Eleanor the Laundry Fairy

Eleanor the Laundry Fairy is currently hiding under fresh sheets and trying not to drift off while she hastily types out this post. Earlier, Eleanor observed that sock matching is like playing a much more disorganized version of children’s flip-cards memory game. Sock Extravaganza 2012 was a success, leaving the household down to only five singleton socks. Pushkin has offered to claim them as his own and make a nest with them under the ottoman. In other news, falling down the stairs while carrying a laundry basket is just as exciting and painful as it sounds.

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In Which Ella Announces Her Fondness for the Laundry, Considers Becoming an Indian Laundress, and Talks a Little About Feminism

I belong to that strange band of people that legitimately enjoys doing the laundry. We’re a funny sort that like the smell of dryer sheets and comparing detergents in the aisles of grocery stores. In fact, I have gone to multiple grocery stores just to find a certain type of bleach. I also take the smell of my dryer sheets very seriously.

And unlike some of my other strange preferences (i.e. pickles with mango sorbet), I know exactly why laundry appeals to me. As much as I enjoy tasks that involve thinking, I love things that involve repeated, methodical actions. It’s a welcomed break from reading and writing. For once, analytical thought is not essential. The pressure of proving that I’m smart entirely disappears. Doing laundry properly just requires a careful balance of bleach, stain removers and lifters, detergent, softeners, dryer sheets, soap, and color catchers, and a whole lot of scrubbing. And I am an expert scrubber. Give me a bar of Naptha Soap and a bucket of water mixed with Oxi-Clean, and I can get a stain out of almost anything. (Except for dried acrylic paint, which seems resistant to everything.)

Sometimes, I have these dreams of moving to India and becoming a laundress on the banks of the Ganges, scrubbing brilliantly colored saris on large rocks. But then I remember exactly how destitute that lifestyle would be, and I reconsider. It’s still a nice thought, though. Those pictures in National Geographic make it look so beautiful.

And then there is the folding, which sometimes seems to go on forever, especially after I’ve done seven loads. But that’s always my time to watch TV, something I never do otherwise. The bantering of sitcoms drowns out the whispering of socks being folded over each other and my annoyed huffs when a pile of undershirts topples off of the couch, thanks to the cats.

I get a little sad when it’s all clean and stacked neatly in the baskets, ready to return to the dressers and closets, but the good news is, like any other form of cleaning, the mess seems to regenerate almost instantaneously, and I find myself repeating the process less than a week later.

Tomorrow, I iron, which is nearly as much fun when there’s spray-on starch involved.

Sidebar: Sometimes, I think that my delight in these traditionally female domestic chores is an affront to the modern independent woman and feminist ideals, but then I remember that it’s exactly the opposite. I enjoy these tasks because they genuinely appeal to me and not because tradition told me so. I also like putting together furniture and carpentry, and I even know how to install door handles and locks (which, admittedly, sounds a lot more impressive than it actually is), which are “male” chores. I do the laundry and iron because it’s fun, and it makes my mom happy, never because I “belong in the kitchen.”

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Gets Suspicious

This evening I was carrying a basket of laundry to the basement when someone knocked on the front door. And when I looked through the window to see who it was, I saw an old man, holding up a badge that said he was a school security guard. The picture on the badge matched his face and the badge was the same type that all the school security guards wear, so I opened the door and asked him what he needed.

It turns out he wanted my neighbor’s phone number so that he could establish their residency in the town. He said that they weren’t answering the door. Now, I do know that the town has been having a problem with out of district students, but my neighbors have had their kids in the public school system since they were in kindergarden. The oldest one is fifteen and a high school sophomore! It’s not like they’re renting their house, either. They own it, which means that if you go town hall, you can see the official documents proving that they own the house, live in it, and pay their taxes. Having a school security officer come to their house is entirely unnecessary when one phone call or quick look over their records would confirm the obvious.

Then, the guy said that he couldn’t get into the house because of the dog, which also struck me as strange because they have a very docile golden retriever. He also said he was trying to go knock on their back door. It was all very weird, and I stood there a little dumbstruck as I watched him walk across their yard and to their gate.

So thirty minutes later, I spoke to my neighbor about what I had seen happen. It turns out that they were home the entire time and never heard a knock or the doorbell, and he let the dog out of the backyard. They had to go scouring the neighborhood to find her.

I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m really hoping that no one tries to break into any of our houses. And if they try to get into our house, the joke’s really on them. We’ve got double locking windows, no hidden keys, and a security system. They’d either be unable to get in or get caught by the police very quickly.

It wasn’t until the security officer left that I realized that I had been holding the laundry the entire time I was talking to him, and all of the underwear was on top. This is one of the many reasons I am glad I’m no longer in high school. I’m never going to have to see that guy again, knowing that he saw all of my underwear. Of course, the underwear matters very little compared the potential security threat.

In other news, no screaming and convulsion inducing nightmares last night!

In other, other news, I have eighty percent of a very long post drafted about the remainder of my adventures in the city on the day of Maureen Johnson’s book launch party for The Name of the Star. Expect it tomorrow. Warning: Good things happen.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if you’re into that kind of thing.