Friday, January 29, 2010

Monday is Laundry Day

Today is laundry day for this hip housewife. Mondays have been laundry days since I began to run my own house at the age of seventeen. Mondays were laundry days for me back when I was in college, loading up my banged up blue Cavalier with sometimes up to thirteen (!) baskets destined for the laundromat. Did you know a laundromat can actually be a great place to study? Well, then again, not the ideal...but it worked at the time.

Mondays have been laundry days for generations of women long before I came on the scene. All the way back to covered wagons and pioneer times, when wrestling soaking heavy dresses, overalls, and petticoats on a washboard demanded the renewed energy--and faith--gained from a day of worship on Sunday.

It is a curious joy today to step into my narrow washroom, just off the kitchen. The room was definitely built for one. Winter coats and gear on wall-hooks grab me as I go past, and we'll hopefully ignore one corner, where empty moving boxes, bags of potatoes and onions, and a vacuum cleaner all squeeze for space. I can't keep that spot neat no matter how I try.

Sun sparks off the snow on this record snow-fall day, diamond dazzling through my curtainless window over the washing machine. It occurs to me that I like to do my laundry on Mondays for many reasons. First of all because it works. Monday laundry day insures that we have fresh bedding, towels, and clothes for the entire week. But it also ties me to women throughout time, to women with washboards and clotheslines, to women stirring clothes in vats of boiling water and lye, to women pounding clothes on rocks in cold mountain streams. Clothes will always need to be washed, I'm convinced, even when we're flying around like the Jetsons--and who knows, maybe they'll still be done on Monday.

I am so lucky. I pour liquid soap that smells of mandarin oranges into my humming washer, watch as the bubbles begin to form. I adore the strait-laced scent of bleach; it brings to mind images of turn-of-the-century maid servants with their ruffled caps and aprons. Everything comes out dry and soft, and so warm, I just want to wrap it around me. Such a luxury to start the week with everything neat, clean and folded--temporary perfection.

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