One nice thing about being retired is that “morning” starts whenever the heck I want it to. With my strong nocturnal inclinations, today it’s starting at 10:00 pm because I slept all day. (Another thing about being retired is that I can sleep until I get tired of it.) Working nights and working from home, as I did for nearly 25 years, has a tendency to isolate you from the day-to-day hustle and bustle and for those of us (like me) who prefer peace and quiet, and a relatively uncluttered life, that’s just as fine as frog hairs. I already had a tendency to live off in my own little world, emerging into the mainstream from time to time as life demanded, even before this dumpster fire of a Presidency. . . .
Since knitting group is on Tuesday night, what generally happens on Tuesdays is I shower and wash my hair. I know there will be those who are simply shocked by the idea that I don’t wash my hair more than once a week, but I have very fine, fly-away hair, and if I wash it more than twice a week, it stands up and roars, and then it splits and breaks to pieces. (I have childhood memories of a green Studebaker with woven plastic seat covers, and in the process of sliding across the front seat to get out on the driver’s side — I was too small to work the car door handle by myself — I would pick up enough of a static charge to turn my head into a dandelion clock.*) I don’t cut my hair either, except to trim the ends now and again; I never blow dry it, or use a curling iron on it. I wash it, let it dry in the air, put it in a pony tail, and we get along just fine.
So, on Tuesday, I shower, wash my hair and get dressed. Then I strip my bed, and wash the sheets and towels. When that load has come out of the dryer, I wash a load of clothes — if I have enough for a load, if not, I’ll throw the clothes in with the sheets and towels and do a “full capacity” load. (It wasn’t until after my father passed that my mother understood why I never did more than two loads of wash in a week. One person simply doesn’t generate that many dirty clothes.) I have this nifty little wooden clothes hamper with a cloth insert — it holds just exactly a “regular” washer load. When it’s full, I pull out the cloth insert, schlep it to the laundry room and dump it out into the washer. While the clothes are washing, I put the sheets back on the bed. This time, in addition to the bedspread, I will put a blanket on. It’s been getting quite nippy lately.
By the time I’ve got the bed made, it’s just about time to put the clothes into the dryer. While the clothes are drying, I’ll have a meal. Then once the clothes are dry, I’ll hang/fold them all up and put the folded clothes away. (I pull the hang up clothes out of the dryer while they’re still slightly damp and let them hang overnight in the laundry room. The wrinkles hang right out! )
Once I’ve got the wash done, I’m done adulting for the day (actually, for most of the week) and I can do whatever I like until it’s time for knitting group.
In the course of moving house three times in the past 10 years, I’ve downsized quite a bit. I’m down to two sets of sheets — the set that’s on the bed and a spare. I’ve only got two sets of towels (wash cloth, hand towel, bath towel), one clean and one in use. On wash day, I throw the used ones in the wash, and move the clean set over ready to be used. Once the other set is washed, it goes into the “clean” rack. I have a winter and a summer bedspread (I’m rethinking the winter bedspread and have about decided to give it back to the world in favor of using my all cotton summer bedspread year round and putting a waffle blanket on in winter with the option of adding a second fleece blanket between the spread and waffle blanket if I need it.)
I downsized quite a bit during the move before last — things, stuff and furniture. This last move, not so much. I got rid of a set of dishes and glasses this time. I still have way too many dishes and glasses, but the extras look nice in my china cabinet. I could downsize way more, but at the moment, I’ve got room for what I have. One thing I learned way too late in life is to periodically go through my things and purge, keeping only those things I actually use and/or really love.
Another thing I’ve learned is not to buy anything that has to be dry cleaned. If I can’t toss it in the washer, I don’t buy it. That’s partly because working nights and sleeping days was incompatible with the hours of operation of almost all dry cleaners, and working from home eliminated the need for “work” clothes. (My washer and dryer work whenever I turn them on, day or night, and I don’t have to leave the house to use them.) It’s also because dry cleaning costs extra, over and above what it costs to buy laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and pay for the power it takes to run the equipment — as well as the gas and wear and tear on the car to convey the clothes to and from the dry cleaner. And there’s the time factor besides. Life is just too short, and there are other things I’d rather be doing with my time than keeping up with stuff that’s got to be dry cleaned.
So, now that I’ve had my “breakfast” (two toasted English muffins, one with turkey and Muenster cheese on, one with ham and cheddar cheese on, washed down with Earl Grey hot — nums!), I expect I’ll go and take my bath so my hair will have plenty of time to get good and dry before I go outside. (Our predicted high today is only 44 F/6.6 C). I expect I’ll want a jacket when I head off to knitting group.
*The average humidity where I live up here in the flatlands is 44%. Today it’s 21%. I have a mister bottle of distilled water by my sink. I give my hair a light spritz before I comb it each morning. Otherwise, I will have Rice Krispies hair — Snap! Crackle! Pop!
2 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans”
Ha! I laughed at “one person doesn’t generate that many dirty clothes.” Live life with an orbital sander in your hand, and that’s not so true. Add in summer sweat, and things get even worse. There are days when I end up changing clothes in the middle of the day, and sometimes twice. For one thing, you can’t varnish in clothes covered with sanding dust. It’s the cat hair of my industry. 🙂
We’re certainly wintry (for us) this morning. The front rolled through yesterday, and we’re down to 46 this morning. Tomorrow? 38 at the coast, which means maybe a frost or light freeze north of the city. I’m glad I have some inside work!
When I was a kid (no, don’t ask how long ago that was!) we didn’t have a washing machine. (Nor did we have a fridge, but that’s another story.) My mother had a big enameled saucepan in which she would boil up wash. Doing the laundry without washing machine and pegging it out to dry on the clothes line outside is hard work but I was never short of clean underwear or a clean shirt.
Similarly, in order to have a bath, you had to fill a big tank with water, light the gas under it and wait for it to heat up. Not surprisingly, taking a bath and washing your hair was a weekly ritual. Especially so in winter when the only room with heating was the livingroom and the bathroom was as cold as the outside. In today’s world, we are obsessed with cleanliness and do far too much washing and cleaning. This is bad for us and bad for the planet.