When I was very young, I remember how much my mother disliked Mondays. Whether by Presidential decree, habit or tradition, Monday was laundry day in Spokane. If you doubted that, all you had to do was take a walk around our north side neighborhood and count the overburdened clotheslines.
Having graduated from a washboard just a few years after my birth, my mother possessed a wringer washer during most of my early years. I was going to say an “old” wringer washer, but I don’t know if it was or not. Possibly, my mother owned the last of the dinosaurs; perhaps everyone had one then.
When Mom finally graduated to a “modern” washing machine, it looked very much like the washing machine I use today, except it was pink. I think buying a pink washer and dryer was my mother’s statement that the Lieres had finally caught up with the Joneses. Either that, or there was a close-out on pink appliances.
Mondays were not nearly so onerous for Mom after that.
Like most other household chores, I at first found the thought of washing clothes to be intimidating. Once I dispelled the myth about “whites with whites and darks with darks,” however, things got easier. I have been washing white underwear with blue jeans and red T-shirts for some time now, and only occasionally can I detect bleeding of one color into another—certainly not enough to be mindful of it. Sometimes, in fact, it improves the looks of my underwear.
I do all my laundry in cold water, and I use whatever liquid detergent is on sale. My theory is that once the clothes have been through two changes of water and two spin cycles, they’d be clean enough even if I used no detergent at all.
My main problem with “laundry day” is that I don’t have one. In fact, I don’t even have a “laundry week.” I do the wash when I am out of clothes, and when that day arrives, the stack on the floor in the laundry room is prodigious, indeed. When I was a college student living in a small rented house, I used to put dirty clothes in the kitchen cupboards, as there were no dishes there anyway. That practice ended when the landlord came to collect the rent and noticed my roommate’s ferret had built a nest in the cupboard in a pile of my underwear. That same discovery voided my lease and I had to move back home and commute to college.
How was I to know Fruit of the Loom was not allowed in off-campus housing?
When there is a laundry day at my house now, it is indeed a very long day, a seemingly endless cycle, as I shuttle clothes from washer to dryer to living room couch. My intent is to fold them and put them away, but if there is nothing on TV that will justify me sitting in one place for several hours while I fold clothes, the couch is sometimes out of commission for days at a time.
Pants are an exception to my tendency to put off folding and hanging — the final laundry day duties. It is much easier to take a pair of jeans, still slightly damp from the dryer, and “press” them by laying them on the upstairs bed and smoothing out the wrinkles with my hands. If I smooth my jeans and hang my shirts fresh out of the dryer, I can avoid a lot of ironing. This is very important, as “ironing day” comes even less frequently than “laundry day” at my house.
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