Another shoebox classic . . .
Guess what a blue crayon, a pink crayon and a green crayon make in the wash . . . a rainbow in the dryer. Normally, I am a quite fond of rainbows, but for some odd reason I found no beauty in the brilliant colors splashed across my last good shirt, my socks and every other wearable article of clothing I owned.
As I began pulling my ruined wardrobe from the dryer I spotted them, a little yellow (blue and pink and green) pair of shorts which more than obviously did not belong to me, so in my loudest, meanest mommy voice I shrieked for their owner. She appeared in the doorway with a look of fear and feigned innocence in her eyes.
After a few renditions of “It wasn’t me!” and “I haven’t even used crayons in years.” I pulled the paper wrapper from a blue crayon out of the pocket of her little yellow (blue pink and green) shorts. “Oops, I guess I forgot I put them there.” was her only reply. Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk or brightly colored melted wax. What was done was done. I tossed around the idea of tye-dying all of our clothes in case it ever happened again but decided it would be best to just check pockets a little better from that point on.
The laundry room is my least favorite place in the house aside from the kitchen, the kid’s rooms and their bathroom. I just know someday I’m going to go in and never make it out. I suppose it’s my own fault for letting the kids wear clean clothing day after day.
When I was a little girl I dreamed of becoming an archeologist, of traveling to far off lands and uncovering buried artifacts from days long since past. In some small way my dream has been realized. However, instead of some distant shore on the other side of the earth it’s the cold garage in the back of the house and instead of discovering long lost treasures I simply find LEGOs and coins and candy wrappers . . . and unfortunately the occasional crayon.
I keep a large flower vase on the shelf above the dryer. I use it as a collection bin for all the little trinkets that find their way into the laundry room by way of un-emptied pockets. Someday it will serve as a memory jar for them. I will present it to the first one who complains their dryer has become a rock tumbler at the hands of the precious grandchildren I may one day be blessed with.
I have another jar up there for found money. I never give it back or inquire as to whose it may be. Most of it is their hard earned, as little as I can get away with allowance money which I simply use to pay their following weeks allowance with. I rarely have to dip into my own pockets to pay their weekly bribe money, they practically pay themselves!
Another aspect of laundry I despise, perhaps most of all, is socks. Don’t get me wrong. I love the warmth they give on a winter’s day and the comfort they provide in my favorite pair of tennis shoes, but when it comes to their care and maintenance I shudder at the thought of them.
First, there is getting them into the washer to be laundered. Sounds easy enough right? Well, it’s not. At least two of my boys take the foul things off in such a way they are rolled into little balls or donut shaped rings. I need a gas mask and a haz-mat suit just to straighten them out. Once they are in the washer, no problem. Throw them in the dryer, piece of cake. Taking them out is where the trouble begins.
I have only myself to blame truthfully. I have a sock basket. It is a tradition passed down from one generation to the next in my family. The idea is to have a small basket next to the dryer to place the clean socks in while you fold the rest of the laundry. Seems like a great idea except I never quite got the hang of it, I have a rather large sock basket. Okay, it’s a full size hamper, but with six pairs of feet in the house there are a lot of socks. My problem is I leave them in the basket until every last sock in the house has been dirtied, cleaned and deposited there. When that happens, I become The Matchmaker . . .
They assemble before me each week, huddled together in anticipation for they know by day’s end their solitary existence will be over. I carefully sort through them to find each one its perfect mate. Sadly though, every now and then, there a few I simply cannot pair up and they must return to the basket alone. The sad soles. When my task is complete I take the newly matched socks to the various closets and drawers they will call home. I wish them well and bid them adieu. Unfortunately, they never stay together long. They always come back alone, waiting for me to find them another perfect mate.
I’m one day going to come out with my own line of children’s clothing. I will specialize in socks. They will have brown soles made from the finest of stain resistant materials, no toes will ever peek through and no heels will ever wear thin. They will be crafted in such a way they cannot be taken off inside out and they will remain together in every wash, guaranteed.
I will be known as the Sock Queen and mothers all around the world will adore me. Come to think of it, there may be an offshoot for children’s underwear along these lines as well . . . School uniforms with a mustard, ketchup and playground dirt motif. I may just end up famous after all.
I suppose for now though I will gather together my supplies and trek off into the laundry room. Who knows what wonders I will uncover on my expedition.
Old (made up) Proverb – Women who sort laundry by color have too much time on hands.
Crystal R. Cook aka The Sock Queen
I would like to share with you a life changing event I’ve shared with precious few. It can be difficult to share some of the most deeply personal stories we keep tucked away inside of us. It’s good to share them though, release leads to healing.
Enough time has passed for me to look back upon this moment in my life and see what went wrong and how I could have done things differently . . . Live and learn. It’s my hope in sharing my story I may save even one person from suffering the horrors I did one cold, seemingly endless night, not too long ago.
I was standing before a mountain. I marveled at its height and breadth. The immenseness of it took my breath away. I felt helpless and small standing there in the shadow of it. I decided it was time to face my fears and conquer them by taking on that mountain. I was never one to take risks, to put myself out there, fear has always held me back.
I needed to do it, I had no choice. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. A test of both strength and endurance, not just of body but of mind as well. I’d put off this monumental journey for too long. I’d attempted it days before, but my irrational fears and anxiety kept me from seeing it through to the end.
I looked that mountain up and down, it was no Everest but it may as well have been. I wasn’t just doing it for myself. I was doing it for my family. They’d been so supportive, so encouraging, even after I failed the first time. They wanted this as much as I did.
I scanned the uneven surface of the mountain looking for the best place to begin. I spotted it, but as I reached and grasped the mountainside began to give way. At first I tried to remain calm but as more and more of the falling mountain came down upon me I began to panic. I had no time to think, before I knew it I was being buried. Buried alive.
When the mountain stopped trembling I began to claw my way out of the rubble. Luckily, I had the fortune of being in an air pocket, I knew the air would only last so long though. I quickly gave up my attempt at escape, afraid of collapsing the wall of debris around me. My only chance was to get someone’s attention. I began to cry out for help.
It seemed like an eternity passed before I heard the sounds of my rescuers. I extended my hand through a small hole above me and my prayers were answered when I felt the glorious touch of another hand grasping my outstretched fingers. I knew my ordeal would soon be over.
The hand released it’s comforting grip and I listened intently as a voice called out,
“Daaaaad, mom’s in the laundry pile again!”
My doctor checked me out, physically I was fine, but the emotional damage would take much longer to heal. He said I could have prevented the whole thing if I’d only done laundry earlier in the week. What does he know? Has he ever looked that beast in the eye? I think not. I’m sure Mrs. Doctor would understand.
I was certain they’d keep me overnight for observation, but he released me with a prescription for Xanax, one for Prozac and another for P.M.S (Psycho Mother Syndrome) and sent me on my way.
Perhaps I was being a bit melodramatic, perhaps a wee bit of insanity had taken over my mind, but I swear to you . . . The fear was real.
Crystal R. Cook