Monday, August 8, 2011

This Is Not My Beautiful House

OCD is funny sometimes. Well, I mean, no, not funny, not fun. But odd. You might think that because I'm a germ nut that everything about my life is sterile and spotless and perfectly orderly. You might expect to walk into my home and find sparkling, pine-fresh perfection. But my house is far from perfect.

First of all, it's too damn small for the four of us, so it's cluttered. Stuff everywhere, on every ledge, on every shelf, on every countertop, in every storage bin, in baskets. Stuff. Stuffy stuff. Everywhere. And it really does bother me (sometimes to the point of a near panic attack), but apparently not enough to be arsed to actually do a massive overhaul and throw shit out.

Plus, part of my OCD is that I show small signs of h...h..hoarding (YIKES)--I have an extremely hard time letting go of things even when they are of no use to me. It's not like I hoard newspapers, or Taco Bell wrappers, or cigarette butts--but trinkets and things that "just sit there," I can't get rid of. And my reasoning is because someone gave it to me. Someone cared enough to think of me, and someone spent money on it. (And if you remember, we was broke as a joke growing up, so I've never been one to waste my money, or someone else's money.) So how could I throw away, donate, or even re-sell something that someone gave me? Therefore, I have a massive amount of stuff around the house that Just Sits There. And yes, it drives me apeshit--however, I may have OCD but I'm also a lazy fuck.

Where was I. So yes, the house is cluttered. With things we need, with things we don't, with trinkets and nonsense and bullshit, and most of all with baby things. Toys toys toys. Everywhere.

Our house also gets pretty dusty, and if you look closely you might find that crap in the very corners/crevices of things that is so hard to clean out. There are always clothes on the bedroom floor. My older daughter's room can be a disaster. Our kitchen table is covered in arts and crafts and papers and pens and stray marks and spilled glitter glue. Our shower gets mildew or soap scum sometimes (but I do love me some bleach spray, and I use it liberally). My husband is middling-to-terrible about remembering to take the garbage out. Etc. I'll clean it up for guests, but like I said, if you look closely...definitely not spotless.

So OCD doesn't mean I live in a Stepford Home. Not to mention, believe it or not, there are Things I WILL Do. I will manually coax a hard poop from a constipated baby's butt. I mean fuck, I will coax a poop from a constipated dog!! We used to have a Greyhound who would get terribly constipated, and she would strain and strain, and I learned a trick: You everso delicately insert a matchstick, sulfur-end first, into their bum-bum (juuuust barely). And they will shit within seconds. I kid you not. Google it. But I did this, all for the love of the dog. I will do many things. I will clean toilets without complaint. I will let a cow lick my hand with its horrible, wonderful, slobbery slimy rough scratchy flabby tongue. I will kiss my dog on her head. I will kiss my baby's completely drool-covered mouth. I will let my cousin's tiny chihuahua lick Maya's cheek. I will chase down frogs in our yard and hold them. I even owned one as a pet ten years back, and I loved him so hard.

The frog I owned and held regularly: 

The frog I chased down just yesterday evening (after discovering him on our hot tub) and held:

I will even clean up three and a half, six, or fifteen feet (yes fifteen feet, it truly happened) of cat puke when necessary, and laugh about it, because if I hadn't laughed, I would have cried. 

Alas, I do not have photographic evidence of the fifteen feet of puke, but here is the three and a half. And I cleaned it up whilst wearing a very fancy red party dress after a Christmas party:

So, there ARE things I WILL DO. It's just that I, OMFG, wash my hands afterward. Imagine the hell out of that. (Well, truth be told I washed my hands four times after catching the wild frog yesterday, and applied hand sani twice. Bygones.) But see, I don't live I a complete bubble, and neither do my kids.

And our house is nowhere near pristine. It's kind of like, in my brain, it's not our germs I mind. I mean, we still always wash when appropriate when we're home, and let me assure you, the countertops (though cluttered) are Cloroxed whiter than Donnie & Marie's veneers, and everything you touch is as clean as a clean whistle what has been bleached, but it's like, as long as the germs of the world are sent to their foamy soapy grave down the drain the very second we enter our house, then I kind of let go a little, and hey, our germs are our germs and how can I get rid of every last one?

I some ways my OCD has gotten far, far worse, and the things I do to avoid germs/clean germs are much more extreme than they were, say ten years ago. But if you remember, ten years ago, I would Fantastik every inch of my apartment every single day, even though it was only I who lived there. So I don't know, I guess I'm more lax on vacuuming and scrubbing out every crevice of my own home, but much, much more freaky about other people's germs.

Still, even at home, I do find myself very anxious when it comes to so many things ("Did you wash after you changed her diaper? Maya, did you wash after you used your potty chair? Hey, I saw you wipe your nose with your hand so go wash. Did Naomi's binky fall down? Go wash it! Did you use hand sani? Maya! Sneeze into your ELBOW!" etc.). I am still constantly on yellow alert while at home, especially regarding what others are doing, but it's a different kind of anxiety than being out somewhere like a restaurant or the grocery store or certain people's houses. After taking as many measures as are practical, I can kind of be OK with our own germs.

That's the idea behind washing when we get home--erase the sins of the world and start fresh. For example, who cares if Naomi spits up all the hell over me? I can live with baby puke about my person.

(And so, clearly, can my poor sweet husband:)

Or who cares if I lay her right on the carpet, nakeypie, and she piddles on it?

(Here I am in the process of mopping and Anti-Icky-Poo-ing it up, and Naomi is in the process of inviting you to the Gun Show:)

Our germs. OURS.

It's not like I'm a Howard Hughes though. It's not like in public I'm a germ FREAK and then at home I collect bottles of my own piss or something.

For reference:

"Hughes insisted on using tissues to pick up objects, so that he could insulate himself from germs. He would also notice dust, stains or other imperfections on people's clothes and demand that they take care of it." Yet...
"In December 1947, Hughes told his aides that he wanted to screen some movies at a film studio near his home. Hughes stayed in the studio's darkened screening room for more than four months, never leaving. He subsisted exclusively on chocolate bars and milk, and relieved himself in the empty bottles and containers. He was surrounded by dozens of Kleenex boxes, which he continuously stacked and re-arranged. He wrote detailed memos to his aides on yellow legal pads giving them explicit instructions not to look at him, to respond when spoken to, but otherwise not speak to him. Throughout this period, Hughes sat fixated in his chair, often naked, continuously watching movies, reel after reel, day after day. When he finally emerged in the spring of 1948, his hygiene was terrible, as he had not bathed or cut his hair and nails for weeks." [Later,] "Hughes only had his hair cut and nails trimmed once a year."

In other words, just because I am a germaphobe in public and much less so one at home (or, I should say, just as much of a germaphobe but notably less anxious), I don't think there's any danger of me ending up sitting naked in my bedroom with a pink hotel napkin placed over my genitals, watching movies for a year straight.

Or maybe I will. Maybe the next logical step with my disorder is where I jump from alcoholing-down my forearms after visiting a restaurant, to sitting nude in my attic, surviving on Lik-M-Aid and scotch, and collecting my spit in vials and urinating into empty wine bottles.


Anyway, So yeah. OCD is funny like that. You think that a germaphobe is a germaphobe in every aspect of her life, but it's not true. God how I wish for a sparse, gorgeous, immaculate home. I want people to walk in and remark with awe, "Oooh, it's a sparkly!"

And I'm never OK with the dust or the clutter, and it honestly has driven me to panic before where I am sobbing in my husband's arms, feeling so incredibly overwhelmed, but it doesn't rule my life. It doesn't invade my every thought. I don't (usually) obsess about things like dusty wedding pictures (or if I do, recall that I'm a lazy fuck), but if you come to my house and don't wash your damn dirty hands, and then you so much as touch my TV remote, I will play nice but then I will be spraying that fucker down with 25 seconds' worth of Lysol the moment you leave.


  1. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  2. Thanks so much! Good to see you here! ):