In my very first post on this blog, I mentioned that I had a small suitcase. Ergo, I couldn't pack very many clothes (aproximately six outfits, if you must know.) Early this week, I was really, really desperate for clothes. My shirts were covered with sand, Ramen Noodle stains, and Wesley's dried drool... my skirts were full of these nasty little Cayman thorns that are everywhere... and as for my shorts... you don't even want to know the disgusting state they were in.
"Joani," I stated finally, "I hate to be demanding... but it's been weeks. I really, really should wash my clothes before the odor overtakes me." (Well, I didn't say it quite so eloquently, but you get the gist.) Joani agreed that yes indeed, washing was top priority for me at the moment.
We live on the second floor of a miniscule apartment building ('The Shoebox' I've dubbed it.) On the bottom floor is a little dumpy, dirty wash room with washer and dryer, where you can insert eight quarters for a fairly big load, and it comes out smelling like the dickens, but tolerably clean. I hauled all my clothes down there, tossed them in one of the rusted antiques, and ran back upstairs for some quarters.
"Joy," Joani said, "Bad news. We only have seven quarters."
The boys were already on a mad search through their jean pockets, and I dumped out my suitcase. There just had to be an extra quarter available somewhere... like a sudden zap of electricity, inspiration hit me. "I'll look under the machines!" I announced as I bolted back down the stairs. From my childhood, I've learned that many filthy rich (or just plain lazy) people drop quarters under vending machines and whatnot, and then don't feel like rolling around on the public floor in order to retrieve them. I felt confident that the washing machine would be no different.
If I haven't made it clear before, let me restate to emphasize; this room is pretty nasty. The kind of room that has never seen a broom or mop, the kind of room that poor hapless crabs wander in and smother in the dust bunnies. In this room, I laid down on the floor and began my hunt. I stuck my hand into the dark shadows of Under There, I shivered as little legs ran over the tops of my fingers, but valiantly reached in further. After pulling out three dead crabs, two lizards, and enough cobwebs to weave a dress with, my fingernails scratched something hard and metallic. It was a coin! It was... a Cayman penny.
The search resumed... it had lost some of it's initial excitement, and after nine false adrenaline rushes over moldy pennies and dimes, I was feeling pretty disillusioned about the whole thing. But I'd yet to search behind the dryer. So, determined to see this thing through the the end, I gingerly pushed the machine back, and slid myself behind there, in a tight little nook where I could squat down and peer closer. I grimaced as I lowered myself into the spider heaven, just as I heard the low buzz of anger.
A few inches left of my head was a big, scary wasp nest. Just the thing I needed to make my day so much brighter.
So, being the girl I am, I closed my eyes and wished it would go away when I opened them again - and when it didn't - I slithered out of there on my belly. That's when the search for a coin under the machines ended. (I'd pretty much covered every inch anyway.)
Happily, Joani offered to walk a few miles to the grocery store and get change, so my clothes did get washed that today - but unfortunately, not able to wear them for another complete week. That, however, is another story.
Right behind our apartments is a clothes line (actually, it's just a thinnish rope, but clothes line is more of a descriptive term and thus I use it liberally here.) It just makes sense, living on a tight student budget as we are, to use the line instead of the rusty dryer. So, after my clothes were done, I hung them out in the backyard field of junk (literally) and draped a tablecloth over, ahem, certain items that I didn't feel comfortable putting on display for the rest of the world.
In the Cayman sunshine and unrelenting heat, things dry fast. I was happily dreaming of having a clean, sunshine-fresh outfit to don in the morning.
Of course, that evening there would be a thunderstorm.
And the next morning.
And the evening after that.
And the evening after that.
And... you get the idea.
It rained so much, that our yard flooded, and the boys and I had to roll up our jeans and drape our shoes around our neck if we wanted to go anywhere. I watched with growing despair as my clothes, now weighed down with immense amounts of water, drooped down to the ground, and became home to a chorus of happy tree frogs. I wore the same pair of Joani's jeans and a tshirt all week... Grime Deluxe was my name.
But Saturday dawned with a fresh sun and not a cloud in sight. My hopes rose... it was proving to be a sweltering hot day, and my clothes were drying fast. To celebrate the end of the Long Rain, Joani and I took the boys down to the (overflowing) public pool for a long swim.
I was enjoying myself underwater when I heard Joani say, "Are those rain clouds?" I surfaced immiediately, squinting into the rather gloomy-looking horizon, suddenly wishing very immaturely that I could control the weather.
"It's not fair!" I whined loudly, as I scrambled out of the pool and into my grimy, beraggled clothes. But Joani offered the solution.
"Some of them may be dry by now... if only you can get to them before the rain does." I barely caught her last words as, with a quick glance at the rain so quickly approaching from the east, I took off faster than I've ever run in my life. "Run Joy!"
It was rather exciting, racing the rain. In my peripheal vision, I could see it aside of me, the dark shadow coming over, the wind picking up sinisterly around me. I tore past all the villa's, like a person touched with insanity I cut through the flower beds of peoples private yards, determined that this storm would not best me. I nearly ran into a Australian guy on the sidewalk, who exclaimed "Blimey!" quite loudly as I shot past. The clothesline was in near site... almost there... almost there.
I ripped off clothes just as mom has taught me not to; clothespins flying everywhere as I yanked them off with possessive ferocity. Just as I was about halfway done, the rain hit. Cradling the clothes (and a disturbed family of frogs) I rushed upstairs, as Joani and the boys came racing into the yard, and congratulated me on my semi-success.
Admittedly, this island life complicates things a little sometimes, but one has got to admit, it does lend plenty of spice to the ordinary.