Thursday, September 23, 2004

A Study in Low-Maintenance

Both of my signifcant others in life have appreciated the fact that I am not a high maintenance woman. Quite the opposite. My roomate Rachel used to tell me that I could benefit from being a little more high maintenance.

I am simply not wired that way.

I offer you a case study.

I got a disturbing phone message at work today. It was on my cell, and from my ex.

"Jen, Tommy says there are still library books at your house he needs, and the kids both need their soccer stuff..."


This means that a) I will have to brave the little boy room and b) that I will have to do laundry. I choose simply to ignore the message further inviting me to bring such items to soccer practice. To acknowledge it would mean admitting that here it is Thursday, their last game was Saturday, and I haven't washed their shirts yet. At least, I don't think I have. I sure as hell haven't folded any or put any away.

After years of domestic bliss, now that I am a working outside the home girl, I don't do laundry anymore. Oh, I wash and dry clothes, to be sure. But fold? Put away?

Meet Erin. Erin is our favorite sitter, and she needed some extra cash, so over the summer, I came up with a brilliant way for her to earn some. Our wunderkin Jen was gone for the summer, so I was cleaning the house myself with my Fridays off to prepare for Shabbat. Erin needs work= Jen doesn't have to clean anymore.

But then Wunderkin Jen returned and wanted her old job back. But she will leave in December! So, how to make them both happy?

Well. There is obviously plenty for everyone.

Jen cleans for us (except for the bedrooms, we muddle through that ourselves, and badly) and Erin comes and folds the laundry. Our job is to wash and dry it and put it away.


Put it away.

Like that's gonna happen. That is why G-d invented laundry baskets.

But here is this message on my cell phone. Clearly, the boys do need their soccer shirts. Erin won't be here til tomorrow. What's a girl to do?

Well. I went downstairs. A lot of this effort would rest upon whether the children had actually obeyed listened paid attention to me when I told them to put their clothes in the dirty clothes pile, rather than leaving their clothes a) on the floor of their room b) on the floor of the TV room c) on the floor of the bathroom.

Clothes in the washing machine. Open drier. Clothes in the drier. Take those out and add to the mountain on the nifty table I have down there. Transfer clothes to the drier, clean the lint thing (I'm not a complete moron) and start the drier. I have not yet seen the soccer shirt.

Sigh. Go find the next pile of dirty clothes, and take it downstairs. There is a soccer shirt! Start a load of bright colors. But there is only one soccer shirt. I look at the pile of clothes on the table. Sigh. I roll up my sleeves (actually, I just said that for dramatic effect. I am wearing short sleeves) and start digging through the clothes when it occurs to me that the only efficient way to do this is to fold as I go.

I think longingly of the book I had been planning to read this evening while Dereck teaches and is at soccer. Of the book I didn't have time to read last night when I was getting new shoes, groceries, making sure homework was done, assigning chores (go walk the DOG!), eating dinner, and tucking little people into bed, first Tommy, then Christian, lying down with them each in turn, and eventually falling asleep next to Christian til midnight, when Dereck came to claim me.

This is why I do not do laundry. It cuts into my reading time. Seriously.

I start folding. But I am crafty. I know Erin is coming tomorrow, so I only fold enough to learn that there is no bright orange soccer shirt on that table.

I go up the stairs. I go into the little boys' room, picking up towels, socks, sorting clean clothes from dirty. I look in all of the drawers. An orange shirt! That's an Old Navy shirt. What possessed me to buy an orange shirt when they were going to have orange soccer shirts? Couldn't I have anticipated that somehow?

I glance in the bathroom that Jen has cleaned today every time I go past. I love her.

I return to the basement, sort more clothes, peek into the washer and drier. It's hopeless. I will have to wait til they are finished to find out whether there is an orange shirt I missed earlier.

I go back upstairs, look in Sam's room, pick up towels, socks, look in the drawers. I take those to the basement (no, I am NOT the very model of a modern major efficient woman), and by the time I come back upstairs, I decide that maybe I will go into the newly cleaned bathroom because my afternoon coffee Dr. Pepper is hitting me. I turn on the light, and there, neatly hung on the bathroom rack is the other orange shirt! Hurray! I run it downstairs, open the washing machine, and plop it in. Hurray! Run back upstairs to the newly cleaned bathroom.

Now, I have to find the library books...

And as I have been writing this, Hy-Vee called.

The two movies I rented, which I didn't have time to watch, are now overdue.

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