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When my siblings and I were younger, my mother tried to dress us alike.  My sister and I had many matching dresses, till we stopped wearing dresses, and sometimes she’d try for a perfect triptych of outfits.  There were the “duck, duck, goose” overalls and shorts my baby brother refused to wear, and many other failed attempts.  The most infamous, however, in my mind and my sister’s, are the “Small Stuff” sweat suits.  Mom picked up this cliché somewhere, and like an inspired artist, had to put it to canvas. 

“Rule #1: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Rule #2: It’s All Small Stuff”

Thus we three were all subjected to bright yellow sweat suits with Rule #1 on the front in green puff paint, and Rule #2 on the back.  I think the girl version had flowers, and maybe stick figures to go around. 

This morning we sat on the bed, folding laundry, while the dogs happily munched on their rawhides and their genitals, respectively.  Aside from noting the usual humorous appearances of the orphan socks (which prompted a full sing-along of, “For He is an Orphan Sock” clear through the end of Act I from “The Pirates of Penzance”), I also remarked to myself how easily we fell into our patterns of laundry delegation.  See, we don’t just grab what’s nearest, or what’s ours, or what belongs in the closet, or what needs to be ironed.  (Ironing, what’s that?) I grab the things I fold, and Mr. Apron grabs the things he folds.  He folds towels and underwear, and pairs socks.  Yes, folds underwear.  Since I was a younger person, my babysitter introduced me to a peculiar way of folding underwear, which I would continue to this day, were I still in charge of folding my skivvies.  Since I taught Mr. Apron how to do it he gladly has taken over the task.  He also folds towels, in the peculiar way I like, so that they all fit into our crammed little linen closet.  It’s pretty silly, that I have ways I like my underwear and towels folded, but he does it.  I know that if I had never said anything, I’d just be refolding them the way I like them.  Though it’s a small gesture, I really appreciate it, and it’s just one way my husband is awesome. 

While he’s folding my underwear and pairing the socks, I’m busy folding all the shirts.  He has an entire drawer full of undershirts/T-shirts.  I know that, unless they’re all folded in a uniform way, they will not all fit, nor be accessible to him in frantic early morning searches.  The cotton shirts will get all wrinkled and he won’t be able to find the ones he needs in the morning.  He has many types of undershirts.  Starting just with the white ones, he has CoolMax crew neck, cotton crew neck, cotton V-neck, and CoolMaxx “scoop necks” he has fashioned by hacking the collar off a crew neck shirt.  See, he’s explained to me (and who am I to dispute such matters?) that the CoolMax shirts, while doing a superior job of wicking away sweat, and keeping him cooler to begin with, have wider collars, and they will often show above the collar of a button-up shirt, above the necktie.  This is blatantly unacceptable.  This is where the cotton crewnecks come into play.  They have a skinnier collar, so they work.  Sometimes, the V-necks work best, due to a particularly large collar (Mr. Apron has a skinny neck, and shirts are wont to be a little big in the collar); other times, the V-neck is no good, such as on a light-colored dress shirt, where the V would show through, leaving a tell-tale line (equivalent to wearing a black bra under a white blouse), and that just isn’t good.  So he’s fashioned some Cool Max shirts for this purpose using nail scissors, his teeth, or a hacksaw, whatever’s handy.  Don’t even get me started on the colored shirts.

All this I know, so I fold his shirts, and I try to sort them into piles according to color, neckline, and fabric content.  For real.  Try as he might, Mr. Apron can’t quite master the tri-fold I use to make his shirts pretty in the drawer.  Far from feeling put upon, I feel as though I am invading his drawers (pun intended), and his ability to stand by and let me exercise my need for his shirts to be folded uniformly, is just another reason my husband is awesome. 

Maybe the way I fold towels, underwear and t-shirts is “small stuff”, but if it really is all small stuff that makes up our world, then let me give a nod to my husband, who lets me feel organized in one small way: in our linen cupboard, my lingerie chest, and his t-shirt drawer.

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