I matched up socks today. I know that shouldn't be a big deal, but we have a sock problem at our house. It goes along with our laundry problem. Matching up dozens and dozens of socks has become a quarterly ritual with us. Sort of like paying taxes. We don't like doing it, but we feel better when we're done with this inevitable chore.
It seems like all the socks should get washed and dried and matched back up again in a timely manner, but there's something wrong with our sock system, and we end up with baskets full of mismatched socks. When I say baskets, I mean that several times a year, we end up with at least three large laundry baskets filled with practically every clean sock in the house.
Some of these socks are baby socks, and need to be given away. What I mean is, they are socks the kids had when they were little, but I do think some of the adult socks sit at the bottom of the basket for so long, that they get bored and mate. Then, they create this new breed of socks that no one recognizes, and we scratch our heads and say "where did these come from?"
But those could just be the kids' friend's socks lost here at sleepovers. It has happened.
At first, the baskets fill slowly, so we can usually find the matches. Then, something weird happens and the mismatched socks multiply at an alarming rate, and the baskets get scattered around the house. The children scramble for socks in the mornings, trying to remember which basket they might have seen somewhere that holds the match to the sock they're holding.
Then, when it gets critical, and they have a hard time finding matches, they just keep wearing the same socks over and over. Well, the boy does, anyway. Little boys don't seem to have a smell gene that detects dirty socks.
The big girl just skips socks, and secretly slips on her snow boots without socks, right before the bus is due to arrive, so there's no time to argue with her about smelly boots and frost-bitten toes. The middle girl wears mismatched socks. The husband starts saying "Where are all the socks? Why does this keep happening? There must be a better way..."
I say the system is flawed because of inefficiency. But my husband, who's taken over the majority of the laundry duties since he's been home for the past couple of years, reminds me that we had the same problem when I was in charge of the laundry for 10 years.
I then remind him that I had three little kids home 24/7 back then, and he's been in charge when they're at school, and I could help him figure out a more efficient way to handle the socks if he'd just listen to my ideas about sorting them by color and size until we have time to match them...
He then reminds me that he is actually quite skilled at efficiency theory, and in fact, is now making a career out of it, and that this really doesn't have anything to do with efficiency, it's more of a time issue, and that we should really all wear the same colored socks, or at least all have the same white socks and the same black socks, because that would truly make everything easier, and that if I'd like to define, and argue about efficiency theory, bring it on.
He is not being mean, he just knows that I like that phrase, but really don't know much about what it means in the mathematical sense, and that if I insist on throwing out phrases I don't really understand, he will win any argument I choose to start.
But he doesn't really understand fashion the way I do, and the way girls do. He and the boy can wear white socks every day for years and not care, or wear black socks every day.
The middle girl and I need our socks to match our pants. In theory. We will pretend mismatched socks are a current fashion fad, when desperate times call for desperate measures, of course, but we like things to match. The big girl would prefer being barefoot, or wearing flip flops if she must, so the sock thing isn't really a big concern for her, I'll admit.
So anyway, what usually happens, is every once in a while, I spend several hours on a Saturday matching up socks. I think I matched up 120 pair today. I know that seems like a lot. It is, because my husband and I both sneak out and buy new socks when we can't stand the match up game every morning before the bus deadline.
We know this only adds to the sock problem, but its complicated, and not so logical at this point. It's marriage, after all, not rocket science.
I'd like to think the sock situation will change, but until we can afford to hire a full time sock matcher who spends his or her day matching our family's socks, I'm not going to hold my breath.
In the meantime, I'm so happy and proud to see those piles and piles of socks all matched up and happy with their mates, even if it just happens a few times a year. Some things are just meant to be together, next to each other, all snug and cozy in a dark place, like a drawer.
Tomorrow, I'll just put those extra few mismatched socks in a basket until all the laundry is finished. Then I'll match them up right away. I swear.