Tag Archives: domestic management

Get off the chandelier, your child needs you

Get off the chandelier, your child needs you

At our slumber party last weekend one of the boys came to me at 1:30am and said he was sick.  He was crying, and I was quick to dismiss it as homesick or fear of a dark, strange house.  I really did not want to call his parents in the middle of the night.  They had a kid-free evening and were probably swinging from the chandeliers or playing naked Twister.  Of course, if they were anything like me, they may have been so excited to be allowed their exhaustion, they smiled at each other before the sun set and fell asleep.  

Naturally, the boy had a temp and was mortified that he might throw up in front of all his friends.  We made the call.  No answer.  Visions of two middle-aged people bitterly wiping off whipped cream, cursing the whole time, danced through my head.

It took about twenty minutes for one of them to pick up the phone.  The boy spoke to his mom.  He was really crying hard.  Still, just like me, he had to sell her on the idea that he was sick.  About forty minutes later, his dad shows up at our house.  You could tell by the way he slammed the car door he was not happy.  But I opened the front door and his sick little cherub limped out, now hysterical upon seeing his father, and dad’s angry melted.  It was heartbreaking. 

I promised right then I would never doubt my kids when they called at an inconvenient time to tell me they needed me.  Naked Twister be damned!

My oath lasted all of four days.  My oldest called from school.  He thought he broke his thumb and wanted me to take him to the hospital.  If this was true, I reasoned, the school would have called an ambulance.  I told my darling, brave, crying child that unless there was blood or bone I wasn’t leaving the office.  I wasn’t even torn; there was no way I was leaving work. 

Like most parents, I live for my children.  Unless, of course, it’s inconvenient.

What happened here?

What happened here?

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the whole process.  I’m writing an explanation in hopes that this will jump start me again.  I hear that works.

When I started blog writing over a year ago, I had tight deadlines, daily writing assignments on all kinds of topics.  There was a sense of urgency, I felt a responsibility, and I got it done.  I still get it done.  I write daily for several websites.  In the course of those writing gigs, I also was asked to blog from my unique perspective: the middle aged single mom, three young boys, one autistic, dating after 20 years, perimenopausal, retiring parents, one with Alzheimer’s point of view.  That’s a lot and you’d think there would be tons of material.  But even then, posting once a week, I would get stuck.

Then I lost the self absorbed blog.  Seems the demographic and I didn’t exactly mix.  And I missed it.  I missed the objective musing on this life and the hysterical qualities it had somehow acquired.  And speaking of acquisitions, I acquired in the last few years a boyfriend candidate, a hippie room mate, a really good friend, the belligerence of my absent-almost-ex-husband, an estranged brother, a circle of divorced mom friends, a full time job, a new set of co-workers, an old car, a crazy young guy friend, an old rock star, and a ton of threatening letters from CitiBank wondering when I’m going to pay off my ex-husband’s exorbitant debt.  Yes, bat shit crazy indeed.

So my life is richer than ever.  Almost always almost too much to handle, but one way or another it gets done.  And I’d love to write about it again which is why I started this blog many weeks ago.  But I find trying to pull together my old posts, new essays, ideas on post-it notes, memos to self in the margins of my Franklin, all just a bit daunting.  I found a note “fart on demand”.  I can’t remember for the life of me what that meant.  See, now I have to do research.  Add that to the list.

It’s sort of a big philosophical as well as practical question: how do I get on with it?  [Even at this moment, while I’m trying to think and organize ideas my Calvin is sitting at the desk across from me barking, literally. He’s my 9 year old.]   I think in the end I just have to do it.  My friend Belinda at the office told me yesterday that the only real great advice she got from her years of therapy post divorce was this:  In order to live your life, you must go through it.  So put your head down, aim forward and just go.  So that’s what I’m doing now.  But first, I’m going to give myself a break.  These postings won’t be perfect.  I’m mixing past and present, musing on the future.  Sometimes it won’t make sense.

It really is just like life.

 

A view from the laundromat

A view from the laundromat

Maybe two years ago my clothes dryer died.  At first I was broke and couldn’t afford to get it fixed.  Now, I’m just obstinate.  I could get it fixed, but I rebel against the plumbers that charge a $90 house call fee.  They tell you what’s wrong and how much it will cost.  They then apply the house call fee to the cost of repair.  It guarantees that there is no problem which is going to be less than $90.  What if it’s a loose wire or it can’t be fixed at all?  Really?  $90?  I also discovered that my electric bill went down $20 when I quit drying in the house.

Do the math:  I do two loads of drying a week.  That’s eight a month.  Eight loads for $20 in electricity and who knows in water and gas.  So let’s say clothes drying costs me $25 a month at home.  A fabulous local laundromat charges thirty cents for 10 minutes of drying in a double load dryer.  So I can dry all my clothes in one load for 30 minutes.  That’s $1 a week or $4 a month.  So I save $21 dollars a month by going to the laundromat.  Plus the freakin’ $90 for the house call.

And I have fallen in love with it.  Every Sunday at 4pm I pack up the kids and we drive a few blocks to the Clean Scene.  There’s a pizza place next door that sells $6 cheese pizza.  We go, we start the load, we walk next door and order pizza.  Ten minutes later either Steve or Mario will deliver it to us at the laundromat.  The manager of the laundromat – Andrew – is a really nice young man.  He is the middle of three boys so when my three little guys come in, I think he looks at me like an echo of his own mother.  There is a big screen tv and he’ll usually change it to the Simpson’s or some other kid friendly kind of thing when we get there.  I always offer him pizza and he always very politely declines.

There are lots of regulars and I’ll talk about them another time.  I find it mesmerizing being a part of this community.  It’s an intimate thing: washing your clothes.  It reveals so much about you: what you think about material possessions, how you care for them, personal taste, the types of people in your family, what size bed you have, the level of clean freak that you are.  The relationships are amazing.  Who do you bring to the laundromat?  Why?  There’s a woman that brings her grandmother who is in a wheelchair.  I imagine for the same reason I bring my three kids:  she won’t leave her alone and doesn’t want to get a sitter.  But maybe I’m totally wrong.  Maybe Grandma just loves it the way I do.  You can’t make any assumptions about the people in a laundromat.

It took a while for us to become regulars, but we are, and it’s some kind of weird wonderful.  I wouldn’t give it up.  For one hour on Sundays my kids and I are part of this tenuous, ethereal thing.  It’s a microcommunity.  We come together for such a short time then fall away. Then back again.

Kind of like a tide – or maybe I should say Tide.