Moody Blues,  the laundry

Royal Bad Day

I’m not even going to give this post a picture. It doesn’t deserve one. I hate it when I am negative and the writing below is negative. If you’ve come here for something fun and cheeful, you better skip it and check back tomorrow.

Remember how I said life getting royally screwed up makes for good blog posts? No, it doesn’t. It makes for whiney pissed off bitchy posts. It’s fifty-two minutes into Friday, as I type this in bed in the dark, and I’m still all choked up from crying so much on Thursday. There is nothing worse than crying when you are already sick and snotty from a stupid cold. My head feels like I’ve had a cement shoved up my sinuses.

It started with the laundry. Don’t all bad days start with doing laundry? I remember when I was twelve or so I hated hated hated Wednesdays because that was piano lesson day and I never ever practiced. All day long I’d dread the upcoming piano lesson because I knew my teacher would scold me and make me feel like crap about not using my potential. Even though I paid for my own lessons by cleaning my teacher’s house (I was an over achiever caught in an under achiever’s body) I still never managed to practice on a daily basis. I was decent on piano but only because I can somewhat play by ear. Not because I ever put an ounce of effort into it.

I hate laundry day almost as much as I used to hate piano lesson day.

I loaded up my one hundred and two bags of laundry into the bugaboo, struggled with them downstairs, thinking they should do a show on me as an Orange County Housewife, made it across the street that is under construction and causing all the jack hammering that we’ve been listening to for the last two weeks and when I got to the door of the laundromat what was I greeted with…?

Two fat overweight men dressed in white coveralls, hauling washing machines out the door on dollies. WTF? “The laundromat is closed.” says a third guy who’s sitting on a washing machine inside while his buddies labor away. He’s obviously finding it humorous that I’m pushing my stroller loaded up to the gills with laundry and I have a baby strapped onto my chest. He’s probably been turning away people at the door all day. His giant beer belly is busting at the seams of his zipper up the front coveralls. He’s probably a great jolly Santa type on Christmas but today he is my own personal grim reaper.

You have to be kidding me! I think. But sure enough there’s an orange cone with a hand scrawled sign taped to it that I walked right past. “Closed” it says clearly in black Sharpie ink. It figures. On a street lined with expensive couture interior designer boutiques and antique stores, I’m surprised a coin operated laundromat can stay in business. It does cost more to do your laundry here but it was definitely a low budget establishment compared to it’s neighbors. So it’s probably going to turn into another over crowded interior design store selling faux painted Tuscan village furniture. I’m so sick of Orange County’s obsession with Tuscany. We’re in California! California is beautiful! Let’s celebrate our own natural beauty for once!

You can tell I’m on the war path. I’m ranting about the stupidest things and totally off topic.

So I turn back home with my tail between my legs and rehearse how I’m going to deliver the news to Toby. At that time I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But that was because the baby was still asleep and I hadn’t interrupted Toby from his work on a very stressful day yet. Things get worse.

“What’s the worst thing that could happen to us right now?” I ask him as I peel off layers of clothing because I’m sweating from all the effort it took me to go back and forth across the street with my boat load of laundry.

“What happened?!!” he asks alarmed. “Did the bugaboo get stolen? Are you okay? is the baby okay”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Nothing like that.”

I proceed to exasperate about the laundromat closing and the asshole worker guys who laughed at me and Toby’s eyes start to glaze over. He’s obviously annoyed that I am losing my marbles over the laundry. The laundry! I know in his head this is a manageable problem but in mine, it is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I cannot go on like this. I have no clean underwear! Baby Bug has pooped up her last pair of pajamas and it’s not like I don’t have forty-seven sets already. I don’t even have any more sheets for her bassinet! This is not something that I can solve by just buying more clothes. I have clothes coming out my ears. Dirty poopy clothes.

Exhausted I go back to my room. Words fail me, like they often do when Toby and I argue. I’m a feisty girl and I have met my match in him. I think I always resented that my mom won the arguments in our family so I had to go out and marry the most stubborn willful man on the planet to make sure I didn’t turn into my mom who obviously wore the pants.

The jackhammers wear at me like yellow jackets buzzing around the punch bowl at a summer wedding. I can’t think straight. I’m hot and sweating and Baby Bug can sense things are not right and she has started fussing. Nothing seems to please her except walking around my room with her perched on my shoulder. My arms feel like they are going to break and fall off. I’m crying and my nose is running. I can never find a kleenex and my floor is littered with the contents of my purse that I’ve dumped out in search of one. I am at my wits end. I call up a friend and I can’t even talk because I’m crying too much. All she hears on her end is sputters and snorts. She finally figures out what is wrong and says she’ll be right over to hold the baby. I have wonderful friends.

While I’m waiting for my friend to rescue me, I decide to make a phone call I’ve been putting off since Baby Bug was born. I have to call our insurance agent. I found out last week that Baby Bug is not included on our insurance policy anymore. We had to pay for those scary shots with cash. Three hundred big ones. I make the call and walk around my room holding my increasingly fussing baby. My insurance agent informs me that I’ve passed my thirty day deadline to get Baby Bug on our policy and it’s all my fault because I failed to make a phone call. I didn’t call because I thought I had to read all the booklets and pamphlets that they’ve been sending me in the mail. The last thing I have time for lately is reading legalese insurance crap. Now we can’t add her to my policy and I’ve missed the April deadline to get her on her own. We’ll have to apply for a new policy and she won’t be covered until May.

Baby Bug cannot get sick and go to the hospital between now and May. I don’t think she will but this is just adding to my stress. Now I feel even worse because it is all my fault. I’ve fallen down on the job. This is just another one of those things that regular people think of but I don’t because I’m too busy being “creative” and I don’t pay attention to important details. I’m the one in charge of keeping bills and papers organized in our family because Toby is even worse at these things than I am. But I’m terrible at it. Two artists should never get married. There should always be one organized anal person in a marriage to carry the other crazy spontaneous one. Somebody has to keep things running. Did I mention all my bills were paid late this last month and I’ve been getting threatening letters? Bygones. They’re paid now, it’s just a paperwork mess.

My friend rescues me but now she wants to know when the last time Baby Bug was fed. When did she last go down for her nap? I don’t know these things. I don’t ever keep a schedule. I feed her when she cries. She always falls asleep in the sling. I don’t keep track of when and how long she sleeps during the day. I am a good mother because Baby Bug has constant attention from me all day but I am a bad mother because I am not very organized. Life would be so much easier if I would just jot down a note once in a while. I don’t even keep lists any more. They seemed pointless after a while when a whole week passed by and I couldn’t cross a single thing off.

I melt some breast milk from the freezer and my friend attempts to give Baby Bug a bottle while I try and cool off mentally and physically. Except here is something else I’ve failed at. I stopped pumping and giving Baby Bug a bottle every day for the last two weeks because I got busy and overwhelmed and maybe even a little bit lazy. The breast feeding was going so well. Bottles are messy and I always had a million other things to do while she was napping instead of sitting down and hooking up to the boob honker machine. Because I went two weeks without feeding her a bottle, now she doesn’t like bottles. Here I was so afraid she’d get addicted to bottles and not want the boob but in fact the opposite has happened. She sputters and cries when milk comes out of the man-maid nipple. It surprises her and she doesn’t like it. I have a new problem on my hands now. I have to retrain Baby Bug. Not something easily done.

It does help me some just to sit and talk to my friend even though she can’t really take care of Baby Bug like she was hoping. Just getting somebody else’s input beside my crazy husband’s makes me feel a little bit more human. We discuss the various laundry solutions and decide a washing machine hooked up to the outside hose is the best alternative. I can always hang dry my clothes.

I’m about to call up my mom and tell her that yes, I would like that old rusty washing machine that’s sitting outside on her lawn when Toby informs me that we can’t hookup a washing machine to our outside hose because there is no place for it to drain to. You can’t just drain your soapy gray water onto the dirt or down the gutter. News to me. I am thwarted again.

When my friend leaves, I decide to take a walk. Some fresh air always makes me feel better. It does seem to make my nose stop running anyway, which improves my mood about a thousand percent. I just have no patience for my stuffed up nose. It irritates the beep out of me. While I’m on my walk another friend drives by and honks. She pulls over and we decide to go on the rest of my walk together. Again, I have wonderful friends. We end up walking so much I now have blisters on my feet.

When I get home I’m cheered up. We will get through this somehow. But then the arguing with Toby starts again and Baby Bug is stressed out. I feel so bad for arguing in front of her. I end up slamming my door and nursing her to sleep. I am thankful for the hormones that are released when you nurse. They calm me when I feel like my whole world is falling apart. I go over every possible flight or fight plan in my head. Can I move home and live at my mom’s until Toby and I figure out this laundry situation? Should Toby and I go to counseling? What to do.. what to do…

Finally Toby and I make up. We always do. But here I am awake at two in the morning typing because I still haven’t figured out what I am going to do. Toby says I can borrow his car tomorrow and go to a laundromat across town. I guess that is what I will do but I am not looking forward to it. It’s just a temporary solution and I hate temporary solutions.

I know everybody says I should buy a roll around mini washing and drying unit that hooks up to my kitchen sink. Believe me, I’ve thought about it. I really have. It’s just not an option right now. I think having more stuff in my house that doesn’t have a place to go, would just stress me out even more. If that’s even possible.


  • BeachMama

    Oh my, sounds like you had a stressful day for sure. I personally, don’t know how you do it, without laundry facilities. And I can totally understand not wanting to add more to your apartment, but perhaps this is one exception you might want to consider, that or move? :) Moving is probobly not the answer either, but it is a thought. I do hope that today goes better for you, I will offer you to come on over and do your laundry here, but that of course would be a three or four day road trip (more if you have to stop lots for Baby Bug) or an expensive flight. I will promise fresh baking and a comfy place to sleep!

  • Kyla's Mama

    Hang in there! Try to realize this is going to seem trivial to you some time from now when you think back and look at this blog. It will get resolved and worrying about it will do nothing. Your temporary problem of not having clean clothes to wear for BabyBUg or you has been resolved – you’re taking Toby’s car. Long term solution will come soon too. Aren’t you getting a new car soon anyway? Trust me, it’s MUCH easier to do laundry when you have a car. You will probably be glad the laundry mat closed and forced you to look into other options. Getting the loaded Buggaboo to the laundrymat accross the busy street with you baby doesn’t sound like a very good laundry solution. Gettting it all in a car will be more convenient for our, you’ll see… And you will probably find a cheaper place as well.

  • DeeJay

    Maybe a visit with your mom while you do laundry will help. My parents were wonderful about letting me borrow their machines when money was tight. And the kids loved it at her house too.

  • andrea from the fishbowl

    Oh honey. What a crappy day. I can’t imagine being without laundry facilities. Babies (and later, toddlers & preschoolers) go through so many clothes. I hate to say this, but you really need to find a good solution because this isn’t just going to go away.

    In the meantime, do you have a friend nearby with a washer and dryer you can use?

  • jo's mom

    come on home and use the machines. your bro does and i miss seeing you and baby bug. i will even come in and get you so you are in a safe car i will be half way there this morn. have to pick up your dad

  • laura

    If I lived in your town, I would have just picked up all your laundry, taken it home, and done it for you. I can’t do that, but I’m going to send those (((done laundry))) vibes to you, anyway. I know you’ll figure out a solution, and in the meantime, I’m thinking of ya.

  • lauren

    i remember those early days .. dirty laundry everywhere, all crusty with dried milk, baby poop, snot and tears.. like everyone is telling you it will get better.

    i wish i lived closer. i’d do your laundry for you, of course it would take forever because i’d be squealing at the cuteness of all the tiny baby clothes, but they’d be clean.

    just like your readers are saying .. it will get better. we all promise.

  • Junie

    Hey! You can come to my house to do your laundry on the weekend. I know it is really hard to not have washing machine when you have a little baby. I will give you a call! Everyone is right! It will get easier just hanging there…

  • kat

    aww hon… i’m so sorry you had such a rotten day & i send oodles of hugs your way. my own little bug is nearly 6 now and those rough days still rear their ugly heads from time to time; only now, as she has gotten bigger and better, so too with the even more complex aggravations! :) i’ve been a fan of your site for some time and i just wanted to thank you for sharing with us today, cuz i know its hard when you feel just at your wits end and all those well meant inspiring words of wisdom and comfort don’t feel like they make a pile of beans. things do have a way of working themselves out, thats true. and it starts with one step at a time. just a few short years ago, i was in your spot as well. laundry was the dreaded chore and unfortunately, inevitable. i swear, it still feels like christmas every time i do a load in my own machine now! :) but those little portable machines are a godsend too….it may take up abit of space but would be soooo worth it to avoid the added stress for ya. here’s an example: lakeside chin up, sweetie.

  • beck

    Ugh. So sorry about your day.
    You might check out It’s not exactly what I need, but if you browse through and check some of the ideas out it might make you feel more sane about oragnization. That’s one thing they’re very good at.

  • Ande

    I am so sorry about the day from you know where. It is such a blessing to have friends that can come over and help! If I were closer, I’d volunteer to launder or jostle the baby. Sorry! =( I just don’t think sending your laundry to Texas and back is a great solution. LOL. I’m sure you & Toby will figure something out soon.

  • Laura

    Hang in there! You and Baby Bug and the laundry will all be fine – give yourself some time to adjust. The last two months have been a huge whirlwind. Just try a few deep breaths and remember, friends help friends hide bodies. :)

  • Dollymama

    So sorry your day was so bad! Everything can be so overwhelming when adjusting to a new baby. I have always struggled to keep up on the bills for a few months post partum. It’s tough.

    It sounds like you have some good offers here for laundry help with some friends. Maybe you could keep all your bills, some envelopes, checkbook, stamps together in a folder and take to your friend’s house when you do the laundry. The friend could help with the baby and you could do the bills while the laundry goes.

    Maybe you don’t want advice, just consolation. Here’s a little of both. Hang in there. :)

  • Kristin

    Yikes. That hurt me to read, the poopy diapers and the insurance and gah! Thank god for girlfriends and the Internets, though.

    Thinking of you.

  • Mysh

    Oy Vey! I remember first time motherhood and how every situation felt like a pot of water, boiling over making a huge mess. I think we all know that in the end, there are better times ahead which will make you look back on this and hopefully laugh!

    I didn’t see a suggestion for laundry service so I Googled laundry service for Orange County and found this site: They offer ALL types of laundry service (not just dry cleaning) and they pick up and deliver! It might not be the answer, but I felt it was worth a try! :O)

    Best wishes for you and Toby and Baby Bug. Hang in there!

  • danielle

    I just started using a “wash-n-fold” place since I am living in an apartment temporarily…it is the greatest! I don’t mind paying them $1 per pound so I don’t have to schlep down 4 flights of stairs just to realize I am a quarter short….you might want to look into it where you live. Hang in there!!!

  • Meredith

    What an overwhelming day for anyone, let alone a new mom! Call your local health department–they usually provide all the routine immunizations for children at no or low cost.

  • Amanda Brown

    Even though your day was so royally terrible, you did a great job of handling the challenges. You’re a swell mama. Hope today was a million times better!

  • Clownfish

    What a bummer of a day and those jokers at the laundry were inconsiderate idiots. It never ceases to amaze me how inconsiderate people can be. How about an, “I’m really sorry but this facility is now closed”? Even if they’re not sorry, they can see your situation as clear as day.

    Well, you know I would let you use my machines if they were here. We all know that you’ll get through this. It’s just that the “getting through” part sucks sometimes.

    BTW – I may not have mentioned it but your lemonade was perfect!

  • motherbumper

    I really feel for you Secret Agent Josephine. I too am a slave to the laundrymat and my little bug is just getting over her first cold (Bumper is 24 weeks today). I don’t know if this will make you feel any better but I look forward to your posts each day and they make my day a lot easier, knowing someone is out there experiencing the same things as me. BTW you are a wickedly talented artist and you have a beautiful baby which means both these gifts must reflect you. I’ll post again when I get my site up and running – it’s hard to build with one hand.

  • margalit

    That sounds so incredibly stressful. Is there any way your friends could take you and Bug to the laundry once a week. Maybe drop you off and pick you up later on? Or can you take a taxi to the laundymat. It seems unfair that Toby works at home and his truck just sits there not being used, and yet you can’t use it to do the laundry.

    I think this is a problem that isn’t going to be solved easily. My guess is, you’re going to have to move someplace with a landry hookup. The machines aren’t the issue, people give them away all the time on Craigslist, but the hookups are. Is moving a possibility or just out of the question?

  • stavroula


    I’ve been visiting your site daily for a few months now – I feel so lucky to have stumbled onto it as I’m waiting to meet my own baby girl (hopefully in the next week or so now…). I hope that it helps to hear, even after such a crappy day, that even though you might be feeling like you’ve messed some things up or aren’t some super-organized mother, that people who read your posts think that you are an awesome mother (and artist, and, I’m certain: PERSON). You just maybe can’t see how capable you’ve been, and how much you are doing well day after day. My goodness: I (and pretty much everyone I know) does stuff like forget to mail insurance forms on time or let laundry pile up. If it all hits on a single day I basically just want to spend the afternoon on the couch feeling sorry for myself. Good for you, calling a friend and letting others who care about you chip in to help you through. All I can say is that I hope that you get a big influx of encouraging words, hugs, and some practical help in the next couple of days, to remind you that you are great and not alone.

  • beck

    What I meant was they aren’t targeting people exactly like me, but I still needed tools and tips they have over at…. My comment kinda sounded like I thought I was perfect or something.
    Not hardly.

  • Becky Z

    Hi Brenda,

    I’m so sorry that you had a bad day.
    Today(Saturday) I woke up to find out that our water was turned off. Ugh!
    Bummer! Life sucks sometimes but it does get better.

  • ivory


    Oh hun – it breaks my heart that you feel like youa re somehow doing something wrong – If sounds like you are doing everything right to me! The fact that Bug is not on a schedule, that you aren’t always put together, that you are missing the outside world is normal. take it from me – Ella is 3 months old and i am just not coming out of the fog. In older societies, women were not even allowed to leave the house for 3 months, and they had women around them at all times to help, and this time was a sacred time that you spent getting to know your bug, not organizing and planning and being a superwoman. Give yourself a pat on the back, and some breathing room. i know how much pressure there is to do everything perfect, but it sounds like you are doing a great job to me.

    And if you feel like knowing her schedule would be helpful, we have started using the, since i am nerotic and like clocking buttons. :P

    have a good visit with your mom. *hugs*

  • Rae

    It is so huge to have a little baby and adjust to taking care of someone 24/7 (and it really is 24/7) in the beginning, and then be trying to do so many other things. Just say to yourself every once in a while, “You Poor Girl.” Especially if your husband is having a hard time saying it. The worst is the feeling that you are failing, like with your insurance… I know that feeling, always behind on something. Don’t feel like a missed phone call defines you, that’s for sure.

  • Aunt Jaynette

    Run over to Target and get a drying rack. Set it up in the shower and hand wash enough to stay ahead. I know it is some work, but has to be better than the day you had. Our grandmothers had it a lot worse than this. As a matter of fact so did my mom. Six kids in an 18 foot trailor for the whole summer staying in the forest while my dad worked paving roads. Great fun as a kid, not so for Mom.
    Definedly do an extra load at your moms. The aren’t too many things better than coming back with a suitcase full of CLEAN clothes. (she might even fold them for you)
    When you are up to it ask me about the my worst laundry day. It has taken me years to be able to talk about it. Then I found out all of my family was laughing behind my back. This one beats a closed laundry mat and an stroller full of
    You are the mom now– find a solution and make it work in your own saj way. Congradulations, you get to solve everyone problems from now on from the monumental to the extremely mundain.
    As bad as that was– it could always be worse.
    Oh, and this too shall pass.
    Sorry, this one seems easily solved. I’m sure there is a laundry mat someplace in all of Orange County. It’s a great place to read, people watch and make some of your great observations. Go twice a week and it would only take a couple of hours. Call me if you are still speaking to me.

  • Amy

    I never fought so much with my dear husband as much as I did when the kids were little. Life is STRESSFUL with a baby (ESPECIALLY the first!) So glad to hear you have great friends, and a mom whose place you can recharge and do your laundry :)

  • jenna

    i know it’s not very “pretty”.. but you can always drain the soapy water from the machine into any sink or bath tub with a long hose…. most old houses near us have set ups like that where the hose runs right into a utility sink.

    i wish i could be more helpful.