Saturday, June 14, 2014

Clothes ironing

The last ironing

    I can’t iron clothes. I’m not happy about that, but I have learned to accept it. Unfortunately, Kay has proved to be less accepting.

It all started when I asked Kay if she had seen my favorite shirt. It had been missing for weeks. She informed me that it was likely with the stack of clothes behind the door in our bedroom. I don’t look behind doors. And, yes, this obviously makes me vulnerable to a sneak attack by anyone wearing a hockey mask.

Turns out, it was more of a mountain of clothes than a stack. What happened? That’s what I asked Kay. “Hey, Sweetpea, what happened? Why haven’t you ironed these things?”

Do you know what she said? You’re not going to understand it anymore than I did. She said, “I don’t want to.” What kind of answer is that? I don’t want to watch reruns of ‘The Mentalist’, but I have to till the next season starts. There are just things we have to do. Everybody knows that.

Kay said that she let the stack get so big that the mere thought of ironing it made her sick. I knew that to be an exaggeration, but didn’t want to push the ironer too far. I did that with my barber once. I told her, “Kay, if you raise the tip of the scissors just a bit before moving them toward my head, you may manage to quit stabbing me.” You would’ve thought I recommended she spit polish my TV tray.

Well, what are we supposed to do with the pile of clothes? They’re not going to iron themselves. That’s what I told her. Her answer was so bizarre that I thought the woman had had one of those extraterrestrial encounters. You know, the aliens with the long, skinny arms and legs. There’s a not a fat one in the bunch.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, Kay’s response. Kay said, “Let’s take ‘em to the cleaners.” -- Take ‘em to the cleaners? They’re not dirty! They just need ironing. She said that we should just stuff ‘em in a bag and turn ‘em in as if they were dirty. I’m not making this up.

Pretend you’re working at a dry cleaners and you start stuffing some clothes in a machine. All of sudden you notice that they’ve already been washed. How does that make you feel? It would make me feel angry. – “This guy has no more respect for me than to make me wash his clean clothes.”

Waiters have been known to spit on the food of rude customers. I don’t know what a dry cleaning person would do to a snobbish patron. I’m thinking head lice.

That’s when I agreed to iron half of the stack. Kay was so impressed with my offer that she instructed me not to iron anything of hers and only half of my shirts. I could tell she didn’t think I could do it. Truth is, I never thought I’d have to do it. Go back to the first sentence of this thing.

I set the ironing board up in the living room, poured some distilled water into the Sunbeam, turned the TV on and watched half of a Dateline. Then I decided to turn the iron on. I thought it was just slow at heating up. It’s an old iron. I had no idea it had an on/off switch just under the handle. I imagine they hide it so men can’t find it.

The first thing I discovered as I passed hot iron over cool cloth was that it’s impossible to watch TV while ironing. My mom used to do it, but the secret died with her. The woman ironed clothes for nine people. And this was back before permanent press. Mom even ironed our bed sheets. And, she’d watch Arthur Godfrey or Kate Smith at the same time. A fascinating woman, my mom. She liked Kate Smith.

As I ironed, Kay was reading her book, in the other room, but eventually came to check on me. She took a gander at what I was wrestling with and said, “Did you start with collar?” -- Start with the collar? Why would I? She told me it didn’t really matter. She was just curious. It’s one way women have of messing with us guys.

After two hours, the task was done. The shirts ended up with more creases than wrinkles. Parts of the shirts refused to lay flat, so I just pressed ‘em in place. What a horrible mess. But, Kay said I did a great job, and told me that she would now let me iron all my stuff. But, as for her, she was taking her ironables to the dry cleaners.

She said we could afford it if we gave up HBO and my cell phone. Give up “Game of Thrones” and the quarter inch thick, metallic block that I don’t know how to operate? That’s a low blow, you ask me. But, I’m giving in, ‘cause if I don’t, I’m pretty sure I’ll lose my barber.


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