Everything was going swimmingly this morning. I'd read the instruction manual for our new dishwasher and I could actually understand it; I did a pile of ironing; cleaned the kitchen; prepped tonight's dinner for the me and the Successful Other Half and tea for our three young kids.
The sun was shining (on and off). The doors were open. The scent of spring wafted (well, blew like a hurricane) through the house. Life was good. I was on a roll. And then, like a gambling addict, I had to Push My Luck.
"I know what - I'll put a wash on. It'll be dry in no time in this weather. I might even take the kids to the park for an ice cream after school," I mused.
I dived into the washing basket like a bungee jumper, grabbing armfuls of trousers and shirts and dresses and tops.
Now at this point, Dear Experienced Washday Reader, I know what you're thinking, you're thinking: "He's going to sort them out into darks and whites, cottons and synthetics, isn't he? WELL, ISN'T HE?"
No. Life is far too short on such a lovely day to be separating one unknown material from another unknown material; to be deciphering the hieroglyphics on labels that are seemingly placed in different places on garments with the seeming soul reason to confuse the Less Educated In These Matters.
Bung! In it all went. A splash of liquid followed, then a soupcon of conditioner. Short wash. Half an hour. Ten minutes to hang them up, then I'd be out in a beer garden feeling the sun on my face. Job's a good 'un!
I retired to my 'office' aka back bedroom and waited. Sent a few emails. Tweeted a few Tweets. Then 'Beep beep beep' beeped through the house like a Mermaid's siren. I whistled like Val Doonican on happy pills as I headed to the kitchen.
Good moods are elusive these days, so I live in their moment when they happen and one was happening now. Open the door. Look inside. Reach inside. Retrieve.
But what was this....this....horror? Why was everything - especially the Successful Other Half's Very Expensive Black Work Tunic - covered in a fine layer of white speckles?
I pulled and retrieved, pulled and retrieved, until every last item - even the inevitable stray sock that stays glued to the drum - was out on the kitchen floor.
And as my panicking eyes focused on the soggy pile before me, the dreadful realisation dawned that every last item was similarly afflicted.
"She's going to kill me," I thought. "She's going to do her effing-jeffing nut."
I started to curse. It was the Kids Wot Done It. Had to be. Couldn't be my fault. No way, no how. Not me, no Sirree.
I knew what the problem was. My wife, before she was my Successful Other Half, before we'd swapped roles and I'd once offered to Do Her A Favour by taking the load off by putting a load in, had told me to Always Check The Pockets.
She knows her stuff, my SOH. She knows the perils of the Forgotten Kleenex or the Abandoned Coin. She's been there, seen it, got the tissue-flecked T-shirt to prove it.
I went online, surveyed forums. There had to be a solution to this problem. T'internet ALWAYS had a solution.
And it did: 'Let them dry and and wash them again.' Cue sound of deflating balloon. The beer garden would have to wait.
So I did as instructed, turned the heating up to max. on this glorious Spring lunchtime, and then, while sitting in my underpants in the sweltering heat, blasted the laundry into dryness.
Then back to the washing machine, but this time with a valuable lesson learned. I read the labels. Turned stuff inside-out. Checked the pockets.
And there, in my jeans - my jeans - was the offending article.
A very small, but very powerful ball of scrunched up tissue paper.
Don't tell the Working Wife. She has bigger things to worry about.