It's not about the house.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The History of the Turpentine Pants

The other day, Johnny spilled paint thinner all over his jeans (not his work pants, but his jeans) and left them to soak in the mop-bucket in the bathroom tub.

I didn’t know this. All I knew was that I had finally cleaned my bedroom – I even vacuumed most of the cat hair off the love seat! – and I needed that mop-bucket to wash the floor. So I carried the bucket to the laundry room and threw his pants, still sopping wet, into the load of jeans and towels that I'd just begun.

It was while lugging the bucket that I first noticed the smell, but I dropped them in before I realized what it was. By then it was too late, so I just washed them. I washed them three times, and still everything smelled like thinner.

I didn’t dare put the clothes in the dryer for fear the AssVac would explode -- then I remembered: it is finally spring around here, right? Sunny, and warm outside? Isn't this exactly what the clothesline I hung up last year is for? I could air out the entire lot, get credit for being a yellowish shade of green, and lower my electric bill at the same time. All those good little birdies killed with a single trip-wire strung across the yard.

Oh, hey, speaking of which: a bird flew into the sliding glass door in my bedroom yesterday. As far as I know, that was the first time it's happened -- although it happened again later that same day, so either we have a particularly stupid bunch of baby birds this year, I've just never noticed them hitting the glass before, or else something sinister and Hitchcockian is going on. Sister Cat didn’t even flinch, and she was in her perch on the back of the love seat as usual, mere inches from the place of impact. Maybe that's another sign that this sort of thing's been happening all along. Or else she only cares about the birdies when they’re still alive. Poor dead little birdy. Anyway…

When I went to hang the spirits-smelling laundry on the line, I remembered that I'd pulled a couple towels from the cracks between the cushions while I was cleaning off said love seat the day before – towels I’d originally laid down after giving Sister Cat a bath, so as to give her something to drip-dry on instead of the mock-suede. Over the weeks and months of my failure to retrieve them they dried out, got covered in cat hair, wedged into respective corners, and ceased -- in my mind, at least -- to exist. But now those towels had burst resoundingly back into this dimension, by way of the washing machine and the Turpentine Pants. When I finally did hang all the laundry on the line, everything was the same shade of mottled grey.

So now I’ve got a basket full of “clean,” dry laundry, all smelling like a chemical spill and looking like Cousin It. The plan (Johnny and I agreed) is to throw one or two pieces in with every wash we do until it’s gone. Hopefully, this way, both the thinner and the cat hair will disperse.

Or I could just toss the whole pile in the dryer with a damp washcloth and hope for the best…


That image, by the way, came from the website of an artist named Ben Grasso. I found him when I searched Google Images for "exploding house" -- which, as it turns out, is his chosen oeuvre.

I think I love him.


Jenni said...

Great Line...
"Yellowish shade of green"

Charlie said...

Ummm, if you throw one piece in with every load you do, won't ALL of your laundry eventually smell?????

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd agree with Charlie. I think everything would end up smelling. Try Febreze Fabric Odor Eliminator. You use it in the wash and it really WORKS! So much so it also removes the fabric softener smell that you use in the same load. If it was a large load, maybe split it and do 2 loads.

su said...

Hmmm I did not know Fabreeze made an odor eliminator for laundry Thanks