Friday, September 30, 2011

Break-In or Break-Out?

The day started off innocently enough. We had slept soundly. Everything looked and felt normal. There were no overt signs or sounds of a break-in…

I got up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and dressed for the gym. I grabbed an armload of laundry and headed downstairs to toss it all into the washing machine, where I had casually dumped a couple of towels and cleaning rags the previous morning. The plan was to fill the load today and run the thing at capacity. But then…

I opened the lid, and found it empty.


Where are the things I had left inside? I looked around the laundry room. Nothing on the floor. Nothing on top of the dryer… Then I looked inside the dryer.

Omigosh, omigosh, omigosh—scare me to death—the missing laundry was in the dryer, clean and dry! There was only one conclusion: a burglar had gotten into the house and done this tiny load of laundry!

I struggled to get my breathing under control, and reached for the phone to call 911. Then I realized I should tell my husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU) first. I wouldn’t want the sirens to be his first awareness of this.

I found him upstairs at his computer, and broke the news as gently as I could. “Honey—I’m sorry, but there’s a problem downstairs. It looks like we’ve had an intruder, and I’m not talking about another squirrel.”

Of course, he jumped up and freaked out. “What? Where—what happened?”

“Calm down,” I said, there doesn’t appear to be any real damage, just a load of laundry done.”

He sank back down in his chair, and attempted to wither me into shame with an icy glare.

No explanation was forthcoming.

“Hello???” I prodded. “You know, some things are givens. The sun will rise in the east, the Mississippi flows south, highway 40 will jam at the 141 overpass, and you do not touch the washing machine. These are not facts because I wish them to be so, they seem to be forces of nature. Well, at least the first two. The others I have come to believe because of so many years of observation and experience. I open the washer and expect to see what I left there the day before. It has always been so. You can’t do something so unexpected and out-of-character and think I’m not going to be stunned. I need an explanation.”

“Ummm… it’s really no big deal… I wanted to clean my new lens cloths, and you were in that all-day workshop, so I stuck them in the washer and did it.  Dried ‘em, too.”

“But,” I struggled to say with aplomb, “it seems that there’s always been a force field in the laundry room that repelled you from the washer and dryer. Remember the time I was away on Father’s Day and left your card and gift inside the dryer, knowing full well you would never run across it accidentally? I had to call you and tell you to get it out and open it. That space has always been sacrosanct—what’s next? You’ll be rinsing dishes and putting them into the dishwasher? Please—where’s my real husband, and who are you really?”

He turned back to his computer with a smug smile. “CoTU, here. Where ya gonna hide my next present?”

I’m not worried. There’s still the vacuum cleaner closet.


  1. You know, maybe with the proper positive reinforcement, other amazing things could happen. Or not. My hubby does all the laundry but told me I have to do my own "hand wash cold" stuff. So I've had an entire basketful sitting in the basement for, um, a year. Gonna do it any day now.

  2. Wife won't let me touch the wash. Says I don't know it right. Something about separating colors. No idea what that means but the ignorance doesn't flow over into any of the other household chores.

  3. My husband has never, and I mean NEVER, touched the laundry. It's just as well. He'd probably ruin something. :)

  4. Hey Leah! COTU is a smart man; an occasional curveball will keep you guessing. Besides, like all of us with external plumbing, he likes to be mysterious. Indigo x