Thursday, November 27, 2008

i know when to fold 'em, i just don't know how to fold 'em

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And I want to send out a special "happy birfday" to my friend Sue!

I've got a lot of blog ideas bubbling around and should have more time off over the next couple of weeks than I've been having, so expect more posts, probably in concentrated bursts (i.e., several in a day instead of only one per day). It's just a matter of writing up my notes.

Today's "thing I've been meaning to mention" is inspired by my straighten-the-house efforts to clear the dining room table for tonight's nice just-me-and-the-wife dinner (the family event is a midday gathering at her aunt's): For the life o' me, I cannot fold clothes.

It's one of those things that the people who already know how to do it seem incapable of explaining, or at least I feel incapable of understanding what they are telling me.

When I'd ask my mother what to do, she'd give a simple two-step direction, then her hands turned into a motion blur. And out of the blur would emerge a perfectly-folded shirt: sleeves tucked neatly in back, center of the shirt (design, if a t-shirt) facing up and looking crisp, like something from a store shelf. And then I'd try to follow her directions, but the moment I started to make folds on the sides, the sleeves would escape my grasp and enter some kind of gravity field where they absolutely defied all efforts to be submitted. Instead of my mom's perfect rectangle, I'd end up with something decidedly wrinkly, lumpy, and irregular, whose surface area could only be measured with an arcane calculation that would trip up even the most-prepared math field day contestants.

Then my mom would shake her head and just do it herself.

It was like when I'd make an attempt to learn to swim. I remember conversations with my ex-wife about this topic, usually while she was supine in epic relaxation aboard her yellow float at the pool, while I clung for dear life to the side of the shallow end:

"How do you float?"

"I dunno, you just float."

"But what are you doing?"

"I'm not doing anything. You just relax and float."

"You must be doing something. Because when I do nothing, I sink."

"Here, I'll show you."

She'd slide off her float into the pool, and demonstrate floating.

"Looks to me like you're doing something. You're moving your legs a little, wiggling your arms every now and then. You're making adjustments."

"Well, to me, it's not doing anything. I'm just floating."

"Yeah, but you're doing something."

"Well, try it and let me see what happens."

So I'd relax, let the water lift my legs up, and try to do nothing...

...and my butt would start sinking to the bottom immediately.

Then she'd look at me like my mom looked at me when I was trying to fold shirts, shake her head, and exit pool left (usually not pursued by bear or by Rush).

Surely, some of you, dear readers, must be able not only to fold but able to explain how to fold. If so, I'm all ears. Or, since this here blog stuff is readin', all eyes, I guess.

Oh, and for those of you who read this via RSS, sorry for the early appearance of a blank post. Somehow "enter" got pressed when I was still working on the title, so you got nothin'! Hopefully you clicked on the post and eventually got something. Well, you wouldn't be reading this unless you did, would you? :)


2fs said...

Our family gathering begins in an hour or two, so I'm here reading my friends' blogs now.

Anyway: I am somewhat afflicted with cantfolditis, although I can do a passable fold with shirts and the like. The one laundry item which utterly befuddles any and all efforts on my part to fold into any reasonable shape is...the fitted sheet. First, we have a king-size bed (we're about to downsize to a queen), so the sheet is just enormous, and it certainly works better if there's a large, flat surface available (however, all such surfaces invariably are covered with cat fur). But even if there's that damned elastic at the corners, which completely defeats my attempts to make a regular rectangular-like shape. So I thought, hey, maybe it'll fold into a triangle of sorts...nope. The best I can do is sort of roll it up into a loaf. Rose, of course, simply says, look, you tuck this corner into this corner, and that one into the other one, then you tuck the two corners together, all looks good, but I try it, and the property of the material changes utterly.

Also, why are some objects prone to static charges, attracting copious volumes of cat fur to them, while others are not? It's not solely a function of the fabric (some cotton stuff yes, some no), thickness, or any other thing I can what is it? And what can I do about it? We have one set of sheets that's nearly unusable because it grows an entire redistributed cat's worth of fur every night, seemingly...

Janet ID said...

Jeff: really, you fit the elastic corners INTO each other, just like Rose says. Seriously, it works. I'll demonstrate next time we have the opportunity. Miles: a hint - plastic hangers, 12/$1.00 at most dollar stores.

125records said...

Folding a fitted sheet: this is how I do it. Then I put the folded fitted sheet & the top sheet inside a pillowcase to keep everything together. Makes for a neater linen closet.

Flasshe said...

I suffer from this affliction as well. My girlfriend can fold really well (including fitted sheets) but has never been able to teach me. Something gets lost between the brain and the fingers.

This is my day for weird blogspot captchas. First I get "cults" on Sue's blog, and now I get "ressesse" on yours.

Miles said...

Janet, you don't want to mention hangers, for in-joke reasons that probably wouldn't translate into an anecdote that amused outside of this household!

I did actually use the 100% hangar solution in my previous two domiciles, because I had the closet space to do so, and that solved the folding problem nicely! However, Mando and I have very limited closet space in the current digs, so t-shirts, sweaters, and their ilk have to reside in drawers.

Sue, the ex stored the sheets inside the pillowcase, which was a smart idea, but I think proper folding of the fitted sheet baffled even her.