Blue Monday

(Ad for a 1919 Time Saver Electric Washing Machine)

More young women break down their strength with washing than any other toil… ~~ Julia McNair Wright, The Complete Home, 1879

(Laundry room. December 11, 2006)

Today was laundry day. Normally laundry neither falls on a particular day nor is it something worth blogging about in these modern times. I read somewhere that Mondays used to be laundry day and were called “Blue Monday” because doing the laundry way back in the day was a major chore for women. A quick Google turned up this little article about Blue Monday (which, as it turns out, is a misnomer because laundry took more than one day from start to finish).

I’m spoiled. Spoiled rotten. I’ve had a washer and dryer in my home for approximately the last 22 years, from when we rented our first house and there was a washer and dryer included in the house. I can’t begin to tell you what a luxury I thought that was at the time. Laundromats/laundrettes were a thing of the past except for one brief sojourn when we moved to West Virginia, one that involved a record-high temperature day, M the Elder, and our last trip to the laundromat except during vacations. The best way to get your mate to buy you a washer and dryer is to drag them off to a laundromat that has no air conditioning or fan on a 100-degrees-in-the-shade day for a couple of hours of watching the clothes go round and round in the washers and dryers. At least I found it a good way to settle an argument about whether or not we should wait to purchase a washer and dryer. Not that I did it on purpose, mind you. The laundry, after all, did need to be done. I can’t help it that M the Elder didn’t care for sitting in a steaming hot laundromat on a steaming hot summer day.

We don’t have a washer and dryer in our new apartment. We are, however, lucky enough to have a laundry room in the building. That was one of my requirements when we were looking for an apartment. If I couldn’t have a washer and dryer in the apartment (and at our price range that didn’t seem likely), then I didn’t want to have to haul the laundry miles away to wash and dry it. I don’t drive (much) and we only have the one car here so driving to do the laundry isn’t an option during the work week when M the Elder has the car.

Today I took the plunge, so to speak, and hauled some laundry down to the basement from our 5th floor apartment. The elevators in the building have been working on and off since we moved in so I never know if I’ll be able to use the elevator or not. Luckily for me, one was working today.

The thing is, I have to get to the elevators first and that’s a bit of a long haul in and of itself since we live on the opposite side of the building. The apartment building was once a hotel that’s been renovated into apartments and there are a lot of long hallways. The basement area alone is quite a maze that one could easily get lost in. Who knew I’d be putting in some decent mileage just to do laundry? I could’ve skipped the workout in the exercise room this morning if I’d had that small piece of knowledge.

I didn’t know laundry had gotten so expensive! It’s $1.50 per washer load. And another $1.50 for 60 minutes of dryer time. To be honest, I’ve no idea what the true cost of doing laundry is when I do it at home (other than the cost of the detergent). I have a relatively new, energy efficient (HE) washer and dryer. I run the washer during off-peak hours which means we pay less for the electricity during those hours. We have a well and so, don’t have to pay for the water. The dryer is gas-heated with propane. Weather permitting, I usually hang the laundry outside to dry rather than use the dryer. This is purely a guess but I don’t think it costs $3.00 per load. I could be wrong.

I managed to do four loads of laundry before my back pretty much gave out on me. I’ve decided that I need something on wheels to help me haul the laundry downstairs. I had to take it down one load at a time. If I had something on wheels I could probably pull a couple of loads.

I’m doing my best to live my life normally which seems to be the #1 piece advice for folks with back problems. Keep moving and all that. But sometimes I need just a little bit of help. A laundry tote on wheels would fit that category nicely.

Now that I’ve bored you all with my laundry day tales, why don’t you tell me how you spent your day. 🙂


(Sweet corn from Hilgert’s Farm. July 2006. Click on photo for larger version.)

This week’s Photo Friday theme is Fresh. Yes, I’m aware it’s not Friday. I’m getting caught up. The one I did this past Friday was actually last week’s theme.

Our new apartment, like any apartment, has its pros and cons. One of the cons is that it’s cold. Freezing cold on some nights. We have three little electric baseboard heaters — one in the kitchen, one in the living room, and one in the bedroom. There’s no heat at all in the bathroom.

Being a woman of a certain age, I can usually generate my own heat. Some people call them Power Surges, but they’re more commonly known as Hot Flashes. It’s not entirely an age thing as I’ve always been somewhat hot blooded, enjoying the cold weather much more than I do hot weather. When it’s cold you can add layers to get warm, but you can only strip so far when you’re hot. And if you’re naked and still hot, well, there’s nowhere else to go with the stripping.

Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones. ~Sydney Smith, Lady Holland’s Memoir

Anyhow, here we are in this quaint little college town freezing our arses off due to the fact that we weren’t prepared for the lack of heat. We didn’t bring enough blankets, for one thing. I frequently have trouble sleeping (due to pain) and will usually move out to the sofa to sleep (or toss and turn), but I’m unable to do that here because we have no extra blankets. Being thrifty folks who don’t want to have to pay an outrageous electric bill or further contribute to global warming, we try to keep the heat at a low setting.

This has not been fun, especially when the temperature fell to about 18 degrees (f) and it seemed as though it wasn’t much warmer than that in the apartment.

So, in case you’re wondering about the sweet corn, I picked out that photo because it’s one of the highlights of summer. Fresh, sweet corn. Just picked sweet corn. It is, I think, a symbol of hot summer days and melting ice cream nights. I wanted, for just a moment, to feel the warmth and freshness of summer and sweet corn is It. The epitome. Biting into a freshly picked ear of sweet corn is a little taste of sunlight and earth, growth and harvest. It is, I believe, as fresh as you can get.

Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn. ~Garrison Keillor