Laundering to the Beat

My laundry machine is on strike. Again.

Too much abuse. Not enough daily appreciation. Long unpredictable hours. Demands not in her contract…. mechanics clothing, mud clad children- or at least their attire- and good old sneaky chicken poop.

She’s been complaining for months. With a high pitched wailing and clattering like she swallowed a fleet of knights. But we already gave her a door-lock replacement a while back, and she was still trudging along, so I simply closed the laundryroom door on her loud complaints. And mentioned it to my hubby.

Sometimes random visitors, or even concerned kids would question the sounds coming from behind the closed laundry-room door. But no one truly cared THAT deeply for her well being to investigate. I occasionally feared she might give me another scare like last time. But when she keeps doin her job, you push on.

Committed, I even put up with the occasional shirt she chews on spiteful days.

Like strikes of old, however, although targeted at the adults, the children often suffer.

Lack of underwear is a grievous matter. Wearing your siblings extras? Well, they were more gracious than expected.

But the real turn of events was the children’s attitudes with hand washing a load this week.

They were estatic!

I was trying to be the voice of reason, but sounded more like Debbie Downer, trying to enlighten them that this looses its fun really fast.

They could not be swayed.

Wash cycle

They even brought out a drum to slosh around to the beat. They sung and marched about in great pleasure. Eagerly awaiting their turn to jump in the soapy bucket.

Turning over the load in a rinse cycle

We did a couple rinse cycles in the Rubbermaid bin before we thought of a way we could rinse and drain at the same time.

Rinse and spin

The trampoline.

Turns out, knee drops work swell for beating the water out of the clothes as well, so that we didn’t have to wring them. They were so into it- I left them to it. And went and napped.

Just like that the clothes were ready for the dryer. The kids wanted to string them up in the yard to be finished off in the sunshine. But I figured the pounded clothes could use some fluffing after all that tromping, and we don’t have a line anyways. Furthermore, let’s not give the dryer too much idle time or she might get ideas from that naughty washer.

The kids haven’t had to borrow each-others undies for a while, and with their joyous help I think we will make it through this washer strike. At least till she gets what she wants. Then I’ll be more than happy to give her her job back and some lovely words.

It’s so easy for me to let life’s little inconveniences trouble me and let the grumbles come. But I think God cares enough about my character to give me opportunities to learn valuable lessons. Like maybe to be more like the kids with a joyous attitude to do what needs to be done. And perhaps to see more troubles as adventures and reasons to be creative.

And to season my days with a healthy heap of gratitude.

After all, sometimes you don’t know what you got- till it’s gone.

The Stare

I recently read the question “how do you conserve energy?”

And do you know what instantly came to mind?

I stare.

At nothing.

Call it into space if you must. I just zone out and although my eyes are open, I’m not seeing anything. It’s a perfect hazy blur. Half the time Im not actually even thinking of anything. I’m just checking out for a bit. Conserving energy I suppose.

It never lasts long. There is always a hubby waving from the other end of the table, people asking “what are you looking at?” Or kids saying “MMMMMUuuuuummmmm!” That requires the entrance into reality. And the trance is broken. Once it took the whole science class in middle school laughing. They were laughing at my science teacher who… was making fun of me. He was making drooling sounds staring at the ceiling with his hands squishing his cheeks up to his eyes. Mimicking, well…. did I really look like THAT?Had he called my name?

It really sucks when my body goes into conservation mode when someone is delivering information to me. I then spend the later half of the talk playing detective, trying to figure out what the heck I missed without revealing my time laps. Does paying double attention to the end make up for the lack at the beginning?

All this being said, I’m pretty sure the question was referring to how often I turn out my homes lights, or skip bathing my children. But I went ahead and told you I’m like an electric car who randomly preforms in power saving mode. Surely I’m not the only one?

How many of you get caught staring off into space, I mean, kicked into energy preservation?

Pshhh you probably do something weirder.

And if you must know, I save significant amounts of energy being my homes door Natzi.

“Shut that DOOR!”

Children quake. The earth sighs.

Just doing my part.

She Taught Me

The more years I mother my children the more I appreciate everything MY Mom did for me as a child. And the more I UNDERSTAND her. She had so many clever tricks for keeping life in the home REALISTIC and FUNCTIONAL. Like having all the cutlery in a cute pot on the counter to save time separating spoons from forks. The compost being located under the kitchen window with a funnel attached to the window sill so you can just literally “chuck the core out the window”. She washed her baby garden carrots in the laundry machine, and let me tell you when I scrubbed a hundred this summer I quickly understood WHY. (Although we did end up with little carrots caught up by their tails in our sweaters as kids…)
And If we actually needed that table-cloth ironed- she thru it in the dryer with a damp cloth for a few mins and the wrinkles just tumbled out.
I call to memory more and more of her tricks as I raise more children. Tonight as I stood back to gaze at our beautiful Christmas tree, I smiled. Just how you taught me mom. I put up the lights; and let the kids have-at-her.20131202-221528.jpgI remember the joy of touching each tacky ornaments as a child, and hanging it where I thought best. Playing with the bunnies or snow men. Being so proud that Mom kept my art and pinned it on the walls for Christmas. She saved all her favorite art me and my 4 brothers made and decorated the house with it once a year for Christmas. Decorating was for us kids to enjoy. It was realistic… not even close to catalog worthy. It wasn’t themed, or all white.
It was Kid Beautiful.
I recall seeing her shift a few ornaments to lighten the load on a tree limb, after the young ones went down to bed. Tonight I did the same. And I understand now that it wasn’t JUST about being realistic having the decorations and decorators done by children- but it’s what she loved. Decorated and decorations made by the most special people in her life.
Tonight I looked at my tree- proud of my children.
And…shed a tear over a favorite ornament my baby ate tonight- a small scrap of paper with a turtle Jonas drew age 3 on it. It was after his favorite toy “Spotty” a rubber turtle was finally discovered, melted, in the base board heater after we’d torn the house apart looking for it every night… for a month.
The heat had bulged the turtle in strange places, and blackened bar lines on its side.
It was a monster.
Jonas wept into my shirt.
My husband tried to carve it more into a turtle shape with his knife… but it was deformed beyond recognition.
That night we cut out the little pic Jonas had made of Spotty while Spotty was still alive to sit still, and hung it on the tree in memory. It was irreplaceable. And now in the belly of my baby.
You just can’t buy another ornament like THAT!
And so my priorities have shifted, and my prized ornaments are things my kids have scribbled. Just like someone else I know…
My Mom.