Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Perfectionist

I'm turning into a blogaholic. The whole thing has been creeping up with increasing velocity. I am wondering, uh ---where have I been, lo, these many months? The wonderful world of electronics belongs to the young, but eventually the senior citizens will catch on ---then, you'll all leave and start something new. Adults have been copying teens for years, but the newest fashions have finally gone too far to be copied by anyone in their right mind or rather in their right size. So, as I started out to say ---a few people have clicked on my comments on other blogs and one thing has led to another and I am totally enthralled by the sheer numbers of great, funny, insightful people flying around the blogasphere. Today, I was catching up with Dr. Andrew in his blog (isn't that a clever title?) about the problems a perfectionist creates within a relationship. After admitting that I am indeed a perfectionist, I had to stop and realize that I wasn't always aligned with the weirdos of the world. It started on a very specific occasion. If he reads this, I will probably be committed --- but, I'm going to give it a shot!
The background has to come first ---
I started my senior year of high school the first week of September, 1953.
The new schoolbus driver was a twenty-one year old hunk, who had recently returned from the Navy, during the Korean thing. He was going to college on the G.I. Bill and driving bus to have spending money.
I was the first one on the bus in the morning and the last one off at night. Not being one to let any grass grown under my feet, I struck a claim before any other girls could bat an eyelash and started dating him the next
Friday night. He made the mistake of using a line on me --- something to the effect of, "If you were out of this school, I'd marry you". Sure thing!
Before he knew what hit him, I dragged him over the state line, forged parental permission and we were married on October 24th. We had some grandiose plans of keeping it a secret until I graduated. Think again, el bimbo! Being young and very dumb, I did not realize that our city is right on the Ohio/Michigan border and some of my classmates lived in Michigan and got "The Monroe Evening News". But, they paid tuition and crossed the state line to attend our school. When the marriage license was published, the jig was up --- we had to fess up, tell our parents and take our medicine. My father (a teacher and attorney) was going to have it annulled, but my mom said, --- 'THEY SPENT A NIGHT TOGETHER!" Now, think 1953 --- a night together meant "used goods" and they would probably be stuck with me forever.
Dad gave up his dream that I would teach Latin and mom had lots to
chat about with her girlfriends. I did manage to continue my senior year despite mononeucleosis two weeks into the marriage. I used every cent my new husband had for the hospital bill, because as a married, almost woman, I was no longer covered by my dad's health insurance.
So, we started our married life in a one car garage apartment sans T.V., dishes, pots, pans --- and anything else you can think of, but we had a wonderful time together. (Getting to know one another, so to speak --- both as people and in the Biblical sense.) His mom would look at me as though her son had lost his mind, but she always did want another little girl. (All 5'2" and 95 pounds of good gymnast and bad majorette)
About a year later, we moved into an 8'x26' trailer. Things were really tight and there was no bathroom --- that was across the street. (It did make things difficult, if you had the flu.) But, being young and resourceful, we found lots of things to do with each other. Keep your minds clean, folks! (Well, fairly clean) Our big plan was to pay the thing off and go to the Florida shore to listen to the waves crashing on the sand. I worked in an office and he worked as a carpenter while we lived in the trailer. Between a full time job and being a full time wife, I wasn't really committed to keeping things in great shape. Besides, we spent most of our spare time chasing each other around that 8'x26' space. One night, I awakened to a husband who was delirious with fever and I had absolutely no idea of what to do. We had no phone (keep thinking poor), so I jumped into the car and drove five miles to his parents home at three in the morning to call the medical academy. They promised to send a doctor right out and then, his mom said that she would be right over. EGADS! I drove those five miles back in an illegal flash. The clean dishes were in the drainer --- stick it under the sink! The dirty dishes were in the sink ---stick them in a bucket and hide them in a closet! Our hastily discarded clothing, even the undies were caught up and stuffed into another, tiny closet. Then, OMG, DH is naked --- and his mom is coming over. Have you ever tried to put jammies on a delirious, naked dude? Everything looked presentable when his mom and the doctor arrived, except for me---think bed hair and wrinkled clothing. The first words out of the doc's mouth were, "I forgot my tongue blades --- could you get me a spoon?" Mom started for the silverware drawer ---"NO! I'll get it." I'm fishing silverware out of the drainer under the sink. It turned out to be tonsillitis, but his tonsils had been removed when he was a child. I didn't know that you have several sets of tonsil tags and sometimes new ones take over when your immune system is threatened.
Now, faced with a mother-in-law who thinks you are a bimbo, not to be trusted with her only son -- wouldn't you develop a lifelong problem with perfectionism? The rules are something like this --- keep the home like something out of "House Beautiful", pick up every night before bedtime, never leave dishes in the sink, bathrooms must look like they haven't been peed in for years, closets and drawers have to line up like a department store display and make the bed if hubby gets up during the night to potty. Today, I keep two homes (one in Ohio and one in Florida) but, the work of moving twice a year is killing me! The hardest part is pretending that the "good fairies" take care of the details.
I forgot to say --- besides being a willing wife in the Biblical sense --- I could really cook at seventeen, after having cooked for a family of seven for five years. My mother had not been well during that part of my life, so cooking for only two was fun.
Life together has turned out to be ten times anything I ever had dreamed it could be --- and they said it would never work! We had three children in our twenties and then I went to nursing school at forty. (I finally found a use for all the high school Latin) You really can have it all, but I don't think they meant my way!


molly said...

You're a gem! Not only is your husband lucky to have found you, but your mil is lucky that he did too!!!

Andrew said...

Hi Kacey,
The jig is up ... again! I did indeed find your sordid little story. Maybe the lesson is that there is no over-estimating the power of the mother-in-law! I enjoyed the story and I'm glad it has a very happy ending!
I'm flattered that you would refer to my site in your post. I wonder if I could ask one self-indulgent favor - if you could turn my blog title in your post into a link, I would be forever grateful :o)
And thanks for visiting my site today and leaving such a nice comment.

Great story!

Tim said...

I love a good story of the sort, and let me be a witness, as soon as there are a more than one or two folks telling you that your marriage won't work, that's when it's surely doomed to succeed! :)

momofalltrades said...

Thanks for telling us such a wonderful story! My young stupid marriage didn't work out so well, so I gave it another go, not much older, and certainly not much wiser. We'll just tell people we'd rather be lucky than good, right?!

Lisa said...


I loved this!! Your descriptive writing had my mind playing a mini-movie of two young lovebirds unaware of the "real" world going on around them!

I USED to be the perfectionist in my first marriage, not by genetics but by the sheer OC of my then-husband. It's now 10:07, and I have pots and pans in the drain from last night's dinner, hair tumbleweed rolling about from my two dogs, and I have to study for my test tomorrow (which is something like a "nursing" test-I have to be certified AMAP for my job and know all the lingo. QUICK!! What does OD stand for??), and I'm reading everyone's blogs! My current (and permanent) husband makes me feel so at ease with myself, I actually remembered that I hate housework!

I will try to read more of your blogs tomorrow, I am really enjoying them and I'm glad sweet Summer recommended your blog to me!

Have a great night!!

PS...For anyone else reading, OD doesn't stand for stands for "right eye"!