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Getting the Basics

Getting the Basics

Usually when I am faced with a pile of dirty laundry weighing more than my 120-pound lab, I am fired up, and ready to sort, spot, and spend my day alert—ears spring-loaded listening for the dryer buzz (get’em while they are hot; shake, smooth, and fold). But yesterday I experienced a complete lack of motivation and that is terrible for a Monday, which is a bona fide workday. In a perfect world—Eden or Santa Barbara, for example—Monday would be the only workday and the rest of the week I would goof off and read, hang around the make-up counters at Neiman’s, and redecorate the living room. Unfortunately, this is far from a perfect world and, more unfortunately than that, not everybody agrees with me on exactly what “perfect” is. In spite of my inertia, I managed to stumble through thirteen dozen loads of laundry—last dryer buzz about 11:30 p.m.—and wind up with just a tiny bit of ironing to do. I am spraying the linen napkins and my white cotton shirt with vinegar, and putting them in the freezer right now …

And speaking of laundry—my son and I did a little more college shopping. Alex had a Banana Republic gift card and I have a Banana Republic charge card, so we were a dream team. I usually don’t have store charge cards, but this year in order to save money I signed up for this one and the Macy’s card. As long as you buy from these stores with their charge cards you get a discount—ten percent here, fifteen percent there. This flawless cost-savings logic has eluded my poor husband who usually backs into the argument by saying something like, “But you still spent money, honey.” What does he know? His credit cards have been relegated to his back pocket for so long, stuck so deeply in his wallet that they are shaped like his butt—I know that is crude, but it really is true. I exercise my cards regularly; they gleam and swipe as if they are brand new.

At Banana Republic, Alex picked out a pair of khakis and some really good-looking shorts. Combine those with a polo shirt (or not) and he could be an Abercrombie model right there in the middle of Banana Republic. Next, I encouraged him to buy more underwear—lots of it. Math whiz that I am, I was working on a college-level probability problem in my head. It went something like this: Class, given the number of boxer shorts owned, less the number of boxer shorts worn, divided by X which is equal to the amount of laundry washed, calculate the likelihood that Alex will have any clean underwear on September first. My steel trap of a brain snapped, “Zero! The answer is zero. No? A negative integer?” I would have argued with myself, but neither one of us is very good with integers or word problems. Fortunately, I am adept at—actually an expert—estimation and rounding numbers particularly when it comes to shopping. Although, as we know, I usually round down when pressed for actual costs or total dollars spent—either way I knew what we had to do. We bought almost every pair of boxers in Alex’s size.

So my Monday wasn’t a waste after all.

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