Life Change, or ‘Washing My Clothes In My Robe’

posted in: Confessions 21
It just looks like heaven. Heaven! Image: Wikipedia.



To look at me from where you are, it seems possible I am an adult person. I pay my taxes. I arrive on time, most of the time, to the places where I am expected, and I can reach things on most shelves. I brush teeth, buy a round, shake hands. Sure. All of that.

Fake news.

I moved into my condo seven years ago and the entire time, while I could have afforded to buy one many times over and though the space is equipped with the proper hookup valves, I have chosen not to install a washer-dryer in my unit. This is after longing and pining and wishing I had one pretty much the entire time.

The pumpkin spice latte you’ve been enjoying stalls halfway to your lips. You blink. “Mary … What are you talking about? You don’t have an in-unit washer-dryer and you want one and you could ostensibly get one? Really?” You lean in. “Mary … Tell me the truth. Are you afraid of washer-dryers?”

I roll my eyes and tell you no I’m not afraid of washer-dryers, Karen. But my eye roll is hiding my shame. The truth is that I am afraid that getting a washer-dryer will prove to me that my kitchen remodel was flawed. When I had the kitchen remodeled years ago, I asked for all open shelving. I have a galley kitchen, which means that it’s long and narrow. Even while small-ish and narrow-ish, I love it — and I knew I’d love it more if the gross, boxy cupboards were gone and replaced by fabulous open shelves running from one side of the subway tiled wall to the other. I knew it would open the space and it absolutely did. Besides, I love the dishes I have, I love my teapot, I love the beautiful wine glasses I keep polished and nice. The kitchen looks great.

But it meant that pantry items were to be put somewhere else, unless I wanted cracker boxes and spice jars and rubber-banded bags of rice out in front of God and everybody. Open shelves have a certain display quality to them and the objects I have are display worthy; the bags of pumpkin seeds, not as much. So I put all that pantry stuff in the small (small) pantry room, on a big (big) steel shelf … which covers the washer-dryer hookups. Because I thought I was fine using the building laundry room. Because I like laundry rooms. Because it’s good exercise going up four flights of stairs every time I need to do the wash. Because where am I going to put these cans of black beans??

Well, I’ll have to figure it out, because I ordered a washer-dryer combo thing. Nick helped me get just the right one. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the cracker boxes and the rice bags. But I am so, so excited about the prospect of padding over to my washing machine, opening my washer lid, and throwing in my clothes for to clean them. The unit will be delivered late this month and to celebrate its arrival I think I’m going to wash everything in sight. Besides, I like clean items!

My fear of getting a washing machine also had something to do with having a fear of being an adult. I don’t know if there’s a single sentence in the universe more adult-sounding than, “I can’t do it then, sorry — my new washer-dryer unit is being installed that afternoon.”

If I’m an adult, that means I’m closer to all of this ending, and that’s the last thing I want.

So I did the laundry in the laundry room for seven years.

21 Responses

  1. Susan
    | Reply

    Your life is about to change!

    Ps. I’m glad you and Nick made up.

  2. Veronica
    | Reply

    Yaaay Mary – you did it !
    Congratulations & wishing you loads of happiness buckets of happy feelings of empowerment x Veronica

  3. Jane
    | Reply

    Well Mary, all I have to say is high time! I would love to say I understand your reasoning! Come on, public washing machines? Gives me the willies to type it. In an emergency only, Mary !! You will ove your new appliances and will sa “ Why, oh why, did I wait so long….

  4. Gina
    | Reply

    Glad to hear Nick is still around. I LOVE my washer dryer. The saying in my family about me is “Laundry is my life.” Because I like to fold in front of the TV, put the wash in and walk away and do something else, have clean clothes whenever I like. You will LOVE it!!
    No thoughts on pantry items.

  5. Linda Duff
    | Reply

    Mary Dear,
    You will find an amazing way to store all your pantry items and it will be remarkable.
    Just let me tell you that it will be the cheapest thrill in the world to come home at some ungodly hour and be able to walk over to YOUR washing machine and open the lid and do a load of laundry and not have to worry about all those stairs or the fact that maybe your robe is dirty and needs to be washed and you won’t have to stress about”what will I wear to the laundry room?”
    Happy Laundering and Adulting!

  6. Ronda Parsons
    | Reply

    Hi Mary,
    There have been many special days in my life…graduation, marriage, job promotions, book contracts, but none come even remotely close to the day my first washer and dryer arrived. It was a snowy afternoon and I worried that the truck be unable to make it through. Or worse yet, something might happen to my ‘longed for’ beauties. “Hang in there my darlings. You are almost home.” Ah, I still tingle and get goosebumps when I think of those shiny steel cubes being wheeled in on a giant red dolly. Okay, so the marriage has turned out great and the job promotions have been fun, and who doesn’t love a good book signing? …but deep in my heart, best of all, was the day Mr. Sears and Mrs. Roebuck presented me with their beautiful offspring named, Maytag.


  7. Karen
    | Reply

    Oh, Mary, the funny things we humans do out of habit, fear, or in my case, massive procrastination and avoidance. Our first washer was a cast off from a neighbor who was moving. It danced across the floor in the spin cycle until it unplugged itself unless you held it down. I LOVED it! I hung my clothes outside to dry, and no more laundromats!!

  8. Janet
    | Reply

    First, congratulations on no longer needing to schlep laundry around the building. Your back and knees will appreciate and thank you for it.

    Second, isn’t it interesting the fantasies we build to avoid the realities of our lives? Adult = having laundry equipment. I’m not even sure how to address the pantry issue, but I’m pretty sure that we both know there is one. 🙂

    I think there comes a time when each individual comes to terms with certain realities of their daily lives. There is an acceptance of the understanding that no matter how great the fantasy is, there is a point where it needs to be put away so the reality can be handled. It is a part of getting older and none of us like it much. Even when we can appreciate the benefits.

    Enjoy the new freedom and rethink your pantry. There is a solution there, you just haven’t quite found it yet. 🙂

  9. Linda Oburke
    | Reply

    Laundromat? Ugh!! I’d rather go to the dentist than a public laundromat. No offense to the people that own laundromats but really. You like to go to the laundry room? As the other gals have said, there’s nothing like walking up to your own washer and dryer and filling ’em up, turning them on and hearing your own appliances clean your clothes. I hope you make a video of it!!

  10. Patty Stagl
    | Reply

    IKEA for cabinet ideas. It’s a fun date place! Lots of log fodder there, too.

    • Patty Stagl
      | Reply

      Blog fodder, not log.

  11. Michelle Telenko
    | Reply

    Hi Mary
    Buy some cute, adorable baskets for your open shelves for the stuff you want to hide.

  12. Kitty
    | Reply

    Glad all is well with you and Nick. But mostly just glad you are good. Patty and Michelle? Good ideas you two – IKEA for cabinets and baskets for the open shelf pantry items. It will all work out.

  13. Helen Marie
    | Reply

    Baskets. Yes. I chose galvanized metal canisters for basics! Love ‘em. But for seasonal fruits and veg, for breads and such, baskets can’t be beat. I do have a pantry closet with pullout shelves for canned goods. Mine came with the cabinets (which the designers call “cabinetry” these days). But you can buy them aftermarket. Enjoy your new freedom…you can strip nekkid and throw it all in at once!

  14. Judy Blevins
    | Reply

    It will all be fun and games until the day you forget your laundry and it sits there for a day and that day just happens to be humid and you come home, open the door and almost pass out from the mouldy smell. Welcome to adulting.

  15. Kate
    | Reply

    I really nice, “statement piece”, armoire could become your new pantry. No one else needs to know…..

  16. Gail in Washington State
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    I live in the Pacific Northwest (yes it is raining) in a 500 square ft cottage surrounded by cherry trees and a flower and vegetable garden. The cottage has a wood burning fireplace and my husband and I lead a happy cozy life here BUT the cans of black beans and all that other stuff live in the dishwasher. Life is full of compromises..enjoy your washer and dryer!!
    ps..all my quilting stuff is under the bed

  17. Kathleen Racine Halloween
    | Reply

    Spring tension curtains covering up bean cans in open cabinet or two? Maybe mini quilts? Glad you are not going to do wash in the basement of an apartment building anymore! People get murdered there!

  18. Glenda
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    I’ve always said (when we were a family of 6 and now down to 2 members) that I would do without a stove or refrigerator before I’d do without a washer and dryer (hated the laundromat down the street). When either broke, NO laundry was done, repair had to be immediate. When my first marriage ended I took the w/d for me and my two year old and left the stove and refrig. In my book your priorities are backwards, HA!

  19. Jodi Grzeczka
    | Reply

    Sorry, have to laugh at your anxieties regarding laundry. I’ve lived in a tiny former summer cottage for 26 years now. I was going to knock it down and put up a “real ” house when I moved in and then life happened. My energy went to survival mode and just having a roof over my head was sufficient. I’ve been hauling my laundry to the laundromat for all of those 26 years and I really dislike it. I used to hate it, but a really decent person opened a really decent facility 4 miles away, and it is somewhat pleasant to use it. I still only go there about once every 3 weeks, and need way more clothes than I should have in such a tiny house. I LUST for my own washer and dryer. Congratulations, Mary. Oh, and by the way, it has nothing to do with adulting or not adulting.

  20. SUE
    | Reply


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