If you've ever done any laundry, you know that, at best, one sock will be
missing when the load comes out the dryer. At worst, one sock of every pair will
be missing. I've never understood this, I cannot explain it and I doubt science
will ever come up with a plausible explanation either. It's just one of those
things that has to be accepted on faith.
Having said that, there also exists the phenomenon of socks seeming to be
mateless when in fact, one sock wound up in the laundry while the other did not.
I can blame this on the kids, but if we're being honest with each other, this is
learned behavior. From their father. And I know that this is inherited from Josh
because I don't wear the large black dress socks that I find next to the bed, on
the bathroom floor, in the living room or under the computer desk. It's been
almost nine years since we got married and nine years since I began finding socks in random
places, so I have just accepted this, made peace and moved on.
However, I refuse to spend my life buying socks, so whenever I find a sock
that has no buddy, I stick it in one of the drawers of my nightstand and hope
for the best. Once in a great while, or when I cannot jam one more sock into the
drawer, I will dump the whole load of socks into a bucket and sort. I really
dislike sorting. My five year old, on the other hand, loves sorting, Sadly, he
was in school when the drawer overflowed and I kind of thought that signing him
out early to do laundry would be a misuse of the school's sign-out sheet.
This is the bucket of socks before the sorting and pairing began. We were done two hours later.
I could have spent those two hours going to Target and buying new socks -
and dumping my bin of unpaired socks in someone's Dumpster on the way, but that
would be wrong. Both the buying and the dumping would be wrong. So I didn't.
Baby and I sorted, paired, made a huge mess and came up with this. A bucket of
deliciously sorted socks.
And the goddess of all things laundry wept with joy.
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Laundry is probably the worst part of being a grown-up. Yeah, there are planes to catch and are bills to pay* and all that busyness but once you pay a bill, you don't have to pay it again for a whole month and once you miss a plane, you miss a plane. But laundry. It's just always there.
Our friend Naomi, the one who made this painting and then we never heard from again because she moved to Australia (no really, she literally moved to Australia) always said that the curse of Chava is not what it seems. (She's a rebbetzin, so that would make this is an actual dvar torah that you can use to impress people) You see, the curse of Chava is not the actual labor of having a baby - it's the labor that comes after. Namely, all the laundry that said baby generates. Because if you think about it, laundry never ever ends. It can't. Unless the entire family is walking around totally naked, there are no sheets on any of the beds and all the bathrooms are in a sorry state of towelessness, the laundry will never be finished. Not even after you do five loads in one day, fold it and put it away. Because, lucky you, when everyone comes home, there will once again be a huge pile. And if it's in an actual pile, then you really are lucky. That never happens in my house. I find people in my family by following the trail of clothes.
Our laundry problems are manyfold. And in a very specific order, these are them:
1. the collecting of
2. the getting it downstairs
3. the switching the load
4. the getting it back upstairs
5. the folding of
6. and the putting away of
So you see, we have many many problems and not many many solutions - because if we had those, we wouldn't have the problems. Laundry is like life, it's all cyclical. And for a bonus dvar torah, the gematria of laundry (lamed, nun, daled, reish, yud) which is 294 is equal to the gematria of Azarya (ayin, zayin, reish, yud, hey) which means Hashem helps. Well, it almost equals 294. Azarya actually equals 293, but that's okay cause you can add one for Hashem and you're golden. Because without Hashem's help the laundry would never get done. Deep, I know.
Sometimes the kids try to help. They like to pour detergent when no one asked them to, they enjoy bending the hangers out of shape and they find great joy in throwing dirty unmentionables at each other. So we try to confine their helping to step #5 - folding. And then this is what usually happens.
Sometimes we put them to work picking all the tissue pieces off the clothes that have had the unfortunate happen to them - a cycle in the washer with a pair of sweatpants and pockets full of tissues. Probably dirty ones, otherwise why would they be in the pockets, ya know? So gross. And yet, almost impossible to remedy. So we just throw the whole load into the dryer and hope that the lint-getter-thing gets most of it. And the misbehaving kid has to pick the rest of it off. Nah, that's not really true. But I do make them pick up the tissue pieces off the floor after I make a nice pile of tissue pieces on the couch and someone slams into it and knocks it down. Not cool.
So to end my story on a holy note for my fellow-laundry-doing-holy-sisters, I will throw one more weird gematria out there - the hebrew word for miracle, nes, is equal to 110. Oddly enough, the word for fold, chavak (chet, vet, kuf) is equal to the same number. So yes, getting the laundry folded is indeed a miracle. I'll be honest, I am not at all sure that the word chavak or fold is used when one would actually speak in Hebrew about laundry and its goings-on but that's okay cause I don't really speak Hebrew; I kind of feel like it might mean to fold, as to enfold someone or embrace them, but you know what, a warm sweatshirt straight from the dryer hugs you and makes you feel all warm and good, so fold, embrace, whatever, it's all laundry and I have to go do some.
* Oh come on, it's from Cats in the Cradle. You know you were humming it just now, you just had no idea why.