I hate to use public restrooms. When I think of the microbes and germs crawling all over every surface, it makes me anxious. I try very hard to not touch ANYTHING I don’t absolutely have to. I have a routine for minimizing my toxic exposure — a routine which, of course, includes, “hovering.” Women know what I mean — the “squat” position one assumes over the toilet to avoid contact with the seat. Yes, men, you’re not the only gender which pees standing up. When possible, I avoid public restrooms altogether. For example, if I know we are going to an outdoor concert or anywhere I might be forced to share a port-o-potty with drunk people, I stop drinking liquids for HOURS before the event. But that isn’t always an option since typically, I drink over a gallon a day. (more…)
Do you know someone whose house is always spotless and ready for company? Do you wonder, “How on earth does she do it?” Do you wish your home could be perfect, too?
I followed a dozen women whose homes always look like magazine covers and discovered several behavior patterns — things most of these women do every single day. Try incorporating some or all of these into your daily routine and in no time, I’m sure your house will be your pride and joy as well.
Methodology and Observations
The women in this study were identified stealthily — women who hosted Pampered Chef parties, bridal showers, graduation open houses, and church small group meetings where every guest felt obligated to remove his or her shoes before entering the home. Once these model house keepers were identified, without explaining what I was looking for, I asked if I could observe their daily habits for a month. Appealing to their basest dreams of fame and stardom, I told them it was for a reality TV show on the E Network.
1. Women with immaculate homes breathe.
Yes — every single one of them, every single day. Inhale, exhale, repeat ad infinitum.
2. Women with immaculate homes eat.
Often several times a day — some choose healthier foods than others, but all of them eat something every day.
3. Women with immaculate homes brush their teeth.
Is this the secret to a sparkling abode? Considering the fact that every one of the women I studied brush their teeth a minimum of twice a day, it just might be. They also floss — well, they say they do.
4. Women with immaculate homes sleep.
In bed, in the carpool line, on the couch, standing at the kitchen sink — every woman observed in our study sleep for a cumulative average of at least 3 hours per day.
5. Women with immaculate homes go to the bathroom.
We don’t need to elaborate, but even though the frequency and time spent on this particular activity varied widely, it was found to be a habit all of these women have in common.
6. Women with immaculate homes bathe.
This one was a little bit of a surprise, but the pattern was clear pretty early on in the study. Some women bathe at night, some in the morning, some more than once a day. Whether they take a shower or soak in a tub, they bathe daily.
7. Women with immaculate homes plan to work out.
Only 2 actually followed through during the course of the study, but they all have great intentions to work out 3 to 5 times per week.
8. Women with immaculate homes wear clothes.
Outfits, accessories, and colors are unique to each lady, but they all wear something every day. (For the purposes of this study, yoga pants were counted as clothes.)
9. Women with immaculate homes own a phone.
All but one of our test subjects have a Smart Phone, but each lady has a phone, looks at it frequently, and panicks if she misplaces it. It seems apparent that the possession of a phone is a common trait among the best housekeepers.
10. Women with immaculate homes crave carbs & feel guilty for eating them.
As I took a closer look at number 2 (They eat.) we noticed a pattern in eating habits. Each woman reported a deep love of carbs and overwhelming guilt for indulging their desire.
Now you, too, can have an immaculate home!
Having your own spic and span abode by simply incorporating these habits into your own daily routine. Start small — adopt one new discipline every day. It might take you a while to get all 10 (or even 8) in a single day, but based on what I witnessed from these women, when you do, you’ll finally have it all together.
I’m sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room. Next to me, a woman is helping an elderly patient (presumably her mother) fill out the paper work.
In the couple of minutes I’ve been here, I’ve listened to this (a summary):
Daughter: Primary care physician?
Daughter: (LOUDER) PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN?
Daughter: Last tetanus shot?
Daughter: LAST TETANUS SHOT?
This carried on for several minutes, page by page. Then, I heard, “Is patient hard of hearing?”
That’s when I lost it. I’m not even sorry.
When temps get down into the 40’s at night, I’m breaking out the fleece. So last night, I went in to the bedroom about an hour before we planned to retire for the evening to “pre-heat” my bed. You see, when it’s chilly, I will sometimes turn my side of the heated mattress cover to high for an hour or so, then turn it off when I get into bed — takes that icy chill off the sheets. (Feel free to make a joke about romance if you want. I would.) So, I was surprised when I climbed into bed to find it was still very cold! (more…)
Something hilarious happened to me on the way to work today.
I stopped at the gas station on the way to work & bought a HUGE cup of ice. I’m talking the 44-oz, “Big Gulp” cup, but just ice. You see, every morning, I fill a gallon-sized jug with ice, then pour 4 cups of strong-brewed tea over it. Some of the ice melts, diluting the tea, giving me iced tea to drink all day, but also leaving enough ice to crunch all day.
My name is Stacy and I’m a compulsive ice cruncher.
I also carry back and forth with me to work every day an insulated cup in which to pour the ice and tea all day long. But today, I forgot my cup. It wouldn’t be lady-like to drink out of a gallon-sized jug, but by the time I realized I hat forgotten my cup, I was too close to the office to turn around. So, I pulled into the gas station for a cup of “chewy ice” to start my day.
If you are a fellow cruncher, then you already know. If you are not, then you may never know the joy of chomping on frozen water. You may not appreciate the differences — even subtle ones — in ice cubes from chewy ice, to home ice makers, to the bags of ice you purchase at the grocery store. You may never understand the Pavlovian response I have to to a big cup of ice — my mouth waters like yours might in response to a big juicy steak. I can’t explain my DNA.
Personally, I like the chewy ice (or as I call it, rabbit turd ice) the best, but my habit is to purchase a 22-lb bag of ice at the grocery store, knowing it will fill my jug three or 4 times, depending on how much “snacking” I do at night. Yes, I can crunch through 22 pounds of ice in three days.
The medical term for craving things with no nutritional value is pica.
And yes — I’ve heard all the possible explanations for this habit, from sexual frustration to anemia to OCD. Having been turned down several times when attempting to donate blood, mine is probably anemia, exasperated by OCD. Maybe an iron supplement could help me give up the habit if I wanted to stop…which I don’t. It’s my favorite thing to do that doesn’t cost too much and has zero calories.
However, my habit drives my husband absolutely crazy. Yes, my long-suffering husband’s biggest pet peeve is mouth noises, the most annoying of which is ice crunching. I really try not to crunch in his presence, but it’s hard. You’ve heard of Newton’s third law of motion, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction?” Well, it also applies in our marriage. As much as I love to crunch ice, David wants to smack me when I do!
Anyway…back to this morning. As I placed my cup on the counter and said, “Just this cup of ice, please,” the clerk asked if I wanted a soft drink, too. But I explained to him that I am a compulsive ice cruncher & the ice is all I wanted.
The woman at the register next to me overheard and felt compelled to chime in.
“Oh, my daughter is an ice cruncher! You realize that is just terrible for your teeth right?”
She went on to explain to me (as if I didn’t know) that many people find that habit very annoying, too.
That’s when I noticed…
She was buying a carton of Marlboro.
It is far and away my absolutely least favorite of household chores. I dread everything about grocery shopping.
Making My List
I hate planning meals a week out, never knowing how much time we’ll actually have when it comes time to prepare the planned meal. And will the pre-planned entree sound good at the time? Probably not if I have to cook it. I thumb through the sale flyers, looking for inspiration, but there is nothing even slightly inspiring about the prospect.
The Parking Lot
One of the most frustrating things I witness in a parking lot is a practice my husband and I have dubbed “parking spot stalking.” Lazy drivers (handicapped drivers are excused) drive around looking for the closest possible place to park. They will even sit, blocking traffic, while another shopper unloads a cartload of groceries into the trunk. This drives me crazy — walk a little. It won’t kill you!
If I were to write a manual of my OCD rules, at least one entire chapter would be dedicated to parking lots. For every store I frequent, I have a regular parking area. When I go to a shopping mall, I always park near Sears — I have done so for years. Of course this is getting more and more difficult as Sears stores are closing faster than video rental stores. To get around this issue, I’ve just pretty much quit going to malls. Problem solved.
Parking in the same general area every time eliminates the need to remember where I parked. Also, the spots have been strategically chosen to reduce my stress level as much as possible. One of the most frustrating things I witness in a parking lot is a practice my husband and I have dubbed “parking spot stalking.” Lazy drivers (handicapped drivers are excused) drive around looking for the closest possible place to park. They will even sit, blocking traffic, while another shopper unloads a cartload of groceries into the trunk.
Personally, I park far enough from the store that I never have to drive near the front of the store where pedestrians are sauntering about like they have all the time in the world. As an added benefit, the long walk in gives me time to mentally prepare for the annoyances that await inside and to practice my breathing. On really big shopping days, it gives the Xanax a little more time to kick in.
Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here
I walk in and immediately faced with a decision that will determine the course of the trip: cart or basket?
Basket, of course, almost always. If we go as a family, everyone will carry a basket. I have so much utter disdain for shopping carts that even I myself recognize how irrational my emotions are, but I can’t contain the hatred. They slow me down and make it more difficult to maneuver through the narrow aisles, packed with other shoppers and Hostess displays. Most of my shopping trips end with me carrying an overflowing basket with handles that are bent by the weight of the contents. If it doesn’t fit in the basket (or carefully balanced on my head), then we don’t need it.
But even when I make the sane choice to use a basket, I’m still tormented by the shopping carts of other shoppers. My blood pressure boils when traffic is blocked by two friends who run into one another in the condiments aisle and choose to stop, side by side, and catch up on life. I fantasize about ramming them, but remember, I don’t have a cart. I consider throwing a jar or pickles at one of them, but finally, I just backtrack and walk down another aisle, all the while, blessing them under my breath.
Some stores have kid-size carts, which I nominate for the worst idea ever. Because what we all need to make the entire experience a little more awful are bratty little kids running around the store with battering rams, bumping into displays and ankles. It’s not cute. It’s annoying. Kids in grocery stores belong in the cart seat , riding precariously on the end, or securely leashed on a choker chain. (Muzzles are optional, but highly recommended.)
And did you know that a single shopping cart can block the entire section of sympathy cards? I mean, why do you need a shopping cart in the greeting card department? It makes me want to punch you, then send you a “Get Well,” card, if I can get to them.
Then, there are the stores that don’t offer baskets or just don’t keep them stocked. Yes, I’m talking about YOU, Noblesville Walmart. If I need more than I can carry but less than requires a cart, I will not go to anyplace where I can’t find a basket. (I have a great story about the basket situation at Noblesville Walmart.) Meijer always has baskets or, another worthy option, a smaller version of a shopping cart. The invention of these “sport carts,” as I have dubbed them is Nobel prize worthy, in my opinion. As an added bonus, these smaller shopping carts don’t have a child seat, so I don’t have to imagine a toddler with opaque green snot teething on the handle bar.
Hope You Got Your Shouts
Yeah, don’t even get me started about the germs. Cart or basket, they are filthy petri dishes and we’re supposed to place FOOD in them. Food that we will EAT. With our MOUTH.
Thank God for portable packs of Lysol wipes — God’s gift to… well, me.
My anxiety spikes when I get “trapped” in a crowded aisle and sometimes I’m even convinced another shopper has somehow gotten my shopping list and is intentionally going ahead of me and blocking everything I need with his or her cart.
Obviously involved in the conspiracy, the store personnel cruelly place everything I need on the top shelf and for an added measure of frustration, make sure the stock is pushed as far back as possible.
Not even MacGyver could make a meal out of this…
I can’t stand it when I spend over an hour (and $XXX.xx) and get home only to find I have picked up a whole bunch of stuff that doesn’t even play nicely together in any cohesive meal plan. Given the contents of my shopping bags, even MacGyver would say, “What in the world am I supposed to do with this?” It’s also great to realize I bought more frozen foods than will fit in the freezer.
Darn right I want to check out!
And checkout — don’t even get me started. Why is it that people are seemingly caught unaware they are going to be asked to pay for their groceries when the cashier is finished scanning? They get this “deer in headlights” look when the cashier announces the total, and only then begin looking for their debit card. And their shopper reward card. And their coupons, which are probably expired. (I once got behind an elderly lady who handed the clerk six different store and gas station loyalty cards before finding the right one. She was buying one can of Play-Doh.)
“Oh, left your purse in your car, did you? No problem! Everyone will just wait while you go get it — take your time!” Take a hint from the Boy Scouts, people, and BE PREPARED — or at least moderately aware of your circumstances.
Then, today, we had half of our cartload of groceries loaded to the conveyor when it was announced that debit card processing was down. Love Dave Ramsey as I might — I DO NOT CARRY THAT MUCH CASH and our checkbook sits on the office desk at home, relegated only to monthly deposits into our daughter’s school lunch account.
Thank God, they got it running again before my frozen berries were melted by my simmering rage and we escaped relatively unscathed with all of the items that were not blocked by shopping carts or beyond my reach.
Looks like for dinner tonight we are going to have mini pizzas made of caramel rice cakes, pesto sauce, bran flakes, and the frozen berries that wouldn’t fit in the freezer.
Blessed Beyond Measure
Yes, I hate grocery shopping. I can think of any number of things I’d rather do, but I try to remember that a large percentage of this world’s population would trade places with me in a heartbeat. They may have no idea where their next meal is coming from.
I’m a spoiled brat.