On Friday my husband and I had one of our weird arguments about whether or not French fries can be referred to as “chips”. My point was that we are not in England, Governor, and they are French fries. The kids tended to agree with me – they aren’t potato chips, DAD – but then my husband counterpointed with “fish and chips”. This led, sadly, to my rendition of the song Fish and Chips and Vinegar, Vinegar, Vinegar…until the kids stopped me by saying they had learned that song at school. Me too, I told them, excitedly. “Wow,” Mark said, “That really shows that throughout the ages music class has been lame.”

THROUGHOUT THE AGES. On a separate, but related note, I was telling my kids an anecdote about a broken phone. And in those days, phones had CORDS and they were attached to the WALL, so it was kind of a big deal. Liver spot are breaking out on my hands as we speak. The kids are always so enthralled with my “back in MY day” stories, television shows that could not be rewound or paused, ten hour road trips during which we kids silently stared out of the window wearing our tape-cassette Walkmans because there was nothing else to do, phones with cords that were plugged into the wall.

At my in-laws’ house there is a non-working rotary dial phone that is semi-fascinating to them. This is how people phoned each other in the olden days. They had to DIAL. There was no texting. My parents only recently got rid of their heavy, flesh-coloured, touch-tone phone, and the only reason they got rid of it was because my dad dropped it on the floor and it broke. I had good memories of that flesh-coloured phone. Remember taking the 15 foot cord in the other room to talk to your girlfriends for two hours? During a conversation about KIDS THESE DAYS AND THEIR TEXTING, a friend mentioned that we, as teens, were probably just as bad, but instead of texting we would tie up our phone lines for hours. I do remember getting “grounded from using the phone”, and instead resorting to writing my girlfriends six-page notes, because if we didn’t talk for two hours a night, we would miss important updates like “He’s cute but his hair is weird.” and “Do my new Benetton pants make me look fat?” and “Do you think Miss Herget makes her own clothes?” Also “Tom Hooper is so hot, I’m totally going to marry him one day.”

Ah, the fires of youth. I am feeling, lately, like I’m a rigid old lady, like I’m two steps from the Home and wearing slacks with floral blouses. For one thing, I am holding on a little too tightly to old-school style rules, especially the one about matching your shoes to your purse. My shoes will always match my purse, the end. I cannot fathom life without matching my shoes to my purse, even if I see other people with brightly coloured handbags and differently-coloured shoes and I think, hey, that looks great. Apparently I cannot incorporate such flamboyancy into my own lifestyle and I may as well go straight to pumps and a giant matching purse that will hold a change purse, a roll of mints, and a whole lot of Kleenex.

Less old-lady-like, but just as quirkily rigid, is my underwear rule: my bras and panties must match, every day, or the world will end. You know how your mother always told you to have nice panties on in case of an accident? Well, just this second it occurs to me what a weird thing that is to say. I’m pretty sure the ER doctors are not going to be upset if you have old faded panties that say “Hot Stuff” on them, or “Wednesday” panties on a Friday. Or are they? Maybe it’s a thing – if any ER doctors are reading this, I am going to pose the question: do you look askance at non-nice underwear?

Back to the original point, which was the matching. I have this thing where I have to match my bra and panties: if, in the middle of the day I change my shirt to a light coloured one that necessitates a light coloured bra, I will actually change my panties so that they match the bra. Even if the day is half over. Even if no one else is going to see those panties. Even if I am aware that I am completely crazy. I am like Joan Crawford, but with matching underwear instead of wire hangers. NO NUDE BRAS WITH BLACK PANTIES!!!!!

Other reasons it’s fun to live with me: I set out my clothing the night before and I do not deviate from that pre-arranged outfit, ever, I write down every daily job I have on a to-do list in an old-fashioned agenda, and if I do a job that wasn’t on the list I write it down just to check it off, and I have a strange need to write long, complicated packing lists even if I’m only packing for one night away and I always pack exactly the same things anyway (Shampoo! Toothpaste! Makeup bag!).

Well, we all have our little quirks, I suppose. Would you like to share yours? xo


  1. I was nodding along sagely with everything until I hit the whole “changing panties mid-day for the coordination of lingerie” thing and then… yeah. No. Sorry. I can survive with non-matching underthings.

    Now, in terms of quirks, I have so many, where to begin? I do enjoy making lists. Oh, here’s one – I am BEYOND fussy about how cashiers at the grocery store pack the bags. I unload everything from the cart onto the conveyor belt in exactly the order I want things packed, so that tomatoes, eggs, bread, and fruit are all packed in bags not with, say, cans or bags of milk. Woe betide you if you handle my produce too roughly or squish things together in weird ways.

    On Saturday there were navy cadets putting groceries into carts as a fundraiser. As I watched a ten year old girl PRESS A BAG OF BREAD DOWN SO IT WOULD FIT BETTER I just about lost my mind. Internally. Externally I just said “here is a donation. I’ll handle it. There are a lot of groceries!” while smiling manically.

    It’s possible that I am a little too rigid about some things.

    (Oh, and the back-in-my-day story that blows my kids’ minds? Tell them about video games with no save points, so that if you wanted to beat, say, Super Mario Bros., you had to play THE WHOLE ENTIRE THING in one sitting.

    • OMG Hannah me tooooooo. I unload groceries in a super-specific order. All the produce must be together, all the bread products, canned goods and milk, etc. If not WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN.

      • Happy geek says

        You both CRACK ME UP. I unload my cart willy nilly and my kids put the grocery in the bags.
        But as for quirks? Well, the list is as long as the day.
        My quirks are just different than yours. 🙂 I don’t think my bra and pants have EVER matched.
        But I like shoot em up movies, can’t parallel park, hate shoe shopping, am terrified of fire, and love being barefoot. Even at work. (but I don’t anymore)

        • Your KIDS pack the GROCERIES???

          I think I just died. I don’t even like them putting things in the cart unless they are following my system – cans at the far end, produce near the handle, heavy items underneath…

          I may need therapy.

          • You and me both – I cannot stand to have the grocery clerks pack my groceries now. It’s a sickness (but one that always results in perfect bread and produce at home!).

  2. You ALL crack me up. Nicole, I cannot read the word panties any more. You have used it ALL the times. I wear matching bras and knickers approximately three times a decade. I feel oddly posh/racy in matching sets and expect to be taken out. This does not happen.

    Shopping packing. Fresh stuff must go together. Boxes must go together. Tins in one bag. Non edibles in another.
    I’ve done bag packing to raise money. What a back breaking seven hours of HELL. I enjoyed the first hour or so, nosying at what other people were buying and packing shopping perfectly. But when I spent ages organising and packing and smiling til my face ached and didn’t even get a thank you I admit to doing some shopping sabotage. I committed such heinous crimes as putting bananas at the bottom. Putting tins on top of bread etc! Oh I was giddy with the power!!

    My ‘thing I won’t be budged on’ is pegging out towels. They have to be by the corners. Not slightly draped over. Socks are pegged by the cuff not the toe. Trousers are by the waist, not the legs.

    Love From a fellow old lady who is actually older than you, Rachel xxx

    • Michael’s aunt is very particularly about hanging out wash (pegging out? I love that!) and when we were at her cottage last summer and she saw me hanging out clothes my way – WHICH IS THE RIGHT WAY – she just about had a stroke and yanked the basket right out of my hands.

    • Right after I wrote this I broke a nail and then I filed down all my others so they would be all the same length.

  3. I have been known to stand in my upstairs room and smugly look at my correctly pegged out washing and scornfully laugh at the state of my neighbours lines on either side. Also, because my HG works with wood, my clothes prop – painted blue to match my fence – is the tallest in the land. Thus propelling my perfectly pegged washing into the stratosphere, where it dries faster on account of being nearer the sun!!

  4. Working at Co-op for 4 years while in University makes it nearly impossible to grocery shop without a insane urge to SHOVE the packers out of the way and do it myself. I will choose a till WITHOUT a packer so I can have a better chance of this. I have found myself saying -“Oh really it’s ok – some of these are for someone else so I would rather pack them myself…” NO THEY AREN’T.

    In completely unrelated times I sometimes think “Wouldn’t it be great if I had STAFF who could make me my juice, chop my onions, make my bed etc do my laundry etc.. But in reality, NO IT WOULDN”T. I WOULD DIE. I am control freak.

    HOWEVER in the case of underthings… they rarely match and Nicole SOMETIMES I DON’T EVEN WEAR ANY. God I’m such a free spirit. Boho even. Yep that’s me.

    • YOU ARE A FREE SPIRIT. I’m as much a free spirit as Betty Draper, apparently. Anyhoo, oncein a while I think it would be nice to have a cleaning lady/ personal chef/ staff to cater to me, but I realize such staff would quit because I MUST DO IT MY WAY.

  5. I am also an incessant list writer because I honestly will not remember things if they are not listed, but I also admit that w/r/t doing something at work, if it wasn’t on my to do list and I did it, I will write in on there just to cross it off. I realize that’s nuts, but cannot help myself.

    Related: I have shopped at the same grocery store for a decade and so when I make the grocery list (on my phone) I put everything in order of the aisle I will find it in starting from the produce side and ending up at the bread aisle. I add things to the list throughout the week as I realize we need them and then reorganize the list so it’s in the correct aisle order. If they ever remodel, I’m going to have a rough couple of weeks…

    Changing subjects, my husband’s family has a cabin in the woods, literally. We go there every Summer for a week and the kids experience mind-blowing events such as: (1) no internet, (2) no TV (or ability to get TV signals or cable or dish), (3) no cell service, (4) a rotary dial phone is the only means of communication with the outside world. Oldest is old enough to get it now, but when he was younger he did not understand and Youngest is too young to understand that no, we can’t watch Netflix or YouTube or play internet based games. We can’t make calls or text from wherever we are in the woods. They feel I must have lived during the last ice age when I mention that other than the absence of the TV, this is exactly how I grew up. The horror.

  6. I’m not even sure I’m worthy to hang out with you at Blissdom now – I’ll just be looking at you envying your fancy matching bra and panties that I can’t even see. Once I was lingerie shopping with a couple of girlfriends, and I heard two of them in the next changing room. One said “I think my bra and underwear only matched at my wedding.” A moment later she volunteered that all her bras were beige. The other friend said drily, “your husband is a lucky man.”

    There is NOTHING WEIRD about not wanting your bread to get squished!

    I go into the kids’ bathrooms and straighten the towels every time I walk by it. When my BFF is here every summer she helps with all the household chores, which is great, except when she tries to help me fold the laundry STOP, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

    I have a vat of mints in my purse, which never matches my shoes, because it’s green, and green shoes would be weird.

  7. I have a great many t-shirts, several dozen, and I stack them on the closet shelf by color, and then wear them in approximately the order they are stacked, with slight deviations allowed for mood. For instance I am wearing a white one today. It was the last one from the black/gray/white pile. I would have felt okay skipping it and going into the next pile (purple/red), but not two piles over (blue/green) and yes, the colors are in rainbow order.

  8. smothermother says

    Hello OCD!

    I don’t do the matching bra and panties or the shoes and bags. i’m too cheapo to spend the money on it.

    but i absolutely MUST write a packing list. how the hell do you not forget half of the stuff to pack if you don’t think about it for days before hand and write it all down/ in categories? to be all checked off before you are allowed to leave the house? it’s impossible.


  1. […] I think I’m really losing it, I turn to the lovely people of the internet. I pretty much adore you all, you t-shirt piling, grocery bag packing, towel straightening, list […]

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