Posted by: pendrops | October 31, 2006

folding fitted sheets

fitted_sheet.jpg

I was folding the laundry this morning, happily chatting with Jason as I piled up neatly folded t-shirts and towels. I was practically finished, placing one last pair of socks on the mountain of clothes, when I glanced down to see the dreaded fitted sheet at the bottom of the basket. Our conversation stopped mid-sentence and my smile faded as I prepared to meet my nemesis once again.

I’ve been doing laundry for many years now, but I still wrestle with that damn fitted sheet. I so despise it that I’ve even researched ways to eradicate dust mites and bed bugs without taking it off the bed. But until some brilliant scientist comes along and creates the world’s first set of self-cleaning sheets, I’m doomed to washing, drying and folding the unruly rascal.

For me, folding it consists of taking one of those elastic corners, drawing it to another elastic corner, and balling the rest of the material up in the little pocket I’ve created. But this morning, that wasn’t good enough for me. I would conquer. So, I hopped on the Internet and found that dear old Martha Stewart had the answer for me.

Her 7-step “foolproof” method for folding a fitted sheet even took left-handers into account. (She really is an unstoppable force. Insider tips, deceit, stealing: I don’t care what the woman has done, she knows how to fold a fitted sheet and that puts her up there with Ghandi and Mother Teresa in my book.)

With my laptop on the bed, I glued my eyes to the screen and mimicked the step-by-step pictures with my own queen-sized sheet. “Dad-blame-it,” I pouted after a few tries, throwing a menacing glance at the uncooperative mass. “This is not working.”

A persistent perfectionist, I kept trying. And kept getting madder. “What’s the deal? This is crap!”

After several minutes of trying Martha’s method, I resorted to my method, and waved the white flag of surrender. The stinkin’ sheet had won again. But this time was different; I was so prepared, armed with knowledge and determination. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to turn out.

Failure washed over me as I put the rolled-up clump away. Out of sight, almost out of mind.

Then it hit me: this method isn’t crap. Obviously, it can be done. There are documented pictures of a smiling woman folding the finicky sheet. It’s not impossible. I just can’t do…at least, not today. And that’s OK.

I don’t have to get everything right every single time. There’s room to fail. Room to get all kinds of things wrong; things like folding laundry, cooking dinner, writing, relationships. There’s room to misunderstand, misinterpret, and confuse. There’s room because there’s mercy. More than I oftentimes believe there is. And all it took was a stupid fitted sheet to remind me.

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