Random odd thoughts from this crazy old cat . . . .

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Washing Electronics or A Primer On How to Piss Off Your Sweetie

You wouldn't dream of letting a child play with a loaded gun.  Come to think of it, you wouldn't hand anyone a gun without proper training.  Then there is that small percentage that should NEVER touch a gun no matter how much training they've had.

I've gone over the whole scenario repeatedly.  I don't know where I went wrong.  JWL pointed out that it was Friday the 13th.  This could be much larger than Friday the 13th.  I had nightmares about it.

I woke up like every other day, went to work, around 8am they decided to cut hours.  Not a problem.  I'll just go home and get my housework done.  Drove home without incident.  Sprayed down all the fixtures in the bathroom.  Dusted the bedroom and stripped the bed.  Remove pillows from bed.  Take off pillow cases.  Put pillows and bedspread in basket.  Remove flat and fitted sheet.  Carry sheets and pillow cases into basement and  arrange in new washing machine.  Fiddle with settings.  Add soap.  Grab vacuum on way back upstairs.  Scrub and polish bathroom fixtures.  Vacuum bedrooms and hall, working my way down the stairs.  Rest the vacuum while dusting the living room.  Vacuum living room.  Sweep and Swiffer new kitchen floor.  Run back into basement, remove wet sheets from washer.  Throw sheets in dryer.  KLUNK.

Whoa, whoa, WHOA!  Sheets do not KLUNK when you throw them in the dryer.  What the hell?

I open the door and start grabbing pillow cases, flat sheet, fitted sheet.  What's this?!?  Wrapped in the corner of the fitted sheet.  Unwrap . . . untwist . . . .hmm, hmm, hmmmm.  Oh no.  Nooooooooo!  This can't be good.  Electronics + water = DEAD REMOTE!  But wait.  Maybe it's not as bad as I think.  I take the poor little thing back upstairs and point it at the TV.  Click.  TV off.  Holy S**T, it worked.  I'll just tuck it back into it's little remote home (the night stand) and let it dry for a little while.  Maybe no one will notice the bubbles and water squirting out when they press a button.

I head back downstairs to play on the computer the rest of the afternoon, secure in the knowledge that a major crisis has been averted.  The Teen gets home from school and busies himself on the good computer.  The cat saunters over to the corner to snort some cat pot and hunt pink and green "mice."  Honey comes home and asks where we are going to dinner.  We are just about to go upstairs to change into proper dinner attire, when a voice from above yells, "Hey, the remote is not working!"  Followed by, "It seems to be leaking something."

What to do?  What to do?  Do I blame it on the cat?  The cat, trying to amuse himself in cat prison, swats the remote off the night stand three feet away into his water bowl.  Then realizing the gravity of his actions, puts it back on the nightstand.  I'm thinking they aren't going to fall for it.  Oh hell.  I might as well fess up.  My reputation with laundry is legendary.  It's just one more story everyone else can laugh about.

"Um Honey?"  Then the rest of it comes tumbling out of me at lightening speed.  "Idon'tknowhowithappenedbutIwashedtheremote.  I'm sorry I'll buy a new one." He's not laughing.  He's cradling it's lifeless body in one hand.  Visibly upset, he removes the soggy batteries.  "Maybe it just needs new batteries," he pouts.  He puts in dry batteries and presses a few buttons.  Squish, dribble, nothing.  He turns it over and smacks the button side against his palm (remote CPR).  Still nothing.  "I guess we'll just have to run to Walmart for one of those universal remotes," he says.

We get dressed, head to Walmart, and pick out a new remote.  We settle on the twenty dollar remote figuring it has to be better than the eight dollar remote.  Then we head over to Red Lobster where we have a half an hour wait for our table.  He drags me to the bar to ply me with liquor so I can tell him every traumatic detail leading up to the remote drowning.  By the second drink, we've drowned our sorrows over our beloved remote, and Honey is starting to snicker at the whole tawdry story.

I don't know if we were just over full from dinner, or those two drinks went straight to our heads, but the new remote is nothing like the old remote.  You now have to go through this long involved process for turning off the TV.  Two buttons now instead of one.  Then you have to be in range.  No more than three feet from the receiver.  God, you practically have to get out of bed to turn the TV off and on.  Then if the room is dark you have to get up and turn on the light to see where the new buttons are located.  I can see this just isn't going to work out.  I'll be calling Dish Network on Monday to see if our old remote has a twin available.

It should now be common knowledge that a washing machine in the hands of Catty is a dangerous dangerous weapon.  Beware all fine washables and electronics, your days are numbered.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Laundry List of Laundry History

Ha!  Gotcha!  This isn't laundry history in general.  I am re-posting one of my old favorites on MY laundry history.  I have to work on figuring out this newfangled blog site before I go attempt to wash my drop cloths.  You are probably thinking that I'm on my way to creating new laundry memories but really we are talking spotted torn drop clothes and my new laundry mat guy is more than happy to show me how the machines work. . . . or maybe Honey called to warn him I was coming and he's just protecting his investment.  Ah, well, anyway now you will know how I have earned the fearsome reputation of washable warrior, clothes killer, stain enhancer, color changer (nothing to do with paint), etc.  Here you go:

We were always expected to be contributing members of the household while growing up. We had mastered dusting, vacuuming, dish washing, and a bunch of other household upkeep tasks. The last area to be conquered was the laundry room and it’s mysteries.

My introduction to the maintenance of clothing started somewhere in my teen years. I vaguely remember my mother taking me into the laundry room of our apartment building and introducing me to the washing machine. She made it sound simple. Separate the clothes by color. Whites in one pile. Colors in another pile. Dark clothes in yet one more pile. Then there was the "special" pile, the one you didn’t have to deal with on a regular basis. I think checking pockets before loading the clothes into the washer was mentioned, but I’m not really sure, it was a long time ago. Then you had to set the water level and the water temperature and select the correct fabric setting before you started the machine. Not to worry, there were directions on the underside of the lid in case I became confused.

Now I could borrow my Mommy’s nice clothes without her ever knowing. "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive." Who said that? It didn’t take longer than a couple of shrunken sweaters and a ruined dress before I was banished to ruining my own clothing and never borrowing my Mothers. I should have seen the moral to this story coming, but I was a self absorbed teen with a wardrobe consisting of jeans and T-shirts.

Eventually I met X and we rented an apartment that had a laundry room. I could now develop my ability to turn ordinary wash and wear (permanent press) into something that would have to be continually ironed. There weren’t many laundry mishaps during this era. I was still in the jean and T-shirt phase. The kids were in the diaper phase and the diapers were covered in those funky plastic pants. It was also the trend for people to shell out big bucks for jeans that looked like I had been washing them all along. I fit right in. Life was good.

Then came the day of "THE GREAT T-SHIRT MISHAP." X received a box in the mail filled with T-shirts. His brother, who was in the Navy, began a shirt collection for X. Every time his ship docked in another country, he would pick up a new Tee for his brother. There must have been 25 shirts in that box, all from exotic locations on the other side of the world.

X left for work that day with one simple request, "can you wash my new shirts?" They are just T-shirts. I have lots of experience washing T-shirts. I separated them into whites and colors. The whites came through with flying colors, er, I mean they came out just fine. I didn’t even shrink them (too much) in the dryer.  Blues, greens, grays, blacks, all went into the washer. Then before I could put them into the dryer, they all turned pink. ALL. PINK. Or varying shades of pink. Even the black shirts if they had white pictures or letters were now pink.

God what a nightmare! I quickly put everything back into the washing machine except for the lone maroon shirt from the Philippines. I mixed a cocktail of cleaners that was sure to revert the shirts back to their original colors. It was the 1980’s for God’s sake. Who would have thought that 3rd world countries were still using non colorfast dyes? So for my future reference, maroon (or any dark red) would be washed by itself, and pink is the most colorfast color on the planet or in the history of all colors.

Not content to be known as "the kiss of death to fine washables," I was now becoming known for my ability to ruin seemingly indestructible clothing. I also put a serious kink into my new marriage.

Eventually X forgave me and we started our own construction business and bought our own house. Now we both wore construction type clothes. Spots, lumps, and tears blended right in with what we were doing. The only thing you could notice me ruining was the new washer and dryer. Apparently loading the washer with clothes that were covered with powdered "setting type joint compound" turns the machine into a home sized cement mixer. Then the extra weight on the clothing burns out the wheels or bearings that turn the dryer drum. My destructive abilities were expanding.

A few years down the road and my kids had grown enough to start forming opinions about what clothes they would and wouldn’t wear. Not only were they into trendy fashions, but they didn’t like their investment/clothing misshapen and spotted. We were also having skirmishes about their putting clothing that was just tried on, back into the laundry basket without it getting a real days wear.

After one particularly mountainous pile of laundry, and some nasty comments on ruined clothing, I made up a new rule. I called it, "If you don’t like the way I do something, do it your own damn self" rule. The great thing about this rule is that I could apply it equally to children and spouses.  The rule was really simple to implement too. I showed everyone the laundry directions on the inside of the washing machine lid. I read them to those who were still learning to read. Then I made sure the area was stocked with soaps, dryer sheets, and a safe step stool so they could reach the dials. Then I just stopped washing anything that wasn’t mine.  Inevitably someone would come crying to me 10 minutes before school/work started about not having anything to wear. So I would advise them to work on their organizational skills by making sure they had everything ready for the next day. Then I would reinforce that concept with some words of encouragement like, "tough shit." They quickly learned self sufficiency.

I didn’t completely cut them off. If I was washing a load of my jeans, I would throw in some of theirs to make a full load. Same with shirts, undies, or whatever color I was working on that day. After a few years of helping them out (with some minor designer screw ups), they made it perfectly clear I was not to touch their clothes.

Years later, before my baby was to leave for the Navy, I happened to be laundering some of my jeans and noticed a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans on the floor by the washing machine. I picked them up but before I was able to even contemplate anything I heard a booming, if not slightly frightened, voice behind me say, "Step away from the designer jeans, Mom!" I barely got a, "but . . ." out before he stepped in and snatched them out of my grasp and said, "NO MOM! I know you are just trying to help, but I don’t want you to ruin my $75.00 jeans." All I could manage was a weak, "whateverrrrr."

A few years after that and I’m in Johnstown. Early on Honey made it clear that he liked doing his laundry a certain way. I think my family was secretly warning him about my reputation with laundry. Either that, or his keen eye was sizing up my attire and my ability (or lack of) to care for it, or maybe it was the growing washing machine graveyard in the corner of my former garage. Anyway, we decided he would wash the clothes and my area of expertise would cover bedding, towels, and curtains. Ok, it was more like containing or limiting the damage.

Our first trip together was to California to visit my ex-Navy daughter, her active duty Sweetie, and my first grandson. We spent the day at the beach and once we got home and bathed, we threw our wet sandy clothes on the balcony where the washer and dryer were located. The next morning since I was up early, I threw all the sandy clothes in the washer. They were all shades of blue so I threw in some Navy uniform shirts and pants, also blue. I even transferred everything to the dryer.

My daughter and the kids were getting up and moving around when she stopped and asked, "What’s that noise?" I said, "I was up early so I threw the clothes in the washer and dryer." The color drained from her face. She turned to Honey and smacked him on the arm saying, "you let her do laundry??? What were you thinking?" Then she rushed out onto the balcony to see if she could stop the unstoppable.  Too late. She started pulling big and little pants from the dryer. All dark blue, they looked all right. Then she started pulling out her Sweetie’s Navy uniform shirts. The once evenly light blue shirts now had splotches of ink covering them front and back. She held up the evidence for the world to see and angrily yelled, "this is why she is not allowed to touch the washer and dryer." I left some money to cover the damage.

A couple of times last summer Honey asked me to hang the clothes that he had washed out on the clothesline in the yard. I was thinking it would be all right since a machine wasn’t involved. I was starting to feel confident in my hanging abilities, then Honey comes home one day and asked, "what happened to the clothes, how did they change color?" He says it was kind of comical the way my eyes got wide as I ran to the back yard to assess the damage that didn't really exist. It would have made a good April fools joke.

Presently, I’ve resigned myself to my limited laundering role. It’s much safer that way. My once white pillow cases are now a lovely shade of blue, but I like blue. The new washing machine and I are getting along just fine. Really, the thing intimidates the hell out of me, so I stay away from it unless I have to wash something.  Maybe the real lesson I need to learn has to do with letting my guard down, or getting too comfortable with the way things are. Just when I thought things were going good, or what could possibly go wrong, I wash the remote. Now this did happen on Friday the 13th, so I ask you . . . Was this a curse of the day or just another screw up in the history of my laundry screw ups?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Clan of the Cave Kitty

Called by the haunting cries, the natives gathered around the writhing beast to watch it in its death throes.

We were getting ready for work the other morning when a horrible clatter arose from the wasteland that is our basement.  We gathered at the bottom of the stairs to watch our mortally wounded dryer shimmy into the center of the floor. 

The natives donned their ceremonial loin cloths and makeup and wrestled for spears to see who would have the honor of killing the beast.

Honey was dressed in his undies.  I had partial makeup.  The cat (Sparky) was puffed up in fear.  Honey and I both grabbed at the broom. 

The tribe used a simple language of grunts and monosyllabic words to communicate. 

Honey, "MINE!"
Catty, "No!  Me."
Honey, "No!  Give."
Catty, "Uhn uh."

He argued that being the man entitled him to first poke at the machine.  I argued that coming from a family of engineers made me more qualified to poke.  We had both tapped into the primal urge to poke at dead things.

The natives began the ancient spear dance to celebrate the successful hunt and thank the beast for giving it's life to the nourishment of the tribe.

We circled the beast, er, dryer to make sure it was dead.  Poking here and there at parts we both knew nothing about. Then began the task of contemplating repair or replacement.  

The beast was divided into portions according to social standing within the tribe.

With the appliance repair guy living next door, I was pushing for repair.  Honey's thoughts were that he bought the thing used twenty years ago and it was time to trade up to something more energy efficientFine with me, it's not like I'm allowed to use the washer or dryer.

The scavengers fight over the scraps of the hunt.

Sparky (the cat) still puffed to double his size, hisses at the dryer on the way to the litter box.  

I go back to finishing my makeup.  There is plenty of time to catch some NatGeo on ancient tribal customs.  As I'm watching them dance around the fire, for a split second I think--their dryer must have died too.