We need to know our limits


Randy Riley - Contributing columnist



There are certain things that each of us should probably not be allowed to do. That “certain thing” is different for every individual.

Debbie and I had not been married long when she, very correctly, determined that I should never be allowed to do laundry.

Of course, when I was single, and during my years as a single parent, I had no choice but to do laundry. Yet, it was always one of my very least favorite chores.

I could run the sweeper, wash and dry dishes or keep the house picked up without a flinch. I made my bed every day, but there was something about doing laundry that I always found objectionable.

Maybe it was all the laundry rules I was supposed to know and follow. Certain temperatures of water were supposed to used on certain fabrics. Some fabrics are even supposed to be washed by hand.

I even discovered that I owned some slacks that were not supposed to be washed. They could only be cleaned by the local dry cleaner.

Of course, I found that out after I washed them.

There is probably an entire chapter in some “how-to-do-laundry” book that explains “pretreatment.” I had heard about pretreatment of stained clothing, but I’ve never read that mysterious chapter about how to do it.

I thought it was a minor miracle when Shout came out on the market. A little red wine on the shirt? Don’t worry. Shout it out. Spill some salsa on your slacks? Not a problem. Shout it out.

Of course, for some reason, it didn’t always work for me. The shirt with the faint red wine stain would become the shirt I always wore under a sweater. If the salsa still showed on the slacks, they became work pants or weekend pants I only wore after dark. I usually found a way of wearing slightly stained clothing without too much embarrassment.

Of course, if someone noticed the mild stain on my shirt or pointed out that I had a smudge on my slacks, I would act surprised.

At one point during my single days, horror-of-horrors, my washing machine died. It was beyond repair. I quickly discovered that the only thing worse than doing laundry at home was doing laundry at a coin-operated laundromat. Joy of joys.

I quickly found out that the wonderful lady who managed the laundromat would do a full basket of my dirty clothes for a very reasonable price. She even folded my stuff. I only needed to provide the laundry detergent and a stack of quarters. She became my new best friend.

The breaking point of Debbie’s tolerance with my laundry skills came when she caught on to my laundry sorting techniques. I understand the proper way to sort laundry is to sort by colors and type of fabric. That just didn’t seem practical to me.

When I did laundry, I never wanted to quit what I was doing in response to a laundry alarm, beep or buzzer. For that reason, I developed a technique of sorting by “wrinklies and hangies.”

Hangies, regardless of color or fabric, were things like shirts and slacks that need to be removed from the dryer as quickly as possible and placed on a hanger. Wrinklies were items like towels, jeans, socks or underwear that could sleep overnight in the dryer without harm. Who cares if socks wrinkle or if towels stay in a tangle until they are folded and put away the next day.

I didn’t care about sorting by color. Debbie, on the other hand, cared a lot.

Now, I’m only allowed to do laundry when Debbie is out of town for several days. However, by a strict marital decree from the boss, I can only launder my own things. Her things are totally off limits.

All of us should try to identify those things we should not do; things we should avoid.

To identify those activities, we should listen to our family, our friends and coworkers. We should try to figure out a way to avoid doing things that we just hate to do or should not do.

For example: Everyone should stop texting while driving. People should stop disrespecting others. People should stop blaming other people for their own mistakes. People should stop making excuses.

And President Trump should stop tweeting.

Randy Riley is President of Council of Wilmington.

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Randy Riley

Contributing columnist