This morning I could have done one of three things. The first was go to a spin class at 6 am. The second was leave a bit early and walk to work. Realising that I'd had some form of reasonably hard core exercise every day for the last week, it was decided that a third and far more pleasurable option should be taken up before taking the tram to work. A chore that I really do enjoy.
You see, I have the ironing gene. It's in my blood and bones. I think ironing is one of the best jobs to do around the house. I'll put off hoovering or mopping the floors for weeks. Dishes I do daily out of habit - it’s only me and they're not that extensive so they're no drama. I clean the loo and the bathroom once or twice a week. I'll make my bed when I think about it, of if there is a cat visiting so the critter doesn't sleep under the covers. Dusting is done when I change my toothbrush - once every three months or when it becomes apparent that a family of fairies could take up residence on the residue found behind the television - hate dusting.
But ironing - nah - I'm really quite happy to do the ironing - as long as it can be done in front of the television, I'd happily iron all day.
Seeing I'm in the second week of Hell Fortnight (something on every day whether I like it or not) my ironing pile was a bit larger than normal. So on getting out of bed this morning I set up my ironing board and set to work. I've only got the duvet cover and a skirt with pleats to do and I'm done for the week.
See, I have some rules around ironing. I like to get it all done in one shot and put everything away after. The reasoning behind this is that if I finish my ironing all at once my OCD tendencies are not going to take over and make me go back home in the middle of the day to see if I've left the iron on. I have made the trip back to check this over the years when I've had to press something on the fly, but knowing it's all done and the iron and ironing board are put away stops all this crazy behaviour.
I've also got a good, functioning steam iron. There is nothing worse than ironing with a crappy iron.
There is method in what I iron and when. Cottons and linens first, the more durable stuff. And I press most things. I iron pillow cases, tea towels and duvet covers, but not fitted sheets (unlike my mother who irons fitted sheets, and knickers, and bras) I iron t-shirts. I iron jeans - though I don't put a crease in them (Also unlike my mother - I don't let her near my jeans when I go home). I don't iron leggings or anything jersey. But that's about it - everything else is a moving target.
Why do I iron all this stuff? I think it feels better on the skin. Especially the sheets. Clean, ironed, high-thread-count cotton sheets are the best. Even better when pressed.
Ironing is relaxing. It also shows a sense of pride in ones thing and surroundings. Which is strange coming from me because I am a dag - but at least I am neatly pressed and clean.
It's a job I actually look forward to in the week. I turn on the telly and watch what ever is on (or something I've taped) and get on with it. My mother does this too.
See, I told you it's in the genes.
Over the years, this ironing gene has been taken advantage of by some friends. My aunt used to have me in weekly to do the family ironing when I was at uni. I used to get $20, Friday dinner, a dog to pat and a bed for the night, escaping my noisy university college room for an evening.
The men I've been with over the years, those who have stuck around to get to know me a bit better, have discovered the benefits of my love of taking the creases out of things. Ironing duties have been gratefully exchanged for meals, money, odd jobs and sexual favours among other things over the years. It appears that ironing is not a very popular job - I don't know why. I'll happily exchange a basket of shirts for some handyman activities or a home cooked dinner.
Who says the bartering system is dead?
There are some interesting memories attached to ironing.
I remember the day before Lachlan's wedding. As honorary best man we'd gone and picked up the suits, had a pint, collected the rings and other honorary best man duties after which we went back to his place. His family were coming in from Gloucester. I asked should I go home to London - I was told to hang around for a bit. I'll never forget the look on his mother's face when she walked in the house, finding me in the middle of doing his shirts. Lachlan and had gone off to have a nap with his infant son.
"Who are you? Where's Lachlan?" she asked as she walked in the door, finding me happily pressing away.
"I'm Pand. He's having a nap upstairs. "
"What are you doing?" she eyed me over suspiciously.
"Do you want anything done while I'm here?"
"Are you mad?" The look on her face was one of incredulation."
My old flat mate took ten quid off the rent while I was sharing with him on the proviso that I pressed his shirts for him each week. Seemed like a good deal to me.
When it all comes down to it, I have no idea what people are complaining about when they say they have to do the ironing and it is the worst job in the world. As long as there is something good on the telly (or a decent DVD to watch) what is the hassle? Ironing is fun.
Maybe this penchant for ironing is indicative of being a housemaid many times over in a former life. Or maybe this is just a part of my strange upbringing and slight OCD tendencies coming to the fore.