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Thursday, February 10, 2005

It dawned on me today...

How much doing laundry is an act of love for my family. Funny, really, to think that way but it's true. Maybe it's true because it's my way of making peace with the fact that I've been plugging away at it for days and have barely made a dent but if it's what gets me through then so be it.

Honestly though, let's break it down. First, you have to get it down to the washer. No small feat in a house with three levels. Up the stairs, down the stairs, back and forth. I think I've lost 2 pounds just gathering the scattered items from their various nooks and crannies. Some in the bottom of the bathroom closet. Some beside our beds. Some already thrown to the bottom of the cellar stairs and still more in and amongst my sister's room.

Once congregated near the washer it becomes a huge pile filled with colors and whites, darks and lights, towels and socks. Since you can't just haphazardly throw them in by where they stand in rank in the pile, the next step is to carefully sort them into about 5 or 6 different piles. Towels and robes go into one, socks, white t-shirts and underwear into a second. Jeans have their own pile as well as sweatshirts, both because they are so heavy. Blankets and sheets have yet another pile on the days we strip beds.

Personally I put pajamas into their own pile to keep them rotating quickly since 5 of the 6 of us living here wear a new pair daily. Tall Boy sleeps in his underwear so thankfully he doesn't add to that pile.

Then comes the last pile of random colored items that then have to again be sorted by brightness. I mean, you can't put the bright blue superman shirt in with the light pink pub t-shirt in case the blue runs because then the t-shirt will end up tie-dyed purple.

Once you master the sorting comes the whittling process of actually washing the items from every pile. Jeans around here will run about 3 loads as well as towels. The other piles can usually be done in a load or two. Each load is then dried and folded and carted around the house to waiting drawers and closets.

But beyond the shear volume of work and labor that goes into keeping up with the laundry, all of which is one huge amount of love, lies the little details. The detergent that doesn't irritate Bam-Bam's skin. Tossing in a couple of dryer sheets that reduce that annoying static that drives my sister crazy and make the towels smell fresh. Quickly folding work shirts as soon as the dryer buzzer sounds so that Tall Boy looks put together and professional when he heads off to work. THOSE are the added nuggets of love.

There is no paycheck at the end of the week for me so it really comes down to finding tangible ways that I can repay those I love the most. Today's paycheck: Laundry.

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