Day 45

First, I have to mention that our contractors have kept our washer and drier up and running this entire time. That has not been easy, so I really appreciate their thoughtfulness and effort. That being said…

I love laundromats. This weekend is the first time that our washer and drier are not in commission, and I realized yesterday that the kids have no clean underwear, so today the three of us are at the laundromat.

It’s not that laundromats are all that awesome. On the contrary, a lot of them are dirty and need remodeling, they’re expensive, and the crowd there can be dicey or just plain awkward. But I love laundromats because they remind me of grad school when I was starting to visit the l-mat for the first time. Sure I’d technically been an adult for 4 years already, but grad school was the first time I felt like I was doing very adulty things. I lived in a house/apartment instead of a college dorm. I bought my own groceries. I chose my own bank. I was no longer a college “kid.” And it was always nice to go do laundry because I was stuck at the laundromat without my computer (a desktop) so I really had no choice but to spend an hour or so reading and, of course, people watching.

So it’s fun to spend this morning sharing the experience with my kids. They’re using the time alternately between playing with toys and watching “The Magic School Bus” on my phone (with headphones), but they’re not bothering anybody. We are definitely being people watched, though.

This week the contractors…

  • Found and replaced a cracked sewer pipe.
  • Rebuilt the laundry room subfloor.
  • Finished the electrical in the kitchen. 
  • Insulated everything.
  • And Gary and I remade decisions about cabinets and flooring.
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Our contractors discussing the electrical. There’s another guy in the other room digging out the sewer pipe.

Day 11

Our gutted laundry room has an exterior door, so we’ve been taking our laundry out our front door, down the side alley, and into the laundry room from the outside. I’ve been calling it “our own personal laundromat.”

Other than the obvious hassle and the awkwardness of parading our dirty laundry outside, the only other inconvenience is that there’s no lighting in the room anymore. This is no big deal as long as we’re doing laundry during the day. But more often I don’t get to it until after dark, and then the whole thing feels like a horror film.

I grab my basket and a flashlight and head out the front door. It’s raining, of course, so I keep my head down and try to hurry. The alleyway gate screeches as I walk between walls of brick. I open the laundry room and, when I enter, my shoes make prints in the dust on the floor. All is still and silent. Crossing the room I put the flashlight down on the washing machine and set the laundry basket on the floor. I load the washing machine with clothes and soap and turn it on, its touch screen bathing the whole room in an eerie green glow. Then I grab the flashlight and I turn to leave but stop short; the plastic wall to my right ripples but there’s no wind. I shine my flashlight at it but no one’s there. When a floorboard creaks with no one to step on it, I bolt for the door, leaving the laundry basket where it lies. As I close the door behind me I almost feel invisible hands close their grip on the space I had just occupied, and I run through the rain to my front door, promising myself that my husband will be kind enough to put the laundry in the drier.

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