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The baffling, neverending search for missing laundry
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I have a picture that sits on a dresser in my bedroom that no one ever sees. It serves as the repository for odd socks. When I am folding laundry and if I find an odd sock, it goes over the picture. Sometimes, I actually find matches in the socks hung over the picture frame.

I leave them there until I clean out my and my husband’s sock drawers. If I find no matches at that time, out they go.

The repository for odd socks is in my bedroom because, as I have mentioned before, I live in an old house. I have no laundry room. My washer and dryer are in a small room off the back porch that has always been known as the packing room. It is not heated or cooled and is full of shelves and houses the hot water heater. The shelves are full of odds and ends like shoe polish and brushes (My husband dug out the shoe polish and brush lately for the youngest granddaughter’s cowgirl boots. She was amazed such stuff existed.), canned goods, wood stains, steel wool, odd spray paints, glasses of nails and screws and a stack of 1925 National Geographics that my husband cannot bear to part with. (Yes, 1925.) There are also odd appliances that do not fit in my kitchen cabinets, a small refrigerator, mops and brooms, odd baskets, half used cans of paint and other stuff I dread getting around to sorting through. In the winter, if it gets very cold we leave the light on and hope that that combined with the hot water heater keeps the water pipes from freezing. So far it has, and it was a cold winter last year.

The room is dusty and not conductive to folding laundry even if there was a place to do so. And there is not unless I cleared off the top of the dryer, which is covered with the paraphernalia needed to wash and dry clothes.
So when the laundry is done, I scoop up as much as I can from the dryer and carry it into the house and dump it on my bed, which makes a nice large flat surface on which to fold said laundry. It usually takes two trips.

When my Macon granddaughter with the many soccer practices left, I changed all the beds in the house and did much laundry. With my granddaughter spending the night and one or the other of her parents also spending the night, every bed in my house had been slept in, usually by different persons on different nights, depending on their preferences. Pillows had ended up on all the wrong beds.

After I had washed all the sheets and remade the beds, I noticed I was missing one white pillow case. I was puzzled but left the problem for another day as I was spending the weekend in the mountains with a friend (a much needed rest).

When I got back, I unloaded the linen closet. No pillow case. I investigated the pillow cases that are under shams thinking I could have used the good case there. No pillow case. I even felt very carefully the fitted sheets on the beds to see if I had mistakenly made the missing pillow case into the bed. No pillow case. I thought about calling my Macon daughter to see if she had an extra pillow case, as my granddaughter had come with her own pillow and case. But I didn’t. I just decided that when I got a chance, I would buy a new one.

A teacher who was a friend and taught with me had a common sense approach to missing things. Don’t think about them and they will appear.

To my surprise, she was right.

Yesterday, when I was folding a load of laundry, lo and behold, the missing pillow case appeared on my bed. This load of laundry was the fourth or fifth I have done since the pillow case went missing. It had been 11 days since that pillow case went missing. I use dryer sheets, it couldn’t have stuck to the roof of the dryer that many times.

I am completely baffled.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at