Hanging out clothes is not really just a farm thing. Everybody should have a clothesline. It saves money, and what’s better than that. Some people don’t like hanging their clothes out in town for everyone to see, but my Aunt Marcia has been hanging out her underwear near downtown Columbia, Missouri, for the last 32 years, and she’s one of the smartest and most confident people I know, so everybody should follow this trend. It's a pretty big town with lots of pedestrians. That's a bold move. In town, a clothesline is a choice, but on a farm it’s an absolute must. Yeah, we like to save money in every possible way, but we also have numerous occasions when power washing poo-covered clothes from the line is a necessity. I do not like these occasions. They are gross, and they just suck. I do, however, love, love, love hanging out clothes from a normal load of laundry. It’s a completely over-the-top obsession, and it’s the best feeling ever. Hanging out clothes is my favorite thing in the world (except my son, my husband, and pickles).
The reason it’s the greatest is the sense of order it brings to my life. Although my life is completely unorganized, it is something I can organize quickly and beautifully. Yes, beautifully. When I say beautifully, I mean symmetrical. Nothing is better than something symmetrical. I work with this in mind: heavy clothes on the outsides of the line, light on the inside. That means a really good clothesline is one with jeans on each side, t-shirts next, and underwear and socks toward the middle. It’s a work of art, and it’s relaxing until folding time. I actually love to fold too, making perfect little pyramid piles, but when you have to do that later in the day when a three-year-old is awake, it gets a little hairy. He wants to snuggle in the sun-warmed clothes, unfold everything, knock over my pyramids, and use the laundry baskets as a ship. If I can get ten minutes to myself, with an audiobook, folding clothes is a joy. There is nothing better than listening to Chelsea Handler say something so completely inappropriate to a man that I couldn’t even repeat it to my own mother to help me feel my own life is a little more under control.
Another joy about laundry and hanging out clothes is just being outside. I don't just do this routine during the summer. If the clothes aren't going to freeze in the upside down hanging shape, I will hang the clothes out. Yeah, they'll still need some time in the dryer, but I got my time in the quiet outdoors at 6:00 A.M. all by myself. I might be hanging out clothes in a snowsuit, but it gets done, except during any hunting season because I'm afraid I'll get shot.
The only downfall of hanging clothes out on the line would be the bees and wasps that like to hang around a clothesline. I really hope no one watches me get clothes down on a warm afternoon because it's a continuous dance with the bees. Between every line, my arms are flailing and a few times I've doubled over swatting at my head after thinking one had made it into the messy bun I call a daily hairdo. Actually, even after all these battles, I've never been stung at the clothesline. My husband has been stung as a result of the clothesline though. I've witnessed one of those "It's not funny, but it's kinda funny" moments as my husband has danced out of his pants after shockingly discovering a bee made it's way inside his pants and laid in wait for him to get them up. It really wasn't funny (but it kind of was) :)
I know, I have problems. The bee in the pants is not one; you all know you would have laughed. My obsession with laundry might be a problem. Needing symmetry on the clothesline to get a bit of relaxation out of my day is weird. Creating pyramid piles out of the clean clothes is a waste of time, but I'm going to keep doing it. After all, after ten years together, I've just got my husband to fold towels the right way. That is a major accomplishment from his haphazard laundry technique of the past. It took years of training, and I'll be damned if we take a step back now. I'm already in the middle of training him on dishes with at least five more years to go.