Today I have been a mother for 3,898 days. Most of those days have been awesome. (Or repressed. Either way.)
In 3,898 days I’ve not had a child break a bone. In 3,898 days I’ve not had to watch a child be wheeled off into surgery. In 3,898 days I have not stood, shaking with rage, over the remains of a treasured antique vase shattered by childish exuberance.
(Dude. I have children. If I’d ever owned a treasured antique vase, it’d be long since given away, by now.)
In 3,898 days I have made countless mistakes, and the children have vexed me in multitudes of ways, and things have been ruined, and crappy stuff has happened. Obviously.
But for 3,897 days, I could say I’d never had a crayon in the dryer.
Hey, 3,897 crayon-massacre-free days is pretty good, I guess.
It was an orange crayon. In a load of lights (naturally). In the load containing the only two pairs of jeans a certain child will deign to wear, right now, as none of the others “fit right” and these are the greatest jeans in the entire world and there shall be no others, world without end, amen.
I’d heard of such things before, of course. I know people to whom this has happened. But NOTHING could’ve prepared me for swinging open the dryer door late last night to behold the orange-spotted underwear and modern-art appearance of the dryer itself. I was tired and had been working at the computer—and so was still wearing my computer glasses—and for one discombobulated moment I was certain I was just seeing things. But no.
It turns out that a single crayon is sufficient to coat an entire load of laundry! How efficient!
A friend asked me this morning if I’m furious with the kids, and I actually laughed. I’m furious that this happened. It’s inconvenient and annoying and, tightwad that I am, it KILLS me to have to throw away (or keep but have ruined) stuff I paid perfectly good money for. Y’all have nightmares about monsters chasing you or tests you didn’t study for or walking into work naked; I have nightmares about having to waste money. So just to be clear: GAH, this sucks. But I’m not mad at the kids.
I leave tissues in my pockets on a regular basis. It tends to make every load of laundry feel like a blizzard just passed through. I find that delightful! Well, no, I don’t, but it happens. And a crayon in a pocket just happens sometimes, too. And a frazzled mom who didn’t check all the pockets happens, and it all sucks, but it’s not really anybody’s fault.
[Plus, I got 3,897 days of motherhood before this happened. I would’ve celebrated that more often (read: ever) if I’d realized what last night was going to be like. Lord.]
These things never happen when you have time to deal with them, either. We’re in the final countdown for Operation Trek North, and when I discovered the carnage at 10:45 or so last night I’d just announced to Otto that I was exhausted and needed to go to bed. I’d done all the usual things, plus packed up gift boxes of cookies for eight teachers, started accumulating things we need to pack, dug around the house for all the stocking stuffers I’d picked up all year and then squirreled away so that I could DRIVE MYSELF INSANE trying to find them, and periodically screeched for Otto with critical questions like “DID YOU REMEMBER TO STOP THE MAIL? Wait, was I supposed to do it? Did YOU do it?” So I was planning to just switch the laundry around and fall into bed unconscious.
Sooooooo I can definitely tell you that an hour or so of scrubbing out the dryer drum with Magic Erasers isn’t really the relaxing pre-bedtime activity one might imagine it to be. I know—I was surprised, too. And then we had a veritable festival of laundry treatment, as both of us darted back and forth to our computers to look up the proper methods for dealing with crayon-wrecked clothing and waxy dryer drums.
Three washings later—one of them while Otto was in the shower, which I swear was an accident (I’m sorry, honey!)—about half of the wrecked load is salvageable. And the rest… well, let’s just say it’s a good thing that there are always some new clothes for Christmas presents.
[P.S. So, yeah, consider this an announcement that in a few days would be a good time to come rob our house. Except that we’re taking the computers and cameras and the Wii with us—effectively removing anything of value—so feel free to help yourself to… I dunno… all of the orange-spotted clothes in the trash, or the 10-year-old no-name television. Enjoy!]