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Humor July 2016

The Old Gal

A Life Fitted to Reality

By Anne Ashley

Nowadays, I leave it to the dryer to carry out the folding task. Whatever shape, ball, knot or wad my sheets are in when the dryer has finished the drying cycle, is exactly how they get shoved back into the linen closet (partnered to the correct set or not), ready to adorn a bed the following week.

After years of struggling to fold (actually, it was more of a rolling action) my sheets into a small enough bundle so that they’d fit into the linen closet with all the other components of a made bed and bathroom trappings, I finally realized that I was wasting my time.

It wasn’t just the folding that I was wasting my time on, either it was also what went with it. In trying to make some sense of the weeks’ worth of freshly laundered sheets, pillowcases and quilt covers, I’d inevitably knock something off a side table trying to fold the flat sheet in half, snag one end of the gathered corner of the fitted sheet on something else, and almost always trip as I walked to the linen closet because, after all my folding and rolling and compressing, I still managed to leave one end of a sheet hanging long enough to cause a near death experience when I caught my foot in it. I feared I’d end up being in one of those in-home safety videos where some know-it-all advised about household hazards over the image of me being stretchered out of my house, having attempted to carry an armload of uncooperative sheets down the hallway and ended up headfirst through a door!

Eventually I realized that there are far more important things in life than to have your linen closet full of neatly stacked and coordinating bedclothes – especially since there isn’t a room in my house color coordinated, neat or tidy!

Nowadays, I leave it to the dryer to carry out the folding task. Whatever shape, ball, knot or wad my sheets are in when the dryer has finished the drying cycle, is exactly how they get shoved back into the linen closet (partnered to the correct set or not), ready to adorn a bed the following week. Although, this liberation also comes with a price (albeit a less risky price) when my long-suffering husband finds that he’s been sleeping with an errant sport sock tucked into his pillowcase all night or even worse, a dryer sheet. And we still laugh about the time I grabbed what looked like a flat sheet from the jumble of linens only to end up making the bed with a table cloth! 

Anyway … what’s prompted my revelation is a recent internet post meant to help women who struggle with this pesky problem. It was a demonstration on how to fold a fitted sheet with minimal creases, add it to the folded coordinating flat sheet, fold all but one matching pillow case and then tuck the entire stack into that remaining pillowcase to keep it all conveniently organized. A photo accompanied the tutorial of an immaculate, adorably papered shelf with brightly colored parcels of bedding lined up just so, complimented by a French labeled soap jar, a potted plant and a lovely antiqued mirror!

Now, not only did my wads of sheets and linen closet jumble never come even remotely close to that illustration (even before I had children), had I ever been so inclined to attempt the “no one actually lives here look,” the daily ravaging for towels, wash cloths, toiletries, toilet paper and the other sport sock would have instantly reduced the cupboard to what it looks like now, as though an almighty brawl had taken place in there and the bodies are still hidden amongst the debris.

And not only are my sheets not stacked neatly, half the time they’re on the floor in front of the open door due to my other half forgetting to close it. French jar? Antiqued mirror? I’m lucky the shelves are still in place!

It’s not that I begrudge today’s woman more help and guidance than I had available to me as a young housewife, full of enthusiasm and passion. It’s not that I don’t appreciate good advice from the Internet and all its worldly knowledge when it’s given. In my day you were lucky to have even one female relative who could set you straight, let alone the world wide web and all its nifty tricks and hacks.

However, unlike today’s advice of fanciful images and unrealistic goals (I would like to be there when the person who concerns themselves with creased fitted sheets finally comes back down to earth with the inevitable bump), our female ancestors gave far more realistic counseling.

I can still recall the brutal but ultimately valuable warning advice given to me by my Nana just before I was to wed – keep whisky in the airing cupboard (today’s linen closet) and a good book by the bed and you’ll never fret over the disappointment of either!

 

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