Dirty Laundry


Tonight I was back plugging quarters into a machine, hoping to get laundry done so I had socks to wear for tomorrow. I don’t exaggerate by much for I stretched it about as long as I could. But alas, deliver of my new washer could not happen before Thursday, the previous delivery attempt arrived with a dented washer unit so only the dryer was installed and the washer was returned. One-week has turned into two as the expected delivery is scheduled for this coming Thursday. Thus, my birthday enthusiasm for a new washer/dryer had to be tempered for a bit longer.

This has been a big deal for me, silly I know and one most people don’t understand. It is a small thing, but a practical item of life. I know, first-world issue right! However, unlike a new car or a fancy new TV, the washer/dryer is a core household item and I feel represents stability and independence. Most of my life I had access to W/D units, even in university I only spent two years where I used coin-operated laundry facilities. My only true “laundry mat” experience came during my first year of marriage as our place didn’t have room for our own. So, when I was moving out after 14-years I was leaving behind a lot of what had been built together, and part of what I left behind was the washer and dryer units.

I put the best spin on it I could, selling myself on much of it as I went. I turned down places with coin-operated facilities, choosing instead for a place with hookups but no units. Only later to find my circumstances did not go according to plan and buying, even used, units seemed too expensive. I was finding my rock bottom, and it was going to be a while before I could find some secure footholds to start climbing out.

At the time, I brushed it off. I like being humbled from time to time and thought this would be a good experience for the boys. So started our 2-week trips to the laundry mat, I made an adventure out of it as much as I could. The kids always found other kids to play with, and helped out more and more each time. Yet, inside, I hated it. This wasn’t me. I was a grown man with kids. I had a solid, well-paying job. Yet, I could not even provide that basic amenity. It infuriated me.

It was months before we moved, and in that time I made the best of it. I would take the boys when I could, always felt it was a good experience for them. I would bring a book to read and spend the time expanding my mind, and escaping the pressures and stress of the world. But I was happy to once again have 24/7 access to a washer/dryer at the house.

Not all foot holds are secure. The units that came with the new place were old. It was only a couple weeks before they boys mother was complaining that their cloths stunk of mold (thanks for the support!). The dryer finally died, taking a few of my cloths with it, and leaving me air drying clothes around the house which was a lovely image for guests. A craigslist replacement only quelled the problems for short time, so when the washer finally died I said “enough is enough!”.

It was time. I had the funds. I had the plans. So the weekend following my birthday I bought; I bought what I needed, I bought what would work, I bought a little for luxury, and I bought what wouldn’t break the bank. To me it was another affirmation that my life was returning. I was back! … and at least could do a load of laundry.

Tonight, standing there under the florescent lights I smiled. I only needed to wash the cloths, I could dry them at home.

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