May I please go to the bathroom?

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When I was a child, doing dishes was the worst form of torture I could ever imagine.  We didn’t have a dishwasher so dishes were all done by hand and we all took turns washing and drying to make the arduous chore seem more fair.  But it was my least favorite thing to do.  I would have much preferred vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, dry-walling, rotating and balancing tires or removing my own spleen….anything but washing those bloody dishes.

I don’t recall if the genius idea came to me in a dream or if I had a sudden flash of brilliance after one particular dinner but, once the meal had been consumed, I asked if I could go to go to the bathroom.  No parent can effectually deny a child the right to heed the call of nature, so off I went.

Once that bathroom door had closed and I had engaged the lock, I became a teenage version of a forensic pathologist.  I carefully opened each cupboard and slowly examined and took stock of its contents.   In essence, I took so much time doing absolutely nothing that by the time I unlocked the door and went back to the kitchen, the dishes were done and nobody had seemed to notice the length of my absence.  The plan was brilliant….until eventually my brother caught on to my shrewd strategy.

After his realization of my great scheme, my trips to the bathroom after dinner were much less regular (pun intended).  The guy that I looked up to, that I thought would battle to the death for me, had thrown me under the bus.  I could only try to tune out the sound of his laughter as he closed the bathroom door before I even got close to that portal of escape that would separate me from the dishes.  Perhaps I should have changed my strategy and just gone to the bathroom right in my chair.  That surely would have resulted in a swift and heady dismissal from the dinner table and a one-way ticket straight to my room!

As fate would have it, I don’t hate doing the dishes anymore.  I learned a very valuable lesson about cleaning as I cook so the pile of dishes at the end of the process is not larger than the house itself.  It is a rare day you will find dirty dishes in a pile in or near my sink but rest assured, they don’t stay there for long.

An extreme tolerance for all things organized

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I was chatting with a good friend about similar idiosyncrasies we have when it comes to organization and storage of many items around our homes.  I, like him, choose to have vegetables stored in the fridge with other vegetables, condiments belong with other condiments and canned goods deserve to be recognized at first glance because their labels all face outward from their designated cupboard.

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(yes, this is my cupboard)

Having this conversation with him made me feel normal.  What I had deemed to be slightly irrational behavior on my part, we agreed, is theoretically more of a sensible thing than a labelled disorder.  I like things to be organized.  I like the feeling of order and knowing I can find something quickly because it holds a place where it should be found.

I love to cook so having all of my food items readily available and easy to locate makes my life much easier as does my cooking method.  I learned many years ago from a very wise teacher to clean as you go.  As things are boiling or sautéing,  you can be spending those idle moments closing cupboards and drawers and cleaning the dishes that you have already used.  There is nothing worse than cooking for hours only to be faced with a mountain of dirty dishes at the end of the prep work.  This is an unnecessary evil and one that can be alleviated by cleaning as you go and potentially reusing some of those same dishes to cut down on the clean up.

The three letters OCD have been beaten into submission, rendered unconscious and left for dead.  I knew I was bordering on something that could be defined with three simple parts of the alphabet but O, C and D was not the combination of letters that I felt defined my habitual tendencies.

After careful consideration and a willingness to admit that there may be a convenient label for me, I feel comfortable conceding to the fact that I have ATD – Attention To Detail.  This affliction is not discussed in medical journals nor is it recognized as a treatable disorder but I feel confident that, given time, more people will hopefully become afflicted by this chronic need for organization and cleanliness.

The tagline of our first group meeting will be – “Put it back where it belongs and close the drawer all the way”.  We are currently taking well-written and grammatically correct submissions to become part of our team.  Applications should be double-spaced in the font of your choice (Times New Roman).