Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thirty-four thousand revisited

Last weekend, Math Man was on the road again. It was the start of tech week1, so I was shuttling people hither and yon, carefully choreographed runs to the high school, to the church. Dropping people at parties, delivering forgotten pieces of costumes, picking them up from shows they were reviewing. And doing the laundry, the shopping, the cooking, the

I need to say that Crash and the Boy have done their own laundry since I went on the 30-days (a fruit of the Exercises Ignatius probably never imagined). For the last two years they have alternated who washes and dries and who folds and puts away, generally with no arguments or prompting from parental parties. (Yeah, I know it's a downright miracle - if Ignatius had not already been canonized, I would submit this to the appropriate office in Rome.) However, in the
craziness of tech week, I offered to finish up a load that Crash had put in to dry before he left on Saturday. I pulled it out of the dryer and went to throw a load of whites in. I bent down, only to
notice blue streaks all over the inside of the dryer, and a greasy green splotch by the lint trap.

My heart sank. Had someone left crayons in his pocket? Weren't we past the crayon days? No time to deal, though, I was off on my next pick-up. It wasn't until I had both guys in the car on the way home that evening that I calmly3 mentioned that they should clean their pockets out before doing the wash, lest things melt in the dryer.

There was a brief silence. "Was it green?" wondered the Boy. "Well, yes," I responded. "It was me. My gum." Mystery substance identified. First step in removal. "OK, then, could you research how to get gum out of the dryer?"

He was delighted at the round number of Google hits - 34,000. The procedure wasn't too arduous (involving fabric softener, scrubbies and rags) and very effective (though I ran a load of light colored towels before committing all my white turtlenecks to the presumably now clean
dryer - I've been burned before!)

1. An essentially sleepless period before a show opens, at least if you are part of the tech crew or like Crash, the production stage manager.
2. Before you direct any sympathy my way, let me point out that as I write this, I'm on the train to Amherst, MA to give a talk at a conference — leaving Math Man to pick up 200 pounds of dry ice from South Philly for opening night. And deal with the laundry, the shopping, the bills and the chauffeuring.
3. I really was calm. I'll take credit for having some perspective on the level of crisis this constituted. The weekend before had involved a run to the emergency room.


  1. Oh, those tech weeks! DD's high school was half an hour away, further into the snow belt. I remember how surprised I was to find myself grateful for co-ed sleepovers. Much better that they all spend the night at a friend's than drive home through the snow at 3am.

  2. I know it should happen more often than it does (and maybe it happens more often than I realize) but I'm always humbled, appreciative and grateful for a child who simply says "that's mine" when confronted with a problematic conundrum.

    It's the little things.

  3. Dry ice? What in the world?

  4. Dry ice to make fog on the stage...

    And Robin, I would have been glad of a place to sleep some nights!!

    And yes, Cindy, I can't tell how grateful I was for Chris' ability to state simply that this was his mess. And his very matter of fact way of dealing with it.