Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hanging the Laundry To Hang the Laundry

Better things to do than dishes!

On the other hand, I have this laundry thing down pat.

I LIKE doing the laundry.  You take the filth out of the room, throw it into a machine that hums and thrums for an hour and a half, letting you know that you are getting the job done without really being there at all.  THIS I am present for!

I have the kids trained to throw their stuff into the machine.  Damon too.  Most of the time.  Once it is full, the machine sings prettily as I punch in the cycle.  I even use the "conserve water" cycle so I can feel really good about myself.

And, when the machine is done - and again sings sweetily at me - I go out to hang the laundry on the line in the clear Australian sunshine.  Depending on the load - whether it is full of socks or full of one of Damon's work outfits - it takes me twenty to thirty minutes to hang the laundry.

I have a system.

I love my system.

I make order out of the chaos.  Socks and undies here.  To hide from the neighbours.  Sports stuff here.  Mine there.  Ian.  Ryan's riding gear.  School uniforms go on hangers in the shade.  The twins stuff gets hung together and sorted later.

I think of the Americans who waste so much energy on driers.  And on the Germans who have to hang their laundry in their basements for four days before it dries.  I feel really really lucky to be in Australia hanging out my laundry in the sun. 

Australians also have a very American approach to ironing.  Heads up Europe:  you can mostly get away without it.  Put the shirts on hangers on the line.  Spray with lavendar.  Heck, I don't even do that.  Only cowboys iron their jeans in the USA.  So far no one in my gym has noticed that my sports gear is wrinkly. (Hmmm.  Maybe if I lost more weight?!)

The only thing that used to get me down about the laundry is the inside out socks I used to waste time turning rightside out.  All I could think about while I was doing it was that if the boys (and Damon) could be just that little bit more respectful of my time and do it themselve then I wouldn't be stuck doing it for everyone all at once.  It made me so mad.  Like I have all this time to waste on turning out their flippin' socks.  Like they couldn't respect me and love me enough to do this for me.  Heck, for themselves.

About nine months ago I got fed up with it all.  I figured I would teach them a lesson.  Let them work it out for themselves.  If they left it inside out, then so would I.  I happily handed back socks that were inside out or worse - where one was and one wasn't.  Whatever.  Let them learn.  If they want their socks nice, then they can learn to do it for themselves.

And you know what?

No one noticed.

No one noticed.

Not one male person in my house - and there are five of them - noticed or cared that their socks were inside it when they put them on.  And here I was getting myself all worked up about it.

They didn't learn a lesson; I did.

I no longer worry about their socks or a lot of other things - like how the beds are made - because you know what?  They don't.  If it doesn't matter to them, then why was I killing myself doing it for them?!

No one noticed.

I was righting socks for no one but myself.

Once I freed myself from that obligation, it's amazing what followed.

No more single socks waiting for a partner; turns out the boys also don't care if they are wearing two different socks in a pair.

They also don't care if they are wearing underwear or not.

Or if what they are wearing is truly clean or not.

And so - within reason - why should I?

It is truly liberating to hand control of their own lives over to the men.  It cuts down on the workload tremendously.

I sometimes wonder if we could solve all the wars in the world by just letting the men manage things on their own.  Once they ran out of socks they would find it hard to invade.

I still need to be heavily medicated - St. John's Wort DOES help - to clean the dishes.  (Ick, yuck, all that grease and food.)

But I would really miss hanging the laundry.

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