August 26, 2006

On My OCD: Sticky Messiness

Despite the fact I have had stepchildren in my life for four years, I still get real edgy about messy children. Kind of interesting considering that my stepchildren were toddlers when they came into my life--you'd think that I would have gotten over myself, huh? So I'm rather anal about what they can eat and where, and the cleanliness of their fingers and faces. Don't even get me started on their clothing.

Now, don't get this picture in your head that I am a total neat freak because I'm really not. There's too much clutter in my life--too much stuff, too little space--to be that way. My issues have to do with stickiness and dirtiness.

Got a little picture in your head of what life is living with me when you're a child?

The kids have spent a lot of time over the years in the car traveling from parent to parent. And it was ONLY in our car, but that is another rant for another day. For the sake of frugality and mess control, I generally pack the road snacks. To me the perfect road snacks are water and Cheerios. Maybe Goldfish or raisins. Apple slices or grapes if I am feeling really nice--but many napkins must travel along, too. And sometimes I give them clear Gatorade or Kool aid. (Clear Kool-Aid was made for people like me FOR SURE.) Get the picture? Non-staining, non-sticky foods may travel in the car.

So, imagine the explosion in my head when their grandmother gave them ORANGES for the car ride. "Ah hell no!" I was thinking, but since I'd already let my bitchiness shine twice in a 15-minute time frame, I decided to let the oranges thing go. I crossed my fingers that maybe the kids would forget about the oranges and settle for the nice cereal bar their grandmother also sent.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case 50 miles down the road. And again, I thought I could be a nicer person and just go with the flow. Afterall, the kids have been through some rough transitional times and the trip over the weekend was hopefully the last long trip we'll have to make with them for a while since that trip was to bring them to come live with us permanently. So when my stepdaughter handed me the orange and asked to peel it, I held my tongue and nicely peeled it--putting the rind in a plastic bag on my lap, of course.

And the whole time I'm telling myself, "It will be okay. You can section the orange into pieces and it will be fine. It won't be too bad. It's okay." Wouldn't you know it? It was a nice, juicy orange (where are they in season?!?) THAT WOULD NOT SEPARATE INTO SECTIONS. So, while my husband is driving 85 mph down the freeway, I'm making orange juice in the seat next to him and trying not to hyperventilate about it. Husband's eyes are darting back and forth from the road to my mess because he knows I'm freaking out, but I'm trying not to let it show. There just aren't enough napkins in the glove box to deal with that! Grrrrrr. I finally sent a quarter of a piece of drippin' orange to the back seat. Much to my relief or chagrin--I can't decide which--she only ate that little piece and didn't want more. Just in case, though, I had a grocery sack full of juice and pulp at my feet--aka the rest of the orange she decided she didn't want to eat.

Now a few miles down the road my husband finished some chips he was eating--he's allowed because he's an adult and it's just wrong for me to have fits over his messiness. He handed the partially full bag to put away, and I had every intention of folding it up and sticking it in a safe place, but first I brushed some crumbs off his lap. I can't explain the motion, but somehow I ended up dumping the remainder of the bag's contents down the front of me and all over the floor.

So he starts laughing, but more in a soothing way, "It's okay hun. Don't stress out."

Stress? Oh, no! I'm frozen in the seat, covered in chips, my fingers still a little sticky from the orange, afraid that any movement might crunch up those chips all over the place.

Through bleary, teary eyes, "Please. Pull. Over. At. The. Next. Rest. Stop."

Instead, he pulls off on a rural exit and parks in the dirt by the side of the road. The kids: "Why are we stopped? What's wrong?"


Someone up there is having a good laugh at my expense, aye?

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