In lieu of recent, retardedly large, expenses I decided it would be a good idea, and maybe even fun, to cut corners here and there to expedite the replenishing process for my comfort money cushion. I canceled a magazine subscription, I can just read it on-line anyway right? Did not renew my Celine Dion fan club membership. I mean, I'm not going to go see her in Vegas AGAIN, right? (this one kind of hurt, a little. okay, a lot). Started packing lunches and bringing them to work. I would allow 3 work induced stress meals a week, because, like, I know my limits! AND I would start doing my own laundry, instead of dropping it off at the Fluff N' Folders, or EffinEffers as I liked to call them . The breakdown:
Team Celine Membership: $55.00/year.
Laundry: $12.00/ week
I felt good about this. I felt proactive! I felt in control. I even made up a little graph and spreadsheet to monitor my progress.
Today was the first day of doing my own laundry in over a year. I had let it pile up to where I was on my last pair of underwear and on about the 6th run of each pair of pants. Not pretty, I know,but being someone who really doesn't like change, and who has a pretty severe case of social anxiety made it a bit difficult to talk myself through that laundromat door. I have had the clothes separated into colors/whites/delicates/ and perm press for weeks. Literally weeks. I wrestle the overflowing bags and baskets into the car, take a deep breath and climb in the driver's seat. I do a mental checklist of supplies. Laundry? Duh. Detergent? Yep. OxyClean? Yes. Fabric softener? Check. Quarters? $20.00 worth. Okay. I drive the few blocks to the mat and psych myself up on the way. This is going to be a good change. Bree, you can do this. Everyone you know does this. I find close parking. See, already blessed. Maybe it was the pennies that Oliver had left in my shoes, I think. He had heard somewhere that it was good luck to put pennies in your shoes. Now all of my shoes (and his) had pennies flopping around in them, but I felt bad taking them out. ANWYWAY, close spot, good, I've got a lot to pull inside. I drag one of the biggest bags with me to the door. I look through the glass, not too packed, good. A well mannered gay man opened the door for me. WOW, I think, nothing to be nervous about. They're normal and nice. I realize then that he has a peg leg. Still, pretty normal, I guess, and still definitely nice. I walk to a back corner where there are 5 machines together that are open and I fill 'em up. I picked these five because there was little chance anyone would come around. There were 5 washers and 5 dryers all together, and away from the rest. I get the last garment into its respective tub and I look to the next step. “Okaayyyy. Now to get these puppies purring.” I mumble to myself. (Puppies purring?! Seriously. WTF.) I don't catch myself because before I'm done saying/ it I realize that I have nearly no idea how to start these damn things. There are coin slots, rubber flaps, levers, buttons, and yet the display screen is only big enough to display the cost per load or the number of minutes remaining in your wash. I take a guess at where and when to throw the soap in after I pay the $2.00 per load (Where do they get OFF?). Water comes shooting out of the hole the second I lift the flap. Apparently I got the timing wrong. The attendant (the man who opened the door) sees my trouble and comes over. He tells me I should have put the detergent in BEFORE starting it and that it is on the instructions (located on the far wall!!) I no longer think him nice. Well, there. The clothes were washing. Which is what I need. I have 35 minutes to wait before tackling how in the hell to use those dryers. I sit down on a piece of plastic lawn furniture that they have so thoughtfully set out and open my book. I look up nearly every minute to make sure something isn't blinking, or beeping, or shooting, or burning. I feel like I've done it all wrong and Peggy is going to have my ass. About 15 minutes in, and after reading the same paragraph about as many times, I put the book away. I turn my attention to my fellow launderers. I notice in the other far off corner there is a man, i guess he is probably homeless, it's bordering on a hope, sitting in not much more than an A shirt and boxer briefs. And by not much more, i mean, he was also wearing a big necklace and a pair of flip flops. Hmm, I think. I guess that makes sense. There is a little boy who is running the length of the mat with a bag of cheetos and a full pepsi can. It was getting less full by the second because he was spilling with every stride. I then notice just how FILTHY this place is. There are dirty bandaids on the floor, toilet paper in the corners, Lint stuck everywhere and to everything, Ehhhhlllll. I came HERE to clean something. My CLOTHING. Christ. I am regretting this idea. I'm pulled from this thought by a beeping sound coming from one of my ephemeral washing machines; I look and the screen is blinking a 1. I jump up thinking that means it's either done or about to explode. I run over and I open the top, my clothes are still in a high speed spin. The Peg-gay(yeah I said it, well thought it.) comes over, faster than I would suspect him to move, and says “Don't open the washers during a SPIN!!!” “But It was beeping and blinking!, I thought that meant it was done!” “No, SU-GAR, it is just telling you there is a minute left!” “Oh, well, wouldn't just the 1 on the screen tell me the same thing?” He lets out a sigh of obvious irritation and walks back behind his perch. Hrumph. Blerg. OKAY! Moving on. I need to dry this shit. The dryers seem much easier. There are just buttons and slots, SWEET! I Transfer the loads, pay, guess at the appropriate cycles and stand there for, probably a couple of minutes just watching the clothes circle themselves, waiting for something to go awry. All seems well so I start nervously pacing around a bit. You know, just passing the time. I check each dryer every 5 minutes or so to monitor progress (Why?? Fuck if I know). I spend the next 45 minutes checking and pulling garments out that seem done. Adding more quarters, and with them, 9 minute increments of hot air and folding. The homeless man moves closer when he sees me pull out clothes, I realize, because he wants to watch me fold my underwear. Yes, I fold my underwear. When they are as cumbersome as mine, you simply must. I start blocking his view with my body, which feels wrong because now my back is to the creep who is trying to see my underwear. GOD THIS IS SO STRESSFUL! I make it through secretively folding all of mine and Oliver's clothes and I fit them back into the totes and baskets. I start walking out the door and Peg-gay grabs it for me, just like old, and better times, and I walk to the car.