Mary Beth Writes

I did cleaning and laundry this morning. My fav (not) part is moving stuff from the second floor to the first floor to the basement and then back. Because who doesn’t love a Stairmaster with a dirty bathroom at one end and half-done laundry at the other?

Long ago (and far away) I read an article where the author interviewed many 1950’s and 60’s graduates of Wellesley College. Many of the women had gone on to brilliant careers. (Looking at you, Hillary).  One of the questions for these illustrious women was “What surprised you the most about adult life?”

Many of these movers and shakers answered, “Who knew there would be so much laundry?”

I often put laundry on my to-do list without clearly considering how much time it will take. Carrying it around the house, starting it, moving it, hanging some, carrying again, folding, putting away… Laundry is NOT a quick chore. Yet like many housekeeping activities it’s invisible if you do it and only noticeable if you don’t.

So here we are at home nearly all the time and no one else is writing about laundry during quarantine. So I thought I would.

  • One of the early things to go when money is tight is a laundromat. What is happening in hard-pressed families who do their laundry that way?
  • When I was young and between paychecks I would sometimes do my laundry via the bathtub. It’s hard work. Rinsing soapy stuff is a bear, hanging things to dry in a place not set up for that is stressful. And after you get it all hung around, there’s no place to sit.
  • One of the chores put off to another day when one is working from home, helping kids to their schoolwork at home, cooking from home, ordering most of what the family needs (at new websites one needs to figure out) from home – is keeping up with laundry.  So I suspect there are baskets of laundry piling up these days. For those who notice and care, this is more stress.

 To which I have this to say.

Our economy is in freefall. All sorts of gloomy-doomers are saying our only hope is to sacrifice the oldsters and vulnerable so that everybody else can go back to their jobs right now no matter what.

That kind of thinking works well enough if what you care about most is preserving the infrastructure of your old rich life. And you don’t lose anyone to this disease. Good luck with that.

Can we be more imaginative. Can we think outside of the damned old box?

Laundry is one of those places we can START to reinvent an economy that supports modern families.  Everyone needs their towels washed. Our beds need clean sheets. We need clean underwear and clean clothes.  All of this is about being healthy and functional.

So why does modern society not value and then create systems for doing all laundry? In the ‘Old, Old West’ cowboys could leave their dirty clothes at someone’s house and pick it up the next day. My grandmother took in shirts to wash and iron during the Great Depression. My mom took our sheets and towels to a downtown laundry when I was a kid. I still remember picking up the clean stuff which was in a “brown paper package wrapped up with string.”  (First time I heard that Sound of Music line I thought Julie Andrews was singing about clean laundry.) There is no reason laundry has to be done in-house by one person who puts it on her to-do list as if it’s a 10-minute job when it’s not.

Doing the family laundry is ripe for change. We can make it cheaper than $1500-worth of appliances every five years. Community laundry can be MUCH more ecological than millions and millions of plastic bottles of somewhat dubious chemicals. When the minimum wage becomes $15 and health care is not tied to employment – boom, here is an industry that can get up and going pretty quickly, bringing many workers along with it. And freeing many more people to do the other things their families and jobs need them to do.

There’s a problem right here, under our noses, smelling stale.

There’s a solution right there, too, and its just fresh, clean laundry.

...

Oh, and one more thing.

 

Comments

When my now husband first started courting me, many long years ago, I was a single mother, with 3 young children. It was not always easy to find a free moment to “court”. One of the first presents he gave me was a gift certificate for months of drop off laundry service at the nearby laundromat, possibly one of the most romantic gifts I have ever received!
Mary Beth's picture

Yep, that would do it for romantic gestures. How would one ever leave a partner who also thinks about the laundry!!

I just picked up my laundry from the cleaners on Friday, I don't enjoy doing it so I'd rather pay someone else to deal with it... Some stuff I take over to George's and wash and dry it when I do his sheets every other week thus saving time and money while creating a full load...
Mary Beth's picture

So that's why your shirts are always crisp...

A couple of comments- first, this is one house chore that I don't mind because I have the equipment here, and recently got a first floor laundry room, which is wonderful! I can see results, it's mostly hands-off work, and smells good, at the end. I hang it outside in my yard when I can, for several reasons. I guess I appreciate what I have as far as laundry facilities because I have done laundromats, bathtubs, winter-time stuff hanging all over the house, and all of that. I even did diapers via toilet-rinse/wringer washer/clotheslines on my porch, which was better than other alternatives I had at the time! I work at a COVID-19 hotline at a government agency, and we have gotten several calls about "how am I supposed to do laundry?" It seems like people would be able to figure it out, but, people are pretty stressed. One lady wanted us to "force the cleaners to clean the slipcovers the dog pooped on" after they refused. She said it was mandatory because it was an essential service. Last, I met my husband via an apartment building laundry room!
Mary Beth's picture

Wow! You have strong and interesting laundry stories! I did cloth diapers, too, but I had the washer/dryer in the basement and it wasn't harder than any other laundry. And zowie - the $ saved was incredible. You have a front seat on this coronavirus. And the more frightened and stressed people are - generally the less imaginative. It must be sometimes exhausting to try to help people who are scared and unrealistic.

Now that it’s only for me...I just wish the genie would take care of my bed: take the sheets off, wash/dry/reassemble! I got paid to do laundry...though it was fabric samples: as a textile tech at the Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco in the 1970s, we all took turns washing and drying all fabric samples to ensure standards were met. Still not my favorite chore! When we moved to the USA my mother ironed for several families so she could make some money and still be home to half my sister and me with our adjustment to a new language and country.

Add new comment

CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent anniversary antibiotics antlers apples appointments Arrows art Ashland August Augustine baby Badlands balance Baldwin Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM BookReport books boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada canoe cat romance cats cello Chicago China Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote CrimeShows death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering democracy dentist depression Destination Today Detroit Didion disasterprep dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Eclipse election EmilyDickinson eschatology Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade family farmer Fata Morgana firealarm Fitness Five Flatbread Flexible flu Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal FrugalHacks Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga Galena Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd gerrymandering ghosts gifts girls gorgons GovernorThompsonStatePark Graduation grandkids granola groceries Guatemala gum guns happiness HaveYouEver? hawks healthcare Healthinsurance hearings heart HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope hurricane impeachment Innkeeper Instincts integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin Jan 6 Janus JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich justice Karen Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness LouisArmstrong Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories men Middlemarch MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens Mistakes MLK moon Mother MothersDay mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha Nancy Drew New Mexico New York City Nomadland OBUUC Ocotillo OnaJudge ordinary OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon photos Pi Pies pineapples poetry Preaching privacy Protest QE2 Quern quest Questions Rabbit holes racism recipe recipes recommendations Remember RepresentationMatters Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb Ricky rime RitesofPassage Rosemary Ruether Roses Roti Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraRodriguez sculpture Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory shoulder sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito solstice South Dakota SpaceShuttle spring square feet staining stele Stereotypes StoryStarts stress Survival swim taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge TheMaid ThePerpetualYou ThreeBillBoards Three Thing Three Things ThreeThings TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone Ukraine Ulysses Grant UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam VivianWokeUpDrowning vole volunteer WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving Webs wedding whines WhyAttendChurch Wiley Willa WillaCather Wisteria
Ad Promotion