When Your Inner Germaphobe Becomes Your Outer Germaphobe.

Okay, hang onto your hats, wash your fucking hands, and welcome to (one of) my major psychological malfunctions.

Confession time: Hello, my name is Borys and I am a lifelong germaphobe.

Always have been, probably always will be. Part of this stems from obsessive personality traits, diagnosed some time back in the early 90s… and part of it results from spending way too much time on the Internet and researching the fuck out of “things that can, and probably will, go wrong”. Yes, I dare say germaphobia and innate pessimism go hand in hand.  I have always been careful to make a distinction between me and my diagnosed ‘obsessive personality traits’ (germaphobic, huge equal helpings of being overly meticulous, finickity, and fastidious about way too many things), and that of people who really suffer from full-on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, who experience debilitating and controlling compulsions because I think a lot of people are too flippant with the ‘OCD’ tag. I don’t suffer from compulsions…  Or at least I have not in the past.

When I was really little I used to hate the feeling of mud squishing up between my toes when we went pumping yabbies on the mudflats at Straddie – it turned my stomach because it felt like stepping in dog shit… something which happened semi-regularly when you spent your childhood roaming the neighbourhood barefoot and people weren’t required by local laws to pick up after their pets back then.  I’m fairly confident it got much worse when I was about 15 and I contracted glandular fever.  Either picked up from sharing a drink with some random or (more likely) from snogging Alan Medland at a Blue Light Disco, seeing he came down with it several days before I did.  Anyhoo… it laid me up for about six weeks.  I was really really sick, fever, aches, coughing and spluttering and spitting up gunk. Multiple blood tests later, I found out I have shit veins. Secondary infection meant I lost my voice and an entire term of school work. It was pretty miserable.  My capacity for solving simultaneous equations never recovered but, ‘meh’, I survived.

About four months later my sister, BigSal, got chickenpox – and I was determined to do everything in my power not to get sick again!  I disinfected everything. Repeatedly. I refused to use the phone if she’d been on it.  I wouldn’t be in the same room with her. I wouldn’t touch things that she had touched, I wouldn’t eat my meals near her and insisted she shouldn’t be allowed near the kitchen – basically forced everyone to treat her like a complete leper.  Anyway, I was successful and managed to avoid getting chickenpox even while living in the same house as an infected/contagious individual for about a month. As it turns out my fastidiousness in avoiding it was a bit of a mistake – spending your entire adult life worrying about getting a dose of chickenpox as an adult is not fun  😐   Yes, I’ve been vaccinated of course – but still.

Ever since then, I’ve been somewhat, err… hypervigilant in the hygiene department?  How hypervigilant?  Well pernickety enough that when I was in Turkey and stuck in the tight confines of a double-decker bus with 23 people – when more than half of them got sick with a really aggressive case of gastro – I didn’t get it.  And again when on a cruise ship with a whole bunch of people down with norovirus – I didn’t get it.  My mum used to say I have a cast-iron gut when people all around me were getting sick and I wasn’t. But truth is, I have always just been really really anal retentive about my hand/face hygiene habits my entire life, and no more so than when travelling.

I got even more germophobic in 2003 after I picked up a very serious (read: potentially fatal) staph infection in my abdomen after a laparoscopic surgery that landed me back in a different hospital from the one that gave it to me, with a burning abdomen, high fevers, delirium, two infectious diseases specialists, some ‘let’s nuke this fucker from space’ IV antibiotics that they hold back especially for these types of infections, and a newfound hatred for hospitals. :/

My particular brand of germaphobia is usually somewhat like a subterranean aquifer – it’s well hidden but it runs pretty consistently unless diverted.  Long before this coronavirus outbreak, I had a hundred and one little hygiene little habits. I can’t sleep if I haven’t showered, the idea of getting into bed ‘dirty’ (yeah, dirty from sitting around on a computer in the air-con all day) feels completely ‘ick’.  I’ve always washed my hands so often and aggressively that the fingerprint reader on both my previous iPhones never worked (god bless facial recognition!). I make mental notes of who’s drinking what and to never drink from someone else’s cup. It angers me to try and make even something simple like toast in my kitchen if there are any dirty dishes lying around from the night before.  People double-dipping at social gatherings makes me want to scream at them, and yes, I am judging you fuckers (unless it’s someone you’re snogging, don’t double-dip with them!).  I can’t use moisturisers on my hands or face (or massage oil on my back) without feeling like my skin it is ‘suffocating’. The idea of a dog sleeping on my bed literally makes my skin crawl.  I can’t/won’t use someone else’s iPad or device if I can see it’s got greasy fingerprint marks on the screen. I hate hate hate pimples and can’t stand those ‘popping’ videos full of pus. Even the suggestion of using someone else’s toothbrush when desperate, is enough to make me gag.  Catching a whiff of someone’s bad breath literally makes me want to throw up, and up until now, one of the worst times of my life was when my son was in nappies. Urgggh… *shudders from something akin to PTSD*.

It’s mostly something that I’ve just been quietly but acutely aware of my whole life, but that I’ve been largely able to keep to myself. No one really notices or cares when you politely refuse to share a cup with them, or choose to wait out in your car instead of in a doctor’s waiting room, or if you go out of your way not to sit near someone coughing in a cinema…  At the moment, however, we are being bombarded with ‘Coronavirus this’, ‘Corvid-19 that’ and it’s getting harder and harder to maintain some semblance (pretence?) of equilibrium.

Mr K was in Sydney last week for work, and even though I know logically that given his movements there, he’s at minimal risk of having been exposed – I’ve relegated him to the back of the house to his bedroom and his office, banned him from the living room or from touching ANYTHING in the kitchen or refrigerator until I’m comfortable that he’s still asymptomatic by the time the median incubation period has passed.  In the last week, he came into the living room and sat down out of habit – just once.  It took only a few minutes before I felt my heart starting to race, my chest started to tighten with a feeling of wanting to scream but can’t (probably can but, you know, shouldn’t). I was mentally assessing when/if I should just get up and leave, and knowing all this was totally irrational but feeling it anyway and feeling powerless to control it, meant that I very rapidly felt the prick of oncoming tears.  My idiotic brain is causing my body to react with alarm/panic in the absence of genuine danger. It’s not fun.

Given the low probability of contagions in my own home, I KNOW I’m overreacting and I’m well aware of it.. but I can’t seem to help it. And I’ve been over-reacting for weeks now.  I haven’t left the house for anything social (with the exception of one dinner out on the 12th of March at a totally empty restaurant), since Feb 22nd.  Nooooo, I’m not paranoid at all… but I did just quietly locked myself in over a month ago.

Grocery trips have been done, but nothing else.  I’ve never been glad for self-checkouts before, but at the moment ain’t nobody needs other people handling their groceries more than necessary. It’s bad enough that we have no idea if the people on minimum income stocking the shelves are healthy. So, it’s been out with the hand sanitizer after touching trolleys, or bags or well, fucking anything at all. And again before getting back in the car and then scrubbing hands again at home with soap and water, before *and* after unpacking groceries.  More hand scrubbing before, during and after prepping meals.  Using cloths to open the dishwasher or touch the kettle (one for me – one for him). These are the sorts of precautions I normally only exercise when travelling in third world countries and I’ve taken to deploying them in my own house since the number of confirmed cases in my state was a grand total of TWO.   😐  This virus, how contagious it is, and the progression of the disease on the body scares the living shit out of me.

But apparently, it doesn’t scare everyone. Watching my Boomer and Gen Z friends, family and colleagues not taking this seriously is honestly doing my head in – Aunt (currently partway through breast cancer treatments) and Uncle (over 70, long time smoker, had a heart valve replaced a few months ago) spent last weekend traipsing about visiting friends and going out to the pub for lunch!  Fav 20-year-old niece recently returned from Sydney was out at a party last Saturday night… WHAT-THE-EVER-LOVING-FUCK!?!  Some households with both parents working from home are still dropping their kid to DAYCARE!  I’ve seen the pictures of people at Bondi Beach, people lining up at Centrelink (it’s so shit that that has become necessary), friends still reporting plenty of foot traffic in retail apparel stores because people are ‘bored’, and so many others still trying to find ‘loopholes’ to keep getting out and keep doing things over the last week or so?  WTF people!

Pretending I’m not freaking out that everything I touch, or anyone I come in contact with, could be infected is exhausting.  For me, over the last month, leaving the house has felt like steeling yourself to go for a supply run in an episode of The Walking Dead.  Watching our government with their incompetent mixed messaging on what is allowed and what is not, and what’s considered ‘essential work’ and what’s not – all the while leaving schools open and risking the lives of all our friends and family who work in education or healthcare is equally angering and terrifying to every fibre of my being… especially in light of the fact that our PM has had his own kids safely ensconced at home for over a week?  The mongrel fucking bastard.


For the first time ever, we don’t want to be like Italy.  :'(

PS: If you see me wearing this on a t-shirt… in my defence, I did buy it before this thing started to spiral out of control. It’s now very relevant content – you can buy your own at Teeturtle.

PPS: If you have any weird friends who get miffed when you don’t put their DVDs back in the ‘right spot’, or they sort their books by genre then by author or by height, or who keep their sewing pins in clumps by pinhead colour, or who may sort their wardrobe by colour, or who have meticulously got everything in their pantry in Tupperware containers, or who stand around tidying dump bins at JB HiFi while you’re actually shopping, or who … well, you know the people I mean.  Go check on them – they’re probably not doing great.

Birthday Bait and Switch

Last week, the Small Child thought he’d make himself some Mac ‘n’ Cheese.  You know, the horrid microwave kind, which passes itself off as food and has very doubtful nutritional properties.  It’s stupidly easy to make, full of MSG goodness and the kid loves it, (though god knows why), all you have to do is tip the sachet of macaroni into a bowl, add water, heat for three minutes on high and then stir through the pretend reconstituted cheesy stuff.  Simple right?

Unless of course you miss a vital step, like oh… I don’t know – adding water.

Then what you get, instead of Mac ‘n’ Cheese, is a house full of acrid black smoke, a useless microwave with burnt plastic walls, which now is only suitable for use as a temporary garden ornament until next kerbside pick up day.  I really wasn’t planning on replacing the microwave any time soon… but can not go putting fabric wheat packs in the (vaguely still functioning) machine twice a day, because they’ll end up reeking of charred acrid smoke and shortly after, so too, will the couch.  Yuk.

As luck would have it, it was the Small Child’s birthday in a week or so, and I decided to teach him a lesson about forgetfulness, by telling that he was getting a new microwave for his birthday as a result of the Greatly Offensive and Injurious Mac ‘n’ Cheese Incident of 2014.  I let him do the retail research and he got to put together a purchase proposal, so you know, I kindly allowed him to choose which one we needed (much to his disgust), and then we duly went out and purchased it.  Poor little guy was quiet and resigned throughout, feeling equal parts guilty at destroying the old microwave and despondent at the concept that the new one was to constitute his birthday gift.  We then got a week of telling him that his birthday present was all sorted but that he needed some new slippers, so he might get some of those too.  Little did he know, his actual birthday present had been ordered weeks ago…

As an avid young gamer, his eight year old hand me down laptop was his most prized possession and while it was okay for some things, it wasn’t really wasn’t cutting the mustard.  So we had decided it was a good time to replace and we arranged for the whole family to chip in and help us buy him a new one – one that would hopefully see him through the next four years or so.  Hopefully by that time, when he needs another upgrade – he can damn well get a job and save for it himself!  But it served our purposes at the moment to let him think that a shiny new microwave was all that birthday had in store for him… it significantly reduced the ‘I wants’ in the lead up to said birthday, that’s for sure.

Anyway, birthday morning rolled around and so began the unwrapping of some underwhelming decoy birthday presents that I literally pulled out of the emergency present box (everyone has one of them right?)…

Well, Happy Birthday kiddo… I think that was exactly the reaction we were hoping for…. except for that weird, “I am victorious!”, exclamation, which mostly just tells me he’s been playing way too many video games already, and doesn’t have a suitable vocabulary to express elation!


Alaska and Dixie sally forth!

I haven’t written about our little rescued puppy mill pups in quite a while now, which is rather odd considering how much joy and how many smiles they bring into the house on a daily basis… I guess I’ve been distracted by the surprising realization that what people really want to read about is sex toys, but I digress.  🙂

Dixie is Mutley Number One… she’s just passed her first birthday which we arbitrarily assigned to her as being 10/11/12, seeing that all we knew about her was she was approximately X months old when we got her!  Everyone needs a birthday, birthdays are important (feel free to read a little ‘fuck Christmas’ into that sentiment while you are at it!).  Every morning I get up and she comes to greet me by… laying flat on her back and waiting for a tummy rub.  Seriously.  She doesn’t jump up on my legs or anything (though she does this to many other people), she just wags her tail and immediately flops herself over waiting for a tummy rub.  Spoiled little girl… but obviously knows how to get what she wants! Dixie is just awesome to have around, she mostly moseys around the house and loves being near the humans… she will happily spend most of her day curled up in a sleepy little ball of soft white fluff on the couch beside you, if you let her.  For months we thought she had a really wirey coat and then summer came along and we gave her a clip – well, not really a clip, actually.  I needed new blades for my clippers, so I just grabbed a pair of scissors and gave her a stunning Meg Ryan hair cut… the tousled, ‘I just got out of bed’ look is what all the fashionable puppies are wearing this season!


But I eventually bought some new clipper blades, and now she is looking all neat and tidy while still slightly scruffy (I don’t like over grooming the hair around their faces, they start to stop looking like their naturally beautiful selves) and her coat is sooo soft.  Couple of little oddities in her behaviour lately – one in particular that has only just started.  She has been pacing along the wall in our media room looking at the ceiling… I think she has noticed the 16′ projector screen that hangs just below the ceiling, of course it’s been there all the time, but she has decided it is of concern lately, so she’s been pacing back and forth and occasionally growling at it, and then turns to me imploringly to ‘do something about it Mom!’  It’s so cute to watch her trying to figure it out.




Alaska puppy, who is sometimes called ‘Boof’, because this is the odd low noise she occasionally makes which passes for barking, is simply unrecognizable compared to the poor scared weird little girl that we picked up back in August.  She is 100% full of joy and beans it would seem… so much energy!  She’s quite the little mountain goat – I’ve never seen such an agile little dog.  She races around the house, giving Dixie her daily exercise, and jumps up on the furniture and gracefully leaps the great divide (for her, anyway!) between the couches to get to a new lap for cuddles.  She still prances annoying out of reach if you want to pick her up from a standing position, but as soon as you sit down, she comes rushing forward for affection and cuddles and well, tries to lick your nose off.  She actually got out of the house a couple of weeks ago and I immediately freaked out thinking, she will never come back if we call her – she won’t come to us when we call her in the house.  Luckily quick thinking saved the day.  I walked out where she could see me and sat down in the middle of the road and just like aways she ran straight over to me and jumped in my lap.  🙂  Gotta love using their little quirks to your advantage!

Alaska 1

Recently however we have noticed that Alaska has been getting the shakes, and I don’t mean the ‘Oh I’m cold would you people PLEASE turn down the air con’ shakes, and I don’t mean the ‘Oh shit we are going to see the nice lady who takes my temperature up my butt’ shakes, or even the ‘Holy dooley, that is one big dog, keep him away from me’ shakes.  No, we noticed she had started shaking like a Parkinson’s sufferer all the time even when we were all just chilling out around the house.  I couldn’t tell if she was in any discomfort – she didn’t appear to be, and it didn’t appear to be situational or environmental.  She didn’t have any other symptoms of ill health (eating normally, pooping normally – ie: everywhere! 😉 ) and was otherwise her playful usual self… just shaking all the time.

So, I did what every responsible puppy lover does and consulted the Oracle (totally Googled that shit!) and came up with what looked like something called Generalized Tremor Syndrome… it’s a neurological condition.  Then I consulted all our good friends on the ARQ Angel Forum to see if any of the other puppy mill puppies – her cousins and siblings – had shown any signs of weird shaking.  Seems like there is plenty of fear trembling going on among this crew, but nothing like this.  And while I had the chance over the weekend in Canberra, I asked my friend Rob the Vet what he thought it might be (armed with handy video on my phone so I could show him her only symptom).  He says to me with a straight face – ‘I think she has Shaky White Dog Syndrome’… I thought he was making that shit up, but apparently that is another name for Idiomatic Shaking Syndrome (all these things are the same condition, I am now learning) which is a neurological/auto-immune condition, prevalent in – you guessed it – small white dog breeds, like Maltese and West Highland White Terriers.

Now Alaska is supposed to be predominantly Fox Terrier, and given her diminuitive stature, I would have thought that is about right… now however we are thinking she may have a lot of Maltese in there, though she is never going to be as large as your average Maltese.  So off to the vet with Alaska for a full exam yesterday.  Sharon the Vet really put Alaska through her paces, and our timid little girl passed all her neurological tests with flying colours… except that one where she needed to stop shaking for 60 seconds together!  So yep, our shaky white puppy has Shaky White Puppy Syndrome and we are going to put her on a small course of steroids to see if it helps – it can’t be fun spending every waking hour with the shakes, poor little thing.  At the moment she is happily curled up defending the tv remote controls…

Alaska 2

You want to tell me that you love me…

Why is it that he always sends an, “I love you” message, right when you are in the middle of storming around the house cursing his fucking name?

Is it ESP or something?  Does he feel that right at that moment he is mentally being burned in effigy and suddenly feels the need to try and buy some good karma or something? Because I frequently get the text message that says, “I hope you’re having a great day. I love you.’, when I am so pissed off I want to scream!!!

I’ll be in the middle of wiping the coffee stains off the kitchen benches, the cupboards and even the goddamn floor, and mentally calculating how many more times I am prepared to do this before I throw the malodorous filthy fucking espresso machine out the fricken kitchen window and my little iPhone will innocuously go *ding* with an ‘I love you’.

Or I’ll be scrubbing the toilet of HIS skiddies, or scraping phlegm off the bathroom sink or washing bits of beard off the porcelain… and wondering ‘Ferfucksake why?!?  Does he not see it?  DOES HE NOT FUCKING SEE IT?’ and the phone will go *ding* with little messages of love.

I’ll be thinking to myself, ‘what part of, “you need to find somewhere else to hang those ties” sounds like a fucking suggestion?’, or ‘he said he fucking cleaned this, and yet here I am, on my hands and knees, doing it properly’, or sighing in slumped resignation at the realization that my request to take the stupid garbage out has been ignored for the umpteenth time and my phone will go *ding* with a text window telling me I’m so awesome.   🙁


You want to tell me that you love me… scrub down your own damn dunny and leave it smelling fresh and clean for the next occupant.

You want to tell me that you love me… actually clean the dishes when you say you are going to, and realize that cleaning the dishes also involves wiping down the sink!

You want to tell me that you love me… look after your own shit and don’t leave disgusting coffee stains and smells permeating the entire kitchen.

You want to tell me that you love me… don’t use the bathtub as an ‘overflow’ laundry hamper hindering anyone from actually taking a fucking bath!

You want to tell me that you love me… don’t vacuum the floor in part of the house and leave another part of the house littered with crap.

You want to tell me that you love me… then fucking DO something useful and fucking do it properly!


Here’s some free advice… thinking of getting married and sharing your life with someone until ‘death do you part’ or until one of you is lying about screwing some sort of window licking crazy in a dodgy hotel room on a Tuesday?  By all means.  Marriage rocks.  Having someone to share your life with is awesome.  BUT for crying out loud, save yourself years of heartache and marry someone who has the same sense of ‘clean’ as you do.  Else you are just buying into a world of fucking hurt.

And don’t get me started on having compatible concepts of ‘punctuality’…

Little boxes… little boxes.

Yay!  Lots of tradies in short shorts scampering all over my house today as they install the new air conditioning system.

Althought I have to admit, I always find it rather disconcerting to have tradesmen in the house banging and drilling and screwing things all over place.  Especially if they are up in the roof and all the banging and drilling and screwing is going on without me!  In truth, the noise always makes me feel a little uneasy – like the house is going to fall down around us… and meanwhile I tend to potter around attempting to look as industrious as the tradies, while actually engaging my efforts in less profitable endeavours… namely watching the tradies, banging and drilling and screwing things all over the house!  In my defence, this is probably due to the fact that there is an alarmingly small requirement for the chopping of wood with axes in the air conditioning installation process, else one would be watching that instead!  😀

need a tradie

Anyway, new air conditioning system will, of course, have two major and immediate impacts for us:

1) We will have Summer Friends again.  That’s right.  When you have air con in BrisVegas, you have lots and lots of friends in the summertime.  For, as you know, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a house sans air conditioning in Queensland, accommodates only sad and lonely pariahs that no civilized member of society should want to call upon (a phenomena experienced by pool owners and ducted air con dwellers alike).

And 2) We will have the pleasure of seeing the pretty little graphs on our summer power bills soar to their previously lofty, and excessively disturbing, heights once again!  Oh yay!  Praise the powers that be (pun intended) for ensuring that domestic electricity prices have soared by approximately 200%+ in last decade.  Sigh… thems the breaks.

But, we shall endure without complaint… for, at least we will be comfortably cool while we contemplate our discombobulating power bills.