Laundry Losers

During the course of the day, the goings on of the morning had been reduced to a dulled irritation that had almost been forgotten. The wife and I were on the way to pick up our oldest daughter from basketball practice that evening; and like we always do, we talked about whatever we think is interesting about our day. My contribution to this conversation is a standard “nothing”, which if expanded, would mean that my day was filled with the standard amount of bullshit and stupidity that accompanies a man in my position. My wife, is a bit more forthcoming about the specifics of her day, so my job is just to respond in affirmatively, ask the occasional follow up question and to take her side on any perceived wrong doing that may have been done to her.

So, she’s talking about something or another like she always does, and then asks me “Were you able to dry Raven’s pants this morning?”. It’s an odd question, and out of context, needs a little bit of explanation.

The mornings in our house stay in various states of disarray, confusion, and anxiety; common sense approaches to getting out of the house in the morning in a timely manner are shunned. Taking baths/showers at night, picking out/ironing your clothes, fixing lunches the night before etc., none of that gets done in my house. These offenses are minor, and could be overcome by waking up early enough to get all of these things done in the morning, but again, none of that is happening. As for me personally, I’d like to think that without the hinderance of a wife, and six too many kids, I would be the most punctual person in the world. But that’s neither here nor there.

That morning, as we made our daily scramble to dress ourselves and our children for school, we discovered, with little surprise and yet much vexation, that none of our daughters uniform pants were clean. This is not uncommon in our house, and can be easily resolved with a quick wash/dry before we head out the door. However, our dryer has unofficially quit on us; and by unofficially I mean that it turns on, but does not actually turn up. (the heat) It takes forever to dry a load of clothes, and due to several critical areas lacking, (money, time, will) we have yet to replace the thing. My wife, decided to wash the pants anyway, and give our dryer try anyway, an endeavor I suggested against and was ignored.

My suggestion, was to spot clean the least dirtiest/funny smelling uniform pants (don’t judge me) so we could find so we could keep it moving. The morning schedule is too tight to try and have our geriatric dryer try to handle a quick dry on a pair khaki’s. It was almost 7:00, and the pants weren’t dry yet, but we had to leave to ensure jobs still deposited checks. The wife, in her infinite brilliance, told me to look for some random laundromat, and dry the pants there before I take the daughter to school, an idea I dismiss as pure idiocy. I was immediately irritated, my spot cleaning idea was already better than this.

We leave the house late; and I would be lying if I said that the idea of flying that wet pair of khaki’s out the back window of the minivan like some odd, domesticated freak flag didn’t cross my mind. Instead we drop off the wife, and head towards my daughter’s school. My daughter cons me into getting her breakfast before dropping her off, I consent feeling somewhat responsible for sending her to school in wet pants.

While in the drive thru of Jack in the Box, (a more than adequate breakfast menu btw) I notice a cleaners right next to it. The back door was open, a few employees milling about, and sitting there, in plain view is a shiny looking dryer. I’ll blame it on caffeine deprivation to explain why I thought it was a good idea to walk in there and ask them to throw this semi-wet pair of khaki’s into their dryer for ten minutes. Both the lady picking up her laundry, and the lady behind the counter looked at me like I was crazy when they heard what I was asking.

I’ll admit that my request might have been a little out of the ordinary; but they had a dryer that wasn’t being used at the moment, and considering I was willing to pay up to ten dollars to get this done, I didn’t see the problem. I won’t get into the politics involved of me not having a haircut since October 2012, or that I might have been wearing a stained t-shirt, sweatpants, with flip-flops and socks, because that’s not the point. The point is, I am a man, with a wet pair of khaki’s in one hand, and ten dollars in the other, asking his fellow man (woman in this case) to help dry his daughter’s pants in a time of need, and the best you can do is tell me “We don’t do that heah”.

I was getting angry, and before I gave them the special kind of crazy that only my wife knows, I stepped back and asked the lady if she knew where the nearest laundromat was. There was one down the street she said, before you hit the freeway she said. It was five minutes away, three if we made all of the lights. We made it there in no time, wasn’t crowded at all. The place looked closed, but the hours posted on the door said that they opened at 7:00 a.m. and it was almost 8:00 a.m. There was a number on the door, I called it, just in case they were on the way or something. The phone rang endlessly, they weren’t on the way. Probably still counting all the quarters they ripped off from poor saps like me from the day before. My daughter’s fate was sealed, to school with wet pants she would go. I suggested she ask one of the coaches if they had a dryer on the couch that she could use to dry her clothes. Seemed reasonable, but I later found out the coaches weren’t trying to help me either.

I got angry all over again. Because not only was I not down with this goofy ass plan, but I was gifted the impossible task of completing it. “Hell naw I didn’t get to dry Raven’s pants this morning!”, I say. “Those stupid #@#$%^&**!! at the dry cleaners wouldn’t help me at all! And then I go to the laundromat and they were closed! Matter of fact….” I pulled out my phone and went to retrieve the number of the laundromat I called earlier that day. My wife looks at me with a bit of bewilderment while I hit re-dial on the laundromat’s number. “Who are you calling?” she asks, I hold up my hand while waiting for the phone to be picked up. It rings a few times, and they finally answer.

I hadn’t planned this far ahead, so I just kind of blurted out “What time do you guys open in the morning?” I didn’t wait for them to answer before I told them what their hours said on the door. “The door says you’re open at 7:00 am! Me and three other people were waiting to go in and spend some money this morning! Why wasn’t anyone there?”

The lady proceeds to tell me that they normally open at 9:00 am and that the hours are incorrect. “Well you need to update your hours immediately, because there’s no reason that you should have posted hours and not honor them!”. They didn’t care what I had to say, I was too angry to put together coherent complaints, and not angry enough to curse them out like I felt like they deserved. When it was over, my wife was laughing at the rambling, incoherent, idiot I was, which made me laugh too. What I just did was too ridiculous for words, and even though I know the person on the receiving end of that call gave less than two shits about what I just told them, I felt better having said it, and that was all that mattered.

Don’t Be This Pedestrian

I get it. You’re a pedestrian. You have the right of way, and I should yield to you at all times. There are traffic laws are in place to reinforce this; the laws of physics however, do not necessarily agree. In the interest of your well being, my insurance premiums and possible manslaughter charges, I ask that you don’t be this pedestrian:

Phony fundraiser guy/girl: Usually a semi-official looking crew of misfits, wearing either matching t-shirts or neon safety vests. People give them money and they give you a colored flyer and a smile. Technically they don’t impede traffic, but their aggressive style of cheeriness is enough to make you want sideswipe them. (or run over their big toe)

The Slow Walker: This pedestrian is breaking the law. A jaywalker by nature, they cross the street wherever they please, and as indicated by the name, they cross slowly. Is their depth perception is off? Are they surrounded by an invisible force field? Are they expressing a benign suicidal cry for help? In the end none of that matters, I just need them to put some pep in their step and then go sort out their problems on the sidewalk.

Three Blind Mice: Another pack of pedestrians, typically in a residential district walking three wide in the street. Their engaging conversation and leisurely pace will not be interrupted by oncoming vehicles. So check your league’s rules, because some offer partial points for clipping one or two of the Three Blind Mice as opposed to an all or nothing scoring system.

Smells Like Teen Spirit: This type of pedestrian is why school zones exist. They walk aimlessly into traffic with nary a thought about their safety, your need to get where you are going or that wandering into traffic can end in death. I’d say some mean things, but I believe the children are our future, teach the well and to stay out of the way.

The Mean Mugger: Similar to The Slow Walker, the Mean Mugger also walks slowly into oncoming trafic. However, this pedestrian type sports a more defiant attitude and aggressive manner. They walk into traffic at a slow, deliberate pace, and drip with a ‘what-you-gonna-do’ swagger that begs to be tested. Let these disturbed folk make it, knowing full well that in the battle of man vs. machine, the machine will always win. John Henry be damned.

The Rat Race

willing to die for a biscuit

willing to die for a biscuit

Breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.  McDonald’s breakfast however, is as important as it is cheap.  We visited one morning with the oldest child in tow.  Popular destination among the minivan set, as moving children through their morning routine is a taxing one.  Pulling into this particular destination, we had a near collision turning into the drive-thru as this Honda Odyssey driver cut us off.  Profanity followed.  Poor lady was getting cursed out seven ways to Sunday and  didn’t know it.  To add further insult to injury the Odyssey driver held up the line at least twice as the efficiency of the McDonald’s crew moved the line quicker than expected.  This inspired more profanity, however biscuits were consumed shortly thereafter.

Gawd Is My Co-Passenger?

While the minivan was not purchased as my primary vehicle, rare is the occasion that I find myself riding as opposed to driving.  As the occasional passenger, the better half navigates the minivan through the City of Houston’s guerilla-type traffic with a winner take all strategy.  When she is in this mode, it is  best to egage in some sort of activity (ie. reading book or magazine, checking voicemail, playing one of the kids PSP’s), or practice the art of saying absolutely nothing.  Friendly conversation can sometimes be a good way to smoothe over the nervousness of the endeavor; but the problem of speaking ones mind might come too freely while chattering about whatever.

When riding shotgun, I find myself conveying the importance of fastening ones seat belt while riding in a vehicle to my children.  Other thoughts that pop in the head from time to time?

  1. this is not a sports car
  2. that car had the right of way
  3. this is not a Hum-V
  4. that was a curb
  5. this is how people get shot
  6. that was a pedestrian

Verbalizing these thoughts are things an amateur would do.  Agitating the Mrs increases the chances for more erratic driving.  Saying something can trigger frothy mouthed arguements and petty insults to be tossed into the atmosphere without notice.  On a bad day the kids may have to be brought in for an impromptu poll on who actually drives better? (will not comment on the results)  These sort of things are not common occurences.  However, they are not infrequent enough to say that they never happen.  But on a good day, we ride together, and we ride in peace. We all ride, knowing that The Big Kahuna is riding with us. (at least I hope he is)