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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Laundry etiquette, a foreign concept

Friday, February 24, 2012

I regularly hear people marvel at the accomplishments of housewives of old. The many roles they played, the physical labor involved that has since been replaced by advances in technology. It is impressive, to say the least, and makes it easy to understand why only one member of the household typically worked full time.

Recently I heard a co-worker make a very logical sounding theory that, in the past, we were able to consume diets of much higher fat content without packing on the pounds, simply because of the energy that was burned performing daily chores. Manually hanging clothes to dry, pushing lawnmowers that were not equipped with engines, knitting blankets and other linens, have all since been reclassified as hobbies or artistic crafts that are great to do in your free time, not given near the respect they probably deserve.

I gotta say the theory makes sense, our society has changed quite a bit over the past 50 years and there have been great advances in technology that pulled the "manual" out of a lot of our daily labor.

I remember my first summer here I decided to hang-dry some of my laundry at the duplex I was renting, purely to save on the expense of using a dryer. To be completely upfront, I may not have been aware at the time of laundry etiquette such as hanging sheets on the outside lines and your clothes on the inner lines, to avoid bothering your neighbors with anything unsightly.

An innocent mistake or not, the laundry lines were removed from the poles by my landlord the very next weekend. Maybe it had something to do with the format I chose to display my clothes, maybe it was my Scooby-Doo boxers, or maybe my landlord had been planning to remove the lines for some time. I certainly wasn't brave enough to ask about it.

The experience did make me ponder how hectic my weeks would be, if hang drying was the only option I had. Especially since I am still struggling with adapting to the lack of an electric dishwasher for the first time in my life.

I am in awe of my parent's generation, who never had the luxuries I enjoy, yet found a way to get it all done on a daily basis. I shudder to think of what time my day would have to begin at, if I had to part with just a few of the gizmos that make my life easier today.

I am certain that I would have struggled to keep my cool on mornings such as today, when I innocently scratched Declan's ear while brushing his hair, only to have him startle me with a shout. "Are your trying to hurt me!" he yelled at me in frustration.

I chuckled back at him and assured him that was not the case, as I repeated my pleas for him to stay still.

Well, not everything was tougher for my parents, they had me and I of course was an angel to raise. Nothing like the heavily vocalized Tasmanian devil that I chase around, I am certain of that. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Bruce Baker
Dinner with Declan