07 June 2008

Stripping the Bed

Another of Molly's real jobs is helping me strip the bed when I feel like it's time to change the sheets and comforter covers. Those of you in the US might need a quick briefing in how DK beds are set up. We don't have the top sheets and piles of blankets that Americans usually use. We have a bottom sheet to cover the mattress, but because DH and I have adjustable beds we have two single mattresses that each get their own top sheet. The smooth cotton fitted sheets are uncommon here--usually the bottom sheets are stretchy with a towel-like surface if fitted or are smooth flat sheets. We have two of the towel-like stretchy ones and this year added a set of fitted flannel sheets. One of this years I'm going to measure to see if a set of US fitted sheets would fit the bed so I could get nice cool ones for summer... Anyway, back to the point. Beyond the bottom sheets, we have individual comforters with a cover made of sheet-like material (often a bit heavier) that is washed regularly. They usually button or tie at the bottom to keep them on the comforter. Our pillows are also square instead of the rectangular shape in the US and the cases either have an extra fold to keep them on or have ties. We have some of both. In addition to the regular pillows, we each have one of those pillows shaped to give better neck support. They are a bit harder to fit into the pillow cases.

So, Molly's job is to help me get all the cases, covers, and sheets off the bed and either out to the wash or in the machine. For the comforters and pillows, I sit on the edge of the bed and start them so that one end is free. Then I show Molly where to grab onto the cover or case and tell her to pull while I hold onto the comforter or pillow inside. As long as she doesn't let go and regrip, it generally goes smoothly. Sometimes we have a little trouble with comforters when she needs to change her hold and accidentally grabs comforter along with cover, but she is good at letting go on command then grabbing where I say so to try again.

After the covers are off the items, she takes them to the kitchen on command and drops them in a pile. I decided today that I want to teach her to drop them in the laundry basket, because we're having trouble coordinating what I intended as the next phase (picking them up from the floor and carrying them to me out at the washer while I stay there). It is a bit silly for her to run back and forth that much when I should be able to teach her to put them in the basket (or at least give them to me and I can drop them in the basket) then drag the basket to the washer. She loves pulling the basket and that is a more sensible task than carrying all the awkward comforter covers such a distance.

Unfortunately I have not yet found a way to have Molly help me with the bottom sheets. To make the situation worse, it is the most painful part of the process for me. I can only cope with doing it on a really good day. Otherwise DH has to do it. Even on a good day, I have to take a lot of breaks. It might be easier if we didn't have the two mattresses pressed together. We also have two metal brackets on the outside of each mattress to keep them on the bed. But if anyone has any ideas, please leave me comments with them.

So all that went really well. I didn't use treats as rewards for it but played with her instead. She did an excellent job putting the items into a pile in the kitchen and leaving them there on command, so I'm really proud of her for that. After the stuff was washed, she also did a round of laundry duty to help me get it hung out.

I haven't started training her to help me make the bed yet. DH is kind enough to help with that part so I don't have to push myself too hard.

Her evening reward for a day's hard work in hot weather (we also did some great training today with loose leash walking and stays with distractions) was a trip to the beach. But I'm too tired to blog that now. It will have to wait until tomorrow. There should be pics on the camera.

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