Last night at bedtime, peeling off the top I’d put on that morning, I made an astonishing realization. It was BEDTIME and I was JUST NOW peeling off the top I’d put on that morning. It was the first time in months such an extraordinary thing had happened.
I’d love to say that this was because no bodily fluids or half-chewed food had landed up on that top. In fact, and I apologise, it was because relatively few bodily fluids and half-chewed food had landed up on it, and none in particularly noticeable places. And it’s not that I have always been a disgusting slob: I became this way quite intentionally, as one of the only gambits I have in my endless war against the implacable scourge of my postpartum existence: laundry.
So we’re straight into mummy-blog stereotype territory here, I know. Did you know, your life becomes all about vomit and crap and pee when you become a mum? IKNOWRITE. But just because it’s a cliche, doesn’t mean it’s not true. And it’s not all heavy shit, life postpartum. Quite a lot of it is, frankly, just ridiculous.
In my life since having kids, laundry has become an inherently Ridiculous Thing to do by dint of its sheer volume. I have become deeply liberal in my interpretation of “still clean enough to wear”, and even still I never actually glimpse the bottom of the laundry bin. Today the sun is shining and I am celebrating because HOLY CRAP I can get my wash out to dry in the sun, for the first time this year. I have a line full of cloth nappies swaying in the pre-spring light. I have two airers groaning with small dungarees and large work shirts occupying the kitchen. A basket stacked with last night’s ironing squats beside the stairs, and another load is spinning itself into a lather in the machine. Oh, the love I have developed for this machine in the last three years. When The Bird was about six months old it broke, catastrophically, stranding us with mounting piles of crud and an increasingly urgent sartorial crisis. We called out a couple of repairmen from a local company with the unpromising name of Fixing It 4 You. They came, prodded, were deeply affable, made tea for me, and spent several hours trying fixes that each time failed to work. The lead engineer scratched his head. “It’s had its chips,” I suggested.
“No,” he said, firmly, shaking his head and folding his arms. “This,” he said, in tones of steely reverence, “is an AEG.”
So, German appliances are the best on the market: just because it’s a cliche, doesn’t mean it’s not true. The repairmen returned for a second day, dauntless. They were Hungarian, and in their refusal to be defeated by this German machine you might have said you could see the spirit of the resistance, but, well, that would be a cliche…
At lunchtime on the second day they fixed the machine. The problem, it turned out, was that the dryer unit had started mysteriously to produce in its inner workings large quantities of papier mache. (I think it had been browsing Pinterest.) They charged us about £30 all in for both days’ work, and accidentally bequeathed us a screwdriver which they said, when I rang up about it, that we could keep. The machine has since done well over 500 more loads, remaining the heart of our campaign against the piles of nastiness that threaten at all times to overwhelm us. Um, this isn’t a sponsored post, for what it’s worth. If anything, I reckon I ought to sponsor the manufacturers and the repairmen. I owe them my sanity.