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Monday, November 9, 2015

Sunday Morning Laundromat

Johnny Cash had a hit single, enumerating his discoveries while walking down a Sunday morning sidewalk after a Saturday night of revelry. The juxtaposition between the wholesomeness of small town Sundays and the physical, emotional, and spiritual pangs of small town Saturday night bars are palpable.

This is not that sort of story…

Sitting in a Laundromat at a time on Sunday morning when I should have been sitting in church. I pay dis-interested attention to the parade of other patrons lugging their plastic baskets or over-sized trash bags crammed nearly to bursting through the single door.

The d├ęcor is a very accurate representation of 1960’s vintage government office building. Neutral colored walls devoid of any type of decoration to stimulate any visual or mental activity are complemented by 7 cold gray plastic chairs which have been endorsed  by the American Chiropractic Association;  they are guaranteed to throw out anyone’s back thus generating  business for the local bone-cracker.

Oh, being in a Laundromat isn’t so odd…it was a weekly ritual my first 3 years of college.  Even after marrying my Lovely Bride, we still schlepped clothes, soap, and babies off to the village’s one of 2 do-it-yourself facilities.

And, over the course of Life from time to time, when a machine would take a dive and then give up the ghost, off we would go; over loaded baskets in the trunk of the car and inevitably realizing after arriving at the Laundromat the detergent was right where we left it by the front door.

So, it is not the fact our Whirlpool has opted to not spin, nor the fact the fix-it-guy has a somewhat casual approach toward customer service which is most disconcerting- it is being a sixty-something married bachelor. Doing laundry on a Sunday morning when I should be in my regular spot in the congregation.

I can’t take credit for the phrase “married bachelor”- in fact it was uttered by the fix-it-guy during his “yup-it’s-the-clutch-I-don’t-have-the-part-have-to-wait-till-Monday”s visit yesterday. I reluctantly accepted the truth of his words.

Oh, not the Dan Akroyd/Steve Martin “Wild and Crazy Guys” type of bachelor. Nor the Lake Wobegon Norwegian bachelor farmer social misfit immortalized by Garrison Keillor either.

I ticked through the list of notable bachelors in my mind.

I am neither the Felix Unger overly OCD neat-freak, nor the Oscar Madison quintessential slob.

Definitely not the Jim Rockford, sports-car driving type. Most people are put off by Bess, my 18 year old Jeep. She is the antithesis of a four wheeled chick-magnet. She is more of a vehicular chick repellent, actually.

I am most definitely not the sophisticated man-about-town, lady on each arm type of bachelor.

No, I am nothing like any of the above.

I am…well… me. Married to LB, patiently and prayerfully awaiting her recovery and return to our home.

Tomorrow, the 10th   it will be four months to the day that LB’s, my and our entire family’s lives were inexorably altered.  As of yet-with dramatic physical and neurological progress on LB’s part aside-our lives are still altered; with no end-date forecast.

All of which explains why I am sitting in this particular place at this particular time. With work, caring for dogs and visiting LB, Saturday and Sunday are the only times I can cram five days of household duties into two.

So, I am up very early, cleaning, sweeping, watering plants, feeding the backyard birds, grocery shopping, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…

Usually, while I am performing the above, the washer and dryer happily chug along, performing their tasks. Alas, for the past 10 or so days now they have sat idle. Oh sure, the washer fills, agitates, drains and repeats- it simply does not spin the water out.

Opening the lid reveals a sodden intermingled mass, not the nicely damp centrifugal force arrayed items; eagerly awaiting a spin in the dryer. I am thereby faced with some options:
11)  Wringing the wet items out by hand, hoping the majority of water actually makes it to the sump,
22)   Loosely drape the dripping things over step ladders and odds and ends of stuff, allowing the water to run willy-nilly on the laundry room floor, in the hopes the majority actually makes it to the sump,
33)     Say “forget it”, toss the drenched, dripping pile en mass  inside the dryer, set that sucker on Turbo Dry, and hope for the best.

None of the above is a truly satisfactory solution. I have tried them all.  All more than once.  The only real solution, aside from popping for a new machine, was to call the fix-it guy.

We have used him for close to 20 years now. He used to be more responsive, willing to stop at night on his way home from his last appointment. Now… he has slowed down more than just a bit. His primary concern after his last appointment now seems to be getting home to dinner.

When once all it took was one phone message and he would be at the door, it now takes a couple messages, one or two conversations, re-hashing the ills of the World and all who are in it, and then hoping he doesn’t forget we even talked. 

It is really sad to see how far down the hill the poor guy has slid. Sure glad none of that has happened to me.

So, here I am….in the Laundromat, shaking my head in amazement that it now takes as much money to start one machine as would have washed and dried 2 full loads when I was in college all the while trying to ignore the gentle guidance of a mother to her child;”What the *&^% are you doing?!  You can’t fit in the washing machine!”

With a wistful smile on my face, I think:

I sure hope the fix-it guy can find the part. And he remembers to show up.