I grew up in a colonial style home. It had stairs. It never failed that as soon as I was out-the-door, ready to go, I would remember that I forgot something—something that was, of course, upstairs. And then when I would get home, there always seemed to be piles of clothes and other stuff lining the first two to three stairs that needed to be brought up. The piles usually belonged to me. I hated those stairs. I promised myself that when I became an adult, I’d get a house with no stairs. And that is exactly what I did.
But with no stairs, there are other problems. The whole house is on one floor so all of the rooms get seen, all the time. If people are coming over, you don’t get to just throw everything upstairs and fake how tidy you are. You don’t get to do that because there is no upstairs.
It would be great if you didn’t care, but you do. You care how your house looks, and you caring isn’t just for when people come over, you care because you have to live there too. All of this means more work for you, because in order for your house to look good, everything has to be in its place. And why does everything have to be in its place?
Because you’re crazy.
At this point, you should know that I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about me. I’m crazy. I’m the one who needs everything to be in its place. You might not be like that. If you‘re not, you‘re a lucky non-carer. But if you are, and you just don’t have the time, I get it. Constantly picking up after everyone is a total time suck. Sometimes I just don’t have the time, but I never forget and I always get to it. I shudder to think of what will happen if I don’t. I had to leave some dishes in the sink the other day because I was in a huge hurry. I hated leaving the house with dishes in the sink. It kind of stressed me out. I now have a zit on my chin.
My husband is convinced that “Lovey,” my 2-year- old, is OCD but I just think she has a little crazy in her. If you put her to bed and something is in her room that shouldn’t be there, she will stand up in her crib and start pointing and yelling “BACK, BACK!” (I actually find this to be quite entertaining. Sometimes I even plant things in her room on purpose.) Interestingly enough, she doesn’t care about any of the other rooms in the house; she’s only concerned with her own.
I’m the one who cares about the other rooms. But I’m tired of it being just me. I want everyone to care like I do. That, however, will never happen so the only option I have is to get creative, which is exactly what I did the other day when I found myself in the middle of a Sports Illustrated predicament:
A Sports Illustrated magazine was sitting on one of the kitchen counters, bugging me. Would it bother me if it were one of my magazines? No, because my magazines are pretty. Sports Illustrated is not. Not even the swimsuit issue. ESPECIALLY not the swimsuit issue. This was a different issue, but it still needed to go.
Me to my little daughters: Who wants ice cream after dinner tonight?
Them: Me!!! (Jumping up and down)
Me: Who wants to go to the cider mill after school one day next week?
Them: Me!!! ( Still jumping)
Me: Who wants to put daddy’s magazine in the magazine rack in the bathroom?
Sweet Pea (the 4 year old): Wait, I don’t want to.
Me: Sorry. Too late. You said “Me!!“ It’s binding.
Creative and effective, right? I know. Unfortunately, I can’t do that all the time so, for the most part, I stand alone in my clean crusade.
Please look at the two photos below. See if you can pick from the second photo what DOESN’T belong:
Not sure? Let me help you. See that Neutrogena bottle with its very boring, black ariel font logo on the counter? The one just sitting there amongst the much more aesthetically pleasing bathroom pieces? The one totally acting like it belongs? That’s the one.
Is it mine? Did I put it there? No and no. But somehow it has become my problem because no matter whether it was Cody or Sweet Pea or Lovey who put it there (Cody, for sure) it is ultimately up to me every day—every damn day—to move it back where it belongs.
I could tell my husband to stop leaving it out and keep it with his other stuff, but I won’t do that.
…I wouldn’t want him to think that I’m crazy.
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