It's not about the house.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Day One, Project One: Wash The Rug

Not a giant project, to be sure. Not even really a home-improvement project, to be honest. But a project that has desperately needed doing for months, especially since the furnace blew and every trip down to the basement results in a trail of sooty footprints -- which are easily enough dealt with on the hardwood floors but not so much mop-up-able on the cotton woven rug from Job Lot.

Plus, let's just be frank: I'd planned to do this project today anyway, before I had my Puritan-work-ethic, manifestic, epiphanic fit.

So first I had to find the money card. The laundrymat down the road doesn't let you use actual money anymore. You have to put your actual money in the little slot and they give you a plastic card that has more money on it than you plan to spend and they get to keep the difference, either until you come back again or, if you're like me, forever -- because you lose the card and have to get a whole brand new one every time.

Except this time I'm on a mission: don't waste money. So I had to see if I could find the card.

I thought I knew where it was, but it wasn't. We're lucky enough to have laundry machines right here inside the house -- a luxury that I recognized as such even at the tender age of six, when I remember feeling terribly sory for the people who had to drag their dirty clothes all the way up to the center of town. I'm telling you, the day Johnny and I got our first in-house machines was one of the happiest of my adult existence. But I digress... The point is that we have machines in our house so the only thing I have to ever take to a laundrymat is this one particular rug. Even the comforters I've decided won't overload my precious machines, as long as I'm very careful with the way I arrange them in there, and as long as I keep an ear out for the tilt-a-whirl. But this rug is heavy-duty, especially when it gets wet of course, and I would be stupid to try to wash it in our little, regular-strength, household machine.

(Um... don't ask me how I broke our last machine, okay?)

So the only time I go to the 'mat is to wash this rug, which I have only done three times since we moved in here: once before we put it down in the spare bedroom (which is now my office); once when the Nephew (who was staying in the spare bedroom) spilled something so disgusting all over it that I didn't even ask him what it was but just put on my rubber gloves and slid it into a garbage bag and drove it down the street; and once before we put it down in the dining room where it lives now, because ever since I decided that anyone who was going to be spilling anything that disgusting did not deserve my cotton woven Job Lot rug in his spare bedroom/office, it had been folded up in a basket (a BIG basket) on the porch, serving as a makeshift cat bed, and had turned into more of an angora throw. That last time we washed it, to get all the cat hairs off, had been about a year ago, so of course I couldn't find the card.

But then, miracle of miracles, instead of taking a cursory look and having a temper tantrum because it wasn't there -- instead of deciding that I'd lost it and chucking some more money away on a new one -- instead of giving up and throwing the rug in my own g-d machine after all -- I actually slowed down, looked again where I thought it had been in the first place... And there it was.

Hey, this patience thing. I've really got to try it out more often.

So anyway I found the card but of course you can't tell how much money is on it just by looking (though wouldn't that be neat), and I didn't want to put twenty dollars on it in order to use ten (the big-rug-sized machines cost assloads of money, but not twenty-dollar assloads), so I took the fiver I had and borrowed a fiver from Johnny and promised to pay him back just as soon as I broke that twenty (by which time he'll forget, ha ha).

Oh yeah, speaking of breaking things: Johnny's home from work today, and for the next few days, because he broke a toe. I know, can't you just hear the tiny little violins gearing up to play pity music for him? But seriously, he smashed hell out of his left big toe getting wood out of the pile the other night for our very first official chimenea fire of the season, and now it's all purple and red and swollen. He was actually rolling around on the couch last night, moaning in pain (this is the night after it happened), and he's not a guy who usually admits to feeling pain. Doesn't admit, or else just doesn't feel it, I don't know. Plus he is a painter and everything, and he was supposed to be doing an outside job this week, which would have meant a bumnch of climbing up and down ladders and all that other scampery crap. So he really can't be working with a broken toe. Which bodes well for our saving-money project, let me tell you. But anyway...

I had asked Johnny to help me gather up the rug when I was ready. All I needed him to do was stand there and lift one end of the table while I swept the rug out from under it and spread a towel down beneath its feet (because I never got around to putting little pads on the bottom of the table legs when we had the floors done, because the table feet were standing on the rug so why did I need to, and now of course I don't know where the little pad-things went. Hm. There's another project for another day this month, right there! If I can remember that I thought of it, that is...).

So I'd asked him to help me when I was ready, but when I got out of the shower - voila! - he'd already taken the rug completely up without me. Guess his toe is feeling better than I thought. He didn't know about the towel-in-lieu-of-feet-pads plan, though, so there's the table now, sitting barefooted on our brand-new floors, just waiting for me to do something stupid or clumsy (moi?) and put a giant gouge in the middle of the dinging room just like I did the living room the very day we put the furniture back in after we had the floors done (Well, how was I supposed to know there was a tiny pebble caught under the front foot of the wing chair?). When I griped about the barefooted table instead of thanking him and his bum toe for trying to be helpful, Johnny offered to lift it up so I could stick towels under after all, but I decided no, let's live on the edge for the rest of the afternoon...

So I threw the rug in the car and drove to the laundrymat, past the cop that's hiding on this side of the bridge that I have to drive over and back every time I go. Over and back to put it in the wash, over and back to throw it in the dryer, over and back to pick it up and bring it home -- you think I can get past that cop six times in three hours without getting a speeding ticket when the speed limit is twenty-five and he's hiding at the bottom of a hill? Let's see if I can! Half the time I can't remember why I'm standing up by the time my knees are finished straightening, but maybe I can retain this little bit information ("cop hiding under bridge") until it's no longer necessary.

Turns out I had seven dollars on the card, so I didn't need Johnny's money after all (I had a five of my own in my wallet, I'd taken his one just in case -- and yes, I gave it back). I started the machine and went back home to wrestle with my printer drivers for a while.

$5.50 they wanted, by the way, to wash that single rug! Well, in all fairness there was plenty of extra room in the machine and I could have thrown some other things in there along with it but of course I hadn't thought that far ahead. I was lucky to have remembered to bring detergent with me, instead of having to pay a dollar for a single-serving pack like I usually do because oh yeah, right, I'm going to turn around and go all the way back home again to get the soap rather than spend a dollar. (Do you get the idea that, maybe, if I wasn't so gosh-darm impatient all the time, we wouldn't be having to wait three months to save the money up to heat our house? Hm... Nope, I don't feel like thinking about that one right now, thank you. La la...).

Finally got the printer working and -- whoops! Time to go throw the rug in the dryer. Sneaky fucker, that cop. He's in a different place this time. Good thing the 180-year-old woman in front of me was going twelve miles an hour the whole way.

The dryers give you 15 minutes for every fifty cents, so I decide to throw it in for an hour and a half. This rug is thick and woven cotton, which I believe I may have mentioned. Usually I put it in there for an hour (because anything longer just seems patently absurd) but usually it isn't dry when I pick it up and then I have to spread it out on the lawn or something and I really want to get this done today. Puritan Manifesto, remember. Actually, I used to lay the damp rug on top of the Cadillac like a cozy little blanket but, alas, Francine P. Caddy is no more. And I am not laying it on top of Chuck the Fucking Truck because I hate him. He can freeze for all I care. Getting flat tires every time I head west on the Massachusetts Turnpike -- he can kiss my ass. I swear to god, as soon as I can afford it I am getting another car and putting a bullet in Chuck once and for all. Maybe I'll even drive him off the cop-car-hiding Fore River Bridge. Of course, that day's a ways away yet (there's a country song in there, I think: "The day's a ways away when I/Can put a bullet in my truck..."). So the point is what? Oh yeah, ninety minutes of dryer time cost me three whole dollars.

Right now as I sit here typing this I am waiting for those ninety minutes to be up. I've got thirty more to go, and I am so tempted to just get in the g-d truck and drive over there and get it. But if it's not dry yet I'll have to sit and wait and read a book or something, and I haven't had the best of luck with my book choices these days. The latest, which I sort-of finished last night (I skimmed the last hundred pages or so because I was fighting back the rising gorge) was called I Can't Believe I'm Still Single -- which, trust me, if he really can't believe it then he's got to be the only one. Before that was Bitter Is The New Black -- which suffice to say I finally threw across the room. I only (sort of) finished Can't because I felt guilty for chucking Bitter. The only other book I've ever started without finishing was Anna Karenina -- and I'm not comparing the two at all (AT ALL), I'm just trying to give you some idea of how far my tolerance level goes and how guilty I feel for having given up (I mean, come on, I even finished Atlas Shrugged and I was like thirty-one or something at the time -- way past old enough to know better than that). I've got another book on deck called Daddy Needs A Drink, but after the two fat whiffing strikes in a row that I just had, I'm afraid to take a swing and put that K down in the column --

Hey, would you look at that? I wasted those last thirty minutes!

Got it. Didn't get a ticket (he was there on my way over but gone on my way back, mebbe he nabbed hisself a baddie) and the rug was only a little damp. Johnny wouldn't have let me put it down if he knew it was still a little teeny-weeny- bit slightly moist, so I put it down myself (he was preoccupied anyway, vacuuming the underside of the sofa trying to catch the spider that's been biting his legs ever since he's been on the couch with the broken piggy. And again I say, bodes well for the piggy that he's capable of such stunts -- methinks he will be back to work before we can cry wee-wee-wee all the way home). So what I did was, I spread the rug mostly out under the table, right up against the legs, then I got down under it on my all-fours and arched my back up against the underside like a cat to lift it, then smooshed the rug out under the feet with the tippy-tips of my extended fingers. Easy-peasy.

The dirty footprints are still there. But I don't give a soot.

Day One: Accomplished
Total time: Well, total time actually doing things only about 40 minutes.
Total cost: $8.50 -- but only five bucks out of pocket.
Sooty Footprints: Priceless.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

I am enjoying this new series so far! Can't wait to see what tomorrow's project is.

Re: _I Can't Believe I'm Still Single_, do you read Gawker? They have been having a field day with it/him. I'd actually feel sorry for the guy if he didn't sound like the perfect candidate for sterilization.