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.

Sunday Post 129: I Prefer Married

You’d think after 3 years I’d stop finding stuff that surprised me about being a widower (I still can’t believe that is an adjective that can be used to describe me).  I just realized that I am not involved, in the least, at DJ’s school.  I guess I’m not really involved in Stephanie and Michelle’s school either.  But because I know a lot of folks there, I sort of feel like I have an in to what’s going on.  But with DJ, I am clueless.

Lisa did that.  Although she worked, she also helped with the PTA, assisted in the kids’ classrooms, gave the teachers a break at lunch, and sometimes drove for field trips.  In the process, she met other parents.  Those relationships led to connections for me.  She did the same thing at the swim club – she volunteered for swim meets.  She met other moms.  She signed me up to be a timer or a kid-pusher.  I felt a part – because of her.

Last week I cancelled our pool membership.  We never go anymore.  I don’t know anyone there.  I just found myself sitting on a lawn chair reading a magazine, missing Lisa.  Why pay $200 a month for that?  I can miss her in my own yard for free.

Lisa controlled our social calendar.  “We’re going out on Friday with the Smiths.  Wear khaki’s and your navy jacket.”

“Who are the Smiths?  Do I know them?”

“You’ll recognize them when we get there.  He’s bald – first name is Jack.  You manned the mechanical bull at the school carnival with him last year.”

“Oh yea.  The time you signed me up for a two-hour shift without my permission.”

“They needed help.  I knew you’d just be standing there.  Didn’t hurt you did it?  And, you made a new friend.”

“Who?”

“Jack Smith.”

“Oh.  Yeah.  Jack.”

Yes – she volunteered, built our relationships, set our social calendar and even told me what to wear.  Now I have to sign up – I hate to sign up!  And what’s worse is now I have to do it on-line through some “Sign Up Genie.”  By the time I get around to volunteering, there’s nothing left but taking out the garbage after the event is over – a one man job no doubt.  No friend there.

The school functions stink without a spouse.  She was always there for me.  I always had someone to talk to.  Now if the conversation ends with the person I’m chatting with, I’m alone.  My crutch is gone.  I have to seek out some other poor soul or hover around the ham biscuits like I haven’t eaten all day.  “Sure am hungry.  No time to talk.  Gonna hit the food table… AGAIN.”  I’d rather have a root canal than attend a party without a spouse.

And yet, my kids miss out too.  My lack of involvement hurts their ability to get connected to other families.  My desire to avoid the social crowds without my security blanket keeps them from the family events – you know, the ones where you all pull up together and then your kids leave you until it’s time to go home.

I have to do better.  I need to join a committee; maybe lawn beautification or something.  I need to find another single soul at school who needs some party company too.  Maybe we can hit the carnival in tandem, serve punch together, man the mechanical bull.

I can do it.  But I sure do prefer married.

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