I made a life changing decision this morning.
I am no longer going to fold sheets. After 50+ years of folding sheets, I am done. A decapitated rabbit helped me make the decision.
For those of you under the age of thirty who have no clue how to properly fold a sheet or why anyone would do it or devote time to writing about it, let me provide a brief history. I grew up in a southern culture, where not only did we fold our freshly washed bed sheets, we ironed them. Yes, you know that prehistoric device used to press wrinkles out of clothing? This was before permapress, microfiber and fashionable wrinkles. I was trained from the age of five by my grandmother to use an iron. She started me on my grandfather’s handkerchiefs (Google the word, we don’t have enough space for me to explain all 20th century southern culture). I soon graduated to sheets. After all, pillow cases and flat sheets are just giant versions of handkerchiefs. Ironing and folding fitted sheets, well, that’s another whole blog in itself… and a lot of quarters in the cuss jar. I quickly mastered ironing sheets and was moved on to shirts, dresses and blouses. I learned the nuances of pressing gathered bodices, set in sleeves, pleated skirts, seersucker, silk (with a pressing cloth, of course). I even know how to use a coke bottle filled with water (sprinkle head attached) to wet down cotton and linen. Hint, steam irons hadn’t been invented yet.
So, back to ironing sheets. As recently as two years ago, I read in a southern women’s magazine that “ironing sheets for your guests will help them sleep better and let them know you care.” Huh? And I thought it was the bottle of wine we just consumed. I hold a guilty secret that, somewhere in the midst of my early thirties and single parenthood, I not only gave up on ironing sheets, but just about anything else as well. I told my son he would have to iron his own shirts...that’ll teach him not to buy 100% cotton with his clothing allowance! Since then I have never once ironed a sheet. As far as I know, none of my friends stopped staying over at my house, and my son didn’t feel it was reportable to social services… or if it was, it was WAY down on the list! My sheets have been properly folded, not ironed, for the last 25 or so years. And if I folded them “correctly” (and not after three days layover in the dryer), one could barely tell they had not been ironed.
Fast forward. Last week. I am just coming off the road from business travel in multiple time zones. The house is a wreck. I mean, seriously, a wreck. But, I am home. I have no plans for the evening except to unpack, have dinner, watch something mind numbing on TV and go to bed early. So far, so good. Until 1 am. The dog wants to go out. OK. I am used to this. A quick pee for both of us and I can be back asleep in less than 15 minutes. Thomas, the semi-domesticated cat, runs inside but the dog is still out there. Odd. Rupp is a dark gray Great Dane so he is hard to spot in the middle of the yard at night. I never turn on outside lights for these excursions since it might wake the neighbors or, more importantly, horrify them to see me in my pajamas. Rupp is eating something. Great, I hope it’s not his own poop. No, something else. In that nanosecond as I approach him in the dark, I realize Thomas has killed something and Rupp is now eating it. Oh $%^%&% and #$%^%$#!
It’s a young, fresh rabbit. With no head. Bleeding. A lot. As things tend to do when they have been decapitated. There are additional expletives. Rupp defends his right to this meal by cheeking the rabbit and running into the house. At this point, I don’t think you want the details of trying to get a Great Dane to give up his sushi snack, how much blood a rabbit torso contains, what the house or my pajamas looked like, or the multiple trips back to the yard with my iPhone flashlight to find the missing head. (Rupp got to it first. Repeat above sequence of events.) I am sure the neighbors were entertained.
At about 2:30 am all was cleaned and settled. I don’t have anything scheduled in the morning so I will just sleep in. I am delusional. The cat AND the dog cried, scratched, and paced the rest of the night to get back outside. $#%^%! I bet there are more rabbit parts out there! Or more rabbits! By 5 am I give up on sleep, make espresso and, like a bad episode of Criminal Minds, go on a full yard search for evidence my cat is a serial killer with bad burial skills. All the while thinking, I am probably going to die of tularemia even though I scrubbed down the house and me in the middle of the night. Oh, $%[#! I think I remember Rupp licking me. I didn’t make him use mouth wash! I am going to die.
Second espresso in hand, I stumble past the dryer and realize there is a load in there I have not dealt with since before I left town. Luckily they have been dried (you’ve been there before). I pull out the load. All sheets and they almost bring tears to my sleep deprived eyes. And then it happens. A magical moment of rebellion against all those voices in my head (they sound a lot like my grandmother). I stuff each set of sheets in a corresponding pillow case (I am still matching up the sets, at least) and then into the linen closet.
Civilization did not collapse.
Third espresso in hand, I stumble out to the back porch and fall into the couch. It’s a beautiful sunrise. The birds are singing, Rupp and Thomas curl up on each side of me, and fall asleep! Are you freakin’ kidding me?
There is a copy of my devotional book du jour on the table next to me. Well, if one is not going to fold sheets, I guess a little time with Jesus is the next best thing.
Deb Nickell is a grandmother, physician assistant and teacher. She has an evolving passion for communicating truth and grace.