I did it again.
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!