Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stressful Times/Stressful Measures

My mom is coming in town for Easter this year. I'm really excited to see her! I have to say, though, that whenever she comes in town, there's a certain stress that falls over me the few days before she arrives. If I'm a Neat Freak, she's a Neat Nazi - but also, a cleanliness one. So having a straightened house is good, but not quite good enough. Thus, a really clean, straight house is essential.

And also, one huge, sucky, annoying addition to the stress factor is that my mom is terribly allergic to cats. And since we have a big, fat, lazy ball of love living in our house - the cleaning factor has to be increased 100%. If my in-laws were coming over, for example - we'd do a total house straighten, maybe clean the kitchen & bathrooms, maybe use the hand vacuum to pick up fur balls in the corners of the room, and call it a day. But when a cat allergy comes to visit (or a Neatness Nazi), we have to do all those other things, plus vacuum all floors, and vacuum on the couches, and probably clean the kitchen floor (because it's kind of dirty and I can already hear a passive aggressive comment brewing). And we all know that really, truly cleaning a house before company comes can't happen more than say three days in advance - or else it just gets messy before they arrive (especially true with the pet hair).

I'm also a little on edge because not only is my mom coming in town on Friday, but Friday is her birthday. So - imagine all the general stress of getting the house ready, in addition to the stress of planning birthday activities for someone who will expect something awesome (and yes, she will expect this - none of the "just being with you is enough" - it's not, for her). And I'm really happy I'll get to spend her birthday with her - and I do want to make it awesome (I love doing that kind of fun planning stuff) - I just wish it didn't coincide with the need to beautify and de-cat our house.

So yesterday during lunch I swung by our house to get the dry cleaning that was piling up in the corner to drop off (then it'll be ready by this afternoon). When I was home, I was going to grab a gift card we got for our wedding to a fancy, local grocery store (since for my mom's birthday dinner, I'm making lobster pot pies). Well, I walked in and the house was pretty messy (and we all know how messes make me feel); but in addition, it's kind of dirty - like, since the sun was overhead, shining in, I could see all the cat hair on the floor and the dust suspended in the air and all the lint balls/general crap on our rug and the cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling. You don't really notice all that stuff late in the afternoon or at night when there isn't a direct sunbeam coming in.

So this got me a little on edge - just thinking about how much bigger the cleaning job was than I imagined. Then I went to the place where I thought the gift card was - and it wasn't there. And I looked in the other place it could be - and it wasn't there. And thirty minutes later, every possible place it could be, and I still couldn't find it. So what did I do? I'm warning you - this is a little weird: I stress ate. Like, went into the kitchen, ate a ton of cheese, ate some ketchup, ate a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, a couple bites of ice cream, and two hershey kisses. I wasn't even really hungry. But I was stressed about the house, super annoyed about the gift card, and just generally feeling helpless. And I filled the void with food, which is so so gross to me. It's like one of those weird behaviors like hoarding - where the person is all out of control but can't do anything about it. I felt utterly out of control - and I didn't like it.

I'm hoping now that everything is back in line (since we tackled a couple major cleaning projects last night) - but what a strange little glimpse into neuroses. I really wish the cleanliness of our house didn't affect my sanity so much! What about you guys? Any weird neurotic things in your life that might make me feel like less of a freak??


katie said...

umm, first, did you ever figure out the gift card mystery? i'm curious about that!

and i actually don't think stress eating is all that weird, just so you don't feel like as much of a freak. and another thing to make you feel better (not to get all science-y and weird) is that when you're in that stress mode, your "fight or flight" response kicks in in your body, which raises your adrenaline, etc, and your body starts to consume glucose so it's ready to kick into action should it need to. so, just think of it as replacing the calories your body consumed when you were freaking out. feel better?

LB said...

oh that's awesome!! so glad you're becoming a nurse, so now you have all sorts of fun facts for us for the rest of our lives.