Friday, March 27, 2009

a short true story (about laundry)

I have a cousin who is two years younger and 8 1/2 inches shorter than I am, but she is rather more robust of figure and somehow we were of fairly compatible clothing sizes. This meant that during my junior high period I would frequently receive allocations of hand-me-ups in big brown trash bags--mostly shirts, some skirts and dresses.

This whole pattern suited me fine, because I had already embarked on my Erasmus-esque dissolution and prefered wasting all my money on books instead of on stylish (or fitting) clothes. I wore those hand-me-ups, and I wore them hard. In particular, there was one turquoise long-sleeved ribbed tshirt. It fit better than anything else I'd ever gotten from her, and I wore it at least once a week throughout junior and senior high. Overly frequent washing led to some shrinkage, until it emitted a short line of midriff and was no longer appropriate to wear to school.

In college, I was on the crew team. In the winter, we had to go out on the water (which, by the way, is WET, and cold and splashes) wearing only skin-tight elements that wouldn't get caught in the oars. Thus was the turquoise tshirt reintroduced into my wardrobe; it basically fit the bill. So every weekday morning at 5:45 I would run a mile in that shirt to the boathouse, work out like a maniac, run back to my dorm, rinse it out in my sink, and hang it to dry for the next morning. I sweated in it, bled on it (rowers sustain various disgusting injuries), and wiped my poor desperately runny nose on it constantly (rowing in the winter=not nice).

Needless to say, when that whole piece of my life was over the turquoise tshirt was permanently retired. Would *you* ever want to wear that thing again?! But I didn't throw it away. I was a little nostalgic, and, after all, you never know what day might come. And indeed, in the, um, many years since it has come in handy during times of spring cleaning or winter gym-going (that one time I went, that other year).

Aaaand it came in handy this morning, when I put it on to wear to work. Yes, my friends, that is our current laundry situation.

Let it be known that Janet Reid is so worried about my person and health that she has offered to come over and do my laundry for me. (Actually, that was more than a week ago, wasn't it, Janet?) I politely declined. I'm a big girl; I can do my own laundry. Eventually.

28 comments:

Susan Adrian said...

LOL. Lovely!

I think there was a little price to pay for Janet to do your laundry though, hmmm? :)

I_am_Tulsa said...

Those kinds of shirts are the best!

Karen Duvall said...

I have a shirt like that! Only it wasn't a hand-me-down. My mom bought it for new. It's a black ribbed tank top that's now a very dark gray, and I've had it for about 35 years. Ha! It's kind of tight, but it still fits and works great as an undershirt when it's cold, or in the summer I wear it with shorts just around the house.

Thanks for the nostalgic look back! :)

Aerin said...

Ah. Thanks, Moonie, for reminding me about one positive thing about marriage - when the laundry needs doing, my man-slave takes orders to get it done. I KNEW there was a reason I kept him around.

sunna said...

Lovely. I have a sweater that falls into the same category: it's been a windbreaker for morning runs, a painting shirt, a moving shirt, you name it. I got it somewhere around 9th grade, I think.

Charles Gramlich said...

When clothes get dirty, the desparate pull out all the tops

JES said...

Great story about a great shirt. And, this being Editorial Ass, one also leaves sated by the expression "Erasmus-esque dissolution," which falls just this side of awkward-sounding but still rates an encomium. And more.

moonrat said...

Susan--naturally. You can only guess what it was.

Aerin--alas, my man slave is greivously uncooperative.

JES--i LIVE on this side of awkward.

Anna Claire said...

I love those kinds of clothes. I have a red plaid button-down shirt I got for $1 at a yard sale. (I'm actually wearing it in my profile pic). The sleeves are too short and I've had to reattach more than one button, but it's the softest shirt ever and I wear it ANYWHERE: on the weekends, to work, going out with friends. It's my favoritest shirt ever.

Stuart Neville said...

I have a grey shirt that's been with me for many, many years. It used to be a kind od charcoal-grey-to-black, but now it's just grey. The collar is very frayed, but I'm hoping people think that's some kind of fashiony distressing, like how jeans come with rips already in them.

Janet Reid said...

The offer stands. I'll come over with a shopping bag of quarters and a gallon of soap. YOu just have to haul the bag to the matte. Then we'll drink hooch and cackle like hyenas while your duds doh-see-doh in the dryer.

Christy Raedeke said...

Please, please let your laundry simmer for another week and update us daily on what you find to wear! I'm hoping that at some point drapes and safety pins will be employed, or perhaps "found objects" of clothing will be scooped up from dark alley corners...

Melanie Avila said...

I love this trip down memory lane. Will you please take Janet up on her offer? I'd love to hear both your versions of the day afterwards. :)

Heidi C. Vlach said...

I hope that shirt gets a proper burial someday, after doing such loyal duty!

Hey, you could always look into a third-party laundry service? I used one while I was at a live-on-premises job, and I found it worth a few MIA socks to have the free time.

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

There's a cute kids' picture book about a mouse whose favorite jacket (shirt?) loses a button, becomes too small, gets cut down into a blanket, then a patch, I think -- on and on. If your shirt ever falls apart, you could cut it and resew it into an editor's miniature comfort blanket/rag, good for wiping your perspiring brow or sniffling into on particularly long days at work. Or dusting off piles of manuscripts waiting to be read.

Dana said...

Ha! Moonie, you crack me up :) If it makes you feel at all better. All of my laundry is done, but sitting getting wrinkled in the laundry baskets. So when finally worn will likely need to either be washed again or ironed... or I'll just go out looking like a Shar Pei- you can probably guess which of those is most likely. :)

JohnO said...

Hah ... when do you pitch the best-selling laundry memoir? And I keep puzzling about disgusting rower injuries.

I kept two of my jerseys from when I played volleyball in college. I pulled one out a while back, and my son said, "That looks really OLD."

I put it away. Quickly.

dawtheminstrel said...

My favorite thing to do with clothes like that is put them in the drawer with my "travel clothes." That's where you'll also find the socks with holes, the underwear barel (pun intended) clinging to the elastic, the pants with the frayed hem. Then when I go on a trip, I pack all that and throw each thing away after I've worn it. Voila! Room for all the stuff I bought!

Tara Maya said...

Laundry is such a pain. You wash the clothes, fold them, put them away, and two months later you have to do it all over again.

Alps said...

This is wonderful. I'm sorry you're too busy to do your laundry, though. If there were such a thing as virtual laundry, I'd help you. Promise.

Ebony McKenna. said...

Every time you talk about laundry, you remind me of Boober Fraggle.

Anita said...

If you don't do your laundry soon, I will fly from CO to do it! (in the very raggedy shirt I'M wearing because I haven't done laundry here)

writtenwyrdd said...

You really hate laundry, don't you?

In my world, life is good in the laundry front because I wear uniforms to work. That makes it simple. I just have lots of uniforms and tees and jeans and enough underthings for a military campaign and I'm good for a couple weeks.

Sounds like your campaign may have gone longer, though!

I have to say, I never owned a washer/dryer until about four years ago. And it changed my life.

Chris Eldin said...

AHAHAHA!
Thanks for sharing a funny story!!

I make Thing 1 and Thing 2 do the laundry after they're done cleaning the house.

Kim Kasch said...

My kids have shirts they lived in as kids then i made them into blankets - growing up poor does that to a person. I CAN'T throw anything away - just ask my kids.

;P

Emily said...

I moved to the city in June, and still have not done my laundry in the city. (That one time I dragged it to my friend's dorm doesn't count.)

I was so cranky on Wednesday when my father didn't fall for my trick and let me take ALL of my laundry home! (On account that he didn't want to drive me back to the city, which is very selfish, I think, considering he made my 18 year-old brother do most of the driving.) Someday... possibly soon, because I really want those jeans I spilled ketchup on back...

Sarah Laurenson said...

LOL - eventually!

I had a favorite shirt like that. Even pulled it out of the trash after my mom threw it away. It had little holes where my belt buckle pierced it several times. Not sure what happened to it, except that Mom probably waited until trash pickup day to throw it away again.

Lily Cate said...

Oh guilty confession time...
I've lived in cities for the past 10 years, where laudry was always varying degrees of horrid. Coin gathering, laundromats, nasty notes from neighbors regarding lint, dragging overpacked baskets to friend's houses, sneaking it all to Mom's when she went out of town...
Now, finally, for the past 4 months, I have a little house with my very own washer and dryer.
It's like living in a different caste. My god, I can wash something ANYTIME??? I used to have "barn jeans" that went to the horse stable for 2 weeks between cleanings. Now I see grape juice splattered across the kitchen rug and think "no worries!"

Man, am I spoiled.