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Our Dirty Laundry
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Every marriage has its secrets. No matter what you think about other people’s relationships, what goes on behind closed doors, especially in the bedroom, is a mystery: distinguished college professors may revert privately to baby talk; perhaps those straight-laced church-goers attend swingers’ parties; party flirts might go home to chaste single beds in separate rooms. You just never know. But wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall—that is, as long as you could turn back into a human whenever you wanted.

Like all couples, we have our bedroom secrets. One of the deepest and most shameful concerns our laundry—and not the metaphorical dirty laundry swept under the symbolic rug, either. I’m talking about real, physical laundry. In our house, the laundry situation is out of control.

Here’s how it works. Sam is usually the one who piles the dirty clothes into a basket and takes them down to the basement, where they go through standard cycles in our washing machine. Some time later (and really, what is time but an arbitrary concept anyway?), one of us remembers to move them to the dryer, where they languish anywhere from several hours to several days. Sometime after that, they are transported back upstairs to our bedroom.

And that is when things get out of hand.

They sit there. And they sit there. And they sit there some more. We seem to have this issue with putting our clean clothes away. We’re like those people who hoard piles of newspapers, only with us it’s unfolded laundry. Days and weeks might go by in which you, as a fly on the wall, might see us pawing through knee-deep piles in order to find clean underpants and two matching socks. New loads of laundry are added to the old ones until there is nothing left in our drawers and closets—it’s all in a big messy jumble on the floor, which starts spreading out, not unlike the blob in the classic 1950’s science fiction movie.

Yesterday, at long last, we initiated “Operation Laundry.” The idea was to sort, fold, hang, and put away over a month’s accumulation (!!!!) of clean clothes, towels, sheets, pets, etc. We found “School of Rock” on TV and enjoyed Jack Black’s rock & roll hi-jinks while engaging in a marathon of sock-pairing. I found several bonus items I’d been looking for, in addition to over $30 in laundered money. It didn’t take all that long to get the job done,* it wasn’t that unpleasant…so why was this so hard to get around to? You can now actually walk from one end of our bedroom to the other without getting your legs tangled up in a T-shirt—it’s much nicer.

The question lingers: have we learned our lesson, or will we lose control of our bedroom-laundry situation and have to call in the National Guard? Is our shameful secret safely in the past?

Only the Tide ™ s of time will tell.


*though there is still one load down in the dryer…

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from my experience,

it will accumulate again. You and Sam are not alone in this. I am sure that I have a load in the dryer right now that needs to be folded (but out of sight, out of mind) and then, horrors of horrors, put away.