The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Saved by the laundry

By Antonios Maltezos

I got angry without reason. I’d taken something my wife had said, played with it in my mind, and turned it into something else, losing my cool. This is how I remember the argument ending: “Fine,” I said, “I’ll wash my own clothes.”

I’m not sure what had precipitated my outburst, or what I was thinking making such a threat, such an offer, but I did, and the children heard me, binding me as if by contract to do at least one load if I wanted to prove myself, puff up my chest afterwards. Hey, I said I’d do it, and I did. My word is good.

But it was one of those outbursts I was regretting even before I’d finished out-bursting.

“Just tell me how this machine works,” I said in a shaky voice. “Is dis da bleach?” I was already looking for a way out. Craaaank! I turned one of the knobs. Craaank! – the next one over, my wife’s original settings lost to me if she were to walk away now, my shirts, my shorts, my socks – surely to be ruined. How? Not certain. Would they disintegrate, change colors, shrink? What? What?!?

“Gimme that,” she said, yanking the bleach from my hand.

Thank God! Hallelujah! What a close call!

I said I didn’t remember what had precipitated the argument, but now that I’m thinking on it, she may have asked that I carry the heavy basket of clean clothes upstairs from the basement laundry room. “Can’t it wait one minute,” I may have answered back in a snappy tone. I don’t know.

Maybe she’d been complaining about all those loads of laundry she does every week and how hard it was just getting some help bringing the clothes upstairs. I don’t know. I did offer, once, to construct a laundry chute from the top floor down to the basement through the closets. It was doable. It was doable. I got the idea from an old neighbor who’d told me he had paid only forty-five thousand dollars for his home. The previous owner had opened gaping holes through the floors for a fireplace, mmm, or a laundry chute. But it would be different for me. I could do it, finish the job and not have to sell the house. Still haven't figured out how to transport the clean clothes back upstairs, but I will. I will.

Maybe I’d been the one complaining. You send a pair of socks down to the basement, and they come back inside out. Good for keeping the lint out of the socks, but man, what a waste of time in the morning having to put the socks on like gloves so you can turn them inside out. Who’s got time for this? Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe not.

Maybe none of what I’ve just said ever happened. Maybe I can see my lovely wife from where I’m sitting at the moment, in front of the computer down here in the basement. We have it set up in an unused corner. It’s an office with only two walls. She’s in the laundry room with the door open. She’s been folding clothes for a couple hours now, the zippers and buttons going around and around in the dryer. Sississiiit! I’m enjoying the company, actually. Sississiiit! We catch up, figure stuff out, yell up at the kids every ten minutes or so. Sississiiit! It’s nice, sississiiit, kinda, sississiiit, but without the solitude that’s mostly overrated.

Maybe I sat down a little too late to work on this post. Sississiiit! And I have no one to blame but myself. Sississiiit!


Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

Aha laundry! the domestic issue that is universally delicate. Love that inside out sock stuff, Tony - I'm laughing only becuase that wasn't said in my house :)

Sat Sep 01, 12:26:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Don't you just hate those arguments that aren't about the laundry at all...or the dishes, or let's see, our last one was about a hand towel! Too bad we don't have instant translators that tell us what we're really saying.

Sat Sep 01, 02:00:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Chumplet said...

Maybe I should move my husband's computer closer to the laundry room. Then he'd do his own laundry instead of leaving it on the bedroom floor.

I only grab his stuff if I don't have enough of one colour to make a full load.

And neither of us has ANY matching socks, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Sat Sep 01, 03:12:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

I think you marrieds speak an entirely different language...

Sat Sep 01, 06:16:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Hey, Jen! Thanks for stopping by. I'm sure I could fill three or four blog posts just with the laundry stuff. Hey, Tricia. We don't have instant translators, but we do have the opportunity to figure things out on the keyboard. I have fun with that. I enjoy it. I should write a book. I wouldn't even need an outside editor. If my wife smiles, or laughs outright when she gets first read, I know I'm good for another day. Chumplet, sometimes it's easier leaving a pile on the floor by your side of the bed. When I can't drop my feet over the side and directly into my slippers, I know it's time to swoop it up and bring it downstairs, which I do. My pile rarely gets bigger than a couple days worth. Thanks for reading, guys!

(oH, JEEZ! I just realized I'm sitting here yapping about laundry with a bunch of women.)

Sat Sep 01, 09:19:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Thanks for reading, Tamara! Yes, we're pathetic, aren't we. Keep reading though, you never know when you'll get the urge to switch over to the dark side. :)

Sat Sep 01, 09:24:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

I love doing laundry. I have a strange tendency (oh just one of many) to stop whatever I'm doing and watch the dirty water drain during the spin rinse/spin cycle into the laundry room sink. Towels. Love washing towels. Spin-drying them with fabric softener sheet, folding them up all clean and fluffy...

Stop looking at me like that! Stop it?

Sun Sep 02, 09:30:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Chumplet said...

Mel, you're a sick woman. Really. You need help. Or you can feed your habit and come to my house.

Sun Sep 02, 10:38:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...


And Mel, you need help.

Mon Sep 03, 10:39:00 pm GMT-4  

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