Thursday, August 24, 2006

Laundry: The big lie

Got this from Catholicity


Perhaps the biggest lie about taking care of kids is that the word "laundry" means one task. Yet as most moms know from hard experience, laundry consists of an almost endless succession of distinct actions. Here is an incomplete list, just for fun:

Gather clothes (and towels!) from multiple locations
Carry baskets to washing machine
Sort clothes by person(s)
Sort by color
Sort by type of clothing
Treat pesky stains with special stain-fighting product (and often: delay before loading)
Load into washer (by type or color or person)
Measure and add detergent/softener
Start washer (often, this step is forgotten!)
Wait for up to 30 minutes
Come back to washing machine
Unload wet clothes from washer (on time!)
Put the SECOND load into washer, add detergent, start washer
Sort wet clothes by permanent press, cotton, what's needed right now, etc.
Load wet clothes into dryer
Start dryer (again, often this step if forgotten!)
Wait for up to 60 minutes
Return to the dryer
Remove first load from dryer
Sometimes: clean out the lint screen
Put Second load of wet clothes into dryer, start dryer
Accept without despair there is never enough space for the next 4 steps
Sort clothes by person(s)
Sort by type of clothes
Fold clothes
Iron clothes that need ironing
Put clothes into basket
Bring clothes back to multiple rooms
Place clothes/towels in dressers, closets, shelves in multiple locations

For some mysterious reason, our research reveals that many folks get bogged down in the final step after folding the clothes. Reports abound of folded clothes sitting on a table or in a basket of the laundry room for days on end. The last "step" of putting the clothes away, after all, is actually several separate actions in several different rooms. Remember to take a minute tonight to thank the one in your home who does the "laundry."

According to McDoogle's Second Law of Laundry Dynamics, it is not possible in our universe to have a house where all clothes are clean and put away without soiled clothes mustering like enemy soldiers somewhere else in the house. Yet despite the never-ending drudgery, doing laundry is ultimately a very satisfying task. There is a special feeling of joy we feel when our children don clean clothes. Precisely because it has to do with taking that which is soiled, wrinkled, and unusable, doing laundry is a lot like going to Confession, but with physical, rather than spiritual, penance. Dirty to clean. Sinner to saint. Restoration! If you happen to be a guy who rarely does laundry, it is not unlike the feeling you enjoy when taking in the view of your freshly-mowed lawn.

Ha! If you knew how long the (two oldest boys') clothes (especially) lay in baskets waiting to be put away,... and sometimes other clothes as well, in baskets in my room... and the whole ironing step? Put off for later,... much much later...

Ohhh, the shame...

(Something like putting off confession, but you feel really good when you finally get around to doing it?)