Vastly Different from being Freshly Pressed

In the twenty years we’ve lived in our home, we’ve never had air conditioning. Instead, we open all of the windows, strategically place fans throughout the house, and use heavy antique irons to keep the doors from slamming shut.

Vastly different from being Freshly Pressed, “Ironing wrinkles out of the fabric” is a phrase I use to convey straightening, or smoothing out a situation.

At day’s end, Len may ask, “What did you do today?” If I respond, “I ironed wrinkles out of fabric” he knows full well I spent no time at the ironing board.

Instead, I may have defused an argument, helped someone down-shift accelerated emotions, or assisted a student in their quest for obtaining scholarship funds.

When was the last time you ironed wrinkles out of fabric?


56 thoughts on “Vastly Different from being Freshly Pressed

  1. I’m gratefully free of major wrinkles this day and although the day is young, I am not anticipating any. I see little patchy places that could use an extra swipe of the iron but none that require extra steam or pressure. Thankfully I am not often called upon to tend the laundry of others for in my t-shirt and blue jeans world, I tend to not sweat the small stuff. Well, other than a closet that has some big-time wrinkles to conquer, but in the overall scope of things, I think I am unplugging the iron.

  2. I have never found irons like this(you don’t have this stuff in Miami) but did find a few stands you place them on. One has George Washington face. I have gone through all the collecting stuff but now limited myself to FDR fire place mantel statue clocks 1933. I have the sole premier post entire world on them. google carldagostino fdr clocks part 1 , part 2. Thanks support my blog and happy New Year.

  3. The last time I ironed wrinkles out of fabric was last week when my sister came over for some moral support and a listening ear concerning yet another elder-care crisis and decision. Something I said made sense to her and the new problem suddenly seemed manageable. Serving as a sounding board can be rewarding sometimes…

    I like your idea of using heavy antique irons as door stops!

  4. To answer…
    I spent time doing that this morning, Laurie.
    I admire your collection of irons. I have a steam iron but I never thought of using as a door stop. : )

  5. What a clever way to think about problem solving and assisting a process – clarifying. I think this is the problem you identified in this weeks book review of short stories, the male characters no matter how much prodding or suggestion could not iron out the wrinkles from the fabric…..they were all at a point of being stuck ( not making the change)

    This is just about the time when having made a New Year’s Resolution there is a need for clarification if one is going to find success…so many of us quit right about now.

  6. I’ve been trying to iron out my own wrinkles the last several days. Wrinkles everywhere! Maybe just need to throw the entire self in the washing machine and dryer again. Then the wrinkles might come out by themselves.

    • Kathy – If you decide to jump in the dryer, make sure you tell Barry so he can whip you out quickly and hang you up properly before any wrinkles set in. That’s my secret to my no-iron living. I get to the dryer BEFORE it turns off, whip everything out, and hang or fold it – immediately!

  7. Hi Laurie

    Seems to be most of what my life is about.
    Translating between paradigms, finding ways of making new ideas available in different paradigms, going below the paradigms, to the underlying structures, and seeing what can be altered there to smooth the flow in the paradigms above.

    My realisation this morning was about value and was at several levels.
    There are many people looking for alternative systems of valuation that do not require fiat money – as they identify the political and financial manipulations of fiat money as the greatest threat, but it isn’t, that is only a subset of the deeper issue.

    The deeper issue goes to the whole notion of value and markets.
    The real issue is that people have gotten used to substituting market value for real value.
    Real value is personal, to each and every one of us.
    For each of us, oxygen is of huge real value.
    If you doubt that, just try putting a plastic bag over your head and sealing it at the neck with a rubber band, and try breathing for a few minutes (if you really want to try that, please ensure you have someone else present who can remove the plastic bag when you go unconscious, and get you breathing again – I don’t want anyone dying in this experiment).
    Oxygen has huge value to us because it is essential for our lives, and each of us values life.
    Yet under normal circumstances, each of us has all we need from the freely available air, so when we go to market, no one offers us anything for air, as they have all they need.

    Market value (money) is scarcity based.

    Market value is also context based.

    It is about supply and demand, in the moment.
    As such, the very idea that there can be any objective measure of market value is a logical nonsense – it is the logical opposite of a market.

    Market value is a function of context at many different levels.
    How scared are we?
    How confident are we of future supply?
    How confident are we of future need?
    What are the costs and benefits of hoarding?

    There does seem to be an attempt by a small but powerful group to use such things as political systems, economic systems and mass media, to produce a sort of uniformity of the human condition to bring a level of certainty to market demands, thus ensuring incentives to supply remain relatively stable, and market value is relatively stable; but the wrinkle in the board is the scarcity function.

    In order to maintain market value, scarcity must be maintained (or at least the perception of scarcity – as what we are dealing with in markets are individual perceptions and individual valuations).

    Markets are great tools for allocating scarce resources, but they cannot deliver abundance to all – abundance is anathema to market value.

    Humanity is capable of cooperating to deliver abundance and security and freedom to all, yet our dominant social paradigm of market valuation (money) is directly opposed to such an outcome.

    Raw cooperation is unstable unless it has attendant strategies to stabilise it.
    Cooperation requires strategies that remove incentives to cheat; yet in the past many societies have implemented strategies that put the system above the individual, and instigated the death penalty for transgressions. That cannot be stable.

    It seems abundantly clear to me that individuals must be our highest value.
    Only upon that base can we build societal stability in the very long term (thinking millions of years here).

    So we find ourselves in a world where money is valued above individuals in much of it, and societal systems are prepared to go to war, and kill innocent individuals and destroy property, simply because it is profitable to do so.

    That is quite a wrinkle!

    The iron seems to have several requirements.
    One is automation to deliver abundance of all the essentials of life at no cost – so everyone has life, liberty, and education as a given.
    The other is new levels of cooperation, across all social systems. It seems that humans cooperate best in groups of about 150-250 individuals, where every individual knows every other individual.
    It seems that we need to organise society such that every individual belongs to several such groups, and the intersecting web of connections that results allows us to develop stable inter-group trust networks that allow us to operate strategies that provide the stability against cheating that is required.

    It seems that there are infinite classes of possibilities in that meet each of these requirements, and it doesn’t seem to matter much which we use, so long as we use one or more of them.

    That is the “big wrinkle” in my mind.
    The smaller wrinkle is producing an appropriate iron!

    • Ted – “The real issue is that people have gotten used to substituting market value for real value.” BINGO! You’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. And I love your analogy of oxygen. There’s basically no market value, yet every single one of us – bar none – relies on it for our very life! What a great comment you’ve left here today – THANK YOU!

  8. You had me at the title on this one! I do this everyday at my job…we call it “putting out fires” as it usually means we are de-escalating a situation and/or person. I prefer your language of “ironing out the wrinkles of the fabric.” That seems to have a much more positive conotation. Mind if I steal?

  9. Hi Laurie,
    I actually remember my grandmother USING those “doorstops”! I actually enjoy ironing, literally. (I know. Somebody SHOOT me!) It’s a ritual. I get very Zen about it these days. As for “other” wrinkles, I wish I could make the life wrinkles go away as easily. I help others “iron” but boy, these days I’m knee deep in my wrinkles of my own!

  10. Hi,
    What a great collection of antique irons you have, it must of been terrible for the ladies back then using these heavy irons. I think of the dresses and the suits that were worn back then and shudder at the thought of having to get out the wriggles after the heavy hand washing.

    • Magsx2 – Two of the irons in the photograph weigh 20 pounds each. Can you even begin to imagine using them for ironing?! I don’t think I would have done well back in the day when those were the “modern appliance.”

  11. Pingback: Vastly Different from being Freshly Pressed | Out of a Pure Heart Ministries

  12. Hi Laurie,
    Great article.
    I have ironed some clothes and it appeared that all of the wrinkles were out until I held the clothes up to the light and saw that the wrinkles were still there. I hadn’t used any starch, just steam. I remember feeling like my ironing was in vain, but then realized that it wasn’t in vain, but just required a little extra work and a little more patience.
    This is how it is when I try to help some people iron out their problems, and as I try to iron out some of my own. Some problems only need steam while other problems need light starch or heavy starch. Learning what fabric needs what is a process as all fabrics are not the same. I appreciate this article. Great job!!!

  13. well, I am usually the one who needs the straightening . . . I am forever having to curb my tongue at the door because I can’t help but find so many things to get steamed about. I was born with that futile sense of entitlement that life should be fair, people should be nice, blah, blah, blah, and you’d think I’d be over it by now.

    But, no. I have to go and point it out more often than is good for me.

  14. Great thought provoking image and distinction. Brian Regan’s piece was great fun. It’s 9:30 pm just came back from a volunteer group meeting … it was full of wrinkles. Wish I could say I was “ironing out the wrinkles.” Unfortunately, I may have been creating wrinkles by provoking thinking. Sometimes it felt we were not even ironing the same garment. Many days my work is to iron out the wrinkles … other days I create them. Or as the lyrics from an old Mary Chapin Carpenter song says (to use another analogy. “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” I think I was the wrinkle or the bug tonight. … such is life!

    • Sheryl – I admire people who have the patience to iron. I, on the other hand, set the timer and get to the dryer before it’s finished – whipping out the clothes and hanging them so fast I’m like a laundry room blur! But it prevents me from ironing 🙂

  15. Ironed over my own past perception of all the hard work and sometime frustration with my son regarding his hard time learning.

    NOTE today: His GPA is 3.138 his first semester in college. VERY PROUD of the wrinkles getting smoother! He is not in an easy school or program.This is the little guy whoo would scream to tie his shoes, let alone sit in one place to do homework.

    Little starch included……smile


  16. Ironed wrinkles out of fabric? Oh boy. Only in an alternate life! Ha! But heck I’ve actually seen this procedure donw in homes I’ve lived in. Lucille is a cracker-jack at it, and my mom spent many hours at the ironing board. Your purist position Laurie as to go with open windows instead of air conditioning is one to admire.

    That said I have been ironing out some wrinkles in a sixth-grade literature class the last few days. These wrinkles continue to be a stumbling block for full immersion by the class in the current unit! Ha!

  17. I use my great-grandmother’s old irons as door stoppers too. But I had not heard your way of “ironing wrinkles out of fabric.” I do a whole lot more of that than I do ironing in the traditional sense :-).

  18. I love the ironing as a metaphor for smoothing life’s wrinkles. It seems that I spend a good portion of my time helping my friends with problem-solving, and I will think of it with those wonderful irons in my mind’s eye. It seems that in friendship we can often be support and simply helping another person gain some perspective is a gift we can offer. I really take to heart your banner quote, “Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” More and more I seem to clearly see that as true, and sometimes under the oddest of circumstances. But it’s helpful to hold onto that. I really enjoy reading through older posts…I’m new to Speaking from the Heart. 🙂

  19. Catchy title, and fun phrase too! I like the meaning behind “Ironing wrinkles out of the fabric.” It is very satisfying to help someone see something in a different way, and smooth out a challenging situation as a result!

  20. “I ironed wrinkles out of fabric”. That’s a beautiful way to describe my routine. I might just be borrowing that line from you whenever next I’m asked; “what did you do today?”. Lovely post and lovely accompanying photography! There is no better way to spend a day than to help another soul breathe easier and smile.
    Thanks for sharing!

  21. We do not have AC but that is no surprise as you know Laurie because it very seldom gets warm enough here to even consider the idea. But I like the analogy. I most often I guess go about my day with out thinking about the ironing of events. It is kind of like the person whose hand smooths table cloth on the way as the go out to bring more clothes in off the line. It is pleasant work and feeds the soul. This is something I notice in your work as well. All the best of Sunday to you… as it shall be here by the time you get a chance to read this.

  22. Sorry to be so darn late getting here, Laurie. It’s been a wild week in my world.

    To be honest, I iron as infrequently as possible, which is to say, almost never. But then again, my Sara loves to iron. LOVES it! Sometimes she even irons her PJs, for which I mock her mercilessly.

    Love your iron collection!!!


    • Kathy M. – No worries. The time that a person arrives at Speaking from the Heart is exactly perfect! Sara loves to iron? And she’s even ironed her pajamas? Oh my gosh, we’ve got to squelch this. NOW!

  23. Pingback: Wrinkles | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

  24. What a thought provoking and creative phrase. And I like it. If you hadn’t given clarity, I would’ve thought it had to do with ironing too. Oh, by the way I like the photo. My great grandmother used to have one of those. The pic bought back memories. Thank you for sharing.

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