Lost in Suburbia: A pressing issue
As I am a Domestic Goddess extraordinaire, it might come as a shock to you to learn that there is one area of domesticity where I fail.
Yes, it’s true. I cannot Iron.
Truth be told, it’s not that I can’t iron. It’s that I choose not to. Sometime back in the early days of my domestic schooling, I had a run in with a rogue iron that jumped the shirt and pressed my hand instead. I still bear the scar of that encounter and now, much like a surfer who got bitten by a shark and won’t go back in the water, I break into a cold sweat whenever someone hands me a wrinkled shirt and asks me to iron it.
Fortunately, after many years of therapy, I can now be in the same room as an iron and can even see how, when used properly by a seasoned professional, an iron can be a useful appliance. However, I’m still pretty sure that given the chance, the iron would bite me again, and so, for that reason, the iron and I maintain a respectful distance from each other.
Often it is said that we marry partners who complement us. This might explain my attraction to my husband who LOVES to iron. Of course, this wasn’t on my initial list of attributes for finding a husband. It was just a bonus trait, kind of like finding a guy who puts the seat down on the toilet and doesn’t pretend he’s asleep when the kids wake up in the middle of the night. Years later, I realize it would have been good to find a guy who also likes to do the dishes, vacuum, take out the garbage, and pick up his socks off the floor - but since I was never attacked by a vacuum cleaner or a rogue sock, I have less of an issue with those chores.
Since I did have a husband that ironed, and a nearby drycleaners that could fill in for a pinch, I was resolved to never have to pick up an iron again. But then one day my son came to me and said he needed to have a shirt ironed for picture day at school. As luck would have it, my husband wasn’t home and there was no time to bring the shirt to the cleaners.
“It’s not that wrinkled,” I declared, holding up a shirt that looked like it had been balled up in a corner for a year and then sat on by an elephant.
My son looked at me dubiously.
“Yeah, OK, it’s pretty wrinkled,” I admitted. “But maybe we can just smooth it out.”
I flattened the shirt out on the counter and ran my arms over it, but it was immediately clear that nothing short of steam and a searing metal surface was going to render the shirt wearable.
“Don’t you have another shirt you can wear?” I asked him.
He shook his head. “We have to wear a button-down and this is the only button down I have.”
“Well which idiot only bought you one button-down shirt,” I demanded, knowing full well that I was the only idiot in the room.
“Mom, you have to iron my shirt,” he sighed.
I nodded. There was no way out. It was time to take control of my fear. Face the appliance. Iron or be ironed.
I went to the utility closet, pulled out the ironing board and the iron. I set up the board, draped the shirt on it, and set the iron down metal side up to heat up. I swear it growled at me.
After five minutes, I started ironing.
“Hey, you know what? This isn’t so bad,” I exclaimed. “It’s actually pretty easy.” I looked at the shirt. “But it’s weird - the shirt doesn’t seem to be getting any less wrinkled.”
My son looked at me scornfully.
“Mom, I think you have to plug the iron in.”
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