Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Yes, I admit to having a little OCD. I am not wildly dysfunctional, but I have little twinges of peculiarities. I think we all do. When I was a kid, I believed that “Don’t Step on a Crack” adage for fear I would hurt my mom. I knew it was superstitious but didn’t want to take a chance! If I inadvertently stepped on a crack, I only went ahead a half a block or so before returning, stepping over said crack, and undoing any bad karma I had set up.

I took the phrase “salt and pepper” seriously. Salt should definitely come first and then pepper. To pepper my summer tomatoes and then salt them just never felt right! Oh, I never ate saltines with the salt side up. Don’t ask me why; I don’t know.
When I was a young mother, I often went back to check and make sure I had locked the front door. Now in my golden years, I return from down the street just to make sure I left no pan on the stove with a pesky fire below it.

When I was first married, DH could not understand some of my habits, but then the feeling was mutual. He could be weird about stuff too! When he found a record (remember those?) he liked, it played it over and over on the stereo.  I don’t mean twice, I mean over and over and over…no other records in the stack. OCD, ya think? He could not eat grapefruit with a grapefruit spoon. Had to dig it out, pour into a bowl, clean up the mess, wash his hands, sweeten it all with sugar (I use salt) and then eat it. A raccoon at the local river bank couldn’t handle his food more!

Then there was making a bed. DH could not see the sense of expending energy fixing something you were going to crawl back into in twelve hours. I on the other hand, could not dress or brush my teeth until the bed was made. Studies now show there is a psychological advantage for people making their beds in the morning. I did not need a federally funded study to know that when you walk out to face the world each day, a well-made bed at your back is the first step to a well-organized day. A made bed says all is right with the world and besides, it will feel better to crawl into smooth bedding at night instead of set of rumpled sheets with more piles than the bargain table at a garage sale.

Related to the made bed is the drawers of a dresser. A sock peeking out near the drawer pull or a tail of a tee shirt waving from a bureau never gave DH pause.  I asked him if he had never listened to Captain Kangaroo. Captain always said to look behind you before you left your bedroom each morning and to fix any raggedy looking drawers. “You made that up!” DH accused. No, I did not but I listened to Captain and took the lesson well.

This week I went out to straighten the deck. I don’t clean it, dust it (or apparently anything else these days!) or mop the boards. But I do like the umbrella down each night and all chairs to be pushed in at the table. Another childhood lesson: who doesn’t remember being taught to push her little oak chair in at the big group tables? My kindergarten teacher friends are still teaching that one.

DH heard me say, “I am fixing the chairs like all good five year olds know to do.” 

He snapped, “I guess I was absent that day!”

I guess he was, indeed!

So, what did Captain Kangaroo teach you or how do you salt?


Linda O'Connell said...

Oh yeah, I understand this one. I eat cottage cheese with S&P and he eats it with sugar. I make the bed; he could care less. I iron out wrinkles, he throws the shirt ont he bed in aheap right after I iron it. OCD is not all bad, I think.

Dee said...

This is a very interesting post...I think we all have little twinges of peculiarities. I like to make my bed in the morning for the same reason as you...I am always straightening things up. :)

Martha said...

Great post! I'm a morning bed maker as well -- and I grew up NOT making my bed -- mother always did that for me but I guess I liked coming home to a made bed AND crawling into a MADE bed at night.

DH says that if he gets up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I make the bed before he can get back in it -- NOT TRUE!!!

When he worked 3 to 11 (and I worked 8 to 5), I would make the bed before I crawled into it at night -- it just had to be made -- I couldn't sleep in a bed that hadn't been made!

Does that make sense?

Susan said...

Ha ha ha ha Oh, Bookie. Got a chuckle out of this post. We are SO ALIKE it's not funny.

I HAVE to make my bed in the morning.

Anything sticking out of drawers bugs the bazookers out of me.

I always push in chairs and don't like to step on sidewalk cracks.

The one that really had me chortling is the returning to the house to check and see if I left something cooking on the stove. Oh, wow, I've done that SO MANY TIMES. My Mom used to do it, too. There's never anything burning (thank God) but I run back to check anyway.

Thanks for the chuckles, Bookie. Susan

Lynn said...

If making your bed is OCD, then I guess I have it too! One day I just tried it - leaving the bed unmade. I felt unfit.