No, what it seems is that my problem is the need for an escape of some sort. Why do I need an escape, you ask? I have no idea. I'm a freak? Yep. But I figured this out not too long ago when I was in the kitchen cleaning up after a meal. We have a relatively open kitchen, but in the middle of it is a bar (or peninsula, if you want to have a better picture). On one side is the "eat-in" part of the kitchen with a small table and chairs. On the other side, in the "u" shape part of the kitchen, is the kitchen "proper", where the drawers, cupboard, sink and dishwasher are. The sink is at the base of the "u", and the dishwasher is in the peninsula. When the dishwasher door is open, there is about two feet of space between the end of the door and the opposite cupboard. There's about a half a foot of space between the open door and the cupboard under the sink. When the door is open, you cannot open the doors to that cupboard.
So, as I was saying, I was in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner, and my husband was helping me. I was standing at the sink rinsing something off, I believe. My husband came behind me and opened the dishwasher door all the way to empty out the clean dishes that were inside. He stood at the end of the open door, effectively trapping me in the half-a-foot space between the door and the sink. When I turned around and discovered that I could not readily get out of the space, I immediately started to panic. It didn't seem to matter that the space above the open dishwasher door was all open air. It didn't matter that I could have taken one big step, stepped over that door and been out of the space. It didn't matter that I could have just hopped up on the counter of the peninsula, slid to the other side and gotten out. All I felt was, "I'm trapped!!" It was silly, and reactionary, and generally irrational - so un-me-like. I managed to hang on to my wits, not freak out, scream and barrel over my husband, knocking him down, in an attempt to escape. That's what I didn't do - but don't doubt that the thought crossed my mind. What I did do was stand there, breathing heavily, one eye twitching like that of the mad woman resting just below the cool facade, my palms itching to just shove him out of the way, and waited. It was all I could do to just stand there, waiting for him to either finish what he was doing or need to move across the kitchen to put something away. Finally, after
I don't think my husband even knew any of this was happening - especially since the whole event took place beginning to end in the span of about
Another incident also recently confirmed that I'm a weirdo. Yeah, already knew that, you say. Well, now I have proof. Or, more proof, so it seems. It occurred while I was cleaning up after Sweetpea and I had played with one of her "make-it-yourself" toys.
Ok, wait. Let's stop right here on this for a second. Between Christmas 2010 and her birthday in February last year, Sweetpea received as gifts: an Easy Bake Oven, a Dippin' Dots Maker, a Hello Kitty sewing machine, a Make Your Own Lipgloss set, a Marshmallow making set, a Gourmet Girls Cake Making/Decorating set and Shrinky Dinks. (Ok, so the Shrinky Dinks are pretty cool. :) ) This is on top of the Candy Jewelry Factory she received the year before. And, you know, I would say these are all very awesome and at least it's something other than video games or TV or movies. The problem I have is that every one of them involve hands-on, every second, parental involvement. At least, with my child they do. And as much as I love spending time doing activities with Sweetpea, there's only so much I can take of "Mom, I can't figure this out", "Mom, why can't I do it that way?", "Mom, you're doing it wrong", "Mom, you need to turn it this way", "Mom, you didn't read the directions", "Mom, this is NOT how it looks on the box", "Mom, can I eat it yet?", "Mom, I can do it myself", "Mom, you can't go, you have to help me", "Mom, I don't want to do this part", "Mom, you forgot to do that", "Mom....", before I want to jam cotton in my ears, dive under a bed, curl up into the fetal position and never look at another do-it-yourself toy again in my life.
Besides that, every one of these toys requires a box cutter and a set of heavy-duty wire cutters just to get the damn thing out of the box. That doesn't even take into account the tools needed to put these things together. I swear we've had to buy a new set of tools just for the assembly. And let's not forget those times when we've gotten the thing put together, and found a vital piece is "sold separately" or "not included". This generally happens at a time of night when a trip to the store simply is not possible. You try telling a 7 year old who has been asking for weeks to make a mini cake and decorate it that she can't because there aren't any C batteries in the house. It does not go over well.
Once you get these machines put together and actually start making things, the products never turn out like they're "supposed" to, (i.e. they are never perfect like they are in the pictures on the box.) And, I don't think I'll go into how positively disgusting things like "Marshmallow Mix" and "Fondant Powder" smell. Let's just suffice it to say my gag reflex is strong enough that I have yet to even try to taste one of these.
So, reverting back to the topic at hand, I had just finished helping Sweetpea make teddy bear-shaped marshmallows on a plastic stick (that doesn't stay embedded in the marshmallow teddy bears no matter how closely you follow the STUPID directions), and began cleaning up our rather large mess we had made of the kitchen counter(s). I should also note here that, in addition to the aforementioned faults of the do-it-yourself toys, the majority of them are hand-wash only. So knowing my issues with sticking my hands in dishwater, you can see how high up on my favorites list these toys rank. Well, I find that I can handle washing the dishes just in running water, rather than filling the sink with water. (All you environmentalists out there who are about to scream at me over wasted water...BACK OFF. It's my neurosis and I'll deal with it how I choose! *ahem*) So, this is what I did with the marshmallow maker apparatus. This should have worked out great. Instead, one tiny piece of a plastic something or other about the size of a dime, that the machine cannot run without, of course, managed to launch itself off the machine in the running water, evade my frenzied and clumsy grabs for it, and swirl itself right down the drain. Luckily, or unluckily as it were, this was over the side of the sink with the garbage disposal. Meaning that the pesky plastic pet peeve (say THAT three times fast) landed in the disposal instead of traveling down a pipe and disappearing forever. So, what was my natural reaction? I reached my hand down into the disposal to retrieve it.
Now hold on, calm down. What you're thinking happened did NOT happen. This isn't the stuff of Wes Craven or Stephen King, you know. No, nothing like that. The garbage disposal was definitely in the OFF position! So, my hand did not encounter a whirling blade that would chop my fingers off and destroy any chance I've ever had of fulfilling my life-long dream of becoming a professional violin player. Instead, and you can imagine my feelings on this, I was quite disturbed when my hand made contact with remnants from the previous night's dinner. *gag* That's right folks. Whoever cleaned up dinner the night before, and I am certainly not pointing any fingers here, forgot to run the garbage disposable before finishing the clean-up. And I got to encounter the larger-than-necessary, slimy left over chunks of (boneless) pork chop, surrounded by remnants of mushy, clingy stuffing and bits of partially ground up corn kernels that mutated into skin magnets and clung to my hand, while I dug around in the disposal feeling for the
When I finally had scrubbed with soap enough times that my hands felt clean, and the machine was all put back together and put away, hopefully never to see the light of day again, I realized that maybe my dislike of the dirty hands is something just a little bit more. But just a little bit.