Thursday, 11 March 2010


sunny - yet again! - and mild. temps plus 4

Wow - an april day. Trying not to worry because it's so mild. We almost always get a snow storm in March. Very unsettled. Usually hits around St Patrick's day.

Today's recycling day. Michael wheeled the huge blue container out to the side of the road last night. It rumbles and bumps along - we have quite a long and rutted drive. Sounds like a monster either leaving or coming. But last night I watched a show on hoarding. Ever seen it?

Very dramatic, very shocking. What I find most disconcerting is how apparently 'normal' they seem. But when you see their homes they're in an appalling state. I guess it's like any addiction - like alcoholism creeps up. Anyway, I started looking around our home and realized we have a fair amount of 'stuff' that could be recycled. Old magazines etc. All neatly stacked in the bookshelves, but our bookshelves frankly are overflowing. So I took a huge load of old magazines out to the recycling this morning before the truck came. Freed up the shelves for the books.

If you turn on 'Hoarders' in the next few months and find a tall woman and her adorable husband, both looking fairly normal, on the program you'll know the recycling stopped there.

Actually, i'm not a hoarder at all. Just the opposite. I think Michael could become one, if not closely supervised (by me). When we die our unfortunate relatives will have a heck of a job in the basement. That's where Michael keeps his 'stuff'. I've been advised not to call it 'junk'...but it is.

The writing went well today... I was tempted to continue after the 2,000 or so words but decided to stop.

We just had a call from the guest cottage. It's Tara's time. They've made an appointment with the vet out here for 2:20. Bal and Linda will drop Bethany off with us and take Tara in.

They'll have her cremated, they say. We mentioned that all our dogs, Bonnie, Seamus and Maggie have been cremated - but the ashes not buried. Indeed, perhaps that's what we hoard most. Dog ash. It's everywhere. But we couldn't quite bring ourselves to put them out, and never have them in the house again.

But we know it's time. And were planning on burying them together this summer. We told Bal that Tara was welcome to join them. But I think, right now, they're just concentrating on getting through the next two hours.


lil Gluckstern said...

A sad good bye for Tara and sympathies for your friends. I don't know that books qualify for hoarding, but I love "stuff" too. Although that show makes me feel claustrophobic, I need some clear spaces. I realized that you remind me of a very dear friend of mine with your wonderful voice and silvery good looks. She too was tall and lovely, and a huge contrast to me-short and wide with a raspy voice. We both would lament the amount of stuff we had accumulated over the years. You are really disciplined in your writing; you seem to know exactly what you have to do, and set yourself to do it. Kudoes for that. The proof is in the pudding, isn't it.

Cornflower said...

So sorry about Tara.

Shelagh said...

Dear Louise,

I am so sorry about Tara, and for your friends; this is truly a heartbreaking time. Our pets give us so much love and happiness, and we, in return, give them all our love. Please convey our love and thoughts to the Mounts.

We, too, have "dog ash", and we have given instructions to our (unbelieving!)family we want Zeke's ashes buried with us when we "fall off the perch". In the meantime he is settled among my books - the only things I hoard. We do have a pet cemetery on our property - it's for the many cats we've had, and is surrounded by an iron picket fence. Oh yes, we love our pets!

So glad the writing is still going well. Do you still keep gummy bears close by for fortification????

Hugs, Shelagh

Mason Canyon said...

So sorry to hear about Tara. It will be a difficult time for your friends. Please tell them they are in my thoughts and prayers.

bgpringle said...

Our hearts go out to Bal & Linda & Bethany. I remember last summer, that Tara was having a difficult time then, so she's had much longer than maybe expected. It's always so hard when you lose a member of the family.

whalewatcher said...

Sorry to hear about your friend's dog. Always a difficult time.
Have watched is a mind set I just don't understand. I feel badly for them, but do not know how they can live that way for so long. That show
and Intervention give me perspective on my life and what I think are problems.
Rainy, but warmer here....50 F
Good thoughts sent your way as you write!

Diane said...

Very sad news about Tara, so painful to lose them but they live on in our memories, thank God!

Hoarding - who would have thought it could escalate to those heights. I have books, books, and books and I find it hard to part with them but now have six rubber bins I am going to donate to this Spring's book sale, proceeds going to our local university.

Hopefully I've nipped my tendency to collect books in the bud - we'll see.

So enjoy journeying with you in your writing. A new publisher and 3 more books - doesn't get much better than that. Cheers, Diane

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about Tara. We buried Bob the Cat a couple of summers ago. I planted white hyacinths over his grave, and when they pop up in the spring it is nice reminder of Bob.

My husband was raised by a bizarre cast of characters including his Aunt Martha and Uncle Warren who happen to be hoarders. Their hoarding was not to Grey Gardens level, more of the back up and what if level. For example, if they needed a new iron they would by a replacement and spare as a back up. Plus, keep the old one in case it could be repaired which was added to collection of other things that no longer worked. Their home was a labrinth of laundry, newpapers, books, magazines and old appliances.

They adored my husband and he adored them. I think because of the strange and yet loving nature of my husband's family, he is one of the most tolerant, kind, and loving persons.

There is a tiny bit of the hoarder in him, but we are able to nip it in the bud before it blossoms into full blown weirdness.


Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about Tara. We had to have our 14 year old dog put to rest 21 years ago and I still miss her terribly. Please give my sympathy to the Mounts.

Christine said...

(Grrr. Blogger ate my earlier post.)

I've been able to avoid collecting too much stuff as I seem to move every 2-4 years. That tends to force me to "cull the herd" as it were with each move. I mean really, how many coffee mugs can two people need, right? ;0) I just saw a commercial for that show, Hoarders, this morning. I think it would be fascinating to watch and learn the psychology behind such actions and what actions are necessary to counteract it.

Also, I wanted to convey my sincere condolences to the Mounts. Hugs to them and to you all for being there and supporting them.

Reen said...

My assistance dog Kendall is my anti-hoarding collaborator. He loves to recycle. As soon as I empty a container he runs to me and takes it right to the bin. When we go for our morning roll on recycling day, he runs ahead of my powerchair and checks our neighbors' bins for tidiness. If anything looks out of place he gives it a nudge with his nose. People think I taught him this, but he is just a neat soul.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

How very kind you are, sending sympathy to the mounts. I will pass them all on tomorrow over dinner. I totally understand mourning a dog for decades. And love the idea of planting something directly over them. An old english rose, perhaps. Or a peony. Yes, perhaps a peony. So long lived, and beautiful.

Ren - LOVE your story of the tidy dog soul. He sounds amazing.

And Jill, thanks for your very beautiful words about your husband's beloved Aunt and Uncle and what loving them created in him.

Christine - thank you for persevering! So maddening when that happens...and i think you'd like the Hoarders program. It's done with great compassion...but alot of it is shocking.

And to all of you, Lil, Shelagh, Mason, Bev, Cornflower, Diane, Kathy - thanks for your thoughts. And I think books are exempt from being hoarded. Like friends. Just consider it a community - or city.