Way back in the day, when I found myself in the office of dear friend and campus minister Brian *r to discuss my burning desire to marry Dowlan (whom I was not even dating at this point) I was met with a very unexpected response. I didn't hear, "Yes, I think you would be wonderful together." Nor did I hear, "No! Wow. That would be a disastrous coupling."
I heard, instead, "Dowlan needs a wife--if for no other reason than to have someone tell him, 'No, honey, you can't possibly wear that in public.' "
With that promising start, my quest to become Mrs. Dowlan began.
As a new bride, I considered it part of my calling from God to weed through the clothing that arrived with the rest of his belongings and 'separate the sheep from the goats,' so to speak. For those of you wondering why the wool v. mohair was of such grave concern, please know that it is a Biblical reference that basically means to sort through the masses and get rid of the crap. And I did. With vigor.
Among things exorcised from our home were underwear you could read a paper through (but I just got them broken in!), t-shirts with collars, cuffs and hems so worn that they were now separate pieces of fabric held together at the seams instead of one piece rolled and tacked (but I like that shirt!), and a pair of coral-colored pants (they were salmon!) with a matching shirt so heinous that therapy was required for the PTSD that viewing it caused (see, it matches!).
I also did crazy things like not make room in our closet and dressers for all 200 pairs of socks and underwear whose compilation was a result of the desire to do laundry only semi-annually. I did crazy things like limit him to 14 pairs of underwear, 10 of light socks and 10 of dark, then throw the rest in the top of the closet to 'save for later.' I also developed this bizarre policy that laundry in our household was to be done on a weekly basis (which became daily once the third child arrived.)
Despite my heroic and valiant efforts I have miserably failed in this quest. I realized that when we had this conversation:
Dowlan: (kiss) I'm off to the hardware store, honey.
Gretchen: Honey, you forgot to put on pants. Are you that sleep deprived?
D: Those are my jams.
G: Jams? Jams? How the h*$% did I miss those?
D: Yeah, my jams. Do you remember jams?
G: Yes. I was wearing them the day the Challenger Exploded. When I was in the second grade. In 1986.
D: Yeah, those. He heads for the door.
G: Honey, you can't possibly wear that in public.
Brian *r was right.