Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Come do laundry for me

I hate laundry. I don't know why. It's not that big a deal. And yet, I hate it. I hate gathering it and sorting it. I hate lugging it downstairs. I don't mind getting it into the washer, now that I have a table down there, so there is that bright spot. I despise transferring the cold, wet clothes to the dryer. And emptying the lint trap my DH invariably leaves packed so full you can hardly pull it out of the housing. The worst worst worst part, is turning those cold and wet and soggy pant legs inside out. See, I like to wash pants right side out (to get the dirt off the surface) but dry them inside out (so that the pocket linings and waist band etc. fully dry). Putting them right side out after they are dry is fine, but I really hate having to stick my arm in that damp pant leg. Perhaps if I was less cheap and washed in warmer water it would be better, but I am cheaper than I am annoyed at having to turn them inside out when they are wet - so cheapness wins. T-shirts with nice decals get the same treatment. Wash right side out to get the dirt off the fronts, then dry inside out the save the decals. Some people say this makes no difference. DH and I have a few duplicate t-shirts bought at the same time. Mine still look brand new, his look like they have gone through the ringer. I believe it is due to turning them inside out to dry, but really, he wears t-shirts with decals so much more often than I do, it may just be he gets a million more wearings and washings out of them. But we won't tell him that, 'kay? It's because of the turning. Got it? It is physically exhausting getting the laundry out of the dryer and into the basket. If I crouch, the muscles of my left leg and guts twist like snakes under a blanket. If I bend, I cannot move my arms (gawd, that is embarassing. I keep forgetting. So I bend to grab something, and my arms dangle lifelessly like kermit the frog's. Except I have no wire attached to mine for a puppeteer to maneuver). So crouch it is, with a lot of swearing and sweating and breaks to stretch my leg out. Once that is done, there is the little task of lifting that there basket and getting it upstairs. Now there is another feat. But see, I have a system for getting laundry up and down stairs. I am NOT supposed to carry laundry. Ever. Big bad things, people. So I gather it up and tell DH it needs to go down. And I wait days, then finally manage to drag it into the upstairs hallway. And wait again. Then I get desparate and angry and kick that basket down the steps. The first set is about 6 steps high. Then I gather the spilled laundry and right the basket. It sits in the kitchen for a day or so while DH exclaims "I said I would do it!" yet there it still sits. By the next day I am sick of tripping on it so I kick it down the next, and much longer, flight of steps. Again, gather the laundry and my hackles, right the basket and sit on the floor for a good cry. For I still have one more flight of steps to go. This is the shortest flight, and the most difficult. The hallway is narrow, and the floor is a dirty concrete so I don't want to kick the basket down there and spill it. *Interjection - yes, I know I can clean that floor. And I do. But for some reason that spot at the bottom of the stairs collects.....stuff. Cat and dog hair tumbleweeds. Cobwebs. Dead potato bugs. Dead and live spiders. Bits and bobs of paper and lint and paper dots and the edges of stamps, and so on. Why is that? - end of interjection*. Sometimes I bribe DD to bring it down the last leg of the trip. But really, she is just little and I don't feel right asking her to lug a big basket of laundry down perilous steps. Mostly it sits next to DH's chair where he insists nightly "I said I would bring it down!". And yet there it sits. Now this is the trickiest part, because the method varies depending on my mood, DH's shift, and how desparate I am for the undies in that basket to be clean. Method One: Huge Colossal Fight. This is where I scream and yell and rant and rave, and DH claims he has no idea what is wrong with me, and that all I have to do is ask and he will bring the laundry down, and yet sits there while the laundry is staring him in the face. So I take his hand and place it on the basket, and say can you not see this basket here? And because I have asked once again, DH cannot possibly bring it down. Because I asked again, you see. It is like a punishment or some alternative universe when it is opposite day every day. He won't bring the laundry down unless I ask. And if I ask, he has to make me wait because I ASKED. Asking is nagging, and if he gives in he has taught me that nagging works and it will only get worse. *Now, here is where I could punch the therapist that told him that. We only lasted two sessions there. On the second session he suggested that if Dh was in the mood and I was not, that he force me and show me who was the boss. I am not kidding. And we weren't even talking about that when he brought that up.* This method never ends well emotionally, but the laundry does eventually make it down the stairs. Because at some point I usually scream BRING THE EFFING LAUNDRY DOWN BEFORE I KICK YOUR ARSE BACK HOME TO YOUR MOMMA. Then there is another humdinger bang-up argument to get the laundry back upstairs, but it involves much more swearing and yelling and sometimes crying. Once I even went and asked a stranger on the street to come inside and bring it up for $5.00. And DH sat on the couch looking like an idiot and didn't get the message. Method Two: Silent cues. This is where I put the laundry basket on his pillow. Night after night he will move it, until finally he figures out "Hey, maybe she keeps putting it here because she wants me to bring it down". And he will ask, and I will say "Seeing as I have asked you four times per day, then yes, that is probably what I want". There is some eye-rolling. Sometimes it makes it directly to the basement, others it spends time visiting the living room or kitchen, depending on where DH is when he becomes distracted. If that happens, I usually resort to parts of method one to get it the rest of the way downstairs. As for getting it back UPSTAIRS, well, there is the rub again. Method Three: Strike action. This is more of a "work to rule" than a real strike. After all, there is a child involved so I can't let everything go completely. We usually make it to about 7:00pm before DH realizes that dinner is not just late, it is non-existant. You want me to make dinner? Bring the laundry down. You want me to make lunch/dinner/grocery shop/nookie? Bring the laundry back up. Once I took the batteries from the remotes and said they would not come back until the laundry went down, then back up again. That was a rough two hours, I can tell you. There was a lot of huffy breaths and hostile foot taps while he waited for the laundry to be done. But we also must note, that there is a package of like a hundred AAA batteries inches from his chair, and at no time did he attempt to put them in the remotes. Sometimes we have to save ourselves, and if we can't, then we get what we deserve. *The first person that says I get what I deserve with DH too, has to eat one of those AAA batteries.* Method Four: Sit and cry. This is, by far, the easiest method. It is also the one I like the least, although it kind of works the best. It is what happens when the laundry is that last straw and I am the dromedary. Believe it or not, I do not cry often. Well, at least not in front of others. And somehow quiet, calm sobbing panics DH more than hysteria. I cry and I snot and I blubber about unmopped floors and laundry that sits in baskets upstairs and downstairs and towels that taunt me from the floor. That I only exist when somebody needs or wants something but other than that I am invisible. The cats get very nervous and pace, and Ruby usually looks miserable and will sit next to me with her head on my knee. Most times DH will run and bring the laundry up or down. It's like when a person tries to keep a baby from crying "See? I am bringing it up now. See? Stop crying like that". And knowing that it is the only reason usually makes me cry harder. Why? I will ask. Why does everything have to be so hard? Why can't you just bring the basket down or up when I ask. Why does it always have to come to this? DH usually transfers the baskets a little quicker and with less prompting the next week. But it has never lasted beyond that. Now, lest you think I am a manipulative witch (oh, I am. But I don't like you thinking it), this is not a conscious effort. I don't sit and think, gee, which method should I use this week? No. That is not how it works. But I could definitely see the pattern, looking back over months and years. I need to start a journal of these things, so I can develop a method book. You know, to increase chances of success. Or at least to show me that I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. I have said it before, the definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Once I have the laundry thing figured out, then on to getting the garbage out and mowing the lawn before we could lose machinery in the thicket.


anettemartinrn@yahoo said...

dumb waiter or laundry chute.

and who says an 8 year old is too small to carry laundry? put smaller loads in and let her carry it.

btw, crying never works at my house.


DancesInGarden said...

Those are good ideas, Anette. We have looked into the laundry chute but our upper floor doesn't go all the way down to the basement where we need it to go (back split). I think we have the same problem with a dumbwaiter thingie. There is no clear straight path from where the laundry starts (upstairs) to where it needs to go (basement).

I think I need a house that has the laundry area upstairs next to the bedrooms. No carrying then!

DD/Sandy said...

Another enjoyable read. I have so resorted to some of your techniques...amazing...

I lived in a house with a husband and four male kids. I can't believe I survived it and all but one kid are out of the house.

As usual, I got some laughs out of your story...


colleenoz said...

Take smaller loads of your own laundry; get DD to carry her own laundry up and down. Let DH shlep his own laundry if he wants it done.
Maybe if you have a regular laundry day you could say to DH, "It's Saturday, laundry day. Could you please take the laundry down so I can get started?" and follow him down.
Failing that, use my technique (announce "I am doing laundry today. Since I am physically unable to carry large loads down, please make sure anything you want washed is in the basket by the machine"). Don't wash anything that isn't in the basket by the machine. If DH complains his laundry isn't done- "Was it in the basket by the machine? No? Well, there you go then. How was I to know you wanted it washed?"

Danielle H AB said...

Three words: main floor laundry. :)

It stinks living in a mobile home now but I do LOVE the main floor laundry we have here (well really, what other floor could it go on?) ;) Our other house was a two story and laundry was BACKBREAKING although I am physically able. Maybe just a touch lazy though. :D

(((Dances))) Why do men make it so difficult?

And that therapist? He deserves a good crotch kicking!


Love your blog by the way. I try to read it everyday.