Home Living Life Laurie NigroParadise found…ever so briefly…at the bottom of an empty laundry basket

Laurie Nigro
Paradise found…ever so briefly…at the bottom of an empty laundry basket

Everyone has their own idea of perfection, of pure happiness, or ultimate joy. Some think it will only come in the afterlife and others spend a lifetime seeking it on earth. We have multiple names for the various definitions: utopia, heaven, nirvana, Zion, paradise, it’s all a matter of faith or personal choice, or even perspective.

My entire adult life I have struggled with religion and how it does or does not fit into my life. Having grown up with a strong Catholic faith that preached against many of my beliefs, I have strayed from the church. I’ve now spent years wandering through my spirituality, searching for enlightenment and defining my own path, which includes the meaning of perfection.

Sometimes, you hear about a deeply spiritual moment that solidifies one’s faith. Some people feel that they get messages directly from God. But mostly you hear people speak of “signs” that appear in their life, offering an answer that was sought after or maybe just an assurance that someone is watching over them.

I had my come-to-Jesus moment this past week when I finished all the laundry in my house. Every dirty sock, all the sit-in-the-bottom-of-the-basket-because-who-is-really-going-to-wash-four-things-by-themselves delicates, and even the big, bulky blankets. All clean. And as I looked around my house, at every empty hamper, at each floor, now free of wet towels, I experienced euphoria. I felt a sense of perfect elation that I have to assume that you feel on the way through the pearly gates. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure the sky cleared and Jesus himself said to me, “Damn, girl, that’s something.”

I spent the entire day on a natural high. Nothing could bring me down. There were bills to pay and bathrooms to clean and I did both with gusto and joy. When the dog vomited on the floor, stripping the wood of its finish and leaving a permanent stain, I didn’t break down and cry. And while I cleaned it up and he looked on with shame and regret, I reassured him that he was still, in fact, a good boy. Then I told him that all the laundry was done. I rustled his ears and used the how-we-talk-to-baby voice that I never once used on my actual babies, “It’s ok, pup. And you know why it’s ok? Because there’s no dirty laundry! No, pup. None. It’s all clean. Every bit.” (You must say that in the aforementioned voice or the entire effect of “Oh, I see that she’s finally snapped,” goes out the window).

I was nearly giddy with the joy of it. It was like right after I gave birth and looked at my baby for the first time. All of the pain, exhaustion and sleep-deprived delirium went right out the window the second I heard those little cries. And my world became so small and so perfect that I was incredulous at the fact that the rest of humanity was continuing unaffected. Didn’t they know that a fully formed (and, it seemed, kind of pissed-off) baby had just come out of my body? Never mind that this had just happened to some other woman in the world seconds before and, by the time my baby was placed in my arms, it had happened again, somewhere else in the world. This was monumental, spiritual, even. A basket of fluffy towels felt just like that.

Because it wasn’t even summer laundry, where it’s all shorts and tank tops. Where practically a whole week can go by with only a load or two. No, this was cold weather laundry. This was must-wear-two-pairs-of-pants-together everyday laundry, where I never have less than four layers on, at any given time, and my husband’s work outfit is its own load of laundry, day. This was the day I ventured into my hoarder’s/children’s rooms and collected all the towels. This was the day I didn’t just look next to my husband’s side of the bed for dirty socks, but I even retrieved the under-bed dirty socks.

I didn’t just tell my dog, either. I told everyone. I tried to play it cool, but obviously failed because I felt that this level of joy should be shared with those whom I love. After my kids got home from school, I casually mentioned that when they went to pick out clothes the next day, they could pick whatever they wanted, because everything they owned was clean. There were quiet mumblings of thanks as they wandered away from me to do anything else but talk to me about laundry.

Then, my son took off his socks and dropped them on the kitchen floor. Normally, I would call him to task for this indiscretion and make him put them in the hamper. But I was not ready to come down off my high. I was not ready to admit defeat so soon. I was not ready to return to laundry hell. I needed just a few more beautiful hours of denial, a few more moments of seeing the bottom of the hamper. So I grabbed those treasonous dirty socks and threw them outside.

Then, my daughter came downstairs, ready to go to dance class. “Oh, I emptied my dance bag out. It was REALLY full.”

Really full is an understatement. That child had enough leg warmers, warm-up tops, leotards, t-shirts, skirts, and tights in that little bag to clothe all the contestants on Naked and Afraid and/or Toddlers in Tiaras, for the entire season. I looked inside the washing machine, once again filled to the brim, and fell right down from my happy cloud, landing arse first on the tile floor.

As I collected dirty socks from the driveway, I considered the fleeting nature of joy, the impermanence of perfection and how easily I could be bought off with a cleaning person. Forget nirvana, I just need me some Merry Maids and a matching-sock finder and I will have found heaven.

I have some single socks that have been in that damn basket for nearly a decade. I think it’s time to let them go. But I am nothing if not frugal. Instead of tossing these one-hit-wonders, try a few of these tips from Business Insider for making them into something useful. I’m not sure which I love more, the DIY drink cozy (because who doesn’t want an old sock caressing their beverage?) or the fact that Business Insider deemed solo socks important enough to find 62 things to do with them.

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Laurie Nigro
Laurie is the mother of two biological children and one husband and the caretaker of a menagerie of animals. Laurie is passionate about frugal, natural living. She was recognized by the L.I. Press Club with a “best humor column” award in 2016. Email Laurie