Love & Laundry

A tree root has interrupted life as we once knew it.

It seems the inescapable eventuality of anything growing is growing pain. In our case the pain came in the form of a clogged pipe that drains from our washing machine into the great unknown. So rather than draining like a good pipe should when the rinse cycle comes to town, the stupid thing vomits it's sudsy bile all over the garage floor like a kid full of cotton candy on the tilt-a-whirl.

So we did what everyone in this situation does: we ignored it and hoped itwould fix itself. But just like a child, when a problem is ignored or left to its own devices you will eventually have more serious consequences to deal with in the end. Consequences such as 30 piles of laundry and nothing to wear or like a washing machine that has an eating disorder.

The next predictable course of action is to attempt to rectify the situation with the easiest - which in our household goes obligatorily hand in hand with cheapest - method available. Odds are usually against you in these type situations because cheap and easy is just a cheerleader you hated in high school and not pertaining to your circumstance in the least bit.

(No offense to any cheerleaders who may be reading this post. Go Spartans!)

And lo these many weeks and puddles of sudsy hurl later the situation remains the same. The laundry has multiplied like unpaid tax penalties, becoming a seemingly insurmountable well, mountain and we still have a tree root in our pipe.

The tree root will have to remain, for now. From everyone we've talked to, this rates right up there in cost with a home mortgage or a college tuition. And since we just traded in Jesse's leg and my arm for our kids braces, remedying the situation professionally is not an option.

So, this morning at the crack of dawn we loaded up the Trooper with our dirty laundry and we headed to the nearest laundromat. Yee haw. It may seem strange, but to me laundromats are dirty, creepy and really a challenge for a person who is borderline OCD to endure. They are a necessary evil to be sure. I just don't like the idea of washing or drying my clothes in the same machines that hundreds of other people have used. *shudder*

Of course if you think about it the only other alternative, if you want to have clean clothes, is to throw everything away and start over and as exciting as that sounds (especially after a 12 hour marathon of What Not to Wear) it would mean one would have to shop for hours on end, possibly even at the mall, to do so. I hate to shop and I hate the mall. Choice made.

3 1/2 hours and $30 in quarters later we have clean laundry. For a day or two.

I don't think I've been to a laundromat in 20 years and I've never been to this particular one, but walking in was like stepping in to a time warp or encountering a small ripple in the fabric of the space-time continuum. (Psst, I have no clue what that means, but it sounds really cool and scientific like.) The same well used machines & cavernous dryers. The same well worn and quite annoyed attendant, the same gathering of stock characters (pick a culture, any culture) as 20 years ago.

There was one difference...20 years ago I went with my children alone. This time I had my husband with me. The cool thing was most of the women there had their husband or boyfriend there with them. Jesse, the children and I worked together bringing down the mountain one pebble at a time. In between switching or folding loads we sat together talking, laughing, watching the spin cycle and trying to ignore the horrible tacky Spanish soap opera being shown on all 4 TVs.

My daughter tells her father a joke and he laughs, adoration lighting his eyes. My son is completely at peace reading a book and holding my hand. Children go running by and we watch them all commenting on this one's chubby cheeks or an other's familiar face. And I feel such contentment.

Because I think, this is where you feel love. Not the Spanish soap opera. No, love is seen in the simple tasks, and found in the daily routine. Love is getting into the trenches up to your neck in dirty laundry tackling it together. Love shines in the most mundane of chores and is the glue in the fragmented chaos and normalcy of life.

And odd as it sounds, I'm so grateful for the tree roots of life. Grateful for the growing pains and the inconveniences, because in these times I remember what is good and important in the scheme of things. The small wonderful moments are like a family, irrevocably tied to one another - woven together one fiber at a time and braided around one another.


  1. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post. HATE,HATE, HATE the laundry mat also known as the of like the cafetorium. Anyway, loved reading this. Guess you are not interested in giving my little tree a good home. :)

  2. Thank you! I don't know about adopting the little tree from Post Oak, if I did we wouldn't get the constant encouragement it gives us every season. The message it sends us to carry on, keep growing despite those who cut you down.

  3. Okay, now THIS is what it means to invest in beauty. Well spoken, Dana.

  4. Thanks Courtney!

    So, the beauty was washing clothes, family time or the post?

    :) Just kidding...I think.

  5. i absolutely LOVE this post!

  6. I looove your metaphors. They are perfect.

    Strangely, I always found the laundromat soothing when I had to frequent the place. Maybe it was because I could do nothing else but laundry, and thus the constant pull to try to do 100 things at once was squelched.

  7. Karie,
    Thanks...I love that you love this post. I love you. I love commenting back to those who comment. Okay, stopping now. Love you mean it.

    That is a great compliment coming from you! You are such an eloquent and beautiful writer!

    I can see where you would find peace there. I felt at peace as long as I didn't think about all the people who had washed their clothes before me....

  8. I immediately thought of the movie Mr. Mom (when you mentioned the washing maching spitting...etc.)! :)
    Great post!

  9. This is such a great post Dana! LOVE it!


and remember, words are my love language...