Some posts write themselves because I find them therapeutic. I am hoping that this will be such a post. The picture is of a phenomena present in my home called “laundry mountain”. It is not an affectionate term. What you can’t see is that inside the tumble dryer is more dry washing, in the washing machine is clean washing waiting for space in the tumble dryer and around my feet there is furthermore dirty washing, waiting for a vacancy in the washing machine. When Laundry Mountain is present in my home, it means life has stopped functioning properly.
The heart of my home is my utility room
I know many say that the heart of their home is the kitchen. In my home it is my utility room. I am one of five siblings and my mum always said that she wished she had a utility room while we were growing up. When I designed my refurbished kitchen in my monkey house of never ending work, I prioritised a utility room. My goodness, my mother was right. I could not live with out it. It is the place that everything passes through. Muddy boots, soggy monkeys, sleeping monkeys in soggy pushchairs and the never ending stream of washing.
The problem is that if the heart of my home gets clogged by laundry mountain, then it effects everywhere else. As the mountain gets bigger every other element of the washing chain comes to a halt. The washing basket on the landing overflows. Spewing forth damp towels and smelly underpants. Piles of clothes accumulate in pockets around the house. Waiting for a space to open ahead of them in the washing chain. The monkeys have no clothes in their drawers and are forced to wear outfits reminiscent of the kids from fame. Made up of the clothes that should really be in the loft or the last charity bag. The beds cannot be changed, as the accumulation of more washing produced by this could be catastrophic. My home is currently in a state of cardiac arrest.
How did you let this happen?
The effect of this cardiac arrest is not just physical, it is also mental. The lack of towels in the bathroom cupboards, reduced to wearing the grey underwear and the hours wasted scrabbling at the sides of laundry mountain in the hope of finding a clean nursing bra, cause stress levels to spike. I find myself recycling clothes from the bedroom floor, no room left in the basket. It is amazing what you can do with a baby wipe at times of crisis. As a result, confidence levels plummet as I schlep from one monkey based activity to the next, avoiding the eye of the ever present yummy mummies. Life reaches boiling point when laundry mountain is here. It looms up in the back of your mind, haunting every waking hour. Appearing on the to do list for days.
This is not an actual monkey house
Every time laundry mountain is conquered, I make the same commitment to myself. “When the dryer is finished or the washing is unpegged from the line (Pegging out is my preferred option), fold and put away immediately”. If immediately is not possible, leave it on the bed and do it before sleep. I used to be able to manage this, however, since the arrival of BM it has been almost impossible. No sooner would I have started folding, something would happen. I would be inundated with inane questions and demands from the older monkeys, about food normally, and then threats to help themselves to things they aren’t allowed. Normally happy to entertain themselves, one glance from me at the laundry then they would become needy for something that involves my time.
The times when the laundry made it to the bed I would usually forget about it and then find it when I was too exhausted to deal with it. Just so that we are clear, laundry mountain is not something that has accumulated over weeks or months. This is not an actual Monkey House. So clear thoughts of ‘a Life of Grime’ from your minds. This level of washing can amass itself in only two or three days. It is quite astonishing.
Brace yourself I’m going in…
So, as I stand at the foot of laundry mountain, sleeves rolled up and game face on, I will approach this with the same methodical approach that makes things happen around here. Ensure the Monkeys are either in school, asleep or occupied. Assess first and extract the larger bulky items. Towels, bedding etc. This is the defibrillator stage. Shocking some life back into the heart, immediately improving chances of recovery. This first step must be taken with caution, however, as a landslide is possible. A morning spent pinned to the utility room floor by fresh, clean washing could be appealing in some of my more sleep deprived moments, however, it is best not to risk contamination with some of the dirties lurking about waiting for the washing machine.
As I steadily work through the pile, tension lifts and my lungs fill with fresh clean air. I become brave and load the washing machine. Clean washing moves to drawers, cupboards and the ironing basket. (I have help with this, otherwise I would be applying for ‘The Life of Grime’). The blood supply begins to move more freely, washing machine loads stop and move to the line or dryer. Folded immediately and moved on their way, soon life steadies it’s breathing again. Confidence returns. Phew. I am free to move out into the world and feel in control.
We can overcome it
Once again we find ourselves asking ‘what does this have to do with running?’ Well nothing really, except that these are the hurdles that stop us getting out in the fresh air. It is huge and overwhelming. Restrictive and depressing. But we can overcome it. Two approaches can be applied. Get out first, fill your lungs with fresh air, prepare yourself for the task and come home ready. Alternatively, promise yourself a treat once it is complete. Even if that treat comes later in the day. Schedule it and, if monkey permitting, stick to it. We can do it! Let’s climb the metaphorical laundry mountain together one mismatched sock at a time. Soon we will be out in the park, running away from it. Letting the wind blow the lint from our hair, making commitments to never let it happen again.
Until next week of course…