Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Botulism, Canned Food and Hoarding

Collection of scrap aluminium in Welshpool by the Women's Voluntary Service
The good news is that she wasn’t a hoarder. The bad news was that when mom died some years ago we still had to sort through the house. This meant boxes with important papers were in the same box with L.L.Bean Christmas catalogs and voter information pamphlets. The freezer was full as was the pantry.

My friend Glenn recently had a similar experience with his mom’s pantry which he cleaned out while she was recuperating in the hospital. As he describes it,
“I threw out half of the canned food in her pantry (an entire garbage can full of canned food) because what hadn’t already exploded (can you say “botulism,” kids? I know, it’s a fun word, isn’t it?!) (had) glued itself to the shelves (which I had to remove—the shelves, that is, because the cans wouldn’t come off by hand—those I had to scrape off with a putty knife)…”
I don’t know if it’s just my parents generation or families of eastern European decent who are born pre-depression that keep so much. My father had a garage full of plumbing supplies, tools, sprinklers (you never know when you will need a pop-up 180 degree brass sprinkler head) paints, waxes and chemical lubes for every purpose. I am certain that it is all worth some money save the chemicals. Those should be taken out by a Haz-Mat team and moved to a landfill on another planet.

At times I worry that I will get Alzheimer’s like my father. Truth is I show more tendencies to storing things that ‘will be worth something some day.’ Fortunately I am not a hoarder. The other good news is that I have a small house with little room for storage. That is unfortunate because I have this nice collection of pill bottles…

Photo courtesy of Flickr commons   By LlGC ~ NLW

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