Friday, April 20, 2012

Notes from the Home IV

   Did some laundry this morning. I’m not sure if Nona misspoke, I misheard her, or I was just engaged in some wishful thinking, but I thought she said they did all the laundry and the cost was included in the rent. But, while washing the bed linens is part of the service; the rest of the wash, if you want them to do it, is eight dollars a load. They do have facilities for do-it-yourself launderers, however, and there is no charge for using the machines.
   I’m happy to do my laundry. It gives me something to do, a way to while away an hour or two. But it sometimes it seems longer. Just as the watched pot never boils, the watched washer never washes, nor does the watched dryer dry. But it does help if the person doing the washing knows what he’s doing. This morning, the washer swished and spun for a while and then stopped. I looked at the dial, which had a mark on it that seemed to indicate the washer was between cycles. Happy that there had been progress, I went back to my NOOK and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. A chapter later, the washer was still idle. I looked at the dial again. It hadn’t moved. Then I took a closer look. The mark I had been watching didn’t indicate anything. It was a small bit of lint that had hardened and dried there. The real mark, the one put there by the manufacturer, the one in the shape of an arrow that any idiot – well any idiot but this one – could tell was the mark to watch, was pointing to “DONE.”
   Today was the third time I since moved here that I’ve done laundry. And each time has brought back memories of when I was the very model of laundering efficiency. That was back at the turn of the century – the turn of the 21st Century, thank you – when my nest suddenly emptied, and there was no one to blame but myself if all my clothes were moldering in the hamper. After experimenting for a few weeks, I found the perfect laundering system. Paying no attention to the old ditty about washing clothes on Monday morning, I did the laundry Friday afternoon. As soon as I got home from my day job at Ash/Craft, around four, I’d dash upstairs, gather my dirty underwear, carry it to the basement and put in the washer. Then I went back upstairs, took a bath and dressed appropriately for a night of sports reporting. All spiffy and smelling good, I then gathered the dirty permanent press stuff, took it to the basement, put the underwear in the dryer, the permanent press in the washer, and went to the kitchen to make supper.
   Long about midnight, I’d leave the Star Beacon and head home, making a stop at Dairy Mart for a six-pack of Miller Genuine Draft. When I got home, I did not immediately pop a cold one. First I went upstairs and gathered my jeans and other heavy stuff. I went to the basement, took the underwear out of the dryer, moved the permanent press clothes into the dryer and dumped the jeans into the washer. Then I went and popped a cold one and then another one. By the time I finished the second beer, the washer and dryer had stopped and I went to bed. Saturday morning I threw the jeans into the dryer, after taking the permanent press stuff out, of course.
   This worked well until late 2003, when I my legs and my balance became less trustworthy, and I had to eschew the mad dashes up and – especially – down the stairs. The laundry still got done, but it took a little longer. And in the autumn of 2005, my legs got to the point where I was walking funny. I don’t know what it looked like to others, but I felt I was walking in the manner of the slightly tipsy, and I stopped stopping at midnight for beer. No one ever said anything to me or asked if I was drunk, but a few years later, in an online MS publication, I saw a letter from a woman with MS who had been told on several occasions to leave a public park by people who saw her and assumed she was drunk because of the way she was walking.
   Having typed enough about getting this way, I took a couple laps around Covenant Woods in order to remind me how lucky I am to have good insurance. And one of the things good insurance has done is make the wheelchair I ride around in affordable. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have it. Yes I do – darn little.
   After my little jaunt, the wheelchair has 792 miles on it. Most of the mileage was from going here and there in Ashtabula. But thanks to Nancy, who planned and did all the schlepping, the wheelchair and I have buzzed around Colorado; the Grand Canyon; Zion National Park; Niagara Falls, Montreal; New Hampshire; Chicago; Georgetown, Kentucky and assorted other spots. Of all the things the medical people have done for me, the one that makes a noticeable difference in my life every day is the wheelchair.
   And talking about making my day: Bethany e-mailed a video of her and Hayden walking around the backyard. What a fighter the little guy is. And if you see Beth, be sure to remind of her promise to bring Hayden to Georgia to see Grandpa, Uncle Russ and Aunt Karen.
   The weather is not as nice as it has been, but it isn’t as bad as some of the predictions. There are lots of clouds, but none of the torrential rains they were talking about last night, not even a drizzle so far.
   The mornings since I’ve been here have been comfortably cool, except for the few that were darn chilly. It’s been so nice to open the sliding door in the morning and let Mother Nature air condition the room for a couple hours. And along with the cool air comes the sounds of singing birds. A delightful way to start the day.
   I got a reminder of what part of the country I’m in. There was a knock at the door this morning. “Come in,” I said. The door opened, and a man entered and said, “Bug man.” Then he sprayed around the sink, the sliding door and in the bathroom. I suppose I’ll see him on a regular basis during the warm months.
   I talked to Joe at dinner last night. He looks to be about my age, but he must be older. From some of the things he said and the dates he gave, he was an adult while I was still a punk kid. He was a transit dispatcher in New York City for twenty-one years. I said, when I think of New York transit dispatchers, I think of The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. He said he dispatched busses not subways. I’m sure as time goes on, he’ll have some of interesting tales to tell.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, as you probably know we had our reading last Friday the 20th. I seemed silly but we were all a little nervous. I didn't realize how close I had grown to this group. Anyway, I got to read some of your stuff and I just wanted you to know everybody loved it. We saved the best for last and I think "Of All the Gull" was everybody's favorite.



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