Posted by: Hannah | 07/05/2013

none of this was a surprise

Yesterday Nicole wrote a very funny post about those traits or quirks of hers that drive her husband crazy.

I’m not sure what possessed her to give us all such a naked look at her foibles, except that they are all adorable, and in several cases practical, too. (Is it really a “quirk” if you’re an obsessive planner who keeps track of things? I like to think of being highly-organized as a skill to be prized. )

She challenged her readers to also take a look at what makes our partners want to just quietly smother us with a pillow some nights, so without further ado, here is my best guess as to my own particular Charming & Delightful Personality Quirks That Help Keep Michael’s Life Interesting.

I refuse to take care of myself when I’m sick.

I have no problem admitting that I’m unwell. I’m prone to migraines. Since I stopped taking hormonal birth control I’ve been getting wicked, painful cramps once a month. I will tell people that I’m sick. But that’s as far as it goes, often. I won’t always take medication when a headache starts because I’m secretly terrified that this time the Advil won’t work (and sometimes it doesn’t)… if I just don’t take it, reasons my poor stupid aching brain, then the possibility of relief is still out there. The potential of the headache lifting will often be so strong that I’m afraid to take anything, in case it doesn’t lift – because once I take meds and they don’t work, I’m reduced to a depressed puddle of pain and weeping.

When I don’t have a headache, I recognize that this is totally irrational; upon hearing me say “oh, I’m getting a thumper of a headache right now” Michael’s first response is always “have you taken anything for it yet?” because he knows that I probably haven’t.

I almost always refuse to go to bed when I’m tired.

This is getting better, because I’m just that exhausted from 18 months of getting up at 5:30AM (on a good day) – but on weekends, he will often say “hey, maybe when George goes for his nap you should too” and I will immediately come up with a dozen reasons why I can’t. These are usually good reasons; things like “I have to do laundry or the children will be nude tomorrow” or “if I don’t clean that bathroom we are all going to get typhoid”. It drives him crazy though, because like most dads, if he’s tired, he goes and takes a nap. End of story.

I need to have things arranged a certain way.

I have very mild OCD. (No, I really do. When I was a little kid I got taken to a therapist for it, and everything. It’s not debilitating, but when my stress / anxiety levels are not managed well I start having Little Issues.) I know for a fact that  if furniture or wall art are not arranged in symmetrical ways, that it will bother me whenever things are not going well for me – so I avoid the problem altogether by making sure the dressers in our room are on either side of the bed, the same distance from the wall. Or that the decorative items on top of the living room fireplace are spread out the way I like them. Or that all the pictures are hung straight.

Michael would much rather have things where they are practical or useful for him, and since this often means they aren’t symmetrical I always get my own way, but I know it annoys him.

I get nervous when I’m driving if he’s a passenger, and I make stupid mistakes because of it.

I used to think I was a good driver. Now I think I’m only a fair driver, and it’s mostly because whenever Michael is in the passenger seat, I have a tendency to make stupid mistakes.

I learned to drive in the country, and even though I’ve been living in or near the city for half my life I’m still not comfortable driving in city traffic, unless I’m alone. I’m just more relaxed when I’m driving alone. Michael has been driving in all kinds of traffic since he first got his license, including to Ontario when he was just a teenager, and I’m intimidated by his more relevant driving experience.

It’s stupid! It’s irrational! It means I always make him drive when we do our Saturday morning errands!

I am a worrier.

Or, as I call it, “a planner to try and take care of every possible eventuality before it happens”. Like Nicole, I fret mightily when planning for trips. In my defense and I’m sure Michael would agree, I am the one who is responsible for remembering to bring sippy cups, health cards, and any medications the kids might need. Still, as the date for departure draws nearer, I get more and more agitated, and make endless lists, and fret a lot.

Hand-in-hand with the worrying careful awesome planning is my ability to talk  myself out of things that I will enjoy. I’ve been talking about going to Blissdom for TWO YEARS. The day I finally booked my ticket, I fretted, talked, went back and forth, cried a little bit, nearly threw up, and made Michael hold my hand when the time came to click the “confirm purchase” button. All of this while talking online with not one but two friends about whether or not it was the right decision. And this after pinning down a third friend at a party and quizzing her mercilessly about the pros and cons.

Sometimes, all of that worrying careful awesome planning is just too exhausting to contemplate, so I’ll say something like “oh, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it” or “I’m sure there’s something else I could be doing with that time / money / effort that I’d like even more“… and then I do nothing.


See, I knew I shouldn’t have written this damn thing during Shark Week. Now I’m sad. I sound CRAZY. Michael, I know you’re reading this. Be gentle.



  1. You are in fact crazy… From time to time. It happens.
    You also forgot to mention your occasional need to shout a version of “Fuck off and let me be irrational!”. But that’s also cool, because thankfully, those moments pass.
    Meh, I love you anyway. Because of and/or in spite of – the crazy. Makes things interesting.

    Oh, and you know where I (aka the guy) asks “Hey, are you alright?” and you (aka the woman) says “I’m fine.”. Only, here is the crazy part, you are not fine, and you are extra upset that I am not telepathically able to determine the cause of said “not fine”. Well Hannah, You are Awesome because you totally stopped doing this. Thanks! 🙂

  2. You don’t sound crazy to me! Although, you really SHOULD go to bed when you’re tired. It’s hard though – so many things to do. I have mild OCD too, certain things make me absolutely crazy. I have to arrange piles of books and clutter makes me nearly insane. I have to go through the boys’ school work that they brought home to see what I’m going to save, and I put it in a big pile on top of the hutch, knowing that it would motivate me to go through it because eeeeeee it’s just SITTING THERE on TOP OF THE HUTCH. Anyhoo, I had one more comment, what was it…oh yeah! Blissdom! I fretted about it too…who will take care of the kids? Who will take them to karate? WILL MR BE ABLE TO PACK A LUNCH FOR THEM OMG NO HE WON’T AHHHHHHH. But honestly, it will be fine, we are going to have fun, and we will be much missed and very appreciated!

  3. Jaysus. You’re a lot like I am.

  4. PH just can’t be BOTHERED to take meds when he’s sick and it drives me crazy. I’m firmly of the belief that you can avail yourself of the relief provided by otc medications and complain when you continue to feel miserable, or refuse to take meds and suck it up. Kind of like the “if you didn’t vote you don’t get to complain about the government” argument.

    But I totally do get anxious when PH is in the car and make more mistakes. I’m a much better driver when I’m all alone.

    And as I THINK you know, I worry a bit. Occasionally.

  5. TOTALLY with you on everything except the sick thing, but I understand your reasoning intellectually and it doesn’t drive me nearly as crazy as other reasons people don’t medicate. I’m kind of afraid to do this one – I’m afraid it will result in my granting my husband a unilateral uncontested divorce on the grounds that no reasonable man should be expected to live with me.

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