Category Archives: psychological stuff

Becoming OCD: Symptoms

I have many indicators that I am slipping to the other side:

  1. I’m scraping off the “dirty” part of the soap bar and using that when I wash my hands.
  2. I’m thinking that scissors and other tools with dark handles save cleaning fingerprints from them.
  3. When I toss something, almost anything, I think, “One less piece of clutter . . . “
  4. I started wrapping the cord to the upright vac with crossed loops. Fewer loops, much neater!
  5. Our TP holder has room for a 2nd roll behind. I stopped putting the 2nd roll hole forward and instead put it the same way as the roll we’re using… less visual clutter.
  6. I’ve been cataloging, pricing, and tagging items before I leave home. No more wondering if I’d paid $2 for something or $4? I know the mark-up is adequate, and since I know my pricing schema, I know enough when I start mark downs what I likely paid for the item.  $3 is my bottom price, if I can’t sell something for $3 in a week, it’s not worth bothering with. That is the hard-won knowledge of years of retailing and my old inclination to keep things. I’m getting ruthless!
  7. Becoming OCD is catching, did you know? DH is reorganizing his workshop. He’s using a Space Budget (although he doesn’t call it that).
  8. I’ve decided that I love contractions, abbreviations, ampersands & question marks: shorter and tidier writing. (I really am OCD! Tidy writing??? )

Any minute now, I will become that monster: the woman who won’t go outside because her hair gets messed, who wipes the table whenever anyone lifts a cup from it!

If you know me IRL, please TELL me if when I go too far. Please! How do you avoid falling off a cliff?

Advertisements

Glass Door Knobs: the Problem

My husband and I had a conversation the other day about how we’ve gotten so much stuff and how hard it is to get rid of it. He was helping out at the gallery’s tag sale today and took donations with him. I donated a few more things to the swap shop and made 2 dump runs of recycles, yard waste, etc. today too.

The realization I came to a little while ago was this: I was raised by an engineer, who talked about design, how things worked or didn’t — all the time. Everything from chairs, to lights to airplanes, to street paving equipment was fodder for Dad’s design discourse. So I was taught to view almost everything with an eye to its design, good or bad.

Accordingly, I am attracted to things I think are designed well, WHETHER I NEED THEM or FIT MY PERSONAL TASTE, or not. And I am reluctant to get rid of things which fit that category, whether they are practical for my home or not. The candelabra (which hadn’t sold as of yesterday) is like that. Some thing else like this is two sets of glass door knobs I’ve had for 10+ years now. I like door knobs like these:

clear glass door knobs 2

(The image are new ones.) For years they were all but impossible to find or insanely expensive. Mine are old ones. I love them, and they won’t work, or won’t work easily in my home. Where I had anticipated using them was the closets: one in the hallway and one on the landing. But my knobs are so old they won’t work that way because there’s no provision for latches.

Anyway, both the candelabra and these knobs are the same type of thing. I love the design of them, love the objects, but I really have no practical way to use them in my home. That automatically makes them clutter, because they’re just being stored, unused. And so I should cull them and really, really do NOT want to.

DH is the child of an engineer too, but he’s also an artist. So we both have the “good design” problem. We get things because we admire the design of the object, without a clear need for it or any notion of where it will be used or put away. We know there’s no way we can get/keep/store/afford to buy all the things we like.

The first or second or third culling isn’t hard. Duplicated, broken objects, things you no longer remember why you bought or kept are easy. After that, for me, it gets down to things like the glass door knobs, which I still love and still want to use, and know that if I’m being an adult, I’ll need to shed more than a candelabra and 2 sets of door knobs, but it’s no longer easy.

This isn’t because I think the stuff is valuable. It isn’t because I have a sentimental attachment to them, both of which are the most common things people seem to think hoarding is about. Nope. I just plain love these as objects and I have nowhere to use them. Unless I find a way to use them (I have an idea which might work.) they need to go. DH was talking about wiring the candelabra and putting it in the stairway, the only place really big enough for it. . . . if it hasn’t sold . . . ? So, we may actually keep and use both the door knobs and the candelabra, but we also know we can’t keep that up. At some point, we’re going to be selling or giving away things we love.

I’ve gotten past the “I really like this and I’d like to keep it” things. In most cases, other people really like those things too — the stuff I pull from here which I had intended to keep usually sells before things I buy for resale. The last one was a small standing black metal crow. I’d kept it for a while and finally went, “Halloween is coming and I do not need this, although I like it quite a bit.” Yep, it sold in a week or so.

But I’d really like to use my glass door knobs!

 

 

Did I? Friday’s Five and . . .

What did I get done from my list yesterday? NOTHING!

When I got back from the farm, I dove into dealing with the bags and boxes of food and making dinner.

I washed a few dishes and managed to wash 4 lbs + of tomatoes, prep/freeze celeriac, deal with peppers, etc. Today? Today I have to make two large batches of salsa and some roasted marinara (red). Most of that happens in fits & starts, so it can happen concurrently with other chores.

I decided the Alphabetics sheets were a mess and started making master sheets and work sheets, separately. I’d had them combined. Too much in one place!

Long and short of this? I have to do all of yesterday’s list and today’s as well.

Here’s today’s list:

  1. Put the house jacks away in the basement.3:20 p.m.
  2. Straighten two shelves 2:45 p.m.
  3. Get all the tweeds for the upholstery job in one place, tidily! 11:00 a.m.
  4. Work more on the general fabric storage clean up.3:10 p.m. I’m counting pulling the blanket basket down, dusting the shelf where it sits, cleaning the basket, shaking all the blankets and putting the entire thing back, neatly!
  5.  Pull the quilts out of storage and check for needed repairs and required cleaning. 12:05 p.m.

Other news: We returned the contract for the chimney repair, yesterday. DH also sent a note re the last of the roof/porch issues to the contractor this morning. Either this weekend or next, we’ll be getting the first part of our firewood supply. Came Saturday. Next load, next weekend.


What I’ve done so far: lg container of veggies in freezer. Two bags of “stew veggies” started, but not finished. 10:50 a.m. Three bags of stew veggies in the freezer. Golden barley soup started. Carrot storage reorganized. Dishes washed. Laundry. Helped DH with clapboards. (He’s doing the last 2 on the south side — now!)

I May Hex Myself

But I have to say this: the PTSD hasn’t gotten up in arms about what I’ve been doing. I’m amazed, really I am. For DECADES I couldn’t do this, make a list of 5 things and then do them without feeling vulnerable, targeted, panicked, and weepy.

Not there this time!

As I said, the tacit acknowledgement of what I’m doing may be the thing which ends this, Gawd knows it has 100s of times before. But, it doesn’t feel that way this time.

Maybe that’s why I’ve felt compelled to write this post? It’s a sort of emotional running your tongue over the hole where your tooth used to be.

We’ll see!

J

Long Term Work

I have a large notebook for my journal. The journal is for:

  • Dates and appointments
  • Life goals
  • Long-range projects
  • Seasonal chores
  • Figuring out and doing the next steps for the long-range projects
  • Tracking milestones as they occur

Many of these are things which I suppose you could put on a vision board. I haven’t.

I wanted to do the planning this way because I have had too many date books, organizers, plans, etc. They were all separate — which creates its own mess. I don’t need more messes or complications, I need less.

What’s not in there? The cleaning plan. The cleaning plan is broken into two main pieces: everything else and “stuff.”

In my world, STUFF =  things which make up clutter. That is, it’s usually items you can pick up in your hand.

Stuff/clutter is my bugaboo. I needed a way to organize dealing with it that it didn’t lean on the PTSD. I needed a way which was organized and not so complicated I’d never do it. I think I’ve found it!

The house won’t magically be clutter free in a week or even 2-3, but it might be in a few months. I’m doing 5-6 pieces a day, usually 5. Today I will:

  1. Declutter the entry
  2. Clean/clear a shelf in the pantry
  3. Work on the kitchen table
  4. Clean/clear a shelf in DH’s office
  5. Clean/cull (as req’d) the potato/onion baskets in the pantry

Some of this will take very little time, the entry for example, as I just cleaned that not too long ago! Some of it will take a bit longer: the piece in DH’s office, the baskets. NONE of it will take hours to do and the culling, cleaning and organizing can be done interleaved between the day-to-day necessities of laundry, dishes, writing, gardening, and other projects.

By the way? I do this Monday – Friday only. It’s work. I have other projects and things to do on the weekends!

So far, so good! If it keeps working, I will do what I can to detail the process and make my plan available here. (I could use 2 people other than me as testers in a while. If you’re interested in being a “tester,” let me know!)

J

 

To See . . . .

I actually DO get things done, daily. The house is still overwhelming. Here’s what I did yesterday:

  • Worked on raking the lawn (not finished)
  • Cleaned my car (exterior) and waxed the hood
  • Peaches cleaned and peeled
  • Cleared ugly food (leftovers which have become science projects or are about to) from fridge
  • Two loads of construction debris taken to the dump
  • Three loads of laundry started, two completed
  • Work on the cleaning plan
  • Regular household trash taken to the dump.
  • I did two loads of dishes, DH did another. (The fridge cleanout generated a lot of things to wash!)
  • Cleaned the toilet, sink and tub
  • Bought more freezer containers
  • Figured out a way to store the 2nd hose on the boat steering wheel I’d kept for the purpose, though I’d never actually done that.

Here’s what I’ve done today, so far (10 a.m.):

  • Swept and mopped the kitchen floor.
  • Started the load of laundry (3rd load from yesterday) in the dryer.
  • Started the first load of laundry in the washer.
  • Culled melons and cut them prepatory to freezing.
  • Went through the peppers, prepatory to dealing with them
  • Cleaned the broom, bucket and mop, although I haven’t gotten them put away, yet.
  • Dealt with the dirty, wet rags.

As of 11, you can add: dealt with the peaches, blueberries, and melon (cut, labeled & stored). Dishes washed from that effort.

Also, I can see myself sliding down the fanatic scale: from hoarder to OCD. Some of that I want to encourage, some if it, as I’ve said before, I really want to avoid!

  • I vac’d the end of the broom after I swept the floor to get the dust bunnies off of it.
  • I asked DH yesterday to shut off the hose for me when I was done washing my car, but told him to not put the hose away as I didn’t like the way he coils it. (True.)
  • Found a place to put the bucket away yesterday with the soap, shop towels, car wax, etc. inside of it so that all the car washing tools are in one place, and it looks tidy (all in the bucket).
  • Told DH this morning that the little vac needed to be cleaned very soon, because I’d cleaned up a wet mess and it would not be good to let the remains dry in the vac. (He does this most of the time; I’m allergic to dust mites!)
  • Found a place for one of the bigger flashlights to be stored when not in use. It has been clutter  — as it floated. It had no designated place to be put away. (There are many things like this in our home. Too many!)

Blind

I just looked at a graphic which is about the 7 things you need to do for your “vision board.” I have NEVER been able to do one of these. I made a brief list of where I’m trying to go:

  • House: no more culling required.
  • Writing: projects finished
  • Job: make $.
  • Debt: gone.

I have no other goals. I have no pressing need to become someone else, create something others want, etc. I suppose that after 50+ years of trying to do something I eventually did, that is learn to deal (mostly) with the PTSD and the pain associated with it, the rest is anticlimactic.

I’d like to be DONE with the long-term projects: writing, house culling of stuff, and I’d like us to be debt-free because I worry about our retirement.

All that said? Do I have other things I’d like to do?

Yes:

  • I’d like to sell my crafts, more I’d like to sell articles about doing crafts, so that I don’t have to keep hauling STUFF to shows to try to convince someone to buy whatever.
  • There’s some math things I’d like to play with.
  • I’d like to do the tutorials I’ve had in mind: wood stack, using my cleaning plan, etc.
  • I’d like to learn how to control my body so I can lessen as much as possible the effects of being anxiety-ridden from the PTSD.

Except for the 3rd one, they’re “pie in the sky” and I won’t be depressed or see myself as a failure if I don’t do any of them.

I know where I’m going and I believe that (eventually) I can get there. Why find another person’s image which is likely to not be very close and put it on paper? What’s the point?

I know people I respect who make vision boards.Maybe I’m different? Fighting to see myself as basically not a bad person for 50 some odd years and then getting there makes a lot of things others get bent about pretty unimportant.

That said? I wish I could do a vision board even for this much. But it seems silly to even try.