Small Talk


July 31st, 2009

We are in the midst of potty training right now with our 25 month old, and I guess I better be careful about not pushing her too hard. In 1908, Freud theorized that children who experience conflicts during toilet training may develop "anal" personality traits, namely those associated with a child's efforts at excretory control: orderliness, stubbornness, a compulsion for control. As adults, people with those qualities are called anal retentive.

I don't know if I had issues when I was two, but I do know I'm a Virgo, and I'm sure that accounts for part of my need for order.

It's probably genetic as well. My dad organizes his 5,000 CD collection not just alphabetically (come on- how pedestrian), but within each artist, he organizes it by type of music (Beethoven's sonatas, quartets, concertos, etc). It'll make more sense when I reveal he's a retired computer programmer. Of course, within each type of classification, that too is alphabetized. Duh, what card-carrying AR person doesn't do that?

My mother is the antithesis of that. She can't organize to save her life. I remember being a very young child and trying to organize her coupons and other stuff. So, it's just my personality.

I'm excellent at creating systems and procedures. The minute I got on the morning show and realized we had live guests to contend with, I immediately started making a list of directions and other FAQs for people. I refine the document with each discovery of a flaw. It's crazy to some, but I see it as efficient.

Some guests don't even read it (aaargh! Virgo nightmare!) but some do. Dawn Sakamoto at Watermark Publishing said, "This sheet is SUUUUUUUPER helpful. I love it. Thanks VERY much. "

The AR Department: Di and Miles

The AR Department: Di and Miles

I have a counterpart in the building. Miles works in a different department. The other day, after seeing how I label everything I own (including the USB cables - hey, come on. I own four cameras!) our morning technician Mark categorized me as "the Miles of News."



Most of you have your HR guy. We have our AR guy! At least he has a better excuse. He's in engineering, where you really need attention to details.


I laughed about this with Miles, who labels just about everything he touches, too. For instance, Miles stocks up the soap in the kitchen and bathrooms. It has the Miles Touch: "Do Not Discard - Refillable." I saw the label maker in the office supply room the other day and thought what a cruel joke it would be to hide it from him.


To prove my point, I then e mailed him my guest document, which has expanded to six pages, including photos (in case you no like read) and screen captures. He wrote back, "Tears, Diane, tears of happiness flowing down my face knowing that there are others who are AR like me. There is a need in this world for people like us. We are the ones who make things cleaner, better, neater, easier to find, easier to do, and we must stick together and stick up for one another even during times of ridicule. AR people unite.  Hee, hee."


Labeled on both sides of tool

Labeled on both sides of tool


I totally do the same kinds of things! We had a great time comparing all the silly things we do.

Lables, labels. I love it.

Lables, labels. I love it.

How I love Miles. And he's not even a Virgo.

I thought about having a party for all the AR folks we know, but for sure, it'll have to be BYOL: bring your own labelmaker.

10 Responses to “AR”

  1. hemajang:

    Not so much at home, cuz da wife rules but I make lots of little signs at work to remind people to put things away, clean up, operating instructions, etc. I will add graphics such as eye balls, pointing fingers and photos to make a point...made this sign in the staff area about using wet paper towels to clean the table after use with a photo of an evil looking nazi officer ready to execute any offenders. I think the signs are humorous reminders but not sure if my co-workers will agree...generally they work though. I got tired of cleaning the inside of the microwave from splattering food so made a sign reminding users to cover their food and had a photo of a girl making a crossed-eyed funny face. They got the hint and microwave has been splatter-free so far.

  2. Rosette:

    the way I see it I got a life time to organise I take my time I relax.

  3. Rosette:

    after 18 years I finally purchased an organiser to get my pictures organise!

  4. Diane Ako:

    I know! I can't stand saying the same things over and over. Or having new guests cycle through as house guests but having to tell them the same things. For that one I copied what I thought was a good idea at a B&B. I made a little manual explaining stuff like how to open the garage door, or things that I've noticed other people find confusing. I once had someone break my garage door by pulling the emergency handle to close it because in Europe where she lives all the doors are pull handles.

  5. theDman:

    I don't think AR would ever be used to describe me....but my wife......ho boy!

  6. LifeIsGreat:

    My grandmother used to always command "put it back where you found it so you can find it later." I never really did it as a child, but now...EVERYTHING has its place...I dont go as far as labeling everything tho. So maybe I'm just orderly (if thats a word)..and not quite AR. However, my daughter is a Virgo...she's still an infant and has only mastered the art of taking everything OUT of its place...mental note for Santa to give her a labelmaker in a few years...thanks for the tip!

  7. rayboyjr:

    Well ... everyone else thinks I'm AR ... I just prefer to think of myself as neat and orderly ... ok maybe not so neat, but at least with some kind of order and control ...

    Hey Diane, we have one thing in common! I'm a Virgo too.

    *Sigh* ... after reading your blog, I do so much of the things you guys do ... maybe I am AR ... *Sigh*

  8. David In Oregon:

    Wow, this is a funny post. I'm not AR, not even close. I do admit to doing some of the things listed here though.

    I try to put things in the same areas to make them easier to find. I figure the less time I spend looking for something, the more time I can spend either working, or if at home, relaxing.

    I also label my tools, but that is so I can identify them, and prevent others from stealing them. It's very hard for others to claim something as "theirs" when it is very clearly labeled with my name on it.

    I've also labeled various cords, cables, and wires, but that is primarily for safety reasons. There's nothing worse than crossing wires and having a machine damaged, particularly when you realize the machine is worth millions of dollars, and you have no spare parts or other machines that can be used.

  9. Sittinginlimbo:

    Okay I'm not the only one that labels everything! whew!

    You should see my things at work! Everything has my name on it and a little message saying "no touching or else your hands will fall off". I'm so anal when it comes to my stuff. My children toys are all with last name, those toys includes beach toys and if the toys comes in a bag I count how much toys get then I count them all when it's time to put it away.

    If it's not with my name then I put a little design of some sort. I think I got it from my mom. I remember when I was younger she would label everything of ours with a design of the meaning of our hawaiian name. I do the samething with my kids.

  10. Diane Ako:

    And do people make fun of you, too? They shouldn't!!! 🙂

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