I did laundry today!!!!!

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 😉

19 Comments

Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, blind tips, cool product, family, Gamma, gratitude, humor as coping skill, laundry, silly girl, spoons, white cane

19 Responses to I did laundry today!!!!!

  1. YAY – that’s great!!!! It’s tough – but I bet it’s freeing too! My washer recently broke, so have to go to the laundromat for a few weeks till I can afford to fix it. I HATE doing laundry! 😀

  2. Yeah! Congrats! That’s awesome!!

  3. L^2

    Yay! That’s fantastic, Ro! Laundry is actually the one chore I don’t mind doing, because I love using freshly washed sheets, towels, etc.

  4. Congrats!
    (Never thought I’d tell someone that for doing laundry though!)
    It’s got to feel good to succeed in something you haven’t done in 2 years!
    I don’t think I could do laundry blind, hard enough to do as it is!

    Toby’s Raiser

  5. Continue to kick butt. I think your job should be motivational speaking. Kick butt kick butt kick butt!

  6. Congratulations! Thanks for the wonderful description, and the reminder that I need to whine about chores less!

    *hugs*

  7. Yeah Ro I agree with Carin, you definitely could be a great motivational speaker! You always manage to find the silver lining to even the most challenging of things!

  8. Wait…your laundry room has a Coke machine in it? That’s either a great or horrible idea, I’m not sure which. I think I’m leaning towards great because buying a Coke is one of those impulse things and putting it in the laundry room pretty much ensures that people with pockets full of change will find it.

    The laundry room in our building doesn’t deal in change. We have one of those smart card systems that you top up with a bank card or credit card. It’s great because you never have to make sure you have change with you at all times, but it sucks when the thing runs out. the balance shows on the screen but of course neither of us are going to see that so we lose track and then one day one of the damn machines doesn’t start when we need it to. that leads to hoping that a person can be found which of course, since we need one, never happens in timely fashion. there’s no good way to use the refill your card machine without sight because you can’t be sure that your charge has gone through. Even memorizing the buttons and prompts like you can with pin pads and stuff doesn’t help because there’s always this delay and you can never be entirely sure of what’s going on.

    That reminds me: hey Carin, are we getting down to the end of the last $50 we put on it yet?

  9. Herm. I think we’re good. At least now, I’m almost guaranteed there’ll be at least one person doing laundry on most days, namely, Huppy’s mom! So I can just say “Oh Huppy’s mom, my bestest friend ever, can you see how much money I have on this here happy card of mine?” But I think we’re good…but as I was reading your comment I was thinking “How much do we have left on there?” and a coke machine sounds friggin awesome!

  10. Ro

    Awww thanks everyone! Yes, I’m grateful I’ve learned the skills to see the positive in just about every situation. That talent has definitely been a lifesaver through the last 2 yers haha! I actually have thought about motivational speaking. I speak every so often at treatment facilities and meetings, and I always leave feeling so full of gratitude. I’ve definitely come a long way from not acknowleding how strong I am when people first complimented the way I hadnled going blind. I used to say anyone could do it, that you don’t know what you can handle until you have to handle it. But after meeting several other people who went blind later in life, and realizing how much faster I’ve learned this or that, I’ve realized that everyone is different. so yeah, I’d love to get into motivational speaking, but I wouldn’t even know where to start.

    The Coke machine has definitely come in handy. Except they don’t keep it stocked all the time. There will be an abundance of Coke and no Dr. Pepper. Or lots of Sprite and no Coke. That machine has Rock Star energy drinks in it, and I’ve purposely made myself forget that hahaha! We rarely use it, but there have been a few times where I’ve had an upset tummy and B runs down to get me a Sprite 🙂

    I like the idea of a card thing. I just hope they never change the machines, and if they do, I hope they stay tactile.

  11. The part about not knowing what you can handle until you have to handle it is definitely true, but indeed, everybody’s different. It’s kind of sad to watch some of the people who lose their site later in life try to adjust to it. You’ve got it figured out, but many never quite get there.

  12. Ro

    Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of it at Saavi. There’s this one guy who moans about how he used to be so active on the computer, and he’s amazed at all I do. He’s getting training in Jaws but says they are teaching him too slow. I told him to express that to the teachers. Then I asked if he has Jaws at home and he does. So I told him just get on it and play. It’s the best way to learn and that’s how I learned the Apple. That was like 2 months ago and he’s still moaning because he can’t get rid of all the greater then and less than signs in his email messages so it takes forever to read email. I’m like, well customize it. I don’t have any of those charaters. Well, they haven’t shown him how yet. Well, look up how. I’ve finally given up. He always tells me I have such an amazing attitude. I’m like, do what I do and you can have what I have. But he’s still in the but I haven’t accepted that I’m blind, phase. I miss seeing the stars phase. That might be fine for him, but definitely not for me. Until he’s ready to accept, I can’t help him, and that’s too bad.

  13. Hmmm. Ya know, talk to Michael Hingson, aka Mr. world trade center dog. Google Michael Hingson group and see if you can find him. he’s A. very approachable and B. very smart. Maybe he could push you in the right direction.

    Yeah if my laundry machines go touchscreen, I’ll cry.

  14. YeahI just saw that girl who I said a while back that you could teach a thing or two. Well, she’s allowing them to jigger with her eyes, and thinks in February, maybe she’ll get her sight back. I have tried to tell her since I met her that she’s better off to learn how to do things as a blind person than wait for hope that may or may not be false. Would she listen to me? Nope. She won’t even let me lead her anywhere that I know where it is and she doesn’t. Hell, Steve had to hold onto me going through the mall and he didn’t die. She can be guided by the blind, you know.

  15. Ro

    Oh good idea about Michael. I also want to get on the speakers bureau for GDB.

    haha I remember the first time I did human guide with a blind guy. That was crazy! I had just started attending Saavi regularly and wasn’t very comfortable with cane yet. He wanted me to bring the Apple down and show him and the other A.T guys. So I showed up at Saavi and waited for him and he asked if I wanted an arm. I was really nervous about showing them all the Apple because I was new to it myself, and I was low on spoons. I knew he was blind, but I’d heard amazing things about his echo location skills, so I grabbed on and off we flew. I mean, he took off. Fast. And he doesn’t use a cane at Saavi. We got stopped in the hall and he still knew right how to get to the lab. I was so impressed, and it was really quite fun. I’ve done human guide with other clients now, me doing the leading. And I helped a sighted staff member when he was doing blindfold training. It was great!
    I got a call from the GDB nurse this afternoon! But I was in the shower and missed it, and she was on the phone when I called back.

  16. Ooo! Too bad you missed it. Was it Helen or Katherine? I like them both, but Helen holds a special place in my heart.

  17. Ro

    It was Kathryn and she called back. I’m about to blog about it when I get caught up on email.

  18. As far as motivational speaking, why not start with talking to friends’ kids’ classes at school? I’d love to have you come and talk to my children!! I know, I know, Texas is a little out of your way.

    In somewhat related news, I believe Jessica’s planning to take Daddy to school on Wednesday for Show and Tell. 🙂

  19. Ro

    Oh that is too cute!! I bet that will be fun for Lucus!

    I don’t have a lot of friends with children. I’ve got one friend with a 6 year old, so that could be an idea. We’ll see how things land, you just never know, right? Oh and maybe in a year or so when Insert and I are a good team, I can come to Texas 🙂

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