naked we enter…

27 09 2008

There are certain things I like doing around the house and other chores – not so much. One of the things I don’t like doing is buying groceries. I don’t know why. I just don’t get excited when I need to go to the store. But I don’t mind doing laundry. Maybe it harkens me back to my former life.

When we first moved overseas one of the major adjustments was that dryers where not part of that equation. Washers were all front loaders and always mounted under the counter in the kitchen. Kitchens were tiny spaces but the set up was very convenient. It didn’t take long to understand the genius and catch on to the overall way of doing things.

I started noticing that people didn’t have as many clothes. You could see someone in a repeat outfit and there would be no raised eyebrows. There were no built in closets so the small armoirs were the space to house whatever we had.  We had less – and it worked.

Line drying everything had its challenges but I learned to work that system too. The sun is pretty efficient and having those pulley lines outside my kitchen window multiple floors up was easy except when things would fall off the line and I’d have to go to a neighbor’s to claim some random pair of underwear. In the winter, using the radiators to dry things inside was a natural humidifier.

Of the gazillion living situations we experienced over the years , one was upstairs from our landlords. They had built a free standing home with two identical floor plans plus an attic apartment. Their plan was to provide housing for their kids but in the meantime paying down the mortgage with renters. There was a nice large porch off the kitchen where I could hang the laundry and it was also a terrific place for our Old English Sheepdog to hang out and watch the world.

At one point in an economic “crisis” we were surprised to find that our rent was being doubled. So a face to face with the landlords had us trying to find a solution. In our discussion we were made aware of a fact that they had been keeping from us for a long long time. Elena would do her laundry daily, hang it out to dry and soon discover that it was spotted and dirty again. Day after day, weeks – months….they never told us that even though I took the dog out multiple times a day to do his thing, he was peeing off the porch too – right over her clean laundry. It wasn’t long until we were stateside for an extended stay where we found a new home for the dog from hell and on returning found another rental.

All this laundry musing was brought to mind as yesterday I “goodwilled” 40 shirts, 20 pairs of pants, 20 belts, 37 ties and various and sundry other items from the man who lived a relatively simple life.  It should be noted that most everything he ever wore was already being recycled.  He only spent money at resale shops. The frugal side of the depression-era babies made them hang on to things they didn’t really need. There is something very hard about getting rid of someone’s clothes. Even over lunch, the mrs. commented on how strange it is to be on this side of the equation. Someone is here for so many years and within a few hours you load up the trunk and all traces are gone.

So next time you do laundry – think about the time and energy invested in all the stuff we wear, all the stuff taking up room in our closets that we rarely wear-if at all, and all the stuff that someone else will have to get rid of when we’re gone. Do your family and the world a favor – and get rid of it now and if you love line-drying your laundry like I do –  never live below someone that owns a badly mannered dog.