Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Most Important Survey You'll Ever Take

Laundry is the bane of my existence.


Let me start by saying I think it is a miraculous act of God that I have two big white boxes that wash and dry clothes, (and that I got to get a new washer so I would no longer have to yell at our old one) and I do not have to wash our clothes in the sewage filled river as some women do. That said, I really hate them. They are the source of great distress. And this blog post will not have a redemptive ending like this one did. Read on anyways and share my pain.

The absolute BIGGEST fight of our marriage has been ongoing for almost 14 years now, and it centers around a laundry incident. Within ten minutes of meeting someone I have been known to ask, "Who checks pockets? The washer? Or the wearer?" and if you answer incorrectly our relationship will end there.

It all started before we even got married when we decided I would do laundry, and he would iron. But here's the thing: I DESPISE ironing and always have and do not buy things that will need to be ironed because I will wear them one time, wash them, and then never again because they, say it with me, need to be ironed. I obviously didn't think this deal through, but up to this point the amount of laundry wasn't an issue (oh, how that would change once kids entered the scene). In fact, back in those days, the only time you actually needed to do laundry was when you ran out of underwear. I had a college roommate who would wear her bikini bottoms when this happened. I won't call her out, but you know who you are. Honestly if I'd had the body for bikinis I would have done it, too. It's a lot harder to wear a skirted one piece under your jeans and sorority T-shirt.

Anyways, I didn't mind the laundry really. It only had to be done every other weekend or so, even for the two of us. No big deal at all.

But then, the "incident."

It started when, against my better (waaaaay better) judgment, I got Preston a Titans football jersey for his birthday. I think we were on marriage year two or so, which means we were roughly 24 or 25 years old. Old enough to not wear jerseys ever. No grown man should wear a sports jersey unless he has signed a contract for $75,000,000 with a guaranteed signing bonus. But the Titans were actually good back then, and he loved to go to the games on Sunday afternoons and really wanted a stupid jersey. And I was still enamored by him and bought him one. If I only could have seen the future. This mistake marked the beginning of our decades long fight.

He wore the jersey a lot, and seemed to enjoy wearing it in public. To spite me. He thinks things like that are really funny. In fact, as I was working on this post, he came in from the school dance he had been chaperoning and THIS IS WHAT HE WAS WEARING. I asked him to put it back on this morning so I could take his picture and now he won't take it off. Like I said, he's a funny, funny man. 

This is his Zoolander pose. He thinks he's hot.

So one time, I pulled the jersey out of the dryer after washing it, per our agreement, and it had gum all over it. Pink gum. I don't chew pink gum, so I knew it was his, but I knew this was bad, so I acted very maturely and picked as much off as I could and then buried it at the bottom of his t-shirt pile.

We were headed to vacation at the beach, and back then I packed for him. That sounds insane now, but I did. Oh my gosh, that's really cracking me up. I can't believe I used to pack his clothes. Ahh, young love.

Since I was in charge of packing I made sure I didn't pack the jersey. But somehow on the drive down, it came up. We were riding with my parents, who never ever fought in front of us while we were growing up. I thought married people didn't fight. The first time Preston and I fought I seriously thought it was over. Preston knows this so I figured it was a good time to tell him about the jersey. "He won't yell at me in front of my folks!" thought I. I thought wrong.

He was livid. I mean, so mad. Over a jersey.

So I just took his wrath, but when we got in private, I let him have it. (I know you are shocked by that given my demure personality.) We went some rounds. He blamed me for not checking his pockets. (I guess since I packed for him like he was a little boy it wasn't really that outrageous of an assumption that I would also check his sweet little pockets.) I blamed him for not checking his pockets. We were deadlocked. No resolution was arrived at, but I resigned from doing his laundry right then and there.

Fast forward about three months. We were having supper at the home of an older couple we really looked up to and were really mature in their faith, so I surveyed them, phrasing it as, "Who's fault was it?" And she asked, "Why does it have to be someone's fault?"

I was confused.

Of course it was his fault. He should apologize and grovel.

But I felt convicted by this woman who loved Jesus more than I did, so I apologized; he apologized (for embarrassing me in front of my parents - not for the gum - this is an important fact for later), and I resumed the laundry duties.

Until it happened again.

And there was another blow up.

And then again.

And again.

And then one time, about ten years in, I washed his wallet. Because he hadn't checked his pockets and neither had I. And oh, my word. That was not a pretty afternoon. That was the maddest each of us has ever been with each other. He kept insisting the only way to be sure nothing got washed is if the washer checked pockets and I kept telling him I was about to call a lawyer and get an annulment because he was obviously insane and I was getting the heck out. 

But then, the moment of truth. 

I told him, with steel in my eyes and in a cold, spookily even voice, if he ever, ever complained again when something he left in his pocket got washed, I would not be caught dead doing his laundry again, not if we both lived to be 287, I would not do his laundry.

And it hasn't been talked about since.

So I win. I'm proud of that. And ashamed. But I win.

Since I started writing this we actually had the joy of getting to see one of my college roommates (not bikini girl) and her husband (who happens to be one of Preston's best friends from growing up - they are how we got together - a story for another day). The subject of this blog came up, and I was briefing them on the topic of this post. Preston was silent because he knows what the consequences will be if he even utters a sound on the subject. Her husband, who, let me remind you, is one of Preston's life-long best friends, said, "Gotta tell you, Man, I agree with Martha." I love him so much. Preston remained silent. He knows. 

So that issue has become a nonissue. 

But now laundry has a whole different set of issues. Quantity is the biggest one. Our oldest child used to be a spit up machine. But she had a ridiculous number of burp cloths and dozens of darling outfits, so I would just change her and toss the soiled ones into her cute little laundry basket. (Why must everything in a nursery coordinate? The baby doesn't care and after the first sleepless week, you are incapable of caring about world peace much less a coordinated, gender specific nursery.) But when I went to do the laundry after a week, everything in the basket was growing stuff. Like black and green mold. It was a flippin' science experiment in the cute little nursery.

So I tossed out everything that was hopeless and learned to do laundry every single dadgum day.

And now between clothes, sheets, towels, placemats, napkins, dog poop covered shoes, dishtowels, blankies, hats, coats and socks for five people, laundry comes out to about two loads a day just to keep up. Throw a stomach bug into the mix, and it can easily climb to five. And then it all needs to be sorted, folded, and put away.

I know I am supposed to pull laundry out of the dryer the instant it stops so things won't wrinkle, but I think we have already established I don't care about wrinkles. My BFF from college used to iron my clothes for me because it made her crazy to see me in all my wrinkly glory, but I truly don't care. And kids don't care either. And Preston teaches P.E. and wears Nike and Under Armour all the time, which is impossible to wrinkle, so I don't pull stuff out of the dryer in a timely fashion at all.

I put this photo on fb a few weeks ago and every mom I know liked it. Because this is reality. You know your house looks like this right now. 

Eventually though I will pull it out and squish it into a laundry basket so I can toss the next load into the dryer. Then I will pull that load out and squish that one on top of the one I pulled out the day before. And on it goes until I just can't take it and resign myself to the fact that the folding fairies are actually a myth and so is the husband who folds clothes, so I have to do it.

I dump all the baskets of perfectly wrinkled clothes out onto our king sized bed. I can't even see the bedspread. And I start to fold. If the kids aren't home, I will watch "Friends" and pretend I am in Central Perk with the gang. If the girls are around I have to a) leave the TV off or b) watch Bonnie Bear, which makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs.

So I get everything folded, and then comes the putting away. The girls have to put away their own clothes. I mean, why the heck do I waste time folding them? They fling them into drawers willy-nilly, unfolding things, mixing underwear up with sweaters and in general undoing everything I just did. This will cause me to melt down in epic proportions. I will yell about how they don't appreciate me. How I hope they have identical quadruplets and then they will know how hard I work. And no, I will not babysit them!

I also refuse to scrub stains. It is just so totally pointless. I listed here all the events that are likely to occur here at our house, but that really isn't even the half of it. If I scrubbed stains, I would never do anything else ever. I did try to get a dry erase marker stain out of a brand new white school uniform shirt from the very first day it was ever worn, but there was no hope for it, so I just won't do it. Children in stained clothes was another area I used to judge in along with all these other things. Now I just figure the mother of that messy little child is one wise lady who has millions and billions of other things she needs to do.

Again, I always want to reiterate how glad I am for clothes, a magic machine that washes and dries everything, a husband (even in his stupid, stupid jersey) and three little children to mess everything up. I wouldn't have it in any other way.

Unless Brad Pitt comes calling and then I am outta here. I'm sure he checks his pockets. 

Grace for today and all your laundering woes,

P.S. When I was thinking of a title for this post one girl said it should be "Laundry is the Worst!" and another one said, "Poop Head." Just because. Come on, Brad!! Where you at?


  1. bikini bottoms. can we also be reminded that she let those boys in to destroy our dorm rooms?!?

    sports jerseys. amen sister.

    ironing. you know you miss me.

    1. I do miss you and not just for your ironing!! (Although that's are large part๐Ÿ˜‰) and we totally relived that night when Rob F was here this fall. "They took your playboys?!" ๐Ÿ˜‚


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