Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota
Early in November, Husband and I spent a Friday in our church basement making lefse. We were there for about 7 hours rolling and frying. In addition to sore and tired backs and arms, we took away a strange new sense of perfectionism that I hope ends soon.
It is exhausting us.
I am not a perfectionist, not really, especially when it comes to housekeeping and baking. As long as it tastes good and there is nothing for the cats to eat off of the floor, I think I have success. I have learned since the new DSM-5 has come out that people like me, who chew their nails, have an official diagnosis of Other Specified Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have to think about that more carefully regarding my own psychological makeup. I don’t know if I accept it yet. I fear that it is true.
Now, the lefse ladies in my church basement are perfectionists! We were set at different stations around the kitchen, and the lefse manager had the nerve to tell me that my first lefse sheet wasn’t thin enough. My standard for lefse thinness is that you can read the words “Bethany Pastry Cloth” through the lefse before you take it off the cloth and fry it. Her standard is that you roll the 1/2 cup of lefse dough into a round that is at least 12 inches in diameter. All the other lefse rollers were doing it, so I swallowed my pride and rolled thinner. I also was put on notice that I was far too splashy with the flour, and that I had better sweep up the flour I got on the floor before someone slipped on it. My lefse didn’t stick as I rolled it out, but no one had as much flour on the counter, the floor, and themselves as I did. My critic also complained that the flour on the edges of the lefse was going to make edges lefse hard. Well, we can’t have that now, can we, so she made a point to brush the flour off the fried lefses as they came off the griddle. We rolled almost 700 sheets of lefse that day.
Ever since we had our lefse day, Husband and I have been cleaning the house in strange and finicky ways. We spent the whole day after lefse Friday cleaning out all our kitchen cupboards and cabinets, meticulously wiping down the cabinet fronts and interiors and every spice jar and objects contained therein. It wasn’t planned. We just started to do it at 6:00 am and didn’t stop until nightfall. The next week I cleaned the basement carpets with vinegar water, and we washed windows for the first time in two years. All our stray papers and mail got sorted and put away. I have been dusting like a fiend.
I think we caught the Creeping Perfection Virus in the church basement. I am hopeful that it will start waning now that we are doing our Christmas baking, but I still wince every time I touch a cabinet front with floury hands, and everything that comes out of the cabinets gets wiped off before they go back in. I never realized how addicting perfection is. After all, how can you argue that something is too clean?
What symptoms indicate the onset of YOUR Creeping Perfection Virus?