Thursday, July 03, 2008

Even Laundry can be an Adventure

Anyone who has traveled with (or lived with) children knows that they go through clothing quickly. No matter how well you have packed your suitcase, you will soon run out of clean clothing for the smallest members of your entourage. Days filled with messy play, food spills, toilet accidents, and swimming necessitate several changes of clothing for each person.

The resort has a laundry service, but it charges by the item – to clean a shirt costs $8, a pair of underwear $3.50. A dress (if I had one) would cost $14 dollars. I figured that at these rates, my children go through $144.50 in laundry daily*.

Fortunately the hotel offers free car service into town, enabling us to bring a suitcase packed with grimy garments to the local coin-op laundromat. And so the adventure began.

My suburbanite children were in awe of the spinning, whirring, wooshing, foaming machines. The jangling change machines, the magical detergent vending machines and the squeaky-wheeled carts were all part of the magic. And dropping change into the timered dryers? -- The treat of a lifetime. Only for small children is laundry a treasured vacation memory.

Gregarious Agent 002 chatted up the other customers, oblivious that not a single one spoke English natively. He managed to make friends too -- sharing carrot sticks and peanut butter dip made a very shy boy open up to him. Agent 004 hid behind my leg whenever a stranger looked at her, but one elderly woman engaged her in a vicious game of peekaboo that nearly ripped the pants off of my waist.

With all of this fun I lost track of time. As the sole person left on the planet without a cell phone, I had set an appointed time to meet the hotel car, which we missed by a quarter of an hour.

We ambled around town until we found a pay phone outside of the public library. The phone was out of service, but I noticed that the contractors across the street were cleaning up for lunch. Lugging the children and the bag of laundry across the street, I offered them the fifty cents that the pay phone would have cost if I could use a cell phone. A stone mason graciously allowed me to place a call on his phone.

The hotel car arrived moments later, transporting us out of our laundry adventure. Which leaves us with the question -- what shall we do after nap???????


Julie said...

you are one brave woman to 1) go to a laudry mat 2)take children with you! 3) live w.o a cell phone

I stand in awe of you.

Jenny said...

I don't think ever stayed at a resort as nice as the one you did- their prices to wash laundry are astronomical! I can absolutely see how fascinating the laundromat would be to children who'd never seen one before- what an adventure!