Once again it seems I spent seven blissful days without peering in to the interior of my washing machine. Seven days without even peeking to see if something was left there, alone, to wonder where it's mate was. Seven days without even opening the dryer to discover the last load of towels from last week were sitting there, all alone. Cold and unloved. Seven days of clean smelling clothing found just where it they were supposed to be without wondering what might be waiting for me downstairs in the laundry room. And now, it seems I have seven days, or more, to wonder what in the world I was thinking!
It all started innocently enough. Really it did. After a successful night of shopping at my favorite thrift store along with a windfall of jeans Mom located for a buck somewhere in her travels for Jonathan, I knew the boys had enough jeans for a few days so a daily trip to the washing machine was not necessary. And certainly Laura's closet was full enough now that we no longer have to worry about having pants that will stretch over casts, so why would I need to throw a run of her clothing in? Surely my hubby has enough white shirts to go a week or more without washing, and we all have enough of those unmentionables to last a week or so, so why would laundry need to cross my mind??? Uhhhh... Needless to say, it didn't. Not even a flicker. Not a thread of thought. Not a sudsy blip on the ol' mental radar dared cross my laundry-free mind. And then reality hit.
Yesterday, after realizing that perhaps a bit too much time had passed since I'd had an intimate look inside my washer, I casually mentioned to Jonathan that I needed the laundry gathered and taken to the basement. He complied with my request without an ounce of protest. That should have been a clue. A clue that perhaps he'd been waiting with baited breath for a clean pair of jeans to hit his laundry pile. That perhaps he was tired of wearing sweats everywhere and actually was changing out of his dirty clothing more than once every two days creating an actual need for clean laundry that was so new none of us had yet realized it. Could it be that he was growing up and I failed to notice? Could it be that I had been lulled in to a quiet sense of security because for weeks I'd kept up on the laundry? Could it be that doing the laundry regularly for awhile, including folding and putting it away, had been so much easier that I'd failed to notice the change in everyone's attitude? I would certainly contemplate all of these issues an more as I rounded the corner in the basement and saw Mount Dirty Duds.
Yes. It's true. My week off was not such a good idea. I stopped dead in my tracks and peered at the mounds of laundry in front of me, my jaw hanging to my knees, wondering where it had all come from. As I walked ever more closely to the pile, a feeling of dread began to grow. How in the world was I going to conquer Mount Dirty Duds? Couldn't I just throw some of it away and pretend like the washer ate it? In my state of disbelief, I think I might have sobbed for a few minutes. And if I really think about it, I think I even saw the pile shudder in sympathy, reaching it's dirty arms out to embrace me as I slumped down on the stool wondering how long it would take me to finish. After all, before I got my act together and started doing the laundry on a regular basis, Mount Dirty Duds was a regular part of our life. And it was well acquainted with the flinging of clothing in to large, tippy piles and bins where those items unlucky enough to land in the bottom of the pile might not see the light of day for weeks. It was going to be a big job, but somehow I had to accomplish it.
Quietly, I opened the washer and peered in to its large capacity cavity. I imagined it giddy with excitement as it prepared to be the workhorse that it must be to keep us all in clean clothing, happy to once again be of service. I talked quietly to it, encouraging it to do the job quickly, making it a partner in my ambition to once again conquer Mount Dirty Duds. I think it might have winked. Oh wait, that was just the lid slamming down on my finger. None the less, we began again. Renewed partners in one of the biggest jobs in our household. I poured in the soap and started up the washer. She jiggled a moment as the cold water began to flow and then settled down, open-mouthed, ready to receive her next load. After filling her, I reached over to her partner in crime and started up the dryer to fluff the towels, removing a weeks worth of wrinkles and heating them up once again. Hot air filled the dryer once again as he came to life, willing to enter our alliance as was his duty. Yes, they are life partners. She and He. Standing together to support and assist us as needed. I'm sure the Kenmore family is very proud.
Slowly our joint efforts have had an impact. This morning Mount Dirty Duds is more like a small hill. The washer, dryer and I have formed an alliance of sorts. We have agreed that as long as I throw the dirty laundry in, they will give back clean, sweet smelling clothes to give and live for another day of hugging our bodies in an effort to keep us warm and socially acceptable. They will do their duty, as promised by Kenmore, and produce as much as I ask. And I, in turn, realize that I am the captain of my own expedition. And I'd rather walk up a hill than climb a mountain. I guess letting my 'partners in clean' go a week without me won't happen again any time soon. I've learned that partnerships only work if both sides are contributing. And I'm willing to do my part once again.
No, I'll no longer go a week without getting intimately close to my washer. And I think, deep down Matthew and Jonathan will quietly thank me. Some day. :)