Monday, March 21, 2011

Linen napkins and dire circumstances

Robert recently decided that it was time to hire a housekeeper and, thanks to Craigslist he has found his man. Strangely, this event was presented to me as being my "early Christmas present".
It wasn’t our home’s state of cleanliness which prompted his decision but rather the state of our ironing - specifically, our napkins. He is able to rectify a less than pristinely clean home by simply removing his glasses. But napkins are another matter entirely.
Robert claims that he was brought up so poor that they didn’t even have paper napkins. When he eventually discovered linen, he swore never to endure less. His collection is vast and can be traced to the four corners of the globe. Robert is very tactile and therefore texture is quite important to him. As far as he is concerned, it is a much overlooked part of gracious living.
To his credit, Robert has taken to doing the laundry periodically, up to the point of folding the clothes and putting them away.  This is his line in the sand. Once dried, the clothing is no longer of concern until he goes to dress, whereupon he discovers that everything is neatly awaiting him. I’m not sure if he gives much thought about how the clothing gets from the dryer to his closet. Magic perhaps, with ironing being the most mystical, post-drying, wonder of all.
He has either convinced himself or is trying to convince me that I love to iron. I do not. I like the outcome, but I do not like the act. The difference is significant. Early in our relationship he had tried to persuade me to do all the ironing at once - thus resulting in all of our shirts being pressed for the whole week. This mindset had resulted, just prior to departing for a month, in his leaving a ball of shirts in a shopping bag with a note saying, “You are too, too angelic”. And there they remained until his return. I believe he quietly sends his shirts out now.
Although I don’t mind ironing a shirt for him, on an as required basis, in the absence of an impending dinner party, I don’t plan to spend any of my time ironing napkins. Through use the crisply ironed stacks that he brought from Venice have been slowly whittled away one-by-one. This has left Robert in quite a conundrum. I won’t iron napkins, he won’t iron period, sending them out is a little excessive, and he refuses to use a “tactilely unacceptable” wrinkle free poly-blend. Under these dire circumstances the only rational solution was, of course, to hire a housekeeper. He starts this week.
Stay tuned….

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