I confess, I used to back out of rooms; one last check making sure everything is in its place. I wouldn’t be able to sleep if a renegade toy was left out, or the soap wasn’t in the soap dish (with no soap residue) reflected off the clean mirror. Towels in place, check. Floor vacuumed. Check. Breakfast dishes out in a beautiful display to greet me in the morning. Check.
I like it neat. My house, my car, my room at school, my office, my closet. Everything has a place and everything should be in its place and its place is clean, too. “OCD! You have OCD,” my less-neat friends have insisted. Obsessive, compulsive disorder can be a kick in life’s pants- it beats you up and leaves no room for anything else. There are patterns that have to be played out, counting and ritual. I don’t have OCD, I just like it neat.
I USED say, “please excuse my house” if I knew it wasn’t at my standard when company unexpectedly stopped by. (If I knew they were coming the house would be ready!) That is my right. I am not judging any other home at the time, only mine. “Oh, you call this dirty? You should come see my house!” After hearing that and other things I stopped apologizing, and I started to see the light, it was as clear as my kitchen window, and that is pretty darned clear; the way a person keeps their house is as personal as the way we eat, dress and relate to life in general. I remember when I was at a Bible Study and we were all discussing housework. I mentioned that I scrub my tub every day. I don’t know why, but that day, I became the Protestant Women of the Chapel’s Freak. “You do what? Why? How weird. I bet you walk out of rooms backward as well!”
I not so bad now that I am OLDER and WISER and WITHOUT small children in the home. My house, where it can be, is clean, neat and my stuff is in the proper place. But, I have this man in my life that is nothing at all like me in this regard. Where something is laid, is its place. Where his socks are; that is their place. His boots find a new place on a daily basis. Then there is the magic closet. I won’t go in this closet. It is messy, stacked with junk (in my opinion) that we don’t need to keep. I call it the magic closet because if he needs something, anything, he goes in the closet. I hear boxes being moved, some loosing their content and then I hear the cussing! BUT…he always emerges from the closet victorious, “See, I told you we would need this someday!” Like magic, whatever we need, is in there!
As long as I don’t go in the magic closet, I am okay. If the door is closed, I can deal with the clutter that lies beyond the door. It is his office that sucks the life from me. Overly dramatic? No I tell you! If my house needs to be cleaned, or is beginning to get cluttered I clean or face the consequences- depression. I literally get depressed if I am around a mess for too long!
I raised two girls in my very clean home. They know how to clean and they both have their own style. Daughter number one is displaying the same behavior she saw in her mother. I have never seen her home a mess. Daughter number 2 cleans in spurts. The house gets messy, she cleans it. No big whoop! I went to her apartment one day and as a present cleaned it. She loved it, but daughter number one was miffed, “Why didn’t you do that for me?”
“Because, if you are anything like me, and I think you are, you’ll just go over what I did the next day. Grasshopper, you have the pebble!”
Don’t hate me because I vacuum, dust and mop everyday. And I won’t hate you for your bigger bank account or smaller dress size. Life for me is better if it is neat!