Time to start Marie Kondo’ing your house. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it so your children aren’t stuck with it
Now that we can exhale, let’s talk about another very important topic: the naked pictures you have of yourself that you don’t want your kids to see.
Or, even if you’re OK with your kids seeing them, let me assure you, your children do not want to see them. NOBODY WANTS TO SEE NAKED PHOTOS OF THEIR PARENTS.
Now, advice about naked photos may be becoming less and less relevant as this sort of thing becomes digital, but there are other categories of Things Your Kids Do Not Want To See that cannot be digitized, like your – um – equipment.
Don’t tell me what you have. I don’t want to know.
But you need to have a plan.
What am I even talking about? you ask.
Mr T and I attended a brunch for our college class reunion last Saturday.
Yeah, it was on zoom.
Because covid has been horribly mishandled in this country because of that man but he’s almost GONE so maybe next year, we’ll actually be able to go to Houston and see our friends in person. Inshallah.
Anyhow, one of our friends joked that she was going to let her kids clean out her house when she died.
She had a good point – she said, “I want to enjoy all my possessions until my last day on earth.”
She also said, “Plus this is what they can do to earn their inheritance.”
Also fair. Ish.
I am a bit – what’s the proper word? – bitter? jaded? still furious with the heat of a thousand white suns? so angry I would dig up their bodies just to spit on them? – about how Mr T’s parents left things.
They died within two months of each other.
For the many years preceding their deaths, Mr T asked them to clean out their house.
Our class reunion friend has a lot of stuff in her house, but she’s not a hoarder: she’s a baker.
Mr T’s parents were one step under hoarders.
That is, when they moved from Pittsburgh to Florida, they took their winter clothes with them.
Narrator: You don’t need winter clothes in Florida.
And a bag full of newspapers. A brown paper bag, full of just regular old recycling. I know, because that bag sat on the floor of the guest room closet, under a bunch of the winter clothes that went unworn because you don’t need upper Midwest winter clothes in Florida.
And a whole lot of other stuff. Their house was full. I wasn’t even allowed in the other bedroom. Mr T said his mom was ashamed of it. When I saw it after they died, I understood her shame. I, too, would have been mortified to have a room like that, but I also would have been ashamed of the rest of the house.
(I blame Mr T’s dad for everything, though. He was not a kind person.)
Anyhow, Mr T tried to convince his parents to get rid of stuff, not for his sake but for theirs. It’s not pleasant to live in a crowded, messy house.
They told him that they had had to clean out their parents’ houses and he would have to do it for them.
Narrator: Parents often wish to keep their children from suffering the way they had to suffer. People who grew up hungry usually don’t intentionally starve their own children. This is how healthy parents react – they want their children to have a better life than they did.
So. They died. And, as I had noted in 2005 when I read their will, Mr T was the executor.
And he was disinherited.
That is correct.
They made him the executor and they disinherited him.
They gave all the money to the grandkids, putting it in a trust and making Mr T the trustee.
And they specified that he could not be paid for being trustee. (Which, I can tell you, is a thankless pain in the neck job that requires weird tax filings and a ton of work.)
Let me be clear: I don’t care that Mr T was disinherited. People get to do what they want with their money. It’s theirs. Expecting to inherit from your parents is kind of dumb, I think. I want my mom to spend every penny she has, dying with exactly one cent to her name. I don’t want her to scrimp and worry about leaving an inheritance for my siblings and me. I want her to enjoy her money.
And my nieces and nephews are lovely and I am glad they have this inheritance to help them as they get started with their adult lives. I would have loved to be able to pay my student loans with something other than my meager income ($20K salary, $13K in student loans).
What I care about is they disinherited him and still stuck him with all the work.
He had to clean out all the crap in the house. He couldn’t just throw old papers away because current financial information was mixed in with eight years’ worth of EOBs from Medicare. He couldn’t find the title for the car. (Finally found it in a manila envelope on the top shelf of the closet in the office.) He didn’t know if they had a safe deposit box or not – he found a list called “Demise Prep” that included “safe deposit box” on it, but no further information.
It was a mess.
And that wasn’t even the worst part.
The TL;DR: He found their sex toys and their naked photos of themselves with those toys and his dad’s sex diary and all their porn
I don’t care what you do in your bedroom. Or kitchen. Or garage. Or wherever.
I don’t care what consenting grown folks do.
That’s their business.
But nobody nobody nobody
Nobody wants to see photos of their parents naked with – well, equipment.
Narrator: NOBODY AT ALL
And yet that’s what Mr T found.
He had to touch – the equipment.
He had to shred the sex diary, page by page.
He had to shred the photos.
At least with the sex diary, he didn’t have to read what was on the pages.
Narrator: He accidentally read one page where his father wrote about having sex on his sister’s waterbed. It’s difficult to shred stuff with your eyes closed.
He had to drive around town looking for a dumpster for the porn.
(We later learned there is a market for vintage porn, so perhaps he should have tried to sell it – but – ick.)
He did not enjoy any of this.
THE ACTION PLAN
Do not let this happen to your children. Even if you leave all the winter clothes and the old newspapers and the rusted tools and the rinsed takeout coffee cups and 12 years’ worth of magazines and the junk mail for your kids to clean, don’t leave them your naked photos.
You need to designate a trusted friend to be the porn sweeper for you after your death. Put all this stuff in a box somewhere – it can be easy for you to get when you want it – and tell your friend where it is.
The second you are dead, your friend can go to your house (yes, you have to give her a key so go to the hardware store today to have copies made) and grab the box and take it to the dumpster behind Home Depot and toss it in without opening it.
Narrator: A good friend will help you move. A great friend will help you move the body. And an incredible friend will toss your porn when you die.
Do it today. Make your porn plan today. Or else your children might never forgive you.