Dog Towels and Silky Tops

“We need these plumbing disasters to reacquaint us with the fine splendor of normalcy,” says the Bearded One from the slate hearth where he stands and strokes his beard.

Plumber is here 005

We are getting a slow start today after a plumbing crisis this week.  It’s morning and I sit in my rocker with Garfield in my lap, both of us looking out at the frosty bare gardens and further up the hill to Pearl the Goat.

We are so rich — we have hot and cold running water, for God’s sake.  And Buzz the Plumber charged just $120.  The laundry room floor is now super clean, even under the magnificent washer and dryer, which are the true miracle inventions of our age, far beyond car and computer.  We even instituted a new and improved recycling system of bags hung from a shelf above the appliances since so much got soaked during the deluge.

Four days ago, the hot water pipe behind the upstairs shower blew a joint.  It was Niagara Falls in the laundry room below and we were without water for 36 hours.


At least we were home and inside and had enough raggedy old dog towels to mop the water up.  Dozens of these dog towels have hung out over our deck railing for 3 days and nights, frozen into rigid boards suitable as building material.

frozen towels 003

Now I’m luxuriating.  I have flushing toilets without having to run out to the hot tub with a 5-gallon bucket.  I have hot water to wash my hands.  I’ve had a shower.  All this, and no job to have to go to, which we both continue to appreciate deeply.  I live like a queen, no doubt about it.


The Bearded One is walking out the door when Ruby starts barking, which is unusual since she is practically deaf.  “It’s Edeltraut,” says the Bearded One, and Garfield leaps from my lap at the sight of our neighbor dressed all in red — red slacks, red ski jacket, red stocking hat — and large black sunglasses (she is recovering from glaucoma surgery).  Her husband Mustang Man escorts her through the front door.

“Vee hate to intrude,” she says.  She smiles nervously.  Something is on her mind.

I direct her to one of our old, mismatched chairs and Mustang Man sits on the rumpled couch and jokes with the Bearded One.

“I don’t vant you to take offense,” she says and takes off her sunglasses.  Her cheeks, hat, and lips are matching red, and her small brown eyes are open wide.  She is whispering as loud as she can to be heard over the men.

“I can’t imagine I will,” I reassure her.

“It’s about some clothes.”  She leans closer.

I smooth my lovely long brown linen skirt which makes me feel pretty in a pioneer woman sort of way, and which my sister found for me at Goodwill.  I stop rocking and move toward the secret.

“Clothes,” I say and nod.

“Beeeee-u-ti-ful clothes,” says Edeltraut, and falls back into her seat again.  The men hush and listen:  Edeltraut’s daughter has a pile of clothes from the daughter of a co-worker who used to work for the governor.

“She had to get dressed up every day, you know,” continues Edeltraut.  “Silky tops!  Suits!  Even high heels, you know, 5-inch spikes!”  She grins and might have even licked her lips.  “Ooooo, I luffed my heels, but I had to giff them up.”

I have never seen this side of Edeltraut, and am enjoying it.

“They are used clothes,” Edeltraut says apologetically, “but I vas thinking you or your daughters might like them.  Please don’t take offense.”


“Edeltraut!” I say, “we may appear to be filthy rich, but let me assure you, I’d love to check out those clothes.  And so will the girls.  They love heels, and we all love good used clothes!”

The Bearded One assures her that half  the clothes he currently has on came from Goodwill.  Hipsters, he says, won’t shop anywhere else.  Mustang Man then tells of a pair of shoes he got there specifically for working on the ’65 Mustang he is refurbishing.  He assumes they belonged to a deceased man since they had hardly been worn, so he calls them his Dead Man Shoes.


We all laugh and Edeltraut visibly relaxes in her chair.  “Vell then,” she says and puts her glasses back on, “vee von’t intrude any longer, but I’ll call you ven I haff all the clothes and ve’ll go from there.”

Feeling even richer now, I wave a royal good-bye from the deck and start hauling in frozen dog towels.



14 responses to “Dog Towels and Silky Tops

  1. You lucky girl! I love rummaging through old clothes and I get the feeling that these clothes might be something special :). We, too, are rich beyond measure. We have so very much and we feel amazingly blessed to be living the life that we lead. Tomorrow morning Steve is going to head out onto the river to steer his little craft around and just enjoy being part of the world. How many people get that sort of a choice in life? Not many. The odd burst pipe is a small price to pay for being able to do what you want, when you want to . Queen Christi…it has a regal sound to it…I like it! :). Hopefully the dog towels thaw out by spring and you aren’t left trying to explain your crazy towel sculptures to a door to door salesman mid summer 😉

  2. Yesterday afternoon Edeltraut came by when we were up at the barn…and didn’t hear her…and she left 2 HUGE black plastic yard waste bags and a computer paper box full of clothes on our back steps! She called later and asked, “Are you mad at me, Christi?” lol I am thrilled, I told her. I said that the Bearded One and I can hardly believe that she, little Edeltraut, hauled those HEAVY bags out of her trunk, and she said, “It’s the German in me.” The Bearded One already plucked a hat out of the top of one bag and has requested a fashion show. 🙂 Do queens do fashion shows? 🙂 Cheers to both of you fellow filthy rich hippies!

  3. Christine Widman

    Frozen towels, terry cloth robes, cleaning rags…you name it…we have it too…a frozen pile of them outside our kitchen door after Tucson had a 19 degree low two nights ago and we too ended up with a waterfall (in our library) from a broken pipe.
    All is well now. But it was a bit run-ragged time for awhile there. My sad teary moment…we lost tons of our books.
    I thank every star for the “Water guys” with those big heat fans and dehumidifiers and for our fantastic fix anything contractor.
    I love the synchronicity you and I share but prefer it to be about the critters running about and the sunrises & sunsets. I certainly never want another Niagara Falls inside our B&B again.
    YES!!!! to the Bearded One…”the fine splendor of normalcy.”
    Cheers for cool used clothing. I live in just that every single day.
    Ohh the treasures one can find at Savers/Value Village/Goodwill.
    Right now I am wearing a to-die-for-comfort black cotton sweater from Eddie Bauer, sleek sensible jeans that fit me to a T, and Ferragamo black suede flats – all from Savers to the tune total of $20.
    Can’t wait to hear about the treasures you find in those magical big black plastic bags.
    A photo of the Bearded One in his hat – next week?
    Hugs and sighs of relief together over surviving our winter house floods.

    • Oh, Christine, what a nightmare! Plumbing disasters with just the two of us are one thing, plumbing disasters at a thriving, full B&B are another! I’m just glad you’re on the other side of it now, and I mourn the book loss with you. That’s a tough one. I’ve gone through one of the big black bags now and the clothes truly are gorgeous. Lots of silky tops! I emailed the girls right away and they’ll take them back to Molly’s in Seattle and have a sorting….after I keep my own couple of silkies.:) Hugs back to you, my synchronicitious soul sista!

  4. The frozen dog towel with stick girl was superb and put a big smile on my face…ahhhh I have been there before!

  5. “im gonna pop some tags…only twenty dollars in my pocket…” ~macklemore
    tis from a rap song called Thrift Shop which is all the rave right now…..and, it depicts how incredible it is getting used clothes, etc! Great blog this week and love Edeltraut’s sweet gift of clothing treasures……I’m sure there’s something in there for yo seestor! 🙂 And, the frozen towels are fun… art? 🙂 Glad the plumbing issue has been readily resolved. Have a great new week on the farmlet! xo

    • Ha! Thanks for that, Leslie aka The Goodwill Queen who gave me my wonderful Goodwill brown prairie skirt. The current plan is to take both bagfulls to Molly’s soon for a sorting, and you will definitely be invited….I wonder if the new Governor Jay Inslee’s staff will be as well dressed as Christine Gregoire’s was?? 🙂

  6. Heh. Edeltraut rocks, as do you. Although you forgot to blond Mustang Man’s spiky hair (assuming he’s the same young one as the rocker). What a mess with the plumbing–such would be a nightmare over here, but twice as bad on the wet side, where a pair of jeans hung out to dry will deteriorate to dust before they dry enough to be worn. There is something about your attitude of gratitude that is so deeply appealing, to go with great storytelling.

    • Mustang Man is a rock star??! Here on the Farmlet he is our 80-year-old neighbor, husband of Edeltraut, who got his moniker rebuilding a ’65 Mustang which everyone admires. Our 21-year-old son is the only blonded spiky hair. Mustang Man’s hair is white, so, as artist husband The Bearded One says, it can’t be colored in. The drawings stand as perfect. 🙂 lol You’re so right about nothing drying here. I’ve been known to say that if I had to choose between a washer and a dryer, I’d take the dryer! THANK YOU for the compliments. High praise coming from you, Wordsmith Kelley.

  7. Ah. The fault is mine for not keeping current with the dramatis personae! I could easily picture a 21-year-old restoring an old ‘Stang. Ich verstehe!

  8. You make a good point. The cast is growing! Perhaps I should consider adding a list of characters somewhere on the blog. It’ll be 2 years running in mid February, a good time to look under the hood. Danke!

  9. Sorry to hear about your plumbing difficulties, now dealt with. But what a lovely neighbour you have. Generous and so sensitive to your feelings.

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