Is there anything more boring than ironing? Well, I suppose there is, such as watching paint dry or watching golf on television. But in all honesty, I can’t think of much else. Ironing is one of those things which I really really hate doing, which is probably why our family wears wrinkled clothes more often than not. Besides, my husband and sons can wrinkle up a freshly ironed shirt in no time, before anyone even gets to see them in it, so what’s the point? Still, there is a certain amount of guilt that nags at me for allowing my husband and sons to go out in public wearing un-ironed clothing—not enough to cause me to actually fire up the old iron, mind you, but a tiny tinge of remorse for shirking my wifely and motherly duties. My mother and grandmother routinely ironed everything, including handkerchiefs. I guess the laundry gene somehow passed me by.
I have clothes that hang in the laundry room for months waiting to be ironed. About every six months or so, when I get tired of wearing the same things over and over, I break down and have an ironing marathon, after cleaning off everything else that is occupying space on my ironing board. An ironing marathon for me is approximately forty-five minutes. That’s all I can take. Then I wear the ironed clothes once and the cycle starts all over.
I know I should be grateful that I have a light-weight, six heat setting, minimal maintenance, relatively durable (provided the cats don’t push it off the ironing board) iron. Looking at the heavy cast-iron irons from a few decades ago makes me truly thankful I was born later. I can’t even imagine having to heft one of those fifteen-pound weights onto the wood-burning stove, wait for it to heat up, iron my clothes until it cooled down, and return it to the stove to wait again for it to heat up. I probably would have grown bored with the whole process and abandoned my half-ironed garment to a place where it would succumb to moths, or else worn it as it was, causing people to talk about me in an unkind manner. Besides, back a hundred-plus years ago, people wore more clothes with intricate pleats, folds, ruffles, and long sleeves. No way would I want to iron all that! As nice as nostalgia for the simpler days of yore can feel, there are some things about the “good old days” which were not so simple or so good, ironing being one of them.
To that end, I try to buy permanent press clothing. But every so often I slip up and find I’ve purchased something which looked great in the store, but resembled a deceased Shar-pei after going through the wash. I chastise myself for not reading the label, and relegate the garment to the “to be ironed” rack, which means I will wear it perhaps twice before donating it to Good Will.
I have a friend who once told me she enjoyed ironing as it relaxed her. I think she was Baker-Acted shortly after that. But I suppose it takes all kinds, even those who like to iron. I volunteered to let her iron for me any time she needed to chill out, but she never took me up on the offer.
Oh shoot! While I was writing this blog, I forgot to take the permanent-press clothes out of the dryer. Not to worry, though, I can just run them back through the washer. If you think I’m going to iron them…
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