It's not about the house.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

...Or Maybe Phineas

I went to buy a battery for my camera last night, but I forgot and bought Uncle Ben’s white rice for Johnny instead. He’d been whinging for it, and I’d been trying to convince him to finish that last measly cup of generic white rice in the canister before refilling it with something else – but once I crossed the threshold of the grocery store I couldn’t remember why I’d stepped inside, so I just bought the first thing I remembered. I grabbed the big box, too. Three pounds. Cost six dollars, and does fuck-all for my camera. So you’re just going to have to take my word on this…

I don’t know if you could tell, but I wasn’t really much in the mood for Christmas this year. Not to get all Scroogerific or anything, because I am usually The Quintessential Christmas Elf, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Half the ornaments never made it to the tree, the cookie cutters stayed in their Ziploc bags, the angel orchestra is still sitting on its bandstand in its box, and I wrapped my gifts with leftover wedding paper (hey, it’s white; stick a red or green bow on it and it looks festive enough).

But this weekend we had a couple people over, so I had to knock off the half-assery. I didn’t unpack the angels or re-wrap the gifts or anything, but I did take out my Christmas linens. The red & green tablecloth with matching dishtowel and oven mitt, and the (not quite matching, but who cares) red, white & green placemats. Not that I was setting the table for a sit-down meal or anything – we were only doing finger foods and a light buffet – but the placemats went on the coffee table under the chips & dip, and made it look a little more as if I cared.

I didn’t dress the part, though. Not for any humbug reason, but because the occasion was a football game, and I had to wear my football shirt or else they’d lose (sometimes they lose anyway, but that’s because somebody, somewhere, is wearing the wrong socks). I put my Good White Turtleneck on underneath it – the Good White Turtleneck that I’d gotten from my mom for Christmas and worn (and washed, and dried) every day since – and I felt clean and warm.

But it was like 60 degrees on Sunday, which made it something like 70 in the house. Pretty soon I was feeling a little too warm in my Good White Turtleneck, and not so very clean.

See, a Good White Turtleneck is a rare thing – you really don’t know you’ve got one until you’ve worn it and washed it and worn it again – but all the things that make it Good make it not at all suitable for warmer weather. For instance:

1. The collar must reach your ears when you turn it up, and it musn’t sag (I went to prep school in the ‘80s: if I fold down the collar on my turtlenecks even now, they will come and rescind my diploma).
2. The cuffs must hug your wrists in such a snug, soft manner that no air sneaks in – which, in turn, means you can never push them up, or else they’ll stretch.
And, finally:
3. The fabric must be soft, thick enough to stand alone on an autumn afternoon, yet thin enough not to bunch and bind as one of many February layers.

The Turtleneck in question passed all three -- even after two washings in as many days -- so naturally I ran screaming to the laundry room at halftime to strip it off. Well, hell, I was sweating like a whore, and I couldn’t very well take off my football jersey, could I? We had to win, so we could make the playoffs!


Anyway, I took it off and threw it in the washing machine (which, in this house, doubles as a laundry hamper), put the football shirt back on and resumed post-Christmas munching. Oh my god, I went on to eat so many chips & dips. But at least (which is so unlike me) I didn’t spill a drop of it on my New White Shirt! Didn’t spill a drop of anything on the placemats, either. Nobody did. Which also, around here, qualifies as some kind of post-Christmas miracle.

The next day – yesterday – Johnny got sent home from work early because, as he put it, “there were too many goddamn kids running around.” I had told him I’d do the cleaning-up from the football game festivities when I got home at 3:00 or so, but instead I walked into a house that was all fresh-scrubbed and smelled like chicken soup. It wasn’t soup, not yet – it was still in the stocky stages – but it was a hell of a lot better than dirty dip-dishes and crusty old pot-pie.

“I even,” he announced all proudly, “washed the linens.”

You… the…

Oh no.

See, there are certain Things that Johnny thinks are True, and they just Aren’t. Cuchulain, for example (sorry, love), never existed. It is okay to wash a travel mug with soap (we have strictly labeled his-n-hers, because he claims Palmolive leaves a tell-tale taste behind, and I don’t want to drink nine years of nasty sludge – though, in his defense, he does soak his in Clorox once in a while, which he insists leaves no lingering note). And, no matter what your mother did, you really don’t have to wash every laundry load in hot. As a matter of fact, you really can’t. Especially if you tossed the Christmas linens in there with my Good White Turtleneck.

Sorry: my Good Pink Turtleneck.

Yes, indeedy, David: our Christmas placemats are now green & pink & red, and my Good New Turtleneck looks like something out of Tahoe Barbie. Or Tahoe Ken, I suppose. I wouldn’t put a soft shade of carnation-pink past Ken.

I checked the tag and found the brand and ordered myself a replacement. Ordered two, in fact, figuring I’d make Johnny pay me back for them both, somehow. But then I took the wash out of the dryer and that saw he already had...

Because all three new Christmas pairs of Good White Jockey Shorts were in there, too.

I think, from here on out, I’ll call him Ken.


Batgirl said...

Awww ... it's so sweet that he tried! He needs to get points for that. And just think, he'll be using the loo in the bar someday and someone will get a glimpse of his pink skivs ... now that's funny.

Khurston said...

you'll be pleased to hear that the damage inflicted when i washed my new white bathrobe with my new green tablecloth washed out of the bathrobe within a few washes. ya never know.
i also need an addendum to your list: the WTN needs to be long enough to STAY tucked in. you don't want anyone getting a peek of your pink undies

pork luck said...

oh dear... it seems the quick change out of your good white turtleneck at halftime had a devastating effect on your patriots.

12ontheinside said...

See if you can get this, it actually works - I have done this several times before!

ege said...

Batgirl -- Yeah, he's forty-eight. He doesn't get points for trying anymore. The loo idea is funny, though. Or maybe I should hang them from the side of a barn!

Khurston -- You are very right about that. Stay tucked in. No cool breezes on my tramp stamp, thank you.

Pork -- OH NO!! I HADN'T THOUGHT OF THAT!! IT IS MY FAULT THE GANGREEN DIDN'T SQUISH THE FISH!!!!!!!!! I must now go hang my head in shame...

12 -- One Friend emailed me to tell me she's bringing the magic solution when she comes on Saturday. I suspect she may be bringing something just like that. or else just lots of beer.

LadyCiani said...

Wait, I'm stuck on the lack of decorating thing. Don't we get to see pics of the nativity scene you tried to tell us about last year, but it was all packed away and the body colors of the people in the pictures you found weren't right?

Also, I don't get to vote on the proper turtleneck criteria. It's 70 degrees today in Southern California.