Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Saturday, 21 November 2015

"Your mother called it "doing the pressing,"

©Brigitta Huegel

November - for me - is the excellent month for tidying up, organize, and re-decorate.
For tidying I learned a very good technique from my young friend in Hamburg (he got it from his Serbian grandmother): "If you go from one room to another, always take one thing with you that belongs there!" 
Sounds easy? Then how comes that my drawing box is on the long dining table? Of course: yesterday I scribbled a bit, and then I looked TV, and then it was late...
And yesterdays papers on the floor beside the sofa? Ah, yes, I wanted to cut out an article I might write a blog about (on the day that will never come).
And so on, and so on.
I am now old enough to accept a wisdom of my mother: If the homefront-task does not melt away and will not become less tomorrow - DO IT NOW.
So very often I do that now. BUT: there is one thing I really hate doing. Although I wrote a whole chapter in my book about it, and know how to do it: I hate ironing. Looking the dire consequences right into the eye - look at the advertisement above and imagine the deplorable way your clothes will look if you don't!
Procrastinating I wait for the second load of washing ("Then I will do it all in one go"), and wait for a dull TV-film (but that I silence - and if it is good I cannot watch TV at the same time).
So:
"All Gaul is under Roman control, except for one small village of indomitable Gauls that still holds out against the Romans." 

PS: The title is from the Poem: Ironing After Midnight" by Marsha Truman Cooper





18 comments:

  1. Coming from the home town of Colman's Starch it is even more deplorable that I never iron is it not? As for the newspapers left on the floor for that article I may want to cut out, I have the scrap book, glue and scissors by my chair ready.

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    1. I took that picture in Beamish.
      Of course I have a scissor beside my sofa, to do those snippets, and of course I have not only a box but also a "pre"-box with little compartments to sort those snippets from the beginning into theme-groups.
      'The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning.' says Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four - maybe I have to accept that these emotional/behaviouristic qualities are - Sloth, Bone-Idleness, Indolence :-) ??

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  2. I don't do ironing but I shall take my coffee mug back to the kitchen.

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    1. I know many a man who doesn't know how to iron, and many a man who does. The most complicated are those who are "pressed to the nines" (couldn't resist that pun). But I appreciate when they look after themselves - and their coffee mug. :-)
      (As you are new on my site I want to explain why I use those idiotic emoticons - I found out that many a foreign soul thought that I am not capable to express a twisted thought and thus misunderstandings are preprogrammed, that's why for safety's sake I set a "wink, wink" to show what I mean).

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  3. I was ironing when men landed on the moon. I put down the iron and watched in awe.

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    1. Joanne, I could kiss you for this superb two sentences - they could be the wonderful opening sentences of a novel.

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  4. I used to do the ironing for our family of nine. One day a week (Monday was ironing day) I got out of doing dishes because I ironed. I love the crisp neat way the clothes look after a fresh press. With new fabrics and automatic dryers I seldom iron any more.

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    1. Wow - to iron for nine people is amazing - and that every week!
      I know that most readers of this blog are more or less in the same age group, so it is completely abstract when I remember that my grandmother had a "washing day" - the whole house smelled of soapsuds and hot water, because they cooked the washing. But isn't it good that machines do all that work now?
      I love the crisp neat look of clothes too, so I do iron - I just don't love to that task.

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    2. I also spent one day a week doing the weekly laundry for the family. I hate washing dishes and would do anything to get out of that chore. Laundry day and ironing day were blessings for me. I did not have to cook the laundry. We had an old wringer washer. I filled it with hot water and detergent and washed the clothes in the proper order. There were two rinse tubs. One was warm water and the last was cold. I do not mind doing laundry either. But I hate doing dishes.

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  5. Britta... Confession time... I have always loved to iron! There I have admitted it. As a child, I could hardly wait to be old enough to safely use the ironing board that precariously balanced between the backs of 2 slatted-back kitchen chairs. The lightly sprinkled and rolled pillowcases were my first ironing pleasures. To run the hot iron across the sun-dried embroidered pillowcases was such a delight..seeing the wrinkles disappear and light steam rising from the board... AHHHH.. housekeeping bliss! Now there is little need for ironing in our retired world. Bedding comes wrinkle free from the dryer. The dress shirts my husband wore daily are relegated to the back of his closet...only one good white remains for the odd special occasion. My Sunday afternoons before his retirement were spent ironing his shirts for the coming week. Oh wait... Maybe I don't miss that! I like the idea of returning items when you go into a room. Truthfully, I have a little wooden folk art doll in my kitchen window... She has a saying that I firmly ascribe to... "Housework makes you ugly!" There ... The biggest confession of all!! Smiles...Susan

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    1. Susan, I'm honoured by tha confession! You are among a group of dear friends I have that LOVE ironing. One of them takes it as a meditative exercise (with visible results in a jiffy).
      I love housework too, mostly - maybe I'll find the excuse for not including ironing into that - in my early childhood - see: I don't need a psychologist, I find all the excuses myself :-) : for a long time till the end of my Thirties one could spot a light brown triangle on my right hand - that's where a hot iron - by mistake of course - touched my skin. A body renews itself quickly, I have read, emotions need a bit longer :-)
      I cheated on ironing as much as I could (I even suggested in my book not to iron teatowels - because they became crumpled so easily again... (See - that's the theme of 'returning items' from the other point of view) now I do them, too - and teatowels and linen are the two things I love to iron, think of that!
      Maybe with getting a bit wiser I accepted that items turn up again and again - as Richard Carlson said in "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff": the incoming-post-tray will never been cleared totally (I always believed it would, if I just work hard enough... :-)

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  6. So, Britta, do you know that we don't even own an iron? Yes, we are very, very wrinkled--though shirts and such for work do go out to be pressed!

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    1. I think that you have more time for the real important things, thus - and are wise to use help for items one doesn't love to do oneself. I bring the bedlinen to the laundry, nowadays - gives me a sort of hotel-holiday-feeling to climb among freshly pressed sheets.

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  7. I rather like ironing - like smoothing away life's problems. I have an adjustable ironing board so I sit to iron and watch a good film whilst I am doing it and before I know it I am finished. Although now husband has retired I have a lot less shirts to contend with which is a good thing.

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    1. An iron board that one hasn't to open up and transport into a room might help a lot - I will think about that while redecorating our rooms - I might transform a small storage room for that.
      Do you know what I found out while answering the comments? It might be my innate (? not a good trait) perfectionism that makes me grumble.
      I stumbled about that insight when I wrote that I quite love ironing teatowels and linen - well: both get (almost) perfect - but not the shirts (though I know how to do them).
      Come to think of it: maybe I should use Colman's Starch?
      Do they still produce it?

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    2. Possibly - I have a spray can of starch but it isn't as good as the old stuff.

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  8. Taking things from room to room as you go is a good technique for staying tidy. I tend to fail at this, though.One has to notice the things that need to be moved and I am too often preoccupied with other things.

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    1. I agree with you: the resolution is always there - and good - but as time goes on I forget - or have, as you, more important things to do :-)
      But for a while it is a sound advice.

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