My mother and grandmother both live by the mantra “cleanliness is next to godliness” and in response, I had no choice but to become an OCD pack rat. In anticipation of the rituals of Spring cleaning (I need to start early), here’s a list of some of their anal retentive ways:
1. They save all those plastic shopping bags and fold them into origami triangles so that they can be compacted. No jack in the box surprises of plastic baggies flying out of overstuffed drawers.
2. They swab down the mouthpieces of phones with alcohol to kill off any germs. A necessary procedure for households where yelling on the phone is akin to using your normal speaking voice.
3. They keep the plastic on furniture as a prophylactic against further germ spreading. You’d think with all the paranoia about germs in our household, my brother and I would have been the first Asian bubble kids…
4. My grandmother insists on drying dishes by doing a two-step method – first, with a steaming hot towel to wipe off the water and second, with a dry towel to absorb any residual moisture. Somehow, this is her method for ‘spit shine’ dishes.
5. I can barely bring myself to iron a shirt. I’d like to say it’s an act of feminist protest. But, the truth is that I lost any taste for ironing after doing my dad’s shirts for allowance money as a kid. I either dry clean or hang them the instant they’re out of the dryer. My grandmother however, insists on ironing not just shirts but sheets, towels and underwear. Again, it’s the bacteria and the steam for blasting off any microscopic organisms who dare appear under grandma’s watch.
6. Since I was a kid, my grandmother felt it was cleaner for us to be eating from our own dishware and utensils so she would designate specific items for each family member. As a result, we had an eclectic table setting of mismatched dishware, cutlery, and/or chopsticks. I remember thinking this was normal until I visited a non-Chinese classmate’s home and was dazzled by the symmetry of their matching sets of china and silverware.
7. My mother like many Asian mothers, has an extensive shoe collection. To keep track of them all, she has polaroids of her shoes taped on each box so she can identify them on sight. I’ve heard that this method has been employed by some sneaker fetishists who do this to stay on top of their vintage dunks.
8. My grandmother loves clean, crisp bills so much you’d think she was a gangstah or coke fiend.
Any tips on a more anal retentive 2010?