Friday, September 29, 2006

The one where I sound all "domestic" and crap...

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I tend to avoid discussions of the domestic/home management nature when I'm speaking to anyone other than another stay-at-home mom or maybe my mother- or sister-in-law. I guess, I have silly notions that someone who works for a living might just find it a bit sad that I'd get THAT excited when I find a new way to get food stains out of my toddler's clothes, or a new cleaning product that really does get rid of shower soap scum.

But, in truth, being a compulsive cleaner AND in charge of my home most days, these things sometimes jazz me up. And, I have friends who are just as freaky as I am, I'm happy to say.

Now, Martha Stewart, I am not. Although, I do try my best. I grew up the daughter of a woman who openly rebelled against most things domestic. You see, it skips a generation like that. My dear grandmother was very much a "June Cleaver." And, my mother? Well, if I had to compare, she'd probably be closer to Roseanne than June. (She would really HATE that comparison and she's hardly that obnoxious. She just frowns on most of the domestic because her mother shoved it all down her throat as a kid. My daughter may be just like her one day, actually.)

Our house was rarely clean and presentable when I was growing up. Microwave dinners were a staple for my sister and I with our busy schedule, and well...then, there was the laundry. My mother believed in buying only clothes that you did NOT have to iron or buying ones you could throw BACK in the dryer for about 10 minutes each morning to get the wrinkles out. My Dad ironed his own work clothes. And, as for the cleaning of the laundry? Well, it did tend to pile up.

Worst than that, I went off the college not even really sure how to wash laundry. I was embarrassed a little that I didn't know what temperature to do the colors versus the whites. Fabric softeners were a mystery. And bleach? Well, let's just say I still shy away from the heavy duty stuff...I buy only color safe, just in CASE--because, well, you never KNOW!

I've tried to convert myself into a laundry-connoisseur, reading Hints from Heloise in our newspaper and checking out a bunch of cleaning websites. But, frankly, it just isn't in my genes. Still, we recently replaced our old washer dryer with snazzy new front-loaders. And, I am getting laundry done pretty regularly now. So, that's progress, I think.

There's just one load that seems to loom over me, week after week. I put it off as long as I possibly can, and then groan and moan and hope my husband will do it (and often he does) when he gets home. That load, fellow readers, is the dreaded "white" load.

Why the big deal? Well, aside from my bleach phobia, I live with males. Now, readers, I'll try not to get all graphic here. However, aside from my husband who is a pretty neat and tidy guy actually, I should specify that I live with a seven-year-old boy. And, seven-year-old boys aren't the neatest sort when it comes to their whites--especially when it comes to underwear and socks. (I hear your groans of understanding, oh ye desparate mothers of young sons.)

O.K. Let me just come right out and say it. Seven-year-old boys create more skidmarks in their tighty-whiteys than a NASCAR does at the Indy 500. And, this will send me into full gag mode quite easily.

You see, it isn' t that my son is unclean or slovenly. He is A BOY. And, boys just wait until the last possible moment to go to the bathroom. And, I do mean the last. possible. moment. There is dancing, there is running laps around their toy, there is frantic arm waving, and finally the child goes into spasm and sprints to the bathroom.

I consistently get one of two results from that waiting game...either my toilet (floor and sometimes walls) gets decorated in a whole new shade of yellow, or I get pretty little art projects left behind just waiting for me in that huge load of whites that I have put off doing. (You know, I wonder if psychologists analyzed skid marks like they do ink blots, if they'd find out more about a child's physiological make-up.'s a thought...)

Almost worse than the underwear though, are those dreaded sports socks. My husband gets some of the blame on this one. Both of my guys take their socks off inside out and just throw them in the laundry, despite my fervent requests that they turn them back the right way. With socks, it seems there are two camps of thinking--wash the socks inside out so the sweaty part that was touching your foot gets the most serious cleaning, or what I believe--wash the things right side out so you get all the dirt, mulch, and driveway nastiness off and they LOOK bright and white when you wear them to everyone ELSE.

So, because I need those socks to be turned the right way, it requires me to reach IN said socks and pull them back right-side out. I have tried many techniques for this, and there is no way around it--my hand MUST go in that sock to pull it right-side out. And, probing my delicate digits into a sweaty man sock crusted with mud or car oil is really almost worse than the seven-year-old skidmarks, my friends. Because, you reach in not knowing what you will find or feel. It is really vomitizing.

And, so there I found myself tonight, gazing into the mountain of whites. My husband was visiting his brother and the kids were in bed. I could not even put my 2-year-old "little miss help with everything" to work on it. My son's soccer jersey HAD to be washed for his double-header games tomorrow. And, more importantly, I'd worn every last stupid pair of underwear, (both silky and cottony) for myself and I was down to nothing. I mean, ladies, you know those few pairs of really ugly undies that you keep in the back corner of the drawer, just in case? Yeah, I had even worn those.

Standing there amidst the pile of stinky "mystery" socks and skid-ridden child's briefs, I came to a moment of serious contemplation. In all honesty, I actually considered "febreezing" the hell out of my son's jersey and going "commando" to the games tomorrow. But, I sucked it up and took one for the team. And it was definitely an exercise in gag-reflex control.

And, my friends, if that doesn't tell you how much I hate doing "the whites," I don't know what does. Please don't tell Martha on me...


Blogger Vanessa said...

You are so right about little boys! Why is it that they wait until the turtle's head is sticking out before they run to the bathroom??

7:00 AM, September 30, 2006  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I my gosh I made it!!!

Totally with ya here girl! I refuse to do socks inside out. But, what has worked is making the offender come and sit with the dirty laundry pile and make THEM do it.

I have been known to make one certain child rinse out his offensive underwear because I was not putting that shit in my washing machine!

7:05 AM, September 30, 2006  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

OMG--you both just made me laugh aloud. Thanks!

2:09 PM, September 30, 2006  
Blogger Andrew said...

hahahhahaha!! I have two boys (and a girl for good measure) so I know what you're talking about. And yes, at my house I'm as likely to be running the laundry as my better half...

Thanks for the chuckle!

To Love, Honor and Dismay

3:15 PM, September 30, 2006  
Blogger Lazy Daisy said...

Girl You So Crack Me up! Delightful and disgusting in the same entry. I so remember the days, weeks and years. They do grow up and eventually do their own laundry!

1:27 PM, October 01, 2006  
Blogger Babaloo said...

I loved this post. I tried to comment, but, well... you know the story! I work full-time and happen to find it semi-orgasmic to discover a new cleaning secret. So, please don't hold back! Oh, and boys and their underwear? Yep, yep and yep...:-)

6:31 PM, October 02, 2006  
Blogger nejyerf said...

oh this was a GOOD post!

i'm not a mom but i do have a husband and he does have dirty underwear! i just close my eyes and shove in the laundry. and since he can't be bothered to turn his socks right side out when he takes them off...that's how they come out of the laundry and get folded!

as for the ink blot test on little boys underwear....sheer genius!!

6:49 AM, October 03, 2006  
Anonymous sarcastic journalist said...

As a cloth diaperer, try some baking soda in the whites. And also, you want to come over and bring the girl to come organize my house?

10:02 AM, October 04, 2006  
Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

I hate the white load too!!!!

8:06 PM, October 04, 2006  

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