reminds me of something that is perhaps better left for a conversation if we're ever able to meet (How lovely would that be?!) Here's the upshot: we all have interior lives, and it sounds like you're learning a lot about his. It reflects on him, but you shouldn't personalize it into being about you, a slight, or anything like that. What you're finding speaks volumes about him but in no way judges you. I probably didn't say that well, but hopefully you understand. I hope you're feeling better soon!
    1757 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    In some ways, I can relate to the bemusement about your uncle. I learned things about my dad after he died and the surprises continued after my cousin died. I would not, however, label the Canadians as "not good enough" but more in the category of where he felt comfortable. My Norwegian side is much like that.
    1758 days ago
    It must be kind of interesting, learning about the uncle you didn't know. Sorry he couldn't become Canadian and enjoy the beauty and culture of Canada. For some it is hard to change.

    Sure sounds like you are one busy lady!
    1758 days ago
    This is one big interesting blog! Sorry you aren't sleeping through the night well, I hate it when that happens. Very kind of your brother to handle this clean up for the family. Makes me wonder about people and their secrets though emoticon

    I will have to check the changes in the tracking system you are referring to, perhaps I can benefit from them.

    Take care my sweet Spark Friend!
    1758 days ago
    Your uncle's story doesn't sound all that strange to me, Linda, because whole chunks of my family are a mystery to me. I met my uncle in person only twice in my life, and 50 years apart, even though we corresponded for years. My dad's side of the family are split between the two coasts--one half-uncle here in Florida and the rest in Washington state. And I never even knew my mom's side of the family, because she and my father eloped and never had anything to do with them.
    1758 days ago
  • C8TSON
    Wow, the secrets that can surface after a person's death. Had a similar experience last year when my aunt died. I always knew she had hoarding issues, but didn't know to what extent until I went to her house and found that she possessed a barn larger than her home. It was filled top to bottom with stuff! And found out she was in huge debt because of it. Sounds like you have a lot on your hands with his stuff, not to mention the emotional side of it. I'm so sad to hear that you are suffering with such pain. And then to have the smoke and horrible allergies right along with it must make things absolutely miserable. emoticon I wish so much people would be more courteous with their smoking. I have to say, that when I was a smoker, I was at least considerate of others. Was outside a store the other day and this person walks right up beside me smoking a cigarette. The smoke was blowing right in my face and I was shocked that someone would be so brazen as to casually do this around a pregnant woman. I was tempted to say, "sir, I quit smoking for a reason. I don't need to inhale your smoke nor does my unborn child. Have a little concern for others!" Anyway, I hope that you can find some pain relief soon and maybe a good comfy chair in which to sit and read. emoticon
    1758 days ago
    Wow, what an intriguing story you told of your Uncle! That's quite something. So sorry about your GI tract troubles. I can enter in. I have an appt. now to see my primary dr. and hopefully they can help me. It sure doesn't make you feel very well, that's for sure. I am thinking that with our low immunity, that if it is an infection then an antibiotic could help. Hopefully! Take care in the meantime, and I'm thinking of you lots and lots with lots of emoticon
    1758 days ago
    Most of us have elements of our lives that are less public I suppose -- and your attitude about your uncle is very tolerant and understanding. I am sorry about your ongoing health issues and the loss of that "smoke free" window of opportunity: sure wish you could find alternate accommodation that suited you since it's pretty clear the building you're in isn't going to change (and they authority isn't going to impose appropriate smoking restrictions either . . . ).
    1758 days ago
    The cleanup from your Uncles sounds like an adventure. I hope you find out about his other life, it sounds interesting.
    1758 days ago
    1758 days ago
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