John Cave Osborne finds that when it comes to laundry, it’s best to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.
Almost as daunting to me as going off to college was the prospect of doing my own laundry. Until I realized something, that is. Laundry’s a lay up—one I made countless times armed only with a handful of change, a box of detergent, and a rudimentary understanding of my exciting new world which was suddenly subdivided into tidy little categories defined by water temperature and fabric color.
That’s not to say I didn’t have an occasional mishap. Indeed, I did. Often it was my liberal interpretation of what, exactly, fit into the whites category. Hot water, it turns out, isn’t always as forgiving as one might like. Or so I gathered by the plethora of ambiguously pink apparel that suddenly graced my wardrobe.
Yet, at the end of the day, my clothes were clean, regardless of sock color. And that’s all that really mattered to me. My laundry policy was set for the next 18 years.
Fast forward to age 36 when, unbeknownst to me, my laundry world was about to be turned upon its head. I was engaged to be married for the first time, and my friends warned me that whether I realized it or not, my prolonged bachelorhood had rendered me set in my ways and sure to struggle with some of the changes headed my way.
Thankfully, I never really found that to be the case. I took to marriage like dryer sheets to a load of delicates. There was but one thing that freaked me out—the day my new bride formally announced that our laundry lives would be forevermore united as one. And that she was in charge of it.
Maybe it was the fact that I had 18 years of reasonably successful laundry exploits under my belt. Or maybe it was the metaphorical extension of Caroline’s sudden and unfettered access to my dirty laundry that got me. Or perhaps it was just that I had never contemplated the possibility of having anyone else wash my clothes for me. Whatever it was, leaving the suds behind proved a difficult thing for me.
Did I mention that I got over it? Because, indeed I did, friends. And it wasn’t as hard as I had thought for a couple of reasons. First, doing laundry kinda sucks. But second, and far more applicable in this case, I quickly discovered that Caroline was in another league when it came to laundry. Which made me realize that I was far from the laundromat juggernaut I had long considered myself to be. My brights, it turned out, were stuck in the dense cycle.
Sadly, Caroline’s prowess has now rendered me laundry impotent, scarcely able to muster up even a, um, single load whenever I’m called to do just that. Sadder, still, there are no little blue pills that can remedy the situation. But even if there were, they’d be of no use to me. See, it’s not that I can’t get the job done. It’s just that, thanks to Caroline, I now know that the job I’ll do will be woefully inadequate.
Consider the following: back in the day, I rolled with but a single box of detergent and maybe some dryer sheets if I was feeling saucy. Caroline? She has fabric softeners, stain removers, bleaching wands and child-specific detergents, already equipped, even, with Dreft for our unborn baby. Oh, and that cup containing different-sized toothbrushes? They’re for her patented stain-removal techniques, each toothbrush perfectly suited for a handful of correlating stains.
And don’t even get me started on the brand new Samsung Steam front-loading washer and dryer set up she’s got going on. Now Caroline’s got more cycle options than Lance Armstrong, and the damn things make so many crazy noises, they conjure up images of R2D2.
So, sure, I’ll darken the doorway of the most intimidating room of the house every now and again. But it’s usually only to wash something specific for me, like work out clothes for the following day or something along those lines.
Because in Caroline’s orderly world of immaculate laundry, I know that me and my inadvertent co-mingling of colors could never pass the mustard. Nor, for that matter, would I even know which toothbrush to use if said mustard were to double as a stain on one of my little girl’s precious blouses.
So for the most part, I steer clear of any and all laundry endeavors. Though I will say this:
I’m money on the folding table.