Top 20 True Tales from the Laundromat

I don’t care what anybody says. Laundromats are a gold mine of story-telling fodder.

But before I lead you down into that mine of mine, I’ll start with a little background.

One of many “You Do You” facets of RV life is that some folks go for the in-coach washer and dryer, and others don’t.

Here’s our “in-coach” dryer.
Drawback: doesn’t work in the rain

Although we’ve got dedicated hookups for them in our bedroom closet, we opted against installing our own machines, and here’s why:

We didn’t want to sacrifice the storage space, weight allowance, or power & water usage, when we can do our laundry elsewhere — in a facility that someone else has to maintain and repair.

I’ve managed to wash and dry 2-3 loads, once a week, every week since we’ve been full-timing, and it’s really not a hardship. Sometimes, a nearby friend or relative generously offers up their laundry room for a welcome freebie, but I have to admit I’ve become spoiled by the convenience of getting it all done at a laundromat in less than 2 hours, thanks to having access to multiple washers and dryers instead of just one of each.

As for the money, well, I’m not that good at math, but I can guesstimate that at an average of about $6.50/week, it costs us about $338.00/year to do our laundry.

A new set of RV machines costs about $1200.00 (source: quick glance at a few options on a single major national RV retailer’s web site).

So after nearly 3.5 years of full-time RV living, we’ve now spent about as much on coin-op as we would have on our own washer and dryer, but…

I cannot deny the added value of all these stories.

Twenty True Tales from the Laundromat? Priceless.

1. Middle-aged guy walked all the way across the laundromat to tell me, “That looks so nice. You folded it all perfect!”
I think he was fishing for an offer of assistance.
Well.
Some women get hit on for their looks. Not me. I reel in the boys who want someone who can fold their fitted sheets.
(January 2016, Port Hadlock WA)

2. One of our sons is traveling with us, and this is my first time doing RV park laundry for three people instead of two.
It’s also the first time I’ve done laundry for one of my children in nearly a year.
I could have done without the additional aggravation. Hello, spellcheck?
(June 2016, Warren AFB WY)

3. This is a nice compromise.
Usually RV park laundry rooms are all like DON’T YOU DARE WASH YOUR PET BEDDING IN HERE, but this one dedicated a washer and dryer just for that.
Kinda wish I’d noticed it before I washed all our clothes in it, but I suppose there are worse things than coming away with a little hair of someone else’s dog.
(August 2016, Nellis AFB NV)

4. Washing our stinkies, under close supervision, here at the local combination mailbox rental, thrift shop, grocery store, laundromat, bait & tackle, beer & wine barn.
Wow.
(January 2017, Ehrenberg AZ)

5. This may not look like a perfect day to you, but to me it’s a reminder that we’ve spent the past month surrounded by dear friends — the kind who say, “Of course you can bring your laundry over. Any time. Soap’s in the cabinet. Here’s a house key.”
So. Much. Love.
(March 2017, Norfolk VA)

6. Good ol’ Wrinkle Bill…
(April 2017, Shelbyville KY)

7. I want to meet the person who came up with this name for the laundromat at the marina.
Because that is good.
That is very, very good.
(July 2017, Saint Ignace MI)

8. Tim (picking me up at the laundromat, hoping everything’s done): So, did I arrive at just the right time?
Me: That depends. Did you bring me a tetanus shot? Actually, I think I might have cholera.
Yeah, this is a skeevy one.
Check out the professionally — and inaccurately — labeled dryers.
(August 2017, Ashland City TN)

9. October 2017, Manchester TN

10. I’m not sure what begging comforters are, but I think I may have picked a rubber floor mate during one of our shifts at Amazon last week.
(November 2017, Murfreesboro TN)

11. Guess we had a stowaway.
Been a long time since I’ve pulled a toddler sock out of a washing machine.
(January 2018, San Antonio TX)

12. March 2018, Kerrville TX

13. I got the size right, the style right, the quantity right, the fabric blend right, and even the price right.
I neglected to peek inside the multipack and check the two colors that were hiding behind the gray ones.
Which is how Tim now has almost as many pairs of pink panties in the wash as I do.
Which probably also explains why they were such a bargain.
(July 2018, somewhere in SD)

14. You know you’re staying in a rural area when…
(August 2018, Enumclaw WA)

15. I have found my people.
(August 2018, Chehalis WA)

16. So if the laundry room phone rings, do I have to answer in 1993?
(October 2018, Lackland AFB TX)

17. Eeeeeee! Laundry room visitor.
My fluff & fold just got a whole lot fluffier!
(October 2018, Lackland AFB TX)

18. As I was leaning over, tossing stuff into the dryer, I heard the laundry room door open behind me, followed by a male voice saying, “Hey. You were out running this morning!”
He was not wrong, but uhhh, having my backside recognized by a stranger was a little disconcerting.
I turned, readying my “The hell?” look, which I had to camouflage quickly, because I noticed just in time that the gentleman was pointing to the hanging rack over my dryer. “You were wearing those pants!” he said.
Oh.
Oh yeah.
Heh.
I guess those blue leggings do indeed etch themselves on the retina.
(October 2018, Lackland AFB TX)

19. Texas, y’all.
(November 2018, Palestine TX)

20. November 2018, Palestine TX

I’ll keep gathering these precious nuggets with the goal of posting a new collection in another 3.5 years — when we’ll have spent enough at laundromats to have bought a second washer & dryer!


Author’s note: Nearly all of these posts came from my personal Facebook account. I don’t think it’s plagiarism if I copy & paste my own work, but I thought I’d better explain myself to those of you who are thinking, “Hmmmm. I’m pretty sure I’ve read this before…”

 

The 49-year-old whippersnapper, or: how I survived the over-55 RV park by acting my age. Sort of.

Not so very long ago, we stayed in one of those RV parks. 

You know the type. 

The age-restricted kind with so many rules that you quit reading after about the 5th one, and decide that just being a good person for the duration of your stay will probably cover most of them anyway?

When we checked in at this park, we received a packet that contained a list of 25 rules on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, single spaced, small font, both sides. Rule 15, dealing with the laundry room, also had subsections a-f.

I know.

And there were a few additional rules on the park map.

And even more rules printed on signs scattered about the property. 

And don’t get me started on the club house. Let’s just say that not everybody should be allowed access to a label maker, printer, or even paper and a Sharpie. Especially people of a certain age, with a lot of time on their hands. 

(If you’re humming, “Do this. Don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?” you’re not alone.)

So being possessed of a deliciously sideways sense of humor, I decided to have a little bit of fun during our stay in the Land of Many Rules. 

OK, a lot of fun.

To be clear, I was not on a mission to break the rules. They’re there for a reason. I get it.

I just thought I could give those fine folks cause to come up with a few more they mmmaybe hadn’t thought of. 

Yet. 

Remarkably.

Attempt 1: Go topless
Nothing says I have to wear a shirt over my sports bra.

Attempt 2: Wear a boob joke
And furthermore, nothing says that the shirt I do wear over my sports bra can’t be a brow-raiser.
(Relax. I’m a breast cancer survivor, and my right “pear,” although still original, is no longer perfect. I bought this shirt as a reminder to keep my sense of humor about it.)

Attempt 3: Purple hair don’t care
Like most of the women here, I’ve got gray hair, despite my being a decade or two younger. There was no rule against hair dye, so why not go bold for a few washes?

Attempt 4: Get yourself up to no good
Okay, so most of the men I encountered in the park were old enough to be my dad, so I really couldn’t be a cougar there.
But Tim, at 51, could totally have been cougar bait!
Mrowrrrr

Attempt 5: Dare them to repeat it
It would have fit on there a 5th time, and I’m pretty sure instructions need to be repeated five times before they require obedience. Law of the teenager. Right?

Attempt 6: Hang out
We were allowed to use the community clothesline. They didn’t specify what we were allowed to use it for.

Attempt 7: Seek balance
“No walking on the site dividers” was not a rule.
I checked.
And then I did it.

Attempt 8: Grow something green
The park featured a community herb garden — and no sign specifying what could or could not be planted there.
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and… Wait. Is that what I think it is?

Attempt 9: Maximize efficiency
Who among us has never stripped off a dirty item of clothing and tossed it directly into the washing machine? It’s a time saver. And there was no rule posted against it in the park laundry room.

Attempt 10: Run with scissors!

Attempt 11: Make items multi-functional
It’s a pole. Poles are for dancing. Didn’t everybody know that?

Final attempt: Take matters into your own hands
If all else fails, amend the Standing Rules yourself.
(For those with eyes that need a little help, click on the photo to enlarge it.)


Disclosure 1: Neither one of us is over 55. We were able to get a guest spot for a limited time.

Disclosure 2: Park name and location have been withheld to protect the… well… a park that’s really quite nice, and I know that it’s because of a lot of those rules. I’m pretty sure they can take a little ribbing, but just in case they can’t, I’ll keep their identity under wraps. We’d like to be able to stay there again.

Disclosure 3: Photos originally appeared on the author’s personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, and I give thanks to my partners in crime. They know who they are.

Ah, what the hell.
Bylaws are always so boring.
Might as well amend those too.

Travel cheat: We flew from TX to WA — but then promptly borrowed an RV

It’s true. And there’s probably a good joke here that starts, “You can take a couple of full-timers out of their RV…”

But didn't we look cute on our airplane?

But didn’t we look cute on our airplane? Sorry it’s fuzzy. I was probably giggling with glee!

With only 7 days to visit two different parts of the family — our son and his girlfriend on the Olympic Peninsula, and Tim’s parents, sisters and their families a couple hours north of Seattle — it made perfect sense for us to have our own mobile guest suite. Thankfully, Tim’s folks own just the thing, and were willing to hand over the keys!

Tim's folks made the bed, gassed/watered/propaned it up, and even stocked the pantry and fridge for us -- including homemade chocolate chip cookies. My in-laws are the bomb!

They patched a few leaks, made the bed, gassed/watered/propaned it up, and even stocked the pantry and fridge for us — including a bottle of wine and homemade chocolate chip cookies.
My in-laws are the bomb!

Tim's dad checked us out on all the systems before letting us leave the driveway. This thing is way easier to set up and take down than our fifth wheel, but...

Tim’s dad checked us out on all the systems before letting us leave the driveway.
This thing is way easier to set up, take down, and drive around than our fifth wheel, but…

... wow, is it petite. Excellent choice for short trips, but I don't think I could handle living in one full time. The bathroom is about half the size of ours, and includes sink, potty and shower. I did not think that was possible.

… wow, is it compact.
It suited our needs more than adequately for this short trip, but I don’t think I could handle living in a truck camper full time.
The bathroom is about half the size of ours, and includes sink, potty, storage cabinet and shower. I… I did not think that was possible. And I am not willing to downsize that much.

Boiling water for coffee in this old percolator made us feel like pioneers!

Boiling water for coffee in this old percolator made us feel like pioneers! (Yeah, we know. Pioneers had campfires, not auto-ignite gas stoves.)

And although this is truly a 1-butt kitchen, we bumped it a 2-butt to clean up after a big breakfast. Tim washed, our son's girl dried.

And although this is truly a 1-butt kitchen, we promoted it to a 2-butt to clean up after a big breakfast.
Tim washed, our son’s girl dried.

Our site at the Point Hudson Marina & RV Park came with a view of Admiralty Inlet.

Our site at the Point Hudson Marina & RV Park in Port Townsend came with a beautiful view of Admiralty Inlet and the mountains beyond.

Moonrise over the inlet

Moonrise over the inlet

And here’s why we went: our older son graduated from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding with an associate of occupational studies degree, and an impressive list of craftsmanship and engineering skills, such as planking, structures, fiberglass work, and handcrafted cabinetry. We are so stinkin’ proud!

That's him, sitting up there on the Chamberlain, a craft he's done a lot of work on during his time at the boat school.

That’s him, sitting up there on the Chamberlain, a craft he’s done a lot of work on during his time at the boat school.

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Not many school-sponsored graduation receptions include a keg. Was this place a good choice or what? And although this is not our boy's first beer, it's the first one his mama's poured for him, so like so many other milestones, we captured it with a photo. I'm sure there's a spot in the baby book for this somewhere...

Not many school-sponsored graduation receptions include a keg. This school was a good. choice.
And although this is not our boy’s first beer, it’s the first one his mama’s poured for him, and like so many other child rearing milestones, we captured it with photos. I’m sure there’s a spot in the baby book for this somewhere…

Later on, our son showed us around the boat yard in Port Townsend. This one bears a price tag of $5000 OBO. My best offer is oh hell no.

Later on, our son showed us around the boat yard in Port Townsend.
This fixer-upper bears a price tag of $5000 OBO.
My best offer is oh hell no.

I’ll leave you with three images of what the Puget Sound area is famous for: her picturesque waterways. No matter where you go, your journey will include bridges, tunnels, or ferries to get you from Point A to Point B, and the views are always worth the wait.

Deception Pass, looking west from the bridge...

Deception Pass, looking west from the bridge…

... and east

… and east

Port Townsend Bay

Port Townsend Bay

As for what’s coming up next for us, it looks like we’ll be sitting here in San Antonio through the fall, and perhaps into winter. Some medical issues have come up, and they need to be taken care of. I won’t share the details here, mostly because we don’t have enough information yet to know what lies ahead for Tim, but once we’ve got a better grip on what needs to be done, I’ll spill the proverbial beans. For now, in my husband’s own words:

I admit this is not how I wanted to spend my fall months, but such is life. I welcome prayers, well-wishes, and good thoughts. 

Hell, some of you might even feel compelled to send large sums of money, which would also be just fine.

Now if you do choose to pray, please don’t get too serious. I think something like this would be appropriate: “Dear God, please help that sap get physically well soon. We all understand he is a lost cause mentally.”

Befores and Afters: House 2 is ready to sell, and we are ready to roll!

I wasn’t going to put all our home improvement photos on the blog because they don’t have anything to do with RV travel or living. But…

  1. I’m stinkin’ proud of what we did, even though I whined nearly constantly about having to do it, and
  2. It’s all part of Owning Less. Once this house is sold, we will own no property other than what we’re rolling around in, and both the BFT and The Toad are paid for.

(Confused about why we’re selling another house? That story is here, with a little more here, plus some NSFW ranting about it here.)

It took us

  • 7 weeks (out of a planned 4, and a hopeful 2)
  • more than 60 trips to big box and locally-owned home improvement/hardware stores
  • help from nearly a dozen friends who loaned us tools, garage space, sweat equity, and/or their grown sons who were eager to work for some summer cash (all three former Boy Scouts, and friends to our boys when we lived here)
  • around $10,000
  • and I don’t even know how many hours of our own labor. A million, maybe. We didn’t take many days off.

Witness the transformation of our 1912 Craftsman-style bungalow. She’s beautiful, and awaiting new owners to enjoy not just her charms, but also the best neighborhood we’ve ever lived in — and we’re a retired military family, so there’ve been lots.

Befores are on the left; afters on the right.

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She’s bigger than she looks from the street: four large bedrooms, giant eat-in kitchen, high ceilings, three full baths, 2237sf, detached garage

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The cedar shingles on the west side of the house looked like nothing so much as rotting, crooked teeth. We tore them all off, primed and installed new ones (about 2,000 — all by hand, but who’s counting?), then hired a house painter to paint all four sides plus all the ivory trim.

IMG_6150 (1) IMG_6149 IMG_6149 (1) IMG_6148 IMG_6148 (1) IMG_6147 (1)

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Now to the back deck, where there were several rotting boards. I didn’t take truly corresponding photos, but these will give you an idea of the work we did. P.S. Prying up deck boards makes for an awesome core and upper body work-out — and I hope I never have to do it again.

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Lots of geometry involved in rebuilding the steps. I’m thankful Tim and our Eagle Scout helper did the math.

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And then a week later, we finally decided that leaving it with such obvious differences between new boards and old was probably not a good idea…

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… so we painted it.

The carriage doors on our garage showed significant wood rot and sagging. Rebuilt them both!

The carriage doors on our garage showed significant wood rot and sagging. Rebuilt them both!

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Inside of the garage: lots of mystery grime So we swept, vacuumed, degreased, scrubbed, primed, and painted.

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And it made a big, big difference!

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Here’s the front porch, which we’d last had refurbished in about 2008. It showed a lot of wear in the main traffic area to the front door…

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… and there were a few rotting boards that needed to be replaced. It was challenging because they’re made wider now, so Tim had to custom mill them using a friend’s table saw in order to get them to fit.

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Next stop: kitchen. The self-adhesive vinyl tiles we’d put down in 2009 didn’t hold up well. Many shrunk and separated at the seams, which then filled up with dirt.

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The new vinyl flooring snaps together and floats over the old surface, so there shouldn’t be as many issues with expanding or contracting. Helps to have a friend in the business! He told us what we needed to purchase for our particular situation, and then sent his team to install it. Bought them lunch, paid them for their labor, done!

So of course after we put in the new floor, we realized how awful the doors and molding look. Project creep: the struggle is real.

So of course after we put in the new floor, we realized how awful the door and molding looked.
Project creep: the struggle is real.

The only worker/contractor who didn't show up was the plaster repair guy. So Tim the tool man did it himself.

The only worker/contractor who didn’t show up was the plaster repair guy. So Tim the Tool Man did it himself.

Here we go again! Second -- and final -- house is now on the market. Come onnnnnn, buyers!

Here we go again! Second — and final — house is now on the market, a mere 3 months after we closed the sale on the first one.
Come onnnnnn, buyers!

Full list of what we did:

  • Replaced cedar shingles on west side of house
  • Had shingles painted on all 4 sides, plus trim, front porch, and front door
  • Refurbished back deck, front porch, and garage doors
  • Replaced rotting framing on 3 windows and above garage doors
  • Repainted garage interior, and several ceilings inside house
  • Had kitchen flooring replaced
  • Repaired HVAC disconnect switch
  • Refreshed mulch beds on 3 sides of house
  • Repaired cracks in plaster walls in living and dining rooms
  • Fixed like a hundred other pesky small things, like busted outlet covers, cabinet door hardware, window screens, etc., etc., etc.

Sacrifices to the cause:

  • 1 canopy
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of fitness capris
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 1 hoodie

Also, a bird pooped on me on Mother’s Day, and our dog died.

I could have done with a little. less. character building.

Interested in the house? Of course you are. At the very least, we know you want to see the asking price because everybody wants to know the asking price, so visit our real estate listing here. (The virtual tour wasn’t available as of this posting, so check back again soon if you want to see photos of the interior.)

Tomorrow, we roll. First stop: Northern Virginia for a few days, to visit with Air Force, Marine, and Navy friends from prior duty stations. After that, it’s westward ho, with a stop in Chicago on Friday to pick up our younger son for the remainder of our summer travels!

Other posts on this topic:

  1. How it all started
  2. Getting things started
  3. Bye, Lola.
  4. Coping Inappropriately

1 job of our own creation + 1 from Mother Nature = 1 hot day on the roof

Job 1:

It all started when Tim said, “Honey, I’m ordering a new antenna, and it will be the solution to all our internet connectivity problems, and by golly, you will never suffer service interruptions again!”

OK, that’s not what he said. It’s just what I heard, because I didn’t understand a single word of all the techno-jargon he used after “antenna.” Also, he never uses the phrase “by golly.”

New antenna means wires. Wires need a place to go. And there's a void on top of this cabinet, which makes it a perfect place to drill through the roof. I can now say that Tim has drilled through walls in every home we've owned, for the sole purpose of boosting our connectivity.

New antenna means wires.
Wires need a place to go.
And there’s a void on top of this cabinet, which makes it a perfect place to drill through the roof.
I can now say that Tim has drilled through walls in every home we’ve owned, for the sole purpose of boosting our connectivity.

Taping the wires to the roof...

The new antenna is in the foreground. We used aluminum tape to affix the wires to the roof, and you can see the entry point behind him. It’s now all sealed up with two different kinds of caulky stuff to keep moisture out.

And now our router sits right there on the shelf above my cookbooks. Don't worry. He'll find a way to make those wires less obtrusive. Or else.

And now our router sits right there on the shelf above my cookbooks.
Don’t worry. He’ll find a way to make those wires less obtrusive.
Or else.

Job 2:

Mother Nature slammed San Antonio with an intense hail storm late Tuesday night. We’re talking national news-worthy baseball-sized stones, and those babies were loud from inside this here tin can. More than 16,000 damage claims were filed with our insurance company alone.

By the light of Wednesday morning, Tim and I went outside to inspect the BFT & the Toad, and were relieved to find only a small cluster of dimples on the roof of the truck, and a couple of cracks in the skylight above our bathroom. Nothing had shattered in the night but our nerves!

Knowing it’s far better to prevent a leak than to wait for one to surprise us at a more inconvenient time, Tim ordered a new skylight, and we got to work today, since rain is predicted for tomorrow, and we’re hitting the road on Tuesday (more on that next week).

I don’t appear in any of these photos because I was taking them, but I assure you that in between all the clicks, I really was helping (and sweating, and swearing, and wishing one of our kids were here so that it could be Rohrer & Son RV Repair instead of Rohrer & Wife RV Repair).

It's kind of a skylight-within-skylight deal. The interior one just needed a quick cleaning and re-taping. The exterior one was pried off and flipped to the ground below.

It’s kind of a skylight-within-skylight deal. The interior one just needed a quick cleaning and re-taping. The exterior one was pried off, flipped to the ground below, and taken to the nearest dumpster.

Trying to scrape off all the old caulking was a chore. Hair dryer to the rescue again!

Trying to scrape off all the old caulking was a chore. Hair dryer to the rescue — again!

Dry placement to make sure the new skylight is gonna fit...

Dry placement to make sure the new skylight is gonna fit…

Fresh caulking going down...

Fresh caulk going down…

Affixing it with brand new screws...

Affixing it with brand new screws…

And finally, sealing the seams and screws with more caulk. Best part? It's on the roof, so neatness does not count. Which is good, because both of us are pretty lousy at this.

And finally, sealing the seams and screw heads with more caulk. Best part? It’s on the roof, so neatness does not count. Which is good, because neither one of us is all that competent with a caulking gun.

And guess who got to lie in the grass and “supervise” the whole operation. Yyyyup. Good-for-nothin’ fur ball.FullSizeRender 8