We’ve had some fun with man-woman roles and stereotyping here the past few weeks.
One of the focus points has been on domestic chores. Many women would like to see their men do more household tasks – or in some cases, do at least one.
Me, I’m a do’er. I do meals, I do dishes. I do dusting. I pretty much do it all.
What I do not do is laundry, due to a particular incident several years ago.
More on that later.
I pause at this point to note that my daughter often follows in her dad’s footsteps.
In this case, why do two or three loads when you can accomplish everything in one industrial-sized effort?
Now, as proud as I am of my girl, there is a flaw in that logic, as I eventually came to discover. And I recently had to explain this to my dear teen, who had bulldozed out her bedroom, and hauled upstairs the equivalent of two moving trucks full of dirty laundry. Or, to be more accurate, what falls within her definition of dirty laundry – and that includes all articles of clothing that have been worn once, may have been worn once, or are likely to be worn once in the near future.
I have yet to successfully communicate to her the labour and environmental consequences of her selection process.
In any event, I was drawn to the laundry room due to the peculiar sounds of mechanical distress emanating from within.
Seems the washing machine was loaded to the gagging point, and was gasping and huffing to move the vast bale of wet clothing it contained.
With some mild expletives, I relieved the poor metal beast of about 50 pounds of soggy clothes, patted its porcelain flanks, and set it back to work. Then I went in search of the young perpetrator for an “educational chat.”
It took me back to the grim incident which caused my wife to similarly chastise me for my laundry transgressions, and ultimately bar me from using said equipment.
In a heavy-duty cleaning fit, I had noted the mountain of clothing heaped in the laundry room, bunged it all into the machine, added some soap, and left it to its own devices. It somehow slogged itself through to the final spin cycle, and that’s when the bad news became apparent.
There is a rule of laundering that says thou shalt not place women’s sweaters in with other fuzzy things, such as towels. The sweaters are magnets for stray, water-borne fibres, which adhere with fierce tenacity in the form of tiny fuzzy balls.
It took me a whole night of picking off little fuzzy balls to return those sweaters to something resembling their original condition, albeit a size or two smaller. Hmmm….
There was also the issue of the nylon tights. Turns out those don’t go into the washer either.
I could certainly see why. When one machine-washes a whole bunch of tights together, they intertwine like worms in a bucket.
And talk about knots!
I’ve untangled some dillies of fishing line snarls in my time, but nothing compared to those tights.
My wife was fit to be tied, so to speak.
And then there was a subsequent small incident in which I got some paint on one of my good pullovers. I cleaned it off with a petroleum-based thinner, and popped it in the washer.
Well, it didn’t take long for the washing machine – and the entire laundry room – to smell like the wreck of the Exxon Valdez.
My wife was so hot she could have set off the fumes in that room.
And that, my friends, was the end of my laundry-doing days.
In retrospect, it all worked out rather well, I think.
Andrew Holota is the editor of The Abbotsford News.