Friday, October 22, 2010

They warned me about short cuts


There are right ways and wrong ways, there is thoroughness, good and decent behavior and then there is the seductive short cut.

When the keeper of seasons decided that fall could come to Los Angeles I remembered some red plaid flannel pajamas, unopened since purchase last winter. I have been doing laundry on my own practically since wringer washing machines; I certainly helped my grandmother with hers. I get it about washing clothes.

Now it is not such an easy task. The flight-and-a-half of stairs to our laundry room is tricky on a good day, impossible in the rain. I didn't think it through. People who do things right - and even people who don't, generally - know you wash new clothes before you wear them. I quote laundry.about.com:

There are two good reasons to wash new clothes before you wear them. One is to wash out extra dye that can be transferred to your skin or other garments.

Risk-taker that I am, I unwrapped the pajamas, put on the warm top and went to bed. The next morning I was sunburn red. The rules will not be flouted. I present myself as the cautionary tale and out myself as a person of dubious character. In my defense, I have to say I didn't think fabric ran like that anymore. There you have it, I didn't think. As in cinema noir, it is the forgotten detail that undoes the whole caper.

I am less fond of red plaid than I was a few days ago.

*****

A note unrelated to my questionable habits:

Claire Beynon, New Zealand writer, artist and frequent commenter here, thought readers, especially those who took part in the comment discussion a few posts back, might find this of interest. Thank you, Claire. Click the link to her blog to learn about her recent exhibit, Waters I Have Known.

32 comments:

Laoch of Chicago said...

I am sure that red is a fine color on you.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Laoch - Under normal circumstances, yes. This was a bit more radioactive, an unearthly glow.

Donna B said...

LOL...oh Marylinn, I too am a short cutter. I received some cozy red pj's for Christmas one year. I flat out was just too lazy to wash them, and I didn't even have to climb stairs to waxh them! Not only was I red...but so were my sheets!!! Keep in mind I get extremely hot while I sleep (high performance engine that I have in post menapausal state...) so #1 What the heck was I thinking to even WEAR flannel pj's to bed and #2 Any clothes at all cause me to combust during the night, so no doubt my body heat literally melted the material...

Thank you for your visit...my sister and I had a BLAST! I still have pictures I need to post...

Robert the Skeptic said...

I'm picturing like a cartoon... you jump out of bed, take off the pajamas and you body is plaid. Nuyk Nuyk Nuyk.

Elisabeth said...

I never wash clothes that are new before I wear them, but you have provided a sound warning.

I shall always wash red plaid pyjamas before I wear them.

Thanks for the link to Claire, and the sea.

Erin in Morro Bay said...

I have to admit - I hate washing nwe clothes, because it takes the "newness" out of them. Margot and I go 'round and 'round about this. I've never ended up red, but I will admit to wearing something two or three times before I can bear to wash it. (Now you know one of my "dirty" little secrets!)
Erin

Marylinn Kelly said...

Donna - Glad you and Holly had a good time. It is reassuring to know that I am not the only one on a Martha Stewart naughty list...sometimes the short cuts work, sometimes they backfire. You got the double whammy...at least it actually was flannel weather here.

Robert - Nuyk nuyk nuyk would about describe it...somehow the dominant red overshadowed the other plaid elements....green, white, yellow...other than being painless, it did remind me of a fierce sunburn from one spring break in high school.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Elisabeth - I always assume that everyone else is following the rules (or suggestions) and that I am alone in my half-measures. Thank you for letting me know this is not completely true. I'd say, let red remind us to beware. Glad you've found Claire. There is much to discover, with the art and the Tuesday Poems.

Erin - Just as I suspected, we are twins separated at birth. When a garment is soft and doesn't smell of formaldehyde or who-knows-what, I like the newness as well. Long ago, a fellow I was dating bought a packaged shirt in a variety store (as I recall) in Hollywood, changed in the car and wore it for the evening. It seemed, at 18, so charmingly bohemian...actually, it still does. Spontaneity frequently eludes me.

Artist and Geek said...

The reason I've never woken up sporting a skin color I did not go to sleep with: I always wash before wear. I have my father to thank for that well-founded paranoia.

Geek alert: In order to maintain or dye color since we began using synthetic dyes, manufacturers use cheap formaldehyde as a short cut. Besides being a carcinogen it also causes skin irritation. These days everything is made in China, so the dye itself can have toxic components.

Solution: Pre-soak in Vinegar and water, it not only sets the color, especially blues, but the acid will destroy most other nasties (eg. mold) for extra peace of mind.

Yes, annoying, but better than a trip to the dermatologist or waking up as a smurf.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Artist and Geek - Much wisdom from the A&G world...I knew with everything (at least that I purchase) coming from China, there had to be some caveats. Ewwww. Back in more active sewing times, inexpensive fabrics - where were they from, all those years ago? - were full of sizing, stiff as cardboard AND, before poly/cotton, shrank like mad so had to be washed before starting a project. It is a perilous world.

Artist and Geek said...

Marylin-Wisdom or TMI? I never know.
Welcome to the world I inhabit.

Inexpensive fabric..no idea. Cheaper cotton? Did they starch it?

I do long for a (possibly idealized)time before my time, when clothes were made out of natural fibers; heavy weight durable wools, flax, cotton, the latter without the pesticides or GMOs.
And lets not forget fabric dyed with Vegetable dyes, berries and such. Neat. Now, that would be environmentally friendly.

Tangential again.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Artist and Geek - Not TMI. We can only go where our minds lead us. My avenue can involve baffling non sequiturs...and my own brand of TMI. I used to receive catalogs from purveyors of dreamy - or sturdy - natural fabric clothing...it did not seem to be priced for the masses but such things as you described DO exist, just not for most of us.

Artist and Geek said...

Marylinn-your generosity amazes as always.
Another idiosyncrasy is my need for clarification.;)
I have a hard time locating "pure blends", they are not as ubiquitous as they should be. Even high end clothes (many also made in China) have poly or acrylic in them. This also applies to PJs.
Then there is what is being sold as cashmere these days; there just aren't that many goats.

You see? This is where your much appreciated posts take my mind: Physics, metaphors of life, PJs, involuntary skin-dyeing and goats.

jacqueline said...

Dearest Marylin, so sorry to hear about your skin was sunburn red. I do always wash new clothes before i wear them...my mama used to do it for us when we were kids and i kinda pick up this habit from here. Thanks for the link too! So glad i came by to visit you here...you have a very lovely space. Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to you!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Artist and Geek - And too few goats, at that. Well, thank you. Sometimes I find that clarification is a luxury, like pure-blend, domestically produced products, and to allow murkiness is a form of surrender - which is a good thing, I believe. In my yet-to-be-written manifesto, I will declare that being understood, while desirable, is not essential. I don't think precise enough words exist for us to get it just right. And how many of our resources are expended trying to do that? We need that energy for synaptical leaps.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jacqueline - Thank you for the visit and your kind words. I knew families growing up (my grandmother raised one) in which people did things as good examples for their children, and because they were right. In my home, domestic matters were a bit iffy and that has stayed with me, regrettably. So many mishaps could be avoided. Wishing you a good week.

RachelVB said...

I never wash my clothes first either - 1. I'm too excited to wait to wear them. 2. I'd have to go to the Laundromat and that's just too much work sometimes.
I hope at least they kept you warm and cozy. Who needs a mirror anyway? =)

Radish King said...

I sleep naked so that part's A-OK. I have pajamas though for knocking around the house when the wind is howling down my chimney.

And I so rarely get anything new that HELL NO I don't wash it because I want it to look and feel new. Good sense be damned.

xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - Mirror wasn't even part of the equation...yikes. The whole laundry business is a different creature when it is just along the hall...venturing any distance changes the game. Glad you have you in the (small print) not washing first camp.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - Reasonable choice - new is special, I agree. And, possibly because I sometimes find it elusive, I think good sense may be overrated. Or at the very least, open for debate. I have long been a fan of clothes that feel as comfy as ancient pajamas but they do not always showcase us to greatest advantage. xo

Kerry O'Gorman said...

Sometimes the long version is boring...cut to the chase...break the rules...go out on a limb. I'm one of those people who's father was always saying, "patience is a virtue!" I didn't even know what a 'virtue' was and instead of thinking about what I was supposed to be patient about, all I could think was "what's a virtue?" I guess the thing with new clothes is that, I like that new clothes smell and that's why I don't wash them first. I also just can't wait to put them on!

Radish King said...

This also makes me think about how shampoo instructions always used to read: Wash, Rinse, Repeat. WTF? I just washed. I still just wash. I haven't read a shampoo bottle in a long time so I don't know if that wasteful instruction is still there but my hair hasn't fallen out yet.

RachelVB said...

http://www.webmd.com/video/are-we-too-clean
This sort of made me chuckle. Reminds me of the videos in science class. But I was having this discussion with some co-workers the other week about how Americans wash too much and are obsessed with cleanliness. Not that I'm saying don't wash yourself, but...something to be said about people who overuse germx and get sick all the time.

Artist and Geek said...

Reminded to purchase new PJs: Check.
Leave PJs to soak: Check.
Not waking up with stripes, plaids, unwanted coloration or rashes:
PRICELESS!

PJs smell artificially fresh and clean instead of new...can't win them all.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kerry - There are moments when "good enough" really is good enough...I'm with you. In our family, it was about the hard stuff building character and I have often wondered just how much character can one being accommodate. Plus, fun, new clothes don't come all that often, or even new, functional ones. I survived being red.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - Like they think we were born yesterday...use 2 or 3 times as much of the product as you need and come back sooner. I haven't read a label on shampoo...or many other things...for years either. Somehow, I don't think it's changed. I obey traffic laws, don't use a light bulb of higher-than-recommended wattage for the fixture, never run with scissors. A girl can only do so much.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - I will check the video. We are extreme in a many areas, don't you think? Moderation is not our norm. Segment on the news about the horror of germs from letting friends use your touch-screen devices (as I have none, problem solved). Having us fearful of so much seems to be the agenda, maybe just to have people tune in to the news, maybe for a larger and more sinister purpose. Conspiracy theories spoken here.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Artist and Geek - The wonderful, truly grand, thing about life is there is very little that is absolutely one-size-fits-all. Under the best circumstances, we do things to make ourselves comfortable and respect that right in others. I admire thoroughness and attention to detail...I have that about certain things but about others, not even a speck and it is much too late to try and find it. You will be peaceful and comfy; I will be cheerful and comfy, then, perhaps later on, rashy. C'est la vie.


TO ALL - Another swell discussion rolls on...you may have no idea how happy these make me, or maybe you do. Thank you all so much.

Artist and Geek said...

Dear Marylinn-I couldn't agree more. In the end it's ALL about individuality and accepting that 6 billion people do 6 billion things differently (at least).

Absolutely, we've become much too germophobic. If you or anyone here, ever want to know what things should be left to live on us and in us in symbiosis read Buckman's (sp?) "Human Wildlife". Great and funny non-fiction.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Artist and Geek - Thanks for the recommendation, which sounds very informative. NPR this morning had a story about the rise of whooping cough and my son asked if parents whose children caught it from not being vaccinated could be found unfit. An interesting question. On the geek front, I understand (yes?no?) that we are experiencing plentiful and out-of-the-ordinary sun flares, causing electro-magnetic disturbances here. I suppose I could just Google it. Thought I would ask you as well. Happy Wednesday.

Artist and Geek said...

Marylinn, an interesting question indeed. A big and controversial topic. Certain vaccines should be mandatory, the benefits far outweigh the risks. BTW the MD, who irresponsibly fabricated research that vaccines cause autism and caused mothers not to vaccinate at all, was recently found guilty and lost his medical license.

Since you asked ;)
The sun naturally goes through its 11yr cycle, we're still here. It has actually been unusually quiet on the solar flare front up to now. Every now and then even the sun needs to vent some gas (geek joke). Increase yes, out-of the ordinary no. It'll peak in 2013 or so. We're protected by our magnetic field, but we might have some problems with satellites, computers and other electronics.
Heliophysics: Earth-sun connection, NASA has some interesting info on this.

I'll stop here, before I get into the alignment that will happen in 2012. (No, not the end of the world just a neat event)

Marylinn Kelly said...

Artist and Geek - Thank you for that cosmic update and for the information about the doctor...the notion of vaccinations and autism is not one I've ever heard explored - let alone explained - by anyone who struck me as credible. The much greater risk of "cured" illnesses making a return appearance. Polio vaccine became available when I was in the 6th grade and I remember looking forward to it...all the summers I was kept from crowds, public swimming pools...a parent wildly terrified of the disease.