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Blog. Soon.

I owe you a blog.

I had one all planned out and intended to compose it this afternoon and evening. It was about what neighbors can — and can’t — do for each other in these strange times.

Then I volunteered myself into a situation that put me in the house you see below.

The first two images are the living room (if you could call it that) of a deceased neighbor’s home. The third is, I suppose, a storeroom, and reasonably orderly compared to the rest of the entire two story house. But the little brown sh*tty stuff on the floor is … little brown sh*tty stuff. And there were years of it everywhere in the building.

Now take the appearance of the place and multiply by 10 to get the smell. And this was the home of a very nice, pleasant man. Not some crazy troglodytic freak.

I was so stunned all I wanted to do was get home, burn my clothes, bleach my skin, and get the (probably imaginary) bugs out of my hair.

So that is what my next blog will be about — and it’s still about what neighbors can — and can’t — do for each other in these strange times.

But tomorrow I’ll be going back to that place and trying to do the job I volunteered to do. So give me a bit of time yet, please.


  1. Claire
    Claire August 3, 2021 8:18 pm

    We are blessed with saintly neighbors here, and I assure you, TB, I am not one of them. I simply volunteered for a job I have experience at (dog rescue) and had NO idea what I was getting into. After 10 or 15 minutes in and out of this house I simply left bowls of water and snacks and fled to gather my wits and take on the job another day.

  2. stevefromma
    stevefromma August 3, 2021 8:28 pm

    I’ve cleaned out a few houses like that, one from a deadly fire. .don’t use candles there.

  3. Comrade X
    Comrade X August 3, 2021 8:36 pm

    Wow, I think you found somewhere where I would even wear a mask!

  4. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge August 4, 2021 12:21 am

    Take your time, Claire.

  5. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar August 4, 2021 4:58 am

    Dog rescue is always a worthy endeavor, and while (she? he? they?) may miss their previous person, they are lucky you care.

  6. larryarnold
    larryarnold August 4, 2021 6:30 am

    Comrade X, I think I’d want full hazmat. Seriously.

    Claire, I don’t suppose you can get permission from whoever owns (inherited?) the house to just burn it, and sweep up the ashes? And no, I’m not joking. What treasure might be buried there isn’t worth the health risk.

    The house we found to convert into our Women’s Shelter had belonged to a hoarder, and we invested many hours cleaning it out. (It was much bigger.) But the stuff was more or less stacked up, and clean enough to handle.

    That stuff isn’t.

  7. Claire
    Claire August 4, 2021 7:24 am

    Thank you very much, guys. I was not handling this discovery well yesterday and I’m still not happy facing the prospect of going back in after dogs (which, BTW, are three shes and one he, although the he mostly remains outside, which is good, but two of the shes are hiding inside), but the problem looks better today.

    Yes, I will not only wear an N95 mask but as much other PPE as I can get my hands on.

    Larryarnold is right again as he so often is: this place should either be burned down (as a fire department exercise, perhaps) or cleaned out only by hazmat specialists. Pity. It’s a large and well-constructed old farmhouse, but no way can any normal measures ever make this a safe dwelling.

    I’ll try to get the dogs outside then close the house up. I don’t know who’ll inherit the place; that’s another mess our dead neighbor left. But once the dogs are outside I hope we can seal off the house. Nobody should go in there unaware, as I did yesterday.

    Other than the dogs, who are mostly seniors and entirely unvetted, I doubt there are any treasures inside and if there are they’re not worth the risk of hunting for them.

  8. Noah Body
    Noah Body August 4, 2021 12:26 pm

    Hey, I see some treasures in the photos. I’d clean it out for free if I could have the stuff. Dirt and poop doesn’t bother me.

  9. BearMama
    BearMama August 5, 2021 7:08 am

    Ohhh man. Hang in there. Take a deep breath (OUTside the building), keep yourself safe, take your time. Those dogs are lucky you are there for them!

  10. Sam Hall
    Sam Hall August 5, 2021 2:33 pm

    Let this be a lesson to all of us to get our financial affairs in order. Got will? Got beneficiaries on investments and insurance? Got a living will? What should be done with your carcass when you’re done with it? Etc. etc.

  11. classlass
    classlass August 9, 2021 10:08 am

    A couple of years ago my daughter’s friend was asked to help with that type of clean out. The heir had been in and said she couldn’t handle it on her own. But a couple hours into it the friend dropped a couple of books and out floated $400. She yelled for the heir and they started pulling books and by the end of day had amassed over $20K. Two very startled women but daughters friend was told she wouldn’t be needed anymore. Later found out that between what everyone thought of as costume jewelry and actually wasn’t and cash they had found over a $100k. So suit up and keep looking.

  12. Claire
    Claire August 9, 2021 10:49 am

    Wow. Some story, classlass. And such events don’t seem to be all that unusual with eccentric (or maybe just prepper-before-their-time) old people. Kind of sleazy that the heir didn’t reward your friend’s daughter for those finds.

    It occurred to me that Rusty may have left something like that. Possibly he lost or somehow squandered all the proceeds of his previous successes; you never know. But I don’t think he was poor, and it never looked as if he was spending much. So perhaps the long-lost son or the brother might find a happier surprise amid the chaos.

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