OPINION: “Almost Paradise” (Kinda, Sorta)

“I can’t find any socks!”

The call comes loud, clear and somewhat deafening, like the sound of the cannon firing in Mary Poppins, prompting clocks and pianos, cabinets and potted plants to shelter in place and it isn’t that she can’t find her socks, she can’t find any socks. She can add them to the list of missing persons in this house. Put out an Amber Alert for one pair of Adidas black socks!

I fish out a new pack from atop the shelf in that magnificent maze we call our mudroom, not so silently cursing the dryer. I will take this moment to apologize to all the good moms who don’t let their kids swear, there’s a solid chance my kids have probably taught yours a few choice phrases over the years.

It’s the dryer’s fault, like everything else, most problems in our house point back to some major appliance. I guess you could say the dryer and I, that we’re old friends; that we have what one might call…an understanding, a mutual agreement. I provide the socks and it eats them. It’s really that simple. I have no other explanation other than it’s the place socks go to die. “Feed me, Seymour…” more socks, please.

I’d like to say missing socks are our biggest challenge in the morning; if only! Water bottles, finding and filling them; hairbrushes, apparently grow feet and are very keen on hiding in toasters; and that cursive writing book doesn’t just lose itself, my friends. I get it. I had my own round in the “god, this pencil is killing my hand” rodeo circa 1989. The death grip, hand cramping, both real things and don’t ask me how to write a capital Z.

The jury’s still out to lunch or watching Footloose for the four millionth time but I have a dream; that one day my kids will do their own laundry, that one day they will put their dirty clothes and dirty towels and dirty socks in the hamper and that they will give up altogether on believing in that higher power that is the magic cleaning fairy because, let’s face it, I didn’t ask for this job and isn’t laundry one of those things that’s a right of passage; like writing in cursive or learning all the words to “Almost Paradise”?

Okay, clearly I’m dating myself here but it’s the dream in mind, the sweet utopian vision of one day being able to see the surface of our kitchen table again or opening our Eversource bill and not seriously questioning whether someone is stealing electricity from us. I want to tell anyone who will listen:  teach your children to re-wear their clothes. There are worse things than being dirty. In other words, I want my kids to get it together so they’re not shipping a month’s worth of dirty wash back from college for me to “take care of this please, Mom.”

Can’t you hear it in your sleep at this point…”take care of this please, mom,” “fix it,” “make it better,” “make it go away,” “where’s my breakfast?” “where are my socks?” and if you don’t have it ready, be prepared–they turn on you. I’m not sure when it became my job not only to do all the laundry but to take on the role of keeper of all wardrobe items. “Where is the blue shirt with the little buttons I wore three Tuesdays ago?” “Where is my skinny belt with the brown leather that I wore to Rosh Hashanah last year?”

And God forbid you don’t know the exact location of those items at that exact minute. Hold down the clocks and pianos, that’s all I can say. Sound the cannon and get ready to do some fancy footwork that might put Kevin Bacon to shame. Hustle, baby. Hustle. Find it, get it, furnish and deliver it out of thin air using those amazing powers bestowed upon you because you have a uterus, it goes without saying, you should be able to telepathically locate those socks, hold them in a death grip and deliver them from the evil jaws of the dryer.

If you feel particularly moved, you can sing “Almost Paradise” at the top of your lungs and pretend Kevin Bacon’s cheering you on while you secretly pray one day that evil sock-eating machine will just spontaneously combust but not really because dryer fires are real things. Give Mary Poppins our address if you happen to see her flying around with an umbrella. We’re always short on those too.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful to the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.