Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Until It Shines

I suppose when the day starts with a very nicely worded and very frank email from my boss telling the staff that personnel cuts are likely by the end of the first quarter, it's perfectly natural that I would be vacuuming lint from between the washer and dryer at 10:00 p.m.

The email came early, maybe 9:30ish. By 10:15a.m., I had dusted my desk, wiped my phone down with alcohol, packed up something to be returned to our computer distributor and reorganized my to do list. Which, I think, I later threw away as I was sorting papers and tossing things.

I can't really blame the email. It was just another trigger for my Windex addiction. I've felt this bout of undiagnosed OCD coming on for a while. Over the long holiday break, I did some company cleaning. The Dancer's friends came over for New Years Eve and heaven forbid they go home and report dust and refrigerator grunge to their mothers. I don't even want to think about the repercussions of having the other ballet moms know that I didn't get all the cat hair out of the window sills.

What started as company cleaning last Wednesday ended yesterday with me on my knees, spray bleach bottle in my hand, commanding the gunk along the shower door track to be gone or get up and lend a hand. There was a dusting to be done.

I guess I expected this as we get closer to the date when we'll have to move from this house. Every time I go into the basement, the toys and stacked Rubbermaid boxes remind me that we have a lot of things that need to be sorted for giveaways, carted off to the dump or packed. Things don't feel wildly out of control, since we've made the conscious decision to give up the house, file bankruptcy and start over. I guess I still have some innate need to make order of the chaos.

It's not just personal chaos that's working on me. I listen t the news and things seem so out of control. The economy, the Middle East, the change in Administrations. Even the weather seems to be all discombobulated as the Southeast is drenched, the Midwest is iced over and the Pacific Northwest is buried under snow, snow and more snow.

I'm sure that the little Polly Pockets that accidentally got sucked up into the vacuum tonight as I sought out all those furtive dust bunnies hiding between the treadmill and the toybox won't mind giving up her plastic life so that I can rest easy tonight about the economy. Every time I stand in the pantry and reorganize the snacks and things, I feel like the weather will get right again. It's got to, right? Gaza will be tougher. That's going to require more elbow grease. Maybe washing the car or pulling the refrigerator out and cleaning behind it.

As for that email. I responded the best I could. I thanked my boss for his candor, told him as his friend that it must have been a hard email to write and asked him to give me a heads up if I needed to start looking. Until then, I'd give my best to the organization. What else could I do?

Thankfully, he came out of his office after reading the email and saw me taking a stack of travel magazines off the top of my bookcase and tossing them into the trashcan. No one else was around.

"Pssst!" he hissed to get my attention. "You can stop cleaning. Your job is safe," he whispered.

Okay. Good. Phew! Still, I caught myself later picking up the curled, dead leaves that dropped off the half-dead poinsettia in the conference room......


  1. Can I have just a little bit of that OCD so I can clean and organize my house a little bit better? I either have the I don't want too's or the I just don't care.

    Thanks for adding the link for moose jewels. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. In the next few days I am going to post some new pictures.

    I'm glad your job is safe for the time being. Layoffs are no fun.

    I worry about it all too. It seems the world just gets crazier and crazier. The more crazy, the more reclusive I become. I'm hoping for better days a coming.

    Have a drop dead gorgeous Tuesday!

  2. Whew... you should write a suspenseful tale. Ya had me sweatin' there, and not in a good way.

    Maan. I got the poisoning phobia variety of OCD, which makes me aversive to most cleaning products and makes me think I'll die in my sleep because my heater is carbon monoxide poisoning me.

  3. Good luck with both things, the OCD and the job.

  4. I can see some of that crap being handed to you but it's bogus.

    You are either worth having there or not. Its not a reflection on you, only the position's impact for gain on the company. There is no sense...no sense, none, in picking up a bottle of cleanser and making some sort of effort to show job worth. If there is, then the guy making that determinination is as good as toast as well.

    Gads, you are way too smart for this. Find something better and then hire me as I only have an engineering background.

  5. I break out the bleach when things go really pear shaped. Happily I haven't needed to bleach lately. Actually, I think I am out of bleach(I had a Costco size vat of it that got me through 2008).

  6. I see all the stalkers have located you at your new digs. Harumph. I quit posting while roofing the house this fall and the fickle bastards completely forgot about me. So for the new year I've taken a cue from both your posting of interpersonal issues and a misanthropic movie from the 70s and started a series called Carnal Knowledge. No nudies though...

    So there. Congrats on keeping the job, if it's one you wanted to keep, anyway. Things are gonna be tough all over for the next few years.

    A Sanctimonious Prig

  7. So many things to respond to here: Yes, the world seems out of control - on both a micro and macro level. If only we could sort out Gaza or the economy with some bleach cleanser and elbow grease! There is something about cleaning/organizing one's own space that makes it easier to breathe, though. Maybe it's partly a January thing.

    I'm glad your job seems safe, though.

  8. When you finish there..... I know... how original?.....

  9. When you finish there..... I know... how original?.....

  10. Screw the OCD, it is the fine writing that has been inspired by all that is going on that I stand in awe of.

    And I am very glad to hear that your job will be ok.

    Facing all this change is huge. One step at a time.

    FYI, are you aware of freecycle? It is a great way to deal with getting rid of crap that you no longer want and need.

    Hang in there woman, all will be well.

  11. Oh my. What a day.

    I'm glad you're safe. It was decent of him to tell you.

    Yes, hang in there. Lots of love.

  12. Hey you, I plan to link this new blog to mine as soon as I have time and stop procrastinating.
    I like it.

  13. So cleaning leads to job security? Anyone wanna clean my desk? Bueller?

  14. "I listen to the news and things seem so out of control."

    the illusion is that we think we can control anything.

    I teach to people who can't control their minds and they think they can control their own lives.

    what a delusion.

  15. FreeCycle and CraigsList -- definitely every mover's friends. At this point my advice would be to try selling before you give stuff away.

  16. Like Saoirse said, I need some of that anxiety. When the poop is headed to the fan it's easy for me to just watch some more TV and steep in my sullen pool.
    Damn, the Christmas tree is still up. Maybe Obama will stop by and help take the thing down.

  17. Thank Gawd your job is safe!!!!!!!!

    I read this post expecting the bottom half to be you are now unemployed.


  18. You'd feel even worse about things in general if you saw the traffic in Calcutta....

  19. That's a lovely post, captures so much.

  20. I'm so glad your job is safe; you've had enough crap to deal with lately!

  21. Cleaning is definitely therapeutic! I need to do it more often -- perhaps I'd feel better. :)

    Glad your job is safe. A lay-off would be the last thing you need right now.

    Peace to you.

  22. Ok, I'm getting out the bleach and alcohol. You have shamed me into a thorough cleaning. I thought it was enough to vacuum and dust once a month, but now I see the error of my ways.

    Glad the job is safe.

    It's been snowing here for weeks, day after day. I now am avoiding doing laundry since I have to walk from the little house to the big house. God I'm risk averse.

  23. Very glad to see you're safe. You had me worried at the beginning of that post.

    Also glad to see your new digs. I did a little posting about the move.

    The best to you and your family.

  24. I have to say, it was kinda classy for your boss to let you in on that news, that you, at least, were "safe."

    Most of the boss stories I've been hearing lately haven't been so decent.

  25. Way to clean the pain away! I comprehend it fully. My middle child moved off to school and the world in 2004, and she is my trusty OCD kid. The oldest and youngest are slobs, and the youngest still lives at home.

    Glad your job is safe, in an increasingly unsafe and unsteady world.

  26. hmmm i came home and cleaned the bathroom tonight.
    i think i'll check on my job tomorrow just to be safe (an omen maybe I mean me clean something?)

    glad the job is safe

  27. You are a very lucid writer, my friend. If I could turn our little car on her back and scrub out all the years of accumulated gunky stuff in the cause of world peace I'd do so til my arms fell off.

    Instead, I told my boss this morning I'd be willing to cut back my hours so the single mom who came to work in the department last summer doesn't get laid off. Times is hard.

  28. I wish I could be optimistic, but I can't. Not even here in Oklahoma City, one of the centers of the energy bidness. 'Cause the energy bidness, too, is gonna suck hind tit before this nad sumbitch of a global depression works through.

    We're all gonna be keepin' up with one another on public library 'puters ...

  29. I think that I understand. The dirt called and said that, "you're not the boss of me."

    How many time have people told you tocontrol what you can and don't worry about stuff that is beyond your perveiw. But they don't teach you how to handle the stress of the uncontrolable.

    So lets take on the dust together because it hates me for sure.

  30. I really, really wish I had this response to stress and out-of-controlness. Unfortunately, my inclination is to let things get even more untidy and chaotic. And I'm very glad to hear your job is safe.

  31. Lisa: When I studied for the bar, the bathrooms were sparkling. I cleaned what I could to break up the monotony of studying (and it was a good excuse to put down the books). Congratulations on having some job security. That must be a relief. Your boss sounds like a good guy.

  32. Polly Pockets may have been created for the very purpose of giving their little plastic lives so that people everywhere might feel like they have a teensy bit of control in the chaos. It's not like they are innocent little beings either - stepping on those things is deadly.

  33. Lisa - I am so glad your job is safe. I don't think that would even get me to start cleaning. Oh, and if you ever do find a way to get those extra hours, could you let me know? I sure could use them?

  34. Lisa - I am so glad your job is safe. I don't think that would even get me to start cleaning. Oh, and if you ever do find a way to get those extra hours, could you let me know? I sure could use them?


And then you say....

(Comments submitted four or more days after a post is published won't appear immediately. They go into comment moderation to cut down on spam.)