Listen to this article

I love when my mom visits. It’s always interesting and often full of surprises, especially her last trip.

In our marriage, Thomas and I have moved over 20 times. And at each new place, my mom has added a little bling, primarily to the guest bathroom. It’s always the same thing, and it always benefits her.

She’s a fan of the rainfall showerhead. Now, I’m not necessarily saying we wait for my mom to visit before updating our shower, but ... OK fine, we wait.

But our newest home has all the bells and whistles, including a rainfall showerhead and a light that automatically comes on when you open the laundry room door. Because who doesn’t want to be able to immediately see the piles of dirty laundry everywhere?

My mom’s old school, which means she does her laundry on a regular basis. I’ve been known to do the sniff test.

“I can’t find my favorite shirt,” any one of our girls will say at least once a week. “Can you use your super power and find it, please?”


And off to the laundry room I go. More often than not, it’s at the bottom of a pile of dirty clothes. A good shake to get rid of wrinkles, a quick sniff to determine the number of perfume squirts needed, then, “I found it!”

“You’re the best!”

Unfortunately, my mom doesn’t think I’m the best.

“Did you pull that shirt out of the dirty clothes?”


“I don’t understand how you have so much dirty laundry. Let’s start a load. You’ll feel so much happier when you can see the floor.”

“I feel pretty happy when I keep the door closed.”

The first day of her visit was spent doing laundry ... lots of laundry.

In keeping with my laundry system, the loads of clean, unfolded clothes were mountained on the dining room table, but not for long. My mom made me fold the clothes AND put them away.

“Let’s wash the bed sheets,” my mom said.

Now those, I do keep on top of. “I washed them the day before you got here.”

“But are they mountain fresh?”

“I think I used the fresh-linen scent.”

“You live in the Rockies. You should be line drying them outside. There’s nothing like sleeping on sun-dried sheets.”

“That’s even more work,” I whined. “Wouldn’t you rather go antiquing?”

“We can do both.”

And that’s what we did ... and when we got home, doing laundry took a whole different turn.

“I’ll start another load,” my mom said, “and you take the sheets off the line.”


It’s a bit of a challenge to take sheets off the line without letting them fall on the ground. It’s a skill ... I don’t have it. I did OK with the pillowcase, but fitted sheets are not only a challenge to fold, but really easy to get a foot hooked in a corner, trip, and have to brush off bits of nature.

As I tossed the last sheet in the laundry basket, Olivia yelled from her bedroom window, “I can’t find my favorite jeans.” Since it was in her dresser, she was baffled. All this laundry business was making our lives harder.

I ran to help and completely forgot about the sheets. As the day wore on, the temperature warmed, as did the sheets.

While preparing dinner, I noticed the basket in the backyard. I knew if my mom saw, we’d be rewashing them.

I snuck the basket into the living room and she was none the wiser ... well, until after dinner.

“Do we really have to fold them?” I asked. “We’re literally going to put them immediately on the bed.”She didn’t even answer and pulled on the next sheet. It didn’t budge. “It’s stuck.” She pulled a little harder, and that’s when I noticed the sheets were moving. “Um, mom.”

She continued to pull.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

She cocked her head, listening. “Sweetie, do you hear a sprinkler?”

“No, and you need to back up very slowly.”

And that’s when my mom noticed a pair of eyes staring at her from one of the fitted sheet corners. “WHAT. IS. THAT?”

“I’m going with snake.”

“Why do you have a snake in your house?”

“It’s not a pet!”

“What’s not a pet?” Thomas asked as he walked past us into the kitchen.

“The rattlesnake in the laundry basket,” I said, backing away slowly.

As usual, my champion came to the rescue. While the snake and my mom were having a staring contest, Thomas slipped into the room and tossed a blanket on top of the basket. He quickly high-tailed it outside and left the snake to either enjoy a nap on a pile of clean sheets or slither off into nature.

I peeked out the window, “Well, that was scary.”

“It could’ve been worse,” my mom said. “You could’ve woken with it in your bed.”

“If that had happened, then my sheets would no longer be sun-dried nor mountain fresh.”

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in Champaign and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.