Hoarder is Just The Tip of a National Problem
of May article by Bill Cox in Sarasota Herald Tribune:
See: Hoarding Article
Inside an ordinary two-bedroom house in an ordinary neighborhood
adjacent to Manatee High School, two sisters are about to come
face-to-face with their late mother's insanity as television
production cameras roll.
easily a 10 - the worst I've ever seen," recalls Jeremy Geiger
when asked to rate the size of the challenge. "The TV show
didn't do it justice because you couldn't smell it."
and Aimee are prepared for the worst; they have been briefed about
Mom's problems by their younger brother, Jimmy. And yet, when the
door opens, words fail.
enter a wasteland of knee-high filth and garbage, wall-to-wall
floors of compacted mold-blackened newspapers, feces, plastic
containers and old boxes, where rats frolic about the crusted
lavatory and toilet. Younger sister Aimee breaks out in sobs and
bolts outdoors to keep from gagging. "Oh my god!" she
moans. "How did she live like this?"
clip from TLC's ongoing reality series "Hoarding: Buried
Alive" was taped last fall and aired nationally in February.
But it could have been anywhere and - according to a Bradenton
cleanup man charged with getting rid of the mess - is likely
repeating itself in your own neighborhood.
Friday, in a concession to the unique and persistent nature of this
psychological phenomenon, "compulsive hoarding" will rate
its own separate clinical category in the upcoming Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Previously, it was
considered a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder.
the ('Hoarding') show started airing three years ago, people have
been coming out of the woodwork," says show consultant and
psychologist Rebecca Beaton, founder of The Anxiety and Stress
Management Institute outside Atlanta. "The incidence range is
put at three to five percent of the population, but from what I've
seen, I'm inclined to lean toward the higher figure."
maybe 15 million Americans on the high end, the disorder is so
stigmatizing that a national Hoarders Anonymous organization has
formed in response. In order to shine a light on the debilitating
condition, TLC's "Hoarding" offers to help sanitize the
homes of afflicted families in exchange for documentation. Last
names are withheld for privacy considerations, says TLC's Nicole
I've ever seen'
Bradenton case came to "Hoarding's" attention shortly
after the mother, Cynthia, died in 2012 from lung cancer at 65.
daughters, who live in Oklahoma, remember their mother as an abusive
alcoholic. But Mom's 26-year-old son Jimmy - their junior by nearly
two decades - lived with Cynthia until shortly before her death last
March. By then, Mom had long since replaced alcohol with clutter.
The family contacted "Hoarding" after being overwhelmed by
the magnitude of the disarray.
was a family secret, and Jimmy wasn't allowed to talk about
it," daughter Cheryl told the Herald-Tribune. "He finally
told me about it when he came to visit me in 2009. He'd lived in
those conditions so long he thought it was normal."
had told the family her home was paid off and that the mortgage
papers were stashed away somewhere inside the house. The bank
disagreed and began foreclosure proceedings. "Hoarding"
even contacted a psychic in an effort to find paperwork that
ultimately proved non-existent.
show also hired Jeremy Geiger to haul Cynthia's junk away.
easily a 10 - the worst I've ever seen," recalls Geiger when
asked to rate the size of the challenge. "The TV show didn't do
it justice because you couldn't smell it."
veteran Manatee County Sheriff's deputy, the 42-year-old father of
two has plenty of experience cleaning up after compulsive hoarders.
His own uncle - a loner whose body was discovered in his home a week
after he died - was a hoarder. Geiger formed a cleaning business,
Haul-Away of the Suncoast Inc., shortly after having to scrub down
the dispiriting aftermath.
with the assistance of a Bobcat loader and a 22-cubic-yard capacity
dump truck, Geiger works outdoor and indoor jobs, 25 percent of
which are residential. Of those, maybe 10 percent involve hoarders.
Employing day laborers using snow shovels and rakes, Geiger says he
cleared six tons of ruined furniture and "tightly
compacted" trash - roughly three feet deep - from the
approximately 1,100-square-foot "Hoarding" house over a
says the TLC producers insisted he and his crew wear hazmat suits to
complete the job. But he says the most effective precautions when
approaching hoarder houses are gloves, goggles and respirators,
which insulate cleaners against airborne contaminants, like
hantavirus. Spraying down the interiors with water to reduce dust is
Geiger's preferred first step.
the time Geiger reaches a hoarder residence, saving the house can be
a lost cause.
mold can often be traced to bad plumbing, leaky roofing and other
forms of neglect, which tend to wreak permanent structural damage.
secrecy exhibited by most hoarders suggest they know their lifestyle
had a friend whose mother-in-law didn't let anyone in her house for
20-something years," Geiger says. "It's hard to believe,
but there was always an excuse to meet somewhere else; even her own
daughter had no idea."
worker and attorney Terry Shulman formed Hoarders Anonymous in
Michigan four years ago and says most have undiagnosed issues with
grief, loss or trauma. Many are paralyzed over fears of making a
mistake and tossing out something they think could prove valuable,
especially in hard times.
fluctuates with the economy and monetary stress, and as wages go
down, they equate stuff with cash," Shulman says. "Stuff
is currency to them. And it's getting worse with global access to
wealth and credit in places like China, India, Russia and South America."
divide compulsive hoarding into five categories, with 5 being the
worst, Shulman says. "But even a level 2 or 3 can cause health
issues, accidents, fires, mold, eviction, divorce, even children can
be taken away because of neglect."
"Hoarding" consultant Beaton: "If you think about it,
the stuff they acquire and pile up are literal barricades between
them and the rest of the world."
Cheryl, who suspects the biohazards in her mother's Bradenton home
played a key role in her fatal lung cancer, agreeing to subject her
family's shame to national scrutiny was not simply about getting
financial assistance to clean up the mess.
you know somebody who's a hoarder, don't wait," Cheryl says.
"Get some help. It's not going to get any better."
more information about compulsive hoarding, contact Hoarders
Anonymous at 248-358-8508 or go to www.theshulmancenter.com
NEED TO TALK ABOUT MONEY AND DEBT
AND AFTER MARRIAGE!
from May article by Detroit Free Press's Susan Tompor:
See: Money and Debt
Matusz and Joe Fisher, both 24, talked about cutting $800 off the
flower bill for their wedding reception and saving another $1,000 by
forgoing flowers at the church.
the really big budgeting headaches will hit after their June 15
wedding. Ashley, in Wayne State University's medical school, is
expecting $130,000 in student loans.
young couples are dealing with delicate conversations about debt,
such as student loans, credit cards or other debt - or they should
be having those discussions this wedding season, financial experts
best to come clean before saying "I do" when it comes to
what some call the anti-dowry - or when you bring debt to the
marriage. Some financial advisers suggest "money dates"
instead of movie dates to discuss debt, and they say the most
important number is not how many exes you have, but what your credit
you're going to take someone for richer or poorer, it's far better
to know particulars up front. Shoot, if you can tell someone about
your old flames, why not come clean and disclose your credit score,
too? A low credit score is going to drive up the price of taking out
a loan to buy a new car or a home.
since the beginning, I was like, 'You know I'm going to have a lot
of debt,' " said Matusz, who told Fisher about her plans when
they started dating a little more than two years ago. She has
completed her first year of medical school.
couple say they've been careful not to overspend while dating, too.
Fisher cooks a lot of "date night" meals instead of going
out, Matusz said. Neither has credit card debt.
need to share that credit report information with each other to get
a plan going to tackle any problems.
see it as both of our debt, not just hers," said Fisher, who
works as a market research analyst for the Paul's TV retail chain in
debt out of college
two-thirds of college grads in the Class of 2013 will leave with
some student loan debt. The average debt is about $28,000.
life, of course, comes with its own set of bills. Matusz and Fisher
will pay rent of about $850 a month for a 625-square-foot apartment
in Midtown. They may need to spend $5,000 on a Ford Focus that's
coming off lease and trade in Fisher's 2006 Saturn Vue, which has
158,000 miles. They're not considering buying a house yet because
they don't know where they'd want to live when Matusz gets out of
to be flexible, the best thing is not to buy a home," said
Titus, the financial adviser.
what will all those student loans end up costing?
isn't certain how much her monthly payments will be. She has
borrowed $60,000 so far for the first two years of medical school
and expects to borrow another $70,000. She knows the rate is 6.8%.
Fisher makes about $45,000 a year, and they plan to live on his
paycheck, not borrow more for living expenses through student loans,
as some graduate students do.
what's the plan?
some couples, a heavy student debt load has meant postponing
marriage. About 7% of adults who took out college loans said they
delayed getting married or starting a family because of their need
to pay back the debt, according to a 2011 Pew Research study.
Locker, a certified financial planner and chairwoman of the National
Association of Personal Financial Advisors, said anyone who is
getting married needs to discuss how they're going to deal with
average wedding costs $28,400 - close to the average amount of
student loan debt. If couples borrow for the wedding and one has the
average amount of student loans, they could be $56,000 in debt
before they share the first slice of wedding cake.
many young couples, she said, expectations for how much money one
can make or how well one can live are not in line with real life.
She blames the beautiful lifestyles often shown in the news media.
Most of the country cannot afford to live like that without going
too deep into debt.
biggest issue that happens, and honestly, it doesn't make a
difference if you're 22 or 42, people don't want to talk about
money. It's distasteful," Locker said.
recommends that couples don't merge all of their money into one
account. It's too convenient to put all the responsibility and bills
on one person. Both need to work out the budget and how bills will
be paid. If one person makes $30,000 and another makes $80,000 a
year, you don't split the rent bill in half, she said.
more key, she said, couples have to ask: What's the plan? What's the
goal and strategy for paying off debt?
have to make a plan. What are you going to sacrifice to get out of
that debt?" said Locker, who founded Locker Financial Services
in Little Falls, N.J.
doesn't go away."
to start talking about money as a couple:
Trying to get out of debt? Run some numbers via a free, nonprofit
website to review plans for paying off debt. Seewww.powerpay.org.
■ Consumers can find articles on financial literacy and money
management, as well as find a certified public accountant in
Michigan, at www.michcpa.org.
Or see www.findacpapfs.org.
■ Fee-only financial planners can be found at www.napfa.org.
■ The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers
information online about taking out student loans and repaying them after graduation.
The site also can help you figure out what kind of student loans you
have already. Or see www.studentaid.gov.
ABC's 20/20 Airs Segment on Office Supply
following is a transcript from the 5-minute ABC segment:
video at : Office Theft
it you probably made off with some of those tempting goodies in the
office supply closet. After all an estimated 75% of us and steal
from the office.
most popular items post it notes tape scissors and those highlight.
There's no real harm, right? Well, some might not agree.
very little flexibility for office theft--stealing is stealing. It
turns out employees' sticky fingers cost companies over $30 Billion
a year. Every item stolen has value and costs money so office theft
can make a real dent. Firms are now cracking down big time by hiring
investigators to monitor their employees, even installing surveillance
cameras to sniff out workplace theft.
cameras everywhere is not illegal and often increases the
opportunity to determine if someone is stealing from the office. For
example, office pantry food theft is very common. In one case,
someone was taking cartons of milk and boxes of coffee. The
solution: one company installed the phony security cameras and the
problem went away. Even a Texas police officer got nailed while
raiding his break area refrigerator and the price of getting caught
red-handed was a thirty day unpaid suspension and obvious
embarrassment. Then there was the case of aColorado woman who was
fired from the hospital where she worked after she was caught
helping herself to office rolls of toilet paper for her personal
use. Humiliated, she claimed she was donating the toilet paper to a
war veterans group. Her boss didn't buy that.
reality, there's never a good reason to steal. Psychotherapist
Robbie Ludwick has treated office theft issues and says people often
look at office theft as a harmless way to get back at the the
company or its policies or practices, such as you're not appreciated
enough for who you are or you're not getting paid enough.
course, pocketing a few highlighters is one thing, but some take
office theft to a whole new level. A mild mannered employee, a
respected New York cancer hospital worker seemed to turn into a John
Dillinger; now he's hoping he doesn't get a criminal record--which
can make it harder to get a job.
Gums says his life of crime began the day a stranger approached him
with a curious proposition: order expensive printer toner cartridges
on and then sell them to him right out the back door--diving head
first into what authorities say was a thriving black market in
bootleg printer toner. Believe it or not, this stuff is so lucrative
it's been called black gold. In fact, just one of these can cost
hundreds of dollars. Middlemen sell the stolen cartridges at cut
rate prices--often online. It all adds up to big time profits.
two and a half years, Gum sold one and a half million dollars of
stolen office supplies. He spent the money on fancy clothes, a
ritzy apartment, a new truck, a Range Rover, and trips
to Cancun, Mexico and the Bahamas.
admits it was unbelievable and very exciting.
Office Depot employee--Mark Alexander--made off with over a half
million dollars of printer toners. He was caught on camera using a
forklift to deliver a crate to an accomplice. Alexander got a
sixteen month jail sentence.
was busted after making a fatal mistake. The hospital realized he
was ordering toner cartridge for printer models that we're no longer
in use. Gums was convicted of grand larceny. After eighteen
months behind bars, he's now out on parole.
want to apologize to the hospital and others I hurt," he said.
Who was disappointed most? "My mom, because she didn't bring me
up like this. I want to make everybody happy. It just wasn't worth
it in the end."
workers of the world, think twice before pilfering that sandwich:
you may just be heading down a slippery slope."
Ryder Says Shoplifting Arrest "Best Thing"
Ryder recently opened up about her 2001 shoplifting arrest in a new
41, says the brush with the law forced her to take a much-needed
break from acting.
Heathers actress, who's currently starring in a new film The Iceman,
was arrested shoplifting clothing at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly
Hills in December 2001.
a discussion with Interview magazine, she explains that she was
headed down the wrong path for a long time, struggling with the
perception that people had of her.
thing that happened," she explains, "I was starting to
have some trouble before that. I think a lot of people think that that
is what sort of sent me off in another direction, but I was actually
starting to have some trouble a few years before."
said a subsequent lack of job offers forced her to take time off
from acting, which she'd never considered previously.
did come up against what felt like a wall," she admits.
"And with what happened...I was living up in San Francisco and
I really needed the time off, which ended up being a couple of
a weird way, it was almost like the best thing that could have
happened because I'd never asked myself the question before of, 'Is
it okay if I'm not going to act? Is there anything else?' because
that was all that I really knew."
said she began to focus on other interests.
were all of these very interesting paths in life that I could
explore - so I started to do that. And then what happens is that you
throw yourself into something else and you say, 'Oh my god, this
other thing is what I want to do.' But then some time goes by and,
for me, it was this realization that I still love acting - and that
I still wanted to do it."
getting "that perspective on life," Ryder was ready to
return to Hollywood.
was a foundation that I had early on, but I think I lost my footing
- you know, obviously," she said. "But then I sort of
Fed Up with Frugality?
from an article by Amy Langfeld, NBC News
seem to be fed up with frugality.
the recession ever so slowly recedes, an increasing number of
Americans say they are less frugal than they were a few years ago.
At the same time, sales at restaurants are at an all-time high and
at least one survey says consumers expect to spend more eating out
as soon as their pocketbooks allow.
at eating and drinking places in April reached $45.9 billion, a $200
million seasonally-adjusted increase from the previous high in
December 2012, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census
month was a shock," said Ryan Lowder, the chef and owner of the
Copper Onion in Salt Lake City, where his sales were up 20 % over
April of 2012. "The increase last month was killer. I'm not
said some of April's boost was likely due to better weather in Utah,
but he's also seen a trend in more spending overall, especially on
alcohol. "We sell a $40 pinot and $60 bottle of Pinot. We're
selling more of the $60 Pinot. We're seeing an increase," he
told NBC News.
Copper Onion was not alone in posting great numbers for April.
totaling nearly $45.7 billion in December, eating and drinking place
sales were dampened somewhat during the first three months of 2013,
likely due in part to the impact of the payroll tax hike," the
National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy wrote
in his analysis of the numbers. Sales have steadily increased since
dipping to $45.2 billion in February. Those numbers are expected to
continue rising, according the restaurant group's own survey.
all, 49% of adults said they were not eating in restaurants as often
as they would like, according to a national survey of 1,000 adults
conducted April 25 to 28 for the National RA by ORC International.
Women were more likely than men (54% vs. 44%) to want to dine out
new survey results suggest that once consumers are feeling more
confident about their personal financial situation, they will be
primed to burn off some of their accumulated pent-up demand for
restaurants," Grindy wrote.
restaurant numbers arrive at the same time consumers tell Gallup
they are less frugal than they were a few years ago. Only 41% of
Americans now say they are "spending less money," compared
with 57% in 2010, according to Gallup's annual Economy and Personal
Finance survey, which was conducted April 4 to 14.
addition, 26% of Americans surveyed in April said they are spending
more money than before, and 32% said it's about the same. However,
many of the Americans who are spending less say it's their new
normal. That's especially true for individuals closest to retirement
age. About 46 % of people in the 50- to 64-years-old, baby-boom age
bracket say they are spending less.
the bracket of 18- to 29-year old consumers that are most likely to
open their wallets these day, with 33% telling Gallup they are
spending more money than before.
is its own reward.--Anonymous