Some of My Idiosyncrasies

or… things (about me) that might drive other folks crazy

By Jeff Salter

Topic: Do you have any habits that your family or friends consider odd?

Unlike the bravery / boldness of some of our Resident Foxes, I did NOT solicit input from family or friends — no doubt they could list enough oddities (about me) to fill a book! I’m a pretty self-aware guy, so I guess I’m sufficiently qualified to list a few of my own idiosyncrasies.

One that is well-known to most readers of my Possum Trot Posts is my aversion to celery (among other “green things” that so many cooks add to so many dishes). And, yes, when I discover celery in my food, I’ll usually pick it out. As discreetly as possible, but sometimes there’s about as much celery as there is edible stuff!

Most of my family is aware that I do NOT enjoy eating out. I’m unequally yoked to a spouse who loves to celebrate ANY occasion by eating out. Not me. I don’t like crowds, I don’t like being jostled while I’m eating, I find the buzz of multiple conversations too jarring, and I don’t like other people handling my food. [Don’t get me started on the restaurants which leave ketchup on the table for months at a time and it’s handled by 784 customers before I have to use it!]

Here’s another that will be familiar to readers of Possum Trot Posts: I like to count stuff. Until covid forced closure of all exercise places for about thirteen weeks in early 2020, I had a 14-year total of the number of times I’d gone to exercise since my rheumatology doctor told me I’d HAVE to start exercising or my body pain (and other fibromyalgia symptoms) would worsen significantly. From Jan. 2005 through the end of 2019, I’d gone to exercise 2047 times. That was an average of 135.4 times per year / 11.3 times per month / 2.6 times per week. My year of highest exercise attendance was 2007 with 149 visits // my worst year was 2010 (when I began having severe stomach issues) with only 111 visits. Why do I count stuff? Exercise was something I did not want to do… and counting my sessions gave me goals – short term and milestone – to work toward. Hey, if it gets me to the gym, it’s good — right?

As you can tell from the example above, I enjoy fiddling with arithmetic. That’s another oddity of mine. When I’m loading things into the dishwasher, there will be a pile of eating utensils in the bottom of the sink. I estimate the number of knives and then sponge off what I believe will be half or more of them in the first handful. Same with spoons, and then forks. And, believe it or not, I’m usually right on target. By looking at a pile of utensils, I can guestimate that 7 knives will be half of the knives, 9 spoons will be half of them, and 8 forks will be half of that group. Rarely do I miss by more than one utensil. Is that odd, or what?

Speaking of arithmetic, here’s another foible: I find a degree of satisfaction in balancing my checkbook. Yep, you heard right. I’ve been banking for at least 54 years and I’ve balanced my checkbook every single month. [That’s 648 statements… and for several years in Shreveport I also had a second checking account with the credit union and balanced that one as well]. Just the other day, I was one penny off… and I re-did the whole thing to find that penny. A penny saved is a penny earned, y’all. [You’re probably wondering if I ever find any bank errors. Yes, on one occasion, several decades ago, I found a bank mistake and got it corrected. More recently I discovered a deposit that did not belong in my account… and I gave it back.]

Speaking of pennies: I look for – and frequently find – loose change in parking lots. Just this very week (Monday, in the rain), I found a DIME in a parking lot.

Errands is another thing I dislike doing. I’ll put off errands as long as possible and when they simply must be accomplished, I’ll group them so they require only one outing. Below is one (of many) from 6-8-2015 that I devoted to the subject of accomplishing multiple errands in minimal time:

Possum Trot Post (#15-514) — I think this is a new record, folks. As some of y’all know, I dislike running errands, so when I have to do so, I try to bundle them and dispatch as many as possible in the shortest amount of time possible.
Today’s run was three stops in 31 minutes. Yep.
Try that in Cincy or Dallas or Memphis.
Left the house at 9:34 and returned at 10:05.
Bought some bleach at Big Lots (Light # 2) — don’t ask — then paid a bill at the bank (Light # 4), then bought Denise‘s breakfast at Hardee’s (Light # 6).
The run included nearly 2 minute wait at the bank and at least 3 minute wait at Hardees.
At Big Lots, it included my search for the bleach and waiting for the clerk to realize someone was at her register.
Oh, and these 31 minutes were really a “Four-fer” — because (while I was gone) UPS delivered the printer I’d ordered Wednesday.
Uh, plus, I also got a breakfast for myself while I was feeding Denise. So let’s call it a “Five-fer”.

As you can see from that example, I use arithmetic, I include an element of challenge, and I turn a chore into a game. Many will consider it odd – and I’ll admit it may be – but if I can convert a chore into a game, I figure I’m the better for it.


What about YOU? Is there any way in which you may be considered odd?

[JLS # 593]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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19 Responses to Some of My Idiosyncrasies

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I knew about your aversion to green food, counting and dislike of travel, but I hadn’t heard about your reasons for not dining out. Going out to eat was one of the few things my husband and I enjoyed together, although he refused to travel more than five miles to get to a restaurant. If he hadn’t, I might have suggested he bring his noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs along. Good thing your wife, like me, is independent enough not to need you everywhere she goes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Yes, she’s quite independent. And she’s a member of several different outfits — most of which seem to FOCUS on finding places to dine out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jbrayweber says:

      Hear, hear! for the wife who is independent. I hate the idea of a wife not enjoying the simple pleasure of going out to eat just because her husband doesn’t want to.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I guess I should add that I DO take my wife out to eat at least weekly. Typically it’s breakfast at some point during the week… and on Sunday’s it’s lunch.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    I’m calling it. You ARE an oddball with your arithmetic quirks. ☺ I avoid any type of math at all costs, though I do balance our bank ledger and will hunt for the lost penny (which was lost in the first place because I suck at math).

    I’m not sure what habits I have that others would call odd. Maybe the way I clean house and do household chores. I quite literally keep a tight schedule. Monday – bills; Tuesday – tubs, showers, sinks; Wednesday dust and windex glass and mirrors; Thursday – bills, grocery store (I do NOT like grocery shopping); Friday – clorox counterops, clean toilets, any extra general cleaning, laundry. Most of these chores are also done BEFORE work. By the weekend, my house is clean and I don’t have to waste those days with chores. That said, I also have the need to clean something—anything—when it rains or we are expecting big storms. That comes from a traumatic experience of being without power after 1983’s Hurricane Alicia for weeks. My mom kept a very clean and orderly house. But I remember how overwhelming the kitchen mess became during that time following the hurricane. It was already chaotic enough cleaning up the OUTSIDE and working back toward normalcy. I learned cleanliness equals tranquillity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I think it’s not only quite industrious of you to have a set schedule and stick to it… but it should also make for a smoother “flow” of people and events in your household. If everybody knows which day is washday, for example, they can better plan their wardrobes for the week. I like a household with structure!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. YOu and Joe have so much in common! He’s a stat nut, too. I don’t even bother to look anything up or do quick calculations, I just ask him. especially at stores.
    He has been know to run stats on games so much that they lose their joy with Sons and Grandson; they just want to get on with the game already! Those are the only games he likes; We can’t get him into a game of chess with me,(he will with an electronic one), aboard game or cards. He’s been known to run John Madden’s Football games with unlikely teams against each other , ignoring it all the time, just to run the stats later. He has done this at very unusual times.(Mind you that is just the start of HIS quirks!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I share you oddity of counting everything. Sometimes I have to scold myself for constantly counting things. “Why? Why do you do that???” LOL

    Among my other odities, I can list hating to shop. I know, I know. Women are supposed to love shopping, but I hate it. The only time I enjoy shopping is at Christmas when I’m looking for gifts to purchase.

    All day long, I go around closing doors and draws that have been left open, even if only a crack. Yes, I have an aversion to that.

    But my biggest oddity is my sensitive skin. I can feel every seam in my clothing, and every wrinkle in my sheet at night. It drives me crazy. I’ve been this way since I was a child. Arnie teases me about being the princess from the fairy tale “Princess and the Pea.” Oh well. Be glad you don’t have this one, Jeff. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I don’t blame Denise for liking to eat out. We do too. In my case I just hate to clean up the kitchen. You talked about finding a dime in a parking tot, well, I had a student teacher once who had worked as a custodian at another school at one time. He said that he found enough money that he and his daughter were able to go to Disney World. I don’t know how long it took him to save it. And I hate balancing a checkbook! We’ve started to use a Quicken program on our computer to help us with it, and it really is easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I’d like to hear more about that custodian who found enough money to go to DisneyWorld. I’m trying to picture where all that cash was. Maybe in the bottoms of lockers, at the end of term when students were rushing to leave for the summer?


  6. Denise Salter says:

    Let’s talk about color of tee shirts, restaurant location, and super hearing!! Someone I know can hear his son take off his Velcro fastened tennis shoes outside the house. He can hear people opening and closing doors in other parts of the house while he is napping and alone in the house!! He has a color of tee shirt wearing system understood only by him!! But, one oddity when he lived in Bossier City was a rule of location. He would cross the river only two times a day. So, if he had been to work (which required crossing the River), we needed to contact him before he left for home to make arrangements for dining on work side of the river!!
    Now, I could continue with more info, but I will let y’all ask about the why Jeff-oops! I mean this person I know- would slip the neck of his tee shirt up and over his nose!!
    Interested Party

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      LOL. Well, I can’t deny any of these.
      And the thing about crossing the river had more components to it than just the number of crossings per day. The main two bridges were only two lanes each and traffic on both bridges was awful. The I-20 bridge had more lanes but people would run you down trying to merge into the traffic. That, plus the crime in Shreveport was horrible even then. you should see the headlines now!


  7. trishafaye says:

    I do NOT share your passion for numbers and counting LOL But, I will pick up every odd penny, nickel or dime that I find in parking lots! My ‘found money’ jar is actually quite full. But not full enough for a lavish vacation yet LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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