Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Frugal Schmugal

Laura has now, completely against direct orders, uttered two words. "Baby" and "Dada." I think you will all understand when I create a lovely hand-painted sign and picket the front of our little hobby farm, because I am going on strike.
While I am on strike from that corner of my life called unappreciated motherhood, I decided to get going on the clothesline. So I went out and dug a hole and mixed up some concrete (just kidding! What I really did is start hanging clothes to dry on the picket fence. Funny how that happened, me turning into a redneck simply by moving to the sticks.)
The EGE is ever so much more engineery than I, so he witnessed the jeans drying on the fence, interpreted the data correctly, and quickly dug a hole and mixed and poured the concrete base for my new old clothesline. It has a clever PVC pipe buried just to ground level. Said PVC pipe is slightly larger in diameter than the clothesline, so we can bring the clothesline into the shop for the winter.
This brings me to the story of how I came to possess this new old clothesline and how important a good friend might be if you are wanting to procure a free clothesline or anything else that's lying in a junk pile somewhere.
Not that we go dumpster diving or anything. That's another blog and it's under the name Martha Stewart, I think.
Before the birth of Laura, my fourth child, KL and I used to be able to cruise the backroads of our rural county(ies) with all of our combined seven kids in her mammoth nine-passenger Sub.
These days we have to procure babysitting because none of us owns a 15-passenger van (well, my dear father-in-law does, but it's been to the Grand Canyon and Mexico and back a few too many times with far too many college kids, and that's just too schmutzy for even a frugal girl such as myself).
To prepare ourselves for whatever adventure was in store, we'd detour into the nearby college town (okay, only 30 to 50 miles out of our way) for Dutch Brothers mochas and a boatload of Italian sodas in kid-size rocket-shaped cups. Then we'd mainline the caffeine (I don't really know what mainlining is. Probably don't want to.) and choose a road.
One day last summer when I was still cute-ish in second-trimester pregnancy but cranky as all get-out, we were out and about on such a cheer-up mission. My coffee may or may not have been half caffeinated. Could this be why Laura is so precocious?
"Look!" shouted Headlong. "Gracie's eating my quesadilla!"
"Stop!" shouted Headstrong. "There's a plant nursery ahead!"
Which child do you think got the gold star?
KL carefully applied the brakes and none of the children's lunches flew threw the air as we deliberately and cautiously (this is how I remember it) made the turn onto the farm drive sporting a hand-lettered "organic geraniums shasta daisies columbines strawberries just $1.29" sign.
Perennials, herbs and kitchen garden starts for $1.29. This, my friends, is why I moved to the country.
After we loaded up the way-back and all of the children's laps with precious plants, KL was preparing to back out of the yard when I spied it.
Every self-respecting farmyard has a pile o' crap. Mine doesn't have any exposed piles (except right now as I wait for the leftover garage sale stuff to go to St. Vincents), but especially the two- and three-generation farms will have a lot of good junk in those piles. On this particular day, standing sentinel over this nursery/farmyard pile was a perfectly miraculous umbrella-style rotating clothesline.
Just like my Grandma used to have.
I immediately coveted the clothesline, but as I was already buried in plants and sucking down more fortifying (half) caffeine, and as I was with baby bump, I turned to my true friend and asked, "would you mind asking whether they are going to throw away that clothesline?"
For just one moment my friend had pity on my baby bump, and she got out and asked the elderly gentleman. He said, "Take it! Any other trash you want to haul for me?"
So then I disentangled myself and roped it to the top of the Sub, squishing the baby bump in the process but too elated to care. A free clothesline! Just like my Grandma's!
Just a little over a year later, the EGE is installing it. I will have crisp linens and clean-air-scented t-shirts. (I draw the line at outside drying of undies.)
I do have some flashes of guilt (because I am, after all, a mommy, in whom guilt is probably hardwired even when on strike) because it later came to light that KL was after just such a clothesline. So yesterday when I was in the hardware store buying new line to string on the new old telescoping pole, I priced those bad boys for my dear friend.
Yeah, that's when I remembered I'm broke. I mean frugal.


Misty said...

me too! I want just such a clothesline. But we rent, and therefore, aren't allowed to have one. SO, we strung line in the corner, between two pieces of fence- where the dogs like to poop.
Awesome, right?
Which is fine, because I really only like linens dried out there. So it works.
but still.
I want a clothesline.
A real one, someday...

Sass E-mum said...

We have one of those lines - a whirligig. Very common in the south of England - but apparently hardly anyone has them in the north. I hope yours is standing straight - ours is very wonky.

Misty said...

i would totally email you for more, but I don't have your email address...