So Not in Control

No, I’m not talking about losing your TV remote. For those of us afflicted by GBBPS (Great Big Bossy Pants Syndrome), we feel we have to have control over everything. Oh, we say don’t care if someone who offered to vacuum that day didn’t–but we do. We just smile when someone forgets to pick up the cake for the surprise birthday party, but behind the smile we are gritting our teeth to powder.

I’ll tell you from experience that it’s no easy job holding up every corner of my world. In our house, I’m the one who stays up and makes sure that the porch light is on, the doors and windows are all locked, the stove is off, the computer is shut down, the dishes are put away and the dried-on glup on the kitchen counters is scrubbed off. It’s not that I don’t trust that others (and by others I mean the *Crankee Yankee) will do what they say they will do…ok, yeah–I do mean it. I am also a big second-guesser.

It’s just that I feel I do some things better than anyone else. Especially making the bed, folding the laundry, and making sure that the toilet paper in the bathroom goes under, not over. Trust me, I can name many more activities.

I’ll admit it; I’m looking at OCD in the rear-view mirror. I like having some things in my life predictable. Last night I lazily mentioned to the Crankee Yankee that I would like it if we could paint the living room ceiling (we put up sheetrock seven years ago). He told me that, in order to paint the ceiling he would have to strip the wallpaper off the walls, one wall at a time. WHAAAAAAAAT?!?!

I said, “all that just to paint the ding-dang ceiling?” Of course, that led into a conversation about how things like this should be done. After all, he has been an excellent carpenter all his working life. In my view, just paint the ceiling already and leave the wallpaper as is–even though I hate wallpaper, it’s preferable to stripping it all off, a wall at a time…which means prepping the wall, putting new sheetrock up, priming the wall, then painting the wall.

And of course all furniture will have to be moved and covered while this goes on–ONE WALL AT A TIME. The very last bit? Painting the ceiling!

But that’s how life goes in a house–there is always something that needs doing. I grew up in a pre-fab house, which meant very little needed to be done. Anything major that did need doing was hired out; done and done. After I left home, I lived in different apartments where, if something went sideways, you just called the landlord and he got it fixed…eventually. So I never had the dubious pleasure of living in a partial construction zone.

So a control freak like me is pretty much riding a permanent roller-coaster in our circa 1953 house where there are many things that need to be done, should be done, and “might could” be done. But you know what–that may just be the saving of me and my GBBPS. A very dear friend of mine recently reminded me that facing the hind-end of our comfort zones is where real progress starts.

In the final analysis, there is this–I will probably never stop all my pushiness, but I can certainly dial it back some. In our nearly 13 years together, the Crankee Yankee is much more flexible about changing plans and adjusting his expectations. Then there are the three cats, all with their own agendas. But we all can agree on one thing: we love each other and we are willing to give each other a break.

Control is two thirds illusion anyway.

*My mom informed me recenlty that I can quit putting “(my husband)” after the “Crankee Yankee;” that surely everyone knows by now who he is.

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