29 December 2008

Attitude is Simply Everything.

The Saturday before the holiday, we were doing laundry and preparing some snacks for a handful of friends intending to brave the blizzard to hang out in our basement for the annual gathering of our friends from college. Less than 10 minutes after rebooting the laundry (read: switching loads, for those non-household productivity nerds out there), the mud room grew intensely quiet. The washer was still running, but the dryer stood silent. I figured perhaps someone had set the timer to the air dry or fluff cycle mistakenly, but of course no such luck. Be fiddled with it for awhile, but without a brand new motor, there likely isn't hope for the old beast.

This is not the end of the world. Sure, we had a washer full of clothes that needed to be dried. Sure, Be was leaving in 2 days for a week of holiday festivities 4 states from here. Sure, we have 5 people's worth of laundry to do every week, but still ... not at all the end of the world. The easy solution would be to put the washer through an extra spin cycle and then hang the damp clothes on the line in the bathroom. (Yes, really, we have a clothesline in our bathroom ... it's kind of huge ... I love it.) Easy peasy, really. We have another dryer in the basement of the garage which needs a part from the appliance store to convert it from natural gas to propane, but that's easy enough to order. Be is mechanically inclined, and I wouldn't even have to call the appliance company. Easy enough, right?

Right. The story should be over. Girl's dryer breaks, boy orders part, girl hangs laundry on the already established laundry line in interim, boy replaces part, girl resumes using dryer. That's not so complicated is it? Or, in my world, it could go something like girl's dryer breaks, girl's family has giant fit, boy neglects to order part, girl continues to suggest hanging laundry on line, girl's family throws tantrum about stiff jeans and scratchy towels and high tails it to the laundromat to PAY for both washing AND drying.

Ugh. I, in turn, am protesting. I live with all adults. They make adult decisions, no matter how I try to influence them. 3/5 of them are at this very moment at the laundromat pumping what will likely equal a wee fortune in quarters into the machines because they insist that line drying is either impossible, impractical, or the root cause of several contagious diseases (work and effort are on the list). Add that pile of quarters to the cost of snacks and sodas that inevitably comes with sitting bored in a laundromat attached to a gas station watching your clothes spin around, and my frustration only grows.


I, the grateful, simple, and frugal blogger will not profess to perfection. I have not always been all three of those things. I will confess to crimes of ingratitude, intense complexity, and frivolity with both money and resources in my past (and occasionally my present ... but I'm trying, I swear!). What I don't understand, though, is throwing away money when there are easy, simple, and FREE options available. Sure, line dried clothes are not Snuggle-brand soft, but neither are the clothes that come out of our regular dryer. Today, although I am ever grateful for the people that make up my family, I am having a hard time understanding them.

Why is it so impossible to consider just making do with what you have?

Likely because we no longer live in a society that values making do, thriftiness, or resource ingenuity. They are products (as am I, really) of a "right-now-I-must-have-everything-I-want-and-more" generation full of clutter, unending advertisement, and ever faster standards of production and efficiency. Can I blame them, then, for wanting to continue using the modern conveniences they're so used to? Sure I can. The environment one is a product of may well be an influence, but it is not the only one. The attitude with which one approaches life, and the things that make it life (inconveniences, curves in the road, stumbling blocks all come to mind) is really the key.

That attitude is what makes automatic and unconditional gratitude different than ingratitude. It's what makes simplicity different from clutter and chaos. That attitude is what makes frugality different from wastefulness, and what breeds contentment from the have rather than the have not. I am more committed to that attitude than ever as we begin this new year, and you can look forward to GSF continuing to be a haven for the like-minded.

In the meantime, I'm going to be grateful I'm not sitting on some hard formica benches paying money to watch my clothes dry. Until next time, I'm ...



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