I inherited a few traits from my mom. My blond hair (OK, hers turned brown sometime in her twenties and mine probably would have were it not for Clairol), multiple chins, the ability to ignore unpleasant emotions, passive aggressive tendencies and her disapproving look. One thing I did NOT inherit was the laundry gene.
My mother knew everything there was to know about laundry. This was probably the result of doing her large family’s laundry every day. She knew what temperature water to use for whites, colors and cottons. She knew (and cared) that bleach is an enemy to elastic. She ironed sheets, and she actually knew how to fold fitted sheets. I will never figure that out. I have two sisters-in-law that both know how to fold fitted sheets. They once gave me lessons how to do it. I never learned, but I did instigate the infamous fitted sheet folding contest between the two of them one Christmas. My sister (who also did not inherit the laundry gene) and I just wad them up and hide them in the linen closet.
Several times a year, I have altar duty at church. This involves setting communion out and then bussing the altar afterwards. The spread consists of several large linen cloths and two linen napkins. I spend much of the service praying that no wine is spilled on either of the large cloths. But those two small napkins get it every time.
I learned the secret to removing wine from these napkins. You simple pour boiling water over them and the wine disappears like magic. However, it is the rest of the laundering practice that definitely sets me aside from the other women on the altar guild. After removing the wine, the napkins need to be laundered. I do not wash with hot water and it’s a struggle to separate the whites from darks sometimes. I think fabrics requiring hand or delicate washing need to man up.
After my sub-standard laundering of the napkins, which generally renders them more like parallelograms than squares, I am then required to dust off my iron and try to straighten things out. The three times a year I have Communion duty are the only times I iron. There. I’ve said it. My dusty ironing board, stiff from infrequent use, complains loudly every time I unfold it. And I actually had to buy a bottle of spray starch specifically for ironing two napkins, three times a year.
I just completed my ironing and will attempt to deliver the napkins to the sacristy tomorrow without anyone seeing me. I think the other ladies on the altar guild must know, though. My napkins are never quite white; never crisp, and never actually square. Fortunately, I work with a very forgiving group.