Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How To Keep House

I love books. I love everything about books. I love the mystery, the romance, the scent and feel of a book. I have a quirky habit of browsing my bookcases every so often. As I have at least one bookcase in every room of the house except the bathrooms, I often come across a book I’ve forgotten about. Recently, as I browsed the bookcases in the living room (all seven of them), I ran across one of those forgotten books. This particular book was purchased at a yard sale for a dime. A dime? For a hardcover book? In the year 2008??? Oh what treasures await our discovery.

The book I ran across immediately made me giggle. It’s titled How to Keep House, A Happy Guide to an Efficient Household by Mary Davis Gillies, published in 1949. I took this book from the shelf and as I glanced through the chapter headings, this one caught my eye: “How to Wash Clothes”. Wow, I wasn’t the only person that didn’t know how to wash clothes when I left home! Cool! So I flipped to that section of the book and boy what an eye opener THAT was!

There are four areas of discussion in Section Four – About the Laundry. Holy cow, I must be doing something wrong! How many steps have I missed, Mary? Hold on, Effie, we’ve hit a roadblock, I need to pop a squat and see what I'm doing wrong.

The first area of discussion is “How To Plan A Laundry”.

Plan? As in making lists and checking them twice? Those kinds of plans? I thought we just went out and bought detergent, fabric softener, and bleach.

But no….Mary has advised us of the list of items needed for an efficient and well run laundry process. Let’s begin by seeing what is advised for a basic vs. an ideal laundry, shall we?

A Basic Laundry

For Washing:
A wringer washer (Counting on my spin cycle to cover this.)
Double-set tubs
Shelf Over Tub
Filter hose

For Ironing:
Thermostatically controlled iron
Metal-frame ironing board with pad and cover
A stool for ironing

An Ideal Laundry

For Washing:
Automatic washer
Automatic dryer
Single porcelain tub (Can I count the one in the bathroom? It’s not very convenient, though.)

For Ironing:
Ironer-flat plate or roller type
Thermostatically controlled iron
Built-in board
Wall cabinet over sorting table for stain removal kit
Chair for ironer

Nice-to-have Equipment:
Hot plate
Steam iron
Sweater stretchers
Sock stretchers
Sewing machine

Should-have Equipment:
Two-quart saucepan for making starch
Nest of bowls for stain removal and cold starch
Measuring cup for soap
Quart measure
Clothes brush
Lang-handled spoon for stirring starch
Glass rods for stain removal
Glass dropper for stain removal
Clothes stick for handling hot clothes
Plunger for hand washing
Clothes basket
Clothes basket protectors
Plastic or rubber sheeting for sprinkled clothes
Sprinkler top for bottle
Sewing kit
Mending tape
Pressing cloth
Small drying rack for ironed garments
Large drying rack or indoor line

Must-have Supplies:
Water softener (in hard water areas)
Bluing liquid and soap
Cleaning fluid

Looks like Mary's loaded for bear. And I finally realized why my own mother never had a job outside of the home.....she was busy doing LAUNDRY!

Now let us compare Mary's list to that of Marnie:

A Basic Laundry

For Washing:
Washing machine
Teenaged children

For Ironing:

(I got nothing for you here, folks, sorry)

An Idea Laundry:

For Washing:

Washing machine
Cocoa The Pool Boy
Lounging chair
Pitcher of Margaritas

For Ironing:

VERY, VERY heavy thermostatically controlled iron
Metal-frame ironing board with pad and cover
Cocoa The Pool Boy
Lounging chair
Chocolate bon-bons and/or a large bunch of grapes
Hand-held fan in case of the vapors

Nice-to-have Equipment:

Cocoa's Twin Brother Pablo

Must-have Supplies:
Fabric Softener
Teenaged children for when Cocoa and Pablo need breaks
A two-person hammock in the shade

Any questions?

House Hunting Hump-Day.

As it's Wednesday and I've started a "tradition" of looking for Marnie's perfect house, I couldn't let you down by not including a little cottage or two for our viewing pleasure.

I’ve only listed one house today. When you see where I’m moving you will see no other house is needed.

Well okay, maybe one more.

DAMN IT!!!! Sold right out from under me!!!

Okay, okay, okay, but this one was built in 1216 and I PROMISE it's the last one!
I got extra space for roomies; any takers?


the mama bird diaries said...


margaritas definitely makes laundry more fun!

Bonnie said...

What is ironing? Is that where you spray something with a squirt bottle,throw it in the dryer for 5-10 min, take it out, shake, and wear?
I am drooling over Cocoa, and the houses you have found. Remind me again what you do for a living.
Ditto on the whole book thing. I love to find mine second hand the most. There is an air of mystery. One of my favorites is "101 Common Mistakes in Etiquette-and how to avoid them" By: Emily Post. It was published in 1939. It makes me giggle,it talks about china,(the kind you eat off) who should eat first. That kind of thing. At our house "you snooze you loose."
Good luck on the house hunting.

Mrs. Schmitty said...

Ironing? What's that? I thought the dryer was the new iron. I just keep tumbling them until the wrinkles come out!

Queen Goob said...

mama bird - margaritas make EVERYTHING more fun!

Mrs. S - I have no idea what ironing is but even more frightening is I don't have a dryer. (The belt slipped about 2½ years ago and it's been sitting idol since. But my power bill dropped about $100.00 a month since I stopped using it!)

Bonnie - I work in the world of IT. For lack of a better job title I am an “interpreter”. A user needs a new program written and doesn't know how to relay requirements to a programmer so I sit and decipher the two languages: English and "code".

OMG - I just realized I AM bilingual!!!!

WA said...

Cocoa & Pablo...aren't they the sons of Peaches & Herb?

And just last week I had to tell my 6 year-old that the weird thing mommy was swearing at was called "an iron".

Melissaria said...

Ironing, oh goodness me, no. We must save energy you know. Especially our own...

I saw a great non-essential laundry item in a quirky little shop recently - it was a painted wooden board with some little clothes pegs attached to it, and the words 'Sock Exchange' across the top. You peg the odd ones up there until their partners turn up. I will be having one for the new house...

Mrs. R said...

Hahahaha! Love it! (It sounds like Mary could have used a little more pool boy in her life...)

umm... said...

GB never learned how to do his own laundry properly. After moving out of his parents' house, he threw as much as would fit in the washer, dumped in soap, and ran whatever cycle it was set on, then dried the clothes until they weren't damp. Normally that wouldn't be so bad, but when I met him, all of his undershirts and and socks were grey. I thought he'd bought grey socks, and when I said that, he laughed.