Laundromat Chronicles – Two

Fat lady-pink outfitTuesday, October 21, 2014

Today I am grateful for the second of my Laundromat Chronicles. The costumes people wear at the Laundromat could be worn for Halloween.  Seriously.  I get it.  You want to wash every single thing that you would usually wear, so you dig into the dregs because you can’t just strip your clothes off and throw them in the washer like you would at home.  But oh my. . .what I saw.

It’s not state secret that I’m a sizable woman. . .with a more than sizeable butt. Cartoons have been drawn of me and this butt and they are hilarious! It’s okay. I’m not blind, or clueless.  We’ve been together a long time I haul that thing around every day so I know.  I spin and face the mirror in Zumba and get a load of myself and I am reminded of the old balloons I got as a kid at the shoe store.  You know, the ones with the cardboard feet on the balloon knot.  I’m not being self-deprecating here, I’m being honest. . .laying the ground work for the real story.  Because I don’t want you to think I’m mean, I want you to remember that it takes one to know one.

There was a woman at the Laundromat with a butt twice as big as mine, which I didn’t even think was possible, poor thing. She was very nice, pretty face and all of that crap we big-butter’s hear a lot.  I noticed her when she moved out of the way when I needed to get through with the rolly-cart, but. . .do the math. . .two big butts trying to get out of each other’s way. . .not very pretty. We looked like Suma wrestlers taking a stance, except I was wearing jeans because I was only washing sheets.

She was a white woman wearing pale-pink, skin-tight, mid-thigh, worn-thin, polyester shorts. Did you get the pale pink part?  Almost flesh colored.  Pale-pink.  Yikes!  I have no right commenting.  None!  But all I could think when I saw them was what a great costume they would make if you took a fuzzy pink pipe cleaner and curled it around a pencil, pinned it to the back, then wore my Miss Piggy nose.  I know that’s just wrong!  I’m sorry, but that’s where my mind went.  I’m a horrible person. She’s a kindred soul.  I shouldn’t be thinking something like that.

I wanted to be thinking one of the lines I usually use in situations like this. . .“Interesting choice” or “that’s a look”. . . but I wasn’t. I was all about the curly tale.  But if you have the same kind of cellulite that I do, where your butt looks like a dimply bath matt. . .or like a Spastic Baker took a knitting needle to rising bread dough, then maybe you ought to pass on the pale-pink, skin-tight shorts, even if it is laundry day.  Just saying.  Make another choice.   Wear something dirty!  Like a schmatta, a moo-moo, a toga-sheet!  Better to pass on the pale-pink shorts!

But she didn’t pass on them. She wore them.  In public.  At the Laundromat.  And for that I am grateful because she could be the second feature in my Laundromat Chronicles.  Oh come on!  She was nice and had a very pretty face, so get off my back!

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Laundromat Chronicles – First

Stuffed dryerMonday, October 20, 2014

Today I am grateful for the first of my Laundromat Chronicles.  I swear I could be entertained and find something interesting if you put me in a closed garbage can without a flashlight.

Yesterday I took sheets to the Laundromat. I meant to take a book, but it only takes a half-an-hour to wash a load and I bring it home to dry, so it wasn’t a big deal that I forgot.  You would think not much could happen in that short of a time.  Hah!  Do you KNOW me?  There were so many interesting characters that I can’t get them all in one blog post!  Here’s the first.

She’s young and skinny as a pencil and tall, with funky, black leather boots, rolled down at the top like Johnny Depp as a pirate, making her look taller. She has on skinny jeans that wouldn’t have fit on my arms, a blousy gray top and silver jewelry.  Lots of jewelry.  Her hair is clipped up loosely with a toothy clamp and tousling around her long thin face.  It would take some people hours to get this look, but I bet she just threw it up.  She looked great.  So why am I writing about this reasonably normal, good looking woman?

When you are done reading this go into your bedroom. Open the closet door.  If there are two doors, open both of them.  If you have a second closet open that, too.  Then go to your dressers and open ALL of the drawers.  If you have boxes under your bed with clothing in them, like I do, pull them out and open them, too.  That’s how much laundry this woman was doing.  She had more clothes than JC Penney’s, Macy’s, and Kohls combined!  And she jammed it all into two dryers.  I watched her.  I wanted to take a picture, but how do you say, “Excuse me, could I get a picture of the ridiculous amount of clothing you are stuffing into that dryer because I want to write about it so all of my friends will know how crazy Laundromat people can be?”

Not only did she jam, but half of it was twisted into knots when she did it.  She had a wheely-cart heaped with tangle, knotted, gnarly clothing, with sheets and towels and socks and bras and everything in one globby lump.  Watching her pick through it all was like witnessing Black Friday at Filene’s Basement!  She’d pull at something and it wouldn’t come out so she picked away at a few panties, a shirt, some socks, trying to unclench them.  Then she’d toss it into a 55 gallon dryer, until she had 380 gallons worth of clothing inside and turn it on.  If dryers had eyes, it’s were crossed!  It was fascinating.  It was crazy.  It was very entertaining.

I wasn’t there for the beginning or the finale of this little three-act (wash-dry-fold) show, but I sure am grateful I was there for the second act. Otherwise how could she be the first of my Laundromat Chronicles?

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Side Roads

Jim Thorpe-Back road - no carHoly Smokes.  I went to post this morning and my computer was doing a scan.  It took the entire day!  Geeze.  Here’s todays. . .

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Today I am grateful for side roads. I do most of the driving in our family and it isn’t unusual for me to take a side road for no reason other than curiosity.  I recommend it.  John calls it getting lost, but it’s really not.  Honest.

I love side roads. When we were in Bermuda we rented mopeds so that we could explore the island far away from the tourist traps.  We figured it was an island and eventually we’d get back to “go” anyway, so why not?  We saw houses where the real people live, a school and a mini mart with the most interesting characters at the lunch counter.

When we were in London we stayed at an out-of-the-way place, down a side road called the Edmund Lear House. No “lift” but climbing three flights of stairs gave us a spectacular view of rooftops that I can bring to the surface in my mind whenever I want.  And the bathtub was ancient and the size of a swimming pool.  But I digress.

In Bandung, Indonesia, we were walking with friends when I decided I had to veer off the main road, and I am using the term “road” loosely since it was Indonesia. All of the roads look like side roads, so the one I turned down was barely a path.  One of the women went with me and we stumbled upon a spectacular house that had been turned into a store by the family in residence.  It was great to drop a bundle in their necessary gem.

In Yogykarta, Indonesia my mom thought I was crazy for going down a side road with a man who said he had a shop with masks. She wouldn’t come.  She stayed on the main street and fretted.  I had a blast.  Children followed me like I was the Pied Piper and I have a picture of me with them. . .always in my mind. . . someplace on paper.

While driving from Melbourne to Sydney in Australia, we happened down a side road, then realized we were nearly out of petrol. Aren’t I so worldly?  If you think this country has remote areas, you should see Australia.  I was a little, um, concerned, until I saw a sign, “The Big Nothing” at the next crossroad.  It wasn’t much.  It was everything.  We got gas and went inside to pay and the Aussie man was baking bread.  Honest to God.  We dropped every plan for the day and hung around until it was done.  He brewed tea and plopped a full loaf of hot bread on our plastic table cloth, along with a small, chipped, china bowl with pink flowers and a huge glob of real butter.  Can you smell it?  I can!  Best lunch we ever had.  Ever.  Anywhere.  And we would have never found something so simple on the main drag.

When my sister and I took our mom to Austria, we got on the wrong bus in Salzburg and instead of heading towards our hotel, we went the opposite direction and got a real-life tour of the charming town, filled with front yard gardens and people chatting over fences as they hung laundry on sagging lines. Even mom settled down and enjoyed it once we assured her we would find our way back. . .eventually.

I run on instinct so I am not afraid to turn down a side road in any country. If my guts tell me not to stray down a certain road, I don’t.  But remember stuff happens on main drags, too.  When we were in Nice, France, on a main road, a couple of gypsy women with a baby jostled my husband until he took his hand out of his pocket to push them away.  In that second I turned and saw her hand coming OUT of his pocket.  I never saw it go in.  Wallet gone, me screaming bloody murder, gendarme running, paddy wagon loaded with us and the gypsies and the drugged baby, police station, reports in carbon on the first ever Remington and a lost vacation day, left us spinning.  Still dazed from the experience, we were a block away when a cop, waving something over his head yelled, “Monsieur, Monsieur, zee vahlet!”  They had shoved it under the carpet in the paddy wagon.

If you have the funds, the desire and the incredible luxury to travel, try to find a moment to check out side roads. They are rich with real culture, not the prescribe tourism many areas promote.  But if you don’t have the means right now, like us, you don’t have to travel far, either.  We take side roads, different streets, in our travels almost every day, discovering unusual houses, great gardens, or spectacular forests and I am grateful for every one of them.

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Patient Husband

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Today I am grateful for my patient husband. I had no intention of writing about my husband today, but when I mentioned I wasn’t sure what to write about he said, “How about your patient husband.”  So there you have it.  And I have a picture of him from last weekend in Jim Thorpe, which might be my favorite. Ever!

I know you’ll be shocked, but I drove myself crazy this morning. He really was patient.  I had breakfast after weight watchers (I’m not an idiot) while he was playing his baseball computer game.  Then we were going to the Farmer’s Market.  We also had to mail my mom’s birthday card.  Which I couldn’t find.  Anywhere.  Because I put it someplace safe.  But where?

I gave him his ten-minute-warning, which is the only way we’d ever get out of the house. That gives him time to pee, or grab Good ‘n Plenty’s, or some chocolate, or change his shoes, or shirt, or do whatever other last minute thing he needs to do before he can get in the car.  Usually I still wind up waiting.  Not today.  Today it was me.

“Where is that birthday card!” I said as I tore through the basked on the counter, the desk, the crap on the bedroom dresser, the junk drawer. “See, this is why I never send birthday cards.  I buy them and then can’t find them when I need them.”  He did the husband thing and said, “Did you put it in the desk?  Did you put it drawer?  Did you put it in the dresser?”  He might be the King of inane questions.  Or at least a Duke!  If I knew where I put it I wouldn’t have been tearing the house apart, now, would I?

I finally found it where “he” said he thought it was. Don’t you just hate that?  I filled it out, put on a stamp and return address, then shifted some stuff around on the table.  I call this the “paper shuffle”.  Then it was me that needed a bathroom stop (TMI?) and to change my shirt and by the time we got in the car he said, “You do know you called my ten-minute-warning forty-five minutes ago.  And by the way, where is the card that has to go out today.”  Geeze.

I found it under a bunch of junk I had “cleaned up” on the table. I’m throwing the kitchen away later!  The whole kitchen!  Even though it has been a good day, it’s been filled with little out-of-sync things that drive me. . .and him. . .nuts.  He didn’t holler. . . just laughed. . .and teased.  Instead of rolling his eyeballs, he rolled with the punches.  I wish I could say the same for myself.  So today I am grateful for my patient husband. . .even though it pains me to say so.

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Accept Graciously

Friday, October 17, 2014

Today I am grateful for learning how to accept graciously. Back in the day I had an awful time accepting a compliment.  If someone said I looked nice, or I was a gave me an unexpected gift, or I handled something with good character, I’d shrug it off and make a self-deprecating joke.  Any of this ringing true for you, too?  I thought it might for some of you.  Not only is it “better to give than receive”. . .it’s easier!

Then one time, a very good friend got pissed at my reaction. Really pissed.  He said, “When you blow off my compliment it not only makes you look negative, it makes me look like an idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about!  Knock it off!  Learn how to accept a compliment.  Just say ‘thank you’ and shut up!”  So, as scary as it was, I started to change.  Change is almost as difficult as accepting graciously!

It is second nature for me to throw little kindnesses out there. . .to help someone spontaneously, offer a word of encouragement, give a treat, lend a hand, or support someone who is struggling. It feels great in my soul.  I feel alive and in the exact right space. . .until someone shows a kindness to me.   If someone treats me to a show. . .or buys coffee/lunch/dinner. . .or gives me a great deal that saves me money on something I need. . .or sends me a note. . . or makes a nice comment on something I’ve written, I squirm like a worm in a tin can.

But not today. Today I remember the advice of my friend on how to accept graciously. Sooooo. . . to those who have generously tossed something wonderful in my direction. . .and there are a bunch of you. . .you know who you are. . .yes. . .you. . .I simply say, from the bottom of my happy, grateful heart, “Thank You!”

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Laundromat washers Laundromat dryersThursday, October 16, 2014

Today I am grateful for the local Laundromat. Forty five minutes from door to door and I now have four loads of clean laundry all set to be run through the dryer.  The great thing about Laundromats is that you can do the whole works at one time.  It isn’t so bad! Yet!  Ask me in a few weeks.

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Verizon Wireless Store

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today I am grateful for the Verizon Wireless Store. . .well not the whole store, really. . .mostly Mike who helped us. . .all afternoon. If he had served cocktails and appetizers it would have been a party.  John told stories, I told stories, he told stories.  Whopee!

I have been eligible for a new phone for two years but never bothered to get one. I have issues with change.  Sometimes.  I have more issues with cell phones.  All the time. By the time I learn how to do one eighth of what the thing can do it is “time” for a new one.  Free.  For a dollar.

“Oh. . .and did you know that you need to pay a one-time (for this phone) upgrade fee of $30?” asked my new BFF, Mike.

“So then it’s not free is it? It’s a dollar plus thirty. . .so thirty-one dollars!”  I joked.  Sort of.

“Plus tax,” he said.

“Don’t get me started on the tax!” Plus a case so I can throw it safely when it pisses me off as it is sure to do. . .so really fifty one dollars.  Who says I suck at math?  Hah!

But the old phone wouldn’t hold a charge as long as I can, which is moderate, so it was time. I guess.  Why can’t I just have an old rotary phone with a receiver that makes a nice slamming sound when you hang it up angry and a forty-foot twisty cord?  Ah, those were the days.

But Mike was new to the job and great, but the poor thing had no idea what he was getting into when he greeted us at the door. He asked for my phone number. . . six times.  I kept giving it to him and it wouldn’t bring up the account.  I thought he was challenged.  Then he asked, “Is that your cell phone?”

“No, you didn’t say you wanted my cell phone number,” I answered, then said, “Oh yeah, this is the wireless store isn’t it?” Duh!  Mike isn’t the one who is challenged. It’s nothing smart and nothing fancy (apparently phones imitate their owners) but I still don’t know how to answer it.  I don’t even know if it rings.  I wish it cleaned bathrooms.

They were great at the Verizon Wireless Store, especially Mike, and I am grateful. . .I guess. . .all I have to do is. . .wait. . . hold on. . . It’s ringing. . . I think. . .sounds like my Zumba class. . . gotta go. . .at least it was free. . .Grrrr!

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