That Sinking Feeling

Despite what this post might suggest, I’m not high-maintenance. I just have severe OCD and like my routine, not to mention a house that functions as it should and remains rather clean.

With that said, any disruption to my basic necessities — water, food, Internet, baseball, power, mostly food again — are classified as mini-catastrophes in my world, a world where I’m not proficient in plumbing or electrical work where hummus flows freely like water.


So when I walked into the kitchen the other night and noticed my previously functional faucet releasing a small but steady stream of water, I started to lose my crap.

After taking a deep breath, I called an old handyman friend of my uncle that sometimes helps me with things and found out he could stop by the next day. I knew this was good, but I also knew this meant tons of more stress for my dysfunctional mind.

If I don’t have a sink, how can I make my tea? Use my steamer? Would he take so long that my normal dinner routine would be shattered? And what about my semi-clean floors? How am I supposed to survive?!?

Part of my frustration with these things comes from not being able to fix them myself, but 99.9 percent of my frustration comes from the series of events that follow after someone comes over to fix them.*

*Yes, I am most appreciative, but I am also OCD with no patience for putzing or lack of respect for the Lysol.

So without further putzing, let’s take a look at how this went (all times are approximate, as I’m still recovering from the trauma.)

9 pm—Enter kitchen and notice sink is running. Push on all the handles and scream at it to stop.

9:01—Express puzzlement over said dripping to inanimate objects within earshot and then try to will it to stop streaming down.

9:05—Call old handyman guy and learn a) he really wants to engage in a “to make a short story long” type of discussion and b) he can come by the next afternoon around 3.

9:25—Call mom and ask her to meet him at my house until I can get home from work.

9:26—Ignore problem for the rest of the night.

Next Day

5:30 am—Enter kitchen and notice sink is still running. Push on all the handles and scream at it to stop.

5:31—Express puzzlement over said dripping to inanimate objects within earshot and then try to will it to stop streaming down.

5:35—Leave for work and stress about sink.

4 pm—Arrive home, find mom in my garden and give her a 6-pack as a thank you.

4:05—Full of dread, enter the house and notice he didn’t heed the “Please take shoes off. Thanks!” post-it note I so carefully placed on the door. And that he moved the blanket I had down over the kitchen rug. And that he was using my favorite coffee cup and dish towel to catch the dripping water OH MY GOD!

4:05:10—Remind myself he’s helping me out. Deep breaths are taken and possibly exhaled as a loud sigh—this part is sketchy.

4:10—Make small talk and pretend to care what plumbing parts are called while discreetly moving the blanket over the rug and his tools onto paper towel.

4:15—Learn he’ll be done in about half an hour and decide I’m pretty much a revolutionary for my survival skills in times of such stress.

4:16 to 4:45—Distract myself in the form of preparing soon-to-be used cleaning products and plan how I can clean and get dinner ready on OCD time.

4:46—He’s still putzing. Start freaking out and immediately change my mind on revolutionary status.

4:55—While searching for Xanax salt lick, I’m informed it’s fixed. Pleasantries and payment are exchanged, as is the information that his wife read my first book after my uncle gave him a copy.

4:56—Feelings of annoyance wane as I gently lead him outside my house.

5:00—Begin manic Lysol/Swiffer sweeps of the counters and floors while prepping dinner at the same time, once again applauding my survival skills.

5:05—Enter bathroom. Notice the toilet seat is up, meaning his dirty shoes and everything attached to them paraded throughout my house and used my toilet.

5:06—Manic feelings return. Cleaning commences.

5:15—Smoke detector goes off, signaling that dinner is done.

5:20—Revolutionary status restored, but my sanity? Still MIA.

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19 responses to “That Sinking Feeling

  1. hollowtreeventures

    I’m still twitchy from the time my oldest boys came inside from a long, sweaty day of working in my yard and building a fence (thanks for all the hard work, boys!!!) and SAT SHIRTLESS AND SWEATY DIRECTLY ON MY COUCH. I pretty much had to burn the living room down. I’m really, *really* sorry about your toilet. Want help boarding up your bathroom?

    • The only good thing was he left the seat UP, so it was a clear giveaway said toilet had been used. If he hadn’t left that clue, who knows where I would be now?!? Ignorance is not bliss 😉

  2. this stressed me out, I no longer need my coffee.

    the “I’m pretty much a revolutionary for my survival skills in times of such stress” made me laugh. having all kinds of people parading through my house for several months as my kitchen was completely gutted last fall / winter? almost did. me. in.

    happy Sunday.


    • I heart you. But I can’t imagine having that whole kitchen renew like you did, as awesome as it turned out. There are a few other “inside” things I need done, but well…I think that you get it.

  3. I can relate.

    I had a houseguest come to visit who used my clearly marked (in my own mind) towel for cleaning the kitchen counters to wipe up something on the floor and then put the towel back on the counter/kitchen sink. It was anarchy.

    Maybe my sanity is hiding out with yours.

  4. The perfect post. Both hysterical and oh, so true. The one part where we diverge is when you are able to “Ignore problem for rest of night”. I’d be “Lay in bed worrying about sink for rest of night”.

  5. I’m glad I’m not alone. People’s habits are interesting. My mom-in-law does not keep a garbage can in her kitchen, instead, she puts a plastic grocery bag in her sink and puts her garbage there, taking it out to the big can when it is full. This disturbs me greatly on it’s own, but then she assumes that no one has a garbage can in their kitchen. She house sat for me one time and she was kind enough to scoop the kitty box for me each day, which I totally appreciated. However, I can home to a plastic grocery bag filled with the scooped cat litter ON MY KITCHEN COUNTER.
    I wanted to burn my house down. I’m still not recovered and it’s been years. Is there therapy for this? I need it.

    • What? Are you serious? THAT is not normal. Garbage cans are not just an accessory. They are a necessity! That’s why they’re GARBAGE cans.

  6. Ok, so @ 5:05 you enter bathroom and notice the toilet seat is up, meaning his dirty shoes and everything attached to them paraded throughout your house and he used your toilet. Are you more troubled that he trampled through your house or that he used the toilet? Did you expect that he would never have to relieve himself at some point? Also, where else was he supposed to go? Outside? or I guess maybe he could have used the kitchen sink? ? ? 🙂

    • Valid points, but he had only been at my house for an hour before I got there and I would presume he went before he came. But he’s old, so perhaps he has to go more often. At any rate, I would have asked him to take off his shoes before walking all over the carpet. Plus, there’s a toilet in the basement. See? I’m full of solutions.

  7. You are a true survivor. Thanks for the laughs.

  8. Oh, Abby, I totally understand what you went through. My daughter tells me that I have some OCD – maybe it’s hereditary. I used to be worse, but as I’ve lived many years now, I seem to be more calm about certain things – plus, I live alone now, so have more control over my environment. I am very conscious of having plumbers, electricians, etc. come into my house with their dirty shoes. Believe it or not, the A/C man put “booties” on his shoes last week. I was so happy and relieved when I saw that.

  9. I was cringing, shaking my head in agreement, and wanting to hug you all at the same time while reading this. My OCD is mus less than yours and really goes along with my anxiety like a bad prom date or something. Being a neat freak who loves order and routine when others around you do not is very hard. You know you love somebody when you walk into a room that shouldn’t have a dirtied cereal bowl and spoon in it and , well, it’s there, and the cat’s looking for the last drop of milk.

  10. Xanax salt lick! LOLOL From a fellow OCDer, I would have lost my shit! I notice if a smudge is on the back of the fridge (which is against a wall).

  11. As someone who lives with someone who has mild (his words not mine) OCD I get it. My whole life is spent taking off shoes and manically cleaning stuff to avoid his meltdowns. Personally, I don’t get it at all though. Oh well, it takes all sorts and we are truly like Jack Sprat and his wife except with cleaning and tidying instead of meat and fat.

  12. Hilarious! :d
    And I am not a neat freak which made it even more hilarious coz I could laugh without the ‘Yeah I know the sick feeling!’ 😉

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