Freaky Father, Fitted Sheets

I told my father that he’s a freak. I suspect the words stung a bit, but I ask you…  and I will ask you . I’ll add a poll and the people can decide.

My father’s recovering from recent hip replacement surgery– left hip. He’s been doing an hour and a half of rehab exercise at home every day, and is a star , according to his physiotherapist. Medicine struck again this Monday — he spent a day in the hospital  for an angiogram, that wire threaded through a blood vessel in the same left leg. The cardiologists’s order’s? “Do nothing for two days.” No driving, no exercising, rest that leg.

Har. I would have taken the cardiologist’s advice to indicate that I should sprawl on the long, accommodating living room sofa and catch up on Daddy’s stack of Vanity Fairs, assuming the upright position only when concerned family members  tottered in bearing trays. My father is genetically or spiritually incapable of such sybaritic behavior, and after noticing an absence of a half hour I tracked him down and busted him. He’d been standing on the tile floor of the laundry room, ironing sheets!

That’s when I lost my daughterly cool and yelled: “Daddy, you’re a freak!”

Am I wrong? Sure, I iron the occasional pillowcase when the planets are aligned just so. But Queen sheets, both flat and fitted? A couple of pairs? I aim low: I grab the bed linens out of the dryer and get them onto the bed still warm, so they don’t acquire the peaks and crevasses that result from a week piled in the laundry basket as they wait to be toted upstairs.

We had a Sheet Summit, right there in the basement. Daddy can barely slide onto an unpressed sheet — icks! Nor does he favor the thread counts preferred by Mideastern royalty: ‘The really high thread counts make it hard to make the bed, because they don’t slide across each other. I find them itchy, too.” He took up percale after his retirement. “As your mother said, ‘Ian, you haven’t retired, I’ve retired. You’re just taking on new responsibilities.’ Fine by me: I didn’t marry your mother to bury her in the basement ironing sheets!” (NOTE: I doubt my mother ironed sheet one, ever.)

As he unplugged the iron he said: “I think I’ve bought my last fitted sheet. They’re such a pain to fold.” (Hmm, is he really a freak, or only an engineer? Engineers care about such things.) But this was my opening for daughterly redemption — I booted up his laptop and showed him Martha’s method for dealing with those pesky elasticized corners.

It’s cool: check out the laundry origami : I printed out the instructions and stuck them in the basket where he keeps his car keys, reading glasses and financial statements. Maybe we’ll have a folding fest before I leave Ottawa!

So, Dear Readers, please take this poll: perhaps I’m the one who needs a reality check!



Filed under Body, Free, History, Home, How Cool is That?, Polls

8 responses to “Freaky Father, Fitted Sheets

  1. Flipped-and-spread-up-warm School of Bedmaking here, and since ours is one of the last two Behemoth Waterbeds remaining on Earth—the largest one in captivity—it’s a PAIN from any direction.

    The two immense sheets—one fitted, one flat—are the Chang and Eng of the linen world, attached by a foot of stitching right in the center bottom, for a reason I cannot fathom, other than there’s no way to tuck the top one, and it might creep up and strangle us in our sleep.

    I can barely get them out of the washer, with all the tangly rotation and the grab-on of the edges into a mare’s nest of fabric which is unconquerable when dry and downright dangerous when wet. The dryer has to be set at twenty-minute increments, in order to go and untangle all the rolled-up baked-on-the-outside/steamy-wet-on-the-inside ball of cotton.

    So. No. No ironing—it would be against my ingrained principles to let a clean garment/sheet touch the floor, and so it would take a string of chairs the room long to stretch out the great combined length of the two sheets—like those hundred-foot-robe-trains so beloved by Dr. Seuss.

    I DID, however, iron my Dad’s boxers (creases fore and aft, to match up with all his trousers, even the farmwork khakis) from the time I was allowed to touch the iron. And, of course, the pillowslips with more fancy edging and embroidery than a christening dress.

    Now, I iron only Chris’ one set of black-jeans-and-shirt, plus giving a neat press to his suits after I’ve hand-washed them. We’re casual folks.

    And if I weren’t so addicted to the soft comfort, the body-molding perfection, the gentle rock-me-to-sleep of this dinosaur of a bed, which we’ve had since 1988, I’d toss the whole shebang into a trash heap and get us one a them dial-a-number numbers.

    Did I mention the ^&($#)@- side-pockets with the PVC pipe?

  2. Kim McKellar

    Your father is perfection and any word to the contrary is nonsense. Pffft.

  3. sparrowgrass

    Iron? What is this iron of which you speak?

    Just kidding. I have an iron, and an ironing board. However, I do not remember the last time I got them off their rack behind the bedroom door. It would probably take 20 minutes just to dust them and wipe the spiderwebs off before I could actually iron.

  4. Kouign Aman

    Engineer = freak. These two cannot be separated. I am the daughter and spouse of such, and probably the mother of one. Maybe you can teach him to pull them from the dryer and fold them quick enough to avoid ironing. Maybe.

  5. Hell’s going to freeze over before I ever iron a sheet again. But it’s nice to sleep on sheets that someone has ironed for you!

  6. Charlotte

    My girlfriend’s son, when he was about four, saw the iron one day, pointed and asked, “Mommy, does that thing make a noise?” My kids never saw mine until they were much older, and they didn’t know about other appliances (like vacuums) making noise, so you are asking the wrong person here. The only thing that keeps me from screaming “Freak!” is that you’d make him read Herotodus. Now, if THAT made him happy, I’d change my vote to freak. I’m all for whatever makes you happy!

  7. Charlotte, I said “reread” Herodotus — he got through him two winters ago. Thucydides was last year. I kid you not.

  8. kim shook

    I DO iron. I even did a blog post on ironing. But I do NOT iron sheets. My sheets are old and soft (I splurge on good, high thread count sheets and keep them forever), so even right out of the linen closet they smooth out just fine. I learned to fold fitted sheets from The Martha, too. The only way I ever do it.

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