Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SEQUENCES: Iron Your Own Shirt

As Patrick McManus once observed, women don't understand about sequences. My wife, for instance, asked me the other day why I had to spend 6 hours cleaning out the garage in order to repair a simple scratch in a coffee table or something.  It's because women don't understand sequences that they ask foolish questions like that.

You see, before I could repair the table, I had to find the tools I needed to fix the scratch, I needed to find my sandpaper which was in a box buried in a pile of boxes in the corner of the garage where it has been since we moved.  I need tools and solvents, stains, varnishes and other things to do the job.  I need a place to work that's clear and well-ventilated. To be able to do that, I have to clean and organize my stuff before I can even think about fixing the table and who knows where else that whole project will take me.

So I've decided to do some articles on sequences for some basic tasks we all perform, but we may not always do correctly.  I did an article on making good pancakes for instances. I may do one on how to grow tomatoes or the correct way to polish a floor.

My first "Sequences" article concerns a skill every young man should learn - ironing a shirt.  Since the advent of permanent press clothing, we've been able to get away with wearing pants out of the dryer, but you can't really look crisp unless you iron your shirt.  Here's the sequence:

  1. Set up the ironing board and iron.  Fill the iron with water.  My Mom used rain water or distilled water. We had hard water and she said it yellowed the collars or something.
  2. Set the temperature for steam and whatever type of material the shirt is made of.
  3. Pick up your shirt and lay the collar flat over the ironing board.  Before you iron, spritz the target area with a little water mist or spray starch. Iron both sides of the collar.
  4. The yoke is the flat panel on the upper pack below the collar.  Lay it over the end of the ironing board so it's very flat and iron it.
  5. Next iron the right front panel of the shirt.
  6. Work your way from button holes down under the arm and around the back, pulling the shirt toward you over the end of the ironing board.
  7. Iron the back and then around to the left front panel of the shirt by the buttons.
  8. Lay the left sleeve flat and iron the front and back.
  9. Lay the right sleeve flat and iron the front and back.
  10. Hang the shirt on a thick plastic hanger till you are ready to wear it. Wire hangers will leave little stretch puckers on the shoulders - not good.
If you follow the sequence above, you can crank out a half dozen or so shirts in no time at all and crisp shirts make you look sharp.  If you want to keep your shirts sharper longer, spray starch really makes a difference.  


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