Last week my husband came back from church with some advice for me. "I was talking to Suzanne;" he said "And she tells me she advises her clients to unload just half the dishwasher at a time."

I looked at him, slightly confused and wondering where this was going. "You see, if they unload the whole dishwasher it wipes them out for the day; but if they unload half and then have a rest, they can do the other half later."

Well, I see what he was getting at, although Suzanne's clients are the very elderly with Alzheimer's, and it's a bit galling to receive the same advice she gives to them. Probably good advice though.

So yesterday was a good day and I decided to tackle Mount Ironing (as it had got to the state where I was sure I could see snow on the higher peaks). So, having fitted the iron with crampons and climbing harness, we embarked together on the lower slopes.

My usual methodology with ironing is to switch off my brain and just go steadily through the pile, applying flat heat and steam to whatever comes out next and keeping going until the basket is quite empty and I fall over from exhaustion. Maybe I would have done that yesterday too, but the iron decided it had done enough a quarter of the way through and tripped out on me. Checking the plugs and changing the fuse didn't help so I was forced to retreat ignominiously and leave the glorious ascent for another day.

Instead I sat with my youngest daughter and watched Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts (recommended if you like light-hearted froth with some genuinely witty one-liners).

When my husband came home he gently pointed out that, if I had followed my usual pattern of ironing, I would be totally exhausted and unable to do anything at all for the next two days. He then winked at the iron and it smugly turned on its red light and began huffing steam in an odiously self-satisfied way (I'm living with a conspiracy, I tell you: even my household appliances are involved!).

The Rock of my Life then remarked that he was quite capable of ironing his own shirts and that it would be a much better use of my energy just to iron the children's school things and let them wear crumpled pyjamas and tee-shirts and jeans; that, in fact, most of the ironing didn't really need to be done at all. (This from a man whose normal cry is "Standards must be maintained!" and "You just can't get the staff!").

So we did just that. Mount Ironing was conquered (if not in quite the way I had envisaged) and I am not exhausted today.

I now just have to learn to live with the fact that even I can't tell that the children's tee-shirts haven't been ironed, once they've been wearing them for five minutes anyway, and that maybe I've been wasting my time ironing all these years!

A Moodscope member.


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