28 April 2007

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

For the first 18 years of my life (and it only stopped there because I went to college), my mother's greatest grievance against me was that I was medically incapable of putting my dirty clothes in the bathroom hamper. Due to the chronic disease called "adolescence", my laundry instead coagulated on the floor of the bedroom I shared with my older sister, steeping carefully in a scientific mix of wool and cotton and denim until I needed to re-wear a particular item.

This problem actually afflicted me until my mid-twenties, but it ceased being my mother's problem as I had moved out of her domicile. Even moving into a bungalow on Spokane's South Hill that had a washer and dryer in the basement and a clothesline in the backyard didn't solve things.

What finally solved things was a cat named Pickles. Towards the end of her life, Pickles developed her own particular affliction: kidney failure. (You see where this is going.) After several months--and two new futons--I came to the simple discovery that Pickles could not pee on clothes that were hanging up, in the dresser, or in the hamper. And so my life as a recovered slob began. (After several months of marriage, my husband once asked if the new cats only peed on his clothes because they didn't like him, and I had to gently explain to him that cats don't have opposable thumbs and therefore can't get to my clothes.)

Saturday is Laundry Day here at Three Feathers. Actually, every other day is laundry day around here, with my father and I both running three to five times a week and three quarters of my underwear in storage. But Saturday remains official laundry day when sheets and towels are stripped and washed, then hung out to dry. To that end, my mom is already on her umpteenth load of dishcloths and socks and no one will be able to take a shower for hours, since she's using up all the hot water.

Thinking it was just an idle comment, she wondered aloud why it seemed like there was so much more laundry lately. (Um, because there's half again as many people in the house as you're used to? And both of them are taller than you?) No, she explained. It doesn't even seem like growing up she did this much laundry, when there were five of us. I actually had to remind her how incapable we were of hitting the hamper with any degree of accuracy--or, to be fair, effort--until adulthood. She still didn't think that accounted for all the extra trips up and down the cellar steps.

She's found me out. I've got a secret lab in my closet, where night after night I've coaxed dirty spandex leggings to multiply. I've discovered how to actually create matter in the form of identical pairs of Levi 550's. Because it couldn't possibly be that, now that I spend my days as a role model for young adults, I actually don't want to look like a schlep and could therefore be putting the exact same pair of jeans in the laundry over and over, every weekend, God forbid.

Seriously, though. She needs to look at the bright side. At least I don't wet the bed anymore. Because I only have, like, three sets of sheets out of storage right now.


Anonymous said...

Just found your site, through This Garden is Illegal, and read at least 3 or your posts.
You certainly write beautifully. I gather you teach, so you probably teach writing?

Anonymous said...

Ah, I'm so clever... I clicked on profile and discovered you're an English professor.

thefirecat said...

Yes, of mostly remedial-level English, because that's where most community college freshmen are, sadly.