New baby in the house? Just ask ‘what would Lucy do?’

By Brianna Walker
For the Enterprise

Dec. 5: Clean house, no visible laundry, fully stocked refrigerator, and freshly-shampooed hair.

Dec. 6: Enter baby Parker

Fast forward two months: I’m sure there must be a clean corner of the house somewhere … .maybe in the closet under the stairs? And laundry?

Each day we’re surprised by how a baby so small can generate enough drool and other material to dirty shirts, pants, and socks, and that’s not counting his own clothes he spits up on!

No one even knows what’s in the fridge. We’ve been living on take out and pizza. No one can remember that squeaky clean soap smell.

And we’re loving every dirty-soiled-hungry-smelly-minute of it.

Then a phone call announces company is coming – lots of it. Three families over the course of the weekend. We look at each other with our tired, sleep deprived eyes, and go into panic mode.

The house itself was easy to throw together, but the laundry? There was no possible way to get it all washed before they arrived. Nearly two months of laundry covered just about every surface in the house.

Standing there looking between the dirty laundry and the clock, I had a Lucille Ball moment … We should just gather it all up and hide it in our bedroom.

The plan worked seemed to work. We entertained one couple Saturday afternoon, another couple Saturday night, and all was good. The laundry was hidden away, and we took great pains to keep both our bedroom door and the fridge door shut.

Then Ricky showed up, in the form of a cousin from Utah, and blew my idea apart as quickly as the real Ricky usually shattered Lucy’s. My cousin breezed through my carefully closed bedroom door and was suddenly knee-deep in my “dirty” little secret.

“Well,” she said cheerfully, “it looks as if we’re going to have a girls night out – at the laundromat.”

I tried to argue. I told her I’d get around to it soon. I told her I’d rather visit with her. I came up with every reason/excuse I could think of to get her not to air out my dirty laundry.

But it was no use. Soon we were at the laundromat sorting out life’s problems one load at a time.

By the time we started folding dryer load No. 14, I was contemplating becoming a nudist. But then I happened to catch a glimpse of my post-Parker body in the ceiling security mirror, realized just what that would look like, and I kept folding.

Sitting there watching the washers and dryers spin and tumble, I remembered just how bad Lucy’s ideas usually turned out. What a dumb person for me to emulate. And that’s when I got my next Lucy idea.

There on the laundromat folding table was an interior decorating magazine. It talked about using a pop of colorful cloth to jazz up a room. I glanced up at my load of reds swishing in suds, and those cheerful yellows tumbling brightly. Most people move throw pillows to sit down. How could decorative laundry be much different? I think I’ll try adding a pop of color to all my rooms with carefully thrown laundry!

Hours later, though, our dressers were once again full, and it felt good to have it done. I was grudgingly grateful to my cousin for making it happen – but as she went to grab a cold drink from the fridge to celebrate our hard work, I practically knocked her over to ensure I got there before she could open that door too!

Brianna Walker is an Eastern Oregon writer, farmer and mom who contributes columns occasionally to the Enterprise.