Back onto things I love...I love doing laundry. Yes, I just said that. I really do. It's one of my "chaos into order" addictions that fire off chemicals in my brain which then tell my mind that everything's good. Unlike the many other chores that are never quite completed, with laundry day there is a definite beginning and a definite end.
Honestly, it starts out as nothing less than a huge mess. I'm married to a farmer. A dirty, sweaty often muddy one. One that my boys often follow around, nearly matching his dirt and mud speck for speck. I could take one walk around the perimeter of my house and stumble over four pairs of jeans, stiff with dried mud and pockets full of rocks, tools, and other nameless treasures. My girls like to change their clothes no less than 4 times a day, wearing one dress just long enough to smear some food or squat in the mud or splash in the creek, then change into another and repeat. And Gil, sweet baby Gil, is not to be left out. He goes through about 6 cloth diapers a day, and the poopy ones need to be soaked in a bucket, the water in which must be changed daily until I go to the laundromat. (That's right- you heard me...laundromat- two times a week, baby.) And I proudly wear the residue of the mud, milk and pee of all the others. Alright, I might sweat a little..sometimes...perhaps...but it doesn't even smell.
This, friends, is chaos. Just gathering it up is chaos. But then I drive downtown to my little laundromat and dump my chaos into the largest commercial front-loader you have ever seen and throw six bucks at it. Then, I kill 30 minutes, retrieve it, and take it back home for the phase of "laundry" that I love.
I hang it on my clothesline.
I love standing in the sunshine and putting up each piece. Each sheet, each cloth diaper, each pair of underwear. (The more I see, the more encouraged I am that my children are actually changing them occasionally.) The monotony is therapy. One piece after the other, after the other, and my basket is empty. Task completed. But the real joy comes when I step back and look. When I walk back to the deck and glance behind me at the colors and the different shapes and sizes all blowing in the super-fresh air and delicious sunshine. I just plain love the way that looks. And each time I pass by the window, I look. And something resembling peace and happiness flip-flops inside me. I am grateful for the sun, for the gift of warmth and energy. I am grateful for the money I am saving. I am grateful for the pieces themselves that clothe me and my family.
Then, sometime in the evening, either Connor or myself goes out to collect it all and dump it into a small mountain in my living room. Clean chaos. When all the kids are sleeping, I set about folding each thing, and making a pile for each person. Sweet order.
Trust me, I realize that while this sounds so charming, it smacks of mental illness. It's the same reason that I battle crossword puzzle addiction and read voraciously, and scrutinize a receipt showing all of my random groceries in neat little categories. (Ok, and dishes...the chaos of a dinner table and the order of the drying rack) And yes, there's a touch of escapism in the way I stare at the clouds while pinning up dishrags or hammer away at 48-across. Unless I am ignoring the needs of my kids...it's usually a guilt-free pleasure. And it's a good thing. And I love it. (And I have to say it...combining a cup of coffee with a word puzzle or a good book...double bliss.)
My dear friend Christina took this picture in my backyard and captured my thoughts here in a single, beautiful picture.
And visit Garden Mama. Her Wash Wednesday posts offer a glimpse into the beautiful ways that many others enjoy this enchanting chore. Blessings.