Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Obsessive Compulsive "Disorder"

At the risk of making you all uncomfortable around me and receiving strange looks, I am going to revisit the topic of my OCD tendencies.

Several months ago I was decorating some cupcakes in the presence of my genius brother. Each cupcake received several "dots" of frosting which completely covered the top. After watching me work on the first two he asked, "You're counting, aren't you?" And I was.

You see, everything in my house has a perfect place. There isn't much of anything in my house of which I don't know the precise prescribed location where it can be found. It has its downside. I am in danger of Hubby never unloading the dishwasher again should I continue to call him on his misplacement of the ice cream scoop.

I prefer that others never write on my paper. Please don't underline, circle or in any way write on my paper - messy as it may be. I will make my OWN marks on my paper. Procedure also applies to grocery list additions.

When we are spending an entire day putting together a 50,000 piece puzzle and we take a small break, that does not mean I have given up. I will tell you that everytime I think about a certain someone who will remain unnamed disassembling the partially completed puzzle I get a tight feeling in my chest and I have to take some deep breaths and tell myself its okay.

Never, under any circumstances, take food off my plate. And equally as important, never just chop a chunk off of my piece of cake because you want half. If you want some, please ask. I will carefully measure, portion and distribute as my brain allows. When I sit down to eat, I have mentally calculated how big each bite will be, how I will cut the food into said bite-sized chunks, and in what order they will be eaten.

Every shirt, every pair of socks, every pair of pants has a precise assigned spot in my closet or drawers. I will have small moments of stress if a shirt is not in the correct pile in my drawer, even if it is in the correct drawer.

My towels are folded first in thirds length-wise, then once in half width-wise, then again in half width-wise I will unfold it and refold it if done differently. These are to be placed loose ends to the back in the top cabinet, all washcloths on top.

My dishes go in the cupboard stacked alternately, blue plate, white plate, blue plate, white plate. Also applies to bowls and salad plates.

When I drink a bottle of water I count the number of times I swallow and it is always an even number. This does not apply to other drinks. Only water out of a bottle. Because I hate drinking water out of a bottle.

You would not believe the messy child/teenager I was years ago if you could see the persnickity goofball I am today. I rationalize it as such - I am a horribly logical person. If something is illogical, I notice. If something could be done better, I figure out a way. If something doesn't make sense, I study it till it does.

Truth be told, it is embarassing to admit all these bizarre character idiosyncracies. And I know some of you are figuratively backing away from me as quietly as possible. I won't actually fall apart if any of the above "offenses" are committed. I truly understand you don't know (or want to know) my system and I don't expect anyone else to live by it (except Hubby). And for all you who said, "just wait till your kid messes up your house!", well, nothing has changed. Sure, toys are scattered everywhere at night and each evening I put everything back precisely where it came from.

I don't apply my organization requirements to other people's homes so please do not panic and think I am standing there wishing to organize your house. I'd be happy to assist with that project were you to ask, but I will not do so (not even in my mind) unless you request to tap into my compulsiveness.

Its all about being comfortable. While some would see this as horribly restrictive and rigid, I find it peaceful and sensible. Even freeing. Call it "disorder" if you want, but for me, its quite the opposite.

1 comment:

Laura K. said...

Jean! you funny. PLEASE, come to my house and organize. I used to be neat and now I'm a total slob. Not dirty, just not organized. I need your neurotic skills :)

P.S. We are starting to plan our summer vacations. Will you be in MI and if so do you know when?! :)