Friday, January 29, 2010

Of blanket washing and such

Several years ago I was possessed of the notion that I wanted one of those fancy shmancy comforters for my bed... I looked high and low for one that suited my taste, and finally -- against all odds I found the one I wanted... at of all places, Walmart. Yes, I know, it's funny the things you find there, such as the well hidden supply of 300 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets for $60 a set (Queen). I love my Walmart, really I do -- except it's about the only place in town aside from my tiny little grocery store down the road, that's been here forever, and forever will remain -- the little farmers would have it no other way. 
Anyway -- back to the topic of this post, my comforter. Now, when I bought it some four or five odd years ago, it was winter, and we didn't have "central" heat, we had space heaters, and kerosene. 
So I come home from Walmart with a big fancy $100 comforter (yes, cheap, but then... it's Walmart, ok)?... this thing was beautiful! It was deep reds and coppery browns and it was all tapestry like with a lovely chocolate brown stripe of velvety goodness around the sides and bottom... it was truly a beautiful thing, complete with bed skirt, pillow shams, and sheets -- Egyptian Cotton thank you very much -- only the 150 thread count ones that are kind of scratchy... oh well, you get what you pay for, and I did buy a wonderful set of the 300 count too... but again, I digress -- this is about my big, beautiful comforter... that weighed approximately 50 pounds... seriously! I don't know for sure what those things are filled with, in my case I know it's not down... those weigh closer to 100 pounds for a good one... but this baby is heavy I'm telling you! It's also something that is typically not allowed at all in this house for obvious reasons... and I have 8 of those reasons in and out of my bedroom all day, every day. Introductions are for another post... you'll meet all the 'kids'... and maybe the children too... lol 
oops... digression again -- *sigh* back to the topic, my comforter, and what it is that's not allowed... DRY CLEAN ONLY... yep, I said it -- me... mother of 7 children and 8 pets... bought a dry clean only comforter... willingly -- without deception. 
I seriously thought *well, it can't get too dirty in my room, can it?" I was deluded by the pretty lights and stuff, I swear! So anyway, I brought this thing home, and put it on my bed... and oo'd and awwe'd about it for weeks, how comfy it was, how warm it was, how wonderful it was to snuggle under at night... until

it started to smell... funny. I don't mean funny in a make you laugh till you wet your pants kind of way... I mean funny in the someone laughed to hard and peed on my blanket kind of way... NO it wasn't really pee -- but it was the combination of three cats, two dogs, and various children... plus my SO and I... for three weeks of cold weather in a room with a space heater... it doesn't get much funnier than that... 

It was then that the decision to purchase the $100 beautiful beyond words luxury comforter came into question -- just how was I going to afford the $30 dry-cleaning bill on this sucker? Did I mention that I am the mother of seven children? I can't afford to dry-clean anything, including a comforter as beautiful as mine... that's three meals in my house, nothing doing... 

So I began to look for alternatives to dry-cleaning, and I tried several over the next few weeks -- dryer sheets, vinegar soaked washcloths... Dryel... and none of them save one have worked... 

One day I came home from work and my comforter was gone... vanished -- I had no idea where it was... it was not on my bed, or in the corner... So, innocently I asked the SO, "where's the blanket"? (I try not to get too formal with him, you never know). "Oh, you mean the comforter?"... ok so much for simple terms... "Yes, love -- the $100 dry-clean only, better not be on the floor within reach of ANY animal, four or two-legged, comforter... umm... where is it?"
By this point I must explain that after several years with my wonderful SO we have determined one thing *I* and I alone am in charge of the laundry. He is not allowed to touch it -- ever. So I just knew that he had not done anything with my comforter, I just didn't see it. 
and then I heard the four little words that forever changed my life...

"It's in the washer"...

"Excuse me, I think I heard you wrong, did you just say that my $100 beautiful beyond compare, dry-clean only, heaviest blanket on EARTH, is... in... the... WASHER?" 

"Yes, baby, relax... it's on the gentle cycle". 

by this time of course, I am bordering on hysteria... then wondering to myself how bad can it be? Really, I mean it's sturdy -- and strong, and HEAVY... I hope my washer survives! So, off to the laundry room I race, to find the spin cycle just finishing up and it didn't sound like my washer was dead... yet.

I opened the lid, and found my poor baby all huddled around the agitator looking limp, wet, and purely pathetic... some find fancy shmancy comforter it was! 
Now, what do you do with a comforter that weighs 50 pounds when dry... that is now soaking wet -- and is really really heavy? I considered a LOT of options... now had it been summer -- there would have been one option only -- to the clothesline. But since it was just heading into January, and the temperatures were in the thirties most of the day it was not an option for me... 
I thought about the fluff cycle, running it through with no heat, and that made about as much sense as putting it out on the clothesline... and would take forever, and if I had not mentioned yet -- it was cold, and my blanket was WET... 
So... after much upset and trying not to -- I decided against all better judgement to put it in the dryer, and apply heat to my beloved blanket... I was saddened... and I knew that the poor baby wouldn't survive the dryer... but I had to get it dry. 

So through the dryer it went, on low heat and stuff for a couple of hours... and viola'... it survived! 

So, after 5+ years of regular use (except maybe a month or two in the spring) and many, many trips through the washer and dryer - -a lot of cat naps, dog naps,  kid naps and me naps... it still looks pretty good -- not so bad for being old, as a blanket goes. I think now, it's a comfort thing -- its not as fluffy as it once was (or would be if not washed and dried), but it's just as heavy, and it gives me that warm weighty feeling when I go to sleep. 

Don't get me wrong -- dry clean only really does mean, dry clean only, but in this case, an accidental discovery of a fabric that SHOULD go all to pieces didn't... AND has stood the test of time is just too good for words! This blanket will grace my sleeping hours for as long as it decides to keep it together!

For now that is all -- I've got to go get my flannel sheets and blanket out of the dryer! 



Post a Comment