I’ll admit it. I am not the best housekeeper. I was raised in a household where the mottos ‘Dust Is a Protective Covering for Furniture’ and ‘Keep the Kitchen Clean-Eat Out’ were proudly displayed on cute little needlepoint pillows. My mother has a lot of great qualities, but she will never be nominated for best housekeeper of the year. I pretty much take after her, except I do like to cook on occasion.
And for some strange reason, I’ve never minded doing the laundry. Maybe it’s because the results are measurable and immediately visible. And the results last longer than they do with other chores. Wash the dishes and you immediately dirty them up again at the next meal. Clean the floor only to have the dog (or your husband) walk through with muddy paws five minutes later. Dust, but within an hour the little annoying particles have resettled and are mocking you. What? OK, maybe it’s just me they mock. Really. They do.
Doing the laundry, though, is almost like a meditation for me. I enjoy listening to the water as it fills the washing machine because the sound reminds me of a waterfall. I like the feel of the different fabrics in my hands as I sort, sometimes soft, like with well-worn cotton, sometimes stiff, like with new jeans. And the warmth and fresh scent that comes from the clothes as I remove them from the dryer always make me feel, well, cozy and content.
When my husband and I first moved to Ecuador in 2013 we didn’t have a washing machine in our apartment, so we had to take our clothes to a laundry service. Trouble was, they had a habit of losing our socks. Our next apartment there didn’t have a washing machine either, so once a week we would drop our laundry off with the landlady downstairs and she would return it to us at the end of the day. Trouble was, she just stuffed the clothes from the dryer back into the bag, so we had to get used to walking around with deep wrinkles in our clothes. Eventually, we moved into a house that had a washing machine, but no dryer. I didn’t mind (exactly) hanging our clothes out to dry, but it wasn’t long before we acquired a second-hand dryer, and my laundry life was once again back in my own hands.
Last year we returned to the states, and, as usual, I haven’t minded doing the laundry. Until yesterday.
Yesterday was laundry day. And everything was fine until I decided to take a short-cut. I had two small piles, one of wool socks, the other of microfiber cleaning cloths. I saw an opportunity to be environmentally conscious so I combined them. Now that in itself wouldn’t have been so terrible, but since there was still room in the machine I thought, why not throw in that fuzzy bathmat I’ve been meaning to wash for the past month?
Please, people. Learn from my mistake. NEVER put a fuzzy bathmat in with microfiber cloths and wool socks. That load of laundry came out of the dryer in one big clump. The socks and cleaning cloths were a tangled mess and when I finally managed to pry them apart I found they had been glued together by the fuzz from the bathmat. I spent an hour on my bedroom floor de-fuzzing everything with a whole roll of duct tape. The heavy duty gray kind! Sadly, I will never get that hour of my life back.
My takeaway? Sometimes when you try to conserve in one area you end up wasting in another. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to run Home Depot so that I can replace my husband’s duct tape. Geez.
K. Kris Loomis is the author of the humorous travel memoir, Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador. She also writes adult parables and short stories as well as books about yoga and meditation. Kris is a determined chess player, an origami enthusiast, a classically trained pianist, and a playwright. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two cats.
Get a free short story by signing up for Kris’ bi-weekly blog! And you can connect with Kris anytime on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest @kkrisloomis.