What I've always wished I'd invented was paper underwear, even knowing that the idea never took off when they did come out with it. I still think it's a good idea, and I don't know why people resist it when they've accepted paper napkins and paper plates and paper curtains and paper towels-it would make more sense not to have to wash out underwear than not to have to wash out towels.
I have not yet learned to use our television DVR. One of the points of marriage is that you split labor. In the olden days that meant one hunted and one gathered; now it means one knows where the tea-towels are kept and the other knows how to program the DVR, for why should we both have to know?
I'm pretty much awake now." (P) "The last time I said that, I passed out in the bathtub." (I) "I remember that. Neil covered you with towels and said that he found a mermaid." (P) "You were so beautiful, Mummy. Like Ice Bird when he freezes the pigs." (N) "Thank you, sweet." - Ingrid, Paul and Neil.
You know, Talon. Towels look really good on you. You go outside like that and you'll start a whole new fashion craze. (Sunshine) Do you always say everything that comes to your mind? (Talon) Mostly. I do have some thoughts I keep to myself. I used to not care and would say anything at all, but then one time my college roommate called the psycho unit on me. You know, they really do have white coats. (Sunshine)
I had a very Italian house - the "plastic furniture you couldn't sit on" house. Did anybody have the museum house? For a kid it's traumatic. Towels you can never touch. China no one's ever gonna use. Everything is for a special occasion that never happens. My mother was waiting for the Pope to show up for dinner. Or Sinatra. Or Chachi.
When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they're not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They're upset because they've gone from supervisor of a child's life to a spectator. It's like being the vice president of the United States.
Rain in the Northwest is not the pounding, flashing performance enjoyed by the eastern part of the nation. Nor is it the festive annual soaking I'd been used to in Southern California. Rather, it's a seven-month drizzle that darkens the sky, mildews the bath towels, and propels those already prone to depression into the dim comforts of antihistamines and a flask.
I never look at salaries. I have no aspirations of being a general manager or anything like that, I want to coach. For me there is no dollar signs on the towels, no dollar signs on their jerseys, I will make the decisions based on who is going to make us win. For me, that is my only priority.
Christy: "My grandma made this. I've had it since elementary school." Todd: "I never knew that." Christy: "I never knew you left your towel on the floor." Todd: "Uh-oh. Is this one of those issues they talked about in our premarital counseling? Should I hang up towels so you feel more loved?
Robin Jones Gunn
While we women dilly-dally, making decisions, leaving jobs half done, forgetting where we've put the house keys while we water the Hoover and leave the laundry in the dishwasher, men, like blinkered horses, look straight ahead, oblivious to peripheral vision, where a discarded pile of wet towels might have caught their eye.
A woman calls from Seaview to say her linen closet is missing. Last September, her house had six bedrooms, two linen closets. She's sure of it. Now she's only got one. She comes to open her beach house for the summer. She drives out from the city with the kids and the nanny and the dog, and here they are with all heir luggage, and their towels are gone. Disappeared. Poof. Bermuda triangulated.
I am grateful for what I call well-spent moments: Making a tuna fish sandwich with the works. Taking at least a half hour to eat it outside. Ironing my vintage tea towels while watching old black-and-white film noir movies and sipping one martini with extra olives - a quirky combination, but it works.
Sarah Ban Breathnach
I turned over, and those big hands got to work on my back. I stifled a whimper in the pillow, because Marco's idea of a massage bore no resemblance whatsoever to the relaxing spa variety. There was no lavender oil, no soothing music, no hot towels. Just an all-out assault on cramped muscles, until they cowered in surrender and turned to Jell-O.
I bought a year's production of flax from a single field owned by a Dutch producer. That's 10,000 kilograms of flax, enough to enable industrial level production. Now, I'm weaving it into tablecloths, tea towels, and other items at the Textile Museum in Tilburg. I'm producing hundreds of grown-up products!
Odors from decaying food wafting through the air when the door is opened, colorful mold growing between a wet gym uniform and thedamp carpet underneath, and the complete supply of bath towels scattered throughout the bedroom can become wonderful opportunities to help your teenager learn once again that the art of living in a community requires compromise, negotiation, and consensus.
This is my emergency kit. It contained a roll of duct tape, a spare pair of pants, an envelope with two hundred dollars, two bags of dried fruit, two packages of beef jerky, three bottles of water, a roll of thick shop towels you see mechanics use, a small metal pipe - just right for cracking a skull with - and a fake beard. Look, you never know.
I used to think that when I grew up there wouldn't be so many rules. Back in elementary school there were rules about what entrance you used in the morning, what door you used going home, when you could talk in the library, how many paper towels you could use in the rest room, and how many drinks of water you could get during recess. And there was always somebody watching to make sure. What I'm finding out about growing older is that there are just as many rules about lots of things, but there's nobody watching.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The place I like best in this world is the kitchen. No matter where it is, no matter what kind, if it's a kitchen, if it's a place where they make food, it's fine with me. Ideally it should be well broken in. Lots of tea towels, dry and immaculate. Where tile catching the light (ting! Ting!)" (p. 3).
Fifteen years ago I knew I had to settle into being a mom and give them a normal life, which I never had. I was always traveling. I had tours. I wanted my kids to settle down, and we kind of did it together.... It was a bumpy transition. There was no director telling me what to do. No script, but I really enjoyed it. I even became president of the PTA. Doing the laundry was a meditative experience. Now, when I start to get nervous and stressed, I go in and start to fold towels.
Any day you had gym class was a weird school day. It started off normal. You had English, Social Studies, Geometry, then suddenly your in Lord of the Flies for 40 minutes. Your hanging from a rope, you have hardly any clothes on, teachers are yelling at you, kids are throwing dodge balls at you and snapping towels - you're trying to survive. And then it's Science,Language, and History. Now that is a weird day.
Luxury cruises were designed to make something unbearable (a two week transatlantic crossing) seem bearable. There's no need to do it now, there are planes. You wouldn't take a vacation where you ride on a stage coach for two months but there's all-you-can-eat shrimp. You wouldn't take a vacation where you had an old-timey appendectomy without anesthesia while steel drums play. You might take a vacation while riding on a camel for two days IF they gave you those little animal towels wearing your sunglasses.
It is a kind of love, is it not? How the cup holds the tea, How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare, How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes Or toes. How soles of feet know Where they're supposed to be. I've been thinking about the patience Of ordinary things, how clothes Wait respectfully in closets And soap dries quietly in the dish, And towels drink the wet From the skin of the back. And the lovely repetition of stairs. And what is more generous than a window?
Civil disobedience can help to focus attention on a particular injustice. It was used historically to highlight wrongs in society - turning ancient redwood forests into paper towels or preventing people from sitting down at lunch counters because of the color of their skin. On climate change, we have not seen strong leadership coming from Washington, DC.In particular the president has an enormous opportunity to follow up on his inaugural speech with a concerted course of action to aggressively take on a clean energy transition.
What makes humans human is precisely that they do not know the future. That is why they do the fateful and amusing things they do: who can say how anything will turn out? Therein lies the only hope for redemption, discovery, and-let's be frank""fun, fun, fun! There might be things people will get away with. And not just motel towels. There might be great illicit loves, enduring joy, faith-shaking accidents with farm machinery. But you have to not know in order to see what stories your life's efforts bring you. The mystery is all.
What makes humans human is precisely that they do not know the future. That is why they do the fateful and amusing things they do: who can say how anything will turn out? Therein lies the only hope for redemption, discovery, and-let's be frank-fun, fun, fun! There might be things people will get away with. And not just motel towels. There might be great illicit loves, enduring joy, faith-shaking accidents with farm machinery. But you have to not know in order to see what stories your life's efforts bring you. The mystery is all.
Either greed belongs in a war zone, or it doesn't. You can't unleash it in the name of sparking an economic boom and then be shocked when Halliburton overcharges for everything from towels to gas, when Parsons' sub, sub, sub-contractor builds a police academy where the pipes drip raw sewage on the heads of army cadets and where Blackwater investigates itself and finds it acted honorably. That's just corporations doing what they do and Iraq is a privatized war zone so that's what you get. Build a frontier, you get cowboys and robber barons.
She heard the zip of his pants, and expected him to step away from her, leave her alone in the bathroom to pull herself together. Instead, his hands were very gentle as he moved her out of the way, running water into the tiny sink. And then his hands were between her legs, and he was washing her, and she was too shocked to do anything more than let him. He tossed the paper towels, then took her discarded clothes from the floor and put them on her, waiting patiently as she lifted one foot, then the other. She was trembling, weak, totally compliant, and when he finished he wet another paper towel and washed her face with it, gently, like a lover.
Joseph, you're out of clean towels.' Lucia poked her head into the living room, the rest of her hidden behind the wall. Her red hair dripped water onto my wooden floors. 'She's in the buff.' Jenna guffawed. Gabriella rolled her eyes, beaming. I rose. 'Go back to the bathroom. I'll bring you a towel, ' I ordered Lucia. She disappeared down the hall. 'You have naked angels running around your house, ' Jenna continued through her laughter. Gabby laughed louder.
My father is the most genial Midwestern guy imaginable, but for him, disaster lurks around every corner-financial ruin, squandered health, pyramid schemes, airbags failing to deploy-so he tends to use fear as a parenting tool to try to goad his daughters into being more prepared.When he retired, he reached new levels of preparedness, so his car contained bottled water, hand wipes, a roadside emergency kit with flares, books on tape, a coin dispenser, and two hand towels to use as makeshift bibs so he and my mother could drive and eat without making a mess.
I feel as though, if I were to extend my hand just a little toward the pool where the ideas ferment, I could grab at the idea and pull it out of the pool and onto the floor where ideas must stand before the jury of the brain. There, it must present itself, still from the pool, and a bit shivery because new ideas are not given a towel to dry off with, towels being reserved for proven theories; new ideas are simply pulled and stood up, and asked to explain themselves - not a very pleasant thing really, which is why so many people go into the room where the pool is. The exercise is exhausting not to mention a bit difficult to watch, if you are at all a sympathetic creature. What was my idea, anyways?
I learned to find equal meaning in the repeated rituals of domestic life. Setting the table. Lighting the candles. Building the fire. Cooking. All those souffles, all that cre¨me caramel, all those daubes and albondigas and gumbos. Clean sheets, stacks of clean towels, hurricane lamps for storms, enough water and food to see us through whatever geological event came our way. These fragments I have shored against my ruins, were the words that came to mind then. These fragments mattered to me. I believed in them. That I could find meaning in the intensely personal nature of life as a wife and mother did not seem inconsistent with finding meaning in the vast indifference of geology and the test shots.
TV was entertainment of the last resort. There was nothing on during the day in the summer other than game shows and soap operas. Besides, a TV-watching child was considered available for chores: take out the trash, clean your room, pick up that mess, fold those towels, mow the lawn... the list was endless. We all became adept at chore-avoidance. Staying out of sight was a reliable strategy. Drawing or painting was another: to my mother, making art trumped making beds. A third choir-avoidance technique was to read. A kid with his or her nose in a book is a kid who is not fighting, yelling, throwing, breaking things, bleeding, whining, or otherwise creating a Mom-size headache. Reading a book was almost like being invisible - a good thing for all concerned.
Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear. Some people say that a sunrise is a miracle, because it is somewhat mysterious and often very beautiful, but other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. Some people say that a telephone is a miracle, because it sometimes seems wondrous that you can talk with somebody who is thousands of miles away, and other people say it is merely a manufactured device fashioned out of metal parts, electronic circuitry, and wires that are very easily cut. And some people say that sneaking out of a hotel is a miracle, particularly if the lobby is swarming with policemen, and other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. So you might think that there are so many miracles in the world that you can scarcely count them, or that there are so few that they are scarcely worth mentioning, depending on whether you spend your mornings gazing at a beautiful sunset or lowering yourself into a back alley with a rope made of matching towels.
We are called at certain moments to comfort people who are enduring some trauma. Many of us don't know how to react in such situations, but others do. In the first place, they just show up. They provide a ministry of presence. Next, they don't compare. The sensitive person understands that each person's ordeal is unique and should not be compared to anyone else's. Next, they do the practical things-making lunch, dusting the room, washing the towels. Finally, they don't try to minimize what is going on. They don't attempt to reassure with false, saccharine sentiments. They don't say that the pain is all for the best. They don't search for silver linings. They do what wise souls do in the presence of tragedy and trauma. They practice a passive activism. They don't bustle about trying to solve something that cannot be solved. The sensitive person grants the sufferer the dignity of her own process. She lets the sufferer define the meaning of what is going on. She just sits simply through the nights of pain and darkness, being practical, human, simple, and direct.
Leaning against my car after changing the oil, I hold my black hands out and stare into them as if they were the faces of my children looking at the winter moon and thinking of the snow that will erase everything before they wake. In the garage, my wife comes behind me and slides her hands beneath my soiled shirt. Pressing her face between my shoulder blades, she mumbles something, and soon we are laughing, wrestling like children among piles of old rags, towels that unravel endlessly, torn sheets, work shirts from twenty years ago when I stood in the door of a machine shop, grease blackened, and Kansas lay before me blazing with new snow, a future of flat land, white skies, and sunlight. After making love, we lie on the abandoned mattress and stare at our pale winter bodies sprawling in the half-light. She touches her belly, the scar of our last child, and the black prints of my hand along her hips and thighs.
Things I Used to Get Hit For: Talking back. Being smart. Acting stupid. Not listening. Not answering the first time. Not doing what I'm told. Not doing it the second time I'm told. Running, jumping, yelling, laughing, falling down, skipping stairs, lying in the snow, rolling in the grass, playing in the dirt, walking in mud, not wiping my feet, not taking my shoes off. Sliding down the banister, acting like a wild Indian in the hallway. Making a mess and leaving it. Pissing my pants, just a little. Peeing the bed, hardly at all. Sleeping with a butter knife under my pillow. Shitting the bed because I was sick and it just ran out of me, but still my fault because I'm old enough to know better. Saying shit instead of crap or poop or number two. Not knowing better. Knowing something and doing it wrong anyway. Lying. Not confessing the truth even when I don't know it. Telling white lies, even little ones, because fibbing isn't fooling and not the least bit funny. Laughing at anything that's not funny, especially cripples and retards. Covering up my white lies with more lies, black lies. Not coming the exact second I'm called. Getting out of bed too early, sometimes before the birds, and turning on the TV, which is one reason the picture tube died. Wearing out the cheap plastic hole on the channel selector by turning it so fast it sounds like a machine gun. Playing flip-and-catch with the TV's volume button then losing it down the hole next to the radiator pipe. Vomiting. Gagging like I'm going to vomit. Saying puke instead of vomit. Throwing up anyplace but in the toilet or in a designated throw-up bucket. Using scissors on my hair. Cutting Kelly's doll's hair really short. Pinching Kelly. Punching Kelly even though she kicked me first. Tickling her too hard. Taking food without asking. Eating sugar from the sugar bowl. Not sharing. Not remembering to say please and thank you. Mumbling like an idiot. Using the emergency flashlight to read a comic book in bed because batteries don't grow on trees. Splashing in puddles, even the puddles I don't see until it's too late. Giving my mother's good rhinestone earrings to the teacher for Valentine's Day. Splashing in the bathtub and getting the floor wet. Using the good towels. Leaving the good towels on the floor, though sometimes they fall all by themselves. Eating crackers in bed. Staining my shirt, tearing the knee in my pants, ruining my good clothes. Not changing into old clothes that don't fit the minute I get home. Wasting food. Not eating everything on my plate. Hiding lumpy mashed potatoes and butternut squash and rubbery string beans or any food I don't like under the vinyl seat cushions Mom bought for the wooden kitchen chairs. Leaving the butter dish out in summer and ruining the tablecloth. Making bubbles in my milk. Using a straw like a pee shooter. Throwing tooth picks at my sister. Wasting toothpicks and glue making junky little things that no one wants. School papers. Notes from the teacher. Report cards. Whispering in church. Sleeping in church. Notes from the assistant principal. Being late for anything. Walking out of Woolworth's eating a candy bar I didn't pay for. Riding my bike in the street. Leaving my bike out in the rain. Getting my bike stolen while visiting Grandpa Rudy at the hospital because I didn't put a lock on it. Not washing my feet. Spitting. Getting a nosebleed in church. Embarrassing my mother in any way, anywhere, anytime, especially in public. Being a jerk. Acting shy. Being impolite. Forgetting what good manners are for. Being alive in all the wrong places with all the wrong people at all the wrong times.