A Little to the Left…

Unbeknownst to many people who don’t live with me, I have a secret…despite my laidback persona, I do have one “anal-retentive” tendency:  I have a “thing” for symmetry.

No one will ever pick up a newspaper I’ve finished reading and find it scattered about, put back in the wrong order, folded (in any place other than the middle), spindled or mutilated…if somebody wants to piss me off, they’ll fold section A inside section C.  What kind of barbarian reads the third section before the first one?

This makes me uncomfortable...

Not being a very organized person, I have piles of stuff sitting around my house.  To the untrained eye, they are just piles – do not be tempted to mess with the order of the piles – they are like tree rings, the oldest stuff is at the bottom of the pile.  I have a photographic memory in that I “see” things in my head where they are…I will remember that a certain piece of paper is an inch from the bottom of Pile A.  If you move it, I won’t know where it is…and I will hunt you down!

When we planted the garden in the spring, Dad decided that he would plant peas in a “bunch” rather than a row…the idea was that they wouldn’t need to have support, because they’d “lean on” each other.  Huge fail!  Weeds everywhere…I refused to go near them!  My peas were in a traditional row, relatively weed-free, and were very tasty…

Loading and unloading the dishwasher is something that seems to require a lesson in our household.  How hard is it to put things in the correct rack (tall glasses on the right, shorter ones on the left)?  Food storage containers give me fits – we have several different sizes and shapes…is it asking too much to pile the rectangular dishes together in the cupboard, without popping a round one on the top?  Mixing bowls should be stacked in order of size with the largest ones at the bottom, and plastic ones should never be mixed with glass!

The correct way to store mixing bowls...

When I fold laundry, each person has separate piles for each kind of clothing: t-shirts, tank tops, sweaters,  jeans, shorts, underwear, hoodies, and pyjamas.  The girls have recently started wearing mismatched socks…I think they’re doing it on purpose just to bug me! 

When I go to the doctor or the hairdresser, I often “straighten up” the reading materials…Sports Illustrated and Cosmopolitan should never be touching each other!  Neat piles of magazines organized by title is preferable to one massive mound of paper spread all over the table!

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Customers in the bookstore who don’t put items back where they found them make extra work for me.  If I see a book sticking out an extra inch on the shelf, I spring into action!  Ditto on the displays…can’t they see that I’ve left 3″ between each book?  Four inches on the left and two inches on the right just doesn’t make sense…

My “thing” for symmetry also extends to numbers:  I like even ones.  If something’s on sale, I’ll buy two, or four, but never three!  I don’t even like to have an odd number of comments on my blog posts: people comment, I answer – that’s how it’s supposed to be!  Even numbers.  Please don’t comment on my answer with something I can’t follow up on (you know who you are, TS!)…

So, there you have it…writerwoman61 is really a freak with some major control issues…

P.S. Back in 1983, my now ex-husband and I decided to get our ears pierced (at the same time).  Since it cost the same for him to get his one ear done, we decided to get his extra earring put into my ear.  So, I have one hole in my left ear and two in my right.  It evens out the fact that my right leg is about an inch shorter than the left one!


Filed under blogging, family, gardening, rants, satire, self-discovery

43 responses to “A Little to the Left…

  1. Kaylee

    Thanks Mom, I now know why it makes me crazy to watch Scott load the dishwasher. 😛

    Also, re: piles. I think a post about your hoarding tendencies (oh yes I went there) is in order!

  2. Oh my! That’s serious, my dear! 😀

    I do understand with knowing where something is where you left it, even if it doesn’t “look” organized.

    There’s beauty in asymmetrical arrangements, too. I prefer 3 or 5 to 2 or 4. In fact, there is little in my house that is symmetrical, because to me it just doesn’t look right. Weird, eh?

    • I’m sure my preference for symmetry is evidence of my total lack of artistic ability…I do like some abstract art though (as long as it has fine, detailed lines, and not blobs of colour!


  3. Love this post! I just about jump thru the roof when my daughter loads/unloads the dishwasher. If they are put in correctly, you can get 3x the dishes in the washer! I am tempted to put color dots on the utensils so she can put them in the correct drawers. Do they have a dishwasher survival course in high schools? If not, they shud!! 🙂

    • I’m glad somebody agrees with me, Paula! Thanks for the support!


      • Hi to Paula and Wendy, et al., from a kindred soul.

        Me? I have labels on my kitchen shelves. The shelf with the coffee and teas (leaded, decaf, and herb) is tagged COFFEE/TEA. I have a number of small cafetieres (French presses) that I use for entertaining; they sit on a shelf labeled CAFETIERES.

        My pantry has labels such as PASTA, CANNED FRUITS, CANNED VEGGIES, JAPANESE FOODS, INDIAN FOODS (we love “ethnic” foods and eat a lot of them.)

        Hoping to “control” my familiy’s tendency to shove things into cupboards every which way, I devised this “system,” one I thought they would follow. I mean, aren’t these labels kinda like the ones at the sides of the road that stem driving chaos? (On second thought, not such an apt analogy–who actually observes the speed limit all the time?)

        Sorry to say, my “system” works, but only partially. Still, I remain undaunted–onward and upward!

  4. planejaner

    So…what does your therapist think?

  5. Perdi7a

    Hello, I’m here at the recommendation of Crazygoangirl, I recently posted (ranted) about my distaste for e-books and she thought I might enjoy your blog … she was right 🙂

    As for your little symmetry ‘thing’ – I’m right with you, I have a number of small ‘quirks’ myself, including having to always have the teapot next to the kettle, with both spouts facing to the left at equidistant angles. I like to think of this as being, not anally-retentive, but rather mildly eccentric in a very English fashion 😛

    Very nice blog.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Perdi (and thanks Harsha for passing the word along!)…

      “Mildly eccentric”…I like that…sounds better than “in need of intensive therapy!”

      Will check out your blog too!


  6. You won’t hear any judgemental comments or tsk tsking from me! I can relate. For example, in my world, pens must always be stored point downward.

  7. izziedarling

    Even numbers – am soooooo with you there, Wendy *hugs*

  8. I completely sympathize and am relieved to know that there is someone out there who is as bonkers as me 🙂 I went to a job interview yesterday and found myself straightening the pictures on the walls before I even realized what I was doing… a little embarrassing…

  9. Oh, Wendy – we all have our quirks! And I do believe there’s a little OCD in all of us … have you ever had a conversation with friends about their “things”? Try it, you’ll be amazed and you’ll laugh!
    Sunshine xx

  10. “What kind of barbarian reads the third section before the first one?”

    Exactly! Who does this, I ask you!

    I’m glad to hear we fold laundry the same way. Each young man in my house gets a stack for shirts, pants, socks, pjs and underware (which I insist on calling “panties” because it drives each of them absolutely crazy.)

    I also can’t put away a deck of cards without first sorting by suit then organizing in numerical order. I do this because it’s the proper thing to do. I wasn’t raised in a barn, after all.

    • As I said to Molly, all are welcome at our nuthouse, Maura! Isn’t it fun to learn about each other’s little quirks (or mild eccentricities, as Perdi called them)?

      The problem with laundry at our house is knowing whose is whose (three girls with more clothes than they know what to do with)! At least, I know which ones are Devin’s (although I have occasionally put his “panties” in my dad’s pile by mistake)!

      [whispering] I have sorted cards, but I don’t do it every time…


  11. Yikes! I’m a barbarian, I guess. There’s no rhyme or reason to the way I read the paper. But, I do purchase my fruit in odd numbers only…7 apples, never 6…

  12. Oh YES!! I have Fiesta Dishes–they must be loaded in the dishwasher so no two plates of the same color are together. Blue, Orange, Yellow..are you with me? BECAUSE when you unload the dishwasher they will be in the same order on the dish shelf–alternating colors.
    Mr. Scissors always lives in the drawer with Ms. Tape and their children post a notes. Why would it even occur to anyone to put Ms. Tape in another drawer? Mr Scissors is a total cut-up–who do they think would care the children?
    I may be Odd but I like even…wanting to have only one child was a tough one for me.
    And have you noticed how some people don’t even up the egg tray? For Gosh sakes–if eating one egg will leave the tray uneven–eat two—and move eggs up to fill in the empty spaces…
    Sometimes you have to wonder what people are thinking, don’t you??

    • Wow, Katybeth…your egg story reminds me of my inability to leave part of a row when cutting cake or brownies. I need to “even it up,” even if it means “pigging out” (the sacrifices we make for our eccentricities!).

      I think you win the prize for loading the dishwasher…hands down!


  13. OMG! This is too funny. I feel like we’re two peas in a pod. (Notice I said TWO?)

    Every single trait you’ve listed in this post has its twin in me.

    Thanks for giving me a good laugh at myself and for letting me connect with you!

  14. I’m with you on the symmetry thing. The dishwasher loaded incorrectly or books not aligned in proper order makes me more neurotic than normal. Love the post.

    • Hi Diane:

      The idea for it kind of came from you with your post on getting your daughter ready for college…as relaxed as I like to think I am, I do have a few little quirks! Glad you enjoyed it!


  15. Yes, Wendy, this is all very “normal.” Those who can’t keep their newspapers folded, their plates color-coded, and the spices on their racks in strict alphabetical order are the odd ones, indeed.

    Us, odd? Not us. Never.

  16. Oh, and one more thing: who here does not turn lampshades so their seams don’t show?

  17. It’s probably best that you brought up the term, “anal-retentive.” LOL!

    Seriously, I’d probably drive you crazy. I don’t get hung up on those things at all. I have a daughter who does, though. Sometimes she even straightens things on grocery shelves.

  18. I am very definitely a fan of symmetry. Only I like odd numbers. Specifically 3s and bunches of 3s. I like a middle thing the have equal number of stuff on either side.

    When I come across a newspaper that is all out of sorts, I have to set it right before I can even begin to think of reading it myself.

  19. Me, too, Dottie Maggie! I have to put all the sections of the newspaper back in order before I start reading it. I thought I was the only loony who did this. I love the validation of others, lol.

  20. “I will hunt you down.” Is there a smoldering rage beneath the calm and peaceful surface of writerwoman61? Funny stuff, Wendy. Maybe not so funny for the people living under your roof, but funny for us readers.

  21. Pingback: Monday Miscellany… « Herding Cats in Hammond River

  22. This is hysterical, Wendy. The funny thing is, I like symetry too; even though I have lots of stuff, I like it piled neatly! And who would read section 3 before section 1? Barbarians!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s