We all have a comfort level, a sweet spot between chaos and control where we find we can do our best work. My desk and my kitchen, my workspaces, may not look organized, but somehow I know where everything is, that is unless someone else was helping me with the dishes.
You probably know that the Bride is pretty well organized. As a teen she had all her college applications figured out and filed before I even got a chance to talk with her about the process. The Rocker takes after me, with a little Type A from his Dad just to sweeten the mix. As a teen he could leave a glass of milk next to his bed until it became a culture medium for the latest bacteria, but his desk was always spotless.
And I just assumed that opposites attract; that marriage was a Darwinian reality show. Most of the couples we know would attest to that narrative, she or he is the messy/creative one while the other is the opposite. But in the Bride’s case, she married someone even more organized than she is; and I realized this when I watched the Groom organize their front hall closet.
Coats and hats and scarves went flying into three piles. Those to keep, give away, or store someplace else – like a snowsuit that might be used should they end up skiing again in the South…or maybe they’d take a ski vacation out West? I was impressed, I was wishing he’d come to my house. But alas, his paternity leave came to an end, so he returned to the complicated diagnostic world of internal medicine.
I remember the first time I couldn’t find a toy when my kiddos were little. After some hemming and hawing, Bob finally admitted that when I took the children on a trip to visit Grandma Ada, he would “clean up.” Which meant he’d enter the family room and throw toys away! Imagine. He actually jettisoned a vintage Barbie doll with clothes in a its original case from Aunt Becky! http://www.vintagebarbies.net/vintagebarbievalues.htm I was incensed, I was mortified.
Today, he tackles the pantry on my trips to Nashville, with my full approval. It’s fine since stink bugs tend to love open boxes of pasta.
Still, the last time I left my Nashville family of four I gave them a piece of my mind/advice…and believe me, I don’t like to give advice unless I’m directly asked for it. “You have TWO children now,” I said, “keeping the house organized need not be a priority!” They smiled, I think they listened. Then I told them what Grandma Ada told me a long time ago,
“Cleaning up with a toddler in the house is like shoveling snow during a snowstorm.”
January’s Real Simple magazine has a good story on this very dilemma; “Dear Real Simple I’m a Control Freak Please Help!” by Virginia Sole-Smith. It’s not online yet but here is the writer’s website http://virginiasolesmith.com/portfolio/ – it’s a great take on how to live with your opposite type, not for the Bride and Groom I’m afraid – perfectionist meet the opposite of an organizational addict.