Last year, through a series of mishaps (mine) and one generous act (my sister and brother-in-law's), I ended up the owner of some very nice cotton sheets. With monograms! Because even though monograms are ridiculous, everyone secretly loves them. Here's what else they love: sleeping on ironed, white cotton sheets. Which is pretty easy to do at any mid-level hotel these days, but harder to pull off at home, because—well, ironing.
Here's the thing, though: I love ironing. I have loved it since I learned how to do it properly, back in high school. There was a sunny little room in our house dedicated to sewing and/or guests, neither of which seemed to happen much, so mostly, I'd truck on up there after school, or some other time when it was still light, and iron everything in the house that was made of cotton. My stepfather had the best deal going on pressed shirts, and I got to comfort myself with a useful, repetitive activity and syndicated TV.
Over the past year, I looked forward to Friday nights not because I was going out, tearing up the town, but because Friday day was laundry day, and after laundry day came ironing night. Ironing plus Quincy. Ironing plus Law & Order. Ironing plus Inspector Morse. Very, very soothing.
And then, after I put the crisp sheets on the bed and made it up just so, I'd take a good hot bath or shower and slip into something that felt as good as a freshly made bed the first night of a hotel stay, only better, because it was in my house, which meant I wouldn't stub my toe on the way to a strange bathroom in the middle of the night, and that I'd be able to have my coffee when and how I liked it in the morning without getting out of my pajamas. When I get the single, raised eyebrow in response to my odd domestic habit—as, believe me, I do—I hasten to assure people that this is not my perfectionism raining down on my own parade, but a joyous act of deep self-care. Crisp sheets! Procedural dramas! Don't knock it 'til you've tried it, folks.
However, there is a point where self-care turns into self-basting, and that point is when the thermometer you keep in the coolest place in the apartment, 12 inches from where you do your ironing, reads "94ºF".
Did you know you can watch Inspector Morse in bed, lying on wrinkled sheets, and sleep just as well? Me, neither.