The Laundry Fairy: An Experiment in Teaching My Husband a Thing or Two

5 years ago


I walk into our beautiful bedroom and glance out of the glass doors that lead to our deck. I never tire of the view of the ocean. I marvel at the kayakers and sailboats on the cold, dark water, straighten the photos of our wedding and our three children on the walls. I move to the pale blue duvet I spent months finding. There is the wedding quilt my mom made for us at the end of our bed and a stack of books on each of our nightstands. I admit to having the larger, messier pile. I sigh with gratitude and contentment. It is our sanctuary.

And then I see a pile of my husband's dirty clothes beside the bed. On the floor. Right beside the hamper. Socks, jeans, sweater, T-shirt, underwear and undershirt.

I want to curl up in his little nest of mess and have myself a little pity party. No one appreciates what I do. I am treated like a servant. A nanny. I gave up a career for this. I don't get any gold stars being a stay-at-home mom. How can he be so disrespectful to not put his clothes into the hamper? Doesn't he understand how much time it takes to fold all his clothes, Gap style? How can he drop his dirty clothes right beside the hamper? How much extra effort would it take to move his arm another 8 inches? How he can he not expect me to not kill him tonight? How can a grown man believe in the laundry fairy?

I decide not to attend my own soiree that day. Instead, I am struck with an idea of such brilliance I am almost knocked into the hamper. I wrestle with the idea. Would it work? Would it create more work for me? Is it too cruel? I call my sister who has been married ten years. With her encouragement, I proceeded with Operation Pick Up Your Own Shit. She calls from Calgary everyday for updates.

I pick up the first item, the T-shirt. It is wrinkled, slightly damp and there is a faint, funky odor that wafts up as I shake it out. Then I fold it Gap style and put it back in his drawer. Same for jeans, sweater, socks, and undergarments. All folded. Yup, even the unders. I search the bedroom, bathroom and closet for other stray offenders. I search every square foot of our home. I find a gold mine. My brilliant, handsome, talented husband has 7 errant socks, 5 wife beaters, 3 pairs of underwear, 2 T-shirts, 1 dress shirt and a pair of workout shorts not in the hamper. It is all refolded, rehung, and redrawered.

I am giddy with the thought of him pulling out a rank undershirt or worse one morning. He'll put in on, smell his armpits, lift the shirt to his nose, gag, retch and say, "What the…?" In my defense, I tell him it wasn't in the hamper so he must not have wanted it washed. Being the excellent wife I am, I put it away for him.

I can't wait for him to find out. Until he does, I am loving every smelly article of clothing I discover throughout our home. I smile as I place each piece in its proper place. I am just slightly disappointed when he actually puts something in the hamper. I have become sweeter, softer, more tolerant since O.P.U.Y.O.S started. Who knew my husband's slovenly habits could make me so happy?

There are many things about being a stay-at-home mom I don't want my husband to find out about. Sometimes I have a nap when Logan naps and then pretend I am exhausted when he comes home. Sometimes I ignore the kids, play Angry Birds and have a cup of tea. Sometimes I let the kids watch TV. All afternoon.

But I do have a secret I want him to find out. Although I am prepared for the mother of all fights.

It doesn't take long for him to discover his tighty whiteys aren't so tight or so white. Three days later, I was denying the fact it was morning. Too dark. Too cold. Too quiet. Impossible to get out of our warm, soft bed. My pillow smelled like Pantene shampoo. I was paralysed with pleasure.

 I heard Mark getting dressed. I opened one eye and saw him in his underwear in front of his drawers in our walk in closet. He looked very confused. I saw him check his thighs, then his butt.

 "I gotta work out, Vic. I'm losing muscle. Shit."

 He grabbed the crotch of his boxer briefs and pulls at the fabric. He stepped from one foot to the other and bent his knees. In a fit of frustration, he takes them off and tries another pair. Same issue. Different underwear.

"What the f…." Off comes this pair too. He has no other option. He finds the butt of the shorts and presses it to his nose and inhales deeply. The sniff test. The underwear comes flying across the room and lands inches from my pillow.

"Jesus Christ! Are these dirty?! Are they? Vic, are they? Seriously, what the hell? Have I been wearing dirty clothes? Do they all smell like ass? Vic?"

I bury my face in my pillow. No luck. The laugher erupts. He sees me and I see him try not to laugh. I don't have to explain anything. He knows. He picks up the other soiled briefs and leaps on our bed to force me to take the sniff test. I barely have time to close my mouth.

It was so worth it.

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