Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The nuances of doing the laundry

I’m sorry – I know this is wrong of me to say.  It’s probably wrong of me to even think it.  But, love Hubby though I do, he creates the most bizarre loads of laundry I've ever seen.  All different kinds of colors and materials – his stuff, kids’ stuff, my stuff, random stuff – all jammed together in one overloaded…uh…load.  Here’s an example of what I found (and subsequently folded) last night:

  • a bright orange and white University of Tennessee-themed knit cap (watch cap/toboggan/toque – depending on where you’re from);
  • my long-sleeved, eggplant-colored shirt;
  • my ancient, soft, over-sized periwinkle-colored sleeping t-shirt;
  • a fake Burberry throw;
  • three or four boy-child shirts that are about three sizes too small (can’t even figure out where they came from to wind up in the load in the first place!);
  • a single pair of boy-child’s olive khaki cargo shorts;
  • one black sock;
  • a single, blue, flannel, flat sheet used for Hubby’s massage table (he’s a massage therapist, in case you didn't know);
  • a small, crocheted, doll blanket (blue);
  • one of girl-child’s soft blankies (pink and brown) 

I’m sure there was some other random stuff in there that I’m forgetting.  And yes, I know I’m petting my peeves again.  But really?  I can’t figure this out.  Did no one ever teach him that whites go with whites, darks go with darks, some materials shouldn't be washed together (if at all, ‘cause, you know, hand-washing and all that jazz) and that you don’t pack the washer drum so full that it can’t agitate? 

I know it doesn’t help that our washing machine is crappy to begin with, and that it leaks all over the kitchen floor every time we use it (yes, it’s in the kitchen) and that there’s this sort of musty odor that I absolutely cannot get rid of that I get a whiff of every single time I walk into our house; all of which means that doing laundry in our house is a challenge and not one to be undertaken lightly.  I’m trying to give Hubby a pass here.  But, admittedly, I am a bit concerned that if I mention all this to him he’ll either ignore me and continue doing it his own (wrong) way *or* he’ll simply say, “Fine, you do all the laundry then, Miss Know-It-All,” and never touch the washing machine ever again.  Neither option is acceptable to me.  Is there a third option?  I need your help here.  And as much as I’d like to ask you to fund a new washing machine and dryer (she says, only half-joking), I won’t. 

I know all the basic laundry rules.  I feel that I am, personally, quite successful at washing clothes without wrecking them.  I don’t shrink things because I dried them accidentally (or haven’t done so in a considerable amount of time).  I don’t mix colors and whites.  I know how much soap to use and when to use the delicate/hand-wash setting vs. the permanent press setting.  To quote Robert Fulghum: “These are choices I can understand and make with decisive skill.”  I still burn water in the kitchen while trying to make mac & cheese, but (again, from Mr. Fulghum) “washers and dryers I can handle.” 

However, I would very much like to know how to re-train a full-grown man on the nuances of doing the laundry.  Because, though I tend to be a somewhat (ok…thoroughly) random person myself and on some deeply-internalized level understand the strangeness of Hubby's laundry load choices, there are some things that just need to be done a certain way.  Some folks would say – hey, it’s washed, or, it’s folded, what more could you ask for?  And, quite frankly, while they are right, I really don’t want to be the one to fold every blasted article of clothing or every sheet and towel that we own.  And I really don’t want to be the only one to wash the fifty-billion loads of laundry we seem to do every week.

And yes, for those of you saying, “Why don’t you teach boy-child and girl-child to do their own laundry?” – I’ve tried.  Once.  At that point boy-child was still just not ready for it and girl-child was too little.  Now that they’re a little older, I think boy-child could probably handle it and then I wouldn’t hear “MOM!  I don’t have any clean [insert article of clothing here] to wear to school tomorrow!” anymore.  But then I'd never be sure he was wearing clean clothes and I would be absolutely mortified if he wore the same thing to school every day for a week; and he totally would.

Anyway – I could go on forever about this.  And if I’m being honest (and I am) we really need to get rid of a TON of too-small, or ill-fitting articles of clothing – so that would cut down on laundry-doing quite a bit.  But can laundry nuances actually be re-taught to someone who has been doing laundry for a very long time?  You know, kind of like teaching an old dog new tricks, it can be done, but it takes a lot of work.  And really, what kind of time do I have to actually do the work that re-training requires?

Sigh.  I guess I’m out of luck, eh?


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