Monday, November 9, 2009

Ironed Out

“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.”

- Henry David Thoreau

For those of you who thought I was exaggerating about the amount of ironing required in this house, my iron died. Last night, when I was pressing my clothes, since my husband caught up on most of his shirts and khakis (which I felt guilty about, but I had slacked when subbing, so he started, and refused to put down the iron after my repeated pleas), the iron coughed a small cloud of smoke on my new blouse. Though odd, I wasn’t upset because I always put my clothes inside out – no damage done. I just brushed the powder aside and began to iron once again. But after a minute, wrinkles had ceased to smooth. I glanced at the iron, to discover it no longer had its red light lit. I switched outlets, but it made no difference. Nor did tipping it, turning dials, or pressing buttons. The iron was dead.

You may think I’d be joyous over such an event. But I’m cheap, which meant that I needed to invest in a new iron or begin to pay for dry-cleaning. When an appliance dies, I just admit defeat, but my husband sees if he can “fix” it. I would have no clue where to begin figuring what was wrong with an item, and if I did, I wouldn't know what to do about it. But he’ll take off the bottom of a laptop, or, in this case, take apart the iron. Sometimes it works, but unfortunately, he deemed the iron unfixable; so off to Bed, Bath, and Beyond I had to go.

After dropping off the kids at school this morning, I made my way to the store, which is a feat in itself, trekking through Union Square, finding McGrath Highway, and looping around Assembly Square. Once I found the shopping center, and the irons, I had another dilemma. For one brand, there were five kinds, ranging in price from $39.99 to $139.99, all seeming to pretty much do the same thing – iron. I called my husband to check, and found out the one that seemed the best for the money was $20 cheaper. Even with my 20% off store coupon, I’d still save $12 buying it on-line. Did I mention I was cheap? So, yes, I did leave without an iron (but I bought pants hangers). As soon as I got home, I ordered the iron, hoping it would arrive before our pressed clothes ran out.

When my husband first got his better job, I used a woefully inadequate $10 or $20 iron that was from a store that’s no longer in business. At some point it dawned on me that even if I pushed the iron over the same stretch of fabric, it still wasn’t going to flatten, so we bought a better one. Now, just over a year later, the iron broke, so spending any money to already have to buy a new one seems unjust. My mother-in-law suggested I write to company, complaining about their shoddy iron, but even if I do, I still need one now.

Each of us has the items we’re willing to fork over good money to buy and the items for which we can’t imagine laying out cash. I, for one, will not pay someone to tweeze my eyebrows. Even when I glimpse photos of myself, revealing that they could use improvement, I will no longer succumb. Each time I’ve broken down and done it, the poor things get plucked so thin that I look surprised, and worry for weeks that they won’t grow back evenly. I cannot consider paying for a massage, which seems like an unecessary indulgence. Once, my sister got me a gift certificate to a spa, which I used for a blowout (before flat-irons became the rage, I couldn’t straighten my hair on my own, and had only paid for blow-outs a few times – another thing I was too cheap to pay for) and to buy hair products. But I’m no saint when it comes to spending money on other items, as I’m sure my husband could compile a long list. I promise that my long list would not include an iron.

Since I’d already worked very hard spending time not buying an iron in the store, I had to fill up the rest of my day that had not been filled with a sub job. I accomplished this by baking a double recipe of meatballs to share with a family friend who is recovering surgery. The rest of the day was spent working on writing. First, I submitted something to an on-line parents magazine, which I won’t bother referencing unless they buy it. Then I saw a contest for a Thanksgiving essay, and if I win, I’ll get a free on-line class on essay writing, which I’m sure I could use – especially since I seem to be writing more essays than novels of late. After that, I worked on this post. I’m feeling prolific.

Although I feel guilty that I’m not contributing to a paycheck today (unless my piece gets published, and then I’ll get $25, but I don’t know if that amount counts), I’m happy that at least I can’t iron.


  1. : j Ironing. We have a second-hand iron we never use. I have to say I love not working a job where I need ironed clothes.

  2. The nice thing about summer is I don't have to iron any of my work clothes, so there's less drudgery for me right now.