Quest for neatness can make you and others nuts


I think I am the beginning stages of not being obsessed with having my house look perfect.

I used to be so crazed that I could not leave beds unmade, dishes in the sink or anything out of place. I remember almost being late for a talk I had to do because I vacuumed up some crumbs off the kitchen floor. In those days I worried that someone might come over and report that I was a slob.

I have had many people like me in my workshops. One woman told me that she had to vacuum the rug in the same direction. I asked her why this was so important, and she responded, “I don’t want to disturb the nap.” I told her I didn’t think it was the nap that was disturbed.

I don’t think she had a huge epiphany from my comment, because she went on to tell me how necessary it was for her not to leave any dirty dishes in the sink. I told her to put them in the trunk of the car and then she wouldn’t have to see them.

Unfortunately, this woman kept going on and on with her “shoulds and musts,” because she really needed her family and friends to feel she was perfect. After a few years of hearing similar stories, I began to delve more into “why am I driving myself nuts in order to have my home resemble a museum?”

If I’d bought red velvet ropes and cordoned off certain rooms, I’d have been all set. My family could have been relegated to the basement; then I could enjoy the order and cleanliness.

However, the energy it takes to keep everything pristine is exhausting, and it drives everyone around you nuts.

My other dilemma was my ability to see a dirt ball a mile away. I’ve been blessed and cursed with high-level awareness. I would have made a great forensic scientist.

During the past five years my need to “seek and clean” has been tempered by being in a partnership with a wonderful man who is the direct opposite. Any time I walk into the kitchen, every cupboard door is open. He loves coffee and has three or four half cups in different rooms in the house. I often find one he forgot in the microwave.

He loves to eat something late at night, and I always know, since there are traces of it all over the kitchen. What I find interesting is that I laugh about it more than I curse about it.

I’ve realized that having a loving partnership overrides having a spotless house.

Let’s get real! All the rhetoric is not really much of a difference.


I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of articles, books and discussion on talk shows about weight loss. I realize that January is a time for resolutions and losing weight seems to be on most people’s lists. But, let’s get real if you look around you know that all the rhetoric is not really making much of a difference.

As a nation we are getting fatter and fatter. Could it be that all the constant chatter is actually creating the opposite effect. Perhaps we are just like children who continue a negative behavior even though they have been chastised dozens of times. Maybe it’s more comfortable to be overweight because there are so many individuals who are.

I don’t have any answers to the problem other than what I consider to be common sense. If you eat less, and move more, you’ll get thinner. But because the problem has become so extensive, it has created a whole army of scam artists who make a living promising miraculous outcomes from a host of ridiculous diets.

If I need a good laugh I go to the book store and read the titles in the diet section. I know the customers around me are probably thinking I forgot to take my meds before I left the house, because my guffaws’ are rattling the building. There is always a book that has the word “ultimate” in it, as if you were about to embark on a quest for the holy grail. I love titles that contain the phrase “ The last diet you’ll ever go on”. Isn’t that a little like a death sentence. If you die it’s probably going to be the last time you’ll ever need to lose weight. In fact you might be the thinnest person in the cemetery. How about “Ten Pounds in Ten Seconds”. Of course I’m being facetious, but you’ve all seen the titles that promise quick results. The only way I know of to lose that much weight in that little time is to have your head cut off.

Then there’s the programs on TV that have individuals who are extremely overweight trying to climb a mountain with a log on their back or dragging a boat with twenty people in it. I call that a heart attack waiting to happen, but then all that really matters is ratings. Whatever happened to maintaining one’s dignity? I guess that doesn’t matter either.

Maybe, that’s the answer! If we thought more of ourselves, we just might lose weight to feel better. Now that’s an idea worth thinking about.