loads of embarrassment

I think if I were any younger, I would have crawled in a hole today and stayed there for the duration.

As it is, however, I’m 40, and much more equipped to let the things of life that might have sent me into hiding a decade ago or more pass on by without too much fuss.

But it was embarrassing, if only for a moment, when I showed up at Hornbacher’s this morning with my minivan fully loaded (with dirty clothes, that is), ready to take Tide up on its offer to take on our family’s dirty laundry for free, only to find out you can only bring two loads per person, and each person has to be present.


I wrote about Tide’s Loads of Hope program last week after a friend sent me an email message with the announcement and asked me to pass it on (read that here). The company had chosen Fargo, due to the recent flooding we’ve experienced, as the latest recipient of its charitable program offering ten days of free clothes washing, drying and sorting. But still, it seemed too good to be true. Were they truly willing to take on my laundry pile? Or, was there some glitch, some fine printing I hadn’t yet read?

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go through with it in the first place. Certainly, there are others more deserving than I. At the same time, the program has been heralded as targeting anyone in the community, regardless of age, occupation and/or how deeply the flood changed their lives. The premise is that, in one form or another, we all have been affected by this natural disaster. So, fine, okay, and, yes, I’m behind on my laundry, and, are you kidding? I mean really: chance of a lifetime here. After hearing from my oldest son this morning that, once again, he could find no matching socks…well, that pushed me over the edge. I decided to go for it.

It took me about a half-hour just to bag up all our dirty laundry and get it into the van. I was childless for the morning, which seemed perfect. I knew it would be impossible to haul all our laundry PLUS the kids to the grocery store where the truck was parked. However, when I arrived and learned the conditions of the drop-off, then noted the size of the handy Tide bags into which the clothes were to be placed, and glanced back at my laundry-filled van (which likely comprised about twenty bags’ worth of clothes), I realized all the work I’d just done loading my van would be mostly in vain. Two bags out of twenty would have made a dent, but just a dent. My only sensible option would be to go home and remove some of the clothes, wait until my van was at least partially filled with children, then come back. So I returned this afternoon with four of my five chicks and filled and handed over ten bags of laundry (five times two).

Hopefully this will not cause a premature shut-down of the program. Hopefully Tide understood when it made its offer to wash our community’s clothes that a few of us might have an abundance of dirty laundry. I certainly don’t wish to take advantage of the company’s generosity. After all, as long as our clothes make it back to us (I did read the fine print about not being responsible for lost or damaged clothes), I will be one of many here singing the praises of Tide for weeks to come.

Finally, this could well be the last time I catch a glimpse of the bottom of my laundry pile, so, for prosperity’s sake, here it is. (Nevermind the random socks that didn’t make it into the van, not to mention the whistle, shell necklace, plastic bbs, Batman glove, nickel, beads, pink shorts or lint.) 

Drum roll pulease….

TA DA! (Thanks Tide. Who knew there was a vent hiding back there?!)