Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On OCD and Attics

Dave has a fraternity brother -- we'll call him Fred -- who was well known and soundly abused for his OCD tendencies. Everything had to be just so. Dave laughs about visiting Fred's apartment in Chicago and being stunned to discover several hangers in the closet . . .  turned the wrong way. Naturally, he brought this startling anomaly to Fred's attention only to learn that the hangers pointed in the opposite direction held dirty clothes.


Another frat brother was visiting along with Dave. He found a can of Folgers in the pantry, grabbed a can opener, and opened . . . the bottom of the can instead of the top. Fred threw the can away and the coffee along with it.

We all have our issues.

Here are mine:

1. I clean the house from one end to the other before we go on vacation. This is equal parts OCD and my contribution to marital harmony. I pack quickly; Dave packs slowly. Over seventeen years of marriage, I've learned I can breath down his neck or boil over in frustration or put my angst toward some constructive purpose. So I clean.
Funny, funny, funny in retrospect.

On the OCD side, I have visions of dying on vacation and strangers going through my house. What will they think? In point of fact, the people going through my house would be friends or relatives and, hopefully, they would be saying, "Gosh, Kelly sure was a good friend" rather than "Whoa! Take a gander at this closet!"

Still, I gotta clean.

2. I have fears of parking lots, and these fears have become much worse since I've had children. How many times have I leaned in to fasten a car seat and pictured getting mugged? So I have a simple plan. Lock all the doors except the one I'm using. Toss my purse to a far corner of the car. Do what I need to do and do it quickly.

3. Another parking lot issue involves the heat. After unloading bags and securing children, I always leave a door open while I return my cart. I have visions of passing out or being mugged and my children being unable to get out of a hot van.

I should probably note that I have never been robbed or rendered unconscious in a parking lot, but these fears persist.

Order brings peace.
4. I don't like spending time in the attic if no one is home. I think this started when a friend fell from a ladder and absolutely shattered her ankle while she was home alone. She didn't languish for hours or anything like that. She managed to get to a phone and get help fairly soon, but somehow this made an impact on me.

Yesterday I did a grand purge of the attic. I mean, epic. So I took Kolbe out of school for two hours so that someone older than Ainsley could dial 911 if needed. No need to dispatch EMS, thankfully, and Kolbe ended up being a huge help.

The results are so fabulous, I'm embarrassed to admit how delighted I am. (And that sounds just like something my dear and tidy friend Rachel might have written. May my laundry room one day look like hers!)

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Over the past week, as I've gone to put various items away, I've quickly realized that way too many drawers, shelves, and closets have met or exceeded their capacity. Some mothers nest before having a baby. I nest before summer vacation.


Kris said...

This was the funniest post! I clean before we leave because I don't want to walk into the house after being gone and have it be yucky. I'm scared of basements and basically any dark place in my house, but only if my husband is not home. And we don't have a basement. But I ever set the alarm at night, except when he's gone, and then I hear "noises" all night long. The worst. And my secret OCD thingy is when I start to imagine something bad happening to my kids or my best friend and then I get this whole scenario in my head about how awful it would be, and I would feel, etc., etc. and then I actually start to get all worked up about it. I know - crazy train....!

Kelly Dolin said...

Crazy train thoughts, I totally understand. I could probably write horror novels with the material I have swirling around in this head of mine.

I hate coming home to a dirty house.

Does your husband go on TDY much?

Kris said...

Now it will just be once or twice a year, but until February he was at Ft. Gordon once a month for the weekend.

christinelaennec said...

I clean before we leave too, for the same reason as Kris. I really like my holiday to be a kind of fresh start, and my return to be another fresh start.

I think we all have fears that are a bit daft - but that's the nature of fear, isn't it?