Monday, July 26, 2010

Learning to Love Your Laundry

For too long laundry has gotten a bad wrap. It's drudgery, it takes FOREVER to do, it piles up, it lies around and doesn't pick up after itself. It smells.

Well, in our house, my motto is "laundry does itself". No, I do not wrinkle my nose like Samantha in Bewitched. I happen to LOVE doing laundry. Now, before you think I am one of those crazy, fanatical housewives, think again. The rest of the house could use some help (I'll stop there), but laundry, well, it never really goes away, unless you live in a nudist colony. And having clean clothes is just so...satisfying. There, I've said it!

I really feel like I am in the minority of Laundry Lovers. There are people who like to clean toilets and wash floors. Me, I like to fluff and fold. Must be in my jeans. My dad was a dry cleaner and I spent my teenage years working for him, waiting on customers, checking pockets, and organizing tangled masses of hangers. My mother also loved to do laundry and never complained about it (even though she often turned my white underwear pink!).

My mission today is to change the way the world views their dirty laundry. I know that when you start to change the way you feel about your laundry, you will no longer feel that every load you do is like hauling 100lbs of concrete on your back (this is the way some people make it sound!). Our fore mothers/grandmothers had no washers, no dryers, no laundromats and did they complain? Laundry was the least of their problems, considering they had to deal with life-threatening childhood diseases, no Dunkin coffee to get them through the day, and no Pea Pod delivery service.

This blog is dedicated to some very good friends. I'll call them "Mia" and "Kristen". I am "outing" you both from the laundry closet. I love you both too much to see you buried under so many piles, err mountains. And I fear that Kristen's children will suffer mild ridicule for wearing crocheted underpants to school this fall. And as for my friend "Michelle", I consider you a recovering laundryholic so you're safe for now.

OK, now that I've given you a pep talk, here a few tips to bring some lovin' to the laundry room:

1. Do your laundry every day or at the very least, every other day. Yes, you heard me. Do NOT wait until the weekend to "do laundry". It makes no sense. You are making yourself a prisoner for the weekend if you wait for Saturday or Sunday. Who wouldn't hate laundry at this point? Doing a little each day makes the job so much easier and will become part of the fabric of your life, trust me. It's like flossing. You just need to get in the habit. If you work all day and don't have time to do a load in the am, throw a load in as soon as you get home from work. (This is the "Laundry does itself" part). Then you can start dinnertime festivities. When the washer is done, put the clothes in the dryer, asap. (Again, it's still doing itself!). Move on with your evening fun. Before bed, take the laundry out of the dryer. Fold it and put it away, right away....

2. Do not leave it in the basket. This is where all laundry goes to die and will never see its rightful owner! Folding ONE load of laundry takes less than 5 minutes. Just think of all the time you waste on Facebook, watching reality TV, talking on the phone (wait, people text now) or reading my silly blog. This will also save on some ironing! (PS. I don't iron unless I have to go to a wake or a wedding).

3. Do not wash towels after every single shower. It's really OK to use it a few times after you've let it hang dry. After all, you're drying your super, squeaky clean body so how yucky could it get? This will cut down on your laundry!

4. Put a collapsible laundry hamper (dollar store) in each kids' room for them to dump their laundry in. Every day or so, gather ye baskets (or have them bring to you, Queen of Laundry), and separate your lights, darks, and whites into a 3 section laundry cart. I keep one next to the dryer for this purpose so the laundry stays organized for when there are enough items for a load, I don't have to separate and sift through mountains.

5. Let (Make) the kids help. As much as I love laundry, I don't like folding the hundreds of white socks (x3 males!). Now is a good time to teach your tots how to match! And once all the clothes are folded, they love putting them away, even though they make a mess. Who cares? My dear mother in-law Anne, RIP, made sure all 5 of her sons knew how to do laundry. Now that's a smart woman!

6. Just do it for heaven's sake! It's never going away so deal with it.

As you can see, I am not only a food snob, but now a laundry snob. I will continue to stick my nose high up in the air until you take those ripe socks off the floor and put them where they belong.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Italian Grinder Diet

It seems Becky's Big Bytes have gotten her into more trouble again. Last year it was for taking too many, which landed her in the back row at a Weight Watchers meeting. Now her nighttime teeth grinding has caused an impending gum surgery.

Let me explain.

I went for my 6 month cleaning a few weeks ago. My dentist, who likes to call me "Becky Wecky", declared that I now have exposed roots. I thought, "Well, that's pretty rude. I know I'm due for a touch up but come on. The box of Garnier Nutrisse Brown Sugar #63 has been glaring at me for weeks. I know, I know!" Dr. Dentist said, "No, Becky Wecky, your roots in your teeth are exposed." (Side note, I only had 3 Wisdom teeth and blame that for my sometimes "slowness".) He casually mentions that I need a gum graft surgery and not to worry, "Your insurance will pay for it". I'm thinking, "Hmm, not so bad....a few days of ice cream, some alone time out by myself under some nice anesthesia...sounds like a great mommy's day out, right?


I then visited the specialist who asked me what was wrong with my teeth. I said, "Well, doctor, I like the way they look, but I don't like the way they feel." I explained how I grind my teeth at night and I only chew on one side now since the other side is so sensitive. My $400 mouth guard cracked under all the pressure and ever since have been using one from CVS which I was advised now is making matters worse. I asked him if I will ever stop grinding and he said that I am a grinder and will always be a grinder. There is no cure. Apparently, grinding is my "thing". To which I said, "I guess then I am an Italian Grinder." Well, he thought this was hilarious and nearly suctioned himself silly. You know, these doctors tell the same jokes over and over again and those poor hygienists have to pretend they're funny. Well, the tables were turned that day and I told him a funny.

I wish the rest of the visit was as jovial. I learned that I will need 2 more gum surgeries after this one has healed. They take (cut) skin from your upper gum/palate area and graft it in the lower to cover the roots (where are you Brown Sugar #63 when I need you!?).

And the news just gets bleaker. All of this is done under a local anesthesia so the Mommy Time was over before it started.

The insurance hardly covers it, resulting in at least $1400 out of pocket, just for this surgery alone. Thank you health coverage for caring so much about our teeth. Or is it your goal to make sure that none of us can chew so the obesity issue will resolve itself? OK, then.

I will be restricted to a soft diet, will not really be able to brush my teeth, and will be sutured, bloody, and swollen. Happy Anniversary, Mr. Nero!

I am trying to remain optimistic. Things could always be a lot worse. Like my poor sister who had to have her jaw wired shut for 6 weeks, just months before she got married. Back then, there was little variety on the market of energy drinks, protein powders, and smoothies so I used to make her stuffing and polenta which she gracefully sucked through a straw. Watching her brush her teeth and try to spit was pure entertainment for the whole family.

As for me, I am looking for suggestions for the "Italian Grinder Diet". And please do not tell me to puree some provolone, salami, and hot peppers.