I don’t really consider myself Obsessive Compulsive. I mean, I joke about it, but I don’t think there’s any resemblance between me and those poor folks on Hoarders or someone who washes their hands 1,269 times an hour or someone who has to knock on a door three times before they can open it. Those people are weird. I’m not weird.
Germs don’t bug me any more than they should. Unlike most people these days, I realize that coming into contact with some germs is actually healthy. It’s how our bodies build up immunity against many things. I wouldn’t want to bathe in someone else’s spit, but I can touch a door handle without immediately dousing my body with rubbing alcohol. I have a bottle of hand sanitizer on my desk, but I usually only use it after I cough or sneeze or to wipe down my phone and keyboard after a particularly randy bout of the cold.
My house is usually fairly clean, thanks to AH. I’m more of a clutter-hater than a germophobe. I, apparently, don’t do a good enough job cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen, so that is AH’s job*, whereas I tidy and vacuum. The kids’ jobs are to create the mess so that AH and I don’t get lazy. They’re experts at it.
However, I do tend to play for the OCD team when it comes time to decorate. Wood stains MUST match. Art MUST be hung at eye level. When designing a room, you MUST choose 3 colours – wood stain used, wall colour, accent – and white is used on trim, ceiling and doors. I don’t believe in coloured trim. It’s just not right.
Also, seasonal decorating – specifically Christmas. Yeah. I kind of become a teeny bit of a control freak when it comes to decorating for Christmas. I’m working on it; I have completely let go of all control when it comes to the exterior. We used to have all white lights, with red-bow-adorned wreaths. We now have multi-coloured lights along the roofline, white on our railing, and big, plastic, flashy lollipops in the garden.
Inside, I have replaced all of my beautiful, Martha-esque, delicate white, red, and silver decorations with brightly coloured, whimsical ones, to give the illusion of a house where children who don’t have a lunatic for a mother reside. But it is only an illusion and there are still rules to be followed, and they are:
- Tree lights are to be white. Coloured tree lights are stupid and lessen the beauty of the decorations (no offence).
- The order in which the tree is decorated: 1) garland (tree is pre-lit; lights would go on first, otherwise), 2) balls, 3) non-metal decorations, 4) metal decorations, 5) tree skirt, 6) STAR IS ALWAYS LAST.
- No individual decorations. All things hanging on the tree must be in, at least, quintuplicate.
- Individual decorations get their own “special” spot. It’s call The Banister of Flair.
- Everything must coordinate with each other. Tree decorations must coordinate with stockings must coordinate with mantle decor must coordinate with EVERYTHING ELSE.
- If something doesn’t coordinate, it goes in a different room. Preferably near The Banister of Flair where they can coordinate together in their uncoordinating-ness.
Last night, being December 1st (another rule – decorations go up AFTER November 30th, as not to detract from my birthday), we decorated the living room with the tree, the kids’ miniature trees, and hung the stockings by the fireplace (with care).
I learned from my brain, which doesn’t always consult me in cases like this, that I even have rules for the kids’ trees, which were kind of purchased so that I didn’t have to be completely Hitler-ish. They could go bananas and puke up all kinds of Christmas cheer however they choose and keep their grubby paws off my perfect tree. But then I made the mistake of helping, which naturally turned into taking over, which naturally turned into the creation of rules for their trees, which are as follows:
- Balls must be placed completely randomly in a totally specific manner, evenly across all three trees.
- Disney Princess decorations are to be placed ONLY on the largest tree.
- STAR IS ALWAYS LAST.
- Trees are to be displayed as such, left to right: medium tree, large tree, small tree.
I didn’t mean to turn into a Christmas Nazi (yes I did). I meant to have a wonderfully, whimsical evening with the girls, decorating and listening to carols and being all warm and easy-going and loving.
It started out ok. We did the big tree and their job was to hand me the decorations and I would put them up. Music was playing, people were happy, tree was gorgeous. Then we moved onto the smaller trees and I made the fatal mistake of telling them that these trees were theirs and JUST GO FOR IT! WTH was I thinking? All the balls were hanging off of one branch. The princesses were partying along the bottom of the smallest tree. THE STARS WENT ON FIRST. The tree skirts were the only thing done right.
I tried to keep myself composed, reminding myself that I could just fix it when they went to bed. Instead, I got a little crazy, which equals a beastly, stressed out ball of anger because GAH UR DOING IT RONG! STOP TOUCHING I’LL DO IT MYSELF!
Needless to say, in the morning when I sobered up from my rage-bender, they got a huge apology, along with compliments on the tree skirt placement, thanks for “helping”, and big, squeezy hugs.
God. Sometimes I suck. Good thing I only suck when they won’t remember**.
* The key to being married to a perfectionist – do something wrong ONCE and you’ll never have to do it yourself again. That’s how I got out of cooking AND cleaning. It’s like magic.
** Because decorating the family Christmas tree isn’t cause to take memory-triggering pictures, right? Good. BECAUSE THEY WERE DOING THOSE WRONG, TOO. Have they never heard the word “candid” before? That’s where you go about your business and DON’T act a fool whenever I raise the camera, GAH (again).
P.S. I’ll post pictures of our beautiful decorations when they aren’t so soaked with anger and trauma. Give them a week and they’ll be Anger Rage Fury Controlling Mother-free. Good as new. Like the whole unfortunate incident never happened.