Folding the Sheets

I can’t fold the sheets. I have a king size bed, and I dread having to wash our sheets. It’s not that I don’t enjoy having clean sheets. I do. I enjoy that very much. It’s because I can’t fold them. I’ve tried so many methods. I’ve tried so many tactics. I’ve failed — again and again and again.

We use cotton sheets, of course. I mean, cotton is the fabric of our lives, right? All that advertising can’t be wrong. Plus, cotton sheets feel nice and soft and comfy. But they wrinkle like gangbusters in the dryer. My mom always tells me I should iron my sheets. Because, you know, they are cotton. And they wrinkle. If I had a dime for every time she commented, in that off-hand way of hers, that she doesn’t know how I can manage to sleep on sheets that are wrinkled … Well, I would have a lot of dimes. I sleep fine on my wrinkled sheets, by the way. I think the idea that I spent time ironing them, when we are just going to get into bed and rumple them all around, would be enough to keep me awake.


My husband can fold the sheets. Usually, once I pull them out of the dryer, I sweet talk him into “helping” me fold them. I say “helping”, but what I really mean is that I sit there and watch as he works his magic. I try to console myself with the fact that he is much taller than me. And his arms are longer. So, of course, it’s easier for him to wrestle a king-size sheet into submission. I mean, more height … more arm length … It’s logical, right? This makes me feel a little better.

But then, I remember my mom. Who is barely five feet tall. Who has the arm length of a five-foot tall person. And guess what? My mom can also fold the sheets. My mom can fold the sheets even better than my husband. When my mom folds them, the sheets look brand new. They look like we just pulled them out of the packaging for the first time. They have crisp corners and sharp folds. They are folded down to where they are about the size of a large hardback book. It’s like there are infinite folds. Or like my mom somehow managed to bend the time-space continuum in order to fit the sheets into the teeniest possible amount of space in our linen closet. I don’t understand how this works. When I lamented my inability to fold the sheets to my mom, her response was less than helpful. “You could fold them, if you cared enough. You just don’t care.”

This made me feel pretty bad. I mean, here I was, pouring out my heart about my domestic failures … hoping for some first-class mentoring or Jedi-master level mind tricks or mother-daughter bonding or something … and all I got was that I didn’t care enough. It lasted for about thirty minutes. It was not a good time for me. But then I concluded my mom was probably right, in some respects. I mean, I would love to fold the sheets. I would love to wrangle them into submission until they were folded down into infinite folds of cottony-soft goodness. I think this would give me a great deal of personal satisfaction. But I’m never going to iron them. They will always be wrinkled. And, maybe this means I don’t care. Maybe the sheets know this. Maybe they behave accordingly.


In my defense, I do okay with the flat sheet. I can get that one folded down to a decent size. And it ends up looking pretty even and overall nice. But the fitted sheet. The fitted sheet is my nemesis. The fitted sheet is my hell. I can never fold it. In my hands, the corners never fit together. There are suddenly twice as many of them. And way too much elastic. There are always parts and bits that are inside out or hanging out around the edges.

My sweet dog Fae loves to nest. If she finds blankets or towels or anything relatively soft, she will dig in it and push it around and pile it up until it’s a big, lumpy mess of soft, lumpy messiness. And then, she will lie down in it. That’s what the fitted sheets look like when I fold them. They look like Fae has been nesting in them. Tonight, as I struggled with the fitted sheets, I turned around and caught Fae watching me. She was standing out in the hall, looking longingly at the mess I was making. She probably thought I was building the perfect nest, just for her. And she probably had loving doggie thoughts that made her feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

As I shoved my now-folded sheets into the linen closet, quickly slamming the door before anything could tumble down onto the floor, I heard Fae sigh. She had a disappointed look on her face — the kind of sad, pathetic look only a dog can manage. What could I tell her? How could I explain? It wasn’t that I wanted to deprive her of the perfect, messy nest. It’s just that I don’t have whatever gene it is that allows one to fold the sheets perfectly. Whatever gene that is skipped me entirely.

But I can manage to find the stash of dog cookies, each and every time. So I did that. And Fae was okay with it.


The Tiny Bag of Sheets

Today was a day of chores. Well, it was supposed to be a day of chores. I have a lot of things I need to do in order to catch up from the holidays and to get my house back in order from hosting my parents for a couple of weeks. I love hosting my parents. I’m happy they were able to come, and having them with us made for a memorable and joyous holiday. But … Having guests in your house tends to mess with normal routines.

I don’t particularly like doing chores. I have mentioned (many times) that I am lacking the domestic goddess gene that would make me a whiz at the whole stay-at-home-mom/housewife thing. But, really, I suppose no one enjoys chores. I mean, if we enjoyed them, they wouldn’t be chores, right? They would be something else, like a hobby. And no matter how much I don’t like the whole chore thing, life happens. Chores happen. Stuff needs to get done so that we don’t live in complete squalor.  And someone needs to do that stuff. Since I am the stay-at-home someone, I am elected. As I’ve said before: It’s my job.

I have plans for 2017. I have things I want to do in my house. I have stuff I want to organize. I have stuff I want to get rid of. Basically, I want to go room-by-room in my house and clear out years worth of clutter and junk and stuff we don’t use. This is going to be a huge project, and I will likely blog about it in more detail in the future. Because it’s such a huge project, I keep avoiding it. I can’t do this forever, though … But that’s a story for another blog, I think.

Today, I had planned to do a few different chores. I had some errands to run. I had some bathrooms to clean. I had dishes to do. I wanted to vacuum and maybe dust a bit. And I needed to do some laundry. There is always laundry. My morning didn’t go as planned, however, and I ended up not getting anything done. Except some of the laundry.


In particular, I decided to wash our new sheets. Is there anything more refreshing or nicer than the idea of freshly laundered sheets? I really love getting new sheets. It’s a huge treat, as we don’t buy sheets often. We have a king size bed, and bedding can be pretty expensive. We generally use our sheets until they completely wear out. Our last two sets ended up with holes in the fitted sheets, and they both wore out at about the same time. Luckily, Target had a bedding sale. Score!

I love the sheets from Target. They are made from nice quality material, and they feel soft and comfy once they are all laundered. I also love that the fitted sheets have extremely deep corners, so they don’t pull off the mattress. I don’t have many pet peeves with regard to housework stuff, but having the sheets pull off the corners of the mattress in the middle of the night is a huge one. It might be the only one. At any rate, the Target sheets solve that problem with their deep, very elastic corners. I never thought I would be a person who was this excited about something as mundane as deep corner pockets on sheets. But … there ‘ya go. I guess we all grow up at some point. I’m still not sure I’ve completely grown up, but perhaps I’m on the way.

The Target sheets come in this cute little cloth bag that matches the pattern or color of the sheet set. I love this little bag. I’m not sure I can explain exactly why I love it so much. Maybe it’s because it matches the sheet sets. Maybe it’s because it’s little and cute. Maybe it’s because I tend to have an obsession with things like bags and boxes. As much as I love dogs and consider myself a dog person, my bag and box obsession makes me question whether or not I might have been a cat in a previous life.


At the same time, the little sheet bag makes me feel like a failure. The sheets come perfectly packed into the bag. They are perfectly rectangular and perfectly folded, and they fit inside the bag … well, perfectly. The bag is the exact size of the sheet set. And it has a velcro closure on the front. It is obvious that this bag is meant for storing the sheets. I have no idea why I do this, but I always wash the little bags with the sheets. I mean, you can’t store your clean sheets into a not-clean bag, right?

Actually, you can’t store the sheets in the bag at all. I know this. I KNOW this. There is no way I can ever fold up my sheets small enough and rectangular enough to fit back inside this stupid bag. I am not a robot. I do not have access to magical sheet folding powers. I do not possess the sorcery or cardboard needed to get clean and newly-fluffed sheets back into this itty-bitty, just-the-right-size bag. It doesn’t matter how cute the bag is. It’s just not going to happen.

And yet, I will try to get the sheets into the bag. It feels almost fatalistic, in a way. I know, going into it, that I will never manage to do this. And yet … I will try this every single damn time. Why? Why do I torture myself this way? Because I’m determined and awesome? Because, maybe, I will manage to do it one of these days and this will make me feel like the most awesome form of amazing that ever walked the Earth? Because I’m crazy? Because … Goals?

I have no idea, and I don’t have time to sit here and figure it out. Because there is a little bag of sheets calling my name out in the hallway.

Laundry Day

A few days ago, my husband said the dreaded words that no wife ever wants to hear. Ever. They are words that strike deep into the heart of even the bravest among us, leaving behind a sick, sinking feeling of dread.

“Sweetie, I think I’m out of underwear.”

Let’s just let the horror of that sink in for a moment. Do you feel it? Yeah, I know. It’s pretty awful. Like, not on the level of “genocidal” awful, but probably along the lines of “hide the children and pets” awful. I hate it when anyone in my family runs out of underwear. Or socks. The universe cries whenever someone runs out of socks and underwear. I am convinced of this.

I’ve posted before about how much I hate laundry. It’s not the laundry itself that I hate. I hate the act of having to DO the laundry. Out of all the household chores I do on a daily basis, laundry is the most torturous. And I’m including cleaning up dog barf and muddy paw prints in this equation. I don’t feel I’m overstating things when I say my soul dies a little bit every time I do the laundry. I’ve done a lot of laundry over the years, which means I’m probably running on vampire-type soul fumes at this point. Do vampires have soul fumes? I don’t know, but if they did, those things would live in my washing machine.

Even among the worst household tasks, there are differing levels of acceptability — a sort of caste system of undesirable tasks, if you will. And washing underwear and socks is at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom. I HATE washing underwear and socks. “HATE” isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s what I have. Just thinking about dirty underwear and socks has killed my vocabulary. Yep. Killed it dead.

Touching someone’s dirty underwear is not fun. It’s icky. It’s so icky that it’s one of those things you can’t really let yourself think about while you’re doing it. If you stop to think about what you’re doing, you will have no other choice but to scream in horror and run away. Far, far away. And then, no one will have clean underwear. I don’t particularly like dealing with icky, sweaty socks, either. And my family has yet to master the fine art of not putting crumpled-up socks into the hamper. But, oddly enough, the socks don’t give me as much of an ick factor as the underwear.


I hate, hate, hate, HATE matching the socks up after they come out of the dryer, though. Matching up the socks is tedious and annoying. It takes forever to do. You always end up with at least one extra sock that doesn’t match up with anything at all. And there are always socks stuck in places where they shouldn’t be. Like up in the top of the dryer tub, or under the things that twirl the clothing around while it dries, or stuck inside the underwear so that you don’t see them or even realize they are there when you fold the clothes and put them away. When this happens, my family members seem to feel incredibly insulted by it. They never fail to find me and complain that there was a sock stuck to their underwear. I get it … sock-underwear is annoying and weird. But hey, it’s static cling. It happens. I don’t control the laws of nature and static.

Matching up the socks just pisses me off. There is no better or kinder or easier way of stating it. As I stand there in the laundry closet, searching the dryer for every stray sock and trying to make sure they all match up, I feel like I can hear the universe ticking away, drawing ever closer to its eventual end. If driving evoked the same emotions as sorting socks, I would be an absolute and total menace on the roads. I might be a menace, anyhow, but sock-angry driving would make me a hazardous and really pissed-off menace. It would not be pretty. Or safe.

My mom likes to tell me I should be happy about doing the laundry. She says I should be glad I can wash the socks and underwear because I’m doing something to help my family. I’m doing something that will make their lives easier or happier or … something. I don’t know. I don’t understand her reasoning, really, because, when I think about the socks and underwear (but especially the socks), anger takes over. And then, all I can hear is “blah, blah, blah … singing birds and talking animals perfection … blah, blah, blah”. I swear my mom has this idea that I’m doing laundry in a Disney movie while wearing my favorite tiara and princess gown. Ha. I wish. But only if I could wear the gown with my favorite sneakers.

When I try to explain the actual, soul-sucking, life-draining, anger-inducing thing that is washing the socks and underwear, she never fails to fall back on her tried and true reply, “Well, dear. That’s your job.” She always says it with a little laugh at the end, like she’s mocking me. I know she’s not mocking me. But it feels like she is. It doesn’t help my anger issues. And, of course, she is right: it is my job. Still , none of this makes me feel any happier about doing it.

Ah. Socks and underwear … You slay me. One load at a time.

Washer Woman

The day before yesterday was “laundry day” at my house. And so was the day before that. And, actually, a couple of days previous to that one, too. Laundry is a never-ending task. There are only three people in my family, and yet, it seems I do laundry all the time. All. The. Time. I think Dante had it all wrong, with his circles of hell. Surely, at least one of them consists of some poor woman, stooped and worn, who is destined to spend eternity yanking heavy , wet clothes out of a washer and flinging them into a dryer. Like some perpetual rinse cycle … always knowing she will never complete her task. Then again, Dante was a man. He probably didn’t wash his own clothes — especially back in the day when he was kicking around the planet. He was probably too busy “creating” … and stuff.

I blame my family. Not for Dante; even they can’t take responsibility for that guy. But for my own laundry hell. My family has this unholy fascination with wearing clean clothes. Especially underwear and socks. They want clean clothes Every Damn Day. What is up with that? It borders on obsession, really. I am beginning to think it’s all a bit unhealthy — for me, in particular.

Dirty clothes are finicky. You would think they’d be happy just getting clean. Not only that, but they get to have fun doing it. If you think about it, the whole wash/dry experience is like a water park ride and relaxing sauna, all in one. You would think clothes would be grateful. But … no. Some things have to wash on hot, and some only on cold. Some always dry too much, so you have to check all during the dry cycle to make sure they don’t wrinkle or shrink. Certain things can’t be washed with each other. And there is always that one piece of clothing left out at the end of everything. You know the one. It has to go on the gentle cycle and can only wash when birds are singing and there’s a rainbow outside the window. Even if all these factors collide into perfect washing conditions, I’m still left with the inescapable fact that this is a lone piece of clothing. I can’t justify wasting water to wash just one top or pair of pants, no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise. And so, it goes back into the laundry bin. I give up any hope of ever wearing it again, and it lurks there in the darkness at the bottom of the bin, mocking me with the knowledge that I’ll never, ever, ever manage to get all the laundry Done. I’ll never finish, and I can look forward into time and see washing day after washing day, all lined up and waiting for me. Gives me the shivers, just thinking about it.

(I could, of course, hand wash the darn thing. But … no. Washing machines were invented for a reason. I’m not a heathen.)


The funny thing is, everyone has opinions on laundry and how it should be done. If I let it pile up and up, my mother scolds me for being lazy and letting it go too long. (Yes, I’m 46, and my mother still scolds me. I’m trying to live with this knowledge, but it isn’t easy.) When I decide to stay on top of this most-hated task, my husband tells me I’m wasting my time with laundry, instead of doing “more important” things. He says I should leave it until I have a whole day’s worth to do at once. A whole, entire day spent doing laundry — wow, what fun! Not. Of course, my husband has never offered to do the laundry for me. I feel this shows a lack of conviction on his part. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for his sage advice. But, if your system really is better, then put your money where your mouth is. Let’s see it in operation, preferably with anyone other than me at the washing machine controls. This never happens.

Socks and underwear are the worst. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate washing, drying, and folding socks and underwear. Every time I have to do it, my soul dies a little bit. I think socks and underwear breed in the washer. If I listen hard enough, I swear I can hear them giggling in there, and I know naughty things are happening. Socks and underwear don’t deserve a day at the water park followed by a nice, relaxing sauna. They are the renegades of the laundry world, and aren’t worthy of having nice things. I feel they constantly take advantage of my kindness. There always seem to be more of them at the end of the drying process than what I dumped into the washer. (Because of the breeding, I’m sure.) They all stick together, and not in a positive and life-affirming way. And the socks never want to match up. No matter how careful I am when putting them into the wash, no matter how hard I try to pay attention and make sure each sock has a mate, I’m always left with at least one odd-ball, unmatched sock at the end. Always. I think my dryer is a portal to another dimension. A dimension where some unfortunate being sits around wondering why I keep sending him/her all my socks. This is the only explanation.

No … really.