Just Write {102}

September 16, 2013

laundromatThe dryer stopped making heat a couple of days ago, while my sister and aunt are here for a visit. I set it aside, in my head, on the Later shelf. Now I’m sitting in a laundromat, green and white checkered floor, for men in a row on the bench behind me, waiting. They have no phones or computers to look at and when it’s time, they get up in unison, pull the laundry baskets on wheels to the dryers and empty dryers, move to tables, fold in unison.

They don’t talk much.

A lady with short hair like mine sits up on a folding table, criss-cross applesauce, reading something on her iPhone while baby sleeps in a stroller to the whir of washing and drying.

I check my email, look up and think, make stories in my head and wonder if Auntie Kay and Sister Shelly are bored while waiting for me. This just had to be done, before the Laundry Mountain of 2013 would up and take over our house, alive and walking around, stinking.

Okay, it’s not that bad, just three overflowing baskets.

We have taken Kay and Shelly for good food and some “here is Austin” driving around but mostly they’ve simply been here, seeing what it’s currently like to be us, spending time with the kids. Auntie Kay took Miles and Asher for a walk yesterday morning and they met at friendly donkey named Scratchy. I think Auntie Kay liked this experience as much as the boys. I’ll give it to her, saying “donkey named Scratchy” is totally funny.

Shelly texted a Good Morning picture of Elsie to Bapa, our Dad, in Minnesota the other morning. He wrote back “Makes my heart hurt   send more”

He doesn’t often punctuate, which is how I like it.

I cried because we miss Nanny and Bapa a lot and how can you not cry after a text like that?

The ceiling fans in here go at full speed, blasting air across my face down to my feet, where my heart lands so much of the time.

The four men in a row have left, speaking Spanish on their way out the door, each carrying one duffel bag of laundry. Every time I hear the language, I wish I had devoted myself more to learning Spanish. I only know a little and want to be able to say more than a few sentences. I wanted to tell them, Isn’t this great how fast you can do laundry all at once like this? Don’t you wish it didn’t cost a penny? Let alone five quarters? in Spanish. We were in this together, feeling the whirring of the fans and watching the tumble, mesmerized.

If only everyone I love could be with me all the time, so we could feel and see the same things. But I suppose it makes sense that we can’t live that way, all in the same place, spinning and tumbling over each other in the heat.

I’m alone in this place now, still and quiet and this is just right for now.

photo (100)


This is the 102nd installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {Please see the details here.} I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page, and please don’t link to posts that are not freely written in the spirit of capturing moments–you know, don’t link to how-to posts, lists or sponsored posts. Also, please link back to this post in yours so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.

Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word? Thank you!


Stephanie Precourt September 16, 2013 at 10:21 pm

When we were in Ohio our washer went out on us- ugh it was the worst AND my first laundromat experience… I found it quite inspiring as well. xoxo

Stephanie Precourt recently posted..Do Soccer Socks Go Over or Under the Shin Guards?

just JENNIFER September 16, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Laundromats do force you to get all your laundry done at once. Not only that, but just sit there and do laundry. I love the observations you made.
just JENNIFER recently posted..At the End of the Day

Jo@ All Seven Seas September 17, 2013 at 2:06 am

Oh, this is the best. I just love it. You made me laugh (donkey named scratchy!) and you made me tear up (Bapa’s reply – send more), and you made me see the laundromat and you sitting there. You’re such a beautiful lady with beautiful words to match. xoxo
Jo@ All Seven Seas recently posted..Nine {Just Write}

Tricia September 17, 2013 at 5:01 am

I also often feel that I wish everyone I love could always be with me and experiencing and feeling the same things as me. I feel as though I miss so much. Lovely post.
Tricia recently posted..Playing school

Kelly Chripczuk September 17, 2013 at 5:45 am

Our washer died last week, so I hit the laundromat over the weekend too. I was so prepared to pity myself – it’s been a long time since I needed one. But I loved it, the doors were open to crisp fall air, it was QUIET (unlike home with the four kids, where my husband waited, um, yes, I think it takes an hour or more per load, hun.), and the humming of the machines was like returning to the womb.
Thanks for sharing:)
Kelly Chripczuk recently posted..Things Fall Apart

Amy September 17, 2013 at 10:02 am

I kind of like laundromats. It’s been a looooong while since I’ve been to one. Moving is so hard all by itself…without the missing people part of it. I’m thinking of you and sending loving MN thoughts your way.
Amy recently posted..Music Monday – Shema by Anne Brooks

Nita September 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Linked up :) I enjoy this prompt to write once a week, even though I rarely manage it every time.
Nita recently posted..Just Write {7} Two pairs of boots

Ashley Hanson September 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I choose the laundry mat over our house when we have all the kids for a long period of time or we go camping. It makes so much more sense. And I have to admit. People feel bad that I have to load everything to the laundry mat and slave over washing clothes, when I really enjoy the quiet.
Ashley Hanson recently posted..The first weekend

Contemporary Troubadour September 17, 2013 at 6:46 pm

I know that ache that comes with those long-distance messages. Especially now, with a baby who grows so quickly and changes so much in so little time, I feel the miles between home in Seattle and my family in Boston and Texas. I regret how much we can’t share because we’re so far apart. But we’d tumble indeed if we were together all the time.
Contemporary Troubadour recently posted..Bedtime

Ann September 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Our dryer is broken too. We spent Sunday in the laundromat. Sure wish it was with you. xoxo

Tiffany September 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Some days that quiet sounds amazing!!
Tiffany recently posted..Just Write — Exhausted

Lora September 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Linking up for the first time :) Love this idea! Have to admit I didn’t totally “free” write it, I think it takes practice…..But I did my best not to edit TOO much!
Lora recently posted..Out of Touch

Sarah Piazza September 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm

The laundromat is just bursting with people’s stories, isn’t it? Which you’ve captured well here.

In an odd juxtaposition, my new dryer arrived today. ;)

Arnebya September 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I prefer the laundromat when there are comforters or just mounds of clothes neglected that need doing (which, somehow, is every weekend it seems). I would rather be able to finish them all at once. I remember being ashamed to use the laundromat when we were younger because I had the impression it was for poor people who couldn’t afford a washer/dryer (um, we WERE poor people who couldn’t afford a washer/dryer). But once we moved into our house and I experienced that one load at a time crap, THEN it hit me ohhhhhhh that makes sense and now I WANT to go to there.
Arnebya recently posted..Just Write: Thinking

Mary-andering Creatively September 21, 2013 at 11:01 am

Hi, i just found this site. I do memoir type writing on my blog everyday. I love your post about the laundry. I can hear the dryers going as I watch those four men who move in unison with you. I love the tone you set here turning something ordinary int o a special reading moment.
Mary-andering Creatively recently posted..Thankful for the Memories

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