From Where I Sit – Call Me Crazy

Call me crazy but I love to iron. That’s probably a very good thing since the man I married only wears long-sleeved shirts—-work shirts, dress shirts, sports shirts.

Many of my friends look at me in disbelief. With today’s synthetic fibres, relaxed lifestyle and harried pace who in her right mind still irons? I do.

I see ironing as the logical next step after the whole process of doing laundry: the gathering and sorting of clothes; the selection of soap, softener, stain remover; the actual loading of washer and dryer. The process is never actually done, of course. Yet for those few minutes/hours, there is completion.

Perhaps the best part though is the mindlessness of it all. It doesn’t demand your undivided attention like brain surgery. Funny how much of “woman’s work” fits that description. You can distract yourself with the TV if you choose. Or better still, you can enter that meditative state where problems are solved and creativity unleashed.

In one of my few memories of my maternal grandmother, I can still hear the clickety-click of the nose of the iron as it struck the buttons on shirts and blouses. Thirty-five years after her death I can only guess at how hard that work must have been with starch, 100% cotton and other natural fibres. I remember my mother using a water bottle for “sprinkling” the clothes. She dampened and rolled the garments in preparation for ironing. This, of course, pre-dates steam irons with multiple heat settings. I also remember an elderly aunt with an ironing machine for flat things like bedding and linens. I guess they’re still available and pretty high end for true iron-nuts.

An earlier, more traumatic memory of wash day was when as a toddler I stuck my skinny little arm into the wringer of our old washing machine. I guess my howls brought my mom running. My elbow still bears the scars of that inquisitiveness.

In my own home, I’m on my first ironing board, third ironing board cover and second or third iron. The current one is the Black and Decker Quick ‘n Easy 480 with 7 heat settings, and either spray or shot of steam. I do have an “antique” wooden board with only one height setting that just may become a plant stand. I also own a couple of sad irons, those heavy metal numbers with detachable wooden handles.

When our son Greg was leaving home about 7 years ago I gave him his very own secondhand ironing board and no-frills iron. Was I delusional? The boy hardly did his own laundry never mind ironed anything! Hilary will be a different story. She has inherited the ironing gene. Four days out of five, she’s ironing a few items before school. Getting things hung up or put away in drawers is quite another matter.

For problem solving or just plain escape, nothing beats ironing from where I sit.

*Reprinted with permission