Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Laundry Door Mat

Gray has decided that it is no longer safe for me to clean or do laundry. He's OK with me cooking, go figure. So this has resulted in some frustration for me. It's one of those situations that makes me take a long, hard look at myself in the mirror and fight the urge to cover the whole thing over with a blanket so I'm not forced to deal with what I see.

I am a control freak. I want everything to be done my way. If it is not going to be done my way, then I'd really rather just do it myself. It's not that my way is the best way, it's just that your way frankly sucks.

So now that Gray is cleaning (I use the term loosely to mean occasionally wiping down the toilet seat with a tissue) and doing all of the laundry (when we're both down to one lone sock each and a pair of underwear between us), I have had to try and let go of my control over those things. I am kind of surprised at how difficult this has been, especially considering my initial reaction to this arrangement was "HELL YEAH!" and "WASH YOUR OWN BOXERS BITCH!" and "YEE HAW!" I was looking forward to taking a break from the endless piles of dirty clothes, which are more intimidating than ever since our laundry room is now on a different floor and requires actual quarters to operate the machines. Believe it or not, between the two of us we could amass between 4 and 8 loads of dirty clothes in between laundry days, and I would often spend an entire Sunday washing, drying, folding, sorting and putting away clothes. I didn't think I was going to miss scrubbing the toilet or taking out the trash or vacuuming or dusting. I even considered buying a giant french maid costume for Gray to wear while performing these domestic tasks, because let's be real - that's a turn on to everyone, man or woman.

However, once he began to take on some of the chores, the evil control freak in me began to appear. The bathroom wasn't being scrubbed enough for my standards. The toilet was beginning to alarm me just a bit. The kitchen sink hadn't been bleached in weeks. The trash...it was full of broccoli! The laundry was piled up to my waist. I had a very hard time not taking over and just doing these things myself. I'm not an unreasonable person - I just want things to be, you know, sanitary. Not crawling with e-coli and feces.

What we failed to discuss when making the new domestic arrangements was the former state in which Gray used to live. To say he was a typical bachelor (not the metro sexual variety) was putting it very mildly. He lived in disgusting filth. He washed his clothes as little as possible, and then threw the clean ones on the floor of his closet. He never took out the trash, and instead would pile garbage on the counter and other surfaces when the can began to overflow. It. Was. Disgusting.

So, in comparison, I suppose he is keeping our place spectacularly clean. And to be honest with you, if I were still in charge of the cleaning and I decided to skip a Sunday and not scrub the bathroom, not only would I be OK with that, but Gray would never ever give me a hard time about it. So I'm starting to wonder what in god's name is wrong with me, woman?!

The first time Gray attempted to do the laundry without my help resulted in sort of a do-over situation. I had separated the piles of dirty clothes and counted how many loads it would take to wash them all. I made sure we had enough quarters to account for all 5 loads of laundry. I put all of the detergents and fabric softeners together with the laundry bags. I basically set it up so any idiot could have done the laundry that night. I told him that he needed to do 5 separate loads. If he tried to squeeze the clothes into 4 loads, nothing would get clean and they wouldn't dry properly, and oh-my-god don't mention the wrinkles we'll have on our hands! He assured me everything was under control.

When I arrived home, he was cheerfully folding all 5 of the loads of laundry in the living room, extremely proud of himself and sort of beaming. I cautiously surveyed the scene. Everything appeared to be it's proper color and size. I congratulated him on a laundry job well done. And then I started to help him fold. It was then that I realized many of the items of clothing were still damp-bordering-on-wet. My heart sank.

I looked at Gray and asked, "How many loads of laundry did you do?"

"Four."

I pulled a pair of my work pants from the bottom of the damp heap of clothing - they were hopelessly wrinkled and twisted. As were several other pairs of my work pants and his work shirts.

"Honey, I told you it was going to take 5 loads to wash all this - they loads you did were too full! Nothing got totally dry and the pants are all totally wrinkled!"

"You never told me that. Look, the pants are fine - we'll just iron them."

Clearly he does not grasp the difference between a wrinkle and a dryer-induced wrinkle. The kind of wrinkle that is basically "baked in" and cannot be undone by an iron.

"No, all we can really do is re-wash these pants. It's OK, really. Just next time, don't shove so many clothes in!"

I also explained that by inserting another quarter into the dryer, it adds 12 minutes to the machine. In case he ever wanted to avoid mildew in the clothing, that is. I've been living on 3 pairs of pants for a week now, waiting for the re-do on the wrinkled disasters from last week.

Last night was Gray's laundry night. He likes to do laundry on Mondays because I'm at class, and he's got both Monday night football and WWE Raw to watch while he's folding clothes. Let me just highlight just a couple of the differences between his style of laundry and mine. When he arrived upstairs in the laundry room to start the wash, he found that 4 of the 6 machines were already occupied. In a situation like this, I would use the 2 available machines, then take the remaining laundry down the length of the building to the other laundry room and use the 4 machines in there. That laundry room is never occupied, but it's a bit further of a walk.

Gray decided that he would wash two loads, then once those went in the dryer he would start another 2 loads, and then once those were in the dryer, he would start the last 2 loads. That means that instead of 30 minutes for the washer and one hour for the dryer, he was going to spend 4 and a half hours washing and drying laundry, and then fold and put those clothes away in three batches. The control freak in me was, well, FREAKING out when he told me his plan. I calmly reminded him about the other, empty laundry room. He said he didn't want to walk that far. Oh yeah, because spending 3 times as long is so much easier than walking 50 yards down the damn hallway.

But I choked down every instinct inside of me and said, "Hey, I'm not doing the laundry - you're doing the laundry so you do it however you want." It was so very healthy of me. Anyhow, I got home, ate some melon, watched a sitcom, then went happily off to dream land while Gray stayed up until 2:00 in the morning folding clothes. I think THIS might be nature's way of preparing him for the demands of an infant. Truly, how better to practice caring for a cranky, hungry, crying infant who pees all of the time and doesn't let you sleep at night....than to care for a cranky, hungry, crying pregnant woman who pees all the time and keeps you up all night doing laundry.

Nature is magical!