“Were we called upon, however, to designate that class of composition which, next to such a poem as we have suggested, should best fulfill the demands of high genius–should offer it the most advantageous field of exertion–we should unhesitatingly speak of the prose tale . . . ” –Edgar Allan Poe, a review of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales
Let’s talk laundry.
Here’s the deal with laundry: I can wash and dry clothes ALL DAY LONG. I love it. I love how productive and self-righteous I feel when I get up in the morning and shove a load of laundry in the washing machine, pour some soap and fabric softener in the little compartments, and power it on. I’m all like, “I haven’t been up for even five minutes, and I’m already doing chores and TAKING CARE OF MY FAMILY. Suck it, slackers!”
I can do laundry endlessly and not get tired of it—gross clothes go in, warm and fragrant clothes come out. I especially enjoy washing big loads of white bath towels—they come out of the dryer so fluffy and soft and sparkling clean. It’s just delightful. Some people put clothes away the minute they come out of the dryer. I do something similar, except that I place them carefully on the laundry room floor for safekeeping. When the pile reaches approximately five feet in height, I put the clothes away because they’re finally at a height that’s easy for me to reach. I have no back problems, and I think this is one of the reasons why.
I currently use Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder for the washing of the fabric, along with Downy liquid fabric softener for the softening of the fabric, and Vaska Oxygen Brightener for the brightening of the fabric. Charlie’s is fairly awesome because it’s a multi-use product and because it takes such a tiny amount for any job—one tablespoon for a large load for laundry, for instance. It’s an excellent value and is good for washing machines and for the environment. I use it for a whole slew of purposes, including laundry doing, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and playing tricks on the drug dealer neighbors by putting in in baggies and pretending that it’s cocaine when we all need a good laugh. (And they frequently do because they do not appear to be the carefree type of drug dealers.) You can’t lose with Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder.
My love affair with laundry began when I was a freshman in college for a couple of different reasons. I started dating my first boyfriend whose laundry smelled SO good. It was AMAZING. He smelled like a young maiden who spent her time skipping through a fresh, springy field. I loved the smell of his laundry so much that one of the first questions I asked his mom when we met was about what she used for her laundry (because she might have done his laundry for him when he went home). I’m sure she was very impressed with my future laundry-doing potential, and, obviously, she was correct in expecting me to do great things, as I doubt she has developed a laundry system that could rival my finely-tuned floor pile process.
The second reason is best addressed via a short story because the short story is, according to Edgar Allan Poe, awesome. (See above.)
Missy’s arm shot out from underneath the pile of covers on her bed and slapped the top of her alarm clock. She lifted her head (not an easy task, what with her hair) and opened a heavy eyelid to check the time.
“Shit. Oh, shit, oh, shit, oh, shit,” she whispered to herself as flung back her covers and sat up in a panic, having slept far past the time she’d originally intended, as she’d wanted to get up early to finish studying for her Statistics and Calculus exams.
She quietly, so as to not wake her still-sleeping roommate, poured herself a bowl of Trix and ate it in quick bites as she put her hair up in a ponytail and pulled on a pair of jeans and a shirt from the pile of clean laundry on the floor. (That’s called a theme, ladies and gentlemen.) She then opened her Statistics textbook and closed it again a second later as she sighed a meaning-laden sigh.
She put on her shoes and jacket, hitched her backpack over one shoulder so as to maximize her potential for developing scoliosis, and exited her dorm room, clicking the door shut quietly behind her.
Missy’s first semester as a Math Education major had not gone well, as she’d discovered that she was good at math only when Mr. Robinson, her high school math teacher, taught her math. Because he had selfishly refused to attend college with her, she was, as they say, screwed and now was finishing up her first college semester by taking her worst two finals on the same day. Not even a fresh container of Cool Whip and a clean spoon could salvage this day.
She avoided eye contact with the other early exam-takers she encountered while walking to class but made her way resolutely through the quiet throngs of people to her classroom, where the Statistics exam thoroughly and happily screwed her, after which she hitched her backpack back over her shoulder again to make her way back to her dorm room.
Because she finished her exam fairly quickly (because why not?), Missy found herself walking alone, with nary another soul in sight. As she contemplated the cold, gray morning, she suddenly felt a strange sensation down by her ankle. She looked down, while still walking, and saw, to her horror, a piece of blue material peeking out from the bottom of her pants leg. It was her underwear. Her blue underwear. Her blue underwear that she’d had since the 7th grade. (Let’s not examine this point too closely.) She loved that underwear. And now it was falling out of her pants leg a little bit further with every step she took. What was to blame for this horrifying development? That most evil of clings . . . static cling.
She slowed her pace and turned her head slowly and oh-so-casually to the right and then to the left, checking for witnesses. It was important to her that she not lose her street cred via someone watching her abandon her underwear outside of the University Center, as she’d just started dating her very first college boyfriend who had awesome-smelling laundry. There was a lot riding on this underwear.
Missy saw no witnesses nearby, so she subtly shook her leg as she walked, causing the underwear to shimmy out of her pants leg and land with a whisper on the concrete walkway. She didn’t look down to say good-bye to the underwear that had served her so well all through middle and high school. She kept up her casual pace and, thus, distanced herself from the offending undies, abandoning them to their no doubt appalling fate.
As she left her underwear further and further behind, Missy felt a sharp twinge of regret, but she knew she had to bury that regret deep down inside, a place where she didn’t need underwear. She finally made it back to her dorm room and lay down on her bed, spent from the horrifying morning.
Unfortunately, her underwear remained in that spot outside of the University Center, which housed both the campus cafeteria and bookstore, for the next several days, so she saw them every time she went to eat or walk to another final exam. She studiously ignored her loyal panties every time she passed them, much as an unfeeling person might ignore a homeless person at a traffic light or a charming hermit with a product review blog might ignore drug dealers in the house across the street.
The last time Missy saw her underwear, she was walking with her suitemates, Lisa and Brandi, back to the dorm after supper, when Lisa spotted the panties and said, “Gross. There’s no telling how those panties ended up there.”
With a tear in her eye, Missy looked away and responded, “Yeah, so disgusting. Skank.” And little part of her died. And she had to go to Wal-Mart to buy new underwear.
As I think should be obvious to you now, I had to make some serious changes regarding the laundry products I used, so I simply started using what my boyfriend’s mom used. They remain my favorite laundry product combo to this day, so I shall share them with you. They are as follows:
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But she just said that she uses Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder for washing clothes, NOT Tide with Bleach!” And you are correct. We have lots of pets currently, as well as a five-year-old son, and, together, they generate a lot of laundry. Also, my husband changes clothes two or three times a day; it’s very odd. So, it’s just cheaper for me to use Charlie’s for laundry right now, and it’s simply a great a product for all of the reasons I mentioned previously. However, nothing can beat the scent of the original Tide with Bleach–it’s soooooooo good. The next time I want my husband to smell like a young maiden, I’ll buy more Tide.
Some people don’t want to use double the fabric softening products, liquid AND sheets, but I love it. I actually prefer bath towels that don’t feel like 30 grit sandpaper.
I don’t always remember to keep the dryer sheets in stock in our laundry room, but then I’ll remember the lost underwear of 1992, and I’ll buy more dryer sheets. I’ll buy more.