Control Issues – Who Me?

It seems I need more counseling.  Ha!  Who doesn’t?

My mother can testify that I am anything but a neat freak.  I grew up in a house that was cleaned top to bottom twice a week – when she was a house wife.  Once the mater started working outside the home, it was only cleaned on Saturdays.  And I mean C-L-E-A-N!  Every bathroom scrubbed!  Every surface dusted! Every carpet vacuumed. Every hard floor swept AND mopped. Every piece of dirty laundry finished AND put away.  We were not allowed to play until the house was finished.  Our bedrooms, however, were allowed to be our space – within reason (which meant: when mom got mad at us, we had to clean that room from top to bottom, including refolding all our clothes in the drawers because we had shoved all that laundry anywhere, cleaning out from under the bed where we shoved stuff the last 3 times she told us to clean, and the closet.)

My room had always been a mess.  There were times you could not see the carpet for the dirty laundry. I got a waterbed for my 13th birthday.  It had a headboard with nooks & shelves.  It had glasses falling off because there were so many.  Glasses with dried leftover drinks.  Glasses half full with fluids.  Glasses with mold and funk in them.  Plates with any given combination of stuff stuck on them. I would smoke in my room (no, I was not allowed, but did that ever stop me?).  I had ashtrays hidden that were piled high with butts and ashes.  My room didn’t ever get dusted – that was against my religion.  My walls were plastered, literally covered like wall paper, with posters.  Most were cute little fuzzy critters, but I had one wall dedicated to Bruce Springsteen.  His butt was my dream!  Born In the USA! Sigh.

When I got married and moved the first time, I wasn’t as messy.  But I wasn’t particularly neat & clean either.  My husband grew up in a home like mine, but wasn’t a neat freak either.  So, we were fairly reasonable.

When that short marriage ended, I lapsed into my old habits.  OK, I can not stand or deal with dirty dishes any more.  Yes, sometimes they will stay after dinner until the next day, but the food is put away properly.  I did not have a vacuum and I did have a dog.  Not a good combination.  I am very cluttery.  Piles of papers here, stuff to be put away there.  Books everywhere.  Things shoved onto the book shelves to get them off the table/counter/mantle/hearth/floor.  My daughters room was much like my old room:  toys, clothes, everything everywhere.  Was there carpet in that room?  The extra room was a junk room.  My bedroom was always messy.  My bed NEVER made. My laundry room, which was about 2/3 the size of a single car garage, was COVERED with dirty clothes.  I did what we had to do for clean underwear & such – but I did the minimum (we didn’t wear dirty clothes).  When I got tired of the laundry room being a mess, I’d load up all the clothes and go to the laundry mat.  There I could do 6 loads at a time.  That way, it only took 2 or 3 cycles to catch up.  Makes sense to me.

Do you get the idea I despise housework? It has always been the bane of my existence.  Since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I swore I would have a house keeper.  I’m not talking “I don’t like it”, “ugh, ok”, “sigh, here we go again”.  I mean, full out blight, venom, anathema, pure-T HATRED of housework.  I can go into several hypotheses about why, which of course all lead back to my mother, but I won’t.)

So, when Daddy BooBoo & I met, he saw my house in all its chaotic, messy horror.  He married me anyway.  He is a neat F-R-E-A-K. (Remember the “I could eat off this back floorboard” thought?)  His garages are kinda’ messy, but cleaner than any garages I remember.  So, I did the best I could when we got married.  He helped out too.  Some.  He’d run the vacuum or do the dinner dishes.  He primarily helped with laundry. I would do the bathrooms (OK, that is a compulsion of mine – I MUST have a clean bathroom!)(Are you beginning to understand that I am a dichotomy of my own self?) I did not begrudge him the fact that I did the bathrooms.  I also took care of the floors when they got bad enough.  I put my dirty clothes IN the laundry basket in stead of  the floor.  Compromise, right?

He has known from the start I wanted a house keeper.  We both worked full time and I made no bones about my feelings of cleaning.  After a few years we got a friend to come in every two weeks. She cleaned houses, was honest, and Godly.  It was a good fit.  For me.  He complained (to me, never to her) that he couldn’t find anything after she came.  We had to pay her. She didn’t do this, or she did do that.  Dude! I don’t care!  She is here doing what I despise.  I love her!  Before she started I showed her a couple things I am anal about being clean (ugh, that space behind the toilet seat in front of the tank? by golly, I don’t want to see a speck back there!)(hmmm, I think that’s about all my AR issues.)  (Well, I want the towels hung in thirds, too, but that’s not a clean thing.)  It worked out great.  And there were only 3 people in the house at this time.

Eventually, she started coming every week.  So each week my bathrooms were cleaned, my floors were done, my house was dusted.  She even scooped the litter pans and did any laundry while she was there.   My house was neat and clean and tidy.  Was she perfect? No.  But because I didn’t have to do that stuff – yes she was!

So, in Daddy Booboo’s laundry list of my sins, having a house keeper was one of them.  He thought I should’ve done more.  He told me (at the end) that he needed help with the house & he couldn’t “do everything” by himself.  Uh, dude, there are two of us here, with a house keeper, how much laundry can you not do? And he did not do it all. I did some.  Did he do the majority? Yes.  I did the majority of other things (giving it up when I didn’t want to, dishes, etc) But, really – you can’t handle the laundry of two people? Even when one is your spouse who is suffering from crazy amounts of pain?

Now that I’ve been out of the house for 8 months, I feel the stress of the chaos in my life.  I have become a neat freak.  I know: proof that God is still in the miracle business!  I cannot stand clutter, dirt or chaos in my physical environment.  I’m sure it is because I have no control over the chaos in my emotional environment.  The emotional chaos flows into a spiritual chaos.

Perhaps that is not proof of a miracle, but only proof of just how out of control my world is.  The only thing I can do is clean?  What has my life come to?  Have I died and hit level 8 of Dante’s Inferno? I’ve never minded my own mess – but then, my mess was never my mind.



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