Monday, April 8, 2013

Summer Clothes In, Winter Clothes Out: A Seasonal Fabric Migration

I originally wrote this 3 years ago. BUT IT NEVER CHANGES. Every season the kids need their clothes swapped out and purged and it kicks my haunches without mercy.

I'm currently, I am deep in bowels of laundry hell. I thought some of you could appreciate what it takes to keep our offspring weather appropriate.

xoxo, Lydia
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Every mommy I know is dealing with piles of crap this week. And in this case, the crap is not actual fecal matter, but rather clothes. Winter clothes. Winter clothes that need to be put away to make room for summer clothes. Because now, although it is a frosty 40 degrees outside when my kids are leaving for school, it's a sweaty and humid 85 degrees when school is over. So whatever I dress them in is wrong and, notwithstanding the fact that I Am Mommy (and therefore all powerful), I still can't control the weather. If I could, the month of February would most certainly not have included 45 inches of snow and several particularly unpleasant trips to Target.

It is now mid-April and I get Thumbelina mad at me in the morning because I won't let her wear a tank top and flip flops to first grade when there is early morning frost on the grass (though it will be rising in a level of steam by the time she gets home). And I have Hawk mad at me because I ask him to get dressed, and he shows up at the breakfast table dressed in sweatpants, a plaid flannel shirt, and a Christmas sweater. 

I tell him it's going to be a warm, sunny day, and he needs to change (at which point Thumbelina starts whining about her need for flip flops and how I just said it was going to be warm and sunny) and Hawk looks confused and says: "But I'm cold now. And also, this sweater is awesome."  He trails off with something about Santa and professionals. . . .  Then they both look at my yoga pants/t-shirt with boob-area stain/clogs combo and figure, what does she know about clothes anyway.  Small people who clearly believe in the Tooth-Fairy and monsters now openly doubt me.  And all by 7:45 a.m.
You know what I know about clothes? That I spend most of my life sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away clothes. Mostly clothes that I do not wear. Clothes that are not even my clothes. And twice a year, I have to totally manage the migration of everyone else's clothes, and I hate to do that.  I hate to do it for my own clothes, so you can imagine how I feel about the migration of Dora-themed fleece that wouldn't fit on my calf.  That's what I know about clothes.  So suck on that.

And now the time is upon me - the time to switch it all.  To manage the migration of the clothes, National Geographic style.  The seasonal cluster of clothes-sorting seems like it would be an easy matter.  It is always a surprise.  Yes, I am aware that Spring comes every year.  My diminished brain can still count to four.  But seriously, it was winter last week.  Or at least that weird winter/spring hybrid where it's all sunny and breezy and gorgeous when you are standing in full sun.  But then you go near a tree and freeze your ace off. 

It's that time of year when you think Punxatawney Phil has the toughest job in America.  After all, Thumbelina got a sunburn because how the hell was I supposed to remember the sunblock when it was still freezing in the morning?  So last week it was cold, and I thought I had plenty of time.  Now it's hotter than Hades, and I have to run the AC or my geriatric dog will pant his way into cardiac arrest.  So the biannual fabric migration has become urgent, which makes it suck more.  The sweaters are eager to return to Capistrano.

The Big Sort is hard and has many steps. First of all, it requires that you clear your schedule. You need at least ninety uninterrupted minutes per kid to get it done, maybe more.  Second, there are many steps.  Too many to count, so let's move to . . . step three.  For this step to be done effectively, all the laundry in the entire house has to be totally done. Otherwise, you get all the winter clothes sorted, folded, and stored away in their big Rubbermaid bins or vacuum-sealed plastic hoo-haws, and you are all smug and satisfied that it is finally done, when the Laundry Fairy strafes you with a stray freaking turtleneck sweater. 

Then you either have to pull out the carefully constructed tower of Rubbermaid bins to find the right one to store it in, and good luck with that, or pop open the appropriate vacuum-sealed plastic hoo-haw and stuff the turtleneck sweater in there and then re-seal it, re-vacuum it and then re-store it.  Or, like me, you could just throw it away.  Because all that effort is just not worth it for one stupid sweater they may never wear again anyway.

It's all pretty complicated and stupid and annoying.  Because, of course, the laundry in my house is never done.  At any point of the day or night, there is laundry happening somewhere.  I am extremely bad at laundry on a good day (maybe not as bad as Buffy but not much better).  And on the week when things need to get sorted - well, I sink to new depths.

I blame the Laundry Fairy.  That guy is a douche.

Here's how it works at my house.  Everybody gets three piles: (1) Keep for next year, (2) Toss because it's nasty, and (3) Save for the next kid.  That's three piles times three kids and two grown-ups. Fifteen piles.  And if you get started on a pile and then for any reason get stopped, there is no clicking save. Your progress is lost.  For me, the dog may nap on it.  The kids may start jumping on it or going through it piece by piece, arguing that the t-shirt still fits when it clearly doesn't.  That's why you have to get it all done.  Take a lesson from my friend Ellen.  She finished her piles and then she had to stop. To rest.  When she came back, she found that the various piles were (and I am not even kidding) all soaked in cat pee. Oh. Dear. Gawd.


So you know what?  I have to go now.  Because I am foolishly writing this post when I should be working on my fifteen piles. I really hate my piles.  They haunt me.  They make everything suck because I know I should be dealing with them instead of doing other things.  Like sleeping.  Or watching American Idol while drinking a t-box. Or writing this post.  It also occurs to me that my grandmother refers to "piles" as a euphemism for hemorrhoidsHow very fitting.

I will post again when I have dealt with my piles.

xo, Lydia

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