Oh, help me.

I did it again.

I turned the laundry blue.

Laundry is a theme in my life, you know this already if you’ve read Road Map (all the diapers!) or ParentDish (the clothes line! meet me at the clothes line!).  It’s a theme of struggle, really, because for all the hundreds, maybe thousands of loads of wash that I’ve done, I’m still not very good at it.

Kathleen Norris is one of my favorite writers, and one of my favorite books of hers isn’t really even a book at all, but a slim little chapbook called The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work,”and is the text of the 1998 Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality. 

She writes, “Laundry, liturgy and women’s work all serve to ground us in the world, and they need not grind us down.”  She makes a connection between the daily rituals of the human condition, things like eating and bathing and even doing laundry, and prayer.  She explains that in tending to the quotidian, we are also tending to spiritual matters, if we allow it to be so.


What kind of prayer is it if all the whites turn light blue?  What kind of mindfulness am I bringing to my daily routine when the socks have all gone azure?  And why, why can’t I get this figured out?

Which is the reason, when Mom Central announced a blog tour for a new product from Clorox, I asked to be a part of it.  I wanted to get this laundry problem under control.  I wanted whites that were white and colors that were bright, and I figured maybe I needed some new tools to make it happen.

I got my free bottle of Clorox 2X Ultra Stain Fighting Formula and I tossed a capful in the load I’d turned blue.  I closed the lid, set the machine to the wash cycle, and crossed my fingers.  It didn’t seem like a lot to ask, but in the past, when I’d tried to de-blue my blues (and it’s happened more than once), I’d always failed.

When the wash cycle stopped, I hesitated.  Did I really want to see those ruined clothes, staring back at me? Did I really want to look at failure, yet another time?

I forced myself to forge ahead.  In the bottom of the machine, the clothes were waiting for me.  The socks, Avery’s Buzz Lightyear underwear, the little shirt with the frogs on it.  But this time, everything was white!

I’m tempted to call it a miracle, though I know, it’s just laundry.  So I’ll say this:  it feels like a second chance, which is good enough for me.

I have 4 coupons for a free bottle of Clorox 2X Ultra to share, so you can see for yourself.  Let’s try this:  leave your worst laundry incident in the comments (Please?  It’s true, misery loves company) and the top disasters take the prizes.

UPDATED TO ADD:  Thank you, thank you!  You don’t know how much these stories of disaster have warmed my heart…and now, the winners!  Stephanie, of the I-bleached-the-guest-towels-of-my-hostess-by-mistake deserves a special prize all to herself.  And since she doesn’t need Clorox, let me send you a book!  Email me and I’ll give you some choices. 

And, in no particular order, here are the Clorox winners:  Nik’s Mom of Maternal Instincts…Flying By the Seat of My Pants, for “Cold Blood/Hot Sh*t”, which isn’t really a story but an excellent, unforgettable tip; Tricia of Unringing the Bell, for the dead mouse in the machine (yike!) and because she has a new baby at home which means lots of laundry!; Pam and Rhett of Rhett’s Journey, because a WHOLE box of crayons in the washer plus a cat in the dryer is really difficult to top (that Rhett does things BIG!); and Mom24 at 4EverMom, because she’s a laundry queen, and even royalty gets a crayon in their dryer once in a while.

Winners, please send your mailing address to me at jennifergrafgroneberg (at) yahoo.com.  Thanks for the stories, everyone!


15 thoughts on “Oh, help me.

  1. I know the give-away is over but I completely forgot about something and just felt like sharing…it was when Malea pooped all over the Heavenly Bed ($$$) of my friend’s parents after they let us spend the weekend in their beatiful, brand new, custom-built from scratch home while they were out of town one weekend.

    I thought I would die. Everything was white and brand new. We all slept so well that the only thing that woke me that Sunday morning was the smell of poop. I jumped up and nearly lost it.

    I immediately woke the sleepers and stripped the bed, thanking my lucky stars that the mattress itself still looked fine…though the pad was a mess, along with two layers of sheets.

    That was my finest laundry experience. I somehow got the stains out and left all as we found it, though I was sweating the entire 2.5 hours it took to see the final results.

    Good thing they had 2(!) sets of front-loaders or else we would have been there all day, which would have been horrible since we were 3 hours from home.

    I had COMPLETELY blocked that from my memory. LOL!

    Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Okay I have two laundry episodes that happened recently within a day of each other….both of them involving a certain little three year old who was trying to “help”. I’m not naming names Rhett Anthany Bird or anything but here goes.

    First one involves the washer. I turned the water on, put my soap in, and turned my back to sort through the pile to see what items were going to take priority from our mountain of laundry. Rhett was in there with me, and since he usually is, no big deal, right? Well I didn’t even think about the fact that he was carrying his bucket of crayons around with him.

    Apparently while my back was turned he was tossing them in there as fast as he could.

    Of course since there were bubbles and the crayons sunk to the bottom, I had no idea they were there. I was washing things on the hot cycle because it was just after he had come home from his recent bought of pneumonia, and I wanted to make sure things were good and sanitized.

    By the time I turned around, and this is only a matter of 1 min or so, Rhett was sitting on the floor coloring in his note book. I thought nothing about it, and threw out clothes in, shut the lid and we left the laundry room.

    I sat down to finish coloring with him, and I realized that he was missing alot of his crayons. I asked him where they went and he signed water.

    This did nothing but confuse the snot out of me. Water? What water…”Oh crap, did you flush them down the toilet again?”

    I ran up stairs and flushed all of the toilets, they all seemed fine, so I decided we would probably find them under the couch or something.

    Mistake #1: I did not check all sources of “water in the house.” I mean seriously who takes inventory of how many crayons a three year old has before he walks into the laundry room? It honestly never even crossed my mind.

    Fast forward 3 hours, and Hunter gets home from school. I am trying to finish up Rhett’s bolus feed so I ask him to go put what’s in the washer in the dryer.

    Mistake #2: I asked my 10 year old boy to switch the laundry. He throws everything in the dryer without even thinking about it. Apparently he noticed something was amiss because on the utility sink were two small mushed up crayons. But why would he bother to tell me about it when Pokemon is on?

    I hear the buzzer and go to the dryer. As I am pulling the clothes out I notice that the dryer walls are awfully colorful.

    Then I stuck my hand into a bunch of clothes and they came our with wax on them. My heart sunk. I started going through the clothes and I wanted to cry. Every single one of them now had multiple spots of color all over them. Everywhere. My dryer walls had a very pretty array of every color you could think of on them.

    I called Hunter in and asked him if he noticed any crayons when he changed the laundry, and he points to the crayons that he had set on the sink…”You mean those?”


    So needless to say the whole batch of clothes was ruined. I think the only thing I saved was some of the boys underwear and a few socks.

    We decided that by the colors on the dryer wall, and what was on the clothes that Rhett had thrown at least 8 crayons in the washer. When Hunter pulled them out to put them in the dryer, I think he just grabbed a bunch of the clothes instead of one at a time, like I usually do, and threw them in the the dryer. Boy did I learn some lessons that day!!

    Then the next day I was keeping a very close eye on Rhett while we were doing laundry. I had everything in the dryer and the doorbell rang. Rhett and the cat were sitting on the floor playing. It’s Rhett’s “job” to shut the dryer door.

    I ran upstairs and told him to shut the door. I got about three steps up and heard the dryer door shut. I was up there for about 10 min getting Rhett’s feeding supplies for the month, and then I went down to start the dryer. I set the time for it, and just as I was about to press the start button I hear this “MEOW”. I looked around and said, “Garfield. where are you?”

    “MEOOOOWWWWWWWW” again, I opened up the dryer and out jumps the cat.

    Okay, so maybe that wasn’t a disaster but more of a potential disaster avoided. Still, Rhett doesn’t help me with laundry so much anymore. Now I try to do it when he is sleeping…which is why I generally don’t get into bed before 2 am.

    This was just our worst laundry disaster, I could go on and on about how many times I have turned clothes pink, or blue or whatever. Not to mention everything I have shrunk.

    Have I mentioned how bad I HATE laundry?

  3. I had my first encounter with the CATHOLIC mom screaming (with her mind) at me how my son should not be born. After holding him and loving him in the most weird (now that I think about it) and fake lovey dovey way. Note to self: be sure person or friend is not HOLDING BJ when you mention that he has DS. Very interesting but I can’t wait until Ballet next week! ha ha hee heee Good thing all of my daughter’s friends from school and their super cool hip parents are in her class too.

  4. okay I exaggerate–I am still being “born” a bit more each day of the rest of my life until I become an infant again in old age. Oh man, there I go not making sense again. Try it, STOP MAKING SENSE. Write your own story and live it, what would you do?

  5. NO, I think that IS a big miracle called Procter & Gamble. Just guessing but…and for the story WOW!!!! Now can you come over and “show” me. Ha ha ha. I have a wet load you could roll out the garage for me in there already and not much dirty stuff but certainly some sorting, FOLDING and putting away that is always there to do. Pam (12 week old “born again” REAL parent as of tomorrow)

  6. Glad you got that laundry problem sorted out (no pun intended). I think my biggest laundry disaster would have to be that I can never remember to keep Georgia’s bibs away from my bras. The velcro has a way of really ruining a nice silk bra!

    Oh. And of course…the time I found a drowned mouse in a load of laundry. That one even Clorox couldn’t help me with!

  7. Heh. I don’t need the product, but I’ll fess up to laundry abomination. I was visiting my aunt several years ago. Trying to be helpful, I offered to do a couple loads of towels and whatnot since we’d been there several days.
    My aunt has an assistant that normally does some household stuff (like laundry). Off I trucked to the communal condo laundry room, with a bottle that SAID ‘whatever brand of laundry detergent’. I started three loads of laundry- two of her stuff, one of mine. I went down the line of washers and dumped in detergent… one, two, three… what’s that smell?

    I bleached all of it. Oddly tie dyed looking monogrammed towels as a parting gift for letting me crash on her couch for almost a week.
    Apparently the assistant broke the cap on the bleach bottle, and moved the remaining product into an empty detergent bottle- I didn’t notice because I dumped all three in within seconds of each other. I had to replace most of the clothes I took with me, too, but I felt awful about her towels.

  8. Heh. I’m not even allowed to do laundry in my house. It’s not that my husband’s “so good” at it either…(cause he’s not)…he’s just WAY more on top of things than I am. When I was single, clothes got washed when they were needed. My husband does laundry every Sunday, never fails.

    The problem is that we have a baby and she’s VERY messy and VERY drooly so I end up spending more money on replacement bibs than I do on food for her (since my husband is all about quantity over quality)! Plus work items get shrunk, but still. We could really use a detergent that saves us some bib money. I’ll try anything!

  9. Um, on the subject of stains…good rule of thumb to remember for blood and poop is: HOT SH** and COLD BLOOD. Sorry to be crass…but it really works. And dishwasher detergent can help lift really tough protein-based stains (like spitup/vomit) too but you have to dilute it first.

    See, all you never wanted to know about laundry and stainremoval. LOL

  10. I could have written you blue post in the past, believe me! But I have a fabulous laundry tip for you that may help with any future such incidents. It won’t help with things like crayons in pockets but it’s areally good tip that I got from the SEARS guy when he came to do preventive maintenance checks on our appliances.

    When you first wash NEW clothing you should add some white vinegar in the water and use warm water wash and rinse. It actually sets the color in the garments and keeps them from running in future loads.

    Now, if only I could figure out how in the world my husband turned my solid pink workout pants into streaky, tie-died pink and white pants… *sigh*

  11. You can’t even imagine the horror when I went to fold laundry and found it streaked, every.single.piece. streaked with the crayon my son had left in his pocket. It was a dark grey crayon, and the mess was incredible. Some things are stained to this day. I did get most of it out however. I’m a laundry queen.

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