Monday, March 1, 2010

Not-so-dirty Laundry

On Saturday it was gloomy outside, with an 80% chance of rain that teased us all day before finally donating a few drops after dark. I love overcast days, because they make it fun to hibernate inside with a hot drink, or they put me into Domestic Mode and I get in the mood to do housework or projects inside.

This Saturday I found myself doing laundry, and I have to admit that it is the one household chore that I don’t mind. I won’t say I like it – it seems crazy to ever say I like any type of cleaning – but I have to admit that the prospect of laundry does not fill me with dread like vacuuming, doing dishes, or cleaning toilets does.

I realized this when I turned on the dryer on Saturday, and the laundry room filled with the warm rattle of the dryer’s drum turning lazily over and over. That sound – the rhythmic hum – is actually comforting to me. It brought me back to weekends as a child, when Mom was in the other room doing laundry, and it meant that I was at home, safe. Laundry days meant we had free time, an afternoon, a whole block of time to while away however we wished.

On cold laundry days, Mom would take a load of hot towels or sheets straight from the dryer and plop them onto me, where I sat on the couch, so I could snuggle into them like a cocoon. She had a knack for turning everyday things into fun.

In the Spring and Summer, Mom hung the laundry outside on our clothesline that had a bird feeder hanging from one end. This was partly an economic choice, but more likely, she liked the way clothes smell after they’ve dried outside. You just can’t beat that smell – no dryer sheet or fabric softener can capture it, no matter how hard they try.

In Las Vegas we’re not allowed to put clotheslines in our backyards because the neighborhood associations prohibit it. But my laundry room tries to make up for it. I have a retractable clothesline so I can hang things across the room if I want, I painted the walls a bright sky-blue, and I hung Mom’s painting of picnic tables above the washer/dryer. And covering the main wall are framed photos of clotheslines…one of romantic Italian clotheslines from a trip with my husband, one of my Mom’s sheets blowing in the Spring breeze, one of my great-aunt’s frozen clothesline in the snow, and one of me hanging towels with my childhood pet cat at my feet. Doing the laundry brings me closer to all of them.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, find comfort in laundry day, Shannon. You've woven such a beautiful tale of your childhood with your mom. What great memories! As well, that you've created a laundry area that keeps you in touch with family and memories, well I just think that's supreme. Well done, dear. Love this post ... and I also wish we could hang laundry outside!