I Run a Tight Ship. Until I Don’t.

I’m just going to say it: I have a major stick up my ass. It’s way up there, wedged somewhere in the deepest cavern of my innards. I like to call it “a raging case of OCD,” but sometimes I think it’s worse.

I think I’m Type A. Although I’m not entirely certain what that means, so what do I know? I do know I have all of the signs…

I run a tight ship. We have a schedule, a daily schedule. Particularly busy days have an hourly schedule. We have a homeschool schedule. I have a daily chores and cleaning schedule. I schedule our meals, rather I plan out what we’re going to eat. A month in advance.

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Every Saturday I update my calendar for the following week, then I make check lists for every day – combining all of my various schedules into one list, that is usually several Post-It Notes long. I tape them together, then every day I tape my list to my bedroom door.

See what I said? Pretty sure you’re all sitting at your computers, mouthing the words “this bitch is neurotic.” You would be right.

Even though we homeschool, and for the most part it’s an un-schooled, project-based kind of plan, I also demand that everything on the schedule for the day be done. Chores have to be done before technology. Tennis has to be done before TV.

There are rules; they get followed. I run a tight ship.

That is, until I don’t.

You see, for every list I make, schedule I create, and meal I plan, I inch one step closer to total – but temporary – abandonment of this organized lifestyle of neurotic proportions.

Checklist

When I abandon my plans and throw caution to the wind, it’s almost laughable what I mean when I consider myself to be doing so.

Instead of following my meal plan, I just cook whatever we fucking have. Sometimes there aren’t three servings of fruits or vegetables with dinner. And on more than one occasion I’ve just made a box of Macaroni and Cheese and literally felt like my next step was selling cocaine.

My daily checklists go missing; although, usually it starts with me checking things off my checklist that I haven’t actually done. All the while I rationalize to myself that it’s not necessary, when really I know that it is; then the next thing you know a Saturday comes and I’m tired of writing or making lists or whatever, and I don’t make the checklists for the following week. Then nothing gets done.

I let the homeschooling go more often than I should too. Though that’s the one thing that’s excusable, as we school all year – because no school work typically means unruly behavior. But when my tight ship goes down quicker than the Titanic, I – again, temporarily – don’t care about the unruly behavior.

Usually because my ass is parked on the couch, eating vanilla frosting straight out of the canister, on my twelfth episode of Criminal Minds. You can’t be upset about your kids’ unruly behavior when you’re comatose.

So this week my husband started a new job, and it’s a night job. It’s a big step for our family; and a huge step for his illustrious film career (I say illustrious only half-in-jest). But as with all major life changes, it’s a big period of adjustment.

And if there’s one thing I know about adjustments, it’s that they are usually the driving force behind my abandonment of my aforementioned tight ship.

Tonight I went through the rest of the week’s checklists and sort of mentally checked things off of them in advance. Also, today I was supposed to make quesadillas, rice, and salad for dinner.

I served rolled up pieces of ham and a jar of olives.

Ultimately, I think that everyone deserves a break. And, when you run as overbooked and understaffed of a household as this one, you’re bound to need a time-out every so often. The good news is that my reprieves are brief, maybe a day, sometimes two. My record longest was a week, and that was the last time I had a cold; my record shortest was an afternoon when I just threw everything out the window and watched nine episodes of Murder She Wrote.

Nonetheless, this is my life. Like an oscillating fan, I wave back and forth between neurotic overachiever and slovenly lard ass.

So I am sure that if I really do take a break from running around this place like my life depends on three, square meals a day and strict adherence to an unrealistic daily timeline of chores and responsibilities, that break will be brief. Then again, maybe it won’t…

 

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I Might As Well Move To Stepford At This Point

Did any of you see the Stepford Wives movie? Either the first, or the second – if you didn’t, you really need to.

It’s about a town called Stepford, where everyone acts so stereotypical in their gender roles you’d be crazy to not think something was up. As it turns out in the end (spoiler alert!) the men have basically turned the wives in to robots, or killed them and made robots of them (something like that). In the newer one with Matthew Broderic and Nicole Kidman, the twist at the end is that it’s actually the female founder of the town who turned her husband (Christopher Walken) into a robot, so that he would then go on to turn the remaining and new wives of the town into robots so that everything would go on being very 1950s-honey-here-are-your-slippers-how-was-your-day-I-made-you-an-apple-pie.

So this morning my friend Stacy came over to do this instructional video thing for a class she’s taking. She’s in my craft group, which should be a real red flag for you: that this is Stepford; I am living in Stepford; because where else can you find a craft group but Stepford? We did the video thing (I showed how to make your own homemade foot scrub…….how Stepfordian, I know), and then when we were done I made her a cup of tea. She sat down while I did dishes. And we caught up on local drama and where we buy our cleaning products.

Where. We. Buy. Our. Fucking. Cleaning. Products.

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In the middle of our conversation, she burst into laughter and said “I’m sorry, I just realized we are having a total Stepford moment here.”

We were. And the worst part is this: I am always having a Stepford moment. My life is just one, long Stepford pause.

Just a week ago, we returned from our annual fall vacation to Oregon. As typically happens on vacation, as soon as my head was out of the smog and the sludge of LA, my mind cleared and I asked myself just what in the actual fuck has happened to my life.

I get up in the morning and start doing chores. I make breakfast, I dust and vacuum. I put away the dishes and start the laundry.

After I’ve worked out and showered, I throw on my mom pants (yoga pants) and a tank top and resume the chores while administering homeschooling and making lunch.

Some days I chauffeur to and from tennis. Other days I’m running errands, all of which have to do with cooking, cleaning, and making a home.

Yes, I just said the words “making a home” in complete and utter earnestness.

I make dinner, I do more chores. I fold so much laundry that we recently installed a television and DVD player in the laundry room. More chores. Bedtime routines. More laundry. And so on.

But it isn’t only my daily routine that is insultingly in line with my stereotypical role that is so Stepford.

Funny-Memes-HushIt’s the fact that I cut my husband’s hair for him. Who does that anymore? Seriously. I genuinely believe it’s the right thing to do.

It’s the four course meals on the table, every night.

It’s that I bide away my occasional and rare free time with sewing and knitting projects, instead of pedicures and massages.

There was a day that a pair of socks with holes in them went in the trash. Now, I darn them. I darn socks.

It’s the “oh you’re in the mood for chocolate chip cookies? …well I’ll just whip up a batch right now!”

It’s the fact that when I have an actual conversation with an actual adult, in actual real life, what I actually discuss

…is where I buy my fucking cleaning products.

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As I said to my friend this morning, the only thing truly sticking between me and truly being a Stepford wife is the fact that I still dress like a slob. I wear yoga pants and tank tops everywhere; I have an at-home hoodie and a  fancy hoodie for “special occasions.” Yesterday I wore jeans to a birthday party, for all of an hour and a half, and was back in yoga pants within a minute of getting home. My hair is essentially a rat’s nest sitting atop my head; and make up – which used to be a regular and celebrated thing – is something I now loathe putting on.

In that sense, I am able to calm myself when my head clears and I question what has become my daily reality – when I am on vacation, or just have an extra amount of down time and an opportunity to sit and really take stock in my life. My life may be set on a permanent, Stepford pause. But at least I’m not in a poodle skirt and buttoned-down pinafore.

Yet.

The other thing I forgot to mention about my morning Stepford tea with my friend Stacy was that she’s a librarian and today she brought me a book. A book we’ll have to delve into next time, because I’m so afraid for my rat’s nest of a hair do and my daily yoga pants habit to even open it…

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