Just got back from difficult child's apartment

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nancy, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We had to bring her the tickets to the football game tomorrow. husband was going to go with her but said it's too cold and she said she would love to have them to go with a friend. Browns vs Steelers, long time rivals. Even though our team is horrible this year, that game is always sold out and promises to be very exciting.

    Anyway I had never seen her apartment so I went along and OMG I could never live like that. It's on main road lined with three story brick apartment buildings that you can just imagine college students renting. It's a very old building with one of those very old style phones in the entryway to announce your arrival, doesn't work of course. Has a back staircase with an old time incinerator opening. So we climb up two sets of strairs in a very dark hallway and enter her apartment.

    The first thing I notice is the overpowering smell of smoke. She showed us her room. She has it set up nice, but there was clutter all around. Bags and boxes all over with nothing in them. The kitchen is a disaster with dishes all over. Open cans of pop all over the apartment. Ashtrays overflowing. Christmas wrappings just strewn all over the apartment. Of course I started gathering together all the garbage and husband and I and difficult child all carried down loads of trash to the dumpster. I had brought a printer over that we had extra in the house so I downloaded the software and we left.

    husband reminded me that she probably doesn't mind it half as much as we did. It's dark and messy and stinky but it's clean, not filthy, just messy, and it's a lot better than a lot of places she lived in the past two years.

    I came home and was never so happy to get back to my house. I felt a little sad as I left her for what she gave up but I have to remind myself that she is sober and seems well. I am not going to go take a shower to try to get rid of the smoke in my system.

  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    And there is something to be said for having your own place and not living with mom and dad....that independence can be so important at that age.

    I was reminded of that today when I was feeling a little sad that my 16 year old easy child daughter has plans with friends elsewhere and we are SO not a part of her New Years Eve plans. But hey of course at 16 she wants to spend time with her friends, and I am glad she has friends and I am glad they are nice friends and I am confident that she is not going to a wild crazy drinking party.

    Anyway my point is it is HER place and I bet she is feeling good about that and the things that matter to you probably don't matter to her so much right now.

  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    LOL sounds like my house today! But, I hear what you are saying... I remember my mom saying a long time ago it was hard for her to see me living on my own no matter how nice it was. You have such a unique situation, any step toward appropriate independence that falls at least within normal limits is a great step! I too hate smoke smell etc. But, she is doing it. Still sounds like good things are happening, there and with you. Nice way to start the new year
  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    husband went to move our difficult child once when she had been evicted and he still talks about the filth. My difficult child is very messy and I don't think she will ever change in that regard which is just one of the reasons that she needs to have her own place.

    My difficult child used to call me Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anal-retentive about keeping our house clean. Ironically, now she says she wants to live here since it is nice to live in a clean house.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think most folks when they leave their parents homes have to go to their first places and they arent what they left. In most cases, you dont move from middle class into middle class. You have to start from the beginning. I had a therapist once who said he had a son who moved out to live on his own and when they visited they just put blinders on and didnt stay long...lol. They figured it wasnt how they wanted to live but at least he wasnt living at home.

    Your daughter will get there. She has to take the baby steps that move her forward. It starts with the yucky apt she can afford now but as she can afford better she will. As she does it on her own she will get the satisfaction of doing it on her own and that is something that no one can take away from her. That is what builds self esteem like nothing else can. That I can do it spirit. And that is what will keep her sober. If she thinks she cant do it, she will fail. If a trashy place is hers, so be it. She is doing it on her own. Be proud of her.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am very proud of her Janet. Believe me I understand starting out with nothing. It's what you do with nothing that gets me. And I certainly don't expect her to move to middle class on her small salary. It's the mess, the smell, the clutter, the clothes all over the floor, the kitchen overrun with dirty dishes, things just left where the lie, the overwhelming smoke smell permeating everything, the darkness. The old building is charming and could be fixed up very nicely and without much money. We have plenty of odd tables and furniture she could take if she wanted. It's not her apartment though, it's her friends. difficult child actually cleans more than her roommate and her room looked half decent.

    To me it's just a depressing place and she needs to stay upbeat so she can move forward. But I'm sure she doesn't look at the mess the way we do and as long as she is safe and sober I can close my eyes too.

  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I watched a psychiatrist on a television show once say that disorder around you is a symptom of disorder in the mind. It stuck with me since I think that is definitely true in my difficult child's case. difficult child's world is chaos and disorder and it is reflected in how she lives. I hope that makes sense.

    You can have very little but still keep it clean and picked up. Also, messiness with things left on the floor or not put away is very different than dishes left in a sink for weeks without washing. At some point, it can become a health issue.

  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You both wouldnt like me...lol. I think you guys are right though. Probably my room is a depressing place and I know it is smoky. You have given me a lot to think about with the thing about having clutter around you makes your mind cluttered and depressed.

    Nancy I wasnt being mean. Remember I came from a family probably in your income bracket and now look at me. Sometimes it really hurts. I know how badly I messed up and reading this stuff brings hits home like a punch to the gut. You should have seen some of the places I have lived. Probably would make her apt look like a palace. It's just hard sometimes.
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Janet I understand and the reason I felt bad when leaving is because of what you just said, that it hurts because you know how badly you messed up. I think difficult child feels that at times and it hurts me.

    Kathy I agree with you. I can't stand clutter and when I am around it I feel bad and have to either leave or get rid of the clutter, that's why I started cleaning up while I was there. It's very difficult for me to concentrate around clutter or dirt, I end up not being able to think about anything else but that and I don;t feel good about myself.

    I was glad to see her room was organized and not as messy as the rest of the place. She texted my today and said after I left she cleaned and rearranged her room. I told her I was proud of her and if she emptied the ashtrays at least it would go a long way in making it smell better. She did buy an air freshner spray so I think even she thinks it's bad. But like I said the girl she is living with is a good influence and that goes a long way in my book. husband looked in their fridge and there was no alcohol ;).

  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Way to go on no alcohol! I have known some people who think that they are done drinking but think that they can still drink those alcohol free beer things. To me that is asking for trouble. If it still tastes like beer, it is leading back. I am very proud of both of you, you know that.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The near beer is a no-no for alcoholics. Same goes for virgin drinks.

    I know you are Janet! And I am very proud of you! You remember those days years ago on this board don't you? You have come a very long way!

  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh I dont like regular drinks but I love virgin pina colada's. Never liked them with alcohol in them though. I dont like rum.
  13. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I didn't know that about the alcohol-free beverages. It makes sense because it's still the same behaviors being encouraged, especially if they are drinking in bars. I occasionally drink non-alcoholic beers and I love Bloody Mary's made without alcohol. I don't like vodka and it seems to me to be a horrible thing to do tomato juice.

    The only straight up hard liquor I like is plain single-malt scotch which I don't drink anymore because it sets off the acid reflux and gives me headaches. The only thing I like tequila in is in margaritas and I'Tourette's Syndrome been a few years.

    I'm very careful about alcohol both because of my medications and because the tendency runs in my family. I also started to drink more heavily after husband died and that scared me away from the stuff. I have a high tolerance and don't get hangovers. Seems to me that it would be easy for me to become an alcoholic and it's not road to follow as my drinking was definitely self-medicating.
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    As you know ADHD runs in the family. My eldest sister had it before it had a name, lol. Her house was a total mess and truthfully I dreaded going there. GFGmom is a total slob. Like many she leaves her house clean and appropriately dressed but then returns to a truly vulgar environment. difficult child#1 used to keep his room clean...now the door to his room stays closed. It's like split personalities...pig at home, cool in the outside world and never the twain shall meet.

    on the other hand your difficult child has learned how to share space with others and most importantly is working her sobriety so...like me...guess you need to avoid "her place" and hope she matures into it. Drives me nuts! DDD
  15. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I've only been to difficult child's apartment twice: once on the day they were moving in and once a few weeks later when I had some spaghetti sauce to drop off. Both times, it was suprisingly clean (but smelled like smoke).

    I am truly my mother's daughter: I like a clean, clutter free home. When my X left and, especially when my difficult child left to move in with him, I let things go a little ...which ended up driving me crazy. It's easier - for me - to keep it clean than it is to deal with how I feel about clutter.

    However, when difficult child lived with her dad, she was Queen Slobola! He has a condo and her bedoroom is the only room upstairs and has it's own bath. Here, in our 80 year old house, we had only one bath with a shower and she abolutely HAD to keep it clean. I asked DEX once if the smell of her room bothered him - you could smell it at the foot of the stairs..and I'm talking about dirty clothes and spoiled food, not smoke (BLECH). He said, in his Ostrich way "I'm going to have a conversation with her about it." Which really never happened...

    When she moved out, he called to tell me that she would not be moving back if this doesn't work out. He'd cleaned her room (why?) and was sickened to discover discarded,used pads strewn about the floor under plies of filthy clothes and wet, moldering towels. He found all kinds of dishes covered in dried food, 1/2 empty peanut butter jars....ick, ick, ick!

    my t-doctor says that kind of filthy chaos is different than disorganziation and cluttler: it's a sign of depression.

    My dear mother in law was not at all concerned with clutter, cleaning house or anything like that. But her house wasn't a toxic waste dump either. Normal clutter (other people's clutter!) doesn't bother me. Filth does.

    Janet, my first Cleveland apartment made my poor parents crazy. It was the kind with a fire escpae outside the window, one big room with a murphy bed (which I still think is cool). In my case, it was a bit of rebellion against my comfortable upbringing....that and my refusal to ask for help1
  16. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Nancy, every time I visit difficult child's apartment I get so overwhelmed with the clutter. The last time I was there I was cleaning up and lecturing then I had a bit of a light bulb moment about me telling him how to tend to his apartment. It's not mine to clean or organize and he has to get resentful if every time I'm there I'm harping on him so I apologized and stopped. It's his job to follow a cleaning check list every week and I need to let him do it(which he doesn't do often enough for my taste). I hate disorganization and clutter and mess. I believe it works against me in terms of thinking. Doesn't seem to bother difficult child and I already know his thinking is cluttered and disorganized.
    I feel your pain. I think of what difficult child grew up with but none of what is valuable to me is valuable to him.
    easy child is messy also(lazy) but I'm pretty sure when he is out of the dorm and in his own place things will change. Different personality and a bit of a germaphobe.
    Now when they are home(they love their nice clean house) they have to clean up before they leave. It's rude to visit and leave a path of disaster and mess. They are good sports about it though.

    I just shake my head.
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Fran, I had that light bulb moment too while I was lecturing her and picking things up. I stopped in my tracks because you are right, it is her place to keep clean and not my job to lecture anymore. I did post a part 2 to this story. She must have thought about it when I left because she has since cleaned a lot.

  18. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I did read part 2. It's so nice when the get it. It's sure a long path to adulthood.