Marriage, as it does, has a way of settling couples in to routine. I get out of bed the same way every morning (begrudgingly and with a pain in my lower back); my wife gets ready the same way every morning. We clean the house at specific times; bills get paid the same way. And the laundry gets done every Friday afternoon.
My wife separates it on Thursday, we get the kids to school Friday morning, and by 11am, the spin cycle is on. When I get home from work and get a chance to decompress from the day, I fold the wash.
I’ve reached a point in my life where the thought of excitement, adventure, spur of the moment trips just makes me tired. Being able to sit down (which is key) when everyone else goes to bed, to do something as mindless as fold our laundry, and watch a little television, is just fine with me.
I actually enjoy the whole process. It’s almost cathartic for me. And even though we accumulate more laundry in a week than a Von Trapp family reunion weekend, I don’t mind and I don’t want help.
Unfortunately, there are times when my wife wants to help.
A Friday night. Around 10:30pm.
“Here, let me help you.” Sometimes I think my wife feels badly considering the amount of laundry we have can be described with words like “mounds” and “tonnage”.
“I’m ok. Let me do it. I don’t mind.” Frankly, I have seen my wife fold laundry.
“We can get it done quicker together. See?” She holds up a folded pair of jeans like a 7’ marlin she just reeled in.
“Hon, you folded those so badly, somewhere there is a Gap employee who just got a stomach cramp.” I’m nothing if not vivid with my descriptions.
“What are you talking about? This is fine!” You would think after 13 years of marriage I would know what would set my wife off. You would think.
“That is not folded.” My voice hits a tone that you would expect me to have one hand on my hip and be using the word “girlfriend”.
“What are you talking about?” It has been said, one needs to step out of the forest in order to see the trees. Time to bring my wife out.
“Alicia, if you showed those jeans to a stranger, they would think whoever folded them didn’t have any fingers.” Now that she’s out of the forest I’m going to drive this point home.
“You’re a jerk. They’re just going in a drawer for godsakes.”
“Those jeans would be fine if our dresser drawers were 30 gallon Tupperware containers.” If I don’t point it out how will she ever learn?
“What is that supposed to mean?” Her emphasis was on ‘that’. She accompanied it with a look that could have shattered Plexiglas.
“Look how big you made those jeans. You have to fold so everything tightly, so it fits in the drawers. If you don’t we have entirely too much clothing. It will never all fit.” The defense rests your honor.
“Well, I was just trying to help unlike you who didn’t chime in when I was washing the clothing.” The prosecution calls my wife to the stand your honor.
“First, I was at work and second, the last time I checked, you haven’t had to beat our clothing against rocks. I figured you could handle it.” I like to teeter on pushing the limits of my wife’s patience.
“Funny, I didn’t see you putting dirty socks and underwear in the machine smart ass. There isn’t enough Germ-X on the plan-”
“Ok, I think we’re getting off on to a tangent here. Fine, doing the wash is…difficult. But I’m ok to fold it. I don’t want your help.” I know how I wanted that last statement to sound. I also know how my wife thought that last statement sounded.
“Ok, before I’m sleeping on the sofa, let me explain that last statement. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the offer but I really don’t mind folding the wash. I understand we have 4 loads of wash that could pass as effigies to Indian burial mounds. I’m ok with it.It’s relaxing for meThink of it this way, now you can do something you wantJust let medothisandIloveyou.” Aaaand… breathe.
“Is this…it is, it’s my sweatshirt!” I was confused because the sweatshirt I put in to the wash was big enough for me to wear. The sweatshirt I was holding up could have been used as Spandex for an American Girl Doll.
“Now I know why you wanted to fold the wash. To hide all the stuff you shrunk!” I pointed an accusatory finger in her direction.
“Oh my god, I didn’t do it on purpose.” That’s what a guilty person would say.
“But since it shrunk, fold it and put it in my pile.” So much for establishing an alibi.
“You did that on purpose. You wanted this sweatshirt! This was my favorite one.” Had I tried, I couldn’t have sounded more like an 8 year old at this particular moment.
“I did NOT do it on purpose and besides, you have 30 sweatshirts in your closet. Find a new one.” Not one hint of remorse in her voice. Cold blooded that one.
“Keep your paws out of the wash. I’m going to need to see what else you shrunk of mine.”
“There isn’t anything else…I think. No, nothing else…maybe. Umm, there might be?” Let’s hope my not so confident wife never finds herself in a situation where she needs to pick the right wire to clip to disarm a bomb.
“Well if the kids start using some of my clothing for their dolls, at least I’ll have someone to blame.”
“I really am sorry. I will help if you want me to.” Contrition. An emotion husbands see from their wives about as often as anyone has you see a Giant Squid fighting a white sperm whale as Haley’s Comet passes overhead.
“I’m sure you didn’t shrink it on purpose. Thank you for the offer but I’m good. Really.” A smart husband never waves off an apology offered to him by his wife. He accepts and then tells his buddies at work for the next 6 months about the time his wife apologized to him.
“I do fold pretty badly don’t I?” The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem.
“That is an understatement for which I have no analogy to compare it to at the moment but if you give me a minute, I’m sure I can think of one.”
“Try to keep in mind I just apologized for shrinking your shirt. It would be wise not to erase that moment with a stupid comment.” She really does look out for me. I love that woman.
“Good point. I think I’ll just finish folding the laundry.”