With two people in a marriage training and racing, a lot of laundry goes through the cycle on a weekly basis. My wife Sue is in training for Ironman Louisville. Summer calls for two workouts a day in combinations of running, riding and swimming. Both our sweaty stuff piles up in the bedroom hamper. We haul it down and start the rehabilitation process, because most of the time it is rather stinky.
When the basket fills with clean, good-smelling gear, sometimes along with the stuff we wear in the rest of our life, it’s time to sort and separate it all. I’ve grown to like those quiet moments taking stuff out of the basket and putting it in piles. This morning there was a northerly breeze puffing through the bedroom window and the smells of nature came wafting in. I stood by the bed pulling out my stuff first, because there was less of it. I’m only training for sprints and Olympics. Less miles, less laundry.
Sue’s things are smaller than mine on her 5’9″ frame. She’s lean and fit from all her training. Her sports bras are similarly lean and fit. They curl in a pile of their own.
Her running shorts are colorful and equally brief. They show off her strong legs. I like that too. Those go into their own pile as well.
Then come all the little tops she throws over the sports bras in various configurations. Some are stringy at the shoulders, and there’s not much material to them overall. I think of her strong shoulders and arms. She looks good. Trains hard. Swims well. And the sun on her tanned shoulders with the Ironman tattoo peeking out behind the straps? Priceless.
Next come the panties pile, and I’ll admit that’s the fun part. She has her favorite sets of black bottoms, and I know she’s out for serious training when those go on. A woman needs some practical, functional panties for all sorts of reasons. There needs to be something you can trust down there. The outward facing parts have a touch and go relationship with whatever material sits closest to the vortex of the lap. One quickly develops a favorite if it works. Same goes for men.
And then I throw the pretty ones on top of that. They’re fun to buy for her. There’s an English gal at the local Victoria’s Secret who grabs you buy the arm and says, “C’mon love, let’s find something nice for her. And if you don’t, you can buy something nice for me.” She’s funny. And fun.
Sue’s swimsuits are an entirely different subject. She’s a woman who loves the water. The suits she chooses seem to celebrate that. When I’m at the pool with her, I marvel at how much she seems to thrive in the water. The feel of it. When she emerges I will confess to taking in her glorious sheen, the shape of her body in the suit. Those are moments of both lust and pride in me. I offer no apologies for that.
This morning when the laundry I was about to sort and lay it out, she showed up from swim coaching and smiled. “So, you’re going to tackle all that? Thank you.”
But it’s not a burden. Not when I am the beneficiary of all these sweet thoughts and reminders of our miles together. We roll through the good days and the bad. That’s what the concept of marriage, and training partners, is really all about. Our laundry tells the story of this kinship. We are together and apart in all the right ways. Shoulder to shoulder. Sock to sock. Short to short.
It’s all there in the laundry.