Watermelon Roses

A collection of random thoughts, commentaries, and journaling. There is a lot to explore here, including links to other sites of mine. These are mostly for my own benefit, but guests are welcome to browse and explore as much or as little as they like.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Confessions of Compulsion

An uncontrollable impulse to perform an act, often repetitively, as an unconscious mechanism to avoid unacceptable ideas and desires which, by themselves, arouse anxiety.

Thanks to Oprah and Dr Phil, who often keep me company while I'm nursing the baby during Layth's naptime, I've begun to suspect that I have a compulsive disorder. Actually, I think I suspected as much a long time ago. Now I'm certain I have a compulsive disorder. My struggle with my weight is due to compulsive overeating. My cluttered house is due to compulsive hoarding. I'm sure there are other names for other aspects of my behavior that I have yet to discover.

I've found a lot of resources for obsessive-compulsive disorder, which I don't seem to have, according to the online screening I took. I can't find much of anything on general compulsive disorders, though if I specifically look for compulsive overeating or compulsive hoarding, there is information to be found. I'd love to go check myself into a clinic and fix this, but I'm not willing to leave my children, nor is my husband willing to let me leave my children. I'm considering Overeaters Anonymous, but the thought of sitting around in a circle and saying, "Hi, I'm Nikki, and I'm a compulsive overeater" doesn't appeal to me. I'm skeptical about 12 step programs, although I know they've worked for many people. Maybe I'm scared. I don't think I'm in denial at this point, since I'm pretty convinced I finally know what my problem is.

Having always been fiercely independent, I want to fix this by myself, but I'm at a loss for how to go about it. I read everything I can find. I try everything that makes sense that I can think of. The only thing that has really changed since deciding I was a compulsive overeater/hoarder is that now I'm more aware of what I'm doing when I do it, and I now have a rational excuse for my actions: "It's a disorder ... I can't help it."

I'd love to go see Dr Phil and get his help, if only he could guarantee that no one I've known in the past 25 years would see the show, and K wouldn't be upset. K's intensely private and doesn't want any member of his family on TV, whether airing dirty laundry or competing for a million dollars. So here I am, compulsively staying up way past my bedtime as I so often do, unable to tear myself away from whatever I'm doing that makes me happy, thinking about what snacks there are in the kitchen, thinking about American Idol ...

I confess, I just stopped writing to go read the American Idol boards to see who was voted off last night, since my DVR went crazy halfway through the show and recorded nothing but skippy digital weirdness. Carrie and Bo continue to the finals, as I thought. It doesn't even matter who wins now, because they'll both get contracts and do great. I love them both, but I'm really leaning toward Bo these days.

Anyway ...

Every single night I go to bed with every intention of being perfect tomorrow. Getting up early, going for a morning walk, planning a menu and sticking to it, cleaning more than I usually manage to clean, actually going through some of these compulsively hoarded boxes. Every Sunday night, I look forward to Monday, because it's not only a new day, but a whole new week. Not only is there a clean section on the slate, but a whole clean slate! It's very exciting and inspiring for me. Obviously, I have yet to master the perfection I long for, but I'm not giving up yet. There's always tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Revenge of the karma ghosts.

Personally, I'm still undecided whether or not karma really exists, but if it does, I apparently had quite a debt in bad karma that got paid back over the weekend. Before reading more, have a look at 'Karma Ghost', which was sent to me by a dear friend years ago. I've never forgotten it, and still think of it when things like this happen.

On Saturday, I woke up to find that K had gone to the store for me before going to work, and had even put the groceries away. You'd think that would be a good thing, right? Well, it was, except for the fact that he didn't realize that dropping the milk had caused a leak which proceeded to flood the refrigerator, splattering every shelf, dripping into every drawer. I literally had to take every single thing out of the refrigerator to clean it. I also had to clean all those things I took out, except for the cranberry sauce left over from Thanksgiving that I found in the back and promptly threw away. Being me, once I started, I couldn't stop until everything was perfect, which took approximately four hours. Granted, I was interrupted by the needs of the children, which slowed me down a bit. Since I'm not allowed to keep the air conditioner at my comfort level (which is about 68°) I was miserably hot and in need of a cool shower by the time I finished cleaning. I rushed through my shower, because we were finally going to pick up K's car from the service center.

The service center closes at 5pm on Saturday, and at 5pm, we were stuck in traffic on I-75, still trying to get to the service center. K was trying to get through to a cashier to pay by credit card so they could leave the keys at the sales center for him, but he kept getting voice mail. We had planned to go to the cemetery to leave flowers for Mina and Layla and to clean the grave markers afterward, so when 5pm came and went with nothing but voice mail on the other end of the phone, I decided there was no point in going all the way there for nothing, so I took the exit for the cemetery. Almost immediately, K was connected to the cashier who said she'd gladly take his payment over the phone, and please just get there quickly. Half a mile to the crossover so I can turn around, half a mile to the wrong ramp that I took, three miles past construction to the next crossover to turn around again ... in short, because I gave up 10 seconds too soon, we were nearly 30 minutes late getting to the service center.

By the time K got the car, it was too late to go to the cemetery, so we went to dinner at Carrabba's, which I'd been craving for weeks. I was so relieved that the stress was over and that I could relax over dinner. Well, as relaxed as one can be with a crying infant and a two-year-old poking holes with his straw in every styrofoam cup he's brought (thereby flooding the table) and trying to escape under the table while waiting for the next styrofoam cup. As soon as I finished eating, I escaped to the car and nursed the baby, leaving K to handle Layth and pay the bill.

Finally it was time to head home. I started out leading, as I usually do, but once K has his bearings, he tends to pass me and get home first, so I wasn't concerned when I realized he wasn't behind me. When I got home and he wasn't here yet, I wondered where he was, but still wasn't concerned. When K called home, left a message telling me to call him, and hung up before I could get to the phone, I was a tad annoyed, but still not concerned. I tried calling him on my cell phone, which refused to connect, so I had to reboot it to get a better signal and try again. It turned out that he'd been trying to call me for about 45 minutes. I should point out that Carrabba's is in North Dallas, at least an hour from our house. I could tell something had happened from the tone of his voice, and I was dreading the news that he'd had another accident. No accident, but about 10 miles from the restaurant, his 'check engine' light came on and steam started coming from under the hood. Not being mechanically inclined and not wanting to take chances, he had called AAA to tow him back to the service center and needed me to come back and get him.

This was not his fault, and I was very frustrated with the service center and the cell phone company. There was no good reason for my phone not to be receiving his calls, and had he gotten through, I wouldn't have been so far away. As for the service center, they'd had his car nearly three weeks before returning it to us, and it still wasn't drivable? And what if it was something as simple as forgetting to fill the radiator? By this time, I was just starting to think that surely nothing else could go wrong, but as I was thinking that, I got stuck in traffic on the way back to K. Rush hour was long past now, so this was unexpected traffic, and as I made my way around the problem, I was alarmed to see that it was two cars stopped in the left lane on a section of highway that had no shoulder, with no flares or warnings, and two people between the cars, trying to change a tire. I had a desperately bad feeling about that, and called 911. All operators were busy. More bad karma, I wondered? I hung up, telling myself that dozens of drivers must be calling about this very problem. A few seconds later, a 911 operator called back, and I told her about my concerns. She said she'd notify the police.

I finally got to K, and was looking to see if the two cars had safely gone on their way as we headed home. Instead, I saw backed up traffic and no fewer than half a dozen emergency vehicles. I could only assume the worst. I was very down about that, and finally crawled into bed with a migraine.

I had a bit of a karma hiatus on Sunday. Perhaps the karma ghosts don't work on Sundays. On Monday, the morning was fine, but once K got home, everything was hectic. He came home early so we could go get his car, but they told us it wouldn't be ready until 5:30pm in Dallas. While all this is going on, we're also rushing to get passports for Maya and Justin before our summer trip to Europe, so I raced to the passport office which closes at 4pm to pick up applications. I got there right at 4pm, and just managed to get the applications before they locked up. Why not print them out online, you might ask? Because K mentioned that our black ink was running out, and the passport agency wouldn't accept anything less than a clear printout. We already had Maya's passport photos, and I checked to be sure I knew where her birth certificate was.

There was a passport acceptance facility open late in Dallas, so we planned to turn in her application while we were there picking up the car. This in itself was crazy, because I was supposed to be in south Fort Worth at 6:30pm to pick up my son from driver's ed and take him to get his passport photos. From Dallas to south Fort Worth would take at least 45 minutes with no traffic. At 6:30pm, we had K's car, and were standing in line at the passport acceptance facility in Dallas. As a matter of fact, we had been standing in line for 20 minutes while I fretted about leaving Justin waiting for me in Fort Worth and feeling like a bad mother. It was finally our turn, and I was so pleased with myself for having everything filled out and being prepared until she asked for the birth certificate ... which was still in the filing cabinet at home, right where I left it after making sure I knew where it was. Argh! So all that rushing and waiting and leaving Justin for nothing!

So I rushed more to get to Justin, who had been sitting on the sidewalk patiently reading "The Hunt for Red October" for an hour by the time I got there. Also, by the time I got there, there was less than half an hour before the passport photo place (Sears, in this instance) closed. So more rushing, hunting through Sears for the portrait studio, and waiting for someone to come help us at the counter, only to be told very casually, "Oh, our camera isn't working right now."

She suggested we try The Picture People since it was right there in the mall. Rather than run there for nothing when I needed to be sure to find a place that would take the pictures, I used 411 to call them on my cell phone. One aggravating fact about 411 is that although it dials the number for you, it gives you no record of the number in case the line is busy or cut off, so if you don't have a pen and paper handy, you're paying a dollar for nothing. And of course, my connection dropped me as soon as it gave me the number. The karma ghost knew I had no pen and paper, but HA! I memorized the number, knowing full well that the karma ghosts were after me. Take that, karma ghost! Yes, I was a little delirious by now. We made it to The Picture People, got his photos taken, and were told they would be ready in the morning. What! No instant photos? I had to come back? *sigh*

I resigned myself to coming back, called Justin's stepmother to be sure she knew it was my fault and not his that he was coming home late, and prided myself on remembering to take a lot of deep breaths and keep a sense of humor while the karma ghosts were after me. On the drive home, I wondered as I refused to let a driver cut in front of me how I managed to pick up so many karma ghosts. I wondered as I drove past a homeless person without stopping how I could reverse this bad fortune. Eventually it dawned on me that being less cranky and more generous would be a good start, and so far, so good. Both passport applications were successfully submitted yesterday with a minimum of stress and not a karma ghost in sight.

Stay away, karma ghosts! I'm being a good girl!