Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Holy Smokes! Gigantic Disaster Averted!

Springer Laundry (Note the bars on the window next door)


This really happened ...

Every crew member lives in abject fear of doing something that will cost the team a time penalty (usually handed out in 15 minute increments.) After what nearly happened today, I am convinced that I have some seriously good karma loaded up with the cycling buddha.

Talk about the Mother of all Penalties. This would not be a penalty exactly, but first, before I tell you my tale, let me say again: this really happened.

I. Am. Not. Making. This. Up.

The day started normally enough, with the RV crew staying behind in Springer, NM to do racer and crew laundry. I volunteered to do the laundry while Lary got some needed shut-eye in the motor home and Jim actually took advantage of the opportunity to take a little jog around the neighborhood. (Show off.)

Anyhow, I hauled two garbage bags of laundry from the RV across the street to the laundromat. I heaved the bags, which were crammed and literally bursting at the seams, onto the counter. Silly me, I starting looking around for a change machine and those tiny boxes of laundry soap in a vending machine. Apparently, Springer does not know about vending machines yet, so I walked right around the corner (a mere 30 steps away) to the supermarket to get soap and change.

Not even two minutes later, I returned to the laundromat. Minding my own business, just walking down the sidewalk, I noticed that a diminuitive woman was hauling two suspiciously familiar garbage bags herself ... heading OUT of the laundromat. Heading, in fact, straight to her car. The car door was already open - any court in the land would agree this was obviously premeditated.

A quick panicked glance through the front glass confirmed that aforementioned counter was now bare. I raced over to her, screaming, "Yo! Where you going with those clothes?"

She, now looking quite panicked herself, stammered in broken English, "I think are free. Clothes in bag. Free clothes. In bag."

Stupidly, all I could think of to say was, "That's my basket."

"Oh, I sorry. Sorry. I think free."

"NOT free," I said, quite close now to realizing what had almost happened. "SO NOT free."

She gave them back, or more accurately, I took them out of her arms and walked back into the laundromat. Once I got the loads going, I thought, "Oh my God, nobody will ever believe this happened."

My RV mates believed me, though, because, for quite a while, all I could do was mutter repeatedly: "I can't believe that woman tried to steal my clothes."

Charlie's clothes. Richard's clothes. The numerous jerseys and cycling shorts they go through every day. The Team Reaching Heights jersey that I vomited all over the other night.

"Man, that would've sucked a lot," our crew chief said.

Just another day at RAAM. Day Four.

If all goes well, only three-and-a-half to go.

I'm having the time of my life.


amy said...

Jeannie, I am laughing so hard but I can just imagine the panic you were feeling if those bags had been taken by the laundromat bandit!

Thank goodness for good karma!

Amy Jensen

Anonymous said...

Who would have thought stinky bike clothes and vomit covered tshirts would be so attractive to a thief?!

Thank goodness for Jeannie Roberts, laundry detective.

~ Laura Stokes

Julie said...

Julie and I are talking. We're amazed at how well you're doing. Charlie and Richard enjoy this great undertaking. Love and best wishes.

Mom said...

That last comment should have been signed by Mom.

Katie said...

Oh Bean, I can only imagine how horrified you were at the situation! I am so sorry to laugh, but this is hilarious! I am very glad that disaster was averted, however. Good job. :)


Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie (big unit)- it sounds like things are going pretty well so far - keep up the hard work and let's see some of those "official RAAM finisher's jerseys"

I hope the weather stays cool and calm for you


Chocolate Labs said...

It's not just cycling Karma, JR, it's good karma period. It's all those times you didn't strangle certain OH! people.

Question is, what would you have done if she tried to fight your for those clothes? :)

Brenna said...


That is totally hilarious! Vigilante Defender of Laundry. Heh.

We'll definitely be looking forward to your return. The neighborhood isn't the same w/out you.

P.S. To the Laura Stokes who commented above, you didn't go to Oberlin in the early to mid '80's, did you? R.C. at Dascomb? If you're not the same Laura Stokes, sorry to be weird.

Anonymous said...

Nope, sorry, must be another Laura Stokes out there. =)


Brenna said...

Heh, OK, sorry then.

Move along, nothing to see here....

Rachel said...

Hi Uncle Charlie!
Im enjoying reading your blog about your trip so far. What a great job you are all doing. Thankfully none of your clothes got stole, what a nightmare that would have been. Keep it up! Im impressed!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jeannie - Fun to read your humorous style again. Thank you for sharing your writing and experience in such a way that it seems effortless (though I know it is not when you are running on empty.) I love being such a part of this experience. Go Units!! Melanie

Anonymous said...

Let's take a lesson from all those picture books in kindergarten.

See Charlie.
See Richard.
See Charlie Go!
See Richard Go!
See charlie Go Very Fast!
See Richard Go Very Fast.

Go Charlie and Richard, Go!
Go Very Fast!

Keep it up! Love reading about your adventure.

Your Sister Crystal

Anonymous said...

Hey....Greetings to Charlie and Richard. Go Units, is the cheer. We are following you by these great sites, and by talking to Julie. This is an amazing race. And the laundromat thief event was unbelievable!!! Thank God for Karma and even a few guardian angels.
Your team has alot of invisible helpers, that's for sure.
Well, I've passed your sites on to a few of our closest friends, so you'll have more people following your progress. Keep up the good work. Thanks for letting me catch a few pictures before you left. You have a great team!! All our love, Barb & Bud Fosdick, San Diego Neighbors

Barb & Bud Fosdick said...

Just taking some time to sign up for the Google Blogger Account.

We are with you there in spirit, and love the blog site. Thanks for helping us be a part of this fantastic race!

Go Big Unit & Bigger Unit!!!!

Hugs and Kisses~~~
Barb & Bud Fosdick

Anonymous said...

Hey Richard, Jim
You guys were almost make to go the distance with the shirts on your back.
Your speed looks good for the great record breaking finish, just save some for the end as once you leave Ohio the road turns up again.
Keep strong
Jim are you getting any sleep? If not you can sleep when you get back.

Walt Chapman

Kelley said...

Keep up the good work Charlie and Richard! You're doing great!

I'm really enjoying the blog and reading about all of the interesting things that are happening along the way (loved the laundry thief story).

Best of luck for the remainder of the race!

Kelley Griffin