Saturday, March 1, 2014

Laundry for Giants and other Domestic Fails

I consider myself a pretty great mom, but I stink to high heaven at most mom jobs. 

Despite the fact that I am a full time pencil portrait artist and you would think I'd have some sort of pride in the appearance of my home (or myself... apologies for anyone who has seen me at Jewel), I just don't.  I've never been into decorating my house unless it’s Christmas.  Hang onto your Santa hat, then.  Otherwise, not so much.

A neighbor helpfully pointed out that my walls were all boring white several years after we moved in and I sort of wanted to pinch her, but she had a point. I don’t have a knack for knick-knack whatnot.  I notice my friends’ lovely homes and I notice when mine is messy, but I just don’t care that much unless we’re having company.  Then I run around panicking over all the weird piles of stuff everywhere and wishing that things matched or had less stains. 

I also hate grocery shopping and making dinner because I’m the opposite of a multi-tasker.  I’m a one thing at a time-er until I get distracted by something else, then I’m all about that thing, whether or not dinner is or should be in the oven.  I postpone shopping until we are out of everything and I have to listen to the nonstop sad sighs of everyone standing in front of open cupboards and fridge searching for anything worth eating. 

When I can’t take the audible hunger pangs anymore, I stomp around in search of my coupon holder, wasting at least an hour going through three months worth of newspaper coupons so I can save us about $4.50.  My husband and sons enjoy my victim mentality and show their support by rolling their eyes at each other (I see them).  Sometimes I make a big show of going through all the sales flyers so that I can price match at Wal-Mart.  When I brag about how I scored a disinterested cashier who allowed me to name any outlandishly low competitor price I want, it hurts my feelings when Joe informs me this is really a form of stealing.  Wal-mart is an evil empire!  I am the good guy, Joe.  Living with a Libra is hard for a morally ambiguous Gemini.

 When I get around to making dinner, the following usually occur:

1.       I break something, spill something or burn myself
a.       I scream bloody murder
b.      Joe asks if I’m okay in a genuinely concerned manner. 
c.       I respond by refusing to answer while banging pans around and power-sulking.

2.       I forget to start cooking something or stop cooking something
a.     I holler-announce my mistake in an overly dramatic way with lots of swears, such as “SHIT!  I forgot to turn the OVEN ON” or “GREAT, the pork chops are cremated again.”
b.     Joe sweetly reminds me that he enjoys burnt food (he actually does), all is not lost and nobody else cares about the exact timing of dinner. 
c.     Nobody recognizes how close I come to not swearing and hollering for once, and how DISAPPOINTING that is.

I love cooking!

3.       I feed everyone else something different than what I eat
a.     By the time I’ve got the manly meal on the table, everyone else starts eating while I’m still microwaving my sad girl meal
b.     Everyone is done before I am
c.     I eat Max’s leftovers
d.     I am disgusted with myself

4.       I feed myself the same thing as the rest of the family
a.     I attempt to serve myself a somewhat more girly portion than my three over 6' tall men, which is probably still a generous man portion in most households.
b.     Joey and I begin an unofficial wolfing contest and finish in a tie, or I am a close second
c.     Repeat 3c
d.     Repeat 3d

Everyone around here wants dinner every damn day and I can't remember to take something out of the freezer at a reasonable time and/or BUY food that counts as dinner.  Plus all the burning and forgetting and injuries...  it's stressful. When Joe makes dinner, he has a real recipe and premeasures all of his ingredients in adorable little ceramic containers, keeping his work area neat and tidy.  When he's finished, it hardly ever looks like someone dropped an even messier kitchen on top of ours from a great height.  He is calm and happy as he accomplishes his successful cooking goals instructed by his beloved cooking shows. 

Joe's a project manager and I am a neurotic flibbertigibbet artist, so it all sort of makes sense, and yet it feels like the girl version of emasculation. 
It may not be very 2014, but I can’t help but feel this household stuff is supposed to be traditionally more in my lane, right?  If I could only remember to do stuff and swear less and stop demanding pronouncements of gratitude from everyone who lives here.

I shine in one glorious household chore; I can wash the bejeesus out of clothes for giants. 

I have at least 7 distinct hot/cold/light/dark categories, each containing at least one overflowing load on laundry day, because I procrastinate at least two weeks between laundry marathons.  Consequently, we all own an extraordinary amount of underpants.  After I've dumped hampers on the floor to sort, the pile is the size of a kitchen stove. 

Unlike my usual, cheap, half-ass efforts, I buy actual name brand detergent and use both fabric softener and multiple dryer sheets.  When the dryer stops, I lay every item in a basket carefully so that everything is nice and smooth when it comes time for my mom to do all my folding for me.  God bless my mommy.

Close, but not quite.
My husband is 6’8, Joey is 6’5 and Max is 6’1.  Joe and Joey have disproportionately long torsos and a passion for t-shirts and sweatshirts.  I try to find tall sizes when I can, but I cannot dry any of their shirts.  Ever.  Otherwise they will go right ahead and wear the resulting short shirts around the house with an inch or two of belly hanging out.  This is disturbing.  So I must take every shirt made out of any sort of jersey or stretchy cotton (t-shirt, sweatshirt, long sleeve, etc.) out of the washer and complete the following:

1.     Place arms into shirt and stretch wide-ways and then flap to shake out rumples.

2.      Fold the shirt in half long ways and roll the collar a few times so I don't stretch the head hole into a girly boat-neck effect.

3.     Step on the bottom of the damp shirt (preferably with bare or sock feet instead of dirty running shoes... lesson learned) and pull in an upward row fashion as far as shirt will allow to hopefully cover the entirety of Joe giganticness.

4.     Flap shirt to shake out up and down stretch rumples

5.     Hang shirt on hanger to dry on rod above washer and dryer.  We don't have a laundry room and steps 1-4 are performed on a step stool.

6.     Repeat for each of the 50 shirts that the Joes have fouled in a two week period. 

Honestly, it is a lengthy labor of love keeping my big boys clothed, fed and reasonably safe from tripping over my shoes in every room of our home.  I insisted that Joey start doing his own laundry this year, and when I saw him taking his clothes out of the dryer, one by one, laying them carefully into a basket, I could have cried. 

It’s all such a challenge for me, as I keep reminding everyone, but it’s worth it.  Especially when my three adorable, funny, sweet boys refuse to complain about the crunchy rice, the mushy green beans, the burnt chops.  "It's not my favorite," is the most brutal criticism Joe musters.

Despite my shitty household skills, I’m not afraid to take the cover off the furnace and start poking around to see why it isn’t turning on.  When there was a MASSIVE beehive outside Joey’s second floor window.  Joe said, “Damn, look at that thing! We’ll need to call someone.”  I marched upstairs with a towel around my arm and hit it with Max's hockey stick a bunch of times, and then shot it with bee killer juice after it fell on the ground.  Joe would prefer to write a check rather than risk bee stings or electrocution.  I hate paying for anything. 

I may stink at the girl stuff, but I can be just a little bit of a bad ass when I'm not sobbing somewhere because someone hurt my feelings. Hell, I'm pretty brave when it comes to fixing things, or killing things or other traditional male household jobs like being rude to salespeople. 

Except for lawn mowing and garbage toting… someone with a penis is definitely doing all that. 


  1. That's my Wendy....brave as can be about so many things - telling sales people they suck when they need to hear it, taking down a bee hive and fixing things. Loving people with all your heart is what you do best though; along with washing the shit out of clothes for giants.

    1. You've seen more of my wimpy side than most, Vic! Love you

  2. So much fun after an extended blog drought! Joey applying the laundry procedures learned from his loving Mom was just beautiful! If you look at Tina's Facebook post of a mother reading to a group about the changes required in being a mother, you will feel validated even more about ignoring a few dust bunnies.

    1. Now if I could only be strong enough to leave all those clothes on his floor instead of giving up and doing it all for him lately... at least he knows how to do it right considering college will be here before we know it!

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