Wrrr! Wrrr! Wrrr! Herbert looked up from his newspaper, the washing machine was going full blast again. Herbert was disgusted.
“Janet, do you have to have the washing machine whirling away everyday of the week? This is Sunday morning!” said Herbert, pursing his thin lips.
“Listen Herbert, you’ve had thirty years of clean and folded underwear, because of my washing and ironing.” Janet stood there with her hands on her oversized hips.
Herbert was very particular about his underwear. And the older he was getting, the grumpier he was getting.
“You’ve always taken my washing and ironing for granted. If you think you can do any better, in less time, be my guest and try.”
Janet’s round face broke out in a smile, daring her husband to take up the challenge.
Herbert’s thin body squirmed in the lounge chair, as he considered his wife’s dare. His long fingers ran through his thinning grey hair. The nostrils of his long pointed nose flared and then he jumped out of the chair.
“Okay, my dear, I’ll do it for a week and show you.”
Herbert started taking the wash out of the basket.
“My God, Janet, there’s everything in here, dark clothes, colored clothes and whites. Are you sure these are all our clothes?” He started throwing items into the machine.
Janet noticed what he was doing and frowned.
“Herbert! Stop! You can’t wash dark, colored and whites altogether. You’ll ruin the clothes, the colors will run. Also you will need different temperatures for different items.”
He began separating the dark clothes from the others. Again, Janet pops her head into the kitchen to see how Herbert is doing.
“Hold it! Your things are all inside out. I’ve told you a hundred times to put your clothes right side out before throwing them in the wash.”
Eventually, Herbert does two loads of washing and drying.
That night, he walked into the lounge where his wife was reading. Janet looked up and said: “Oh Herbert, are you done? You look tired.”
“Nonsense, this washing and drying is a breeze,” scowled Herbert, marching upstairs to bed.
Herbert was ironing one of Janet’s blouses. He then proceeded to burn a big hole in the garment. Janet appeared at that very moment, wouldn’t you know it.
“Look what you’ve done,” said Janet, pretending to be angry, but smiling to herself.
“Well, I’ll need another blouse ironed for the club meeting. And please watch the temperature on the iron.”
Herbert just shook his head. He ironed for two hours, taking special care with his wife’s clothes. He put all her things neatly on hangers or folded up in her dresser drawers.
Herbert diligently washes, dries and irons. Again, paying special attention to his wife’s things.
“Look how good I’m doing now, Janet. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.”
He looked at his wife for her response.
“Yes, dear,” smiled Janet.
Both husband and wife were reading the newspaper.
“The washing is finished for the week, just a few things left in the basket.”
“That’s wonderful, dear,” said Janet, not looking up from her paper.
Herbert kissed his wife and jumped out of bed, smiling.
“See, just three nights to do the washing and ironing. I think with practice and planning, I could cut that down. So could you, Janet.”
“Yes dear,” said Janet, yawning.
Herbert smiled to himself, thinking he had showed her. He walked over to his dresser, to get his underwear for the day. He stared in disbelief:
The drawer was empty!
Fun ending! And here we thought she’d gotten him trained.
My friend, Larry Primak said:
I approached my dad and offered the following: “Dad, I said, let me give something towards room and board.”
He said, “What do you have in mind?”
“Let me pay for the family weekly dry cleaning.”
He said, “Sure!” I should have kept my mouth shut.
Dad was a nightclub Maitre ‘D and wore a fresh tux and shirt six or seven nights a week. When I went to pick up the cleaning, the bill was $47.
Back to the negotiating table!
The year was 1959.
I did my first wash in college. I did not know about colors and whites. I had pink underware for the first two years of college. I didn’t date until I got brand new underware.
I had a similar bet with my wife but it had to do with making dinner. On my night to cook I picked up dinner on the way home so I didn’t find it hard at all, of course it cost a little more
but I didn’t have any pots or pans to wash.