Chores: I’m quite particular

I’m quite particular, almost to a fault.

On a good day, Mike says I’m slightly obsessive compulsive.

On a bad day he says I’m uptight.

I’m quite particular, almost to a fault.

I crave order, routine and cleanness. Chaos can push me over the edge and brings me a great deal of anxiety. As a kid, our house was nutso. The house was littered with piles of clean and dirty laundry everywhere. There were kids running in and out of the house, tracking mud in and putting sticky hands on every clear surface. Our dogs were constantly jumping on furniture, drooling and shedding. I remember, at a very young age, telling myself that if I ever had a home and a family of my own, things would be different. I’m quite particular, almost to a fault.

I always dreamed of having a big, clean and orderly home. I dreamed of a time where people could just drop in and I wouldn’t be embarrassed of the state of my home. That wasn’t the case as a kid. I never wanted to have friends over since out house was always a mess. It was like a tornado had blown through and the tornado was my siblings. It was a huge source of embarrassment for me. I’m quite particular, almost to a fault.

As an adult, I never go to bed with dishes in the sink. I always wipe the kitchen down at the end of the night. I pick up our entire downstairs after the kids go to bed. Every single thing in our house has a place and that’s where I want it to be. Toys go in their bins. Keys go on the hook. Cell phones get plugged in. Shoes are neatly lined up in the appropriate closet. Books are shelved by size, largest to smallest. I’m quite particular, almost to a fault.

From the moment we started living together, I knew my propensity for order was going to be an issue. Mike could live in a pig sty and be okay. It just doesn’t matter to him. He’s far more laid back and willing to let things go. If there is cleaning to do or playing with the kids, Mike will always pick playing. My mother-in-law often apologizes for the piles of dirty clothes Mike leaves next to his bed, “I didn’t raise him that way.” Maybe he’s rebelling from a childhood or order. Either way, he’s not all that particular.

I remember the first time I saw the master bathroom in our home in Vegas. Mike bought the house before I met him and was working on remodeling it. I started to stay over on a regular basis and when I went to use the shower I almost threw up. There was a black film covering a large portion of the tile and Mike said “Oh, it’s just old tile. It won’t come off.” Yeah right. I scrubbed and scrubbed until the white of the tile shone through. Mike chuckled. It never bothered him and he would have let it go forever had he not met me. I’m quite particular, almost to a fault.

Around the same time we made one of the best decisions as couple: we hired a housekeeper. We’ve had a housekeeper, both in Las Vegas and now Arizona for the entire time we’ve been together. It helps keep me sane. I travel for business multiple times a month, and without a housekeeper it’s highly likely I would have either killed Mike by now or my head would have exploded from the mess. I’m quite particular, almost to a fault.

Even though I’m particular, I’m not perfect. I despise doing laundry. Seriously. I hate it. I blame it on my only chore as a child: folding the laundry for everyone in our house of eight. I was never, ever able to put a dent in the laundry. I was always folding clothes. It was like we had a bottomless pit of unfolded clothes. As soon as I finished another load would appear. I hated it then and I still do. Luckily, Mike doesn’t mind laundry and if I put it in the wash, he’ll fold it all.

I used to insist all the beds in the house were made before we left the house each day. The Army taught me that one. I’ve started to relax a little bit. Since I’m not a morning person, I like to stay in bed, snuggle my kiddos and I often run out of time for bed making. I guess I’m not that particular after all.

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Written as an assignment for Ali Edwards’ class “31 Things” at Big Picture Classes.

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