Hoarders Die in Their Piles of Crap

Making news this week? A hoarder was found death — months after she had croaked — underneath one of her many piles of ‘stuff.’

The sad part? When I went to research the story for this post, I found NUMEROUS other stories about hoarder deaths — at least three this summer alone.

In this newest news-making event, a Las Vegas woman was missing for four months. Her husband tried to ‘find’ her, but despite help from police and scent-sniffing dogs, didn’t see her until feet sticking out from a pile of clutter until it was far, far too late. And how did the clutter cover up the stench of death? I’ve smelled the decomposing body of someone who’s been dead a few days in the summer, and it’s not a smell you’ll ever forget. So how, in the super-toasty summer of Las Vegas, did her husband not smell her?

The Other Cases

On June 22, firefighters ‘rescued’ a woman in Sandy Springs, Ga., who was buried in chest-high junk that she’d probably hoarded for years, but she died shortly after. She was only 38 years old. Technically, she died after she was pulled from the clutter, with the cause of death cited as ‘alcoholic liver disease.’ She also had multiple federal and tax liens against her home. The best part? The firefighters had to go through a ‘decontamination’ process afterward.

Just a month later, on July 20, firefighters in Skokie, Ill., had to cut a hole in the roof of a home to get to the body of a 79-year-old hoarder. It took 3 hours for them to reach the deceased woman, since the clutter was piled so high, it was only 2 feet from the ceiling. How did she get around that home? She died of natural causes from heart disease, but if her daughter hadn’t come over to look for her, she might not have been found for a long, long time.

What makes people hoard stuff? It must take the place of something in their lives — affection, socialization? Part of it is definitely a compulsive disorder. Collecting stuff is a habit, but these people take it too far. I’ve also seen cars stuffed to the gills with garbage, papers and ‘stuff,’ and other people hoard animals and pets. In no case is it considered a healthy obsession.

I don’t consider myself a hoarder, nor a minimalist. I’m somewhere in between, thank goodness.

More Car Troubles

Today, I got in my car to go to work and the damned “low coolant” light immediately came on.  Of course, I had to get right to work for a meeting, so I had to hightail it down to my mechanic on the other side of town to top off my coolant so I could get to work (I wasn’t driving 50 miles round-trip and seizing my engine).

The mechanic is able to take a look at the car as soon as I get there. He pops the hood and immediately notices the cap has come off the coolant tank. “That’s why it was empty — it was all sloshing out,” he says.

That makes the third time I’ve gone to him for something and it’s come down to a loose cap on some part of the car’s anatomy. The last two times, my “service engine soon” light came on, and it was only because the gas cap was loose after I’d filled up (in New Jersey, we’re not allowed to self-serve our gas, so it was the attendant’s fault).

Mechanic to me: “I’m gonna start calling you ‘Cap Girl!'”


Shower Success

Had the pleasure of co-hosting a great baby shower today for my BFF, who’s due in 6 weeks with her little man. Everything went off without a hitch — the food was delicious, everyone had a good time, the centerpieces and decorations were kick-ass. However, I am beat up from the feet up, as they like to say in these parts.

We did pretty well with budgeting for the event, with the help of a nice donation from a family member toward our costs. It wasn’t a very frugal shower, but then again, it wasn’t MY shower. Anyway, there are certain things I don’t skimp on, and celebrating my close friends and family members’ milestones is one of them.

Someone at the shower, a friend of mine from high school, asked when Mr. Not-So-Frugal and I are going to register for baby stuff. I’m a little bit superstitious, so I want to wait — plus, what’s the fun of picking out stuff if we don’t know what we’re having? We find that out in mid-October, so we’ll talk then about registry stuff.

I’m not a big fan of showers — I hate being the center of attention. I’m really not comfortable at showers (bridal or baby) even as a guest — it’s just a big present-opening party with food and cake and coffee. Just not my scene. Anyone else out there feel the same? Mr. NSF won’t even consider a Jack-and-Jill-style party to ‘share the pain’ with me when the time comes. He’s such a sport, haha. It’s the least he can do if I’m carrying our child for 9 months, no?

A Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

I love you dearly, but I really, really want you to finish painting the upstairs bedroom that you lovingly helped renovate over the past 11 months so I can get some carpeting put down and do the molding. I know you don’t want any help because you’re a perfectionist (like anyone should wonder where I got that trait from), and I know it’s going to be hot again and that it will have to wait, but I’m thisclose to just doing it myself, even though I shouldn’t be in the middle of paint fumes in my ‘condition.’ Evenings after sundown will be cooler, and you can wear shorts to beat the heat…

And you can paint the kitchen for me, too, while you’re at it, since the paint samples I streaked in various places (pre-pregnancy) are driving me nuts.

Your Freaking-Out-Because-We-Need-to-Move-on-to-Renovating-the-Rest-of-the-Upstairs-Before-March Daughter


No worries — I won’t be painting. I know it’s not healthy for the baby — I wouldn’t even use the low VOC paints they have on the market nowadays. But I can’t stand looking at a project that’s taken this long, knowing it’s so close to being finished, and WOULD be finished if I could just do it myself!

Once the room-that’s-taken-a-year-to-renovate is finished, we’ll be moving our bedroom into there and starting on the bathroom and bedroom upstairs. I’ll leave the gutting to the boys (dad, brother, Mr. NSW & my dad-in-law), since that’s the fastest part. But then we’ll probably hire a professional to do the rest, because I sure can’t wait another 11-12 months to get the rest done.

And I know if we don’t finish what we started upstairs BEFORE the baby arrives, we sure as heck won’t be finishing it after Baby Frugalista shows up, since we’ll be pretty distracted for a while!

P.S. If anyone wants to paint my kitchen, please, by all means, just volunteer! (Hey, brother of mine, doing anything next week? Haha.)

Symptom Central

Finally, FINALLY the nausea I’ve had for the past 5-6 weeks is letting up. It’s not so bad that I have to secretly run to the ’empty’ ladies room in our office building to dry heave, nor is it waking me up in the middle of the night. I never knew how awful you could feel from wanting to puke your guts up (and then not even getting the satisfaction of doing that 98% of the time — just a lot of gagging). My need to eat 24/7 has also finally gone away, at the expense of no longer fitting into any of my old clothes except one pair of capris and my dresses/skirts. It’s time to eat more healthily.

Instead of nausea, I’ve been getting headaches that feel like someone is trying to put an ice pick through my skull. Only once did I break down and take one Tylenol. Another fun symptom, one that I haven’t had since I was a kid, is nosebleeds. Apparently, the extra estrogen and progesterone are causing all sorts of extra blood to run to the mucous membranes, resulting in more-fragile capillaries in your nose. And it also makes you more congested/stuffy — exactly how I feel every morning when I wake up.

I’m not falling asleep by 8:30 pm anymore, either. I can make it until 11 pm if I want to, but I think I still require more sleep. There are the occasional after-dinner naps still.

There’s the strange twinges in my lower abdomen, where my uterus is rising through my pelvis, which are apparently round ligament pain. It’s an odd feeling — cramp-like, but not like menstrual cramps. More akin to a pulling sensation.

Moving on to constipation. Wow. Nothing I more I really need to say about that, right? Trying to increase my fiber intake to get things moving a bit better.

And my recent favorite, the end-of-day bloating. I start out the day pretty okay — my stomach isn’t sticking out too far (that would be “food baby” rather than “baby baby”). But no matter what I eat, by the end of the day, I wind up looking 6 months pregnant. Bloating also brings with it what I like to call “air flow” issues. I’m drinking a lot of water/seltzer during the day, but now that I’m writing about it, I wonder if the carbonation in the seltzer is partly to blame.

Ah, the joy of pregnancy, right? You men are lucky you don’t have to go through this. Mr. NSF actually told me the other day that he can’t wait to see me ‘waddling’ around to go to the bathroom 10 times a day. Nice, right?

The Times, They Are A-Changin’: An Announcement

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag: I’m pregnant! A little more than 12 weeks, to be exact.

That’s why you’ve probably been noticing that I haven’t been posting about doing a lot of stuff around the house lately. It’s because I’m pretty much out of commission until early March, when our baby is set to arrive.

That means I can’t help with finishing the upstairs room, which is down to just needing paint, carpeting and molding. I can’t paint the kitchen, which right now has white primer walls with two test spots of green-hued paint on either side of the doorway. But I’m sure I’ll find other ways to keep busy.

I wasn’t lucky enough to skip the morning sickness (or “all-day sickness, as I’d taken to calling it). My face is breaking out like I’m 13 again, my mood swings are epic and I dearly miss my caffeinated tea and Coke Zero. But it’s all for an excellent cause.

Mr. Not-So-Frugal and I are ecstatic and thrilled to share this news with everyone this week. Now I’m going to have to find new ways to be frugal when it comes to all the expenses associated with a baby!

The Painfully Expensive Month of August

This month has been full of little expenses that have hit the checkbook hard. We tend to be more social during the summer, so it’s not too surprising, though.

Here’s how some of the expenses broke down:

1. BBQ. We hosted a barbecue for a few close friends, and the price of food and booze adds up, although it was definitely worth it.

2. Two tickets. One was a parking ticket because I had to park at a metered spot instead of in the free doctor’s lot, and I didn’t remember to bring quarters with me. Remember when meters used to take nickels and dimes? Not bright on my part. Then, I went through an EZPass toll without my tag in the car. Short story is I thought I was in a lane that was open, but it wasn’t, and the toll-taker refused to take my toll. Jerkface.

3. Fantasy football. Mr. Not-So-Frugal is in a fantasy league every year, and between the fee and the food, that was $115 down the drain. It’s worth it if he wins in the end, but you can’t count on that!

4. Home Depot. The upstairs room is finally getting painted, so those supplies had to be purchased: primer, ceiling paint, top coat. And rollers. We also needed a new deadbolt.

5. Prescriptions. My new endocrinologist has decided that I need to be on name-brand Synthroid to manage my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis autoimmune disease, so a 90-day supply ran me $80. With co-pays, it would have cost $90, but they just charged me whatever it cost withouth insurance, since it was less than the co-pay.

6. Doctor’s appointments. Mr. NSF’s health insurance has a $40 co-pay this year for specialists, so that’s painful — especially when you’re seeing specialists often.

7. Increased mortgage escrow. Taxes went up, so the mortgage payment went up, by about $100 a month.

8. Eating out. We had dinner with friends a few times and picked up sushi from ShopRite on a few Fridays.

9. Miscellaneous. Our utility bill was high because July had been the second-hottest month on record, and I had a few expenses on the credit card that we’d actually paid off a few months ago, so that was a fat payment.

10. Baby Shower. We planned my BFF’s baby shower for the end of this month, too, so there are the associated expenses with that.

September doesn’t look to be too bad, although we already have plans to go to a Renaissance fair and an Oktoberfest. Hopefully, that will be the extent of the ‘extra’ expenses. And before I know it, it will be Christmas ::shakes head:::