Tag Archives: Laundry

A Clothesline Chat

Image by AlkeMade from Pixabay.

On a blue-sky morning with a delicious summer breeze, don’t you want to hit the beach?

Image by Willi Heidelbach from Pixabay.

Me, too. (Sigh.) Instead, I meet our clean-underwear quota.

I remember clotheslines with chorus lines of jigging jeans. Wind-chubby, upside-down shirts. Billowing sheets sailing in a heavenly sky-ocean. My siblings and I flitted in and out of a blue-and-white world.

As I stuff wet laundry into the dryer, yesterdays hover like butterflies.

We were crazed moths, drawn to clean laundry like a flame. Fresh from the playground, we plopped into laundry baskets. The clothes didn’t mind grassy, muddy hugs, but Mom did.

Image by Adriano Gadini from Pixabay.

We despised bedtime, but clean sheets’ sunny smell reminded us we could play outdoors tomorrow.

When I helped Mom, clothespins chomped my fingers like miniature monsters. A determined little laundress, I learned to pinch them instead.

Everyone possessed a clothesline, then. For big families like ours, every day was a potential wash-and-dry day — if the sun appeared. Sometimes, he’d shine while we filled lines with clothes, then played hooky. Worse, he conspired with rowdy, storm-cloud friends, who gleefully doused a morning’s hard work. When the sun left for Florida in December, clothes morphed into stiff, frozen aliens that refused to fit into a basket.

No wonder we — and much of America — greeted dryers with enthusiasm. Clotheslines became an endangered species.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

Recently, however, their number has increased, mostly for ecological reasons.

Despite her neighborhood association’s rules, Susan Taylor of Bend, Oregon, set up a clothesline. She became the star of a neighbor’s covert photographing sessions. Even after Susan screened her offensive laundry behind backyard trees, then a curtain in her open garage, the association filed a lawsuit against her.

Susan and others nationwide won their point, though, because Oregon and 18 other states now ban bans on clotheslines.

Image by Jay Mantri from Pixabay.

I don’t own one, mostly because Hubby’s too busy to install it. But I’d like to fulfill our clean-underwear quota with a clothesline, hanging them behind sheets, as Mom taught me. I could return to that heavenly, blue-and-white world, then snuggle at night into sun-kissed sheets smelling of a fresh tomorrow.

Unlike Susan, I live where people care more about each other than the way they dry clothes.

Her neighborhood’s dirty laundry has been aired all over the Internet. I wonder … have they learned to be neighbors yet?

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever used a clothesline?

Confessions of a Stain Queen

There are humans who never spill or stain. Really.

As babies, they don’t spit up. School pictures feature pristine pastels. They finish sports seasons without a single grass stain. As adults, they never squirt lobster juice on other diners at upscale restaurants.

If you qualify, please continue so you understand people like me. “Egg on my face” is not just an expression. Egg not only spatters my chin, cheeks and glasses, but nests in my belly button.

I always thought such disasters were my fault. But modern wisdom says we’re all victims, so I now blame my DNA.

How about you?

Do new pens spring 57 leaks at checkout?

Do supermarket ladies dump beet samples on you?

Do road workers match tarring sessions with your commute?

Then you are stain royalty, a lifetime heir of splotches, blotches and smudges.

Try to think positive. As a child, I snacked on a sleeve, the equivalent of a PB&J sandwich.

Despite serious efforts to avoid staining my teen fashions, though, splotches appeared whenever I brushed against oxygen.

Image by Prawny from Pixabay.

Fortunately, love blinded my new husband to this handicap — until I did laundry: “Where did these lavender spots on my underwear come from?”

I shrugged. “Who knows? Washers don’t like me.”

Give the man credit. He not only has endured decades with a stain queen, but with kids who took after her. One toddler decided Dad’s underwear needed a rainbow hue and tossed crayons into the dryer.

I couldn’t have done better myself.

Image by Lernestorod from Pixabay.

They’re adults now, with their own little messies. Though my children still suffer from drops and dribbles, their kids’ mishaps supply excellent camouflage. When grandchildren visit, Grandma shares this benefit.

Still, you’d think fellow stainers and I would never wear white or khaki. But miracle products rescue us: bleaches and stain removers — and friends who carry them in their purses. When I dumped punch on a tablecloth, my friend not only loaned me her bleach stick, she gave me an extra.

I shout out other marginalized heroes: the dry cleaners.

Although last time I hauled a load, I found the door locked and a sign: “Rachael Phillips: We’ve moved to Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. All others: Return after she leaves.”

Image by Lockenkopf from Pixabay.

Sigh. That’s the fifth dry cleaning store in town that’s moved to Iceland.

Doesn’t this awaken compassion, you of stainless zeal? Shouldn’t you nix criticism until you’ve walked in my gasoline-dotted shoes?

Finally, fellow sufferers, I feel your stain pain and offer an inspiring quote: Walk carefully and carry a big stain stick.

Or stick with friends who do.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a stain queen?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: We’re Even Now

O Lord, You know my husband does a great job with the laundry. Recently, though, the cranberry-colored place mats he washed dyed our towels pink. Very pink. But, OMG, it was easy to forgive him. You recall that as a new wife, I accidentally turned all his underwear lavender. Very lavender…

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Please Nix the Gnats!

O Lord, You know we love camping in Your wild, beautiful world. But this year, a gnat plague of biblical (Exodus 8:16-19) proportions swarmed us the entire trip. After we returned home, Hubby even sorted piles of dirty laundry in his truck’s bed, rather than let the pests infest our house. OMG, Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to You, but we want to know: was it something we said?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: The Shirt Lies

O Lord, Hubby donned a shirt this morning whose label implied he’d owned it since the early permanent-press era. Laundry instructions: “Tumble dry. Hang on a hanger. No starch.” OMG, that’s a misprint, right? The pictures lie, too, because the shirt can’t be that old!

We can’t be that old, either. …    

When Hubby’s Gone

When my husband occasionally takes a job-related trip, I don’t blink an eye. As a medical student, resident, then small-town doctor, he considered hospitals his home away from home. Or was our home the home away from home?

We never got that straight. But we worked it out.

Those early days proved challenging. Alone in a big-city apartment, this small-town girl read thick books to fill nighttime hours. I went to the grocery after dark only if my books weighed more than me. I braved the laundromat only if the hamper attracted flies.

A new basement apartment expanded the all-night-alone experience. Window sills were at sidewalk level. While eating dinner, we watched anonymous feet and legs walking past.

When Hubby spent the night at the hospital, the thought of feet kicking in screens kept me wide-eyed. I sang along with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and saluted the flag when television stations went off the air. Since continuous noise forms a shield no criminal can penetrate, I turned on the radio. I triple-checked the dead bolt.

Why “dead”? Why not “alive bolt”?

Stop, I prodded myself. This is the era of Charlie’s Angels. Women don’t have to live scared.

But I didn’t own a gun or know karate. Worse, my hair refused to do the Farrah Fawcett thing.

Should I block the door with heavy furniture? Given our basement windows, not overly effective. Perhaps create a burglar alarm using Pepsi cans, á la my dad?

Outside stairways creaked. Anonymous feet lurked. …

My creativity shifted into overdrive. Maybe I’d grease the entrance and window sills with Crisco®?

But what if Hubby received an unexpected night off?

Hey, it could happen.

I decided to leave the bathroom light on. After all, science has proved all-night bathroom lights morph into deadly lasers that zap intruders, then flush them down the toilet.

What, that would never happen?

How do you know?

Please do not knock my imagination, as Hubby and I eventually discovered our apartment complex was a major drug center. Still, thanks to TV, radio static and vigilant bathroom light, I suffered no harm. Many pushers never made it back to the street.

Fast-forward four decades. Hubby’s gone tonight on a rare trip.

I will handle nighttime like a pro, as we live in a small town. No scary feet tramp past window sills. I turn off the TV and radio before retiring. I even click off the bathroom light.

I am dead asleep when the phone rings. Hubby, leaving early, will arrive soon.

See, it can happen.

But how do I un-Crisco the doors and windows?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you follow a different nighttime routine when your spouse is away?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Back Home Again

O my God, thank You for our weekend in the city. A luxury hotel at a bargain price. Steaks, seafood, Chinese. An incredible symphony performance that made our hearts sing. Now we’re home again. Work. Laundry. And nobody jumps to fill my coffee cup. OMG, so glad You live here, too!