After about seven years of hearing, "All I ever do is laundry around here!" Alison devised a way to ease my load: she'd throw her underwear away instead of putting it in the hamper. However, there was one flaw in her logic, which she discovered after about a week when she went to get dressed for a Brownie field trip.
Around seven one Saturday morning, she came into my room and told me she didn't have any underwear.
"That's ridiculous," I replied. "Everyone in this family has underwear."
She looked at me and said, "I don't."
"Well, what happened to it?"
"I don't know."
"Did you have any yesterday?"
"What happened to those?"
"I don't know."
This line of questioning went on until I decided to search the house myself. Sure enough, she was right: No underwear anywhere. And she had to get dressed and to her Brownie outing by 9:30.
After repeatedly urging her, "Come on, I won't get mad--just tell me where your underwear went," I finally got Alison to confess.
We got the story out in the open and I kept my promise not to get mad, but that didn't change the fact that she still didn't have any underwear to wear (except for the pair she'd thrown away the night before). We dug that pair out of the trash with the plan that I'd wash them in the sink and put them in the dryer so Alison could be ready in time.
I thought it was a foolproof idea; I didn't count on the dryer conking out.
I went to plan B.
I remembered my mom used to take our wet shoes and put them in the oven to dry off. I figured: Shoes--underwear, what's the difference?
I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, spread out her panties on a cookie sheet, set the timer for twenty minutes, then went to get myself dressed.
Twenty minutes passed. Ding! The timer went off, Alison and I raced into the kitchen, and she asked, "Are they dry, Mom?" I lifted up the charred remains (the rest having crumbled on the floor).
Our eyes grew wide and our mouths dropped open as we stared at Fruit of the Loom dust all over the kitchen.
"Yep," I told her. "They're dry."
I ended up driving all over the county for the next hour, trying to find a store that sold little girls' underwear that was open on a Saturday morning. We found one at nine, Alison made it to her Brownie outing in time, and from then on, I've used cookie sheets only for baking cookies.