Without going through the gritty details of my day dealing with Chicago Public School bureaucracy last week, I had my youngest son secure recommendations for services going into preschool next year. Joey is an energetic, bright, and stubborn 3-year old who is a 4th generation obsessive-compulsive. Despite my assertions to my husband that my side of the family is perfect in every way and any less-than-perfect traits are clearly inherited from his side, the opposite is in fact true. Oh the long line of nutties that line my family tree, but for the PC crowd, I'll just describe them as "eccentric."
First comes my great-grandmother who came to this country from Lithuania at 16, promptly married, had 3 boys, ditched her husband and made a secure life for herself through property and gambling. I remember going to her 2-flat as a young child. She was renting one of her units to a family and she lived on the 2nd floor with a young, hot guy that was only referred to as her "roommate" (granny was around 90 at the time).
Her son, my grandfather, was a tough son-of-a-gun who survived a horrific car crash, heart attack, and point blank shooting (6 bullets). He had a great laugh and outgoing nature - wonderful tools to hide his own OCD. The only thing that could kill him was a visit with my family (he died on the car ride back to Florida).
I had no idea my father was eccentric until I grew up and got to understand "normal" dads (like my husband's, who went to football games and coached boxing). My dad is a former policeman, retired federal agent, and first class nut who labels everything he owns, re-uses bread bags for food storage, and has the same clothes he wore in a picture from 1970 holding my now 41-year-old brother. My dad would ride past our high school in his government-issued car and use the speaker system to shout out "Marianne...it's your FATHER...are you wearing clean underwear today???" Nothing like a little public humiliation to keep your teenage children in check.
And now me. Highly aware of the family history of "questionables," I have sought consciously to end the cycle by marrying a very normal man and working daily on my own OCD behavior. Two of my siblings cannot sleep at night if their vacuum lines aren't perfect. In an an effort to introduce immersion therapy to my OCD-inflicted siblings, I have instructed my 3 boys to promptly lay down on their floors and make "carpet angels" upon arrival. It makes my older brother twitch, and my sister has since opted for hardwood floors to thwart me.
Still, I have some issues. I cannot pay full price for anything. I will spend hours looking for coupons to try to secure the best deals. When I worked in business and was told to buy "nice" golf shirts and bags for corporate events, I would get physically sick. $75 for a shirt? I tried to talk the CEO into Target-variety golf shirts. It didn't fly. While others control their universe by order and neatness, I control mine with coupon codes and frequent buyer cards. Nobody can compliment me on an outfit or pair of shoes with getting the price, "Oh, these boots? $12 online at Sears with free shipping. Thank you."
Which leads me back to Joey. Joey will wake up several times in the middle of the night to rearrange toys and gets upset if I leave a cabinet door open or dirty dish on the counter. He organizes his toys by color and thanks me every time I clean his room. My brother watched Joey scramble around once picking up everything off the floor and commented, "that kid should belong to me - you're a slob."
So in an attempt to alleviate Joey of the stress that OCD can bring on someone, we'll hopefully secure some behavioral therapies to rid him of his DNA legacy. If not, I'm going to have the cleanest house in Chicago. And save money on a cleaning lady!