I often get the feeling that people in my life don’t exactly understand why I am the way I am or why I do the things I do, particularly the men I’ve chosen to spend my life with over the years. I admit I can be a tough nut to crack, but there is one character flaw that I am 100% sure of the origins.
One thing I can’t stand is to leave something broken. For example, if the sink springs a leak, I will hire someone to come fix that sink the very next day. I will have it fixed whether I can afford it, whether it is something that could be temporarily dealt with, and whether the repair will be more of a pain in the ass than leaving it broken. It tends to drive people crazy. I’ll be all yelling and nuts about getting it fixed. I will stress and cry about it. Even I admit that it is ridiculous at times and I seem like a perfectionist lunatic, but there is a reason behind the madness.
You see, I grew up in a house with a giant hole in the ceiling. A. Giant. Hole. In. The. Ceiling. When I was approximately two years old, a bad storm blew several shingles off of the roof, caused a leak, and eventually the plaster fell off in a huge chunk. Did my parents fix this hole? Nope. They just left it…for 18 years. As a kid, the giant leaky hole seemed totally normal until I’d have a friend over. The friend would eventually ask “Why is there a giant hole in your ceiling?” and I’d have to make up some story about how my parents were just too busy to fix it or how we liked getting the fresh air indoors. In reality, I have no idea why they wouldn’t fix the hole. It got to the point where we didn’t really notice the hole and I think my parents just forgot about it until it would start to rain.
On rainy days, we’d have to gather up buckets and pans to put under the leak and even had several specifically designated for this purpose. I got very accustomed to falling asleep to the sound of dripping water. My brother and I would sometimes splash it at each other like it was our own personal in-home sprinkler. More than once, I slipped on the water and fell down the stairs. But, for the most part, the hole was just embarrassing.
During my teenage years, I’d beg them to fix it. I’d have stupid teenage girl tantrums about the hole. I’d cuss and sneer at my parents for not fixing the damn thing and declare that we were living in utter squalor. My Father would generally reply with “That damn hole ain’t hurting nothing, Hun. You just need to learn to deal with it.” And I dealt with it until I turned 18 and left for college.
Now, I am a parent. I cannot bear the thought of my children being embarrassed to bring their friends to our home. For there to be a leak or a stain or something so awful that they find ways to avoid ever bringing anyone here. If they are embarrassed because I host nightly kitchen dance parties while preparing dinner or because I refer to all of them a Puddin’ Pop on a daily basis, so be it. But, I won’t have them making up stories and being mortified about why I haven’t bothered to fix some broken shit.
When I was 20, I was home from college helping my parents prepare to move out of my childhood home. And, wouldn’t you know it, they hired someone to fix the damn leaky ceiling. Why? Because, according to my father, “You’d have to be a crazy person to live in a house with a giant leaky hole in the ceiling.” And, it’s shit like that that has made me the neurotic nutball I am today.