Friday, August 27, 2004


I can’t wait to turn 55. Oh, the opportunities…I’m tingling with anticipation.
Just 12 more years.

And to think I almost missed seeing the brochure.

I hadn’t planned on sitting in the waiting area for 3 hours. My intentions were to bite the bullet and walk through those other doors.
When I moved to Murrayville, I was pleased to note that my new home was located a scant 3 blocks from the gym/pool. A two minute car ride, or even better, a ten minute walk. I would be slim and trim in no time. Who would have thought that two glass doors could be so intimidating? I’ve been at the rec centre a number of times with Drew as he swam with his friends in the wave pool with no waves. Right off the lobby is an exercise room, complete with a dozen machines. All I’d have to do is inquire at the front desk as to the rules and rates, then push open the see-through doors and begin sculpting my matronly body into one more goddess-like.

It’s been a year, and pathetically, I haven’t garnered up the courage.

Today was the day. I pep-talked myself yesterday. I was going to try each machine this afternoon while Drew and his buddies swam in the non-wavey wave pool.

But my morning didn’t turn out quite like I’d expected.
You see, I had laundry issues.
(No, not those issues… although I’m steaming at the indifference my kids have towards sock balls. I gathered 57 crusty sock creations on the weekend. I found them under the couch, in the back of the Durango, in the garage, in the backyard, behind the computer, everywhere except the three laundry hampers. Oh, and these aren’t your regular sock balls, oh no. These ones are first saturated in sweat, as Clint and Max have both been working this summer, wearing the mandatory steel-toed work boots. Add to that a fine dusting of concrete powder to ensure that they will harden into an exquisite works of domestic art.
Apparently it’s their job to work; it’s my job to handle the fall out that their work brings into our home.) Sigh.

Yes. Back to my other laundry problem.
I don’t have a laundry room; this house came with a laundry closet. The washing machine is on the left, the dryer on the right. The appliances came with the house, and because of the hinge placement on the dryer, they were placed in the closet that way. (Even though the plumbing for the washer is on the right, and the dryer vent is on the left.)
Last Thursday I did a couple loads of laundry, and after folding all the towels, I left them on top of the dryer. It’s a good as place as any. They get warmed up everytime I dry another load of clothes, and it’s a central location for the kids.
On Friday morning, Clint grabbed a beach towel from the bottom of the pile. He noticed it was wet, but took it anyways, without asking me why the folded towels were soaking.
Later that day, I did another load of laundry, and when I went to grab towels for our excursion to the beach that evening I found a pile of neatly folded, nicely stacked dripping wet towels.
“What did he do? Dump a bucket of water over the dryer? Clint…” Why do I always assume he’s done something?

I did the laundry shuffle and put the drenched towels in the washing machine, put the contents of the washer into the dryer, and left a mound of dry but unfolded clothes piled on top of the dryer and went to the beach.

The following morning, there was some water on the floor of the laundry room, and my mound of clothes were soaked.

“Now what? Why is he doing this?” He was working an overtime Saturday shift, so I couldn’t ask him. I redid another load of laundry, this time folding and putting away all the clothes, but again leaving a stack of freshly washed and completely dried towels on the dryer.

On Monday, after working all day, Clint and Max both had showers and went to use the clean towels. Unfortunately they were soaked. Nicely folded, but vitually unusable. I threw yet another load of clothes (this time it was a white load… 986 socks) into the washing machine and turned it on as we left the house.

The next morning I went to transfer the stuff from the washer into the dryer, but the room was soaking wet. The top of the dryer, the floor, the walls… everything.
Of course Clint was at work, so I couldn’t ask him why he keeps flooding our laundry closet. I used all the towels I could find to sop up the moisture, then threw them into the washing machine.

Wednesday, and I’m finally getting back to turning on the washer. I’ve inspected that closet thoroughly, sickened at the thought of there being a hole or leak in the roof. How much will that cost to repair? Probably the same amount as a trip to Europe. How can I go to Europe if there’s a hole in my roof and I don’t have a job?

I turned on the washing machine and came downstairs. Ten minutes later I heard dripping directly above my head. I dashed upstairs and saw a fountain of water spraying out of the washing machine’s drainage hole in the wall. The washer’s hose was in the hole, and draining, but it was backing up and spewing into my laundry closet.

Remember how my dryer is in front of the washing machine’s wall plumbing? Well, for the past week, the towels, or piles of clean clothes have been absorbing the bulk of the water, as it sprays straight out onto the dryer top. But on Wednesday, with no clothes perched up there, the water went wild.

Ah, the mystery of the excess water has been solved. It wasn’t Clint’s fault after all. And yay, I get to go to Europe. My roof has no hole.

I had my dad out this morning to fix the problem. This involved feeding the garden hose up through Clint’s window, across his bed, over his doorknob and down the laundry drain hole. Eventually we got it all sorted out.
Minutes later it was time to head to the pool to meet Drew’s friends, who were expected to arrive around 1:00pm. One did. Two more came at 1:30 and the last one at 2:00. No way I could “work out”, common sense dictated that I sit in the waiting area and uh, wait, for the boys to show up. Once they all were in the water, the overwhelming need to tackle my laundry (remember now, for the past week, all I’ve done is wash and rewash the same three loads of clothes. My laundry baskets (AKA the kids’ bedroom floors) were overflowing with dirty clothes.) So I zipped home and dealt with abit of it. On my way out the door and back to the pool, I grabbed a “Writer’s Digest Guide to Writing Contests” magazine. Maybe I’d read it while on the life cycle?

I got back to the rec centre and there were just men in the exercise room. Not a single fe-male. So I sat at the nearest green plastic Rubbermaid table and pulled out my reading material. Fifteen minutes later, (45 minutes ahead of schedule) one of the moms came to pick up her son. I quickly stuffed my periodical into my bag and chatted with her while we waited for her son to change.

After they both left, I did it. I walked over to the cashier and asked, “If someday in the future, I might want to go through those glass doors and use an exercise machine, what would I need to do?”
“Pay $3.75 here. Then go there.”

That was a start.
Now I know for sure.
Next time I’ll bring some cash with me.

For today though, I’ll just relax.
Someone has taken my spot at green table number one, so I move to an empty one beside it. And it is there that I see it.

The Elderhostel booklet.
(Like Youth Hostel, for old people.)

You have to be elderly… 55 years of age. But whoa. Talk about an incredible program. It’s more than just travel. It’s travel, cheap accommodations and learn or do something.
Got my first three trips planned already:
1. A five day workshop in Sedona, Arizona, taking a Photography course
2. Then an 11 day Astronomy program in Hawaii. (“Explore the cutting edge in Astronomy, at the world’s largest astronomical observatory….”)
3. A 6 day Creative Non-fiction Writing workshop at the Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.

Am I a nerd or what? The golfing, snow sports, birding, scuba diving, sailing excursions could be exciting… but…

Although, my fourth trip might be a walking/hiking vacation. Seven nights on the Appalachian Trail (the longest continuously marked footpath in the USA that extends from Georgia to Maine.)

Or maybe I’ll spend 5 nights on Lake Geneva (two hours from Chicago) and stay in a cozy country inn located on 50 wooded acres. I can stroll past beautiful Victorian mansions on the public access lake path. And then, enjoy the purpose of this trip, which is “Explore the connection between food and family as depicted in movies. Discuss the use of food in expressing emotions and in reflecting family life…”
How fun would that be?

Only 4370 more sleeps.

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