Random Thoughts on Laundry, Gratitude and Hurricane Sandy

I wasn’t going to write today but then I got to thinking about all of you East Coast friends watching the storm roll in, and, well, I just wanted to say “hi” for a minute and stand with you.

Here’s the thing about today and time: I might have joked about laundry in the past — about taking a break at the base camp of Mt. Laundry and my hope to summit before nightfall — but I’m currently on a many-days-long trek through the Himalayas of Laundry, and there’s no end in sight, much less time to write. (Psst. Send help.)

See, we spent the weekend thinking we might have scabies. For those of you who haven’t been formally introduced, scabies are parasitic mites that burrow under human skin and then hunker down and live there causing all sorts of infectious mayhem and allergic havoc. Sort of like a special, freaky event for the whole family just in time for Halloween.

Turns out, we don’t have scabies — woohoo! — and I might have to re-evaluate my late-night relationship with WebMD. Unfortunately, bug-bite panic ensued anyway (we don’t have scabies, but we could have, says my brain), and the only way to alleviate my emotional trauma it is to do all the extra laundry I’ve been avoiding for nigh on centuries.

So. I’m in the process of washing every pillow, every mattress cover, every sheet, every duvet, every blanket, every pillowcase, every stuffed animal and every throw pillow from our beds. Because over-reacting is one of my specialties. Also, six beds is a LOT of beds, friends. And the biggest time commitment of all is the grumbling and groaning I’m doing about it.

Which stops now.

Because really, Beth? Really really? You have access to medical care to treat your mildly irritated skin. You have five healthy children who each have a bed. You have a washer and a dryer to indulge your wash-everything obsession. And you have shelter, heat, food, running water and electricity on the day Hurricane Sandy is making crazy happen through the Atlantic and on the East Coast.

How about replacing the grumbling with gratitude, lady? Yes? Yes.

OK, then. I am so glad we had this chat.

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In other news related to storms, my mama’s name is Sandy. My mom, as everyone will tell you, is all sugar with a side of honey. She’s the nicest, kindest, most gentle lady on the planet with maybe a tiny, secret side of sass to spice her up.

I take after my father. 😉

When I was in high school, my mama’s friends were bewildered that we ever squabbled. How? they thought. How could you ever argue with your sweet mom? they asked. Well, I had to work diligently at it — nose to the grind-down-my-mama stone — but I managed. And my mama endured and loved me through it ’cause that’s what mamas do.

You can see, then, why the idea of a Hurricane Sandy — or Frankenstorm Sandy — seems just completely incongruous to us. We’re watching the storm with stunned awe and disbelief, mostly because of its magnitude and the toll it’s already taken in Haiti and elsewhere … and partly because it doesn’t mesh with the Sandy we know and love.

Weird and weird.

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For those of you who are — or are potentially — affected by the storm, our family sends love and prayers your way. We hope you’re safe. We hope you’re dry. We hope you’re warm. We hope you don’t have scabies… by which I mean we hope, at the end of all of this, that whatever bad thing you thought might happen didn’t actually happen, and that, in fact, you’ll have much for which to be grateful.

Love to you and yours,
Beth

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P.S. If you’re on the East Coast waiting out the storm, please do leave a comment here or on Facebook and let us know where you are and how you’re doing. And if you’re elsewhere, please use this space to let our East Coast friends know they’re in our thoughts. Thanks, friends.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
18 comments
  1. Here on the Gulf Coast of Texas, the weather is beautiful. It has finally cooled off with highs in the mid to low 70s. I know the fear and anticipation felt as a big storm comes in. It’s always HOT here when it does, I can’t imagine it being cold for one. I send prayers out to all my brothers and sisters on the East Coast. Praying God keeps you, protects you and blesses you! This too shall pass…

    1. Thank you, Shirley. What a lovely statement of support and understanding for our friends in the east. xo

  2. I’m from Germany, so not affected at all by Sandy, but my sister is living in Boston, and I watch the news hoping for her and everybody else that Sandy won’t take more lives than she sadly already has… Stay safe, everybody!

    1. I hope your sister’s well, Fine. Thanks for checking in. I agree wholeheartedly… stay safe, all!

  3. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers! Owego, NY (southern tier) is still ahead of the storm. We are grateful that the worst we can expect here is downed trees and power lines and prolonged power outages. But, by golly, we are as ready as we can be! Thanks to the help of my family, Mt. Laundry has been conquered so that no one ends up without undies or clean sheets if the power stays off for days. We are hunkering down with all our stock pots full of drinking water, waiting to see what will happen, and persistently praying for those who may truly experience losses because of this storm.

    1. Thanks for checking in, Corrie! Praying that all goes according to plan tonight. And congrats on summiting Mt. Laundry! I’m not even close, but I’ll take your story as inspiration. 🙂

    1. I love this, Heather! Thanks for writing about your family’s experience. You always write with truth, humor & grace. xo

  4. Thank you so much for creating a space for solidarity! I have to say that we’ve survived many damaging storms in Maine and having one when it’s not zero degrees is quite fabulous. We’ve hunkered down with a candlelight dinner, poker, and Lord of the Rings marathon all crowded around our laptop. I’ve brought my youngest son into our room for a sleepover because I just don’t want him to blow away or be scared by the loud windy noises. So, I pretty much love that too. So much to be grateful for even as we anticipate damage.
    You are so thoughtful and we like your mom waaaaay better than this Sandy.

  5. Here in suburban DC we are just starting to get the worst of it.(at 6pm). The wind is howling, its been raining since we got up, and its like waiting for the other shoe to drop. So far we have power, but I feel it is tempting the fates to start a load of laundry. We have a gas stove, so if the power goes out I can still make easy least cinnamon rolls! (But, sadly, no laundry!)

    1. HA! Brenda, your priorities are excellent. Cinnamon rolls over laundry – approved!

      Here’s hoping for a good night for you and yours. xo

  6. As a fellow parent of 5, I am right there climbing Mt. Laundry with you. As an east coaster, I feel like I am being chased up that mountain, and Sandy is quickly gaining on me. I had planned to spend my weekend in a mad rush washing clothes, planning to fold & stow when the power went out. Unfortunately, our well decided to die, so instead I spent the weekend with no water. No water, no toilets, no sinks, 5 kids. I’m sure you can imagine 🙂 so now I hurriedly wash, dry, cook as the power flickers, hoping to finish before it goes out completely. I am a few minutes north of Philadelphia, Pa, and so far am fairing much better than some of the photos I’ve seen coming out of NJ, so while it’s frustrating, I have every reason to be thankful for what I still have.

    1. Andrea, your new name shall be Perspective. Thank you for bringing me some along with your grateful attitude. Sending you lots of love, mama, and praying that the memories you all make during this storm are good ones!

  7. We’re outside of Boston. Most things are closed, and we’re hunkered down with our gallons of water, battery/ crank powered radio, etc. We’re hoping to see no more than a little rain and strong winds. So far the worst part has been the toddler variety cabin fever. Thank you for thinking of us.

    Best of luck with the laundry and congratulations on not having scabies!

    1. Happy hunkering, Victoria! Sending extra sanity to you to cope with toddler cabin fever.

  8. Hi, I’m in Charleston, WV. We are very lucky in that the only affect we have seen is some winds and rain thus far. There is a slight possibility to lose electric in areas as the wind picks up, but for the most part we are just watching like you and your family Beth. I am praying diligently for those in the line of the storm, I hope they are all safe and sound, and at the end of this they come out unscathed. You are all in my prayers, and the prayers of many others I am sure.

    1. Here’s hoping you stick with just some wind and rain, Heather! Thanks for checking in and sending prayers to others. xo

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