Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Clothspin Corpses
Jennifer Flaten

Winter finally relinquished its icy grip, more or less. It seems this spring Mother Nature is acting a tad passive aggressive. One day it is sunny and 70 degrees, the next 50 degrees and hailing. Someone get that woman a box of chocolates-stat!

I want nice days. Nice days mean I can hang my laundry outside and skip the trip the Laundromat. Although, in winter the Laundromat is about 50 degrees warmer than my house and it always smells so clean. Unlike my house, which smells like, well you don’t want to know what it smells like.

It also means I can con my kids into helping me hang the laundry by promising them a trip to the toy store. Nothing makes a kid work harder or faster than the prospect of spending their entire allowance on toys.

Ah, to be a kid again and your biggest concern is whether to buy the new Lego Hobbit set or a pack of Adventure Time trading cards. Yes, this is a real decision my son faced this weekend. It took him an enormous amount of time, but he finally chose the trading cards. Although, I think he has buyer’s remorse, as he asked me if he could earn some extra money.

Now, hanging out the laundry isn’t rocket science. In fact, it is straightforward. You use the clothespin to hold the clothes on the line. Of course, with the kids helping, it took slightly longer than usual because there was the inevitable squabbling.

My kids argue about everything. Case in point, they argued over who would hang up the socks? Why? Aw, who knows? After assigning each kid a specific item to hang up and detailed instructions on how to hang the item on the line we got the clothes up.

Problem is this last batch of clothespins simply doesn’t work, and no, it isn’t operator error.

I bought a standard bag of clothespins from that evil big box store, which I won’t name. If I didn’t know better, I would think I accidentally bought a bag of gag clothespins.

I have anything but a strong grip; I mean really, I spend all day typing at the computer, not working out with hand weights. At most, I have a callous or two from typing. So, I know I’m not exerting maximum pressure on the clothespins.

When I manage to get one, open without it breaking, the minute I turn my back on it, it is snapping open and dropping my laundry to the ground. Yet, the litter in my back yard is mostly clothespin corpses. 

Yes, the bag of clothespins was cheap, but come one, they’re clothespins. You shouldn’t spend more than a dollar on a bag of them. Still, even if they are cheap, they shouldn’t be you know, cheap. I expect them to work.

I don’t want to spend $1 a clothespin. I don’t want some clothespin hand whittled by an artisan clothespin maker from 100-year-old Siberian oak. I just want a clothespin that doesn’t fall apart at the lightest of touches.

After all, its intended purpose is to open and close, so one would assume that it could fulfill this most basic of duties without fail. I don’t expect it to go any farther. If my girls attempt to pin their brother on the clothesline, I don’t expect the pins to hold him. I do expect it hold a dishtowel.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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