Laundry problems

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By Ken Begley

“It’s better to have loved and lost than to have to do forty pounds of laundry a week.”
Dr. Laurence J. Peters
Keeping the family laundry up is a monumental task these days.  People didn’t have as many clothes or wash them as often when I was born.  Those were also the days when some people still used coal heating and no one had air conditioning.
Yep, we probably had quite an odor about us, but no one noticed it.
Don’t look down your modern nose at us older people, you youngsters.
You wouldn’t have done as much laundry either if you used a wringer washer or had to string wet clothes up in the house during the dead of winter for drying purposes.
Most everyone has all the modern conveniences, like automatic washers and dryers, these days.  Unfortunately, laundry is still a job no one wants to do around our house and mountains of it accumulate daily.
You, too, have the same problem?
Well, read on.  I think I’ve found a solution after much study and research that could be of benefit.
My wife and I used to think that we had to do all the laundry for our five “blessed little ones” several years back.  It still brings tears of mirth to my eyes when I think of what lunacy this was.
After all, children do have certain service obligations around the house due to the largess of their parents toward their upkeep and feeding.
What sort and extent of service obligations you may ask?  How about human slavery?
No, no.  We don’t call it that any more.  At least not since that little visit by the Children’s Protective Service.
I like to use a more gentile term from our early colonial period known as indentured servants.   That’s slavery with a time limit.  My suggestion is 18 if they leave the house and 23 if they continue on through college.
Laundry was my first experiment in childhood behavior several years ago.
My wife and I would fold the laundry and give it to the kids to put into their closets and drawers.  We could never keep up with it.  The mountains of laundry became ever bigger.
My wife did some detective work and found that the “blessed little ones” were too lazy to put up the clean and folded clothes.  So, they picked out what they wanted to wear and tossed the remainder back into the laundry room.
Retribution was swift and painful from the “old man.”  They were sentenced to permanent laundry duty.
At first, there were small acts of sabotage, like not distributing the laundry equally around the agitator in the washer.  This resulted in the washer becoming unbalanced and dancing across the floor.
Again, retribution was swift.
Retraining was commenced with this firm fatherly advice:  “Let that happen again, Clyde, and you’re going to think this is a training ground for “the bad place.”
The second bit of rebellion was putting all the laundry in the wrong drawers.  Think of this as being like the card game Memory, only with clothes:  “I believe that this sock from my room has a match in Will’s room in the third drawer down on the chest of drawers.”
A “shock and awe” campaign I launched in retaliation was a roaring success.
“Let’s get all the clothes back in the right drawers.  Daddy’s unhooked all the TVs from the wall and hidden the cables.”
Sometimes you can only achieve partial victories.
The clothes, remarkably, ended up in the right drawers, but a sock problem developed.  We had a big basket with mismatched socks.
I made them take all the socks out of every drawer one Saturday morning.  We pulled them all apart and proceeded to rematch every sock.  You know what?  We still had a pile of socks with no matches.  I took those socks and put them in the ragbag.
Case solved, right?
A month later the same thing happened again.
Oh well, occasionally the slaves, I mean the kids, win. Still, I’ve expanded their list of duties to include yard work, cleaning the house and dishes.
How did this work over the years?
Well, my wife and I went away for a weekend awhile  back.  We left my second eldest in-charge (oldest away at school) and came back to spit-shined house from top to bottom in proper military fashion.
I was quite proud, but my wife prefers they use furniture polish in the future.
Just kidding.
They did a good job.
But I would still like to know what they’re doing with my socks.