Friday, January 22, 2010

The Towel


Photo courtesy Flickr

A couple of weeks ago, I started using inexpensive linen dinner napkins as kitchen wipers. Linen dries fast, and the napkins are half the size of the cotton towels I had been using. Combined with a 75 watt heated towel rack in the room, changing to linen has cut my kitchen laundry by close to ninety percent.

Linen is nearly a bomb-proof fiber. It’s durable, likes hot water, can easily be bleached, and is very absorbent. Over decades, linen will crack along a fold, especially one that is ironed, but that isn’t going to be a problem for napkins in hard daily use. Linen is such a noble fiber I do not hesitate to compost it when it reaches the end of its useful life.

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More after the jump.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Standing Start


Photo courtesy Flickr

Yesterday I told a younger acquaintance about my interest in housekeeping and my punk decision, years ago, to work and write in this area specifically because it was a leper. Sher’ got it immediately and told me about being raised with the widely-distributed contempt for the labor it takes to manage life support. She added that her friends don’t think about housekeeping until they have babies to keep healthy. There is no need to describe the howls of anguish that housework elicits from the unwilling.

Jack London describes a Yukon pulling contest in which the hero, a dog named Buck, breaks hundreds of pounds of sled loose from a bed of ice. To come to friendly terms with food, laundry, and clean floors, keep your chin down and pull straight ahead, like Buck. Really, that’s all there is to it. The rest is mental. Oh, and do as the US Navy does for supply: buy three. When you use one, replace the replacement.

It ain’t about gender. As in our current armed services, life support in houses of privilege was managed by the fighting men on the payroll until the central state became strong enough to offer career advancement in the capital.

Our cultural heritage from Greece is to own slaves. There is a deep disrespect for manual labor embedded in our legacy, and that’s unfortunate, since so much of being human, 97% of the brain as I understand it, is devoted to eye-hand coordination. Video games and affordable instruments are re-skilling us. On KEXP just before Thanksgiving, guest dj Taj Mahal suggested concentrating on dance rather than on the intricacies of mastering eye-hand.

Fortunately, rock and roll is grounded in the work music of earlier centuries. It focussed and coordinated team efforts. After you get your music right, keep things where you use them first, leave them ready to use again when you’re finished, and pay the most for what you use the most. Housework, no kidding, will flow like a funky ballet.

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