Perfectionism: A Worthy Goal or an Excuse to Freebase Chocolate?

Sadly, I think I've seen them in the Whole Foods on Magazine St.

The first step to avoiding the scourge that is perfectionism is to resist, no matter how hard, the temptation to match your hat and gloves to your maxi-dress while shopping....don't do it.  Remember, girls, co-ordinate, don't match....so much chicer.  All joking aside, perfectionism is nothing to joke about it (ha...that's kind of a joke...guess I'm on a roll.)

Seriously, I'm feeling overwhelmed.  I've just returned from vacation to find work deadlines looming, a major party to host next weekend (somehow I didn't realize Mardi Gras was so close to my vacation...Damn you February and your 28 days.....), plus friends arriving for the party several days ahead of schedule.  One of whom is partially allergic to pet dander.  Considering, despite my best efforts, that my house contains enough loose pet hair to make full body wigs for every hairless Chinese crested dog in existence, I sense a problem.  Making the situation worse is that another craft/design blogger may be coming to my house for the first time for the party.  Now, in addition to work and cleaning,  I want to whip the house into shape ( including touch up paint, new pillows, and painting furniture that has been in place and untouched since 2007),  artfully display  the food and drink for the party (not to mention finding time to shop for and prepare it), and re-landscape the front yard and back patio which have been neglected since spring 2010 (don't judge me).....well, you can see why I'm tempted to retreat  into a fetal position and a box of Russell Stover's.  

What I keep trying to tell myself is that there is no need for everything to be perfect.  The world won't collapse if Deyond sneezes and my coke bottles are stuck in a plastic ice chest and not artfully arranged in a custom painted metal tub surrounded by lemons.  It's hard to fight this desire for perfection, though, and I blame this woman:

Martha can kiss my lumpy, undercooked grits.

Look, I know Martha Stewart isn't REALLY the Anti-Christ, and I actually admire her and have learned a lot from her over the years, but she has contributed to our need for total perfection in the home. 

While there were chefs, decorators, and housekeeping experts before her, she is really the first to insist that all three areas must go together;  that it's not enough to bake a cake...that cake needs to be a  homemade cake...made from scratch, with seasonal, artisanal ingredients, appropriate to the occasion, location, and guests, served on THE appropriate plate (preferrably from a tag sale), with co-ordinating (but not matching ) vintage plates and hotel silver (all pulled from their perfect storage locations where they were labeled and appropriately protected from dust and possible damage), impeccable vintage linens (ironed with lavender water), and French press coffee (from whole beans of course) served in co-ordinating, but not matching paper thin cups.  

This cake must pass from your perfectly appointed kitchen with glass paned upper cabinets and white marble counter tops, through your beautifully decorated home, bathed in tasteful, but interesting, neutrals, and furnished with an interesting mix of antiques and quality upholstered furniture, including pillows and crafts that you yourself have made, though they are of high enough quality to appear to have been done professionally.  When the guests rave, you must act as if if all just happened naturally, with nothing but the slightest of efforts.

I've weighed my options, and I've decided to spend the rest of the evening curled in a fetal position, watching streaming Netflix, and freebasing chocolate...the house won't get any closer to perfection, but I'll feel a little better.


Amy said...

I totally relate to this -- especially the last paragraph.

Kathy said...

I LOVE you!

beki said...

I love you, too!! Perfectionism is so overrated (but I sure do like it when things look somewhat perfect, though nothing in my world ever is)