On giving two sheets, and folding them, too

My wife and I do not fight often. We share a similar, oftentimes offensive, sense of humor, and are alike in enough ways to where we’re rarely at odds. When we do fight, however, sheets are almost always involved. And no—we’re not between them.

We are either folding them or putting them on the bed. Both of those things are THE WORST, but if I had to pick one that’s worse than the other, I would pick both.

Folding the regular bed sheet isn’t so bad. As long as I am standing at a proper distance holding my side tightly, ensuring no wrinkles, and, when it comes time to fold over, I fold in the same direction as my wife, which is something I have to guess at because she doesn’t tell me, and I never guess right. In her defense, if she were to say, “Now fold to the right,” by the time I was able to process whether she is talking about her right or my right, she would have already folded her side and be extremely annoyed that I was still standing there with my mouth open like a fool.

Folding the fitted bed sheet though? I mean, really. I don’t even understand why that dang thing needs to be folded—it stretches out the wrinkles DURING USE—much less folded in the complex manner my wife demands. I cannot even explain with words the process I must follow for properly folding the fitted bed sheet, and I also cannot physically do it. I pretty much stand there staring at my side of the sheet while my wife yells, “Find the crease! FIND THE CREASE.” I can never find the crease. Exhausted by my idiocy, my wife will hand me her side, for which she’s already located the crease, and then I’m supposed to hold it with my finger or something and loop it under the other crease? I have no idea.

At some point in the process I will say, “Why do we even have to do this?” My wife will blurt out something like, “Because this is how my mother taught me and how my Nanny taught her!” Honestly? Each passing day of my life is yet another step deeper into the confusing abyss of Italian-American culture, and at this point I’m convinced that when Italian mothers and daughters get together, all they do is fold sheets nonchalantly but perfectly while discussing how disappointed they are with other family members.

Of course, if we’re folding bed sheets that means we’ve already made the bed with freshly washed bed sheets. How did that go? Not well. It did not go well.

I always make the mistake of thinking I’ve succeeded making my side of the bed. Then my wife will ask, “How much on your side?” and as she asks this she’s measuring the overflow of her side with her elbow (!!!). I will just stare at my side, unsure how to respond, and then my wife will say, “I have too much. Pull. Pull. PULL, WHY ARE YOU JUST STANDING THERE?”

Then we have to tuck in the sheet at the foot end of the bed, which is the point in the process where I get berated for “not pulling tight enough.” But we save the best part for last: the fold-over on the sides of the end of the bed. It’s supposed to be like a triangle or something? I don’t know. My wife does her side—a crisp, tight, perfect 90-degree triangle that won’t move an inch over the next month—and then says to me, “How does your side look?” I don’t respond because I know she’s going to check anyway, and when she does, it is revealed that my triangle is limp and sick and might be dead.

She will do my side over while muttering something along the lines of, “It’s only been 10 years – you’d think you would have gotten this by now,” and then claim that the only reason we’re even changing the sheets is because I “make them smell bad” and that I smell, in general. I will slowly walk backwards out of the room, hoping she doesn’t ask me to do anything else sheet-related.

Actually, you know what? Now that I wrote this all down, it seems pretty one-sided. I guess my wife and I don’t fight after all! Cool.

Note: This column appears in the 11/13 issue of The Glendale Star and the 11/14 issue of the Peoria Times.