Monday, July 13, 2009

Sorting, stashing, and laundry

Do you remember clotheslines? I certainly do. I have several memories, in fact. I mention this because yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning they did a segment on clotheslines in today's world and the disagreements they're causing. A woman has decided for the last 2 years to hang her laundry out to dry as her part in saving energy. Unfortunately her subdivision has a clause in the homeowner's association rules that clotheslines aren't allowed. Her line's been cut, and then cut into tiny pieces repeatedly over the last 2 years, yet she hangs a new one and continues her ritual...3 times a week according to a very unhappy neighbor.
My mother lives in the country and continues to use her clothesline almost daily. She has only one neighbor (an error in her judgment when she purchased her 12 acres and didn't think anyone would buy the 2 right beside her before she snatched them up). But with all the trees and grapevines I don't think anyone can see her line except those of us in the yard.

I can remember as a child helping with laundry when we no longer had a maid to do it. I'd unload that washer and sort it so that all the socks hung together, then the undies, t-shirts, shirts, pants, washclothes, towels, and finally sheets had a semblance of order. My sister would hang them up willy nilly and it drove me insane!!! I've got to admit, my mother seems to have no worries about sorting, so my sister came by it honestly.

But here's a question for you: assuming you had a clothesline, did you leave the pins out yearround or did you collect them in a bag? We did a little of both. Some of us used the bag, & some of us didn't. I'm naming no names, but you figure out who used it. If you left them out I guarantee they looked like the ones above. And did you hang out clothes yearround like the photo above with snow on the ground? Even my mother draws the line at snow and uses her dryer, thank goodness.

Of course now they have plastic clothespins so it's harder to tell who's a collector and who isn't. But other than my mother I don't know anyone with a line outside. My older brother might, up in the mountains; I should ask in my next email. I know he had one for the 25 years he lived in England; witnessed it myself. One of those poles with what looked like umbrella spokes, but still a line for laundry.
Which brings us to a favorite memory. I'm a strawberry-blonde which means my eyelashes are so blonde they're white, and when I don't wear mascara I'm a fright. But when I do wear it, I tend to ruin my washclothes trying to get that dark brown Maybelline off my lashes. And so, years ago when I would travel (like to visit my brother in England) I packed my own nasty looking washclothes.

One day he takes me sightseeing but his wife stays home to clean the house, do laundry, etc. And I'm sorry, but this is still funny to me. When we returned at the end of the day she was quite simply distraught and SO apologetic that she'd washed my face clothes 3 times (having walked into town for special detergents) with no luck at getting out the mascara stains. Well sir I laughed out loud, and I admit it, I'm smiling widely as I type this because it's still funny to me 25 years later. I explained that they'd been stained for years and she needn't have worried.
Well sir, that went over like a lead balloon. Not only did she fail to see the humor, but she was clearly upset that her neighbors had seen those nasty things hanging out on her line which surely caused them to question her laundry abilities. So the next day off she went on foot again, down to The Body Shop, where she purchased 3 black washclothes for me. She suggested (rather firmly) that I toss my rags and start using black from now on to avoid such laundry woes. And would you believe I did buy all black face clothes and used them for years? You'll find them now in my studio. I've gone back to bright, cheerful colors because my laundry doesn't hang on a line and no one sees them but me. And when they reach that frightful stage where even I don't want to use them anymore, they join the stash in the studio with all the rest.
But there's one more thing I want to say about laundry...
This weekend was a busy one as we sorted and packed, shopped and cleaned, all in an attempt to finish putting our house back together. We selected and ordered the tile for our backsplash: Polished travertine in the shape of embossed bricks that will arrive on Thursday. (Don't ask about the cost; sore subject today; let's wait til it's installed and divine, and then make a really big deal about the glory of it all, shall we?) We also cleaned out 3 closets, sorting out the winter items like comforters, quilts & throws, sweaters & sweatshirts, all of which were stuffed into those space bags with all the air vacuumed out and now reside somewhat tidily on a guestroom closet top shelf. Somehow in the sorting and relocation process our shoe storage units never made the cut back into the master closet. Don't ask. So they're currently sitting in the floor, barely inside the front guest room and it appears their new home will be inside that double closet. (Guess we'll have to plan ahead on shoes when we have overnight guests, like this weekend...)
So Saturday night late I decided to change the linens on our bed as part of this bedroom overhaul. Now you remember that I went for a couple of months with no washer & dryer, so my mother was doing all my laundry. As I climbed into bed on Saturday night, pulling up those pale yellow sheets, nestling down into those pillow cases, I was overwhelmed with the memories of my childhood. It's hard to imagine that with today's advertising blitzes on TV that my mother would remain faithful to Downy fabric softener, but boys & girls, she has indeed. And that fragrance, mixed with the scent of being dried on the line was simply the most wonderful thing after a hard day of labor. I slept like a baby. Which is why yesterday's piece on the morning TV show was so timely for me. A clothesline indeed.
I have no idea what my neighbors would think of a clothesline, though I can assure you there's not one anywhere in the subdivision. They need not worry about me of course because there's no way I'm climbing up and down those back steps to the basement level to get to the backyard when I want to do laundry. Nope. I'm quite pleased with my new LG brand washer & gas dryer. I like the music they play when a load is finished. I like all the chimes when I'm selecting the settings. And I like watching the lights flash across the display as it senses the load size and then determines how long it's going to run to dry a load. Why I can't imagine ignoring that dryer anymore than I can imagine my house clean enough to hire a cleaning service to bounce through the door once a week to keep it that way.
I like the idea of a clothesline and the smell of those crisp, clean linens. I like it so much that I might hire my mother to do my sheets for me. Yeah, like that's gonna happen. Kind of like I'm going to hire a cleaning service. I can see them now, pulling out their cell phones to take pictures because no one will believe them when they describe the size of the dust bunnies they found under my bed. I have a couple of friends who clean their houses before the maid comes each week and I'd be the same way. I know this about myself and I can live with it.
So tonight I'll finish that last guest room and then head back up to the studio because there's LOTS to be done up there. Kits are in various stages of packaging, I've got 2 classes scheduled this week, plus stamp club, plus preparation for my upcoming trip back to Orlando in 11 days. It hit me this weekend that I'm gone for 10 days and home for 2 before flying out again to Cincinnati. I'm telling myself not to panic. (It isn't working, but I keep repeating it to myself.)
I should climb back into bed, into the comfort of those Downy fresh sheets, pulling the covers over my head...
You'll know where to find me, right?

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