Figuring It Out

I think I turned some white towels blue today.  Not a dark blue – just sort of a pale blueish white. 

It’s been more than a decade since I have been held accountable for the wash.  Historically, I’ve tossed the jeans with the bath towels, the boxers with the girl’s dresses, the dress shirts with the dish towels.  I don’t’ think that’s gonna fly anymore.  Julie has a different set of standards.  It bothers her when my underwear and the kitchen stuff mix.  Even in the washer!

We decided early on in our courtship that we’d pretty much keep our laundry separate.  But there are shared items, like towels, that sometimes come into play.  Perhaps I should have black ones and she white and never the twain shall meet.

I’ve also learned that there are certain towels/rags/sponges to wipe counters, floor spills, dry dishes and wipe noses.  It’s so confusing. 

Recently a bit of spaghetti sauce dropped onto the floor right in front of the stove.  I grabbed the closest towel to quicky sop, it was right there in arm’s reach!  Apparently it is not in that towel’s job description to wipe the floor.  It’s not in my job description to fix a jam in the copier, but sometimes I do it!  That one is exclusively for CLEAN dishes that need to be dried.  Uh-oh.  “But it was so close to me,” I explained.  My fiancé kindly clarified its role and suggested paper towels might be my best bet.  I can use them on anything and then just toss, AFTER ONLY ONE USE, she emphasized.  She also pointed to the Kleenex box… just in case.

After she gently covered the cleaning bases, I asked if I could share a concern with her.  She was very open.

“I can always tell when you’ve worn my readers,” I said. 

“You can?” she questioned.

“Yes.  You pick them up by the glass, not the handle, and you leave a smudge print right in the line of sight. I put them on and immediately, I know.” It’s like Papa Bear with his chair. Someone’s been wearing my glasses and they left a smudge mark THIS BIG!

She promptly bought disposable glasses wipes to help with the issue.

You’d think the guy who wipes the floor with the dish towel wouldn’t mind the smudge.  You’d think the woman who wants whites and darks separated in the wash wouldn’t pick glasses up on the 20/200 lens.

It’s a bit perplexing.  I’d say it’s that opposites attract thing and yet, there may be more similarities than differences. 

I’ll work on the sanitation conditions around here.  I’m sure she’ll work on the fingerprints.  We’ll likely see better and ingest less germs if we take the best of both.

No Purex for Them

They came home today.  The two oldest, DJ and Stephanie, returned from ten weeks away working at summer camp.

Not only did they come home, their clothes came home.  14 loads thus far – and counting.

I’m used to the laundry.  I kinda like it.  It signals the end of summer and a return to normalcy.

And yet, I am perplexed.

There was a laundry facility at camp for staff.  I know for sure that my girls used the washer and dryer provided for two reasons:

Frist, they told me.

Second, I unpacked Tide from both of their laundry bags.

Yes.  TIDE!  As in Tide’s in, dirt’s out.

How is it that my kids are using Tide and I am washing with Purex?  Not that there’s anything wrong with Purex, but man, would I like to smell like Tide when I walk down the halls at work.  But no, my ongoing cost savings strategy requires that I settle for the least expensive suds on the shelf.  And yet, my kids don’t!  And the worst part of it is, they charge THEIR Tide to MY credit card!!

I’m smelling like 13 cents a wash, and they’re walking around with a $.78 cent aroma.

It does not make sense.  The dad should be the one splurging.  They are not even 21 years old.  They don’t have steady employment.  I fill up their cars with gas.  I use generic toilet paper so I can afford their school tuition (and sometimes it hurts).  But they are ordering sodas with their dinners (while I drink water), Ubering (while I walk), and washing their clothes with Top-Shelf detergent.

I bet the college dorm room has Charmin!

Geeze.  I wish I was my child.  I’d live a more lucrative life!

 

Laundry with a Twist

Stella

It was a tough afternoon.  We rolled in on Sunday after being on vacation.  The kids missed the first week of school.  Frantic, I started working to put the pieces of the puzzle together to get us set for the rest of the day and for Monday:  unloading the car, uniforms out, trip to the gro, lunches packed, 2 side dishes for the girls’ afternoon service club meeting, dessert and a main dish for the church youth kickoff at six.  Does every event in our life have to kick off today?  Did the NC Legislature pass a bill that requires every function in the state to hold a covered dish dinner?  McCrory did give those protesters a plate of cookies.

I knew if I didn’t do DJ’s laundry she’d be heading to her first day of school in the buff.  No one wants to start their junior year naked –plus she’s already pulling into the parking lot in a 1997 Subaru wagon.  She keeps reminding me that she and the “new” car were born in the same year.

I logically argued:  “Do you really want to be the girl who drives up to school right after her 16th birthday with a brand new car?  Everyone hates her.”

Without a blink she responded, “Yea.  Yea I do.  I want to be her. ”

I opened the vacation cooler, there were several bottles of beer left from Happy Hour – oh the sweet memories of last week.  I tossed them on top of the clothes for the trip to the basement fridge, the Lunchables were hogging the ice box upstairs.  I unloaded the beer and put the basket of whites in the queue.

When DJ walked in the house, I told her to go switch her laundry.

“The darks need to go into the dryer.  The whites are in the basket at the bottom of the stairs.”

She did as I asked, apprently hurling them in the machine in one big clump.

Fifteen minutes before leaving for church, I went downstairs to switch the last load.

As I pulled out the whites, I heard clanking.  Hmmm, wonder what she left in her pockets this time…

I was shocked when I grabbed a handful of bras and came back with a bloody thumb.  What in the heck was she packin,’ a switchblade?

Upon further investigation, I found remnants of a bottle of beer.  Man, you left a bottle in the laundry basket you moron!

I shook each item out over the empty laundry basket, shards of glass plopping out of socks, undies and my kid’s white tees.

I can hear the conversations facing me this week:

“Dad, something’s sticking in my butt when I sit.”

“Baby it’s just a little Stella Artois.  It takes a while to develop a feel for it.”

“Dad, I feel like I’m wrapped in Tyvek insulation.”

“You’ll be warmer that way.  No sweater needed this winter.”

“Dad, the Headmaster called me into the office.  She said it had been reported that I smelled like I’d been drinking.”

“What’d you tell her?”

“I told her that most parents put fabric softener in their laundry for a fresh clean smell but that my dad tosses in a bottle of beer.  That’s right, the beer and the BOTTLE  – “

“Would you believe I got the idea from Heloise Conquors Stinks and Stains?”

She didn’t.

I thought I was going to scar my kids emotionally.  Looks like I might actually scar my kids from the glass that’s embedded in  their clothes.

Could happen to anyone… right?

Book Update:  Laughter, Tears and Braids

Several of you found my book, Laughter, Tears and Braids on Amazon last week.  We took it down because I found five typos.  It’s going back up to be released on September 11.  If you’re brave enough to order a copy, consider doing so on the 11th.  My publisher says big sales on the first day will help in the world of Amazon rankings.  More to come next weekend, including a link.

Darks? Whites? Pinks?

pink shirt

I’m sure I’ve written this post before.  But dag gone it, it’s happened again.  I thought I had it figured out, but this time, almost on national television.

When the Today show producers were taping last month, I was told to proceed with my normal routine.  I’d tossed at load of clothes in the laundry the night before and pulled them out that morning to fold as the kids were getting ready for school.

With the camera zoomed in on my basket of darks, there it sat:  Michelle’s school uniform shirt.  Normally it’s white; that day it was pink.  Beside it was a t-shirt, bright fuchsia.  They were a perfect match.

How humiliating.  Here I was, working to put my best foot forward, and the first thing they saw were my laundry inadequacies.

The camera man just smiled.  I let out a mild explicative.

I don’t understand.

I thought if I washed in cold it didn’t matter if a couple of lights got caught in the middle of their blue jeans and tie dyes.  Sometimes, in the interest of time, I integrate the assortment of garments and shove them in my large capacity washer together.  Unity.  Solidarity.  One.

Most of the time, the whites come out white and the darks keep their color.  But occasionally, I get this mess.  Why is that?  Does pink bleed or does it not?  Or does it bleed only when it wants to embarrass me in front of everyone who watches the Today Show?

I understand bleach.  I get dryer sheets.  A Tide stick is as clear as day.  I’m not a laundry moron.  And yet, this has me perplexed.

I don’t know why, but I clean out the lint compartment every time I dry a load.  That’s what I was taught, and I follow through.

When my washer gets off-balance and dances across the basement floor like Wynonna doing the Mamba, I open the door and readjust.

But these things are consistent.  They don’t change from load to load.

I wish that bleeding would do the same.

I tried to convince Michelle that pink was cool.

“It’s your favorite color!  It matches your Hunter rain boots and your favorite hair bow.”

“I’m not wearing that shirt!”

“Have you ever seen Happy Days?  There was this really cool girl called Pinky Tuscaderro.  Let me show you a clip.”

Not even a nibble.

It could have been worse.  The producer of Today could have used that clip as part of the segment broadcast to millions of people throughout the country.  Thankfully, they used constraint.  How humiliating that would have been.

Incidentally, I was running short on time this week and washed all of her clothes together: red and yellow, black and white.  And guess what?  They all came out their original color.  This really doesn’t make any sense to me.

Holes, Those Comfy Holes

DSC_0633

I had a crotchial blowout on Monday.  I’m not sure what happened.  I just picked them up and there was a huge hole.  Perhaps I saw it coming and just didn’t want to accept it.  They are so special to me.  They’re my favorite drawers.  They’re comfortable.  They don’t bind me at all.  I feel so free in them.  The elastic is just right – loose enough not to leave a mark, tight enough to grip even on a man with a derriere deficit.

I don’t understand.  I remember buying these boxers when I got married.  I thought I needed some underwear without holes in them.  And now look what happened.  Only 18 years old.  They just don’t make things like they used to.

I asked my mom to patch the hole, but she refused.  Something about stitching not working on rotten material.  What if we’d have given up on her at age 18?   We didn’t throw in the towel just because she’s aging!

I thought about taking them to the tailor, she hems all of my dress pants.  There is a language barrier though, and I was afraid she’d think I was getting fresh.  Plus, her husband is big, and I was afraid if I handed his wife my underwear he’d hit me.

I just like comfortable clothes.

This is my favorite t-shirt.  Lisa forbade me to wear it.  She told me if she caught me in it she would throw it away.

DSC_0645

Can wives do that?  Throw your stuff away even if you still need it?

I’m not sure, but I was too afraid to call her bluff.  I thought about putting it on to run a couple of errands and then keeping it in my briefcase so that there was little chance that she could toss it without my knowledge.  But that just seemed too cumbersome.  I did hang it on the back of the closet door right beside her robe.  It was sort of a warning:  Don’t mess with me … I’m a man.  I can put it on if I want.

And then, as I was putting on my favorite lounging pants this morning, my foot got stuck in the small hole I’d worn in the knee – rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiippppppppppppppppp.

DSC_0653

Dag gone.  I was gonna keep the boxers and wear them with those pants – the pinnacle of comfort.  But now I’m afraid there is just too little material and too much Danny.

Seriously, I put those three articles of clothing on and it’s like warm milk from your mama.  It just feels right.  That ensemble is more comfortable than being naked.

Help Wanted: Sock Wrangler

Suprise, suprise, a sock on DJs floor

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Danny

For two weeks I took pictures of stray socks I found that belonged to various members of our family.  I’ll have to give Jesse credit, I did not find any of his – although I’m not even sure he wears socks so that could be the explanation. 

I have decided to hire a full-time staff member to help wrangle the socks.  This is the ad I’ll be placing in the News and Observer, our local paper, next week. 

Help Wanted:  Sock Wrangler

Under the supervision of the Dad and occasionally the part-time housekeeper and in cooperation with Uncle Jesse, the Sock Wrangler will oversee all hosiery in the Tanner home.  The position requires a baccalaureate undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university in Home Economics, criminology, private I’ing, matchingstuffology, findingstuffology or a related field as well as a minimum of 5 years experience in hunting those little boogers down!  This position requires an understanding of and a commitment to the Tanner Family’s desire to have matching socks seven days per week for each family member.

The position requires that the incumbent be innovative (they could be anywhere!!), diligent in the search and friendly as he/she goes about her work.  He/she must be passionate about finding matches and relentless in the  pursuit of missing apparel.  He/she must be exceedingly organized, be a self-starter and able to work with minimal supervision.  He/she is welcome to yell at family members who leave socks in inappropriate places.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Find socks
  • Find their matches
  • Crawl under stuff, including washers, dryers, sinks, Tupperware cabinets, cars, and the house
  • Fold socks and have an innate ability to determine which ones belong to each child – (because they are all the same size and look identical, but my children have an emotional connection to each pair which means they MUST be returned to the original owner)
  • Make decisions on tossing items that have gigantic holes in them or are stretched out to the point that they could fit Charles Barkley
  • Must know the difference between tights and hose and be able to articulate that difference to all in the house
  • Purchase new socks (never spending over $60)

Must be able to see and distinguish between different colors/styles/patterns or thread count.  Ability to crawl, squat, lift heavy furniture, sift through dust bunnies, stoop, kneel, stand, walk, pull and push a must.  Ability to adapt to change quickly.  Occasional travel (to Target) may be necessary.

The top 10 finds this past week:

Number 1:  The dining room chair – that’s just gross.  At least they weren’t on the table.

 
 
Number 2:  In Uggs of many colors.  And we haven’t worn Uggs for weeks.
 

Number 3:  Under Michelle’s bedroom door. 

Number 4:  Inside out – more work for dad.

Number 5:  On living room furniture – but it’s a matched pair!!!

Number 6:  Bathroom floor – last thing on before the shower?  I bet underwear are close by.

 Number 7:  It’s not just a home thing – even on vacation…sock in DC.

Number 8:  Oh, those are mine.

Number 9:  Isn’t it pretty with the rug?  Maybe she couldn’t see it.

Number 10:  Oh my lord, they’re in a drawer!

The Bailiff

Posted by Danny

This morning we were working to get out of the house early – I had a meeting in Chapel Hill about 40 minutes from Raleigh.  Wednesdays are dance days for the girls after school so they pack their change of clothes and we head to the studio at 4.

I was sipping my coffee and working to wrap a few things up via email when Michelle ran into the den.  She barked out these orders:

Michelle:  “Dad, raise your right hand.”

Me:  “What?”

Michelle:  “I said raise your right hand.”

I comply.

Michelle:  “Now repeat after me.”

Me:  “Ok.”

Michelle:  “I, say your name.”

Me:  “I, daddy.”

Michelle:  “promise to make sure”

Me:  “promise to make sure”

Michelle:  “that Michelle’s leotard”

Me:  “that Michelle’s leotard”

Michelle:  “is clean EVERY Wednesday.”

Me:  “is clean EVERY Wednesday.”

Michelle:  “Thank you.”

That kid.

The Great Clothes Migration, 2010

I’ve learned to loath The Great Clothes Migration at our house. 

Twice each year, we go through all of the drawers and closets in our house.  It’s time to move the winter clothes out and the summer clothes in.  DJ’s hand me downs are shipped to Stephanie’s room.  Stephanie’s to Michelle’s.  Michelle’s go into three piles  1) trash 2) really special items we want to keep so that my attic will have a purpose and 3) the give away pile to a very dear friend who has two daughters a little younger than mine.

Yesterday we attacked DJ’s room.  I think I’m going to have to take a week off from work to recover.

DJ is a beautiful young woman who makes very good grades.  She is self confident and a leader.  She was honor camper at resident camp last summer.  She’s just an outstanding all around kid – I am so proud of her.  And, she’s a slob.

After about 30 minutes in her room, I considered calling Caterpiller to see if I could rent a Backhoe.  I discovered:

*15 unmatched socks throughout her room – four of them in her bathing suit drawer

*Enough fingernail polish to paint the nails of every 13 year old in South  America

*Single Benedryl tablets from the bathroom to the closet  and everywhere in between

*Femine products galore!

*A cup from the kitchen

and to top it off,

*Two of my good spoons under her bathroom sink!!

Is she eating cereal on the toilet?  Why would you have spoons under your bathroom sink?

The pile of clothes that don’t fit any longer mirror the local landfill – they just don’t smell as bad. 

She just drops paper – I think she has a neurological issue that keeps her from being able to throw things in a trash can. 

I’m about to take a nap to build up enough grit to tackle Stephanie’s room next weekend.  I’ve given her the seven day warning – we all need to get mentally and physcially prepared. 

I’d rather have three teeth extracted than to spearhead The Great Clothes Migration of 2010.

By the way, we’re missing one bear slipper. 

If you find one, please return it to me.  How do you lose an item this big?

The Laundry

Posted by Danny

Jesse can fold a fitted sheet like Martha Stewart.  It’s incredible.  When he gets through with it, it’s like it just came out of the Bed, Bath and Beyond wrapping.  I won’t brag about a lot he does around the house, but he has mastered that skill.  I don’t know if he took Home Economics or if it is just genetic.  His mom is the best folder I’ve ever met.

I was actually required to take a quarter of Home Ec in middle school.  Our teacher was Ms. McLaurin.  She was over six feet tall and had red hair, on her head and on her toes.  They hung off the end of her sandals about an inch.  I guess all of that tallness pushed them forward in her shoes.  I’m not a huge toe fan anyway.   I have to leave the room when the commercial about fungus under your toenails comes on.  It grosses me out.

I don’t remember much from the class but we did learn to change a bed with the person still in it.  Since I decided not to become a nurses’ assistant, I’m not sure what to do with that knowledge.  If you are ever in a position to change a bed with someone in it and need help, I’m your guy!

My buddy Brad is going to a really nice resturant with his wife this weekend.  Jesse is spending the night in Winston Salem visiting friends.  I went over to my friend Jeff’s house today, he was cleaning his gun – he has a really cute daughter, I think he’s getting ready for the future.  Me?  I’ve got a big weekend planned.  I’m doing laundry!  There are nine loads calling my name.

I wouldn’t mind doing laundry if the folding and shoving it back in the drawers wasn’t a part of the process.  And I’ll have to admit that my mother-in-law and mom do the lion’s share of it.  Sometimes with travel schedule, etc., it falls to me.  I guess that makes sense since I helped create the little bodies that wear all of these dag gone clothes.

We have differing philosophies on laundry in our house.

If DJ looks at an article of clothing, it automatically goes into her laundry bin.  The bin is large enough for Jesse and me to comfortably sit in together (although we’ve never done that) and it is always full.  I’m doing her laundry today, it will be full by tomorrow – and she is out of town.  I think there are little minions in her room who open her drawers at night and carry the clothes to the hamper.  It is truly amazing.  And when something she wants to wear is dirty, who do you think gets blamed?  It ain’t the minions.

Stephanie, on the other hand, is very good about refolding her outfits if she doesn’t wear them for long.  On Thursday she said she didn’t have any long pants to wear to school.  If she says that, it means I haven’t done laundry in a very, very long time.

When Michelle takes an article of clothing off, she typically asks me if it’s dirty.  That works for now.  But from the looks of her room, it is likely she will mirror DJ in her laundry habits.

Me?  Easy.  I take a good sniff.  If it doesn’t smell bad, it goes back on the shelf. 

I gotta go – Stephanie needs pants.

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