Saturday … dress whites

February 28, 2009 § 17 Comments


Because it was “taught” to me (by my Mom), I find ironing easy, organized, peaceful and fulfilling in some inner domestic way that other household to-do’s are not (i.e., cleaning bathrooms and dusting: two definite non-faves).

There would be a whole heck of a lot less ironing around here if we went beyond cotton AND if I had a clothesline but clotheslines are disallowed by the book of neighborhood covenants. (Really? What does the neighborhood think of the prayer flags we’ve strung around the back wall of pool fence? hmmmm??? )

I love the smell of ironing, the steam and lavender water, the slight waft of Tide (which I pretend is the tide; it’s an ocean thing – what do you expect of a Pisces, especially a land-locked Pisces?)

Snarl knows how to iron. He would call it “survival ironing.” He never wanted to wait for me to do it once a week, and he’s a major natural fiber guy yet with a certain “crispness” so he learned.  Nory will pick up the iron, too, if  the shirt or sweater does not respond to a rigorous smoothing straight from the dryer.

But HM? He was banned, not just from ironing but from the laundry room overall. His intentions are good, pure, in fact. His success rate in there is nil. Naught. Nothing. Nada.  He put powdered detergent in the dryer once, confusing the two, then proceeded to bake the dirty clothes for 40 minutes on high heat. Lovely. He mixed a “new” red item with the “whites” and then refused to wear the pink-tinged results. (completely understandable.) He burned a hole in one of his own dress shirts. That’s when he “retired.” We didn’t have to encourage him. We applied the “ban” nevertheless, in case he would be tempted hence.
He has not been.

No one loves a clean fresh-smelling crisp shirt better than HM.
The ones in the photo, however, are mine, longing for the shot of lavender water and the steamy press. 


Book recommendations …

No, I’m likely not going to the movie. But I did read the book. Nory gave it to me.  She gives me the girl-in-NYC-publishing-world novels because … I like them.  As Anno mentioned several entries ago, they’re rather like the sorbet intermezzo between the serious dishes, the stuff that comes between Joyce and Pynchon, between Morrison and Franzen. So, anyway, what have we here in this little book? Enough of a thread of a story to kick off a whole series: you will see many “shopaholic” books which is a smart idea, all based on mad shopper Becky Bloomwoord, a Londoner, who does fall in love with and get a very down to earth successful (read that: wealthy) guy.  I see him as patient and forgiving because I saw very little in her character other than her tragic flaw: shopping. Written in Feb 2001, it was before the globe was feeling any eco pinch, so it may seem outlandish (or, even more ficitonal?) now.
But it’s a book. Pure fiction. It’s cute. The whole thing is cute and doesn’t hurt anyone. Read it or not. You’re not missing anything either way.


THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES – Hans Christian Anderson
An emperor is swindled by two tailors who tell him that anyone who doesn’t see the materials they’re using is stupid or foolish. Not appear either, the Emperor steps out, fully (un) dressed. No one says anything ’til a young boy in the crowd cries out that the emperor is wearing nothing.  More a political comment than a fashion skewer. Fashion just might somehow be considered to be more pure.

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§ 17 Responses to Saturday … dress whites

  • qugrainne says:

    My sister loves to iron, too. Give me wrinkles any day! When I was in college, I went to my grandparent’s house every Wednesday for dinner, and my grandma had my laundry ready for me – she hung my sheets on the line to dry and then IRONED them for me. I had the sweetest sleep in the whole dorm!
    My sister likes to go to the dentist and have shots of novocain too, so go figure.

  • oh says:

    Q, well your sister and I part ways after the love-of-ironing similarity, at least in terms of dentists!!! (sign of index fingers crossed). But the smell of outdoor dried sheets? lovely, and maybe that would cure the sometimes-I-wake-up-at-3-a.m. blues.

  • anno says:

    I love to iron, too — so satisfying… and such wonderful smells! Maybe we need a national association: to support, encourage, and spread the word/

  • I only like ironing the tea towels and the pillow cases, both of which really don’t need to be done 🙂

  • I like this post, I like to iron too though i try to minimise the amount i iron. I actually like dusting too, specially listening to music and dancing as I dust.

  • nova says:

    My husband finds this funny: I hate household chores, and I’m terrible at them. Cleaning is just not one of my talents; scattering things on the floor is. BUT I love ironing. I find it so soothing. We don’t have a full-size ironing board in our apartment (honestly, where would we put it?), and ironing is far less fun on one of those mini collapsible boards they make for college dorm rooms. So I save up all my ironing pleasure for when we stay in hotel rooms. And then I go crazy! My husband was more than amused when, one night before my sister’s graduation, I stayed up late in the hotel room ironing everything in the suitcase, even his jeans. (He was less amused about having ironed jeans the next day.) I just love the steam, the sound of the iron pressing down, the smooth, warm fabric underneath…

    Weird, I realize. But I’m glad to see others also enjoy ironing. If there’s a support group forming, do let me know!

  • Bellezza says:

    I loved your post on laundry. It brings back so many memories of my childhood, when I’d wake up from a nap in the summer and my mother would be ironing in the den with the shades closed against the summer heat. The smell was divine, and the mood exquisite; it was almost unbearably peaceful. My laundry room now is a nasty corner of the basement, not pleasant at all, and I need to get back some of the joy you’ve described.

    I really enjoyed the Shopoholic series. Amazing that someone so young could be so funny, as well as have the balls to walk into all those high end stores without being the least bit intimidated. I never would have walked into Tiffany’s in my 20’s. But, then again, I’m not a shopaholic.

  • I loved this post, but I hate ironing. I never get it right. I like the smells, the ritual, but the results make me cry. It was a 40th b’day gift I gave myself (almost going on 10 years now) that I would not iron any. more.

  • Becca says:

    When I was a little girl, I longed to be able to iron. My mother used to roll up damp shirts and blouses and keep them in the refrigerator until she got round to ironing them! I thought that was the neatest thing ever…

    Now that I’m officially old enough to iron, I’d rather not. Althouth I still love the look and feel of freshly pressed cotton 🙂

    Great post!

  • Linda Jacobs says:

    What a great entertaining post! I love the smell of new-ironed clothes, too!

  • ds says:

    I will do anything to avoid ironing, so have gotten pretty fast at snatching the clothes from the dryer as soon as it stops. But the post is fun!

  • seachanges says:

    Lovely lovely pictures – even if I have little patience for ironing there are times that, like you, I find it quite peaceful. I can stare out of the window at my little pond, or simply stick my iPod in and listen to something, a podcast or some music. Yes, there are times….

  • jeanie says:

    I should get the Emperor’s New Clothes and give it to my reasonably new boss. Maybe not. He might recognize the snarky dig as one it is…!

    I simply adored the photo of the white shirts. I am not an ironer. I’m not even sure my iron works. Rick, on the other hand, is very good. Go figure!

  • oh says:

    Dear A- good to know there are (so)many of us still ironing and staring (and thinking, and mentally writing!) andgroovin’ on the steam and the fresh scent.

    Scarlet – it’s so satifsying to iron tea towels and have them creased and nice. Totally worth it! My French friend irons her sheets AND her towels! lovely.

    CGP – You’re onto something with the dancing and dusting combo – I should give it a try!

    Nova – that’s priceless that you iron better/more at hotels! I had one of those tabletop ironing boards you refer to – just not quite the same. Would make a great title for a book: Top Hotels for Ironing.

    Bellezza – Funny of the positive memories we have about ironing, isn’t it? Because we knew our moms were nearby, content, taking care of the family in one of the hundreds of ways she did, and was there for us? I dunno. And, you’re right about the Shopaholic, with a talent for walking into ANY high-end store. Maybe the movie is worth a laugh?

    Jen – so glad you gave up ironing cuz no one, I mean, no one should HAVE to do it and be miserable. And you cook!!!! crazy how we all have something dometic we love, eh?

    Thanks, Becca. And you reminded me of the “sprinkle, roll and set aside” method. My Gran did that, too. I’d forgotten!

    Linda – thanks for stopping by. Bet you could do a lovely poem about ironing … or, about not ironing. Either way…

    Hi, DS – I know that getting the stuff out of the dryer as soon as it stops it the ultimate way to fold and smooth clothes – where the heck am I every time the buzzer goes off? I gotta master that somehow.

    SC – Love that you have a pond to stare at. Hmmmm…iPodi is a good idea. Slow things down. Iron to the rhythm. Yup, gonna give that a whirl.

    Jeanie – Oh, yes, Mr. Boss would know! He would surely know unless…yes, unless he was the emperor type. So glad you liked the picture of the wrinkled shirts, thanks!

  • laylou says:

    I do like to iron.
    I iron for Irish on a regular basis considering he has no idea how to do it, or how to do it well.

  • oh says:

    Laylou – that’s my girl! You surpass me with your housekeeping skills, that’s for sure! rock on!

  • Kim L says:

    I do anything I can to avoid ironing. I had for a while two pairs of pants that I had to iron every week. Yuck. Now I almost never have to iron. Only if something is really, really bad.

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