What an awesome title right?
So laundry is the complete divide that separates the genders in my household. Laundry day is fraught with political and sexual tension, and none of it is the good kind, as I try not to smother any one with a pillow. (anyone = husband) As I live in Southern California, I have to divide my laundry up to do at night so that I don’t send my electric bill sky rocketing and spend a small nation’s budget. Friday night is the grownup laundry night. And the same argument that has been going on for years will pick up again. At least, we’re getting better at making fun of each other.
It started when I moved in with my husband. (Bad Catholic, shacking up before marriage. Engagements can fail!) I had noticed that he only did laundry when he HAD no more clothes, and since his best girl friend owed him a large favor, she had been doing his laundry for a year. That deal had expired a month or so before I moved in. Before that, it turns out, his ex-girlfriend was doing his laundry. Honestly? (Note: I can’t complain of the sexism because in college I convinced guys to iron for me because I didn’t know how.) It turns out my husband HATES doing laundry. I can understand that. I loath cleaning the floor. But because we chose to be adults, we have to suck it up.
After a week or so of living with piles of clothes everywhere, everywhere, I said enough. Which lead us into a huge fight, he then left in an angry huff. Awesome. So I was pissed, but I wasn’t going to live like this. I piled all his clothes which turned into a small hill about five feet tall. And I did his laundry. I was oh-so careful. I actually read the labels. I used cold, hot, warm. I separated into actual piles. Due to my then-single husband asking a friend who was a stay-at-home mom, my husband did own a top of the line washing machine and dryer. (Note: If by some horrible, twisted chance my marriage does fail, I plan to take them with me and the testicle I won from my husband in a bet.) It took me three days to do it all and a crazy high dry cleaning bill. The last night as I gently folded the gentle cycle load, my husband came by and looked at the shirt I was folding, then preceded to lose his mind. Apparently it was a hundred dollar shirt that he preferred to by dry cleaned, not washed, even though the tag said gentle wash. I was still in shock that some one would spend a hundred bucks on a shirt. I was just out of college where I was poor and starving and had 20 bucks to spend a week after bills and such. After our tempers cooled, I labeled each of the three laundry hampers (yes, he actually owned three laundry hampers), laundry, dry-cleaning, and gentle. I made up the new rule whatever is in those baskets will be treated as such and it won’t be my fault. Yep, we have laundry rules as well as penis rules.
That was the first rule I installed in the household. The next rules surprisingly were also about laundry. It seems that my husband was led to believe that laundry included picking up all the dirty clothes, wash them, dry them, fold them, and put them away. In his understanding of laundry, these tasks are ALL done by the person who does the laundry, the wife. And that was the beginning of the trouble because I was raised by feminists. (My dad actually does the laundry . . . and the dishes . . . and the ironing.) OK, I get that I can do the washing, drying, and folding. Oh, and in the beginning, I did laundry; while, he did the floors. (That deal is looong gone now.) But I am not his servant to pick up after him and put away things after him. Still do this day we don’t see eye to eye on this.
So laundry rules as follows:
- If it isn’t in the hamper, it’s not getting washed.
- It is the owner’s responsibility to put the clothing in the right hamper.
- It is the owner’s responsibility to put the folded clothes away.
- The husband takes in the dry cleaning because he doesn’t have two toddlers to help across the street and out of danger as he carries a hamper of dry cleaning to the dry cleaners.
Things did become complicated when Evan was born. Before he was born, I could go on strike. So you had your buddies over for poker and didn’t clean up before or after, fine, the beer bottles will stay there. Oh, you want to invite your best friend and his family over for dinner but the house is a mess. Guess, we’ll clean together. What? You don’t have any clean underwear left? I guess you could always pick a dirty pair of the floor, but forget about any bedroom play tonight. Thst’s just gross.
Then Evan was born, and we couldn’t live in squalor. Besides it turned out I liked living in a clean house, and that I enjoyed organized mess where I knew what paper was where in a stack. So after a month or so picking up after my husband, I was ready to kill him (and let’s not forget I was the only one getting up with the baby). So I bought a plastic basket, put his name in large letters on it, and left it on the hearth. When I find something of his in the common areas, I throw it into his basket. If the basket gets overflowing by two feet and we have company, I dump it on his side of the bed. I just ignore the bedroom, making sure I have a clear path to the bathroom and a clean space for the boys to play as I get ready for the day.
So tonight I’ll do laundry. As I try not to be a complete bitch, I’ll warn my husband and gather the clothes next to the laundry hamper, believing he just might have thrown them and missed. Meanwhile, I plan on teaching Evan how to put his clothes and toys away. Damn if I’ll let this habit be multi-generational.