I have a dear friend whose fiancé “inherited” a home. For the weeks leading up to their wedding, they worked to make the place liveable. I once asked if she had taken “before” pictures so people could truly value the fruit of her labors. She said no. There was no way to capture the horror. Now I understand.
Saturday, her sister and a friend rounded up a few of us to help clean up a bit before the two lovebirds returned from their honeymoon.
There simply are no words.
To give you a glimpse at the task before us – a crew of 8, in two-hours time, gathered enough stuff to fill two truck-and-trailer loads, with overflow. And I do mean stuff. There were body parts (those of dolls mind you, but just as creepy), wigs, rotten mats, bronze coal buckets (pee pots, spittoons, what have you), metal signs, wooden signs, a wood splinter wrapped with twine at the end of which hung a shoe, an electric blanket, a vacuum hose – IN THE YARD!
Other than dodging hornets (they were all a dither that we would even think of trespassing on their property) we kept our hands to the grindstone. Every once in awhile someone would utter a coheriant sentence. Here are a few things overheard…
Oh, she’s in the shed.
Yeah, um, that’s actually a part of the house.
This is wrong; this is very wrong … so very, very wrong …
These guys are going to go ahead and make up some hazmat suits so we can safely enter.
I just needed to come out here for a bit so I did’t throw up.
Is that a head in the grass?
We found what appears to be either a mouse or a corndog.
And the comment that pretty much sums it all up:
Oh dear God!
Now, lest you be shocked and appalled that I would use the Lord’s name in vain, let me assure you – that was nothing short of a heart-rendering prayer. A prayer that we got the wrong house, that people could not possibly live this way … that we would make it out alive.
But we did (and, apparently, they do). While I would love to say we cleared out all the crap, tore down the creepy sheds, trimmed all the juniper bushes, hauled it all away, sprayed decades worth of weeds and bugs, planted grass and flowers, and otherwise started from scratch … we still accomplished quite a lot. Further, there’s something to be said for working hard, in the heat of summer, to surprise someone you love. You feel a certain affinity for those you work alongside – as if you could say “Come here you!”, pull ’em in, and give ’em a good dutch rub – or maybe hold hands and sing kumbaya.
Instead, I will simply say this: Mandi, Julie, Jared, Tim, Kayla, David, Brent, Aimee, Colby – and my mum – you rock!