Monday, May 26, 2008

Okay, so here's the deal. For the last 2 1/2 weeks we have been in the middle of a small crisis. We live above an 82 year old man named John. He's a funny little man who walks around with a "Jesus Loves Sinners" baseball cap on and the same clothes he wears months on end. Well, soon after we moved in 3 years ago, we began hearing stories about John and his "little problem." He is a HOARDER. Yes, ladies, just like the lady on Oprah this past year. I live above the male version of that. Only he doesn't go shopping for clothes. Instead he fills his home, basement, and storage units full of electronic equipment old and new and flea market stuff. He has a zillion old tv's (hence the slideshow frame) and any other media gadget made in history. So anyway, we were told that before they redid this home 4 years ago they had to take away 18 dumpsters (not the small ones, the massive ones) filled to the brim of his junk. They thought they had solved the problem. Well, over the past 3 years that we have lived here he has filled it all back up. We had not realized how bad it had gotten because he keeps to himself and makes sure his door is never left open for us to see in. So when we went through it 2 weeks ago we saw that he needed help. It was not safe or healthy. He had disabled his smoke detectors because they were chirping and he didn't want to spend the money to replace the batteries. Hmmm? With 3 children living above him? Not a good idea. So we intervened and got the fire department in here to help. He was ordered to have everything removed.

So we have been fighting with him to let us help him. We're basically the only ones he has. Us and a few neighbors. He has a son that never comes to see him and only lives 10 minutes away. So we had these huge 30 yard dumpsters delivered and began emptying out his home. Well, actually we haven't even gotten to the actual condo yet. We have filled 3 of these dumpsters with just the stuff from his storage space in the cellar and his garage. Where and how he got all of this I cannot tell you. We do know that he goes to flea markets on the weekends. He always told us he went there to sell his stuff. I think he was doing more buying then selling.

Todd made some phone calls last week and rounded up 8 missionaries and bunch of friends from the ward, and a few of our good neighbors to come over and spend Saturday filling these dumpsters. It was AMAZING! Everything about it. We could not believe the amount of stuff pulled out. We had no idea it was so much! We set up a little yard sale mostly to distract John, but he made $1600 (thanks to our wheelin and dealin neighbor Steve-he can sell anything!) over 2 days of selling it. Amongst the junk there were some actual treasures. The funniest part was the people that showed up to the yard sale. They thought they had died and gone to HOARDER HEAVEN. We had people hovering outside the cellar doors waiting to see what was brought out. At one point I asked this lady what she was going to do with all the items she was carrying away and she replied, "I don't really know. I assume the fire marshall will be coming to my house one of these days." So since the first day of the "mass exodus," on Saturday word spread like wild fire and people came out of the woodwork to see what they could find here. We came home from church on Sunday to find people digging through the dumpster to see if they could find treasures we had thrown away. The same guy brought his Dad and his little brother back today to dig through the other dumpster. It is so interesting. The life of hoarders. It's not over yet, we hope to have everything cleaned out by this weekend and then we'll need to come up with a plan to keep it all from happening again. I'll have more to post soon. Hopefully the "after" pictures!

10 comments:

Casey said...

Oh wow. It is shocking to see someone living like that. Good for you for stepping in and doing something. Looks like you have your work cut out for you!

Burnett Family said...

Wow,that really is amazing. I can't even imagine living like that. Hopefully he doesn't spend his $1600 on more junk to fill his condo up with!!! Good for you. I'm sure this is something you will never forget! Hope he can get help to overcome this illness he has. Sad.

Andi said...

You guys rock for helping him out (and keeping your kids safe at the same time). Good luck with it. I hope you can find a way to stop it from happening again!

Berkley, Meredith and Tanner said...

Hey Ashley, I stumbled upon your blog. Your kids are so cute! Hope to see you guys one of these days. We want to take a weekend trip up to Boston this summer. maybe we could meet up... I'd love to see you.

Whitney said...

No way. Wow. That episode on Oprah was insane, so I can't imagine what it must have been like being in this guy's place and cleaning it out. Way to go you guys!

Whitney said...
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Felicity May said...

Unbelievable! Now that is one impressive service project.

Craig said...

Wow...that is really crazy. Good work guys.

turleybenson said...

Um, that was an amazing story. Wow. So sad if he just does it all over again!

Jane Maynard said...

seriously CAH-RAY-ZEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know you kind of HAVE to get it taken care of, but you also are such good people to help him out. his life makes me sad...

how is it now?