Category Archives: OCD

I Learned Something About Myself Recently…

I suck at puzzles.

How? How can I be horrible at something that requires such precision, such concentration, such….OCD? I mean, I ROCK at sock-mating, and color-coding, and label-making. How can I be bad at putting together a puzzle??

bad at something

You’re probably wondering why it is that I’m discovering this little tidbit about myself so late in life. Well, Brian and I are gearing up for yet another adoption fundraiser, and this one involves a 1,000 piece puzzle. (For more info on the fundraiser, you can click on the handy-dandy little tab at the top of your screen titled “Puzzle Pieces.”)

I just knew, when we read about this fundraiser, that it was gonna be a winner. I mean, not only was it going to give us a project to keep us focused and busy, but we were going to get to spend a couple of days putting a puzzle together, too. And I just KNEW, down to the very fibers of my soul, that I was going to kick ass at puzzles. I mean, I know I rocked them  hard core when I was in kindergarten. Watch out, alphabet puzzle. I’m coming for you.

But the puzzle we chose is…difficult. As in, if puzzles came in difficulty levels, with 1 being the alphabet puzzle and 10 being super-duper puzzle of hardness….well, we chose a level 25 puzzle.

The pieces are TINY. Not kidding. See:

tiny puzzle piece

And to make matters worse, the puzzle we chose is ALL words…so there’s lots of blank space. Ever tried putting together a bunch of plain white puzzle pieces? Yeah. It’ll make you go cross-eyed faster than reading ‘Dune.’

But I had no idea what was facing me as we happily dumped the puzzle out onto the table to get started. I jumped into organizational mode and promptly separated all the pieces by color, then bagged and labeled each color. Boom. Puzzle master.

We decided to start at the bottom and work our way up, and so I chose the correctly labeled baggie, and dumped the pieces out in front of us. After about 10 minutes, I had shuffled the pieces around and felt relatively confidant that, very soon, I was going to be able to locate 2 pieces that fit together.

That confidence was shattered when I looked over to my right and saw that my over-achieving husband had already successfully put together an ENTIRE WORD. In, like, 10 seconds.

Brian the puzzler

This is Brian’s smug face.”

“Ok, fine,” I thought to myself. “So he’s great at puzzles. No surprises there. But I’m sure I can be good at this, too….I just need to concentrate.”

So I stared at the pieces in front of me with a higher intensity, urging my brain to work at the level I know it’s capable of. And still…nothing.

After an hour of staring at the same 25 pieces, I managed to put together about 10 of them.

Abby's pieces

And no, it doesn’t say “YOLO.”

Brian, in the meantime, had managed to put together the rest of the phrase in its entirety, and had started on the next line, giving me the time I needed to feel like an utter and complete failure.

Oh well. There’s always sock-mating.

Prepare Yourself For Organizational Awesomeness

If you’ve been reading Abby Gabs for long, you’re well aware of my OCD. You knew of it from the very beginning. You know how it likes to take on new forms on a regular basis. You’re aware of how it affects my party planning, shopping habits, and my enthusiasm for alphabetical order.

In case you’ve never read those posts, or are a slightly new visitor here to my blog, let me boil it down for ya, real simple like.

If you want to get me excited, let me organize something. Color coding? I’m in. Alphabetized lists? Oh yeah, baby. Need someone to de-clutter your closet? *MOAN* I am so your girl.

Taking all of this into consideration, you can imagine what creating a weekly meal plan, and subsequent grocery list, means to me.

It is easily a one-hour process. First I make a list for the days I’m shopping for—breakfast lunch and dinner. Then I take into account what nights the hubby will be dining with me, and what nights I’ll be eating alone (those nights mean I get to eat yummy things he won’t eat….like vegetables. And fish.) Then I go through all my recipes, find the ones that sound intriguing for the week, and fill in my weekly meal plan list, lickety split. I double-and-triple check to make sure all my days/meals are covered, that I’m not fixing anything Brian-unapproved on a night he’ll have to eat it, making sure I remember leftovers to be consumed as well.

Once that list is done, it goes up on the giant dry-erase board in my kitchen, so I won’t forget what I’ve spent 30 minutes planning.

Once that list is complete, I can now compile my grocery list.

For most normal people, that means jotting down the things you need for the week in whatever willy nilly manner they see fit.


Not me. My list is written in categories–by aisle–and alphabetized within each category.

Naturally, this takes me a little time, too.

So yesterday, I’m sitting at the desk, surrounded by all my planning tools. (Notebook for lists, internet open to Weight Watchers and my favorite recipes folder, Brian’s schedule…there may have been a ruler and a highlighter at the party, too….)

In the midst of my planning, my genius husband says, “I wonder if there’s an app for that?”

 *The skies open up and angels sing the Hallelujah chorus*

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the world’s most awesome app, Our Groceries.

It’s so awesome, it shoots stars and hearts at you when you open it.

For those of you who love organization as much as I do (read, fellow OCDers) you may want to take a deep breath. Because this is gonna get right pornographic here in a second.

This app is AMAZING. You can create your lists right from your phone, or on their website. Not only can you create grocery lists, you can also add an ingredient list for your favorite recipes, too. And no need to enter in each individual thing one-at-a-time. Oh no. Our Groceries allows you to enter the ENTIRE LIST, all in one fell swoop.

It’s so awesome, it’s like the fourth of July every time you use it.

Once you enter your list, you can categorize each item in whatever manner you choose. Just want an alphabetized list of all the items you need to pick up? Sure thing. How about common items first, then less common below? Alrighty.

It’s so awesome, it has it’s own squad of cheerleaders.

ORRRRR….you could be awesome like me and create categories that represent each aisle in your grocery store, and then put them in order according to how I personally like to shop said store. (That’s right. I’m awesome.)

It’s so awesome, it makes babies happy.

Yes, you heard me right. You can create your categories, then drag and drop them in the order you want them in. This, for me, equals shopping bliss.

It’s so awesome, even Mary Poppins would be impressed.

But wait! There’s more!

I’ve always wanted to say that.

This app can be shared between phones. So, if you and your spouse each have the Our Groceries app, and you create a grocery list from your laptop, he or she will have that list in their phone and can stop to pick up dinner on their way home.

WITHOUT that annoying “wait did you say ‘jeez’ or ‘cheese?” conversation!

Scenario #2: You spend 20 minutes jotting down your grocery list, grab your purse and keys and breeze out the door. As you’re parking your car in the grocery store parking lot, you realize that your list would be really helpful….if it wasn’t still on your desk at home. Never fear–Our Groceries is here!

Scenario #3: You’re out and about and think to yourself, “Dish detergent!! That’s what I keep forgetting to put on the list!” Whip out your phone, friends, and add it to you list. Voila! Instant memory aide!

Seriously, this app is worth checking out. My only complaint with it is that it’s a little too easy to accidentally check things off the list. But that was easily remedied with a little tweak of the settings. It should also be said that if you download the free app, there will be ads. However, I find them unobtrusive. If, however, you disagree, and you’re willing to pay for the app, you can download an ad-free version (which varies in price depending on your carrier.)

Finally–an app that has my attention to detail. Halle-frickin’-lujah.

I need to go, now. It’s time for me to be alone with my new favorite app.

To-Do List Update

For those who have been keeping tabs with me on Facebook, or who have noticed the tab above titled “My Big To-Do List,” you’ll know all about my “30 Before 30” list.

And for those who read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I turned 30 a little over a week ago.

Well, friends, I’m here to say that, in less than 6 months, I managed to check 25 things off of my list!

Considering the time frame I gave myself, as well as a few road blocks that came up along the way, I’m pretty satisfied with my score.

However, the OCD kicked in approximately 2 days before my birthday, when I realized that a few of the items were inevitably going to be left un-checked. (There may have been hives. Possibly a panic attack. But there’s no photographic evidence, so it’s hard to say.)

And so, in the spirit of fun (and the need to actually complete a list this time) I’ve created a NEW list: “30 Things to Do WHILE I’m 30.” 


I’ve added this list to the tab above, and I’m planning on adding it to Facebook as well. As with the other list, I plan to take pictures of my journey so, by the end of the year, I’ll have digital proof of my accomplishments. Some of these tasks will be harder than others (giving blood, as I’m terrified of needles. And the children’s book thing—can you say EEK?) However, I have a whole year to complete this list. And I’m 100% committed to finishing it!!

My OCD commands it.

My OCD Takes a New Form

I have a confession to make. For those who know me personally, this won’t be too much of a shock. For those who don’t, prepare yourselves because you probably won’t see this one coming.

My husband and I are gamers.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. But, honestly, we’re not gamers like this (*per se):

*unless there’s a new Sims 3 expansion pack…

We’re gamers like this:

…minus the young, thin, hip part.

We have a Wii, a PS3, and an XBOX 360 with the Kinect. We also have volumes of games for our computer.

Now, there are gamers out there who make it their life’s ambition to make it to Lever 89 Mage. While we think that’s a perfectly entertaining way to spend an evening, we’re not members of the Blood Legion Guild.

We just want to beat the New Super Mario Brothers game.

Now, I told you all of that so I could tell you this:

It occurred to me just the other day that the way I play certain games only proves my theory that I have OCD.

(It also just occurred to me that you, reader, may not be a gamer. I *promise* this post will be funny if you just keep reading. If that’s not enough incentive, I *promise* I’ll give you Donnie Wahlberg’s phone number at the end of the post.)

So, we recently began playing Dragon Age 2, and once again, as I created my character, I chose the following attributes: 1) female, 2) dark, short hair with blue eyes (duh), 3) warrior class, 4) wields one large weapon requiring two hands.

HOW does this explain the OCD theory, you may ask? Simply this: when it comes to killing beasties, I prefer to take them down one at a time. It makes the game more satisfying to me than, say, casting spells that cause damage on every foe. I’d rather mow them down one at a time.

Sometimes while singing a little ditty.

This concept is similar to my complete enjoyment of opening Paint, filling the entire space with a single color, and spending the next 20 minutes happily erasing all the color. (I’m not crazy. It’s zit-popping, scab-picking, picture-straightening, odd-number-loving fun.)

Another game we’ve played in the past is a game for the Wii called Animal Crossing: City Folk. The concept of this game is not important. What you need to know is this: it takes place in real time, so if you start playing at 2 pm, it’s 2 pm on the game. Also, every single day there are fruit trees to be harvested, flowers to water, and most importantly, weeds to pick.

One little, two little, three little weeds to pick….

Some people play to collect all the stuff.  Some people play to maintain friendships with their neighbors. Some people play to harvest a ton of fruit.

I play to pick the weeds.

Serious. OCD. Contentment.

The game I’m most fanatical about is the Sims 3. I’ve been addicted to this franchise since college. Seriously addicted. As in, when the last expansion pack came out, I played so much I did this for my husband:

And an artist is born.

If you’ve never played the Sims, I’m so sorry. Surely, you’ve heard of it. If not, here’s how it works: you basically create a character, or a family of characters, and live out their lives. You order them around, deciding such things as whether or not they can go to the bathroom, or wet their britches.

Again. Fun.

The OCD aspect of this game for me: you can assign your Sims a certain number of traits. If you want to play as a slob, you can assign your Sim the “couch potato” trait. If you want to play as Charlie Sheen, you can assign your Sim the “insane” trait.

Regardless of how I plan to play the game, there is one trait that I never, ever go without.

The “Neat Freak” trait.

Why? Because it means I now have the ability to clean EVERYTHING. Who needs a maid when cleaning the toilets, taking out the trash, and wiping the counter tops is SO SATISFYING???

Oh wait…you missed a spot.

There is one game, though, that you’re probably thinking is the obvious choice for an obsessive-compulsive individual such as myself. But I just can’t play it. It drives me bonkers. Literally, I’ve been known to throw things.

Because leaving behind even one dot is NOT an option.

(I KNOW I *promised* to give you Donnie Wahlberg’s phone number at the end of this post, but, sadly, I don’t have it. Hence why I used asterisks. However, if YOU have his phone number, you’d be my new best friend if you’d send it to me. Thanks. Also, thanks for reading this post.)

Photo Sources:
Serious Gamer:
Normal-Looking Gamers:
Female Warrior:
Weed Picker:
Sims 3 House Wife: 
Mrs. Pacman:

I’m Only Slightly OCD. Ok, So Maybe I’m OCD. Ah, hell. I’m SO OCD.

It all started when I was a small child. It never occurred to me to just throw on some random shirt with an equally random pair of shorts for my daily afternoon play fests. Nope. Not me. Everything had to match. Outfits were better. And if there were matching Jellies involved, forget about it.

Side Bar: You remember Jellies, right? The super-fantastic plastic shoes from the 80s that came in every color of the rainbow? With glitter? Walk into any 9 year old girl’s room in 1987, and you would have found 15 pairs of jellies, a pink Popple, a giant New Kids on the Block poster, and an even giant-er can of unscented Aquanet.

I mean, I’m just sayin…

Back to the OCD thing: Yes, it’s true. I was always dressed to the nines. A lot of that had to do with the fact that I had a mother, an aunt, and a grandmother that took great pleasure in dressing me up in All Things Adorable. When you could open a drawer and find any number of darling outfits right at your fingertips, like I could, matching wasn’t really an option, it was just a reality. And don’t think for a minute I didn’t enjoy the matchy-matchy thing, either.

Me with my parents, circa 1985

I rocked the Mary Janes with the best of them. Trust me.

As I got older, my need for matching clothes turned into something else. It went beyond the “No Black Shoes with a Brown Belt” rule. And it picked up fellow eccentricities along the way.

For instance, I alphabetize my DVDs.

Might sound crazy to you, but when I’m looking for “Stardust,” I like knowing I’m going to find it between “Sound of Music,” and “Superman Returns.” I don’t want to wonder if it’s fraternizing with “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Punisher.”

I also take forever when I’m picking out gifts. It MUST be something I know, without a shadow of a doubt, will be 1) useful, 2) appreciated, 3) perfect for the occasion and most importantly 4) the only one of its kind received. Duplicate gifts are a big no-no. And if it reduces the recipient to tears because of its perfectness, then that’s just bonus points.

This drives my husband crazy, because inevitably, he’s always tagging along when I’m looking for “the perfect gift.” The following conversation took place today, while shopping for a swim suit with matching hat that will be given as a birthday gift for my college roommate’s 1 year old son:

Husband: What about these swim trunks?
Wife: They’re cute, but there’s no matching hat.
Husband: There has to be a hat, too?
Wife: Yes.
Husband: Ok. So…what about this hat with these trunks?
Wife: Those plaids don’t match.
Husband: They’re both blue.
Wife: Yes, but THIS one has blue with green, and THIS one has blue with orange. Totally different.
Husband: Alright. What about THESE trunks?
Wife: Yes, I love those. But I want to put them with this khaki-colored hat. And they don’t have that in Baby’s size.
Husband: (looks at another rack nearby) What about these plaid ones? They’re blue.
Wife: OH those ARE cute! (Looks at trunks.) Oh, but they’re not swim trunks. They have to be swim trunks.
Husband: They’re hanging with the other swim trunks.
Wife: Yes, dear, but they don’t have the meshy thing inside that make them OFFICIAL swim trunks. I don’t want there to be any confusion.
Husband: Right. No confusion. Gotcha. Ok, here. These plaids match, and they have the right size hat AND the right size trunks. (Holds out products for approval.)
Wife: (looks at husband as if he has three heads) Green? Really?
Husband: Wow.

(It took me 45 minutes, but I did eventually choose the original blue plaid with a different hat. And B took it like a trooper.)

I also color code everything, write lists for any occasion, pictures hanging on the wall MUST be straight or it drives me bananas (yes, I will walk over and straighten a frame at your house, even if we’ve just met, so be prepared.) I’ve also been known to tell a complete stranger that the tag is hanging out of their shirt. It’s just polite. Besides, if I have to stand behind you in line for thirty minutes at Walmart, I REALLY don’t want to stand there and obsess over the tag. Seriously. Just tuck it in.

Maybe these attributes make me crazy, I don’t know. I choose to think they are charming anomalies that make me 100% Abby.