Welcome to today’s edition of OCD and me. If you know anything about me at all, you know there’s something wrong with me. It goes by many names…Depression, Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, call it what you will. I’ll settle for crazy.
Today’s particular brand of crazy involves cooking and cleaning. But it’s not as great as it sounds. From what I understand, any normal person with OCD cleans like a white tornado. They scrub and arrange and bleach and all kinds of wonderful things that leave their homes company ready at the drop of a hat. Sadly, I don’t have that problem. My problem is a paralyzing fear of germs. And they are aplenty!
I’m making Chicken Rollatini for tonight’s supper. It’s amazing stuff! Flattened chicken breasts covered in sauteed zucchini and Italian cheeses, rolled up and topped with bread crumbs. Healthy AND delicious! But it’s the damnedest thing. In order to make Rollatini, I have to touch the chicken breasts. Mostly I only have to touch them once a week, when trimming and bagging to freeze. Then, I pull them out as needed and dump them into the slow cooker or thaw them in the fridge and pour marinade into the bag, then dump it all into a baking dish. No touching required! But with Rollatini, it’s a process. And it leaves me feeling like I, as well as everything in my house, am covered in salmonella germs.
First the breasts are trimmed and flattened, then bagged. Dean took care of that for me this week. God bless him! So today I just had to pull them out of the bag. I spent at least five minutes trying to decide what to lay the raw chicken on while I stuffed and rolled it. Every surface it touches is one more chance to end up with food poisoning. So I finally decide to layer paper towels and lay the chicken on top. Ew. And wash my hands. Because I can feel the salmonella crawling around under my fingernails and up my arm. Then I had to spoon the zucchini mixture onto the first breast. Ew. The spatula touched the chicken breast and now it is infested with salmonella, too. Once it touches the frying pan again, the pan becomes infested. Then I have to touch the chicken breast again to roll it, dip it in breadcrumbs (which infests the crumb bowl with salmonella) and fasten it with toothpicks. Ew! Ew! Ew! I should have washed my hands before picking up the spatula again, but I just wanted to get the touching over with, so I sped through spreading the zucchini on the chicken. The whole time I am cursing myself because now the germs have time to multiply exponentially on the spatula handle. I finally finish layering and rolling the chicken. Ew! I wash my hands. I put the Rollatini in the oven. When it has baked for 30 minutes on 450 degrees, which is what the recipe calls for, I take it out. Still, I eye the chicken suspiciously for any sign of pinkness. I choose to trust the recipe rather than burn the chicken, but I’m worried. Maybe it’s pink but I can’t tell it’s pink because it’s so faint, but maybe it’s pink enough that we’re all going to end up in the hospital fighting for our lives. After all, the pink line on the pregnancy test means positive regardless of how pale the pink, right? I’m trying not to worry about it, but I probably won’t be able to completely be at ease with it until 24 hours have passed after we’ve eaten it and no one is sick. YAY! Party in my head! Come if you want, but bring Clorox! Which actually does no good, because when I use Clorox wipes on my counter to kill the salmonella, then I become paranoid that if an eating utensil touches the counter it will be covered in Clorox which will transfer to our food. Either way, we’re gonna die, and it’s gonna be painful.
Anyway, with supper finished, I move on to the laundry room where I promptly step in cat vomit. Because these cats are starving, so they insist on eating more than the other cat to stave off death for one more day and then promptly chuck it all back up as a nice surprise for me. How sweet. Okay…I have a fear of vomit, too. Mine, my kids’, my husband’s, my animals’. It all teems with germs. Bad ones. Ones that cause your stomach to cramp up and your body to beg for death to release it from it’s torment. Seriously. I would rather give birth than to throw up. And nearly so than to clean it up. I grab the latex doctor’s gloves that I use for cleaning and get some paper towels and proceed to clean it up. Now you would think that the gloves would offer me some peace of mind. But no. Because the germs can crawl up the gloves, slip down inside them and make their way up under my fingernails. Which is why I don’t use gloves when I have to mess with the chicken. When I rinse the gloves off to move to the spatula, rather than protect me from germs, the water washes those germs down into the gloves giving them the perfect opportunity to infect me and try to kill me.
I clean more often now than I used to. But there is a lot, A LOT of self talk about how I can scrub my hands free of the germs when I’m finished. And I don’t open my mouth when I’m cleaning so that the germs can’t fly in and infect me that way. I breathe through my nose so that the cilia can cleanse the air before it reaches my lungs and finds it’s way to my gut from there. (I know that this is, most likely, medically inaccurate, but according to Dean, so is the concern that germs can squirm their way up under my fingernails to infest my bloodstream and try to kill me. I don’t think crazy is supposed to take facts into account, Otherwise it wouldn’t be crazy.)
And now I don’t know what else to tell you. I’m sitting here on the couch, writing, while simultaneously trying to convince myself to go back into the kitchen and wash the spatula, crumb bowl and counter where the germs are proliferating as we speak. The problem is that when I set the other dirty dishes onto the counter so that I can fill the sink with water, they will then become covered in salmonella as well and when I put the dishes into the water in the sink, the salmonella will infect ALL of the dishes. Can you see my conundrum? For the life of me I just can’t understand how we’re not all already dead! I’ll let you know tomorrow whether this batch of salmonella was the one that did me in, or if I survive to do battle with chicken another day. Wish me luck!
***As I was writing this, I had the most awful, vibrant case of déjà vu. It felt like after writing this the chicken wasn’t fully cooked and then one of us ate it and ended up in the hospital horribly ill. GREAT! One Rollatini with a side of crazy, coming up! Sigh.