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Challenge: Perfectly Imperfect Parenting

Have Kids, they said....

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So many ways to start this, the summary of which is:

Sometimes this shite just writes itself.

I wrote a blog a few weeks back called ImPodsible. Didn't read it? Quick recap then. Rich and I made a very grown up decision to remove laundry and dishwashing pods from our lives. We said things like it’s better for the environment and it’s more economical and the kids are absolutely old enough now to NOT pour blue liquid all over everything in a ten foot radius of the either washer.

Hold my beer.

Things I learned the second we made the switch:

If you wake up and feel like you smell laundry soap, INVESTIGATE. Do not assume it is just because someone is doing laundry. Especially if it is before 7:00am. Also, especially if the two fifty-year-olds are still in bed.

If you wake up and find your fattest cat sitting on you, FIND OUT WHY. Do not assume he had decided to finally (and willingly) embark on an early morning journey up his own version of Mount Kilimanjaro (or, as the rest of us call it, the staircase). If that same fat cat has wet feet, do not assume that he was probably just outside in the rain. Especially if it is a sunny morning.

If you wake up and decide to go back to switch from pods to liquid detergent, make sure you have a very thorough training session with all persons in your home on how to probably manage the bottle, including storage. Do NOT buy the 7,236 ounce vat straight out of the gate. Start with a much smaller size. Perhap a travel size, if available.

As I write this, I’m thinking to a time later in the day during which my eldest child will have a lesson in The Butterfly Effect (In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. Also a movie starring Ashton Kucher). She will learn that, by ignoring our requests five days ago to thoroughly clean her room, her beloved father was awoken, today, to the screams of his beloved wife upon discovering a thick, quarter-inch lake of Tide liquid covering the entire laundry room floor. Side note: This is the same floor on which both the litter box and cat food bowls sit.

Discovery Two was that the fat cat’s feet weren’t just wet, they were also dyed blue and wearing Tide boots.

“Have kids,” they said, “it’ll be fun.”

While we will never know the exact chain of events, I have pieced together what I believe happened, most of which is probably completely accurate.

Earlier this week, in my third or twelfth explanation of the happenings at our house on the coming weekend, I reminded both children that their rooms needed to be we’re having company cleaned with a dash of and your beds will be used by that company. We even had a day earmarked as spring cleaning day (we’re late early). That day was Tuesday. As it happened, neither kid addressed their room on that very special day. Then Wednesday got away from us until I reminded my husband that there were still bedrooms to be cleaned. Our Thursday was toast due to school, work, and a birthday dinner. And Friday, the three of them (husband and two kids) were leaving town. Friday. Friday was also the day my girls’ weekend girls would be arriving to stay in those still unclean rooms. I went through all of these details very calmly with my husband Wednesday night at eleven pm and what the shite when was the bedding going to be washed!?!?!?!

Which is how, this morning, we landed on waking up to the smell of laundry detergent.

Our eldest had to work at 6:00am this morning, Friday. The day of the departures and arrivals. In typical teen fashion, she ignored her parental to-do’s and waited for the last minute to throw her sheets in the washer. Which was on her way out the door to said job… at 5:30am. Here’s where things went south and where my probably accurate guessing game begins. The child opened the barrel of liquid detergent, added a cup to the washing machine and then left the 7,236 ounce container sitting on top of the washer. Did I mention bedding? Including a comforter and weighted blanket? If you’re new to laundry duty, either of those alone will cause your washer to have a gran mal seizure in an attempt to maintain its balance. Do you know what happens to a keg of liquid detergent left atop a washing machine that is performing a cycle representative a horse being broken?


Let me give you a visual.


I will stop now and give every blessed ounce of liquid blue credit to my husband who jumped right in to handle the cleanup. There is a possibility that he sensed the approach of a major meltdown (perhaps because I was in tears and also the fetal position) and quickly took the wheel. I did throw out helpful facts like we just need to pour kitty litter over the lake and I hear vinegar cuts down the suds. I will also give myself very minimal credit for never saying but how am I going to get my laundry done?? He was a true soapy Rockstar. This was a packed calendar day for both of us - his of which involved meetings with actual people. He set it all aside for hours as he scooped and toweled and mopped. He also wrestled fat cat in a death defying scruff hold while I did my best to wash his four fat feet.

You do know that cats do not like baths, right?

The only hiccup in his angelic quest was when he mentioned sticking to the non-pod plan. What the what!? No, It’s fine. I’ve already been on Amazon to order a pump dispenser and a bottle of superglue to keep the pump dispenser container from moving, being lifted, or taking flight without the service of a screwdriver to physically remove its shelf home from the laundry room wall. It’s fine.

Our house may smell like detergent for years. It’s like that new car smell except that anyone who enters our walls will think we are mid-wash. For eternity. For the first time ever, I will now cringe at the sound of a child-owned laundry bin making its way down the stairs. There will be no cartwheels, only tentative peeks around the corner as I watch their movements. I will be spot checking for tight lids and drips from the spout. I will leap to my feet if I hear the beginning of a Can you help me? rather than transmitting my instructions from the next room with a bother eye roll. I will be buying clear, unscented liquid - assuming I cannot find a way to do laundry without actual soap. (I have teenagers with teenager smells, no need for suggestions)

As predicted, the Butterfly Effect lesson did not go over well. And I do understand that this was an actual accident. It was just born out of procrastination and putting off and hurrying - all a perfect combo for an innocent mistake.

I am a cleansed woman. I have toyed with the idea of setting my own wash the kids’ bedding schedule just to avoid this tsunami in the future. I don’t really want to. I have always believed kids are perfectly capable of their own laundry. I have even learned to look the other way at wrinkles born from storing clean, unfolded clothes in their bins. But this one, it may take some recovery time.

Oh how the tides have turned.


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