Friday, May 15, 2015

This Week with Grandma

OK. So, I am convinced the worst combination of personality traits for any given task is to have a recovering perfectionist doing a job for a doesn't-realize-she-is-a-perfectionist. (When the recovering perfectionist is fully aware of the other individual's - uh - condition.) Especially when the task in question is one which simply cannot be completed to a perfectionist's standard.

And there you have the background information necessary to understand the exasperation welling up within my when I say:
This week, I faced the greatest challenge I have faced while ironing a pair of pants.
As in, I was ready to cut apart and re-sew the stupid challenging pants.
See, Grandma was going out to spend the day with my dad and my aunt. She was so excited about it. Started thinking about what she would wear DAYS in advance. (That's where I came in.) Grandma wanted to wear a particular pair of pants, which needed to be ironed. And she asked me to do it.
I'll be the first to admit, I don't do much ironing. But I'm not afraid of it. And I was happy to help my grandmother in this way. You need to understand, however, that she is very particular. She always looks sharp when she dresses to go out, and I knew she would be expecting a top-notch job from her "laundress."
I fully intended to give her that high quality result.
So, there I am, lining up the seams in the leg of her pants. I pressed the back side of the leg. Got the crease just where I thought she would like it, being careful to keep the seam on the inside in line with the seam on the outside. But when I started pressing the front side of the leg something went terribly wrong. The crease wouldn't line up both above and below the knee if I kept the seams in line. It was like there was extra fabric in places it shouldn't be, and I'm all, C'mon! Ironing these pants shouldn't be this hard.
I began a personal debate inside my head. One side telling me to relax, let go of my perfectionist tendencies, and iron the crease in a crooked manner. Since that's the way the material seemed to want to go, anyway. The other side retorting, Oh, no. That'll never do. As a memory came to me of Grandma sitting in a chair, examining the crease going down the front of her pant.

And so the battles continued.

The one between myself and me - arguing about letting go of perfectionist ideals while realizing Grandma's standards were that high.
And the one between me, the iron, and the stupid challenging pants.
In the end, I did the best I could.
It wasn't "perfect."
However, Grandma didn't care. Or didn't notice. Or was too polite say anything. Anyway, she had a great time with her children. And that's what really mattered.

But I'm telling you, for the love of mental stability, never send a recovering perfectionist to do a job for someone who has a history of expecting perfection.
It might just send her off the deep end. *wink*


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