No, not a stoplight. No, those are the colours of the three crayons that were in the pocket of his winter coat. When I washed it. And dried it. Along with his only pair of ski pants, and both of his brothers’ only winter coats. And ski pants.
I can tell you now with the voice of experience: three crayons? Can make one hell of an unholy mess.
I spent the first 15 minutes frantically googling “crayon melted in dryer.” A lot of the sites, including the official Crayola stain-removal site, advocated the use of WD-40. Seriously? Oil? In my not-yet-six-month-old dryer? Um, no.
I spent the rest of the first hour hanging half way out of the dryer, scrubbing the snot (well, wax) out of the interior drum with one of those plastic pot scrubber jobbies and then wiping it clean with an old towel. Run on hot for 10 minutes to get everything melty, and repeat. Oh and by the way? When it’s hot enough to melt the wax, the dryer is not so much a comfortable place to hang out.
The next hour I spent trying to get the baked-on wax off of the lint trap. Seeing the effectiveness of heat in the wax-removal process, I briefly debated nuking the lint trap to loosen up the worst of the wax, but I couldn’t be sure that the screen was not either metal or meltable. And having just finished lunch I wasn’t particularly hungry for sautÃ©ed lint trap anyway.
In a flash of brilliance, I boiled a kettle and poured the boiling water in small doses onto the lint trap to loosen the wax. This worked really well except for the part where the lint trap is porous and I poroused boiling water all over my hand, resulting in the first (but not last) official burn of the day.
About ninety minutes into the project, I had stopped envisioning ways to exact revenge on both the boy who thinks winter-coat-pockets are an ideal place to store crayons and the boy who played in the mud in his ski pants and inspired me to wash everyone’s snow suits in the first place. In fact, I’d hit a zen kind of headspace where the mindlessness of the work — pick at crayon embedded in crease with fingernail, run under hot water, pick again, scrub with corner of old facecloth, repeat, repeat, repeat — allowed me to write some really excellent blog posts in my head. Oh, but this blog post is not one of them. Nope, I forgot all of those clever, witty and endearing ones when a squirrel ran past the window.
(Joke: How many ADD kids does it take to change a lightbulb? LET’S GO RIDE OUR BIKES!!! Bwhahaha, it’s funny cuz it’s ME!)
Interestingly, apparently our lint trap is the only one in existence with 375 sides. I say this because that’s exactly how many times I sighed in satisfaction at finally liberating the lint trap from its waxy pox, only to turn it over and find a fresh patch of baked-on crayon scat.
Two kettles of water later, the lint trap was now the cleanest ever known to man and I was intimately familiar with each crack and crevice. Why they make lint traps with so many wax-friendly crevices is beyond me, by the way. When I’m Queen of the Universe the very first thing I’m going to do is de-crevice all the lint traps, so help me god.
Now more than two hours into Operation I-Hate-Crayola, I set up the ironing board and proceeded to iron an entire roll of paper towels. I can now assure you we have the crispest, flattest paper towels in town. Because nothing says “productive use of a precious Sunday afternoon” like ironing paper towels. In fact, all the time spent ironing those paper towels gave me plenty of time to think about the things that I could be achieving, like cleaning the house. Or reading a book. Or earning a graduate degree in quantum physics. Or having a root canal. I’d’ve been happy doing just about anything, in fact, defined as several hours of not ironing paper towels.
Oh yeah, and the iron? Second official burn of the day.
Now, to give credit where credit is due, I was tickled at how effective the ironing-the-paper-towel trick turned out to be. Melted crayon magically disengages from snowsuit and adheres to paper towel when you press a hot iron to it. Well, yellow crayon completely disengages itself from snowsuit fabric. Green comes most of the way out. And red? Well, red doesn’t really seem to bond with the paper towel at all. In fact, they seem kind of adversarial. I’m thinking maybe red crayon and paper towel used to go out, and then when paper towel started wanting different things, red crayon took the breakup really hard and left all sorts of drunken, late-night messages on paper towel’s answering machine, because really? They didn’t hang out together at all.
And yes, you bet your ass I did in fact go through all the crayon boxes in the house (yes, we have a few) and picked out all the red crayons and threw them in the trash as a preemptive strike. Cuz you know there’s going to be a next time.
Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending. After one hour of scrubbing the dryer drum, one hour of dewaxing the lint trap, two hours ironing paper towels and snow-suits and one 75 minute sanitary wash, all three snowsuits are virtually crayon-free. Close enough for end-of-season, anyway.
My fingernails, on the other hand, are a green, yellow and red write-off…