Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What (OCD) Teachers Do in Their Spare Time

I am a to-do-list maker. I love planners and organizing. I just love love love when things look nice and when everything has a place. So, it should come as no surprise that in general my life refuses to follow my OCD-nature. Instead, my life tends to be the epitome of chaos and craziness.

This past Saturday, I flew home to Chicago to attend my grandmother's funeral. She is my mom's mom, and she was 90, nearly 91, so it's not as though this came out of the blue. I currently am staying at my aunt (my mom's sister) and my uncle's house with both of them and my two younger cousins. I decided to take the entire week off since fortunately it's a "perk" of my teacher's contract (to get 5 days of bereavement), especially since I am the only member of my immediate family here. My brother is currently in Germany singing up a storm and couldn't fly home, and my dad stayed at home in Florida since my mom has Alzheimer's and could not travel (can you sense some of the craziness that has happened in the past?), and he takes care of her.

So here I am the family "rep," if you will, for the week. I love being home, especially since it's been over year since I've been back to Chicago, and I have been able to spend time with my aunt, uncle, and cousins, all of whom are super important to me.

When I asked my aunt what I could help with this week, I knew a huge part of it would just be being around to help with whatever and especially to spend time with my cousins. My mom is my aunt's older sister, and so I am always amazed at how strong my aunt is. She handles not having her older sister around for advice and normal sister-ness amazingly, but I feel like this is especially a time where this would be difficult. At the funeral yesterday I realized that my aunt has now lost both her parents, and while my mom is still alive, she does not know who anyone is, and so my aunt no longer has her sister around either. Anyway, I digress, but at the same time, I want to make it quite clear how PHENOMENAL my aunt is.

In addition to just "being" here, I figured I should actually try to do something that would have an impact beyond this week. My aunt and uncle both work full-time, and their daughters are quite the busy bees.

So, the OCD teacher in me set out to clean out, to organize, and to label my aunt's pantry. While I did leave all my teacherly-organizing materials back in Cali, I still was able to move some things around and make it look quite different!

Before:


I didn't think of taking pictures until after I started to move some things out of the pantry. I'm still getting used to remembering to take photos!




After: 


Post-it labels? Check.
Expiration dates on all foods? Checked.
Possible future job as an organizer? Check.
On the bright side, I won't be pursuing a new career path just yet--my pink slip was rescinded yesterday! Thank goodness for some day-brightening news!

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