Friday, July 10, 2009

Laundry cowgirl

The cicadas sing as I hang the laundry on the line. Pin after pin I place. The sun is wringing me out, sweat down my neck and back and forehead. The bright rays are baking my skin to a bread brown as if God said “this one needs a little more time in the oven”. As my outsides bake and stew my insides whirl with thought. “God it’s hot” Is the punctuation.

It’s so hot the thick stuff takes no time to dry and the thin stuff half that. Take it out, put it up, take it down, bring it in, and then turn around and do it again. God it’s hot. My shoulder aches a little from reaching and stretching and then shoving my hand in the bag on my shoulder to take pins out or put pins back. I should learn to use my left. The fire ants are out and it feels like one bit me, the sharp pinch of a straight pin being jabbed in and left to throbbing on my bare toe. I smile though for I notice the ant lions have set traps for the evil little buggers.

God it’s hot. The sweat of my brow is from a hard afternoons work. I’m thirsty from sweating and sore from shaking any left over hair and fuzz from the laundry before I hang each article. I know a cold bottle of water is waiting, though, when I go in. If I’m lucky the baby will still be napping from her big, big day. She isn’t much of a baby anymore, tall enough to pass for five and sassy enough to pass for sixteen and all at the age of three. If she still sleeps I can get a little more done on the mountain of laundry piled in the hall.

God it’s hot. The line snapped weeks ago and today my brother and I sweat hard fixing it up again. I should bite the bullet and get another kind that is longer but I doubt they make a lariat rope thin enough and long enough to suit the purpose of laundry wrangling. Matt was helping me hunt the ugly geckos that snuck in through K.K.’s window. Time to close it up and find another way to let the cats go in and out. Money is an issue now as our safety net has dwindled and Clay and I are selling plasma for pocket money.

God it is hot! The dog and the cats are stretched out in the coolest places in the house napping just like the baby. I guess Texas weather is here when the water bowls are empty and the food bowls are still full by midday. I’m half tempted to shave them all to solve the fur problem at least for a day or two. I just can’t bring my self to have seven naked cats and a naked dog running around. We’ve tried to come to some terms about giving the kits away but we just can’t agree. K.K. wants them all because they were born on her birthday, she is convinced they are hers. Clay likes Foo and if you keep Foo you have to keep Chewy, her twin. I like Jilly-boo and K.K.’s favorite is Star and if you keep four then the fifth isn’t any more of a hardship than the rest so Flip-Flop stays too. Then there is Penny and Pharaoh who are older and not technically cute anymore. This is their home and they are such good cats, giving them up seems cruel.

God it’s hot. The water filling the washer is steaming and scalding. I half expect my clothes to go in bright and come out white, the color all boiled away. As I bring in the clothes all the fibers are warmed and smell of summer. I am grateful for the net nylon poncho that keeps the sun off my burns thought it lets precious little of the breeze in. Thank God my mom knows how to sew. The breeze blows in little dark clouds that seem to laugh as they truck across the sky carrying their rain filled bellies to parts unknown.

God it’s hot and we need rain. The rain barrels are dwindling and the water left in is full of mosquitoes. Soon they will be empty and I’ll be watching the skies again for the little clouds that might rain here. I try not to shuffle my feet as that kicks up dust and I’ve enough problems with the fur to add dust to my allergy issues. I look at my sad little tufty lawn and hope that someday, with the little care we can give, it will be thick and lush. I realize most of this is wishful thinking but I can’t help it.

Snap, snap, snap goes the towel as I try to shake some of the lint and left over fuzz off. My eyes start itching and my nose starts twitching as the wind changes direction. Who would have thought hanging laundry would be such a detailed chore. Pin it at the seams so the pinch marks won’t show, I remind myself, hang this in the sun to bleach a stain or brighten a white article. Snap, snap, snap, goes the shirt I pull next, hang it in front and the undees behind. The breeze blows harder puffing out the sheets and blankets. They smell so good. Back in Bloomington when we dried the clothes on the line they always came in smelling like wet dog. Here they smell faint and clean.

God it is so hot that I’m tempted to see if I can actually watch the clothes flash dry but that would require standing in place for more than a second or two. Any time I stand still the fire ants attack. The cicadas’ whir is endless in the heat but as the sun dips they grow quiet. The suns strangle hold on the day is weakening and as it does the cicadas sing softer and with a slow sleepy rhythm. Like the wing beat of a large bird or a heart beat at rest. First one sings and then another answers. I’m still finding the empty pupa shells in the yard clinging to the surviving garden successes.

I wrestle with the mammoth king sized sheets trying to keep them from touching the earth and still shake the fuzz from its light blue wrinkles. As I pin it here and pin it there the breeze fills the billows and gives the illusion of sails. The dog trundles out of the house and a faint “mommy?” can be heard at the door. She is standing there with her bassinet on wheels filled to overflowing with bunnies. K.K. is brown as a nut just off the tree. Caramel tanned, save where her swimsuit covers, she is walking around with nothing but a diaper and I can almost believe she is still a baby. When her face is relaxed in sleep she resembles the baby I brought home but when she is awake her sass and strength make it hard to believe she was EVER a baby. Yesterday she learned to jump into the four-foot water into my waiting arms, then hands, then onto the floating noodle while I held it, and finally onto the noodle without me holding it. She found she could swim properly with only the noodle holding her up. Then she learned how to snap with her right hand that evening. This morning she leaped into the deep end of the pool (her instructor was on the board with her and there was one catching kids in the water below). Clay nearly busted his buttons he was so puffed up with pride when his little girl, reluctant at first, jumped in on her own. Right before her first swimming lesson session ended she learned to dunk herself in the water. Now after the first week of her second session she is nearer to swimming on her own than I could have expected a three-year-old to be. She will be ready to move up to the next lesson group before long.

This morning we took K.K. to the Blue Bell Ice Creamery. She loved the tour. The process fascinated Clay. We had ice cream after and then went to the Blue Bell Aquatic Center to meet up with Mom’s club. Mom’s club has been a lifesaver! It is easier to go places when there might be people you know going too. The BBAC has a floating foam Popsicle path, a banana split slide, a spray/waterfall pipe, a shower of water that pours from a mushroom-cap-shaped sundae and a twisty yellow slide. To cap the tour we ate at the Southern Flyer diner where the gals are dressed in poodle skirts. Mom bought Kay an entire outfit and she had her picture taken for their website. She will be under the future poodles section.

The laundry isn't done but it's nearer than this morning and that is how it should be. It won't ever truly be done but nearer to finished than not makes me feel I've accomplished something. The plants are watered and the sun is setting. Soon Clay will be home and one will read while the other folds so baby girl can fall to sleep with stories of wonder in her head.

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