I’m With Bossy: Living with a Perfectionist

I'm with bossy: Living with a Perfectionist

I won’t lie. I’m not the easiest person to live with. Why? Because I like things just so. I’m a perfectionist.

It took many years to get Greg to help me around the house (without me asking). Now he’s a peach. If he sees me hustling to get dinner on, he’ll step up and ask what he can do.

His favorite task is loading the dishwasher. The one I’d rather he do is empty the trash, but I digress. 🙂

It’s probably because he’s right handed and I was wired to be left handed, but we ALWAYS do things opposite each other. While folding a sheet, if I’m at one end and he’s at the other, we always fold in the opposite direction of each other. Always.

Oh, sometimes we anticipate the inevitable and we try to fold in the direction we think the other person will go, but you guessed it, we do that at the same time too, and still end up going opposite each other.

But back to loading the dishwasher. He loads it in the exact opposite direction I do. Silverware is nested on top of each other. Knives with knives, spoons with spoons.

I try to remind him not to sort them by type so they won’t nest together. If they nest, some sides may not get washed.

I have stopped telling him which way I like the dishes loaded though. I just move them without saying anything.

You could say it’s obsessive compulsive on my part, but hand-to-heart there really is a purpose to everything I do. There are hundreds of repetitious things I do every day. After that much practice, it’s inevitable that I’d come up with the most efficient way to do them.

I experiment with everything I do, so when I settle on a system, I don’t like it changed. This sometimes leads to arguments between us. He calls me an obsessive border collie. I call him…well, never mind what I call him.

I’m grateful he helps me out. And he does try to do things the way I like. He probably still doesn’t believe that I do things for a specific purpose, but he indulges me anyway.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who don’t put that much thought into how something should be done, but I do. I don’t like to waste time, and Heaven forbid, I have to do something over, so I think about process carefully until I perfect it.

This is especially useful for animals. Animals are truly creatures of habit. It makes feeding, cleaning, and treating a much less stressful event if you go through certain motions every time.

I find it works equally well with husbands. 🙂

Am I the only obsessive-compulsive out there? Do you and your significant other do tasks differently from one another? Will you redo something if someone else did it “not-quite-right”?  Are you left handed or right handed?


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  1. I think I’m getting better at letting more things go, but you’d have to ask my husband if that’s actually true. 🙂

    I’m right-handed and my husband is left-handed for most things but not all. If I’m making dinner, he’ll sometimes take out the pots, the cutting board, etc for me and the handles are always in the direction he would use them. I just quietly turn them the “right” way. 🙂

    • Madeline: I like when spouses help in the kitchen. Even though I cook ALL the time, it’s my least favorite thing to do so it means a lot when I get help in the kitchen. My favorite thing–is when he clears my counter space.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I’m wired left and my guy is a righty. He always opts for the easiest/least work involved path, while I’m more geared toward intensive and ruthless organization. I have 584 systems, he has none.

    In the pantry I alphabetize the spices and arrange them in rows by size and frequency of use; he puts back what he uses in the nearest available space. I clean, he scatters dust. I’m hyper aware of food quality and safety; he figures if it looks and smells okay it’s fine to eat. Also, he hates to throw out things. I found a box from a coffee maker we burned up like five years ago in the closet. He still wanted to keep it “just in case we needed it”. For what?

    He actually misplaced my egg slicer while putting away the clean dishes, and I didn’t find it for three years (he put it inside a lidded bowl at the very back of the top cabinet shelf, which I can’t see). That’s when I forbade him from putting away dishes. He’s also not permitted to do any laundry but his own; this after washing my daughter’s new red blouse in with the whites, and turning all the towels, t-shirts and lingerie in that load pink.

    In turn I have to stay out of the garage, aka his domain. He says he knows where everything is, but to me it’s sheer chaos. So that I don’t give in to the urge to rearrange and neaten the mess I ask for tools or nails instead of looking for them. I have convinced him to box some of the detrius that he doesn’t use regularly, and got him to pegboard-and-hook the tools we both commonly use. Those are all the inroads I’ve been able to make there, but he needs a space where he can indulge his clutterlove.

    I think it’s a matter of working out territory, and being tolerant of each other’s annoying habits. I don’t fuss in his garage, he stays out of my kitchen. 🙂

    • Lynn: I had to laugh when I read your comment. Do you think our significant others are brothers?

      re: spices/pantry
      I don’t alphabetize but I do put staples in the order that I use them most often and on the most accessible shelves since I’m so short.

      Greg is good with laundry though he did once shrink my favorite sweater to doll size. 😀

      He asked me to help him organize his shop. It took me three solid days but I finally got it organized. It’s a mess again, but at least the traffic areas are clear.

      For the most part I don’t push into his shop and he leaves my studio alone.

  3. Maria, oh Maria!

    Poor Greg, once more into the breach of female versus male processing a task. He can take heart because my Husband and I are also right-handed but we certainly have our differences when it comes to loading a dishwasher or folding a sheet too.

    His Way, My Way and the Right Way (Mine of course, LOL) have caused more minor conflicts in the last 37 years then getting lost because my husband would not ask directions. (That of course was before IPhones and Google Maps came along.)

    Compromise in the name of peace, i.e. waiting till he is outside before re-doing a task myself, has probably helped keep us together.

    And am I OCD, you bet but so is Karl.

    • Jackie: Greg was the same way too about asking directions (pre-Google maps) but after the first time, I’d make him stop and I’d ask for directions. I don’t have a problem looking stupid. I’m so good at it. LOL!

  4. Sounds like me and my hubs. Our biggest agree-to-disagree is that he wants everything out on the counter where you can see everything and I want everything put away under or in the cupboards–where they belong. Seeing everything on top of the counters stresses me out and it looks messy. LOL. I’ve learned to let a lot go–we both have 🙂

  5. Hubby and me do things differently; like how we clean up the dirty dishes. He does them one way and I do them another. I try to get to the sink before he does, but he’s good at getting there first. I do help; he rinses and hands them to me and I put them in the dishwasher. I tend to like to fill up the sink with water and dish soap and pre wash the dishes. I think it wastes less water that way than keeping the water running when he is rinsing them. I’ve learned though to not say much about it and just am glad he is willing to help out 🙂

    We are both right handed 🙂


  6. Angela Brown

    I’m a righty and my daughter is a lefty. It makes for interesting times around our house when I am trying to show her someting that looks right to me but wrong to her because it is the opposite of what she would do.

    Good times lol!!

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