How to feel like a Domestic Goddess


Under the rule of thumb that you should try everything at least once – as long as it’s not illegal or immoral – and if you do try it, you should do your damndest to be good at it…

I’ve been Domestic Goddessing.

And I don’t mean taking candlelit bubble baths, either.

I mean cooking, baking, cleaning, doing laundry, hanging it up and putting it away, hanging pictures, making beds – that kind of stuff.

You want to know what makes me feel MOST domestic goddess-like?

Ironing my husband’s shirts.

Oooh – how 50s is THAT?

For the records, I don’t normally iron his shirts. I don’t even wash them. They go to the dry cleaners. There are a couple reasons for that. First and foremost – they do a much better job than I can do. That’s why they’re pros. Second, they’re not all that expensive, especially if you work the discounts. If you take in 8 items, you get 1 free. (Check.) If you pay cash, you get a discount. (Check.) I figure for about $1.50 a shirt – which is what it ends up costing me – and a superior job, it’s worth the money. Not to mention the third reason this is a good idea – I soon get overwhelmed by the endless march of shirts and pretty soon I’m washing and ironing at midnight so my husband will have a shirt to wear to work the next day.

That doesn’t mean that occasionally I don’t mind wallowing in the DG of it all. On the most recent occasion, I lost track of where I was in the shirt cleaning timeline, took them in and found out the next week he needed 2 more cleaned and ironed shirts before I could pick up the ones I’d taken to the dry cleaners. Normally, if I know this in advance, I’ll hold back a couple shirts. Unfortunately, this time I didn’t realize it. I took the shirts in on a Saturday, so there weren’t even any more shirts in the basket that I could wash and iron.

After going through the closet, I found 2 shirts he just doesn’t like to wear – and one that shouldn’t even been there because the collar was so badly frayed. They happened to be clean, they just needed ironing. This is one benefit of doing the ironing myself – I get to see the condition of the shirts. He may (or may not) complain that his shirts are falling apart – but it doesn’t stop him from wearing them, just as long as they’re cleaned, ironed and hanging in his closet. I mean – I’ve made him take off shirts that had holes in the cuffs, for heaven’s sake.

“You can’t wear that!” I exclaim.

“I can’t? Why not?” He begins self inspection.

“Look at the cuffs. And OMG – the collar! Take that off.”

“It’s not so bad.”

“I’m throwing it away. Get another one.”

This doesn’t happen often, because he usually leaves the house by 5:30 a.m. and I’m still in bed.

Well, back to those 2 shirts.

When I was growing up, my mother always assigned us chores and the chores were geared towards our age and ability. I remember being so proud that she graduated me from ironing pillowcases to ironing my father’s dress shirts. My oldest sister showed me how. First, the collar, then the back yoke, careful to stretch out the seam to iron out the puckers. Then on to the front of the shirt, paying special attention to the seams and the button area, but especially the front placket, which is what shows most after the shirt is buttoned. Down the sides, pulling out the side seams and stretching them, then around to the back, being careful not to crease the back pleat, then the sleeves and the cuffs. I use lots of steam because I love the smell and the sound. I also like to spray on sizing, so the shirt is crisp, but not stiff. Because I’m lazy, I don’t take down the sleeve iron – honest, I would if I did these all the time. It’s a leftover from the “old days” when I actually sewed. When I’m done, I hang the shirt up and inspect it. I feel satisfied and fulfilled and all warm and gooey – almost like cookies, but less fattening.

Ahhh… the life of a Domestic Goddess!

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