Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dirty Laundry

As you might expect, after 90 years of life, Grandma is pretty set in her ways. Nowhere is this more apparent than in her feelings towards laundry. She is very specific about everything laundry-related and is fiercely protective of her clothesline. (Of course, who can really blame her? Aunt Dee has been known to steal the clothespins and the runner that pulls the top and bottom line together).

Some examples:

I set the washer to cold water to save energy and because, you know, most of my clothes recommend washing them at that temperature. According to Grandma, "You need to use hot water or you won't kill the germs!"

I also fill the washer. Uh uh. Grandma is not having it. "You can't do that! You'll break my machine!" I'm not sure why she distrusts the machine and its manufacturers so much. Wouldn't it be designed to work at capacity? She never fills it more than 2/3, which makes it very difficult to actually get all of your laundry done. Also, you can't just put your clothes in the machine. They have to be artfully arranged to create the perfect balance. Again, we don't want to break the machine.

While Grandma is napping, I am hanging my clothes on the line. She wakes up and charges into the yard, "You can't do laundry on a Sunday! The neighbors will talk!" I try to persuade her that really no one cares about our laundry or the day we do it, but she is adamant. She won't have me shaming us with my illicit laundry habit. Sometimes I am tempted to use the dementia to my advantage, "What do you mean, Grandma? Today's only Saturday...."

Which brings us to the task of hanging clothes. Apparently this is a delicate skill that has been lost in our careless time of dryers. Just as you can't drop your clothes into the machine, you can't just pull them out. They have to be sorted by weight and type. When the clothes are ready to be put on the line, again they have to go in some kind of category. I'm not sure what that is though, because Grandma constantly changes her mind about whether light or heavy items go on first. A good rule of thumb, whatever way I'm hanging them? It's wrong!

This also applies to the clothespins themselves. They seem simple, right? Open the pin, put the edge of the clothing up to the line, close the pin, the end. Right? Ha! Fools! "Who taught you how to hang clothes? That's not how you do it!" Grandma snatches the pins and the garment from me and proceeds to re-hang it. I'm still trying to figure out how her technique is different from mine, but she always looks upon her pinning with a self-satisfied nod.

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