Posted tagged ‘Laundry’

“I couldn’t shed the cold; it clung to every bit of me.”

January 31, 2017

I walked out of the house to get the papers and was totally taken aback at how cold it was. It was sunny then but the sun was just a backdrop providing some light but no heat. Since then the sun has been replaced by whitish clouds. Snow will be coming later but only an inch or two. I’m staying home today where I’ll be warm and comfortable.

When I was a kid, winter usually meant staying inside after school. I’d do my homework and then watch TV. The only exercise I had was walking to and from school. We, the four of us, must have driven my mother crazy. My brother and I would tease our younger sisters. He and I would sit on the couch on each side of one sister and point at her. That drove her crazy and she’d yell to my mother about us. We’d yell back and say we weren’t even touching her, but my mother knew. She’d tell us to stop.

I didn’t my bike out much in the winter. Mostly I walked everywhere. Some Saturdays I’d ride with my father when he did his errands. My favorite stop was at the Chinaman’s as everyone in town called it. The shop was where my dad left his white shirts each week to be cleaned. Behind the counter on shelves were bundles of cleaned shirts wrapped in brown paper tied with string. The laundry was always steamy from the big ironing machine by the window. I used to watch the Chinaman iron.

On Sunday, if I was up and dressed early enough I could ride with my father to church. He was an usher at the eight o’clock mass. He’d give me a dime to put in the basket. I always sat in a pew where he collected the money. The ushers never sat. They just stood in the back entryway and talked in whispers until it was time for the money offerings.

One of the best parts of being retired is staying home on the coldest of days, a day like to day.

“I am too young to be called wise and I am too old to be called young.”

January 16, 2017

Today is winter warm. The sun is shining and the sky is pale blue. In all respects it is a pretty day.

This morning I had a burst of energy. The laundry got put away, and the next load of laundry is leaning against the cellar door. I expect I’ll wash it later. I brought the vacuum up from the cellar. I washed a few cups and glasses. I even got dressed. It has already been quite a day.

Growing up, I never learned any household skills. My mother did everything. She even made our beds. When I was first on my own and the washing machine buzzed, I had no idea why. I took out the clothes, wrung them close to being dry and put them on the line. I had an apartment my junior and senior years in college. Almost everything I ate came from a can. Dinty Moore’s Beef Stew was a favorite. It had everything: meat, potatoes, and vegetables. I ate a lot of spaghetti with jarred sauce. I also ate several meals of hot dogs and hamburgers. They are still two of my favorites. When I graduated from college, I could wash clothes and understand the buzzer. I could sort of cook. I could also teach English.

If, when I was 11 or 12, I was asked what my life would be like when I was retired, I would have had trouble answering. Being old enough to retire was way beyond my ability to imagine. Even being in my 20’s seemed really far away., but I was sure of a few things. I’d travel the world. I’d write books about my travels. My life would be exotic. Auntie Mame and I would be kindred spirits.

Okay, how’d I do? I’ve traveled the world. Though there is still so much of it to see, I’ve done well. I’ve traveled on three continents. I have lived in Africa, an amazing adventure, an exotic adventure. I haven’t written a book, but I do write. That’s sort of a half-done. I never became an Auntie Mame. She was so flamboyant I could never pull off her style. I live for comfort. I suspect Auntie Mame would be horrified with my wardrobe.

Some things I’ve learned have amazed me. Cooking and baking are two of them. Doing needlepoint and crewel are two others. Never did I see any domesticity in my future. My 12- year-old self would laugh, heartily.

 

“Colder by the hour, more dead with every breath.”

January 15, 2017

This morning I just didn’t want to get out of bed. It was 9:15 when I first woke up. Considering how late I went to bed, I figured it was too early to get up so I snuggled under the covers and went back to sleep. I slept until 10. Maddie started howling. Gracie was snoring. I decided the bed was too warm and I was too comfy so I went back to sleep. It was easy. I slept another hour so it was close to 11 when I dragged myself out of bed. I have no guilt at sleeping the morning away. I have no obligations, no errands and no chores though I could do a laundry, but I won’t.

Last night I want the Patriots beat the Texans. It wasn’t the Pats best game as Brady was intercepted and sacked, but my Pats prevailed. The game started late, 8:15, and ended late so my friends and I decided to make it an evening. First, we ate Chinese and played Phase 10, our favorite game. I happened to win. Clare and I alternate winning. Tony hasn’t won since last March. We’re planning a gala for his anniversary of one year without a win. He isn’t looking forward to the festivities.

It was cold last night, 24˚, so today at 34˚ feels warmer. The low this evening will be 19˚. When I lived in Ghana, it was hot and dry in January. It was harmattan. Dust blew over everything. The sun was obscured. Rain was months away. My candle melted without being lit. The water was often turned off. I took bucket baths, and I had to take a few before I got the knack. I got good at it.

During Peace Corps staging, a time when we all came together for nearly a week before leaving for Ghana, I was asked if I minded going to the north. My response was to ask why the question. What was it about the north? The psychologist asking the question didn’t know the answer. I told him I didn’t care where in Ghana I was to be posted. That settled it. I went to the far north, the Upper Region. I even knew before I left staging I was going to be in Bolgatanga. The remote posting areas were filled first. That was Bolga. That was the place with a long dry season when days reached 100˚ or more. I think of that this time of year, the coldest time of year here in New England, but if I were given a choice between the two, the hot, hot dry days or the freezing days and nights, I’d chose the cold. I couldn’t escape the heat, but I can always bundle up to escape the cold.

“Sometimes me think, ‘What is Friend?’ Then me say, ‘Friend is someone to share the last cookie with.'”

December 4, 2016

Huzzah! Huzzah! My laundry is clean. The hall is empty of filled laundry bags. It was my only accomplishment of the day, but I consider it a huge one. I did binge watch a Netflix series called Between. I reasoned that sitting with pillows behind my back was a necessity as my back was aching from the trips up and down the stairs. In between changing loads from the washer to the dryer I brought up exactly two Christmas decorations. If anyone asks, I can truthfully say I have started decorating.

My heat is cranking. It is cold, down to the 30’s. It is also a gray day. The bare branches have an eerie look against the sky, sort of a Halloween vibe. There isn’t even a breeze. I have to go out later but I’m not looking forward to it. The warm, cozy house is just so inviting.

Gracie has been in and out all morning. She is restless, and I have no idea why. She does like the cold weather so maybe that’s a reason. She does bark, but when I check, I don’t see anyone or anything. Maybe her barking is what keeps the critters at bay.

My sister and I had our usual Sunday conversation. Today we talked food as both of us were watching the food channel with its Christmas programs. Moe is deciding what she’ll make for Christmas Eve when the whole family comes. Fondue is already on her list. She’ll have two fondue pots, one with oil for meat and one with cheese for breads and vegetables. Onion dip, of course, is a must. My mother always had it so the tradition continues. Moe usually has something Mexican like chili verde or corn tortillas. My brother-in-law usually smokes a roast and some chicken. The roast gets cut into bites and is served with a sauce. I’d want a horseradish sauce. Moe is trying to decide which sweets. Whoopie pies and sugar cookies are a must. She’s thinking maybe peanut butter cookies with a kiss in the middle but that’s as far as she’s gotten.

Part of the fun of Christmas is the cooking and baking. The house usually smells great and I swear everything is delicious.

“All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come in the night and finish any stories.”

December 3, 2016

Winter is poking its head in the door. Last night was downright cold. This morning is warmer but is still chilly. The sun is shining but seems to serve little purpose except as scenery. I’m hanging around today though I do have an errand or two on my new list. I’m thinking I might just get to that laundry still sitting in front of the cellar door.

I’m using sticky notes for my lists. There are three notes attached to my table which conveniently is metal. The notes are a bright pink. One is a list of things to do and places to go. It looks long. Another reminds me of fairs and an open house at my potter’s  tomorrow. The last list is just a couple of gift items for Christmas presents and where I can get them. Luckily my table is big so there is plenty of room for more bright pink lists.

I figure to start making a list (yup, another one) of the cookies and candy I want to make for Christmas and the ingredients I need. Some traditions still hold. I’ll make fudge for my sister, orange cookies for Clare and if I have time, toffee for Moe and Rod. I’ll also pick some other cookies yet to be decided. I like to try new cookies year by year.

I sometimes wish The Elves and the Shoemaker was real. It would be so neat to wake up and have everything done. I’d be happy to leave a list for the elves. I have plenty I’m willing to share. While they’re at it, they might just do my laundry.

“Christmas isn’t a parade or concert but a piece of home you keep in your heart wherever you go.”

December 2, 2016

Yesterday I expected to be welcomed home by a marching band playing and a couple of burly men waiting to carry my packages. I actually shopped for nearly three hours, a bit of a marathon for me. I had a list, and I finished it though it was close. I nearly gave up on the last item, but it was Gracie’s medicine so I went to CVS. The God of Parking was with me as I got a space directly across from the entrance. The line was long but I was patient. By the time I got home, I had set a new around town shopping record.

Two wreaths and a swag are sitting on the lawn. I think I’ll put them up today. My lights will be put up on Monday or Tuesday. I need to get my tree, probably Sunday. Meanwhile, the scrawny scrub pine artificial tree will take its place in the corner of the dining room. I’ll bring it upstairs when I bring my laundry down. Yup, it is still in the hall, and I have added to it. I don’t know what it is about laundry that makes me so loath to do it.

Yesterday, I was browsing the shelves looking for a bag for the Christmas tree. On one shelf, I saw stencils and a can of white spray for windows. Seeing them whisked me back in time to when I was a kid, and windows were covered with Santas and trees and bells. Our picture window was artfully stenciled by us taking turns. One would hold the stencil while the other sprayed. My fingers were covered in white by the time we were finished. My mother kept an eye to make sure we didn’t overdo. We’d run outside after spraying each stencil to see how it looked. We always thought they were perfect.

I remember the Christmas cards taped around the doorways, the colored candles in the windows, the tree in the corner with the hanging icicles, the Santa and Mrs. Santa salt and pepper shakers and the four small Santa cups which spelled out noel. I always said I got the N because I was the oldest.

“Laziness is the first step towards efficiency.”

November 29, 2016

or mThere isn’t any sun again. I’ve lost track of how many days. I get up and see clouds out the window; I go to get the papers and feel the cold and damp. The wind is slight so that’s a good thing. Only the edges of the brown leaves flutter and none fall to the ground.

Gracie has a vet appointment at 12:00, an old dog appointment which just means a second physical to make sure all is well. She also needs one shot and to have her nails clipped. It will be expensive. It always is.

Maddie howled me awake this morning. It was late so she probably had lost her patience and wanted her treats and some loving, in that order. Now she is standing beside me getting her neck scratched, and she is purring. If I dare stop, she nudges me with her head.

The laundry is back downstairs in front of the cellar door. Last time it sat here nearly a week. I finally got sick of seeing it. I could have thrown it downstairs, but that would have been far too lazy even for me.

I went through all the catalogues I had yesterday only to get more in the mail. They are never ending.

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was how to fix the dog door. The plastic fell again. I’m thinking a plastic strip over the holes would keep the screws attached. The big holes would disappear. I think I have just what I need in the cellar. That is now today’s other chore. Changing the bed is tops on the list.

Winter makes me lazy. The summer invites me outside and the spring demands attention. Fall catches my eyes with all its color, and I don’t want to miss it. Those colors never last long enough. In winter I’d much rather stay home. Being outside has little appeal. I don’t have to get dressed but can stay in my laze around the house clothes. Any chores can keep. I figure if I dust, I’ll only have to dust again so why bother. The house is neat, and that’s enough.