Saturday, June 6, 2009

My true love gave to me ....

“I don't think he's anal retentive, per se.
But he is very, very detail-oriented and very, very bright.”
Gio Valiante

The man I love, aka Sweetie, has been described by people who have known him longer than I as being anal retentive - think the TV character Monk. Although I agree he does like to have the pens on his desk neatly aligned, and his fork equally centered on his napkin, does that make him anal? I'm not sure.

According to Google (what did I ever do before Google?) Freud first introduced the term anal retentive in 1908. Apparently the need to pay close attention to detail and being neat almost to a fault goes back to one's childhood. It has something to do with toilet training and the stinky delights your body can create. Personally I do not see the connection between feces and hanging all your lightly starched shirts in a straight and orderly fashion, with exactly 1.75 inches between hangars. That said, Freud opined that"people with 'anal character' were meticulous, parsimonious, and obstinate.*

I agree, Sweetie is meticulous, in everything from his personal grooming to his tool chest and just about every thing in between. And it is true that Sweetie uses a little more hair spray than the average cave man.. However, in the event of a freak weather pattern every glistening hair on his head stays neatly in place. Exactitude is important to the man I love.

But this man is neither parsimonious nor obstinate. Well, it could be said that on a rare occasion he has been known to be obstinate - like when he's attempting to turn left in front of oncoming traffic because he's sure he's got the right of way whether the other drivers are aware of this fine detail or not. It might also be said that Sweetie has an innate ability to stretch a dollar. He could without question be considered thrifty, but never parsimonious.

Upon getting up in the morning and wandering into the kitchen with eyes not quite open I began to see evidence that someone had been organizing things. The dish cupboard, and the refrigerator and the pantry had been neatly aligned. [Photo: Dishes as they are taken out of the dishwasher before they are put on the shelf. No helter-skelter here.] Plates, spoons, and cans of peas and carrots stood in precise rows resembling new recruits on a military drill field. Normally I might consider calling 911 to report a strange kind of intruder but all evidence pointed towards Sweetie. He gets out of bed way before the sun comes up and appears to have too much time on his hands. Considering all the facts I expect it is only a matter of time before the items under the sink are lined up in alphabetical order.

I'm not a girl to look a clean-cupboard gift horse in the mouth - cabinets in apple-pie order are a treat I'm careful not to complain too loud about. On the other hand, I'm still mulling over the follow-on gift my love gave me. A few days ago Sweetie presented me with this Food Inventory List. He was quite proud of his efforts. I was a little stupefied. I know that in his organized way of thinking Sweetie thinks he has done me a favor. Still I've got to wonder if he really thinks this little piece of paper will do the trick. If so I've got to wonder what he's been smokin'!

The rationale for this inventory was sound. Several times a week I complain about what to fix for dinner. I don't mind buying it, cooking it, or cleaning up the messy kitchen, but deciding day in and day out what to make that is going to satisfy the appetites of 3 disparate eaters drives me over the proverbial brink.

Dinner time in our house is 7:00 pm. Always has been; always will be. I think it was written on a stone tablet and handed down from generation to generation. Around 5:30 every evening Sweetie's stomach begins churning and leads to the question that is just as programmed as the dinner hour - "what are you fixing for dinner?" I know the question is coming as soon as he lies back in his recliner to snooze through the evening news. That's when I have to walk into the kitchen and face the chore of deciding. And that's when I walk back into the den and whine at Sweetie to help me. It's easy for him. Any repast that contains hot dogs, jalapeno peppers, anchovies or a combination of the three is a meal fit for a king. Dad and I prefer something a little less zesty. [Photo: Notice how the anchovies are lined up straight as little fishy arrows atop symmetrical rows of sliced jalapenos on this Sweetie-made Calzone.]

In an effort to help me with this dining dilemma I now have a Food Stuff Inventory. And not just an inventory - an inventory that serves a dual purpose (I kid you not). With no hint of humor in his voice at all, Sweetie proudly explains that the inventory can also be used as a shopping list. As something on the list is used, I am supposed to check it off. This way, at any given moment, I know exactly what's available to cook and what we're out of. My guy is a veritable genius. A little meticulous, and maybe a little obstinate, but always helpful!

The problem as I see it is that I am neither anal nor meticulous . I graduated from the spur-of-the-moment school of doing things. My desk is so cluttered I can't even see the top. My hair has an untamable cowlick that flips out over my ear; not even Sweetie's perma-freeze spray can keep it place. Can you hear Dr. Phil in the background asking, "how is that working for you?" Okay, so it doesn't work so well but I'm as set in my messy ways as Sweetie is in his neat ones.

Remembering the old adage "it's the thought that counts" I have to look at this inventory and smile. I give the man an A for anal ... oops! I meant effort!

Gotta love that man of mine,
Merry ME



Fire Byrd said...

I refuse to be called anally retentive.... but I am on the verge of OCD (obsessive compulsory disorder) which is why all my jumpers are folded very neatly and colour coded in my drawer. Why my skirts are all colour coded in my wardrobe. However there is hope for me cause all my shoes are just thrown in the cupboard any old how!!
Oh to have the time to do a food inventory, that does appeal!!Although I actually know what's in the house so maybe it would be overkill

Anonymous said...

Ah; the fabric of misinformation, innuendo, false hoods, and wishful thinking is woven tightly indeed! You would think - dear reader - that somewhere within the 3 Pictures - 4 Paragraphs - 82 Lines - and 1,051 Words writen in blog would be able to capture the TRUE essence of the depicted. Alas; it isn't to be. One must conjure for one self whatever mist of truth there is to be gleaned by imagining a well balanced, healthy man doing what he can to assist the messy minded.
PS: I did not play in feces in my formative years. I have however been known to wallow in B.S. (rarely)throughout my life.

Anonymous said...

From Son of Anonymous,

I believe that anal retentiveness is an inherited trait that is passed on in the male genes. Having said that, I have first hand knowledge of such traits that could be considered by some as eccentric or by some as anal, and can testify on the plantiff's side and say most of the time there is not a damn thing you can do to stop this behavior. Case in point. There was once a young man that threatened his parents with running away to start his own sock factory, because his socks had seams in the toe that bothered him. Now, his parents saw this as a child acting out of sorts because he didn't like his socks, but in actuality the socks were stifiling his genius. Fast forward a few years. Now the young boy is a man, married, with his life in front of him. He buys the socks he wants, and in his genius, numbers them accourdingly with a marker so that they will wear equally and be on the correct foot. Now, enter the evil wife, who then believes it to be funny to BLEACH said socks so as to confuse/stifle his genius. There are many more examples I can give you (all keys facing same way large to small, all paper money facing same way large to small, silverware placement, etc) but I think the battery on my BlackBerry and my thumbs would give out first. So, in sumation, I believe that someone who does not have this "affliction" would see it as troublesome, but really it is just genius expressed in extraordinary ways.

Merry ME said...

I purposely avoided the subject of folded money and socks/underwear. Going there would put me way out of my league. I must say, the apple does not fall too far from the tree.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Son of... I feel totally vindicated. By the way; Were you 5 or 6 when you threatened to run away?

Molly said...

I invited your opinion!! And thanks for sharing.