Saturday, March 27, 2010

You Could Get All Blubbery Over Laundry if You Let Yourself

14 years ago, two days after Christmas when we were poor as church mice because we'd tried to put together an extra nice Christmas for my MIL who was very recently widowed, our dryer died. Completely. With three kids living at home, a dryer wasn't a luxury and we couldn't go more than a few days without having one available. I still remember calling the appliance guy, even recall the name of the company. He came out and told me it was dead. Done. No hope. Not worth fixing.

So we bought a brand new Maytag for right at $500 we did not have. Paid cash we did not have. Because who has $500 you didn't plan on the day after Christmas when you have three kids at home. I remember writing the check and thinking it'd be a real challenge to figure out how to come up with the money to cover it next payday. Rob Peter to pay Paul sort of thing.

We still have that dryer and it still runs great, and I'm not holding a grudge against it for needing a couple of CPR sessions. It's still a champion at drying a load of blue jeans in 45 minutes.

The washer was bought when our son was still living at home, and still bringing home those white nylon football practice pants that refused to let go of that green smear on the knees. Sweaty nasty things that I'd try not to touch as I tossed them in, but I had to use a bar of my MIL's homemade bar soap to get out those stupid stains. He had to have the pants ready for the next day, and for some reason I thought they needed to be pristine white every single day so he could destroy them again, and bring them back to me.

So we're finally, finally making the move that is possibly going to go down in the Guinness Book for taking the longest time to finish. The house we're moving to came furnished. Some of the stuff is great, some is awful and some is in between. Some we sold, some we gave away and some we kept. The washer and dryer at our lakehouse aren't anything to write home about - they aren't the super cool front loaders, with the neat box on the bottom to hold powder and such. They aren't in fun red or blue or anything - they're white. And I actually despise the buzzer on the dryer that we can't seem to disable, so that it sounds like a fog horn going off to tell me the towels are nice and fluffy. It's a bit like someone with a horribly screechy voice yelling at you to tell you dinner is ready. Good news delivered badly. But they work, at least as well as what we have here, if not better because they've had even less use than ours. So we may as well go with them and not take our PA ones with us.

Our last kid moved out 7 years ago, and since then we've done two loads of laundry a week. Except the weeks when I tried to be a Martha Stewart and did the sheets, and don't ask me how often that wasn't. It's my least favorite chore, even after cleaning bathrooms. I've said before if I was wealthy I'd have someone change the sheets daily and fix my hair every single morning. But I'm not, and it shows in how seldom the sheets get changed. (And possibly in how my hair looks...) I remember the days when I did two loads a day and still couldn't keep up. How times change.

As we laid in bed last night, talking the talk that comes right before you drift off, it was to the sound of jeans bouncing around in the dryer. The very last load in the dryer that our kids' clothes were in. And dippy as it may be, it felt like a right of passage.

Not that I was overly sad about it, just recognized that it'll never pass this way again, those days of knees stained with freshly mowed grass, or cheerleader uniforms that have impossibly small waists, or countless socks that can't find their pair for anything. No more loads and loads of towels because a teenager decided they need a fresh one for several different areas of their body, all after the same shower.

We're giving away our washer and dryer today - the washer to a girl who was in my small group years and years ago. She went to prom with my son when his ankle was broken and there was no hope of dancing - what a girl! She's now married and expecting her first child, and their used washer is giving up the ghost. The dryer is going to a couple in our church who have three young boys - and she said she has to dry everything three times to get them done. Great places to pass them on to! It tickles me to know kid jeans and too many towels will go through them for a few more years. Baby clothes will be washed in that washer - how fabulous is that?

And our washer and dryer down south? They'll have swimsuits from our grandkids playing in the lake, or my husband's nasty fishing clothes, or his sweaty t-shirt from mowing the grass in the Texas heat, or my jeans, with mud on the knees from planting and weeding my garden. Or baby burp cloths from our newest family member, or sheets and sheets and sheets and towels and towels and towels from having all our family come to play with us. I do believe I'll feel differently about washing those sheets.

Great stuff to think on happy times ahead. That's what we're about right now.

We're pulling the plug on our internet in just a day or so and won't be connected to the world for about two weeks. I'll be back soon to share how feathering our nest is going. And in the meantime, hope you all celebrate the best holiday of all - Easter, Resurrected Life and fresh starts.


Becky said...

Easter is my favorite holiday. Easter morning my favorite morning of the year by far.

Well, I loved this post. It is amazing how one can find such memories in the smallest things. I am finding that even now, as I remember what we had to spontaneously leave in FL when it did not fit on the truck (my Christmas tree!) that I am homesick for my memories.

We gave our washer and dryer to our sons. So I can visit them when we see them soon.

Have a safe trip and happy trails. By the time we hear from you again it will be behind you. New adventure. Old memories. They will indeed find a happy medium.

Glenda said...

Bev, you do have a way with words . . . words that come straight from your heart! Love this post!

When you mentioned "feathering" your nest, I immediately thought of the photos I took yesterday of bluebirds literally "feathering" their nest. (I'll post those today, hopefully.) What a beautiful analogy!

Wishing you the very best as you begin your new journey!

Just Another Ordinary Miracle said...

you make me smile.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

There's just no way to get around wanting to be in more than one place at once, and no way to do it. Wistfulness over things left behind, while longing to finally move on to the next phase of life and begin feathering that new nest...such mixed emotions!

Looking forward to embarking on your new life journey with you, dear friend. Have a safe, uneventful move, and can't wait to hear about your move when you rejoin us from your new home.

Love and big hugs,


Dan and Janae said...

I have to confess everytime that dryer goes off I JUMP!!

Bev said...

Janae I'm right there with you - it makes me crazy it's so loud. Soon after we're there Don is going to pull that baby out from the wall and find the wire causing it and disconnect it. I cant wait til we've been there a little bit, the internet and TV (with 200 channels) are both hooked up and the place looks and feels a bit more like the homey place we're planning on it being. We'll send those men out to fish, jump in the car and go to Canton to shop!

Susan said...

A fun, fun read!!! Take care in the move and hurry back.

Kelly said...

I am such a sap that being a tad weepy over a dryer seems perfectly logical, and even to be expected, by me:-)

Have a fabulous and safe move, and I can't wait to hear all about your new home. Yay! Can you believe it is actually happening?

Dawn said...

I haven't been over in a long time - and now that I am not private any more, it's more fun to visit around.

It's been a long haul for this move, hasn't it? Will be anxious to see how living in Texas once again goes for you guys. I have to admit I could not survive the heat unless God ordered me to go for a very good reason.

Have a save trip and may this new phase of life be the best yet!

Just Terrific said...

Oh, my gosh! I got all weepy reading this! I'm right there with you on that sort of thing! We just bought a new dishwasher this weekend. Our 15 year old one sprung a leak! It worked just fine, otherwise. We took the old one with us to the store to recycle it. We applied for our $100 rebate because the timing was right. Trust me, NEVER has there been a rebate when we've needed it. I can so relate to the "day after" appliance breakdown. (The kids always got sick the day BEFORE payday, too)

Loading our old dishwasher made me think of when it was new. My parents had bought it for us for Christmas. Our children were 3,
11, and 13 years old. The 28 and 26 year olds are married and gone, while the soon-to-be 18 year old will graduate from HS this May. My heart aches for those times again. That old dishwasher cleaned up after too many holidays and celebrations to count. I don't know what I would have done without it!

So, my parents are retired and, thankfully, in excellent health. My kids may be grown but they come home as often as they can.

Enjoy your new nest! I'll be looking to see how you're both doing. Be safe!

leslie said...

I don't remember having an "impossibly tiny waist," but I'M suddenly missing the dryer that washed those kinds of clothes too (though probably for the wrong reasons...)!
Very sweet post, Mama!
Love you!

Muffy's Mom said...

Hi Bev, I love your blog! You have a great outlook on everything & you are such a great writer!
I am praying for you & Don to have a safe move & that the Lord will keep His hands over all of you as you make this move!
What a fantastic Easter you will have - the whole Family together once again! Little cousins searching for eggs together & a cute little baby girl for all to hold! Great memories for years to come! A lot to rejoice about!
Now you will be a lot closer to Colorado (& The South) - I hope you can make a trip or two here this summer & we can get together over Tacoritoes & Margaritas again!
Happy Easter to you & your Family!
Susan D.

Chris said...

What a wonderful way to reminisce, through a simple washer and dryer. I loved this post!

Gretchen said...

To a small degree, I feel like I'm coming with you. Wistful & anticipating great things all at once. XxxoooHappy Easter!

pendy said...

It's crazy what goes through your mind when you're moving from a place where happy things have happened. When we left the home where we were living when our kids were born, I sat in their empty bedrooms (teeny tiny bedrooms) and mourned the loss of their baby days. Even though I knew we were off to new beginnings (middle school years) and a nicer home, it was still 'a moment'. Hope everything goes smoothly as you settle in and that your Easter is blessed.

Renna said...

Bev, you are an amazing writer. I loved that post, and I could certainly identify with it.