Monday, August 24, 2009

It Lives in the Basement

I have not done my own laundry since college.

This does not necessarily mean I haven't worn clean clothing since college though I do admit, with much hesitation, that I have been known to buy new underwear rather than wash existing underwear. I could also give you the 101 rationalizations I fashioned to defend this indefensible position, reasoned arguments about the value of my time, etc. But the truth is, I don't like laundry and I don't want to do it and there are plenty of other people who will do your laundry for you for a price. A price I was willing to pay. My roommate of several years loved laundry. He'd pack up his bag of dirty clothing, his ipod, and his book and go spend a whole afternoon doing laundry; I would drop mine off and retrieve it at some later date. When he moved into an apartment that had a washer/dryer, it was a momentous occasion. I think he might have wept. When I discovered that our house had a washer/dryer I mentally added laundry to the future housekeeper's duties.

But we're not unpacked fully yet. So we haven't hired a housekeeper. And it's been two weeks. And the pretty hamper in our bathroom was starting not to stay shut. And there are sheets and towels. Crap. I'm going to have to do laundry.

In my defense, I am not really skilled at laundry. I lose things, choose inappropriate settings, overstuff the machines, generally behave like an idiot. This weekend was no exception.

I don't sort laundry. I think it's a ploy by Big Detergent to get me to do more laundry (horror of horrors) and to spend more money on its products. Besides, who actually has enough white laundry to justify an all-white load? Clothing is clothing and, as such, goes in the same machine with the same settings. Anything that needs that measure of specialization (delicate cold, fluffy warm, permanent press?!?!?) should be cleaned by a professional. I am only human.

I now own many pink t-shirts.

Many many more than I owned, say, on Friday.

But all of my clothing has been washed before. What possibly could have bled? Oh, you mean that towel we bought at Cape May that was stuffed into a random bag during moving and was in this load of laundry being washed for the first time? I meant every OTHER item in the wash had been washed before. My bad.

Devoted partner saved one of my pricey brassieres from the indignity of machine washing by recognizing it had accidentally been stuffed in the hamper, and then instructed me in the gentle art of realizing when the water pumps connected to the washing machine were or were not on, further reminding me that if I wanted the clothing to become clean I would have to do more than simply cram it into the machine and press 'start,' I would, apparently, need to make sure the thing was plugged in and that water was servicing it.

At this point I would like to say, in my own defense, that these are precisely the kinds of concerns one needn't have if one has others do one's laundry.

Then, an angel descended upon the house. My mom. We had my parents over Saturday afternoon and nothing made my mother happier than when I gave her permission to oversee the laundry. Her enthusiasm stemmed from the fact that she doesn't have a washer/dryer in her apartment and must go to the basement to use the communal washer/dryer, so this was an exciting experience as I believe I am the first in the family to have a washer/dryer. She happily padded down to the basement and made sure things were properly loaded, soaped, and dried. Then she, I'm not kidding, folded the dry stuff and toted it upstairs in the plastic bin we had designated for the job.

Yeah, I don't feel really good about myself and my housewifery.

Sunday, determined to vaguely succeed at this task, even if for the first and last time, I did two more loads of wash. Load one didn't want to dry. I think it went through 2 if not 3 cycles. Load two I gave up on and asked devoted partner to do while I busied myself with further kitchen unpacking.

After all, maturity is, in many ways, owning one's strengths and weaknesses.

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