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Lame at the Laundromat

My real Mohawk Valley adventure on July 4 involved going to the Laundromat. I wrote the following while there, largely because I had neglected to bring a book to read. This being Lame Post Friday, I make bold to use it.

I have not been to the laundromat in years. Steven and I used to make quite an event out of it. We’d wait till we were wearing our bathing suits instead of underwear, load everything into the car (one more reason we drove a station wagon) and head out, usually on a weeknight. This was a good time to go in the North Country, where we used to live.

The most we ever filled was, I think, ten washers. It gives me a little giggle even now, thinking about it. Being me and Steve, we made silly jokes the whole time. I even started to write a song about it: The Dirty Clothes Blues.

With all this in mind, losing our washer and drier in the flood (um, they didn’t float away, they just got flooded) was the least of our worries.

“We’ll just go to the laundromat till we’re more beforehand with the world,” I declared.

“We used to have fun doing that,” Steven remembered.

So I had envisioned a fun if silly couple’s activity. However, what with mud and sweat, our clean clothes ran out faster than anticipated (and I don’t have a bathing suit any more). I put on my last pair of clean shorts and a sports bra and said, “I need to do laundry.”

Steven felt bad about not accompanying (he was working a double shift), but I made light of it.

“It’s the Fourth of July,” I said. “How many people are going to be doing laundry?”

Famous last words.

Steven helped me bring the baskets put to my vehicle. I had decided on a modest three loads. That is, all the dirty clothes that were NOT in the basement. Those are out on the back deck, awaiting a HOT washing or else a decent burial, as we will decide. The only sad thing was that our schnoodle, Tabby, saw us loading stuff into the car and immediately concluded that we were all going on a fun road trip. Imagine her disappointment. And mine.

A quick stop to pick up detergent (another casualty) and I was off to Ilion, NY, to the new laundromat there. At least, I can’t remember how new, but recent at least. I drive by it on my way to work and know it has a large number of machines.

The first thing I noticed was the number of cars in the parking lot. Well, that falls squarely under the heading Should Have Known. Weren’t basements flooded all over the Mohawk Valley? Didn’t many of those basements contain washers and driers? I found a parking space and hoped for the best.

And everything was fine. Like I said, large number of machines. I had a moment of sticker shock when I saw the washer said $5.50 as the price. I felt better when I realized that sucker could hold two of my baskets. Then I saw smaller washers that were only $2.50. Perfect for my small load of whites.

This was cool.

The truly lame moment happened after I was done writing and doing laundry. I got all the way home (a modest distance, but still) and realized I had forgotten my detergent at the laundromat. You know how people handle big problems with aplomb but fall apart at the dumbest things? All week people have been telling me I was reacting very well to this being flooded thing. I have tried to keep my spirits up and not lose my sense of humor.

Well, doing something as stupid as forgetting my brand new detergent at the laundromat made me dang near burst into tears. I made the drive back to Ilion, cursing my (lack of) brain and telling myself it was no big deal. Either the detergent would be there or somebody else would be happy to not have to buy some. Perhaps even another flood victim.

My not so random observation on this Lame Post Friday is that half-baked philosophy will only get you so far. I recovered my detergent. I still felt really, really dumb.

Patriotic Run

In honor of Independence Day, I wore my ARMY t-shirt to go for this morning’s run.

I had originally thought I would be running every day this week, but with the flood… not so much. Monday and Wednesday I had to conserve my physical resources for hauling ruined junk out of the basement. Tuesday I had thought to do the same, but the basement had filled with water again. By the time I realized my little sump pump was not going to empty it in a timely fashion, it was too hot to run. I went to Curves instead, arguably a more strenuous workout.

Thursday (today), my husband is working from eight to 4:30, then from five to ten (five to ten sounds like a prison sentence, which is analogous to many jobs). I thought for what I planned on doing in his absence, I could be a little tired.

It was already warm when I started out, over 70 degrees with humidity. Yet I felt sure I could rock it. Then again, there was nothing wrong with taking a shorter run than planned, especially as the week was not turning into the work-out paradise I had envisioned.

I turned left from North Bellinger onto German Street, going toward where some of the flood damage was pretty bad. That section of German had been closed off all week, so I knew I might have to make a turn before too long.

Oh, it did look bad. A lovely stone fence in front of a beautiful historic-looking brick house is no more. The sidewalk got a little dicey at that point, but I was left side facing traffic as I went out into the road.

Then I saw that I could not loop around German onto Church Street as I had planned, because the bridge was closed. I was about to say I never heard about the bridge being closed, but I bet it did and I just don’t know what that bridge is called. It isn’t a very big bridge. Other than turn around the only thing I could do was go through the high school parking lot and see if their little foot bridge was still in use. It didn’t seem likely. I turned around.

I ran past all the side streets till I was beyond the flood zone. I ran down residential streets, enjoying flower beds that were not a muddy mess and curb sides not covered with people’s ruined stuff. I thought of pictures of New Orleans after Katrina and New Jersey after Sandy, and I felt fortunate.

But running was not getting any easier, because it was damn humid. I was not going to run as far as I had run on Sunday, 34 minutes, in case you wanted to know. I got back on my own street. How long would I run? Well, I would go a little way past the house, just to make it a full number. It seems a little silly to say I ran for 28 minutes 44 seconds.

Then I saw some neighbors talking on a porch, right about the time I wanted to be turning around. We exchanged good mornings and I kept running. I couldn’t very well run up to them, say good morning and run back home. Now that I’m writing this, I can’t quite explain my reluctance, but there it was. I ran around the block.

As I ran I reflected on the number of things people do just to keep from looking foolish. Like when I recently raised almost $600 for St. Baldrick’s Day, so I wouldn’t look silly in front of the other bald people (I don’t think any of them were concerned, but still). Then I thought, whatever makes you do the right thing.

So I made my 34 minutes, and my cold shower felt pretty refreshing (it will be a long while before my hot water heater is replaced and we get the gas turned back on). And I deem it patriotic enough on Independence Day to write about something I learned to love in the army.

Flooded with Remorse

Welcome back to All Flooding All The Time. I realize some people might not be entertained by a blow-by-blow description of my tribulations. It helps me to write it.

“In that case,” the naysayers sniffs, “you should write it in your journal, that is your PRIVATE JOURNAL. Or get therapy.”

At this point in my soul searching, I realized the naysayer is actually my inner critic, for whom nothing is ever good enough. And then I remembered it is Middle-aged Musings Monday, and the above couple of paragraphs could count for that.

In my notebook (paper spiral-bound, not the computer kind), as I wrote this morning (sitting on my couch sipping coffee) (off work this week), I went on to write another page continuing my flooded basement adventures of Saturday. Then I realized I could not sit there and continue to write while my basement was NOT knee-deep in water. I had to start hauling out ruined crap while the hauling was good.

I got to work. Soon my parents and one sister showed up to help. We worked SO HARD! I CAN’T WAIT to get back to the factory next week! It will be such a relief!

And now I am just too tired to type in the page I had written, plus compose the rest of the story (I did mention in a previous post that Saturday was a long day). And I really, really do have to get back on clean-up duty. The mud from the basement has begun to take over the ground floor as well.

So this is my post for today. A short musing about whether I really ought to be writing All About My Flooded Life, a brief mention of what I did about it today (thus messing up the sequence of my blog-by-blow), and I’m afraid I’m done.

Now if only I could think of a title for this. Ooh, just thought of one. And I make it appropriate by adding: Of course I feel just terrible about writing such a lame post on a Monday.

Running from the Flood

Oh, I just noticed, I did NOT do a post about Thursday’s run. Therefore I am certain a Saturday Running Commentary will be welcomed by such readers who like to read about a run (you know who you are).

Steven and I were up early, having not slept very well. Steven, because he was obsessing over how we are so clueless about flooded basements and such. Me, because the neighbors were all sump-pumping their basements. Not that it was so loud (and I would NEVER fault my neighbors for making noise for such a reason even if it was), but it got me to obsessing about how I really ought to be doing something about pumping out my own basement.

So we got up early for a Saturday and got some coffee, available to us because I had sensibly boiled some water before our gas got cut off. Oh dear, halfway through the third paragraph and I haven’t gotten to the run yet. Well, I thought I would include some background on my mood and motivations.

In the first place, I thought some endorphins might help. More importantly, we have no hot water since the gas is off. I thought that after a hot, sweaty run, a cold shower would feel pretty good. So off I went.

The sidewalks on North Bellinger are covered with mud. Well, I like to run off-road. I told myself this was just nature’s way of bringing off-road to me. I ran carefully, because mud is slippery. My middle-aged shuffle served me well. No mishaps. Oh, I know, the cold shower would wash off the mud as well as the sweat. I still didn’t want to take a header into a puddle.

Two blocks from my house the sidewalks magically cleared. I had a nice run through residential streets on bare paths. I started to get tired a little over halfway through my intended time, but I persevered.

At last it was time to head in the general direction of Bellinger Street. Oh dear, would it be muddier this way or this way? Having at last attained the bare sidewalks, I was loath to give them up. That actually may have lengthened my run considerably, if I had run around and around looking for bare sidewalks. However, I sternly told myself there was GOING to be mud, just go with it.

A little trickier was the cool-down walk with my schnoodle, Tabby. She is getting to be quite the dirty dog as it is; I didn’t want to make her too much worse. We accomplished it with some back and forth walking, utilizing the apartment building at the corner of our street. It is set up on a little hill and the sidewalks leading to the front doors are bare.

I felt better after my run, and my cold shower was an invigorating blast. As the day progresses, we are slowly dealing with our other flooding woes. At the risk of becoming tiresome, I may write about them in tomorrow’s blog post as well. As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.