Every day, I Espresso, Make Bed, Pop Allergy Pill, & Curse NJ Transit

I’m addicted to caffeine. I did a clean-eating diet (no caffeine, sugar, or processed foods) once for a mere week and had such severe headaches that I nearly killed myself by way of wall head-banging. Needless to say, caffeine keeps me alive. Therefore, the first thing I do in the morning – without fail – is make espresso.

Make Bed
For as long as I can remember I made my bed in the mornings. This mere morning task meant, initially, keeping my mother at the door rather than in my room. Not that I had much to hide from her, but you never knew (back then) what would be a bad teenager red flag. She was right, though, it only took a few minutes out of the morning to make your evening more enjoyable. To this very OCD day I make my bed in the mornings, and when I come home from work there is less weight on my shoulders and more time to do something like watch Real Housewives. And, as my mom says, “Making the bed is just plain good housekeeping.”

Pop Allergy Pill
Since I’m basically allergic to everything from grass, pollen, bees, most insect bites, dairy, dust, seasons, mold, honey, feathers, and my own damn cat and dogs, I must take a rather large dosage of Allegra in the mornings (180mg) just to have every day experiences. According to google health, An allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful. Google makes it sound more like another psychiatric issue, huh?

Curse NJ Transit
A $48 fare hike a couple months ago, but yet no train is ever on time. I pay $208 a month ($416 total with my wife’s pass) to catch a train that can never keep to a schedule. From the above ‘things’ you can tell that schedules and routine are pretty much who I am. NJ Transit, I curse the day I met you.

You down with OCD? Yeah you know me.

My Aunt Lulu tells the story of how as a child – she babysat me – I would line up her spice bottles as though they were in formation for war.  I played quietly and then I would put them back into the spice cabinet.  She tells this at family gatherings every time, and I haven’t the heart to tell her it was the first sign of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  She found it endearing that I had a penchant for war and played well alone, and I found it relieving that her spice cabinet was neat and orderly.

In high school, my room was always immaculately clean and upon the first foot on the floor in the morning, bed made with militant-tucked corners.  I never wore clothes more than once before it was separated, colors or whites, into the hamper.  I would get nervous at the sight of a few dishes in mom’s sink, and as the dishes crept to plentiful the seething would begin.  That was the trigger to which all the guns in the world were  pulled…dishes in a sink turned to uneven pep-rally banners on the halls.  How could a cheerleader, perfectly poised and coiffed, be such a symmetrical slob?  The devil is in the details, which sometimes makes it impossible to not feel superior.

College was the first time I felt…neurotic.  There weren’t people around that I had grown up with and due to lack of a large population, had to like me.  People from all walks of life, backgrounds as diverse as the next, out of step with mine.  If you have a therapist confirm that you’re a number in their manual then you can get the university to let you room alone, so there I was in Wentz Hall at Oklahoma State University alone with an abnormally long twin-sized bed.  When left to your own devices, as a perfectly capable OCD person, you begin to create some intriguing patterns.  It didn’t take long, holed up in that dorm, until I was trying to convince my mom that I needed…no NEEDED a futon.

“Why do you need a futon when you have a perfectly good bed?”  She would ask.

“Mom, the bed is too long is makes me feel like I’m a short loser because I’m not here on a basketball scholarship.”

“Well that’s just ridiculous, Lisa.  You’re crazy.”

“Well duh, mom, that’s why I need a futon to sleep on.”

Once the futon arrived, I never slept on that bed again.  Truth be told, I had come down with a fear of wrinkles.  I needed a place for people to sit when they visited – the couple of dorky musicians that were teaching me guitar, which I never learned anyway – because I couldn’t relax while they sat on the bed, moving their bodies and creating giant wrinkles.  Eventually, I couldn’t stop thinking about wrinkles and under no circumstance could someone sit on my bed.  None.  I was spending too much time straightened wrinkles of the abnormally long twin bed and less time studying, so once I eliminated guests and sleeping on it altogether the wrinkle obsession failed to exist.

Fast forward to New York City.  I know what you’re thinking, how can someone like you – a small-town girl – live like that.  To the normal folk like you (let’s face it the only people to read this blog are my hometown peeps) it would make you shudder at the waves of people crashing into you, but to the crazies like me…it’s like redemption.  You see, there’s a process you go through in New York that most Californians call soulless, but we call it desensitized. For someone like me, this ‘desensitization’ was very much-needed.  I was, now, normal.  I could walk among a crowd – worry free of wrinkles, symmetry, and others I won’t detail here – and just feel secure via eavesdropping…these people are nucking futs.  Here I was thinking I was bat shit crazy because a wrinkle set me off into a flustered-state of organizing, but these people have real problems like peeing in streets or fighting each other over parking spaces.  For all intent and purposes, New York City swallowed me up like a fine wine.

Ten years later – married, living in Jersey, moving up the corporate ladder by day, writing novels by night, and getting an MBA in between, my fear of wrinkles downgraded to more of a pet peeve (as we – yuppies – call it to sound normal).  My mom contributes to my superiority complex of details by supporting that ‘making the bed is just plain good housekeeping,’ and New York City street-strolling has become more of an exorcism of my apparently new agoraphobia.  The good news is I’m no longer soulless.

A Disorderly Nagging of Order.

There is an incessant nagging inside that prevents me from having full closure with a space until all order is restored.  The ‘order’ of which needs to be restored might not make a whole lot of sense to you, so I’ll spin my best wizardry to give you a glimmer of understanding into this crazy head.

‘Order’ can be broken down by triggers.  If the gun is cocked and the trigger goes off, BANG, disorder.  However, if the gun has the safety mode on the trigger cannot go off, unexpectedly, so this requires a great deal of precautionary measures.

Now, relate everything I just said to OCD and reread it again…I’ll wait….

Fine, I’ll help you.

Triggers, like a bi-level closet that is organized with shirts on the top rod and jeans/pants/’anything you wear on the bottom half of your body’ on the bottom rod.  A shirt on the bottom would cause the trigger to go off.  I would notice the white hanger on the bottom among all the green hangers and trigger two would go off.  What is a wire hanger doing in this walk-in closet?  Oh god, this goes in the coat closet in the bedroom.  Open the bedroom coat closet and the coats are not in length order (longest to shortest).  Jesus, how can I relax until it is, orderly?  Great, now that the tall coats are in the back and the shorter ones in front I can see the floor.  Holy hell, why is the cord to the iron – which rests on the floor and should be on a shelf (note:  container store) – not wrapped around it?  Oh you know why?  Because my wife didn’t wrap the cord around it.


“I hate when you yell from upstairs when I’m downstairs.”  She yells back.

“I hate when you do this,”  I yell.  “Can’t you make sure the cord is securely wrapped around the iron before putting it back.”

She mumbles something I cannot hear.

So I proceed to wrap the cord, securely, around the iron and push it back in its place against the back of the wall.  Seriously?  How does dog hair get in the closet.  I look on the sunlit floor and anxiety shoots me in the gut at the floor that is covered in dog hair.  Didn’t I just sweep and mop yesterday?  For the love of God my pets hate me.  Why do they do this to me?  Not only am I already allergic to them, but I feel like a dirty dog with hair everywhere.  Crap, I didn’t wear slippers and my socks look like cousin IT.  Hyperventilate.

Stella, my cat enters the room purring.

“Awww,” I tell her.  “Come here pretty girl.”

She comes over, rubs against me, and then bites my hand when I pet her.  Whatever, she’s a bitch.  I have to Swiffer, but first I have to take off these dirty socks.


She likes to get fake flowers from my decorative flower arrangement in the bedroom and the only way she likes to do it is by making it plummet to the ground.  Oh my god, breathe, hair might get into the fake flowers.

My wife enters and helps, she picks up the flower arrangement.  That’s so nice of her.  She tells me about her day, but I can’t focus because the flower stems are not pointed toward the bed.  She obviously asks me something, but I have no clue.  Oh no, the design of the vase isn’t facing the door of the bedroom.  I’m going to have a nervous breakdown, so I rush over to stop the white noise of my head.  Whew!

“Now what did you say?”  I ask.

She sighs, “You never listen.”

I think I’m listening TOO hard, but unfortunately it’s at gun shots all around me.  She goes downstairs to dilly-dally, and I change socks then go downstairs to get the Swiffer and I swiffer so hard it may very well crack the floor.  Whew, some semblance of order in the bedroom.  I exit the room, close the door, and add “container store: closet shelf” to my to-do list.

God this room stinks.  I think it stinks.


“I hate when you do that.”

I yell, “Do you think our bedroom stinks?”


What does she know?   I have the super power of smell and I think it stinks.  (Note: room fragrance isn’t cutting it so do research for a constant way to keep a fragrance flowing through room).  I reopen the door, confirm, and shut it with resolve and add “Bedroom scent” to my to-do list.

Not including the walk-in closet, which I can’t discuss at the moment for fear of triggers that would cause me to literally take a half-day and go home and organize it, I have 3 rooms and a bathroom upstairs.  Not including the basement, first-level, yard, and garage (which is so clean it sparkles). You do the math on how long you think it takes for me to actually get closure in a space.

I’ve learned a trick so that I can write.  I keep my office spic-n-span and neurotically aligned with my symmetrical and often times insane expectations of positioning.  The trick is I shut my door and breathe in heaven.

I hear a loud crash and rush out.  The bedroom door is cracked so it must not have been shut very well, and there is Stella in the flower arrangement.


She snickers, “You pointless worrier, it’s easier to teach a dog new tricks.  I do this every single time and your attempts to close the door, while clever, do not prevent me from getting in, eventually.  I will fuck with you for the rest of your life or until you get rid of this arrangement.  Crazy little human, I don’t really like playing with the flowers I just like playing with you. PURRRR.”

Okay, I made the last part up but I swear that is probably what she would say.  No, I don’t think animals talk (to us).

Electronic Breakfast Table

Breakfast was a symbol of  something pure that products of divorce, such as myself, used as a compass to happiness; a happy family.  While my own family ate wherever they lingered in their solitude and typically only ate together at one table on holidays, there was this ever-present dream of a wholesome family meal; untainted and a ‘what if’ attainability.

The few times we wrestled with sitting down at the table for a family breakfast or dinner, the only thing served was silence or resentment; not much of a variety of tastes.  Instead, we could watch Leave It To Beaver reruns at dinner time and watch the Cleavers, loving and virtuous, communicating and eating a full bird.  I didn’t get to eat a full bird until recently and if you’ve ever seen a full bird during preparation it’s enough to make you wonder if even June Cleaver, America’s most perfect mother, was a deviant.  Looking back, her obsession with kitchen activities and ability to do exceptional card tricks may have just been OCD and a gambling problem.  I guess even the All-American family has their imperfections, but it didn’t keep us from looking up to them and wanting a little slice of Cleaver pie.

We watched the Jetsons and heard the media projections on the future, but it came and went without flying cars and watch computers.  We didn’t experience the Apocalypse in 2000, and I’m pretty sure the one in 2012 is just a ploy to sell more batteries and water.  However, I can’t deny the digital age in front of me and the lack of simplicity all around me.  Why would children ride bikes when there’s an app for that?  What will become of imagination and pretend when it comes from a device?  What will double entendre become but acronyms and symbols like OMG PIG : p  (Oh My God Pretty Intelligent Girl–sticking tongue out) .  I failed in college at learning another language and luckily Ebonics didn’t stick, but I may have to noodle on text language.

I’ve got to finish this blog posting soon though because my iPhone is blowing up, but the point is that the NY Times came out with an article about electronic breakfast tables (my term, not theirs).  It’s a sad reality that my wholesome symbol of family will be as extinct as playing house in a real tree house and not on SIMS.


Tadpoles and Clovers

I could never cup my hands just right to catch tadpoles.  The slippery suckers would weasel out at the cup of my hands.  I must have tried to catch a million tadpoles when I was a kid, but every time it slipped out.  Had I known then what I know now, I could have chalked it up to simple OCD for not wanting to really touch them but pretend I did like all the other kids.  I used to do the same things with frogs, crawdads, and fish

Once my cousin made me touch a frog, and although I never got a wart I kept washing my hands just in case.  My mom used to tell me that frog’s pee gave you warts even though my cousin swore no frog ever peed on him, but he had the ugliest wart on his hand I ever had seen.  It was a flesh colored bubble on his thumb that was as hard as a rock just like his head.  I tended to think it was contagious so everytime he went to give me something I would run away from him, but for some reason he thought I liked to play tag

I once spent an entire day sitting in the middle of a clover field.  There I would sit, hours upon hours, with a large wooden salad bowl picking them one-by-one looking for four-leaf clovers.  No one ever told me to watch what I ate when I was younger, and clovers tasted a little sour.  When I got older I thought it was in the bean sprout family, so anytime we would go to Circus Circus in Reno, Nevada, I would pile the bean sprouts on my plate and eat them like a grown up.

Nowadays, my hands barely touch the organic side of life.  Instead of tadpoles slipping through my hands, it’s money.  I don’t find many four-leaf clovers anymore, but that doesn’t keep me from looking in clover patches.


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