When Jackie and I shared a bedroom from adolescence through our teen years, I was the sloppy half.
Each morning there was my older sister diligently making her bed with military precision. She would pull the chenille bedspread tight enough to pop quarters on it when I wasn’t looking.
In response to her neurotic neatness, I exploded my side of the room. It wasn’t that I wanted to be a slob, I have always had an innate tidiness about me. My Barbie dolls had colorized boxes that their clothes were stored in. My underwear and sock drawers were neat. So it wasn’t that I threw things willy-nilly because I didn’t care about them. No, my nefarious reason for creating a pig sty on my side of the road was simply that I would do anything to make Jackie nuts.
Ever the instigator, the more orderly she became and the bigger the heaps of clothes scattered at the foot of my bed. I would let unmatched pairs of Keds tumble from the closet just so the door couldn’t be closed.
This made Jackie crazy.
Our parents had graciously given us the master bedroom thinking that more area would cut down on our teenage wars. Er, not so much. The waged battles grew in response to the space we shared. Eventually, our wise father had enough of our (my) shenanigans and divided the room down the middle with a strip of masking tape, creating a Dad Moderated Zone.
This would have been a brilliant solution for normal children. But when you’re dealing with a redhead in competition (in her mind, only in her little mind) with her older sister, this line in the carpet did nothing to deter my provocations of the calm sister.
I would lay things in the middle of the floor just on my side of the DMZ. (Again we ask, why did she let me live past puberty? Oh yes, it’s because she is patient and kind!) Any number of my belongings would wind up there, teetering on the line between our respective zones, pushing her buttons, and causing unnecessary conflicts.
With that history, you’re as surprised as Jackie is to learn that I am obsessed about making our bed. I have been this way for years. Maybe it was living with an excessively sloppy roommate in a college apartment. Sorry, dear friend, you were a great person, but seriously, how did you ever look so good wearing clothes you pulled from those multiple stacks scattered around our room? The messier the roommate was, the neater the freak I became. I wasn’t quite Felix Unger, but I surely no longer wanted anything to do with the slovenly Oscar Madison.
Home ownership changes things?
Maybe it was when I bought my first house ALL ON MY OWN and I wanted it to look lovely and enticing and lived in, but oh so appealing. Was that it? I had some fascinating fantasy that I would Martha Stewart my home and wind up in Good Housekeeping?
For me, making my bed became about the aesthetics of the room. It was unattractive with everything askew and out of place. With the comforter straightened and smooth, the sleeping pillows fluffed up strategically leaning against each other, and the sham-covered pillows propped at an angle, the room said, Come on in. When I walk by the bedroom during the day, I think: gosh that’s charming and inviting.
Alex, not so much. He bought his first home long before meeting me, but apparently he never had the revelation that it should be made pretty. Of course, this is the man who has zero issues getting to sleep under any circumstance. Sigh, in my next life I will know easy sleep.
But I digress.
My way is the highway—as long as I do the work.
Back in our dating days, he would toss the comforter across the bed and however it landed suited him fine. The pillows could be half off the bed or settle with precision against the headboard. He could care less either way. I don’t think he ever saw it, you know what I mean? Like actually saw what the room looked like.
Rather the way he is with the kitchen tea towels.
During Christmas when our holiday decorative towels are used, he invariably dries his hands and folds the towels in half so the design is inside before hanging them up. When I asked why, Alex answered that he doesn’t pay attention, that it’s a functional thing, not a decoration. Laughing, we decided our next towels would be reversible. Isn’t that a perfect solution?
So goes the bed making of our bed.
Once in a while I get kicked out of our room because snoring-man forces feather-light-sleeping-me to go to the guest room. In the morning I don’t want to make two beds. After I arise, the guest bed looks as if it is ready for the Queen of England to stop by. To husband I say, okay, bucko, you make our bed. He says, no, I don’t think so. Because it doesn’t matter to him. It matters to me.
I make the bed.
Years of this go sailing by before I finally admit to Jackie what a freak I am about having a lovely bedroom. When I visit her, I make my bed and hand her a quarter, daring her to give it a flip.
Read: Oh so many lights!