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Wendy Laing

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Books by Wendy Laing
Washed Up!
By Wendy Laing
Posted: Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Last edited: Tuesday, February 08, 2005
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent stories by Wendy Laing
· The Ticket
· The Lowlander
· Reunion
· Barbie Doll
· Hettie, the Hearse
· Ponytails
· Fireflies
           >> View all 12
A humourous look at washing and ironing of family clothes, from a woman's point of view.
'Washed Up!'

Each week, when I go to the clothesbasket I’m constantly surprised at the large amounts of dirty items that seem to loom up at me, begging to be cleansed!
There’s always quite an assortment. Socks, ties, uniform shirts, jocks, nickers, bras, snotty hankies, sweaty sweat shirts, tee shirts, not to mention the weekly change over of doona covers, base sheets, pillow covers, towels and various cloth items from the kitchen.
Tops in particular seem to take on the owner’s personality. They each reflect what the wearer had been doing at the time the dirt ‘jumped’ off the ground and smudged itself onto the top. The answer I usually get is,
‘Oh it must have been the dog.’
It's amazing how often our dog always seems to leave a muddy silhouette, shaped like a human hand.
Socks always tell 'holey tales’ on their respective owner, that certain toenails desperately need clipping. Jocks in particular give away other ‘secrets’ with telltale skid marks resultant from the manly fart! The latter items go straight into the laundry sink with a liberal dose of nappy wash. By the time they have been soaked and then put through the machine, they emerge, pristine white, just like new. They are a credit to me, the tireless washer.
There are times of frustration, when the whole wash load needs to be rewashed, as everything has come out of the bowl, with little bits of tissue everywhere. I wonder who forgot to empty his or her pockets again?

I still remember the time when the man of the house bravely did the washing, when I was in bed with the flu. His jocks came out a pretty shade of pink. The pink matched the colour in his cheeks at the time. When I asked if he had sorted out the whites from the coloureds, the reply was,
‘Of course I did. I put in the coloureds first, in the bottom of the bowl, and then put the whites, separately, on the top!’
This graphic explanation made me feel so much better!
Summer, is always the best time for the weekly wash routine. The hot sun dries clothes within an hour. Everything smells so fresh when I take them down. It’s a time when I ‘escape’ outside for fresh air and commune with nature, away from the other chores that seem to be waiting to pounce on me when I go back inside.
Winter, on the other hand, is generally a bit of a disaster. Working each day, I cannot rely on clothes drying or staying dry outside on the line. I dry everything inside, around the ‘Coonara’ each night. There are the usual grumbles of,
‘This place looks like a Chinese laundry,’ or
‘Hey the clothes are getting more heat than we are.’
Such comments do not stop me. After all, everyone is always happy to put on his or her favourite clean gear after it has been washed and ironed. That brings me to another, ‘Unsung chore,’ namely ironing. But that’s another story.
I sometimes lie in bed on a winter's night and peer down the hallway that leads to the family room. The quivering flames from the Coonara casts eyrie shadows of the clothing, hanging on the clothes racks around it. Some of these shadows have long legs,
without bodies. Others are headless with swinging arms. They create a dreamlike shadow dance of assorted witches, devils and goblins on the walls of the hallway. I close my eyes and try to sleep. I try not to think of those nearby shadowy revellers that are having a party at my expense. It is as if they are silently laughing at the now sleeping, unsung worker who will, once they are dry, iron them, ready for the family to wear and get dirty again.
Washing will never go away, not even for a holiday. It’s always there, like a phantom lurking in the shadows of its hiding place, the laundry basket. This phantom is always waiting for me. I’m the only person to release it and it’s ever increasing offspring into the washing machine. There, they are cleansed before being released into the light of day again.
Of course there are times when, emptying the washing machine bowl, I discover some coins. They have shaken loose from my husband’s work trousers during the wash. These coins end up in my purse. I reckon that's fair. I like to think that the money, unknown to the owner, magically appeared there ‘for services rendered.

Wendy Laing © 1999

Web Site: Wendy Laing  

Reader Reviews for "Washed Up!"

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Reviewed by Phyllis Du'Gas 6/13/2005
This was cute and I can relate to that loose coins - it brought back memories. Thanks! LOL
Reviewed by Emma Willey 3/7/2005
Very funny! Amazing how much you can write about laundry. This story gave me a few giggles. Really enjoyed it!
Reviewed by Judy Lloyd (Reader) 2/9/2005
I really got a kick out of this one.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 2/9/2005
sounds almost like my character, louisiana sandusky, who has a army of kids she and her hubby have adopted..they probably have dirty laundry piled up to the ceiling! LOL cute write; thanks for sharing! well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :D
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 2/9/2005
Reviewed by Mary Quire 2/9/2005
Very interesting take on such a never-ending chore. With four kids and a husband, I feel your pain and I agree that all unclaimed moneys go to the washer lady's purse. It's only fair, otherwise, I'd have to bill them.


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