doing the laundry

Why do we call clothes “laundry” after we wear them, while they’re in the wash machine and the dryer, and all the way up to the point where we fold them and put them away in drawers or hang them on a pole, after which they become “clothes” again? Is it really all that confusing to keep referring to them as clothes? Do you think it’s clearer to say, “I’m doing the laundry,” instead of, “I’m washing clothes?” If so, how? It’s not shorter. It doesn’t even make sense, if you’ve never heard anyone say it before. What does it mean to “do” a “laundry?” Sounds like you’ve got a weird sexual thing going with a whole building full of people who wash clothes.

laundry day

Landry day. I am so damn domesticated that the highlight of my Sunday is sitting in front of a table full of folded clothes watching Ron White videos and drinking beer. Actually, now that I think about it, that’s a pretty good day any way I slice it. Better than a bad day at work, anyway. I’m productive and I get to drink beer and watch Ron White videos. If I got paid for it, it’d be better than a good day at work.


Finally! Somebody’s teaching robots to do something useful!

There are probably a lot of people who would look at this robot from a lab at UC-Berkeley and the first thought that would pop into their heads would be something like, “Well, that’s typical for an elitist institution, wasting time and money on building robots to do something as simple as fold towels.”

Then there are people like me who see this and the first thought that pops into our heads is, “TAKE MY MONEY AND GIVE ME ONE!” And the next thought is, “Does it clean toilets?”

Even if it can’t clean toilets, a robot that can fold clothes is more awesome than time travel! Unless of course the first thing you used time travel for was to go into the future and bring back a robot that did your laundry for you.


No zombie dreams last night, thank goodness. No dreams at all that I can remember. I was so bushed after dinner that I could barely hang on long enough to drag myself to bed before I fell asleep. I had plans to stay up late enough to sand and finish the book shelves in the extra room, but hitting the hay early to get a full night’s sleep sounded like a much better use of my time. That’s how the zombies get you, by the way. You fall asleep at the wrong time and, next thing you know, they’re munching on your innards. That’s how the pods steal your body, too. And how the Wicked Witch of the West gets your shoes. There really isn’t a safe time to go to sleep, even in cheery kid’s movies.

My Darling B and I had to fold some of the mountain of clothes that have piled up in the baskets on top of the washing machine over the past week. We’ve been champion procrastinators about this, putting it off night after night for at least a week, so last night I set up the television at the end of the coffee table and popped a DVD from the first season of The Big Bang Theory into the player, then cranked up the theme song to lure her into the living room and sit down on the sofa where I’d moved all the laundry baskets. She fell for it. In just two episodes, we folded forty-two million pieces of clothes. Now I just have to figure out how to get her to put her clothes away.

Then, we tried to play Boggle, but I was already having a hard time staying awake. I got one really good word, “footsie,” but the rest were all three- and four-letter words, and my scores got worse as the game went on. I capitulated (that would be one hell of a good Boggle word) after playing just a half-hour or so, brushed my teeth and went to bed to read. I managed to stay awake long enough to finish two chapters of Just My Type, but only because I kept dropping the book on my face. I may have to go back and re-read some of it tonight.


I just finished folding about three weeks’ worth of washed clothes. We wash clothes almost every day, but we never seem to get around to folding them and putting them away. Some of them, the trousers and the good shirts, get half-folded so they lay flat and we can wear them straight off the top of the pile that builds up on top of the laundry baskets. Underwear get wadded up in the bottom of the baskets and sometimes stay there for weeks. And the socks never get put away. We have a basket just for socks that we pick through every morning, looking for two that match. I’m probably going to get into big trouble for telling you this.

It took almost two full hours to fold all the clothes in the pyramid of laundry baskets on top of the washer and dryer, so naturally I popped a movie into the DVD player to help pass the time. Today’s selection was Sleepless In Seattle, one of my favorite weepy movies. I really do have movies I collect and watch just for their boo-hoo value. Sometimes it’s just a favorite scene, like the one at the end of Henry V where Kenneth Brannagh woos Emma Thompson, but for Sleepless I turn on the waterworks for the whole movie.

Walter really gets the shaft in that movie, doesn’t he? He’s a pretty good guy, in spite of the way Rosie O’Donnell rolls her eyes whenever his name is mentioned, but really he’s the kind of guy I’d like to buy a drink for, especially after the way he handled the breakup with Annie. I almost feel bad about liking the happy ending because it come just minutes after she dumps Walter and goes running up the street to the Empire State Building for her meeting with Sam, but wow, I just love that ending.


As I stood beside the tub this morning with one hand under the shower head, waiting for the running water to get just a little bit warmer than frigid, my brain cell woke up just enough to notice that there were no clean towels on the towel rack. Good brain cell! Good boy!

Can you imagine what a crappy Friday morning that would have been? Finish up taking a wonderfully hot morning shower, draw back the curtain, reach for a towel and … what? What do I do at that point? Just stand there and drip-dry for a few long minutes waiting for the realization to sink in, is my guess, then carefully squeegee as much of the water off myself as I can with the flat of my hand before trying to dry myself with a hand towel.

But instead I shut off the shower, put on my bathrobe and tromped through the house to the laundry, which is really just a corner of the dining room where the washer and dryer hide behind a couple of bi-fold doors. The wash machine was empty, but in the dryer I found a heap of bath towels, all of them too far over the line between damp and wet to do me any good. Firing up the dryer, I looked around but couldn’t figure out what to do next. My brain cell had gone back to sleep. It’s not a good thing to change the morning routine.

Laundry Day

Today I was looking to accomplish much more modest goals than yesterday, because I was tired. I was not looking to repair windows or mow every square inch of the lawn today. Today I wanted to accomplish goals mostly while sitting on my ass.


The laundry! Of course! In the past two weeks we’ve washed enough of our clothes to fill four laundry baskets. There was even a bonus load of clean clothes in the dryer. And as if that wasn’t enough, almost all the socks we own were in the “socks basket,” waiting to be matched and folded. Folding all that should take a couple hours to finish!

And what’s my favorite thing to do while folding laundry? Watch movies! I can sit on my ass, fold all the clothes, and watch a movie at the same time! How does accomplishing your goals get any better than this? Well, I can think of one way, but it was pretty early to be drinking beer when I was folding clothes.

I borrowed Band of Brothers from T-dawg several months ago. I don’t know why he’s let me keep it as long as he has. Maybe he’s forgotten I even have it. In any case, I popped the first disk in our DVD player and watched the first two episodes while I folded all the clothes, then I watched the third episode while I matched and folded socks.

This is one of the best screen adaptations of any book I’ve ever seen. I can think of only one other book I’d want to watch if it could be rendered as a twelve-part miniseries as good as this, and that would be the two-volume biography of Teddy Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. What a bad-ass-o-fest that would be! How bad-ass? This bad-ass:

image of Theodore Roosevelt

Would you pick a fight with that kid? I wouldn’t. I don’t know what that swim cap on his head is all about, but seriously, a freshman with muttonchops? That just begs you to say something stupid, doesn’t it? And it deviously draws your attention away from his forearms, which appear to be muscled with something similar to steel cables. If the scowl on his face isn’t fair warning, you deserve the tap on the chin you’d get for poking fun of this guy, and I’m pretty sure that if Teddy were to land one on you, that’d be the last thing you remembered for a while.

I seem to have rambled a bit. Hardly unusual, really.

Once all the clothes were folded and put away, I still had some time to do a little yard work before I cleaned the bathroom, a task I absolutely had to get done today but which I also wanted to put off until the last possible moment because, y’know, yuck.

Out in the yard, I grabbed a bow saw, a pruning shears and a hedge trimmer and went at the shrubs in front of the house first, because they’re easiest to cut and shape. Then, after I’d warmed up on them, I took a long look at the lilac bush on the edge of the yard to try to figure out what to do with it. The simplest thing would be to set fire to it and walk away, but I was sort of hoping to keep it around a while, so I put some work into it instead.

Its problem is that it’s horribly overgrown, and it’s growing wherever it wants to. I don’t think it’s ever been pruned since it was planted, if it was planted. There are quite a few other lilacs in the yard, so it might be a volunteer. What this one really needed was a professional with a lot of time and an endless supply of patience, but all I can afford right now is me and my strange ideas.

After a little thought I decided to lop off the lowest branches, then trim off the wildest-looking stuff on top with the hedge trimmer. It was a modest proposal, but it still took about a half-hour and I had to drag away a surprising amount of brush. I’ll probably have to spend at least an hour feeding all that crap into the wood chipper tomorrow.

There was just one other bit of yard work I wanted to take care of today: A maple tree out back had a couple low branches that were impinging on the back wall of the garage. They’d have to come off some time this summer so I could finish painting the house, and since I happened to have my saw out anyway …

With all that done, I went back into the house and finished the last of Part Three of Band of Brothers before I had to cry uncle and clean the bathroom. Yuck.