Do you all know who the FlyLady is? She’s all about blessing your home and your family by keeping your home clean. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, you know, so it makes sense. The FlyLady has all kinds of good tips and tricks and systems. Oh, she’s all about the systems and schedules and things to help you keep your house clean.
I follow her on Facebook. She posts her little memes several times a day to remind her followers to get stuff done, or maybe it’s to make us feel guilty. I’m not sure. Anyway, one of her little FlyLady memes says, “A load a day keeps Mount Washmore away,” and every time I see that one? I just want to say, “Bite me, FlyLady. Just bite me.”
Okay, I don’t really want to say that. Not really. Just sorta. You see, I’ve heard her speak a couple of times at the big, Midwest homeschool convention. I’ve talked with her at her convention booth just a tiny bit. She is actually a charming and delightful person with lots of good ideas and advice, and someday I want to be just like her: an empty nester. When that day comes, I’ll be able to implement all of her tips and tricks and systems and schedules successfully, but right now? I have six kids living at home. Do you know what a load of laundry a day gets you when you have six kids and a husband? I’ll tell you what it gets you. It gets you behind is what it gets you.
I’ve been doing a minimum of three or four loads a day for the past . . . forever (and, yes, some of my kids do laundry, too), and you still can’t see the floor in my laundry room. What makes this especially bad is that I have a laundry sorter, and it, too, is still full-ish.
Not that I blame the FlyLady for this. Obviously, it’s not her fault that I have six kids.
Oooo! Side story:
A couple of weeks ago the studly husband went on a pioneer trek reenactment with the youth from several local-ish congregations of our church. He was the trail boss, which means he got to ride his horse and dress like Porter Rockwell (minus the long hair), and he was all kinds of happy. One evening, while on the trek and after the teenagers had all bedded down in their tents for the night, the adults were sitting around talking, and one of the women chaperones* asked him about his kids, and when he told them he has six kids, she did what everybody who doesn’t know us well does:
“YOU HAVE SIX KIDS???? HOW??? I MEAN, HOW OLD ARE YOU??? YOU CAN’T HAVE SIX KIDS!”
I’ll spare you the hysterical yelling that ensued when he told her the oldest is going to college in the fall. So, when she settled down enough for other people to get a word in, one of the other men said, “You know how you can prevent that from happening again, right?” and another quickly followed with a seemingly envious, “You are so lucky to be able to have so many kids.”
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
While I would have said (in my head), “Yeah, I know how to prevent that. The next time I get the urge to adopt, I’ll just stuff all my money and legal forms of identification into a condom. That should put a stop to things,” McH said (out loud), “Luck didn’t have much to do with it. We adopted the last three, so we pretty much made it happen.” Mr. I-Wish-I-Could-Have-Lots-of-Kids just kind of faded into the background after that.
Anyway, six kids. Lots of laundry.
On Friday, I told two of my girls to strip their beds of all bedding: sheets, comforters pillow cases, any extra blankets, you know, everything (they should, of course, be able to figure out what “bedding” means without this lengthy explanation, but if parenting for 17 years has taught me one thing, it’s that common sense doesn’t pass through the placental barrier), and start washing it while the husband and I went to Costco. Costco is about an hour from our house, so this was a big trip that gave them plenty of time to get lots of bedding washed and put back on their beds. Unbeknownst to me, however, two things happened while we were gone:
1. A couple of the boys heard me tell the two girls to get their bedding into the laundry room, and these boys assumed that everybody was supposed to strip everything off their beds and, apparently, out of the linen closets. They might have even hitched a ride to Wal Mart just to go buy more bedding to be washed. Okay, so maybe they had raided the linen closets a few days earlier to build forts and decided that all of those blankets were included in the washing decree. Pot-ay-to, pot-ah-to. I’m still not sure about the trip to Wal Mart. At any rate, they followed my instruction to put ALL THE BEDDING into the laundry room.
2. Nobody washed a damn thing. I guess, technically, that is something that didn’t happen.
And so it was that I came home to a Mount Washmore the likes of which the FlyLady has never imagined. I literally could not walk into my laundry room. I could not walk around the pile of bedding. I am not even kidding when I say I had to get equipment, set up base camp outside the door, and climb over the laundry to get to the machines. Okay, maybe I’m kidding about the base camp and equipment part, but I did have to climb over it. And? I did, for real, lose my water bottle in the laundry room for a whole 15 minutes or so.
If I could have easily gotten to the starch, I probably could have sculpted some presidential visages into the mountain, but that’s awfully hard, thirsty work to do without one’s water bottle handy.
Who am I kidding? I don’t own starch (unless you count corn starch which, in this case, you really shouldn’t).
Mount Washmore is finally gone now. It only took me three days to do it (not even kidding). There are a few random blankets on the floor, waiting to be washed like the last vestiges of . . . a mountain of laundry composed of bedding; but, you know, clothes needed to be washed. As important as clean bedding is, there came a point where I had to decide if I was going to wash the last few blankets so that the kids could take them out of the linen closet and build new, clean-smelling forts, or if I was going to wash clothes so that the kids could pull them out of their dressers and not run naked through the neighborhood. They are all currently clothed, so I think I made the right call. I imagine FlyLady would agree.
* This woman chaperone is another side story all unto herself.
Tewt the Newt can’t wait until I figure out the best way to tell it.
It occurs to me that maybe I need to clarify something: I really do like the FlyLady and her tips and tricks and systems and schedules. I have read her book, have bought copies of it for others, and have purchased some of her cleaning products. I haven’t fully implemented any of her systems and schedules, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned some valuable things along the way. I mean, why else would I keep going to her lectures at the homeschool convention?