Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Adventures in Laundry

Laundry is never done in this house.  For a family of four, I feel like we produce a HUGE amount of laundry.  I do a load 5-6 days a week.  It's a pretty boring topic.  But today

Today I realized again just HOW lucky we are that we have a washer and dryer in our house.  There are plenty of families that don't have this privilege.  Ours is on our main floor, so Madison is now able to "help" with the laundry, by handing me clothes out of the basket to put in the washer, and then I hand her wet clothes to put in the dryer.

Unfortunately, one thing that absolutely does NOT fit in our washing machine is our comforter.  Trust me, I've tried.  We have a top loading machine and it just can't agitate.  So before we had kids, a few times a year on a Saturday I would bring the comforter to what seems to be the one laundromat in town.  It was actually kind of nice.  I'd wash and dry the comforter and spend the time sitting and reading with my iPod and a coffee.  It was kind of like forced relaxation.

After Madison, it got a little more complicated.  So I brought the comforter a little less frequently.  I either had to bring her along, or leave her home for a few hours.  Not a huge deal.  I mean, the girls have a dad at home of course, but if I'm going to take "time off", it kind of stinks to spend it in a laundromat. 

This was my first time washing it since Reagan came along.  6 months ago (and um, probably a while before that.  I don't remember).  Oops.  I'd been telling Adam the comforter needed to be washed for ages, but never got around to it.  But I'm having a productive few days, Adam is gone for a couple of days, we didn't have plans this morning, and I decided today I would attempt to bring TWO small children to our laundromat.  And here is that story.

The day started like this.  I really should have aborted the mission right then.

First, as Reagan napped, I packed up what we needed.  For a simple one item load of laundry in town I brought:
  • the comforter
  • detergent
  • oxiclean
  • quarters
  • a double stroller
  • purse
  • the diaper bag, containing (among other things)
    • diapers
    • wipes
    • crayons
    • coloring book
    • stickers
    • Reagan's binkies
    • teethers and tylenol
    • sippy cup
    • a multitude of snacks (goldfish, apple, craisins, fruit snacks, granola bar)
    • a toy CD player

So after Reagan woke up from her morning nap, I vacuumed up the Rice Krispies, turned off Disney Jr, packed this ridiculous amount of stuff in the car, and off we went.

Getting into the laundromat was laughable.  I had to take out the stroller, load both girls, load the three bags (laundry, diaper, purse) and somehow try to push the stroller one handed while slinging a queen sized comforter over my shoulders.  But we made it in.  Madison started squirming around as I selected a machine, wanting desperately out of the stroller.  The reason would become clear in about a minute.

Both girls pooped practically simultaneously.  I knew someone did because I could smell something that was NOT fabric softener.  I suspected Reagan because she was grunting and smiling.  One sniff confirmed that.  But then I realized Madison did too because we're working on potty training, so she told me.  Her exact plea was "Get down, I poop!  Get down!"  She'd already pooped of course, but it was nice to have the update.

So clearly, we needed to find a bathroom.  Unfortunately, there was no public bathroom in the laundromat, and I didn't feel right about changing poop on the tables where people sort their clean laundry.  Luckily, it's a nice town where pretty much no one uses a laundromat (I have no idea how they stay in business), and it was totally empty, so I had absolutely no concern with leaving our washer unattended.

We headed over to Dunkin Donuts, a short stroller jaunt away.  I figured I could kill two birds and get a coffee, since Adam is away, and he is the coffee maker in this house.  I could have done it myself I guess, but I didn't get a chance this morning.  So I have to admit I didn't mind. 

Of course, we found in the bathroom that there was no changing table.  Reagan was fine on a receiving blanket on the floor, but Madison was VERY upset about being on the floor.  I ended up bribing her with a munchkin and apple juice.  I spun tales of this magical circle shaped cake made of CHOCOLATE, and she was intrigued enough to let me change her.

(Side note:  I have found many, many places to be stroller unfriendly, and this particular Dunkin Donuts was one of them.  They must anticipate lines of 50+ with their theme park like line dividers, which I had no hope of navigating, since they'd be tight for a normal person to stand.  There was also a very small foyer between the two sets of doors, so small that I couldn't fit the stroller into it to try and open the second door as I maneuvered through.  And no, no one offered to hold either door.  I'm pretty stroller savvy these days, so we handled it, but it was NOT the easiest.)

After the great change/coffee/munchkin visit, I decided to do a couple of quick errands within walking distance instead of returning right to the laundromat.  I stopped at the bank, CVS, Staples, and the dollar store (for play doh and bingo dabbers of course!).  Then we headed back to check on things in the laundromat.

I switched the comforter to the dryer, but quickly realized that waiting the full hour was NOT happening.  So we turned the stroller right around and walked down the other side of the street.  We stopped at the Chinese restaurant (which is notated in my phone as "cheap chinese" as opposed to "good chinese" which unfortunately closed) and picked up some lunch, then at another store, where Reagan helped hold mommy's purchases for later.

I'm helpful!

Of course, route 10 is not the most conducive for walking.  The sidewalk stops and starts, sometimes totally randomly, which means that you either have to try walking on the grass in a double stroller, or sometimes, when the sidewalk not only disappears but ends up turning into this cute little landscaped area, forcing people to either tramp over the little garden, or, if they are pushing a double stroller, crossing their fingers and venturing onto the side of the street.  When the sidewalks ARE present, every driveway is punctuated with a MAJOR curb.  It was definitely an adventure.

Having finished our errands, and being on a stretch of road not intended for walking, we really had no choice but to wait out the last half hour and eat our lunch in the laundromat.  Reagan was behaving like a perfect angel, but Madison was definitely ready to be out of the stroller,  Since I was pleased with the morning, so far, I asked if she wanted to sit in one of the "big girl" chairs in the waiting area to eat her lunch instead of the stroller.

One calm, one crazy.

Holy tornado.

Madison ate about 3 bites of dumpling and proceeded to TEAR around the waiting area, spinning in circles, darting from washer to washer, climbing on the chairs, climbing in and out of her stroller, swinging from the light fixtures....ok, I made that one up.  But honestly, it wasn't a stretch.  Thank GOODNESS we were the only people in there.  Had there been anyone else there, I would have put her back in the stroller before she started strewing clothes everywhere.  The woman managing the desk actually looked over and asked "what did you feed her??"  I tried to interest her in watching our dryer, but she had no interest (can you really blame her?)  I tried to get her into coloring or stickers...nope.  I have not seen her like that in ages.

Our dryer finished, I loaded the car and we headed home.  Reagan, who had been lovely for two plus hours, reached the end of her rope and cried the whole way home.  Madison was sad that her indoor playground time had ended and told me how sad she was.

Fortunately once we got home, both girls were ready for long naps, and I was able to get the car unloaded, the bed made, and some cleaning done.  So it ended up a productive day after all.

Things I learned today.

1) I would HATE to be in a wheelchair.  Although some places are very easily accessible, I experienced a lot of narrow, manual doors with small foyers leading to another narrow manual door.  Sidewalks were hit or miss, and the curbs were crazy. 

2) I am SO grateful that this is not an excursion we have to do more than once in a while.  I realize not everyone is lucky enough to have their own washer/dryer.  I don't know how we would manage to do five loads of laundry a week if I had to go out to do it every time, especially with two little girls in tow.

3) After a long stroller ride, Madison needs a LARGE space to decompress in.

4) Once we finally get the new comforter that I've been yearning for, we will look at ones with removable covers that will fit in our top loading washer.  Because as fun as today was, I have to admit that I won't be excited to do it again...for at least another couple of months!

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