Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rules to live by

I worry sometimes that I might have an anxiety disorder - and yes, I do realize how funny that sounds. I also worry that I might be a hypochondriac. Don't act so surprised, I've mentioned before that I might be insane. It's not that big a stretch. Insanity runs in my family; it practically gallops!

Anyway, I was thinking the other day about the various rules I create for myself. Rules like "always take the first pair of underwear in the row so you don't wear out one pair faster than the others". Oh, and "arrange your underwear in a row so you always know which pair was laundered last". Then there are rules like "never waste a trip", i.e. taking everything you need downstairs with you so you won't have to come back upstairs to get something. Or "always put the bleach in first and the fabric softener in second, then measure the soap, turn on the water and pour the soap in last". It's a HE machine, this insures that all the soap gets washed out of the dispenser and doesn't get deposited undiluted on my clothes... Never mind.

All of the examples above relate to laundry, probably because I just did my laundry and the rules are fresh in my mind. There are also rules about cooking and cleaning and spreadsheet formatting and query writing and email management. The rules themselves aren't all that interesting. What strikes me is how I freak out if I deviate from them. There are times I have remembered something I needed halfway down the stairs and become frozen with indecision about which is more efficient; going back up the stairs to retrieve it or putting away whatever it is before going up again. I get a feeling of fear and tension because I'm doing it wrong and someone might find out.

My rules aren't limited to work and chores. Sometimes I script conversations in advance, then later I replay them (sometimes out loud - sometimes out loud and in public) and agonize over what I did or did not say. I find myself listening to people while a voice in my head says "nod, smile, make eye contact, hold, break, say 'uh huh'..." etc. Later there will be a mental browbeating over not asking the right follow-up questions or for directing the conversation too much to myself. Ugh. So much anxiety!

In the face of all these rules I often feel overwhelmed. It's easier to NOT clean the house because I know I won't do it correctly. I will move knickknacks in the wrong order, thus extending my dusting to 5 minutes instead of the optimum 3. I will run out of clean mop water 3/4ths of the way through and be faced with the prospect of wasting a bucket of water. I will start in the wrong place, crumple the previously ironed part of my shirt and have to redo the sleeve or yoke or whatever.

I don't know if I have a conclusion for this post, other than I think I understand how people can become obsessive-compulsive. I don't think I'm there yet but if my tooth-brushing ritual is any indication, I could be heading in that direction.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I need a vacation

I feel like I took a huge step backwards at work this week. I was super busy and I didn't get half the things done that I wanted to. On top of that, I made quite a few people mad at me and it will probably take a few weeks (or months) before they like me again. It's my own fault, really. My job is to analyze commissions that we pay our sales reps. This week I noticed some errors in the sales data and, not having enough to do already, I started digging deeper. After 3 days of auditing and compiling data I had the odious task of informing the reps that I was reducing their compensation by a few thousand dollars. Most of them were out of the office on Friday so I am bracing myself for a shit storm on Monday. Oh well, what can I do? Having found the problem I am now liable for resolving it. That's the job. Yea.

I still haven't bought a plane ticket for Seattle. I haven't flown since the summer before I had my thyroid removed and I've gained a bit of weight since then. Now I'm afraid I'll be too fat for a single seat. I don't want to buy a second ticket if I don't have to but I also can't rely on the airline having an empty seat beside mine. I've considered flying first class or business class - the seats are supposed to be bigger, right? - but I don't how one purchases that kind of ticket. Everything I see on Travelocity, Orbitz & PriceLine is economy/coach class. Those sites don't really address morbid obesity in their FAQ sections either and it's kind of embarrassing to ask a call center employee.

The cats are another issue I need to sort out. They would probably be happiest staying here with someone dropping in to feed them. I don't really know who to call for that, though. The last time I left town a co-worker took care of them. In return, I took care of her dog and cat when she left town. That was 18 months ago. She left the company over a year ago and she hasn't spoken to me in almost as long. I think she's mad because I told another co-worker I thought her husband was a jerk (he is) but she never confronted me about it. Seems awkward to call her up now. Anyway, I'll figure something out.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another to do list

In no particular order, here is a list of things that I really need to do. These are things that keep me awake at night and make me feel guilty during the day. Procrastination is a real bitch sometimes!

Take advantage of the free counseling offered through work
Get rid of the weeds around my house
Plant something where the lilacs used to be
Add insulation to my attic
Decide if I'm going to Seattle in three weeks
Buy tickets for Seattle or buy a new AC and furnace
Get new light fixtures for the kitchen, upstairs bathroom and living room
Replace sheet rock in the laundry room and downstairs bathroom
Replace the tub and shower in the upstairs bathroom
Paint the interior of my house
Pick up calming pheromones for my fur-chewing cat
Buy new pants, shoes and tops
Lose 150 pounds
Go to the doctor
Find a reasonable excuse not to go to former friend's baby shower
Clean the interior of my car
Vacuum, dust and sweep up dustbunnies
Make a budget
Take advantage of the free financial planning offered through my bank
Have the cats' teeth cleaned
Look for another job
Shred junkmail
Write in my journal
Read more books