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.