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Archive for May 20th, 2009

Each of us has different responses to stress, and mine vary depending on the type of stress I’m experiencing.  Depending on the situation, you’ll find me eating, drinking, shopping, biting my nails, snapping at people, staring into space, or ironing. 

What?  Yes.  Ironing. 

When I experience the kind of stress that makes me want to run away from home, or at least get as far away as humanly possible from my family, and I’m not able to do any of the other things on the list above, including just getting the hell out of Dodge — I iron. 

The basement is sort of my domain.  When I’m in the basement, no one bothers me, much.  It’s cool and slightly damp and a bit catty, and besides being the place where household items go to die, it’s not of a whole lot of use to the other members in my house.  There’s not much you can do with a basement that leaks like a sieve every time there’s a hard rain, short of spending many thousands of dollars on waterproofing.  But my laundry room is in the basement, and there are usually a few things hanging down there that are clean but need to be touched up with an iron.  I save them for those days where I need to get away from my loved ones and take out my aggression in a positive fashion. 

With the cool, damp air, a washer and/or dryer running, plus the furnace/air conditioner and a dehumidifier, it’s about as close as I can get to a cavelike solitude.  Unless there’s a herd of elephants running down the hall upstairs, I can be alone with my undisturbed thoughts and have some relative peace and quiet. 

If I have the time, I rather enjoy ironing.  I don’t enjoy it if I have to do it in order for us to get out of the door to church on time, but if I’ve got some thinking to do or I’m upset about something, I relish the putting-to-right that ironing brings.  I like to use spray starch and blasts of steam, and put creases in pants or take wrinkles out of skirts.  I talk to myself.  I have imaginary arguments with my husband.  I tell off that lady I used to work with who made my life hell.  I make plans.   And I do all of this out loud, because no one can hear me over the din. 

I get the same sort of satisfaction from digging in the garden, but it’s not always possible to do that.  It’s the combination of physical work with mental exercise that helps to restore my balance.  I come back up into the heat and light of the world with my feathers decidedly less ruffled. 

If I could only figure out how to do that with the pillow creases I have on my face every morning, life would be golden. 

 

— Mox

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