(I am a contributing author for Positive Tribe Magazine – a FREE monthly online publication which I encourage you to sign up for right here! This article is in the October 2018 magazine)
This morning I woke up to cold, drizzly rain falling for the 4th day in a row. Normally, I would love rainy days like this because rain doesn’t come often enough in South Florida for my beautiful orchids and there is nothing better than a rainy day for snuggling under a warm blanket, reading a good book, and time spent on projects at home.
However, I’m visiting Glen Cove, Long Island, NY and we’re here to play golf. I was hoping for sunny Fall days with beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves on the giant maple and oak trees, but instead we haven’t seen blue skies since leaving Florida and the only colorful leaves I’ve seen are stuck to the bottom of my muddy golf shoes.
Squish, squish, squish sounds fun when my grandchildren jump around in puddles, but it doesn’t sound fun and it feels even worse when water is dripping off the bill of my visor, my socks are soaked through and I’m “frozen” to the bone. Okay, so maybe I’m a little wimp but it is 62 degrees and the rain is constant – on and off- all day and my golf game is pitiful. I put on my game face for my hubby and friends and I hit the ball and then stand under an oak tree to escape the fast approaching drops. A game that would normally take us 4 hours is now approaching 6 hours and this isn’t working for me! What’s a girl to do?
My golfing friends would say “What’s a little rain? Have fun!”
My non-golfing friends would say “Are you kidding? Go shopping and then out to lunch in Southampton!”
I compromised when I saw the quote “If something in your life isn’t working, try something new.” I put away my golf clubs and now I’m sitting in the quaint little Forest Ave Grill eating an egg and cheese sandwich with fruit while I wait for my clothes to wash in the Island Express, the local laundromat.
Something NEW? Hmmm…I haven’t been in a laundromat for more than 40 years. I felt like a dummy looking at the machines…16 stacked up against the walls on one side of the 15-foot-wide storefront and 10 along the other. Funny how they all looked alike! Which ones are the washers, and which were the dryers?
Thank goodness for the woman working there who I’m sure was laughing to herself as she watched me fumble around. How do you open the washing machine doors? Where are the instructions? Do you load the clothes before putting in the soap? Where IS the detergent? Doing your laundry shouldn’t be so difficult!!
Funny, up until this point, I would have considered myself somewhat of a laundry expert given my 30-plus years of marriage with 4 children and 4 grandchildren but right now I was a fish out of water!
I also should have stopped at the IGA, the local supermarket, to pick up some Tide before coming here but I didn’t. I looked all around and there weren’t any mini soap dispensers hanging on the wall. I would have expected to see a variety of small soap boxes, but I didn’t. Then I saw some large yellow detergent containers near the woman’s working space.
“Could I borrow a little detergent” I asked, and she smiled and walked to the closet and brought out 2 individual load sized bottles of Tide and another brand that I didn’t recognize.
“Which do you want?” she asked. I pointed to the Tide. “That will be $2.50”. I was tempted to give her the money in quarters because I had just gotten $10.00 in quarters, so I could pay for the wash and each washing machine cost $2.25 and I wasn’t sure how much the dryers would be, so not wanting to run out of quarters I gave her a $5 bill. She gave me more quarters in return!! Looks like I’ll have plenty of coins for our return trip down the New Jersey Turnpike.
Standing in front of the washing machines, I realized that they weren’t the same as mine at home, and I had no clue how they worked. I’m pretty resourceful but fortunately, there were step by step instructions on one of the machine doors.
- Open Door. Success! (Push red button while turning handle…did I do that?)
- Load Articles. Success!
- Close Door. Ha-ha, I think I have this one. (Push door closed and turn handle until horizontal…pretty explicit, don’t you think?)
- Select Wash Cycle. (Wash temperature is automatically selected. Thank goodness SOMETHING is automatically selected – now, which cycle do I want?)
Clothes in, door shut, soap loaded. Oops, haven’t gotten to that step yet. …where does the detergent go and how much should I put in?
- Using Powder Suppliers (must be old school because all we had was liquid!)
At start of cycle:
Add to container 1: Soap
Add to container 2: Soap and, if needed, Bleach.
Add to container 3: Softener
Oh wow, now all I had to do is find “container 1“which was hidden nicely on top of the machine! I unscrewed the detergent bottle and poured half in the dispenser on top of each washer. That should be enough, right? Too bad I didn’t see the “6 load capability” written on the bottom of the bottle BEFORE I poured it. Oh well, what’s a little extra soap!
I didn’t want to appear completely clueless as Rosa looked on. Yes, the woman had a name! Later, when I went in to move the wet clothes into the dryers, another client came in and greeted the woman and called her by name. “Good morning Rosa. How are you today?” “I have the same, as usual, and I’ll be back this evening.”
Wow, what a great idea! It’s called “Drop Off Service” where you walk into the laundromat and drop off your bags of laundry and have them washed, dried, folded and then you pay by the pound! How easy and I find out that’s what my hubby used to do when he was in college. But remember, I WAS trying something NEW and it was better than playing golf in the rain!
Now that the laundry was in progress, I moved over to the Forest Ave Grill for a light breakfast.
We stumbled upon the grill a few days ago when we were driving around Glen Cove doing a surveillance run of the golf courses that we were going to play this week. We had missed breakfast at the hotel, so when in Glen Cove, do what Glen Covers do, right? Find a little local eatery.
I’ve heard that little diners or grills usually have the best food. BINGO, this was a success. The menu was handwritten on chalk boards with lovely designs and the shelves were meticulously stacked with a variety of yummy goodies, from muffins to nuts.
The young woman running the register was personable and genuinely happy to see us! Even though the posted sign read “Breakfast ends at 11:00 AM”, and it was close to 11:30 AM, we were the only ones there and we had her full attention and the choice of anything on the menu. The French Toast with crunchy almonds was delicious and hits the spot. Maybe I should submit this as an official recommendation!
Today, however, my goal was to try something new and so far, I was enjoying my “new” activities – despite their mundane status at home. Instead of French Toast, which I love, I ordered one egg on a Kaiser roll with cheese and a diet coke. The healthy part of the meal was the precisely cut cantaloupe melon and the canned Mandarin oranges! Breakfast was simple and tasty, but the most fun part of the experience was when an older gentleman walked in and said “Hey, great to see you again! What are you writing today? You’re on your 6th book now, aren’t you?” He went on as if he had known me for years and I responded in kind.
Do as the Glen Covers do and since it is a small town just like the one I grew up in (Woodstock, Vermont) I remembered speaking to “strangers” was the neighborly thing to do. When he asked about the “other 5 books” I had written I confessed that I had only written one, but I was writing monthly for Positive Tribes Magazine! He asked the subject, I told him, and he got a far-away look in his eyes and then said “Yes, I’ve started new things throughout my life and each one brought something positive to my 89 years.”
My new friend was wonderful. He described himself as a widower of 4 years and all of the “available ladies” in the area had “been around the bend many times” so he only enjoyed the company of one, in addition to his chocolate lab puppy!!
”George” was retired from the Marine Corps and his license plate showed it,” SgtMajor.” He had 4 master’s degrees in different areas and his careers had him hobnobbing with Generals, Admirals, and senior businessmen all around the Washington, DC/Annapolis, MD areas. His days were now spent doing pro bono work as a paralegal in a local attorney’s office.
We had so much in common…our Military service, our legal work, our “widowhood” and we even had a lengthy discussion about grandkids who we didn’t get to see enough. He was known to buy ice cream for his friends’ grandkids if he saw them out for dinner. “Pick whatever you want…cost doesn’t matter” and his joy came from their quiet “Thank You” and their drippy ice cream smiles. He warned my heart when he made the lovely comment about how I didn’t look “old enough” to be a grandma and now I looked at him as my new “dad away from home.”
Thank goodness playing golf in the rain wasn’t working for me today because by doing something NEW and different I experienced a brief encounter with a marvelous “hero” and I loved every minute of it.
If you find yourself thinking that the way you’re living isn’t working for you and you are annoyed by your daily grind, then try something new. You never know when doing laundry at the local laundromat might turn your “mundane” into magnificent. Enjoy the adventure!