Sunday, April 09, 2006

Adventures With The Recently Deceased

Some day, some one will ask you to come over and help clean out a recently deceased relative’s home. It’s a chore most decent people will help perform (if asked), especially in the early days of grief.

Look, am I good, or what? After just one day’s experience, I’ve compiled a list of things to take to the recently deceased’s home and a short list of rules to observe while there. Some day, some one will thank me for this.


  • Work gloves. (I don’t care how sweet the recently deceased was, take gloves!)
  • Latex gloves. (The big green kind for cleaning stoves and refrigerators.)
  • Latex gloves, and lots of them. (The kind that doctors and CSI actors use.)
  • Dust masks. (I don’t care how sweet the recently deceased was, take dust masks!)
  • Contractor Clean-Up Bags. (big, BIG trash bags) Make that two boxes.
  • Bottled water. One case per person.
  • Lots of packaging tape and one of those big tape dispensers. Lots of tape!!
  • Paper Towels—roll after roll after roll after roll.
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel. (I don’t care how sweet the recently deceased was, take anti-bacterial hand gel.)
  • A dump truck would be nice. And a battalion of Army recruits, too.
  • A fire extinguisher, and know where it is.
  • The Yellow Pages.
  • A twenty dollar bill.

Simple Rules and Courtesy

  • No smoking. No candles. You don’t know how many loose bullets are lying around.
  • Do not touch anything green or powdery.
  • You are not allowed to keep the money you find under doilies and kitchen floor mats.
  • No eating. Your hands are too infested for cookies or sandwiches. (You forgot where the anti-bacterial hand gel is, didn’t you?)
  • When a trash bag is full, take it out to the curb. Yes, immediately. (I don’t care how sweet the recently deceased was, you’ll need the fresh air.)

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  • Do not, under any circumstances, open the refrigerator.
  • Avoid wooden basement stairs.
  • At two o’clock, find the Yellow Pages, call a professional cleaning service, donate a twenty dollar bill and go home for a long, hot shower.

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