Tag Archives: Fabric Softener

First-World Problems

by Richard

I’m going to call what I just went through for the last couple of weeks a major first-world problem. All right with you dudes? Sure it is. You know what I’m talking about.

For those of you who don’t, a first-world problem is something that’s really — in the grand scheme of things — only something to worry about because we’ve got so much else buffering us from the harsh realities of life that so many other people have to struggle with every day just to survive. For instance, having your favorite nail polish stop making the color you’ve been using for the last year or so and it was just the right color and now you don’t have anything to match it. Or, the hi-def channels aren’t working and you’ve already got all the beer cooled and the snack foods left out and all the dudes over and the game’s about to start.

These things are annoying, sure. But they’re not something we should be making a big deal over.

Neither, of course, is not having access to your own personal washing machine for more than two weeks. But I still just about had a hissy fit until we got it back, let me tell you.

The washing machine started to go bad a couple of days before the apocalyptic ending in which it spun and shook and spun and shook and made more noise than the last Kiss concert. Although, to be fair, it was slightly more rhythmic. It was toast.

So I called the Sears repairfolk and they sent someone over. He looked it over and said, “Hmmmm.” Then he printed out a receipt, said he had to order some parts and would be back in a week. Before the week was up, I got another call that the parts were backordered and it would be a while longer.

Finally, this week, it got fixed. I just about fell to my knees in thanks.

I’d been having to make these long trips to the local coin laundry, lugging heavy suitcases of clothing along with soap and fabric softener and lots and lots of quarters. Sure it was fun, in that I got to sit there and watch some TV talk to the other folks haunting the waiting area until we heard our ding and all that. The thing is, though, it made it so I couldn’t do anything else but wash. Stuff got put off. Which meant I put off doing the laundry. Until it was a huge mess. Which made it more difficult to do. Which meant I put it off. . .

You get the point. Definitely a first-world problem. At least I had clean clothing, and a place to wash them that wasn’t filled with swimming, eating and pooping fishy creatures. And nothing wanted to eat me while at the watering hole.

Yes, I’m probably spoiled. Just like you dudes, but I gotta tell you, I like it. I like being able to do laundry any time and however much I want.

Thank you Sears repairfolk for finally getting the job done. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to do go some laundry.

And, of course, I’ve run out of the liquid soap so I’ll have to use that dry powder and it’s all messy and I’ll have to have one of the young dudes vacuum it up. Ugh. It’s just going to be terrible.

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We Need Dirty Laundry

by Richard

No, the title’s not speaking metaphorically. This is actual, physical, stinky wrinkled dirty laundry. When they were younger little dudes, I used to do all their laundry. It was an all-day Sunday kind of thing, eating up almost every single hour in the day just to get them clean clothes.

As they got older, though, I started making sure they would be the ones to put away their clean clothing after I washed, dried and folded it. I’m a firm believer in having the young dudes participate, to the level of which they’re capable of at a given age, in the upkeep their lives demand.

The two older young dudes, Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy, then got the shock of their young lives when I started telling them that from 7th grade and on, they were in charge of their own laundry. They had to gather it up. They had to bring it downstairs and sort it into darks and lights. They had to put the clothes into the washing machine, pour in the soap and the fabric softener and set the cycle. They had to move the clothes from the washer into the dryer and from there to fold them. Then they had to put the clothes up.

Needless to say, they weren’t all that happy with this sort of development. Well, said I, tough. It’s a skill every young dude and dudette needs to know. As early as college, they’re going to be on their own and have to do their own laundry. There’s no way they can pack enough to last them the entire semester. Thank, FSM for small favors.

I’ve got a friend, a lady who has a young dudette getting ready to head off to college. This young dudette has never done her own laundry. She has no idea at all how to do it. My friend, the mom, is frustrated that her daughter didn’t pick this sort of thing up as the years rolled by. I’m just laughing. There’s no way for the young dudes and dudettes to pick this sort of skill up without having to do it week in and week out, getting them used to the process. Until they can do it on their own without prompting.

Of course, we’ve still got issues. Sometimes, Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy will go three weeks without doing laundry. Which means they’re wearing clothing several times, without actually washing them, contributing to the dudefunk. And, when they think I’m not paying attention, they’ll fold their clean clothes and then slide the basket back into their closet, all without putting away any of the clean bits. Then just cover the clean clothes with dirty so I won’t be able to tell. Which, to me, seems to negate the whole purpose of actually washing the clothes to begin with.

Still, it’s an important skill for these young dudes to know. I’m glad my mom made me learn when I was younger. I have a feeling my young dudes will feel the same. Eventually. Maybe.

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Clean Clothes

Before we begin, a quick message. Happy birthday, Dad! And now back to our regularly scheduled program. Sundays used to be a very busy time for me. That was the day that I did all the laundry. That is, all the laundry for five people. It was not fun. It was, however, efficient. I had a system that worked for me. The only problem was that I basically had to be at home for most of Sunday. One day, though, I had a flashback to my own childhood.

My mom and dad were believers in what might be termed the benign neglect school of childrearing. Once I got near middle school, they wanted me to wear clean clothes, but if I didn’t? Well, that was my problem. They figured when friends would start complaining about the stink or the stained clothes I’d insist on wearing, well, either I’d start doing laundry more often or I’d do without friends. Either way I’d learn a valuable lesson. Have I mentioned how much I hated learning valuable lessons? The answer is. . . A lot.

Still, I did learn that lesson and started doing my own laundry. Of course, at first I ended up with a lot of pink shirts and underwear so I had to learn that you need to separate the lights from the darks. Either that or don’t buy any new red clothes and then just dump the rest of the stuff in all together. Guess which one I chose?

So it was with some trepidation that I began forcing allowing my little dudes to do their own laundry. It was a bit rough at first in that I had to take them by the hands to help sort out the darks and lights. Who knew there would be such trouble deciding that white socks shouldn’t be washed with black shirts? Eventually they learned the two-pile strategy and then I had to teach them where the detergent goes and, no, it’s not in the same place that’s marked fabric softener. And, no, you don’t have to fill every niche to the very top.

I learned another valuable lesson when I realized that they were folding up and putting away clothes that hadn’t finished drying yet. I guess they figured that if the buzzer went off, they didn’t have to worry about it anymore. If the clothes were still a little wet, no big deal. Yeah, until they started showing up with mold growing on their jeans. And, no, again, I’m not kidding in the least.

But now, finally, finally, they seem to be getting the hang of it. And to think it only took a couple of years of yelling, screaming and prodding. If only I’d started this earlier, I might have had more Sundays free for the important things. Like naps.

— Richard

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