Friday, October 23, 2009


Truly, I don't want to sound like one of those women who routinely heave sighs before languidly kvetching: "Men!" I don't roll my eyes, either.

In my situation, it's either gonna be frustration with Fred, or frustration with La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore -- so it's even odds that you'll hear "Men!" or "That Castafiore!" -- an exclamation of gender exasperation versus something altogether beyond gender, and very singular.

What's it gonna be today? I feel like snarling, "Guess!" -- but that would be rude. So let's go with:


Please allow me to trace the progressive locations of what began as a pile of dirty clothes. What day is it? Ah, ever-blessèd Friday.

On Tuesday, I was not feeling well. Believe it or not, my degree of well-being has a fair bit of variance to it! It's okay, with only this blog as a source of information? There's no way you could know!

Anyway, I nonetheless felt compelled to take on a few housekeeping tasks, among them, throwing some of my dirty clothes into the washer. That's not all that difficult an undertaking. Sometimes, though, due to my issues with arms and shoulders, I am not able to lift the weight of the laundry when wet, not able to transfer it to the dryer.

So Fred is accustomed to my requests for assistance and is normally great about doing that for me, as well as getting the dry clothes out and putting the finished laundry on our bed so that I can fold it. (Okay, so sometimes my arms and shoulders, or the lack thereof, prohibit the folding, as well.)

Dear Gentle Readers, allow me a moment of meditation about the bed.

Oh bed! oh bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head
--Thomas Hood

Sorry! Some people experience the Call of the Wild. Moi? The Call of the Bed. We frequently swap out headboards and other design elements, here at Marlinspike Hall, deep, deep in the Tête de Hergé (très décédé, d'ailleurs) -- yes, I got the memo from the Archduke, that trickster! Bed changes are especially common during the shift of seasons, when we also break out whatever linens are more appropriate to the new range of temperatures.

The Castafiore actually discovered the bed that Fred and I are currently rolling around in -- we call it a "reproduction" because it's a hodgepodge of styles and inspirations, but the suspicion is that it's an original (original what is the question). The posts fairly scream "British Isles, most likely Welsh! Tra La La!" The headboard proper is Gothic, and by that, I do not reference waxy-black lipstick or dog collars, though it is a look I admire. There's a classic barley twist to the posts -- slender, tapering, meandering, all bendy-like. The panels were made from Flame Mahogany, which all you furniture nuts know better as "crotch-cut": "'Flame' or 'crotch-cut' mahogany is cut at the crotch where a limb protruded from the trunk of the tree, producing a flame-like figuring. It is a cutting technique also used with other fine hardwoods, including walnut, and is extremely expensive, given the small number of major limbs on any trunk. It is a hallmark of quality in furniture construction and is highly-prized for its inherent beauty."

The finials defy description. Yes, I am stumped, rendered mute, by finials, of all things.

In case you are wondering? Why, *yes*, I am having trouble sleeping, even in our fine, fine bed. What was your first clue? Part of it may be that I have been combining all the recent Mother-Unit health emergencies, and their incumbent increase in Stressed Family Contact, with a previously planned drug holiday. Why did I proceed with the drug holiday? I really don't know. Pig-headedness, perhaps. Plus, the whole point is to see what changes when a medicine is withdrawn... and announcing the probability of change spoils the effort.

Yes, Fred has been with me through thick and thin, through neurotic and reasonable. Okay, so let it be established that Fred is a StudMuffin! There, are you happy now? I know I need to do a better job of singing his praises.

If you would kindly stay on message, keep on track? Is that too much to ask of my esteemed readership? Snark and snarl, snarl and snark!


For some reason, we were having an unacknowledged fight on Tuesday -- a fit of pique rumbling around, inchoate. I cannot even recall the slightest detail of my dissatisfaction but could make a stab at guessing -- the divergence of our schedules, my anger at being waked, his anger at my whining about it. Mother's illness, conflicting feelings là-dessus. The aforementioned drug holiday -- which he might not have known about. Knowing in advance leads to things like extended trips to Sam's Club [still something of a novelty in Tête de Hergé (très décédé, d'ailleurs)] and sudden interest in hour upon hour of American Football.

Given all that indeterminate junk, I chose to leave him a note under his coffee cup -- "Please transfer clothes from washer to dryer. Thank you."

You do remember the laundry, don't you? As in: it all began on Tuesday, with a pile of dirty clothes...

Later, I trained my ear in the direction of the Laundry Suites -- and heard the reassuring rumblemumblerumble of the clothes tumbling in the dryer. As I often do, I promptly forgot about it. I've been absolutely spoiled by Fred's willingness to pitch in and help me finish the tasks I start.

A neverending dispute that vacillates between being of moderate and minor importance? Fred tosses his towels in the dryer everyday after he showers. The towels are not clean, though he argues that they must be, as they have only touched his impeccably clean skin. My issue is that they *smell*. True enough, it is not noticable to anyone but me... but I count, don't I? I really dislike putting anything in the dryer after he's done his towels.

He peppers me with dissent, his favorite question being: "And just what do they smell like, Ms. Smarty-Pants?"

Like Dirty Boy! Like Locker Room Chic! Like Stale Eau de Man!

Anyway, Wednesday afternoon, after his shower, I remembered the load of clothes from the day before, only when I happened to hear some noises of dissatisfaction emanating from the laundry suites. Oops! He wanted to toss in those nasty wet towels but found my clothes still hanging out in the dryer.

I was feeling evasive, so I evaded. After he left for his regular Wednesday night church meeting, I puttputted out there and discovered my clothes piled on top of the washer.

The phone rang. It proved to be yet another Important Call, all about organs and pathology and various failures to communicate and and I forgot about my clothing, yet again.

Yesterday morning, as I cursed my inability to sleep, it occured to me that maybe folding clothes would put me back into a restful mode (due to the repetitive, dull nature of the task), so I headed out, making a ghostly appearance in that famed first century AD Roman mirror of blown glass coated with molten lead, that serves as a sort of night light for the passageway to The Laundry Suites.

Even mundane things take on amplified affect around the Haddock Family holdings! We are faced with such dissonance daily -- the plastic tumbler sweating rings on the Corinthian capitals of the neoclassical mantel in the Renaissance Rec Room comes to mind, or the collection of toothbrushes atop the antique marble Holy Water basin (recycled religious antiquary having well served the earliest plumbers at work in Marlinspike Hall).

Examples, I'm full of 'em. {sniff}

The dryer was empty.

There were no clothes on top of the washer.

The laundry basket, likewise, was but a void.

How mad had he been? I wondered.

Marlinspike Hall is beyond huge. I rode around, peeking in the Carriage Room, the various ballrooms, even checking out Captain Haddock's private wine cellar, accessible only by elevator from the Cigar Room. (Oh, the joys of maintaining those separate ventilation systems! Why he linked up these spaces that each require vastly different humidity levels is beyond me...) No, there were no shirts among the humidors, no pants craddling the pinot noir. No sign of my clothes anywhere. No bras air-drying from chandeliers, no socks strung up on deer antlers.

The sun was up by then, as was my ire, and so I indulged in coffee and a good book for a few hours. I even managed a nap, during which I vaguely heard Fred stumble out of the bedroom, down a few hallways toward the Main Manor Foyer, outside, across the drawbridge, all the way out to the mailbox by Haddock Way.

What? I have excellent hearing... in my sleep.

His treks to the mailbox are famous for their regularity and the fact that he's yet to undertake the journey while awake.

The rest of my day was devoured by endless minutia, more pain than my mind could tolerate, and the search could not resume until today. Fred proved unfazed by my best-to-date efforts at The Silent Treatment.

I had been abed for six hours when he climbed into Our Welsh Four-Poster at 7 am, but none of those hours included any sleep.

"I'm going to hold your hand," he warned. This is a habit developed from familiarity with CRPS. Try and touch me without this advisory and I'm not responsible for the ensuing carnage.

We murmured back and forth, with plenty of soft spaces for listening, and yes, he held my hand.

Our differences patched, we dozed. I didn't sleep long, but I slept well.

I sat in the funkified Breakfast Nook, a loop off of the Medieval Kitchen (and the only place in the Manor dressed up with wallpaper), and could not keep my mind from wandering back to the problem of my missing laundry. Laying next to Fred, I hadn't wanted to sully our sweet reconciliation with demands for tee shirts and undies, and he continued to act as if no details remained to be negotiated.

It was becoming difficult to ignore, my lack of clean clothes!

Still, I decided nothing would tarnish the beautiful beginning to this day. Mother is going home from the hospital this afternoon (we hope); My drug holiday has been tempered with various realities (that is, I allowed myself breakthrough pain medication, which provided a bit of peace to the rest of the household); and I decided it to be worth my while to toss his offensive Man Towels into the wash... Should I ever do laundry, again, that is.

Before anything else, I needed to shower and don my last decent outfit of sweat pants and a former lovers' oversized soft sweater.

I tiptoed my wheelchair into Our Suite and over to our most modern piece of furniture, a cedar-lined, simply-designed wardrobe.

Fred was blowing bubbles in his sleep...

And my clean clothes were neatly folded within. They had that settled look of having been there a good while.

I haven't decided yet whether or not to confess my pettiness. After I fix his favorite meal, laugh at his bad jokes, and plant kisses on my beloved's pate -- I'm sure the right thing to do will come to me.


photo credit

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Haddock Corporation's newest dictate: Anonymous comments are no longer allowed. It is easy enough to register and just takes a moment. We look forward to hearing from you non-bots and non-spammers!