And when I enter my perilous permanence, you know what I'm going to hear? Not the groaning of suffering souls, not even the wails of the condemned. No, I am going to spend eternity listening to the sound of the obnoxious doorbell that sounds any time someone steps over threshold of my local dry cleaning. The incessant, "diiiiiiiiinnnnnnngggggg-doooooooooonnnnnnnnggggg!" Forever. And ever.
So it is possible I'm being a bit dramatic here. But only slightly, barely, just a smidgen. Yes, that's how much I hate all things dry cleaning.
If you follow my blog at all you know a bit about my dry cleaning disdain. You've read about it here. But my hatred for dry cleaning extends beyond the looks of pity and judgement I receive from the sweet lady who is ringing me up while she subtly packs a copy of Tiger Moms in my laundry bag. From Step 1 to Step Done- there is nothing that redeems the task of dry cleaning.
Let me walk you through it. First, this is our dry cleaning basket, located in our closet...
No, this isn't after several weeks of build up.
Hubs, just came home from the dry cleaner today. About 5 hours ago, in fact.
My husband works in an office. That means one dress shirt/day X 5 days/week. In addition to that, when we go to church or doing anything somewhat grown-up-y on the weekend, he's not going to wear a t-shirt. So no matter how "on the ball" we are about dry cleaning, there is a minimum of 6 shirts tossed in this basket each week.
And let me make something clear: we are pretty much not "on the ball" when it comes to dry cleaning. We don't have a very precise schedule. Eventually he runs really really low on shirts or the basket isn't quite enough and button-down dress shirts slither their way onto the floor of the closet.
And so, it becomes time to head to hell, I mean the dry cleaner. Step 1 is to find the dubious VIP laundry bag that is labeled with exactly how my husband likes his shirts dry cleaned (light starch, on hangers) so we can just drop off and go. Let me say, the bag is never where it should be. It's not even where it shouldn't be. It's nowhere. Ever. Then suddenly it's somewhere. Random. Stupid bag! It's like Crouching Tiger Hidden Laundry Bag.
You think you're so funny, grasshopper. But I find you every time!
Then it's time to select which shirts will be needed and preferred in the next few weeks and
carefully place each one in the bag stuff the bag like a Thanksgiving turkey. In the end, the bag weighs approximately 63 pounds. OK, that's another exaggeration. But the thing weighs at least 4-5 pounds. Now I work out consistently and I'm no wimp; but that thing is a bitch to maneuver. The drawstring never stays closed so shirts are escaping and I'm pretty sure the shoulder strap is made of burlap with shards of glass sewn in. Or not. Whatever, it's not comfortable to carry.
But carry it I do. Out of the room, down the stairs and into the living room... Where it stays for anywhere from 1-2 days because 9 times out of 10 I don't remember to bring it with me when I leave for the day.
Somewhere around 10 p.m. of day 2 I decide to be proactive and drag that sack of shirts out to my car so I will not forget it in the house for another day. So now it's in the car... where it stays for another day or so because I just can't seem to remember to drop it off or there is no convenient time to drop it off or I am not going in that direction while accomplishing any of my To Do Lists. *Please note the dry cleaner is only 3 miles from my house- but it is 3 miles in the opposite direction of 98% of all my destinations*
But again, I finally get my act together, drive in the opposite direction of where I need to be on any given day, park in the fire zone with the car running (don't even say it), run in, smile at my Tiger Mom friend, dump the bag on the desk with an apologetic smile and dash back out to the car to head south to where I really need to be going.
You'd think I'd be done with the hard part now, right? I could finally put a big, fat line through Go To Dry Cleaner or the day's To Do List. But nooooooo! I'm not done. Not done at all. Because what's left are the worst parts of all... picking it up, getting it in the house, putting it away and dealing with all the dry cleaning excrement. Yes, excrement. Let me explain.
I'll spare you the hilarity that is remembering to pick up the dry cleaning- simply take the "ready date" and add about 3 more days to it. That's when I pick it up. But let's jump ahead. I'm at the dry cleaner, not parked in the fire lane with the car running, and most likely with my offspring trailing behind as we cross the parking lot and enter the dry cleaner- yes, to the wonderful sound of diiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnggggg-dooooooonnnnnnnggg! Over and over and over because my boys think it's funny to try and jump over the sensor so they can enter without making a sound yet can never seem to clear it, therefore causing the repetitive ringing. Sweet Dry Cleaning lady just smiles and hands them a lollipop and begins to gather my stuff. Let me be clear here: "My stuff" this week consisted of 33 shirts, 4 pairs of pants and the pesky dry cleaning bag that will go into hiding as soon as I get home.
33 shirts! Thirty-three! Those shirts that I worked up a sweat shoving into the stupid blue bag are now hanging side by side on metal hangers just waiting to stab me in the hand, the arm or the eye. I hate those bastards! And if that's not bad enough, they are impossible to carry all at once without cutting off all circulation to my extremities so I have to make at a minimum, 2 trips to the car either leaving the boys in the store acting like fools in front of the wall of mirrors or bringing them with me through the parking lot where they insist on staring at their shoes rather than up where cars might actually be driving. Then I have to deal with them in my house. I know as the shirts are worn, I should put those stupid hangers aside to be returned on my next visit so they can be recycled. But I can barely carry the bag when it's full, let alone 33 metal hangers trying to impale themselves on me! But I feel so guilty throwing them away.
Yeah, I'm talking to you, stupid hangers!
So the clothes along with their environmentally shameful and guilt-inducing hangers are finally in the car and we are headed home. Next comes the 2-3 trips from the car, in the house, up the stairs and into my bedroom. Please note this goes on while my kids are scrambling out of the car yelling, "Mom can grab my __________ (fill in the blank with anything they don't feel like carrying while failing to notice my purple fingers from these blasted hangers and the fact that I can barely walk.)"
But inside I get them- the kids and the clothes- and I'm faced with one final decision. To unpack or not unpack. If I put the time and effort into it now, I make my life easier later. You see my dry cleaner only bundles 3-4 shirts together beneath each child safety hazard plastic bag. So if I am smart, I strip those breath-stealing bad boys from the shirts and throw them in the trash immediately... I really should recycle those too, huh? Crap, more guilt.
Not to mention that each shirt- yes, each individual shirt- has a little 1-inch yellow tag on it, placed lovingly by my dry cleaning friends. And don't even get me started on the little plastic tabby-things that hold the long sleeves crossed in front to avoid wrinkling. So if I just take the final step and strip the bag, pull the tags and remove the plastic tabs I can avoid this...
Curse you, yellow paper tags and plastic tabby-things!!
Because let's be honest, these things are not going to end up in the trash can when they are removed daily. No, they are going to end up on the t.v. stand, the bathroom counter, the nightstand, the floor and the bottom of my feet when I step out of the shower.
But at this point, I don't think I have one iota of motivation to be proactive. I don't want to strip and pull and remove unless it's for something yielding better results, if you know what I mean. So, more often than not, I either toss the gigantic pile of clothes on the bed in annoyance or if I'm feeling particularly responsible, I'll at least hang it all up, heave a large sigh of relief and avoid looking down at this...
So, we meet again...
Dry cleaning is satan's way of torturing me on earth.
That's just my normal.