John Norberg, humor columnist s

I have a confession. I've been laundering my money. I have also been laundering my wallet, my credit cards, my driver's license and a photo of me with an enormous steelhead fish.

The fact is I have the cleanest wallet in town. I have washed it three times in the past two weeks alone.

I like a thin wallet. Therefore I don't always notice it's still in my pocket when I dump my pants in the washer.

This is a huge problem. I don’t care about the money or my license, but I'm ruining that photo of me with the fish -- and it was darn hard to fake . . . or, rather catch.

I end up in the bathroom running a hair dryer over my money. Fortunately, I never have too much money so it doesn't take too much time.

I grew up in the era when women ran the washing machine and men repaired it. Today things are very different. I'm expected to help with the wash but I can't do it and I'm expected to repair the washing machine but the last time I tired . . . let's just say the basement ceiling and rug have never been the same.

Washing clothes is an enigma. It's a little known fact that Winston Churchill's wife left the laundry for him to deal with one day and that’s’ when he declared the wash "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." He could understand Russia. What he couldn't understand was how to deal with his wife's blouses that said "wash me separately, cold water only, mild detergent.”

What makes a woman’s blouse so special that it can’t take a spin with a man’s socks, towels and blue jeans?

Washing is confusing. My wife has a blouse that is white and blue. Do I put it with the white stuff or the blue stuff? Or do I just shred it and put the white with the white and the blue with the blue? Whichever way I go I see dire consequences. And not just for the blouse. I’m talking about me.          Wife: "Can you do the wash while I'm at the grocery store?"

Me: "No."

Wife: "Why not. We agreed to share household work."

Me: "I'm afraid of the wash. One little mistake and things change color, things shrink, things come out wrinkled, husbands get blamed."

Question: Do a man's socks and underwear coming out of the dryer need to be folded before being put away?

Answer: No, not if you can get them hidden in your drawers before your wife sees them.

Question: What do you do if you shrink your wife's favorite sweater?

Answer: You have three options: One, rush to the store and buy her a new sweater exactly the same as the one you ruined; two, throw the sweater out and when she asks where it is tell her you have no idea; or three, be a man, be honest and truthful and move your pillow and blanket directly to the couch until this passes over. It’s easier for a woman to find a new husband than to replace her favorite sweater.

Wife: "What did you do before we were married when your clothes got dirty?"

I bought new clothes, but this was something I really didn't want her to know.

Wife: "I bet you just threw your dirty clothes away and bought new ones."

Me: "How can you say such a thing?"

Notice that I cleverly outsmarted her and told the truth by not denying it, but not admitting it either.

Wife: “That’s the ‘don’t deny it, don’t admit it’ answer you use when you’re guilty.”

The other day my wife had to go out and she left the wash for me to do. When she got home her clothes were on hangers or folded. They also looked like the right size for a 5-year-old.

Wife: "How long did you dry my clothes?"

Me: "I was watching a game on TV. I didn’t want to deal with the wash during the game and I didn't want your clothes to just lie in the dryer waiting and getting wrinkled. So I kept resetting the dryer to keep it running."

Wife: "How long did you dry my clothes?"

Me: "I don't know. Maybe three hours."

Wife: "On high?

Me: "Of course on high. Hey, I don't do for any of that fluff stuff. I am a man."

Wife: "I know . . . I know . . ."

I wasn't sure if was said as a compliment or complete exasperation.

But I have learned from 32 years of marriage – in the end it will all come out in the wash.          

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