Four of them.
You know I'm no June Cleaver, but I do try to at least keep the place clean and food in the fridge and cupboards. Ironing has never been my strong suit.
This afternoon, as I dodged steam and re-ironed the wrinkles that formed after I'd already gone over that particular area six times already, I was grateful that we have jobs. Jobs that pay us money. Money that I gladly give the dry cleaner every other week or so to wash and iron Jeff's dress shirts.
My mother loved to iron, but my father built houses for a living. He wore dress shirts to church -- and yes, we went twice on Sunday, Wednesday night and every night for a week during summer tent revival. Jeff wears a tie just about every day. Sometimes he takes the stick out of his, I mean sometimes he dresses down on Fridays, but he's a suit kind of guy.
He wore a suit Friday to drop Ali off at the airport just in case there was some trouble at the gate as we did our first "unaccompanied minor" transaction. He thinks -- probably rightly so -- that the better dressed you are, the better regard strangers afford you.
He had actually planned to iron the shirts himself, but he has a tendency to put off the things he doesn't really want to do. So I made a deal with him that if he cooked, I'd iron. Silly, silly me. He would have cooked anyway.
But there I was, reverted to a 1950's housewife. I can't remember the last time we had a can of spray starch in this house. And I'd forgotten how tricky it is to use the pointy end of the ironing board to get the sleeves right. Oy. Four shirts is a lot.
And yes, I might have cursed the tailor who quite ably made the shirts Jeff found on sale a little more snug than the other shirts that hang in his closet and, since he really focused on getting in shape, need a bit of tailoring, too. If that tailor wants me to love him as much as I love the John at Atlas DryCleaning on Keystone, he'll iron the damn things after he takes them in.
I believe I managed not to scorch any of the shirts, but there may be patches where they're not exactly wrinkle-free. I think Jeff should keep his suit jacket on until these shirts go to the cleaners.
In other news, Alison got off to the airport just fine, and she and Auntie Jen and Uncle Peter are having a fine time. She's made breakfast the past couple of days and seems to be adjusting well. I've heard from her a couple of times. This morning she called to tell me that the lake is full of loons and they call to each other across the way all the time.
In our Date Week, so far, Jeff and I have had drinks at his fancy "The Libertine" bar; taken a long bike ride that went miles beyond where the Monon is paved; went to a party; and have plans for more adult-ish kind of fun.
I have to say that while I'm very grateful for the dry cleaner, I'm even more grateful that Jennifer and Peter have set this time apart to have Alison out there with them. It means a lot to me that they want to spend their own time with her. And again, I'm grateful we have jobs that enable us to afford these things.
Ali loves all of her Maine family, of course, and the visits we've made together have all created wonderful memories.
But this is different. She's on her own -- sort of. And having adventures that she gets to create without a parent hanging around.
The afternoon before she flew off, we were out doing last-minute things and talking about the trip. "I think we should do this every year," she said.
I laughed and said said Auntie Jen might have something to say about that -- and that we should ask her at the END of the week if she was open to the idea of an annual trip.
Alison was aghast at the idea that she couldn't be a welcome guest for more than 7 days. I reminded her that Jennifer wasn't used to have kids around that long and that she was used to being around adults more.
"Oh, so she might say words I can't say?" Alison asked.
I laughed again. "Oh you won't have that kind of trouble with Jen," I said.
"Right," Ali agreed. "That's James and David. You know I banned myself from their canoe after I learned seven words that time we went on the river."