Washing a load of pride at the laundromat

This was my first experience with a “load” like this. And it’s not the fact that pride is hard to wash away, for me it was the fear of being exposed and out of my element for the first time in a while. Discomfort, inconvenience, the fear of the unknown all took trail behind me as I made my way in, and checked my laundromat snobbishness at the door…

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So the last time I remember setting foot in a laundromat was about the age of 4. I recall that age fairly well still. My parents, my sister Jaclyne and I lived in a duplex back then, down in San Pedro.  I remember our tire swing in the backyard, playing with play-doh on the back patio, our neighbor who had a giant toybox, shaped like a turtle that seemed to hold oodles of toys which I was envious of, and of course I’ll never forget our days at the laundromat. I just remember encountering so many various walks of life there. To me at that young age, it was like such an exposure to people of the world by simply sitting on a chair waiting for the clothes to get done. Back then it was leaving my safe environment at home with mom to go to a place where you never knew who you would meet, or what you would see. To be quite honest it was a place where I encountered someone with obscenely large ears for the first time in my life (couldn’t stop staring I’m sure) and the first time I noticed or became aware of other races besides mine(I asked my mom why the guy next to us looked purple). Through the eyes of a child, who wouldn’t know any better than to be bluntly aware of my surroundings, I also didn’t know anything other than that way of life at the time. It was a good time, and I am thankful for that.

Fast forward several years, my parents bought their first home, and we became accustomed to washing our clothes in the comfort of our own home. Laundromats became a thing of the past and that was that. I don’t like to call it a snobbish thing but essentially, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being in another one of those places again in my life. I knew that those days for us as a family were tight living and I guess somewhere down the road I began to associate it with being poor. How sad does that sound though I’m sure. For some I know it might be their entire life they use a laundromat and it has nothing to do with their status of living. It was just an ignorant way of thinking and becoming spoiled yet again with the luxuries in life.

Well the time ultimately came where I was faced with the fact that I had to actually step in a place like that again, out of necessity. THERE WAS NO WAY AROUND IT!! Pull up the shoulders and walk in like a big girl….figure it out and don’t drop any underwear on the way out! So that’s what happened, this big girl walked in again 25 years later, 3 kids in tow, and with A LOT of laundry I might add!

It actually wasn’t as scary as I imagined either. As much as I had done my laundry time after I time, I felt like there must be some magic way of working the machines that I was unaware of. Thankfully I met the sweetest lady who works the place, and she had me feeling right at home in no time, showing me the ropes. The kids all liked to help with it of course. What’s more fun than loading up clothes and pouring the soap in with mom right? Watching the dryers spinning is a favorite pass time now too lol.

One thing that I noticed hasn’t changed over the years are the various walks of life you can meet there. I have had the pleasure of meeting a homeless man, who is now on my list of inspiring people that I have been blessed to meet in this life. He lives out of his car at the moment, yet manages to take care of himself still some way or another. He is on the road to recovering from this state of living which he has been humbly open about with me. The nice owner of this particular laundry place has taken a chance on him and gave him a job to help get him back on his feet. There is also a local church that has been very good to him as well.  The same sweet lady (her name is Cathy) who made me feel at home, also brings him a good meal when he works. It’s just so refreshing to see truly GOOD PEOPLE in this world taking care of others. Having the opportunity to meet this man was a blessing. I have seen him working hard there and it is obvious he is grateful to be working, regardless of what job it is. It hit me when one day when I had run out of quarters as I was waiting for a last load to finish drying. It ended prior to all the clothes being completely dry. When both Cathy and the homeless man saw that my clothes weren’t done drying, they insisted that I don’t leave with damp laundry. It was at that point that this man reached in his pocket and begins putting quarters in the machine for me. It was as if he didn’t think twice about it…just gave away any hard-earned change like it was nothing. I couldn’t even thank him enough. How do you give thanks to a person in that situation who still gives of himself regardless of his own needs. All I could do was pray later that evening and gave my thanks to God for giving me that special moment to learn from that day.

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There is much to be learned in this world. Try spending a couple of hours in a laundromat and you are bound to discover something. I am so thankful for being reintroduced to this experience all these years later. Even more so because I never want my kids to feel that they are too good for these places or anything for that matter. There is a huge upside to bringing our clothes in there as well: it saves me time because I can get it all done at once and it’s saving water since I’m not at home doing it! Besides the worst thing that could happen (dropping underwear in the street) hasn’t happened yet, so I think I can get used to this for a while! The pride has dried so to say 🙂

For the love of the game…among other things

The wait...

Gavin, my oldest son (5) recently ended his second T-ball season playing for the “Pirates” this past month. We have been so fortunate to have the opportunity to put him in a pee wee sports program through the city. This has given him the chance to try his hand at a variety of sports, within a few years time. Having an option through the city is a great way to get kids out to burn that energy and start to understand what it is to be a part of a team, before committing to any long-term leagues. They can begin to learn the concept of a game and getting along with fellow teammates as well as other teams that they play.

Good Game!!

Gavin has been a sports fanatic since the day he was born practically…always going for any ball in sight.

Baby Gavin with a football

Ball Boy!!

He would turn anything into a sport! His skill and coordination have been clear for sometime now and we pretty much couldn’t wait for the day that he could try his first sport. The exciting day came just about when he turned three (sounds young I know…) and pee wee flag football was offered for his age. Boy was that the cutest thing ever!! The kids hardly knew what they were up to other than “hike” and “run!!” It was just a joy though to see these little kids trying to do their best and make the mommies and daddies proud. It’s a safe and fun environment, the parents aren’t too crazy yet (I know that day comes) and the kids are still innocently uncompetitive (which will also change someday I’m sure!) No team really wins yet, it’s just about learning the sport and playing the game for pure fun.

Flag Football

Gavin in action at soccer!

First T-Ball team the "Rockies!"

Gavin has been a natural like I said from the beginning. He always wowed the older kids in our neighborhood with his basketball skills. He was out on the driving range with dad before age 3, and hitting the ball straight none the less.

Golfing at age 2

I have always been a proud momma of course and although I’m not an expert in the sport department, it is obvious that he has a special talent. He has fun while he is out there on the field which is the most important thing of all!

2nd Flag football season awards with the Bangels!

I look forward to watching him grow as an athlete if that is what he wants to do in the future. I definitely hope that these early experiences in the world of sports will instill a lasting appreciation and love of what the games are truly about. For him to be able to learn the good qualities of being a team player and have fun while doing it is all we could really ask for at this point.

Loving it!

All for one!

 Whichever sport he eventually finds his niche in, I hope that he will always carry with him the same joy that he does today at this young age!