I hate laundry. Hate. It. Really.
I love wearing clean laundry and I don’t completely loathe taking it downstairs to the laundry room. I can tolerate putting it in the washing machine . . . and drying it only sucks moderately. It’s the whole folding thing I despise.
I don’t know why I hate it so much. I ignore it and pretend it isn’t in baskets in the laundry room. I put off folding it and putting it away until the boys are down to last season’s Christmas pajamas and I am two-daying my socks. Then I suck it up and fold it. Sometimes my wife gets tired of digging for clothes or takes mercy on me and does it. She is not obligated because as unlikely as it would seem, I take full responsibility for laundry . . . even when Eli’s belly is sticking out from under last year’s Santa jammies.
It has been suggested that perhaps I don’t wait until we are low on clothes to wash them. That isn’t the issue. I regularly empty hampers and do loads of wash. The next suggestion was that I fold them in small batches so it doesn’t take a long time. To me that is like choosing between two mandatory forms of torture; A medium poke in the eye every day of my life or one big poke every three weeks or so. No brainer for me. When in doubt – procrastinate.
My hatred of laundry goes back a long time. I did laundry during my single days in the service because I was forced too. I also found out that pretty girls did their laundry in the barracks laundry room. I also found that sometimes pretty girls found it charming when a guy didn’t know how to do his laundry . . . and they would help . . . and strike up conversations. It stopped working after awhile and started looking pathetic . . . probably long before I realized that it started looking pathetic.
Eventually, I started just buying new clothes instead of washing the old ones. When I got married and moved out of the barracks, I had over 60 sets of under garments. I really hate laundry.
It would help a little if I could get the boys to put their own laundry away. We’ve tried. Eli just lapses into tears and wails that nobody will ever help him do anything . . . ever. Crying is his only real defense and it is remarkably effective. He works in tears and sobs the way other masters work in oils or pastels. Charlie has a different method. He takes all his clothes downstairs and dumps them in his closet. Then he wears the same clothes all week. I frequently get folded clothes in his laundry hamper at the end of the week. He panics because he doesn’t have the requisite amount of clothes in his hamper so he grabs the clean clothes out of the closet and puts them in his hamper. He will insist that he wore the shirts and shorts and pants . . . but it is really hard to explain the folded-into-a-pair socks in his hamper.
So . . . generally I put the clothes away as well. That is a little less sucky. At least with my wife and Eli, I generally know where to put the clothes. They each have designated drawers for each variety of garment. I am not 100 percent accurate, but close enough that I don’t get a lot of complaints. Charlie is on his own. His room scares me.
The boys will sometimes help, but that isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Up until a few years ago, Eli liked to try on all our clothes when putting them away. It was a little funny but not nearly worth refolding the clothes. Charlie pretty much stays away when I am folding or putting away my wife’s clothes. He helped once and accidentally picked up a pair of his mother’s underwear that weren’t exactly granny panties. He looked at them for a moment with a confused look on his face. Then he realized what they were. He dropped them shrieked and was stricken with blindness. He soon regained his ability to speak, but his vision was fuzzy for awhile.
Recently Eli was in our room with us while we were putting away laundry. My underwear wardrobe is pretty mundane and predictable. Boxers or boxer briefs. Plaid or plain mostly. My underwear pile tipped over on our bed and Eli looked through them. He picked up a pair. Apparently in a moment of nostalgia a while back I picked up a few pairs of old-school briefs. You know . . . the old tighty whities. Except in deference to fashion and style I opted for black. ‘Tighty blackies’ just doesn’t ring enough to catch on.
Curiously Eli unfolded my underwear. He smiled at me. “Are these yours, Dad?” I nodded. I wasn’t sure where he was going with that. He held up the briefs. “Are your sure these aren’t mom’s?”
“They look like mom’s underwear.”
“No they don’t,” I said defensively. “They are briefs.”
He was unconvinced. “Mom are these yours?” His mother replied with a raised eyebrow.
Eli laughed, “DAD WEARS GIRL ROOS!” (Roos are what we call underwear around our house. It is a shortening of Underroos, I brand of kids underwear sold years ago.)
“Elijah, those are not girls underwear,” I said reasonably. I could see this getting out of hand.
He held them up displaying how obviously girl they were.
“They are briefs . . . the type that I wore years ago.”
“DAD WEARS GIRL ROOS!” Now he was standing on the bed and waving them over his head.
“Elijah . . . those are briefs . . .”
He was not the least bit interested in the underwear of yesteryear or anything else I had to say. He jumped down and ran down the hall. “DAD WEARS GIRL ROOS!” Of course I chased him yelling “I DON’T WEAR GIRL ROOS!’ because no argument is more persuasive than one made to a seven-year-old while chasing him. I went back to the bedroom defeated and continued to put away clothes. Eli was downstairs now proclaiming to the dogs that I wore girl underwear. My wife did me the courtesy of not laughing out loud, but her eyes were watering a little bit.
So I really hate laundry. I can’t not do it. My wife has tons on her plate so I am the logical choice. Ironically enough, she has no issues with folding laundry . . . she says she finds it relaxing. Of course nobody runs around the house waving her underwear . . . I mean not anymore . . . That’s another blog post.
Thanks for reading and sharing. Hope your summer is shaping up to be everything you want. We’ll talk again soon on This Side of the Diaper.