As my sister mentioned on her Facebook page last week, many pairs of socks changed hands (as it were) among the Sikkengas over the holidays. Mom knitted her a pair for her, while I knitted a pair for our brother (well, half a pair—I'm almost finished with them now). Meanwhile, Karen had drawn my name for our gift exchange, and presented me with a box filled with about a dozen different pairs of nice new socks of all kinds. Later, Karen passed on to Henry three pairs of men's white Gold Toe socks, still in the package, that she had found at the thrift shop. They smelled a little mothbally, but they were brand new, and nice and cushy. Great! I took them home and threw them in the wash.
I always sort my laundry very carefully: dark colors, jeans, medium colors, household linens, warm colors, whites and very pale colors—all get washed separately in cold water, with scent-free detergent. Jeans are washed inside out, many things are washed in mesh bags for protection, and silk, fleece, and delicates are air-dried. There are a couple of reasons for all this foofarah. First, I think it makes our clothes last much longer than they otherwise would. Mostly, though, it's about the only part of my life where I really believe I have control. That's why I'm going to be in therapy for years now: washing them made those stupid socks smell even more strongly of mothballs. Not only that, they made the entire load of white and delicates smell strongly of mothballs, including the two new bras that were in the load—one of which I had paid full price for just the day before. Oh, the pain. I turned the water to hot, added some borax, and washed the load again. An even greater reek of mothballs plumed from the washer when I opened the door. I girded my loins, gritted my teeth, and, trying not to breathe, I sorted through the wet stinky clothes and pulled out all six white socks, which took straight out to the garbage. I tossed in a generous scoop of Oxy-Kleen and washed the load again. It still smelled poisonous, but, reluctant to subject the clothes to further torture, I went ahead and dried them. I wish there wasn't this faintly repellent chemical odor emanating from my chest. It can't be healthy. But on the other hand, I haven't seen any moths.