Jason and me in the apartment above Gary in 1990,
where we first had the washer & dryer set that Gary didn't use.
Pierce needs a washer and dryer. He’s moving back to the ’hood where he came from and the apartment has an empty washer/dryer hookup. He and his roommate, a friend from college who is also a teacher, are sharing an apartment one block from the apartment we lived in when Pierce (and his sibs of course) were born. After a summer helping run a youth camp in the mountains, Pierce is coming back to teach high school English at Manitou Springs High School. I’m thrilled that now 25 percent of my offspring has a career job. College is paying off! Actually, they’re all paying off college, but that’s another story.
Back when we lived a block from where future Pierce would live, we had a washer and dryer hookup in ours too. But we had a washer and dryer to put in there. When we moved into the two-bedroom 800-square-foot apartment one block from Pierce’s future-now place, we paid $325 per month. (That’s not what those cost anymore by the way.) We had a washer and dryer we’d bought in Chicago, then hauled all over creation moving around. Before our move-in date, we asked our new landlord, Leonard, if there was a hookup in the place a block from future Pierce. (We left out the future Pierce part, because we didn't know yet, and Leonard didn't care.) He said, “On the first floor there's a hookup that no one’s using. Coin laundry is on the second floor otherwise. For $20 more a month I'll let you use it.” And it was just outside our back door in the common hallway. Little did we know how far that $20 per month would take us once we added four incontinent, barfy little people to our family in one day. And it was an added bonus that they were just outside our apartment. Open the back door, toss in forty messy onesies, fifty smelly sleepers, dozens of dirty burp clothes, and go back inside to wash eighty bottles while never stepping away from the babies.
We bought that washer and dryer in Chicago when we moved into the upstairs of a renovated walk-up. We said, “Hey, we might want some kids one day. We’ll need it for that probably. Maybe we should get the nicest, biggest best set we can now. And maybe it will last a long time.” So that’s just what we did. The salesman was happy that day. We lived in the top floor apartment of the house, another apartment was on the main floor, and the two apartments shared an unfinished basement. The hookup was there and available, so we hooked up. When the downstairs tenant moved out, Gary moved in. He wanted a washer and dryer. Actually, he wanted our washer and dryer. The landlord told him they were ours, but to talk to us about it. So he did. He said he wanted to use our washer and dryer. We said we’d think about it. With the set brand new, and Gary a complete stranger, and maybe with possible kids in the future who might maybe put some wear and tear on it, we decided we didn’t really want to make it available for public use. So we declined. Gary got mad. Gary got so mad. And he was not nice. I’m glad we didn’t say he could have free use of our washer and dryer. Especially with the relentless use it had ahead that we didn’t even know about yet, you know, in the future with all those messy kids. Gary never talked to us again, well, that is after he finished really talking to us. Or at us. Or maybe shouting. But we still have that same washer and dryer and they're working beautifully. I wonder if Gary is still so mean.
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