Mar 17, 2010

Tuesday: Ironing Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Since we're still talking about laundry, this sheet music cover seemed appropriate. Obviously all women of all nationalities have done the wash, but the Irish women had a song written for them!

Ok, the subject at hand: Ironing. Sigh.

Evidently, some of you are ironing aficionados. If you are, you may now move on to another blog for today. This post might make you sad. If you're still willing to read, please try not to swoon when you read what's below. For those of you, like me, who have not embraced the wonder that is (apparently) ironing, read on.

First the hall of shame stories:

  • I have ironed only the front of a blouse because I knew that I wouldn't take my jacket off.
  • I have ironed only the collar of my husband's shirts and encouraged him to wear sweaters over them.
  • Several times in my life I've had MONTHS of ironing piled up. I would just pull from the pile on a need-to-wear basis.
  • When my sister and her husband lived with us for 3 months when they first moved here (trying to find housing), I bargained with her to do my ironing for me. (Thanks, sis!)
  • I've been known to mutter ominously when I ironed a wrinkle INto the fabric. It frightened my dog.
About 18 months ago I decided that I needed to do something about this. Here's what I did:
  • I sorted the ironing pile, pulling out my husband's clothes. I hung all of my and my son's (wrinkled) clothes in the closet. I quietly closed the doors.
  • I sorted my husband's clothes into dress shirts, casual shirts, and pants.
  • I set myself to iron for 30 minutes each weekday until everything was done. I had my son read his history lessons to me. Multi-tasking!
  • Upon reaching the end of that mountain, I vowed to iron his clothes WEEKLY. My ironing day is Friday.
I'm happy to say that I've maintained my accomplishment. Unfortunately, the clothes in my and my son's closets are still ironed on a need-to-wear basis! I've gotten my husband's clothes under control, it may be time to tackle the rest in the same way.

Folks in the comments have thrown out words like "peaceful," "calm," and "zen-like" when describing their ironing experiences. I'm determined that I want to reach that same level. I have, at times, dabbled on that plain, but have not reached the point of that being my own description of completing the task. Here's how I'm working at making ironing a task that approaches (at least!) delight:

  • I have a lavender linen spray that gives me an aromatherapy session when I iron. I doesn't linger, so my husband hasn't complained.
  • I pray for my husband as I iron his clothes. I like that I'm blessing him TWO ways during the activity.
  • I make sure that I admire my finished work. Sometimes I call my son in to admire with me. I feed him the proper lines of "Great work!" and "Look at how crisp those are!" He humors me.
  • I have to admit that I LOVE to iron flat things. Flat, small things. Napkins and placemats and runners--satisfying. I've ironed large pieces of fabric and tablecloths which I find more annoying than satisfying as they keep sliding off the board. Sheets? We'll see.
  • I got an over-the-door ironing board that stays on our closet door. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. Hauling out the ironing board was part of the reason the ironing never got done before!

I've pleaded with the commenters who have arrived at Ironing Bliss to write posts. I want to experience that bliss, too. Is there something I'm missing, or is it just a state of mind?

Next time: Sewing Day

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Mary R. said...

Sorry! I can't relate! I'm one of those nuts who loves to iron! I find it relaxing. Would you please come do my vacuuming, bed-making, and the worst task of all: unloading the dishwasher, though? I have been known to wash the dishes by hand so that I won't have to unload the dishwasher and my friends think I'm a nut. Your ironing solutions were great, btw, the old ones and the new ones!

Roxanne said...

Hmm. "Relaxing." I need to add that to my mental gear-up when I start to iron. I think I associate ironing with marathon ironing where my legs get very tired, which isn't relaxing LOL!

I'm with you on unloading the DW. The part I find annoying is that it hurts my back to bend at that angle to collect items.

I've solved that problem (for a few years, anyway). Son empties the DW! What he can't reach he sets on the counter and it's very comfortable for me to put things away from that angle!

Eva Girl said...

I think I've struggled with ironing because you have to slow down, take your time, and pay attention to the details....none of those fit well into a busy morning with little boys running around....but if I could take the time, put on some good music, and work at it methodically - I've got to try!

Roxanne said...

Eva Girl--I think you're on to something. It seems that the task of ironing lends itself to potentially being a reflective time. I think we don't appreciate slowing down and being in the moment with a task because of our pervasive "hurry-up" mindset.

In the past it was pure, hot, sweaty, hard work. It's not that anymore.

Maybe it's time to determine that it's the perfect task to turn into a quiet time for ourselves. Stick a video in for the kiddos!

I have to admit it was nice to have my son read while I ironed. He enjoys reading out loud and I enjoy listening to any type of history stuff.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Ironing Bliss is within reach!

Beth said...

A friend told me a funny ironing story about his grandparents: It was during the Depression, and Grandpa had an interview for a desperately needed job. Grandma was distracted while ironing his one dress shirt, and she scorched the back. "Don't you dare take off your suit coat" she told him. So in spite of the very hot, humid August weather he kept his suit coat on for the entire interview. After Grandpa got the job, his new boss told him that one of the things that had impressed them was that he came off as such a formal and responsible person, because he hadn't taken off his suit coat during the interview.

Roxanne said...

Beth--What a funny, yet cool story.

Even in our seeming mistakes things can come together!

Packrat said...

Oh, I soooo can relate to your tale.

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