Laundry had taken over my life. I’m used to the rhythm of my day including at least one load of laundry but what was different was that my laundry had morphed from the humdrum of “throw a load in” to raging laundry distress.
It all started when my daughter and her clothes arrived home from college. As soon as we hit the driveway she announced that all of her clothes needed to be cleaned because the “disgusting” dorm washers and dryers had “ruined” everything.
I was skeptical of this pronouncement and figured it was more of a dodge or stalling tactic so that she wouldn’t have to carry her assorted suitcases and plastic bins up to her room and begin the arduous process of unpacking.
When I shared this thought with her she stated emphatically that her clothes were “messed up” and began weaving a tale of woe that included everything from Tide Pods that never thoroughly dissolved to washers that left stains on clothes and dryers that “seared a funky smell” into everything she owned.
It was a thoroughly convincing and dramatic diatribe and to be honest she had me at funky smell and she knew it. I have an overactive olfactory response to any scent that can’t be classified as a Febreze fragrance. There was no way I was going to have laundry in my house that didn’t smell Gain or at the very least lavender fresh.
This meant my kitchen was turned into a dirty clothes triage center because the job was way too big for my laundry room. I went full C.S.I. laying out each article of clothing and examining it for stains with the aid of my husband’s 2.0 reading glasses. And while yes I could have had my daughter help me this wasn’t a job for amateurs. It was professional grade territory – only.
After locating the stains I then had to diagnose the nomenclature and prescribe the best course for eradication. Do I go bleach pen, full bleach, stain stick, Oxiclean spray or Oxiclean granules? Do I let it soak or do a full scrub?
For hours I was duel wielding a Shout gel stick and Spray N’ Wash bottle. It was a Herculean task because my daughter wasn’t exaggerating almost every article of clothing she owned was in need of some TLC.
Luckily one of my super powers is laundry. I trace it back to watching my grandmother wash my grandpa’s clothes. He was a West Virginia coal miner and came home filthy. The way my grandma could take those dirty clothes and almost magically turn them into back into billowy clouds of cleanliness was inspiring.
(P.S. If you ever want to have a deep conversation about ironing cotton dress shirts hit me up. I learned from the master. My grandmother would wash the shirts, then soak them in a starch solution letting them get almost dry and then put the shirts in the refrigerator. Hours later she would take the shirts out and iron them. The finished product was a masterpiece.)
Channeling my grandmother, I took each stain as my personal nemesis. They must and would be vanquished. After two days, yes two days, everything was pristine. The satisfaction I got from hampers filled with clean clothes that smelled like sunshine was so intense I was concerned that I might have gotten a contact high from the bleach pen. But then I thought I should just enjoy it because while all the laundry was done it still had to be put away and that, as any mother will tell you, is not any child’s superpower.