Mrs Washalot goes to the beach

Yep, we're off to the beach for two and a bit weeks of fun in the sun. With hats and sunscreen, of course. I'm aiming to do as little washing as possible. So we'll wear our clothes until they're as dirty as can be and I've bought a jumbo box of disposable nappies. Oh the sweet, sweet guilt. It'll be camping standards, or as close as I can get away with seeings as we're staying in my aunts beach house.


The illustration is from Animal Friends, by Jane Werner with pictures by Garth Williams, a Little Golden Book, 1953. G pointed this one out to me, I'd missed it as it's on the title page. It's very sweet I think.

See you in a bit.

Big nite out

I was in two minds whether to take my camera last night. Thinking, it'll be dark and there won't be anything to take pictures of and anyway we'll be too busy drinking beer and listening to music and being out. So as I stepped out of the pizza/pasta place where we'd had a passable but enjoyable meal served by a gentleman who looked tough enough to bash someone for complaining(although I think he was probably very nice), I turned around and there was a laundry picture. Just waiting.  So as G and Shaun organised who was paying for dinner, I explored the Lygon Laundrette.

I have to admit I quite like laundrettes. In theory, anyway. I wouldn't like having to cart my washing there every week, especially not in the volumes that we do. Although I suppose if we didn't have a washing machine at home there is no way that we'd be using cloth nappies.

Laundromats are great when you've been camping for a week or two and have been rained out and everything is wet and dirty and you can use two washing machnes at once. I also quite like the ambience. In a way. The last time I lived somewhere without a washing machine was in a flat in Carlton sometime in the eighties.  I hated carting my washing up and down the stairs and across the road in my nana shopping jeep. Once I got there though, I think I liked the laundrette well enough. I can't remember if I used to stay there while my clothes were washing or if I felt secure leaving my clothes there unattended. If I stayed, no doubt I would have read novels. Which sounds very relaxing to me now, just watching the washing and reading. Although now I remember, the washing did tend to build up.

Instantly dry

It's been hot. It's still hot. This morning I had a play date at a local toddler friendly (ie well fenced) playground. I knew I needed to do a wash but didn't worry about it, having enough on my plate getting out of the house before ten. Too hot.

I put the load on when I returned around lunchtime and as the day melted away, it slipped my mind. When remembered about it, mid afternoon, the washing already had that rank smell of having been in the washing machine too long. It's hot in the laundry and had been festering.

I hung it out anyway and went to take some pictures I'd been thinking about. Not these. These pictures I noticed as I scurried inside to escape the heat. It sure was hot.

Less than half an hour after being hung out, the washing was dryed to a crisp. And smelt of nothing but hot air.

Gay Dads

Gay Dad is a phrase that gets bandied about round here more often than you'd think. Pretty much always followed by the words, "not that there's anything wrong with that ... " Because there isn't and it's absolutely alright for G to channel his Village People fantasies while wearing his tool belt, which for something so blokey actually does look quite gay. As in camp, the two meanings frequently being muddled eventhough we know they are not one and the same.

So today's manly laundry picture comes from the November 2006 issue of Melbourne's Child which I picked up from the Maternal Health Centre just after the new year. Do you know this is the first laundry image that I've noticed in this magazine since I started Mrs Washalot. Given how much we moaned about laundry at mother's group in the early days, I find that quite amusing. Anyway the article accompanying the image is about some of the dificulties facing gay parents and in particular, the non-biological parent. I'm not going to go into all that, just to agree with the writer, who is quite right when she says that families come in all shapes and sizes and what's important is that the child has a loving family. And that that isn't determined by the gender of the parents. Right.

There are several things that really interest me about this image. For example the ordinariness of the Hills Hoist and the grey paling fence, planting this family firmly in middle suburbia. Albeit, one without a garden, but I think that's down to the digitalised style. I'm asking myself why I find this image so weird. Weell, there's the way the blonde father is holding the baby, which although correct seems somewhat precarious and casual. And the washing, where's the washing? A couple of shirts? Even if they're using disposables, any parents of small babies would have more washing than that at a given moment. Surely.

So the image seems to be speaking to me of the domesticity of new parenthood, placing the gay dads in the usual domestic setting, but with a paucity of tasks. So it just looks barren. Which I don't think was the intention of the article. Or is it about alienation? And being spied on. I don't know but it's a bit spooky. 

Getting what you need

Do you think that this man looks happy ironing?  I don't. I think he looks put upon. As well he might, having been asked by his partner "in a calm, specific way" to iron some sheets, please. Not even washing that needs to be ironed, like shirts or hankies. She on the other hand is sitting with her feet up reading the September 2006 Family Circle* and learning that "asking for what you want in a calm, specific way can transform your relationship. It will improve the way you talk to each other, let you both know how you're feeling and will lead to a happier home life. Here Dr Robin Smith,... (Oprah guru etc)... gives us an insight into how to get the best results by communicating with your partner".  Yes, well. We're always up for a results based verbal interchange. Does it for us every time.

Ironing is a task I often enjoy once I get started and sometimes I even do Gerards. When I think of the pleasures of ironing, I think of that ABC ad with the classical music and the serene way the iron glides around the shirt. That's what I want in an ironing experience. I don't really care if G does the ironing or not, it's not a compulsory activity in this house. The other jobs; making the bed and doing the washing and the dishes, feeding and tending the child. These things have to get done and mostly they are. Starting from the most important, which always get done, even when I'm not there. I shouldn't have been so grumpy when I got home from work today and saw the bed still stripped. Even if the sheets had been washed.

Oh I know, this piece of advice (from the same article about getting what you need by asking) is for me:
"General: I need you to be considerate of my feelings.
Specific: I would feel respected if you did not joke that I have PMS when I am upset."
Which he doesn't. And if if he did, such a request would probably be useless. Asking for respect seems a bit I don't know, silly? I would have thought that respect was a given and that if you have to ask to have your feelings respected, calmly and specifically even, well I don't know it just seems strange. In the past, I've had conversations with other women where we lament that we tell our partners what we need, what we want and it has absolutely no effect. And we say, "But if he loved me, he'd give me what I asked for... I mean I told him what I need...." It just doesn't work like that (not here anyway) and it's taken me a long time to be OK  with that. It doesn't mean that the love and respect isn't there. Just that negotiation between us sometimes involves shouting or sarcasm, and yet is still more subtle and layered than asking and receiving.

On another note, it never occurs to either of us that there may be a reason that I am a screaming harridan every 28 days. Occasionally, I'm still a bit on edge several days later. Sheesh, you'd think after 30 odd years I'd have worked that one out. Although I don't like leaving beds unmade all day in any circumstance. I need to feel that the bed is made and ready for me to fall into, should the need arise. No sheet ironing necessary. Just made up.

*Now you know what total trash I read. Not even from the oppy. I buy it from the supermarket, new. Each month I'm dissapointed. But I never saw January's issue. Could it have been discontinued? Yep, I just checked. Gone. Now I feel all nostalgic...