For most people, that statement probably comes with a grumble and they probably don’t put a bunch of exclamation points after it.
I haven’t done laundry in nearly 2 years. I remember I used to grumble about it too. And for a long time, it was kind of nice to rely on someone else to drag my clothes down to the laundry room, worry about quarters, battle other tenants for the good machine, get annoyed when all the machines were taken, etc.
I remember in the beginning, B would bring me the basket and I’d begin putting all the clothes away. I loved the feel of the warm clothes on my skin, the clean smell of the detergent. One day after it was done, I collapsed on the bed and fell asleep. It was so hard and took so much mental energy to feel every item to tell what was what, hang everything up, match up socks. I never once had B put my clothes away because well, I needed to know where they were.
Countless times on Saturdays, we would get into tiffs about laundry. He might have plans that would make it hard to get my stuff done in the afternoon. And by 6pm I’d be too tired to think about putting clothes away. Even though he told me over and over and over again that he didn’t mind doing it, in my mind it was a big pain in the butt. In my mind, he works all week to provide for me and the cats and he has to spend all day Saturday doing laundry.
Of course I built that up in my mind. I usually only had one load because well, I don’t own a lot of clothes, and I didn’t do much, so I didn’t dirty a lot of things.
But I always felt like it was a burden to have him do extra, to wash the sheets, to do a load of towels.
Just like with everything else I’ve accomplished since going blind, I had to get sick and tired of being sick and tired. I had to have enough days of thinking, man I wish I could wash all those new clothes instead of waiting until Saturday. Or, man, I don’t want to wait until Saturday to wash the sheets. Or, man we can’t plan anything on Saturday afternoons because there’s so much laundry. Or, man, I’m home all week, I keep the house clean, but there’s that one thing left to do that I’ve been too chicken, or too lazy, to do.
When I heard the commercial for Purex 3 in 1 washer sheets, I knew the time was approaching. Those would make life so much easier for me. I had wondered, how will I pour detergent into the cup? Just like I do coffee? But I don’t want to stick my finger in that little cup, and get my finger coated with detergent. I don’t want to juggle that big bottle. I don’t want to remember where the dispenser is in the machine. Powder would be easier, but I don’t like the grainy feel and smell of powder.
I had told Gamma that I needed one of those carts on wheels. She told Dad. He found one. There was nothing left stopping me. I knew how to get to the laundry room as it’s right by the mailboxes. Gamma even gave me a roll of quarters.
So today was the day. I asked B to come with me, just to supervise and to tell me what the buttons were, since I had long forgotten. I put a load of clothes in my cart and tossed in the box of washer sheets. I counted out my quarters. It was time.
B asked if I wanted to take his arm. I said the whole point of this was to eventually do it on my own. So he just watched as I used my trusty white cane and dragged my cart behind me.
We got into the laundry room, which I remembered from my days as a sightie. I got to the washer we like and asked what the buttons were. I put in my clothes, added a sheet, fed in the quarters and started it. Nice.
We made our way back and I put another load in my cart. When it was time, we went back. I knew there was a basket on wheels in the laundry room, so I told B, don’t tell me where it is. I want to find it. I hit what I thought was the Coke machine and kept going. It’s not a large room and I still hadn’t found it. Well, turns out it was right by the Coke machine. So I loaded my wet clothes in the basket.
I was really surprised how wet the jeans felt. I thought they hadn’t spun enough and then realized it’s been nearly 2 years since I’ve felt wet clothes. I transferred the clothes to the dryer and went to feed the quarters and I wasn’t hearing them drop. I hit the coin return a few times and then finally asked B what I was doing wrong. He said I was shoving the quarters in and I just had to gently drop them in the slot. Ah. Got it.
I put the new load in the washer and we were gonna leave so I grabbed my cart and B asked why I didn’t just leave it there. I wasn’t going to leave that cart away from me, no way! I trust my neighbors, but that cart was giving me independence and it was from my Dad.
Oh yeah, after I had put the first load in the washer, I tried to walk out without my cane. Think I forgot I was blind 😉
B went with me to get the first load out of the dryer because he was putting his load in the wash. But I went back and got my second load out of the dryer all alone.
I did it. Mission accomplished! And it kicked my arse haha!
I put all my clothes away and then e-mailed Dad. I told him he made that bit of independence possible. He said it was my determination that made it possible, and he doesn’t know how I do it. He always says that.
I think it’s sheer force of will. When I get sick of something, I change it. When I get miserable enough, I take the action to pull myself out of misery.
When B was going to get his things out of the dryer, he asked if I wanted to go get them. Har har. No thanks, babe.
So, the next time you’re grumbling about a chore, the next time you’re cursing laundry day, or vacuuming, or dishes, remember that you’d miss being able to do those things if you suddenly couldn’t, until you re-learned a new way to do it. I know I’m realizing just how much I took for granted. Now I’m so grateful that I can do all the things I can do. I really can’t think of much more I need to dive into doing. I think I’ve pretty much been able to do it all. Except for driving, but I really don’t miss the money I spent on gas, insurance and repairs 😉