Monday, April 12, 2010


April 12, 2010
Today was laundry day. Most of the shelters I have stayed in have some kind of laundry facility available for client use. Some places let you book appointments, others assign you a day and time when the machines are open to you. In Vancouver we have laundry services provided by Evelyn Saller Centre (aka the 44). All one must do for this luxury is to bring one medium sized load (darks or lights) and line-up outside the building around 8 a.m. first 50 people win ;-). At 8:45 the staff hands each person a clear plastic bag with a strip of masking tape on it. We transfer our laundry into this bag… a permanent marker is passed down the line and each person puts their name on the masking tape. Then a staff hands out numbers 1-50 to each person in line. Another staff is handing out numbers for showers at this time also. At 9 a.m. the centre opens and the lines proceed into the building. Each person signs a list according to their number and turns over their laundry bag… open for easy access. Then the nice people at the 44 do our laundry and return it later in the day almost nearly dry and kinda sorta folded.
When I left on my journey I purchased a 20” rolling backpack. My theory was that if/when the wheels gave out, I would (albeit reluctantly) be able to carry it. Being very aware of my limitation when it comes to physical strength, I have been very careful not to over use the pack. So I only take it out every 7-10 days. Because of this laundry day is also my grocery day. After dropping off my laundry I carry my bag over to the Quest Food Exchange where I purchase dairy products (what, depends on availability)… assorted bread products and juice if there is any. These shopping sprees usually cost between $5 and $10. Pretty sure most of the food is donated, but the dairy is always fresh so I’m guessing that is where the proceeds are going. Well that and the usual overhead LOL.
The downside of living in an SRO is having to stock groceries; in the shelter 3 healthy meals a day 7 days a week are provided at no charge. On the outside mostly soup and sandwiches at the free soup lines. One can also buy low cost meals in 3 or 4 locations, which will run from $2 to $5 each so even one meal a day can be pricey over a month. Oh yes, back to laundry day, if I have any other errands that involve the moving of stuff I will do that today also. Then I bring these groceries back to my room; make a bowl of cereal for lunch, check emails etc, nap or just hang out until 4 p.m. At 4 p.m. I carry my backpack down to the 44, fill it with my clean laundry and purchase dinner. It doesn’t really matter what dinner is, I’m here anyway so I spend the $2. And save myself the trouble of cooking something when I get back to the room.
Watch some television, write a blog then go to bed… which is different than sitting on my bed which is the only people furniture my room has... LOL.

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