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June 13, 2008

Four Minutes? Are You Kidding?

Image: Flickr/Maegan Tintari

Image: Flickr/Maegan Tintari

First of all, get your mind out of the gutter. Hal’s not even in town, so that’s not what this post is referring to. I’ll save that for a much longer post, no pun intended.
No, this post is about the ratio of mental to physical energy that I spend on things. I know, I know, I just used the word ratio. Don’t worry, I won’t stay on the dark side of mathematics for long. The universe will only allow me over here for so long anyway, so we’re all safe from that fate.
Anyway, like I was saying…the ratio. Ok, stay with me for just a moment so that I can explain.
I actually like doing laundry. I like sorting, washing, drying and even folding. The part that I loathe with every fiber of my being is the putting away part. So, here’s what I’ll do. I’ll lug a nice clean basket of clothes all the way up three flights of stairs and unpack the freshly folded clothes into neat piles onto my bed. Good start, right? At this point, without fail, one of my children calls to me with a desperate plea of some sort.
“Mom??!!! These socks feel all funny.”
“Mooooommmmm!!! Brandon is holding my book over the toilet again!”
“Maaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmm??? There’s something that smells really really bad in the basement and I think it’s moving!”
Now, readers, I am usually pretty good at allowing my children to figure things out on their own, but I guess deep down I hate putting laundry away so much that part of me would rather referee, so I invariably end up with the socks, or the toilet book, or the smelly basement creature (you don’t want to know) instead.
Well, at that point, other things come into play and before I know it, I’ve forgotten all about my half finished chore….until bedtime. There are few things worse than walking up to my room at the end of a long day only to see piles of underwear and towels covering my place of rest. An unflushed toilet is one of those things, but again, that’s for another post.
Here’s where I lose all rationale. I am tired. I hate putting laudry away. I am angry with myself for not finishing earlier. So, like the logical person that I am, I toss the clothes back into the laundry basket and decide to do them in the morning when I am fresh. Can you guess what happens? For the next several DAYS, every time I walk into my bedroom, I see this pile of failure staring at me. I occassionally dig through it as I run out of clean things to wear, so that by the third of fourth day of this, nothing is still folded, let alone in neat stacks.
So, back to the ratio. Up to this point, I have spent the better part of four days dreading this chore. I now have to refold the dang clothes AND put them away. This time, I try a little experiment. After placing the clothes on the bed, I actually put them away – and I time myself just to see how long this arduous process takes me.
You know what I found out? Putting away a FULL basket of clothes takes me less than four minutes. It takes me longer to dig through the unfolded laundry to find clean underwear!!!! I am totally jazzed by the possibilities. What kinds of mental feats will I be capable of if I extend this discovery to other realms of my life?
Mopping the floor?
Cleaning a toilet?
Writing that thank you note?
Seriously, I might be able to comprehend quantum physics or even my bank statements if I actually did the things I was avoiding rather than simply obsess over them. The world is my oyster! All because of a load of laundry. Who knew?

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