Of Penguins and Laundry Baskets

I wash my sons' laundry after they go to bed on Sunday night, because I am an idiot who likes to make Monday mornings harder than they already are. They are well past the age when they could do their own laundry, and in fact do on frequent occasions, but I am one of those people who can't see her floor half the time and hasn't been able to find her car keys since 1989 but cannot go on one more minute if shit is not folded exactly perfectly.

I could care less about the sorting, or the putting away, but the folding part gets my knickers all in knots. There's a little spot on the back, right side of my head about three inches behind the middle of my right ear that starts to feel like it's been up in a ponytail for entirely too long every time I open my sons' drawers and see the full out massacre in four part harmony on all of those poor, helpless seamlines.

I also make my bed with hospital corners. You know, the one day a week I make my bed.

And so, I usually do their laundry. On Sunday night. At 10pm. After Dexter.

And my oldest son does me favours like leave Every. Single. Article. of clothing 78.24% flipped inside out so that I have to unflip socks that feel like they've soaked in heavy starch and chonies that the government won't let me describe in public forums and the gym uniform that even he was all, "Um, mom, be careful with that because, jeez."

These do not sound like favours, I know, but they are and they are because I get so distracted trying to dodge the grit and reapplying the Vic's Vapor rub to my philtrum to stave off the smell of teen spirit and generally curmudgeoning about my ungrateful, irresponsible lazy piece of crap kid who is so spoiled he can't even flip his motherfucking socks inside out for me before I rage against the laundry basket, armed only with a cap full of Tide with Febreeze, a cup of vinegar and a dream of eight years from now when puberty is over that I don't even notice the decorative hand towel wedged into the middle of his laundry pile.

The cheery, bright blue decorative hand towel that goes with the washcloths and toothbrush holders and trashcans and shower curtain holder thingies* that make up the not-too-masculine, not-too-feminine upstairs kids' bathroom motif.

Now, I know my son well enough to know that the handtowel in question was not used for what it sounds like it was, because my son would have burned it, buried its ashes, invented time travel, gone 4 years into the future, spent an entire day at the DMV because there is no machination of mice or men powerful enough to let anyone avoid the day's wait at the DMV, acquired a drivers license, driven to the store, bought a new handtowel, traveled back in time and replaced the burnt, dead one. This kid would rather have his toenails pulled out than tell me what he had for lunch. He isn't sloppy. He doesn't make mistakes.

But that doesn't change the fact that for the four of five seconds after hap-hazardly grabbing the handtowel, I stand riddled with post-Dexter anxiety-laden terror, unable to speak or move for the horror that is seeping through my hands, up my arms in into my heart, because for those four or five seconds I believe, with all of my heart, that this thing in my hand is covered in the spent cartridges of my grandchildren and I AM TOUCHING IT.

There isn't enough Purell in the world to make that better. But at least I didn't have to see it coming.

*The fact that I know the name of the thingy in between your nose and your lip, but not the name of the things that hold your shower curtain up makes no sense to me, either.