Friday, March 26, 2010

I miss my washing machine.

In November, my washing machine broke. Rather, it died. It was a front loader. Purchased for us as a housewarming gift, ie; "oh my god Mom, we can't afford a new washing machine, could you buy us one"????? We are a family of five. For a time, actually for over 3 years, we were a family of 6, but that is a story for another day. I usually do two loads a day. I must, to keep on top of it. The girls clothes, my clothes, the baby's constant outfit changes, and David's work clothes really add up quickly. Add to that, towels, washcloths, dish towels, and pajamas, and it never stops. I get it done, and I look in the hamper, and it is full. I have mounds of clean laundry, yet to be put away, in every bedroom. (That too, is a story for another day) No different than anyone else's life. It is just daunting, and it has become one of my least favorite chores to do.
I came home from running an errand in November, and David met me at the door. It was as if he were going to break some tragic news to me, and wanted to shield the children from my hysterical response. Like he was delivering me the news of a loved one's death. I took in the information he was telling me. My immediate response was to swear. And the second thing that always happens in these situations is my questioning of humanity, and the forces of nature, God, and Jesus, my place in the universe, is this some sort of kharmic punishment, why me, and then a sense of pity. This series of emotions has washed over me more times than I care to remember. Like the time that we had no money, and just wanted to get out, with our new baby, and take a ride, and our car died, on the side of Route 80 and we had no cash, and no cell phone. Or the time that our car started leaking gasoline on our hot engine, while driving on the Cross Bronx Expressway, with all of the kids in the car. Or the day that my husband checked the subfloor of our basement, under our bathroom, because I thought I smelled mildew, and he came up and informed me that there was such a massive leak happening, and the subfloor was so waterlogged, it was actually dripping. Or the time when my husband called me, and informed me that he was getting laid off from his job, and I was 8 weeks pregnant. These emotions are not new to me, unfortunately. Shock and awe is a feeling I have become familiar with. Everyone has hard times. Everyone has devestating news to handle. When you are broke, however, it becomes worse, because, you have no way to solve the problem. It becomes painfully compounded, and I swear, it makes it that much more devestating.
A broken washing machine, I felt, was not that big of a blow, considering all winter, I worry about our ability to heat our home, and the possibility of that large machine needing replacing. (I hate to even write that, as I fear I might be tempting the Gods). It was broken, and to repair it would cost the same as replacing it, so that was the end of a washing machine, for now, in my home. Luckily, I had a friend in my neigborhood, who moved away to Germany, and actually left the very day that the washer broke, so she gave me permission to use hers, until her house was rented. It was like appliance kismet! My current stress over the broken appliance passed, only to be replaced with my new long did I have until the house was rented. Oh please, for me, let it take months!! How awful though. Let it rent soon, so my friend would be freed of this financial burden. I was torn. Think of her? Think of me? Quite a moral quandry I was in.
When I lived in Manhattan, I had no washer or dryer in my apartment. I actually would hestitate to call what I lived in an apartment. It was more like a room. I had to take all of my dirty clothes to the corner, every Sunday, and wash and dry them there. It was part of life in New York for most. The wealthier folks had washers and dryers in their more spacious apartments, but a lot did not. I knew uber-wealthy people who either sent their clothes out to be cleaned, or had their houekeeper do it, in the basements of their posh Fifth Avenue apartments. I was young, and really attractive, and it was almost a social thing to do my laundry. In warm weather, everyone hung out outside, and smoked, and talked. If you did it later in the day, some people got beer, and it became not a chore, but yet another facet of living in New York City. Everybody did it.  My whole neigborhood was full of single people. There was always plenty of exchanges of flirty glances, and folding your G-string panties and sexy little bras for one and all to see was just another form of flirting. There was no shame in going to the Laundromat. I don't want to sound like I am romanticizing the chore. Maybe I am . But it didn't make me feel low, and poor. Not like it does now.
So the house rented, and my time with my friend's washing machine came to an end. Now my fear was coming to fruition. I would have to go to the Laundromat.
3 kids later, and more pounds than I care to say added onto my frame, have caused the G-strings to become a thing of the past. Nursing bras, my husbands boxers, dirty onesies, and little girl panties have replaced the size 2 jeans I used to wash, the last time I had to use a Laundromat. Luckily, my dryer still works, (it is squeaking lately, so just by writing that, I am ensuring a future post about a broken dryer) so trips to the Laundromat have not been as painful. But they are different. In the suburbs, it seems to be that if you must use a Laundromat, it is because of some sort of class division. It is because you don't have enough. It seems the people in the Laundromat have no where to go. No one is hanging out outside, talking, and laughing. Actually, when I go there, everyone seems angry. I too feel angry sometimes. Maybe that I don't have the money to replace my machine just yet. Maybe because it makes my day that much more difficult, having to drag my kids with me, and hoist all of the laundry in and out of our car, and in and out of the machine's. It sucks. It is a chore. It is not the social, flirty thing that it was in my twenties. Maybe it never was. Maybe I was the social, flirty thing. Maybe life, and everything it had to offer was so new and exciting to me, that even the most mundane, everyday task, was exciting to me. Was I just more positive, and more excited about the possibility of my each and every day,  
and not so bitter?
 I do know, that I prefer the piles of my laundry today, than the laundry piles of my single days. The  baby clothes that I fold, and little girl panties, and my husbands boxers. I have a family. That laundry to me, is what I have been waiting for my whole life.
I would like to have the size 2 jeans again, though.  

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