... or, what does drying laundry have to do with the lottery?
In sunny California we are in the midst of a worrisome drought. We have not had enough rain for, well, months now. The reservoirs are low, the air isn’t very pleasant, and frankly – it’s a bit spooky. This is serious. But I think I have the solution, though there are those who might not like what I have to say. People in California should give up using dryers for their laundry. Put the wash on a line out in the garden, and I promise – it will rain. I know this because I was raised in England when no one had a dryer. We didn’t even know such things existed. You did your wash, then you pegged it out on the line to dry. And then it would rain. So, you either left the laundry on the line in the hope that the rain would subside and the sun would come out and save the day, or you ran out into the garden, brought in the damp sheets, pillowcases, shirts, etc., etc, and then had to endure having them sitting around on a laundry rack in front of the fire, or draped across the radiators, or placed on an airer that hung from the ceiling in the kitchen – one of these.
So there you have it – give up those darn environmentally shameful automatic dryers, put the wash on the line, and I guarantee it will rain.
And while we’re on the subject of laundry, I wonder about dryers in California, which, for much of the year is bathed in sunshine. I love the fragrance of bed linens and towels dried in the fresh air – and no little sheet of smelly paper thingy that you put in the dryer can replicate the smell. My sister-in-law (she and my brother also live here in California) rigged up a washing line in the garden at their previous home, then hung the sheets out to dry on a lovely summer’s day - in CA it takes all of about ten minutes for the laundry to dry outdoors in summer. She was shocked when she came out of the house to bring in the wash, only to find her neighbor waiting for her, leaning over the garden fence at the ready to admonish her for putting out laundry to dry. “What do you think we are here – Okies?” said the woman. I’m glad to say she’d met her match in my sister-in-law – you don’t mess with a redheaded Scottish lass who will brook no such nasty comments!
While we’re lingering on the “Murphy’s Law” type of occurrence, I was in the car with my mother today – she’s “over here” for the holidays – when we were stuck at a stop light that I know always takes ages to change. You could cook dinner in your car while waiting for your light to turn green. But I knew how to get things going. “This is taking a long time,” said my mum. “Oh, don’t worry, I’ll get it moving,” I replied. I reached into the glove compartment and took out a tube of hand cream. “If I start to put this on, believe me, the lights will change.” I rubbed some cream onto the tops of my hands – not my palms (that would be dangerous) - and sure enough, the lights changed and we were off. It always works.
There was a bit of lotto fever going on this week – the Mega Millions lottery went right up there, into the $600k’s. Before the drawing - the winnings were shared by a woman in Georgia and someone who bought a ticket in San Jose, and at the time of writing this post, that unknown winner is either sensibly keeping quiet and laying low, or is idiotic enough not to have checked his/her ticket. I suspect it’s the former - this feeding frenzy had brought on all sorts of conversations. It seemed everyone I knew was talking about what they would do with the money if they won. Well, it would never have been me because of course I forgot to buy a ticket. But what would I have done with all that money, if I’d won?
My husband and I had a chat about this the last time the lottery pot grew to supersized proportions, and we knew exactly what we would do. We would give it away. Oh sure, we would make sure our nearest and dearest were well taken care of, and probably I would ask my mother if she wanted to come over here to live, because with all that money the healthcare issue wouldn’t be a problem. I’d like a decent sized working space – a library of my own would be nice. My husband would like his own small recording studio, plus a pool table. But we weren’t too fussed about the other trappings of luxurious wealth. Instead we decided we’d set up a foundation and have a great time funding the causes that resonated with us. On the list were literacy programs, food banks, camps for kids suffering challenges ranging from health issues to economic and emotional insecurity, the environment, the local humane society – oh, and I want to do all I can to save the mustang horse. My big thing would be to give a huge chunk to the hospice where my dad was cared for with such wonderful compassion, love and professionalism before he passed away. Oh, and no one would know about any of it. We would never, ever let anyone know if that kind of money came into our hands. But what great fun it would be, giving money to causes you believed in.
In the absence of the big win, we still give to the causes that tug at our heartstrings – but it’s not in the squillions.
I think I’d buy my mother a dryer too. I could suggest that to her now, but I bet she’d turn it down – she likes that smell of laundry dried outdoors.