09 November 2005

Sock Monster

Like every family home, this house has a sock monster.

Son (age 10) seems to have suffered the most from it's shenanigans this year and for the past three or four weeks his sock collection has dwindled mercilessly.

You know what its like, if you save up family sized washloads - moreso when one style of item is in short supply - you end up counting how many go in the wash and doing a double check under beds and behind things to make sure you have as many (in this case socks) for the wash as possible.

You would expect my husband's socks to suffer the most - there are only two places were he removes socks from his feet, but these are at the sofa or beside the bed - he either comes home bewailing his hard day at work and slips socks and shoes off whilst angling for three quarters of the family sized sofa and control of the TV remote, or he waits until bedtime and the items end up under jeans, the newspaper crossword, a tea cup; you name it, as they begin their nocturnal migration to the darkest nether-regions of the world under the bed. In his mind the laundry basket is a bullseye - a target to aim bundles of stuff at on a weekend when I have that laundry-manic look in my eye.

Still, no, it's been Son who has managed to lose all but five or six odd socks out of the two bumper packs we bought for the start of school this autumn and whatever else survived the year as still wearable. I sent him to school in his Batman slipper socks once last week - that's about the only pair that always seems to turn up intact.

Husband doesn't believe in the sock monster. He believes in messy housekeeping (that would be me, then?), disorganised kids (that would be Son?), and a general curse on the home. He regularly berates Son for never keeping his bedroom tidy, never using the laundry basket, etc etc, whilst Son scowls and swears he isn't guilty. My darling other so quickly forgets that its normally his own stuff that disappears by magic, that his favourite grumble, especially on weekends and early mornings is "You can't put a bloody thing down for five bloody minutes in this bloody house."

Unfortunately, when he's late out the door for work and in a total flap, it never seems to be the right time to tell him that perhaps having a single place for some things, or not wandering round the house with his electric shaver every morning might be erm, better planning. Weekends I have learned to look him in the eye and say "Well lets tidy up together, then" although the phrase has to be used sparingly as it guarantees he will think of something we need from the shops, or else 'just' check his email for a couple of hours.

Husband has gone away on yet another training course. He left on Tuesday but took until Monday night to announce that he was out of decent socks etc, so I did a washload, and just before bed we sat on the sofa sorting enough pairs for his trip. He never sorts pairs otherwise, just chucks them all in his drawer and fumbles for two that match when he gets up. I noticed a couple of pairs of Son's socks had emerged with the load, so that was something. I left the lot on the sofa, meaning to finish the job in the morning.

Tuesday morning comes, and Husband leaves.

I turn to the pile of smalls waiting to be sorted and..... its not there.

The point of the story is this: that Son and I put two and two together and went and raided Husband's sock drawer. No pairs in there, as I said, so this involved tipping the whole contents out onto my bed.

Result? It was like child sock Christmas. Every missing sock was there at the back of the pile - at least five pairs of identical grey school socks and plenty more, even a couple in an olive green, a colour that Husband would never buy for himself.

No, their feet are nowhere near similar in size or any other way. No there is no way that Husband can actually say he looked at anything he threw in the drawer, except to briefly acknowledge that it was grey (or at least not pink or white,) and sock shaped.

So now I have a second reason to look forward to his return. Something to drop into the conversation on Friday, I think, just as a by-the-by. What fun.

The worst of it is that I can't get angry at him. When I watch this man with a Mensa level IQ look completely blank and bewildered; when the cogs move so slowly as he works to shift the blame that you can actually hear them grinding if you stand too close, then all I manage to do is marvel. Homer Simpson would be so proud.


doris said...

Ha-ha - definitely worth a LOL or even a ROTFLMAO !

We have a similar monster (BTW I love your graphics!) and had a similar sort of conversation recently. But I wouldn't say it was necessarily any one person's fault but a combined effort.

Mr Doris has resolved to start again with just one colour socks so there are always a pair and I reckon it has to be a colour that none of the kids can choose nor I.... so if we all have just one colour socks then no longer will we find 11 year old son wearing adult socks or daughter wearing my socks which are the same size. Nor me trying to fit on tiny boy socks... nor boy socks at the back of Mr Doris's sock drawer!

(On the word verification thingy this is how I feel about the sock situation sometimes: ufckefak)

jane said...

For a moment there I thought your socks truly had feet of their own. So, hubby is the culprit. We always had a "Mr. Nobody" that took our socks.
cheryl, I love how you describe the goings on at your home. It seems you're so in love with your family & that you make it such a pleasant atmosphere for them.

Ally said...

We have a similar monster. I am convinced it lives at the back of the tumble drier and eats them with chopsticks when I'm not looking, a la that Eddie Izzard sketch :).

ME Strauss said...

My favorite part of the game with the sock monster is when you finally give up after a year or so and say a tearful good by to that solo sock. Two weeks later the prodigal partner sock shows up and you're sitting with one sock again.

Damn you, you dirty sock monster.

marina said...

LOL, we have a sock monster here too. Heck it eats up alot of my clothes and undies even. Where does it go to eventually, thats the eternal question.

Tanda said...

"You can't put a bloody thing down for five bloody minutes in this bloody house."

Thank god!!! I thought that only happened in my house! Whew!

I gave up pairing socks a long time ago. Now I just wash them and throw them in the "sock basket" and whoever needs them has to go find their own d*mned socks. :0)

The sock monster can bite me. Heehee.

Purple Dragon said...

I think you are married to my husband!

bart said...

phew... i was getting worried that we were the only ones with a sock problem... i now just have to figure out what happened to my winter coat :P

zilla said...

I needed these laughs over common suffering. Reminds me of a cute story Mr. Zilla told me:

After his divorce he went shopping for a new washer and dryer and took Beanpole with him. Beanpole was then 7 or 8.

The salesman was showing off the dryers and directed them to one with a white interior (because it cost more, of course). He explained that with a white interior, fewer black socks would be lost, and wouldn't THAT be great?

Beanpole deadpans, "What about white socks?"


fineartist said...

This post is so relevant to anyone who lives with other people, and rings so flapping true.

I’m with Liz, you give up on all of those lonely socks, throw them out and then magically the others appear. Damnittohell!!!

When I was a kid we had a sock box like Tanda, it drove me mad because then your socks were up for grabs. Being the compulsive kook who I am, I would sift mine out and hide them.

Your monster with that wild colored toe sock in his arms, CLASSIC! Loved him. Heeheh.

Oh and I must add, I see that no one was able to find the son’s socks in the back of the husband’s drawer, no one but you, the one with the pelvic honing device.

Milt Bogs said...

Washing machines are entirely to blame. You put in a pair and they throw back at you a washed, clean single sock. I have no idea what happens to the matching sock but by the time it reappears, a week later, it is a totally different shade and will match up with nothing. For that very reason I only buy dark blue socks and am unable to find an obvious pair. The machine is to blame every time.

mommyguilt said...


I am cracking up! We totally believe in the Sock Monster. We have one here (PC believes, too, as it's eaten MANY of his socks too). I do have to say that lost socks cannot wholly be contributed to bad housekeeping or disorganized kids, but the Sock Monster does feed more if something is out of place- just once, and then it will continue to hunt around for another sock that may be out of place.

We also have the cousins - the Underwear Monster,the School Uniform Monster, the cap & other glove monster, and my personal monsters - the keys monster, the cellphone monster, and the sunglasses monster.

The conclusion that PC, SmallBoy and I came to when reading your post is that Husband IS the Sock Monster. I mean, heck - the evidence all points to him! I am certain, though I do not know your hubby at all, that when presented with the facts, that he will finally admit there IS a Sock Monster who must have stole everyone's socks, placed them in HIS drawer in an attempt to frame him.

The only cure, albeit a temporary one, that we have found is to use lingerie bags for socks. When they are taken off the feet, the go into the bag. Once it is laundry day, the WHOLE bag o' socks goes into the washer and dryer. That way, the Monster is fooled by the bag, the socks stay together and come out together. (each bag has its owners name in a laundry marker written across the zipper). Every once in a while, though, the SM manages to get in and unzip the bag, letting them run loose in the laundry - and then, of course, feeding.

mommyguilt said...

oh, I forgot to add...the trick to a successful defeat of the Sock Monster using the lingerie bag technique is GETTING THEM TO PUT THEIR DAMNED SOCKS IN THE BAG in the first place...ok, done venting.

I LOVE your post! Laughing so hard I'm going to pee...of course, I'm sure you really wanted to know that.

Anonymous said...

I so agree with me strauss and mommyguilt...who is TOO funny! Yes, they magically disappear...my husband's idea was to only buy one exact style of sock.....ever....like 20 pairs...and they would all match. We only lose one a week that way....let's do the math...they last, what....10 weeks? I don't know....but it makes folding easier. I think kids should all go barefoot. Can you believe the monster in our house can eat tights and pantyhose too??? Meem

Cheryl said...

Doris - good idea, in this house it would last until Son's foot size catches up. Having 'been there' with a teenager once already, I know that the male idea of a matching pair depends on the quality of the light and whether they have their eyes open.

Jane - wow, thanks for bigging me up. I have rescinded control over pretty much everything and my last bastion of pride is my hard core of superiority - I NEED to feel superior sometimes - its my way of taking a turn at being boss. And I will be telling him - and I'll enjoy it :-)

Ally - I love Eddie Izzard (and anyone who loves him too) - brilliant!

Cheryl said...

ME Strauss - agreed! Although sometimes it takes longer - like one baby sock from when the kids' feet were half their current size,will suddenly decide to look all innocent in a drawer like it never went anywhere at all.

Marina - I would worry about undies taking a walk - especially halfs of nice sets - but then I had a very bizarre boyfriend once......

Tanda - the sock box! Yes I tried that for a couple of years. The trouble is, my Husband is more than happy to use the hallway as a walk-in wardrobe and root round on a daily basis, so half of it ended up needing a re-wash - he only removes stuff to a drawer if its on the sofa!

Cheryl said...

Purple Dragon - Thanks for the empathy! Thanks for commenting too - love your blog :-)

Bart - at least you're the only male in the house - no sock wars, and no sulking that smelly, foul, teenage feet have worn and rotted a pair of yours!

Zilla - a practical Beanpole - no wonder Mr is so proud - although it sounds like the slaesman was saying 'yes our machines WILL eat socks'....

Cheryl said...

Fine artist -
Pelvic Honing Device??
Does that mean what I think it means? ROFL!! Well, if he thinks he's got something to be honed when he gets home.....grrrr....... HAHA!

I am so with you on this. They go through wash after wash, never losing colour, then the washing machine rustles up a bit of bleach just for the missing sock, all by itself.

Haha! yes I get it too sometimes - not so much now I have a whistling keyring attached to my keys, and my keys attached to my wallet/purse (UK - purse is the small one)

Yup! Does your monster also go in your drawer and ladder good tights that were perfect when they were put away?

Oops - I should come back more often to answer people shouldn't I. Thanks!

fineartist said...

Bart - at least you're the only male in the house - no sock wars, and no sulking that smelly, foul, teenage feet have worn and rotted a pair of yours!

Oh man Cheryl this comment so tickled me that I had to read it out loud to my man. He has complained for years about our oldest son ganking his socks, and mucking them up. Again your words ring true.

Mommyguilt’s declaration that husband is the sock monster, heeeeeeeeeeee, what a riot.

mommyguilt said...

I think YOUR sock monster has learned to swim. EVERY sock in my house is AWOL.