Friday, August 5, 2011

Anal With A Side Of Barb

 (to “Barb” something: a verb meaning to over-complicate, muddle, or confuse a thing; a noun indicating the over-complicated, muddled, or confused result.)

I’m not anal about everything—my house is clean but not sterile (the same can be said for my kids, my car, and my purse)—but there are some things that trigger instant anality within me, and they all involve organizational skills that in turn trigger a frenzy of irrational Barbings.

Filing and spring-cleaning are two examples that come to mind. The blog is another. Just ask Deb: I am anal about fonts, spacing, ellipses, em-dashes, lower and upper case, timing, and postings. But I’ve also Barbed it so much as to make the postings and pages a mess of embedded rules and regulations. The thought of changing our blog, as much as I would love to try a refreshed look, sends my anal anxieties swirling into virtual orbit. 

But the real test to my anal/Barbing is coming up. My darling hubby has a milestone birthday this year. I won’t reveal it in case he cherishes his privacy (okay, it rhymes with the Shmig Shmive Shmoh), but suffice to say, I got a lotta plannin’ to do.

We can’t have a huge, open-door party as I don’t have the space. But he has lots of family and friends who want to honour him, so I have to finesse a guest list. Not so hard––anal-brain loves making the lists … but did I FORGET SOMEBODY??? Barb-brain devises a series of odd charts and counter charts … and somehow leaves people off one or the other.

I saved my own ass by deciding not to throw a surprise party (my husband says it’s okay, he knows he’s turning 50.) (OOPS, shit!) Anyway, the real truth is my Barb brain would have combusted under the onus of adding “surprise” to the mix. Anal-brain hates that I went the “easy” route on that one; Barb-brain sends me kisses every morning.

When it comes to keeping track of the guest-list, anal-brain copied a friend’s e-vite formula and was able to send out a summons. But this required reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading the copy, never feeling I got it just right. Barb-brain had to pull me away from the computer because anal-brain was weeping and braying that I screwed the whole thing up and that a drugged monkey would’ve done a nicer job!

Barb-brain checks the rsvp list every five minutes, anal-brain makes copious calculations based on Barbed math. The result: I literally have no idea how many people are coming.

And the worst part is: I have to look and sound like a seriously cool cuke or none of this will be fun for anybody. It is SO NOT PRETTY!

Okay, thanks for the shoulder. I’m good now. Just had to vent a bit. Real Barb is back and she is neither anal nor muddled. Just a little spent. Phew.

Deb: I love the Barbing it, the whole concept. It personalizes something we all do to some degree. The thing I love the most when Barb “Barb’s it”, is that it is always with the best intentions. She is on the job trying to solve the problem, trying to find the path of least resistance. The thing is ... she doesn’t. She Barb’s it. And it has given us more laughs over the years than I can say.

Barb: Well, if we are supposed to bring ice cream to the dinner party tonight, why don’t we take a cooler full of ice and I will pick it up on the way to your house and then you can take it from there when I go home to change and bring it to the dinner?

Deb: Or I could just leave a few minutes early and buy the ice cream on my way over.

Barb: I just Barbed it, didn’t I?

Deb: Yes. Yes you did. 


  1. Oh man, I love this. Thanks for providing me with a distraction of avoiding the large suitcase with unpacked clothes that is sitting on my bed (something I am not anal about but should be...everything would probably fit better if I put in more meticulous time and effort) Heading back to the states tomorrow morning; airport people picking me up at 3:30...AM.

    Now that IS something I am anal about...sleep. Thanks for the laugh as always :]

  2. Kelly!! Good sleep and Safe travels!! (PS my daughter still has 2 suitcases of packed clothes in her room, and she got back almost a week ago, sigh)

  3. Barbara, not unpacking is the path of least resistance!

    Leave suitcases packed (except for putting toiletries back in the bathroom).
    Slowly pull the clothes out day by day, outfit by outfit to wear.
    Then, put worn clothes in dirty clothes hamper.
    After laundry, put clothes away.

    This removes the whole extra step of putting the clothes away in the first place. :) lol

    This is what my son always does with his tote bags of clothes brought back from staying at his dad's house. I let this one go. It's not something I care about. I have other, more terrible battles to pick with him about his room. lol

    I will comment on topic later, probably late tonight after work. But, I had to speak up real quick because of the whole suitcase thing because that's perfect timing! lol I'm in the middle of packing my son's suitcase for a 9 day stay at his dad's (he comes home the night before the first day of school), and I've got to go into work earlier than normal this afternoon. It's a crazy busy day. We just got back from my son's school for 7th grade registration. He crosses the parking lot into the "big kids" building at school this year. He's fine with it. I'm struggling! LOL How is it that I'm old enough to have a son in jr. high? And, you know what really freaks me out? I realized yesterday that I am 1 year older than my mother was when I graduated from high school.

    *sigh* I want a box of Milk Duds.

  4. I used to be so anal but around 50 I gave it up and I am so much happier. Parties have been and continue to be non stress for me. I give great parties and I don't stress at all and I don't make a thing. I have the best sources for food etc. I sit back and enjoy and always pay someone to clean up. Never used to but as I turned 50 and am now 63 I do as little as possible. Great story Barb.

  5. sigh-milk duds. Been years.

  6. Oh, Rigel! This made me laugh. And I'm definitely not going in there to run interference! And please don't sigh about age -- try having an almost 21-year-old!!!

    Madge, always the voice of reason. And you'll be proud to hear that I AM getting food and service help on this one. Because I've never done it before, I haven't quite got the sense memory to relax into it yet. But I'm sure that's comin' up!

  7. lol, I so hear you. But the one good thing that comes from lists and obsessive planning is things rarely ever go wrong. My most anxious point of any big get together is when my planning leaves me with several hours on day of said event with nothing to do because I'm possibly too organized. I couldn't stay sitting down if I was tied to a chair, I'll check and double check and triple check every last darn thing.

  8. Good point, Erin! Okay, note to self (also written on list): leave garden clean up for day of party. That should keep you busy for several hours.

  9. I want a box of Milk Duds too!!!! *pout I'm almost done packing though!

  10. *points upward* sb, is that you???

  11. Will write longer letter later, but I have a feeling that "Anonymous" up there headed off to find milk duds.


  12. Here, y'all:

  13. Yeah Rigel!

  14. Okay, well, then know you are saving my anal butt. (um, that doesn't sound weird, does it?)

  15. Great post ladies . It made me laugh.

  16. Yes this was a great post indeed, even though our comments about Milk Duds have no relevance what so ever about the post LOL. aww what the heck, I'm just writing this for the sake of killing time before my plane takes off.

  17. *eagerly awaits hearing from Kelly to know she got home safely*

  18. Ditto, Rigel. Safe trip, Kelly!

  19. BACK IN THE STATES!!!! happy/sad :] and :[

  20. What are milk duds exactly?
    Pardon my ignorance, we don't have them down this side of the world.

  21. Elle - OK, if you click on the link I gave above, there's a pic of the box and the candies. They are big drops of soft caramel coated with chocolate.

    Kelly - I hope you don't have too miserable a time resetting your body clock from the time difference!

    Barbara - You might not want to save your yard chores for the day of the party. What if the weather's bad? You wouldn't be able to get the yard chores done, and then you'd have that nagging at the back of your mind the whole time. Although, hopefully, it would be raining hard enough at arrivals time that everyone would be hurrying inside and not caring about your yard. Then, it would be dark for departures. You might get lucky! lol

  22. Rigel, not to worry, the "yard chores" are only contingent us being outside in good weather (ie, clean the patio furniture, fine-tooth for dog poo, that kind of thing)

  23. Anal-brain here in Boston is following behind you picking up the blades of grass you left behind. Dawn-brain's response is, "Look, do you think people will get here, look at the yard, turn around and leave???" It's all about perspective, and it feels like I'm looking through the wrong end of a kaleidoscope sometimes.

    The argument the two brains have with each other makes me dizzy, and I wonder why *I* can't win the argument at least ONCE in a while.

    That's where the milk duds come in, which I only ever see around Halloween, and then in little tiny snack size boxes. It's probably for the best that way. ;)



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