Cross-train Like a Pack Mule

I know I talk a lot about running. I run quite a bit, and I love it. But there is another workout that gets relatively little love on the pixels of this blog: the packhorse workout. I do it nearly every day. Sometimes twice, sometimes three times. It is just one of the many ways we benefit from not owning a car. Because when you don’t have a car, sometimes you get to be the “car.”

Today I was in SUV mode. I strapped Squish to my back, slung the diaper bag over my shoulder, grabbed Manchild’s backpack with one hand and his hand with the other. We cruised down the sidewalk to the train station, stepped down the stairs, slipped through the turnstiles, and squeezed onto the next available train. One quick transfer, a couple of more stops and out the doors, up the stairs, through the turnstiles and to the street. We wove through the foot traffic to school, where I freed my hands of their charges, but didn’t stop for breath before heading with a friend, first up three flights of stairs to her apartment, then back down, then to the bus stop, the bank, the store, the other store. Finally, a place to unload. Briefly. With Squish in the child seat, I filled up the cart, and hoped I’d be able to carry it all home. Ha!

After wrestling Squish back into the carrier, I slung one bag, two bags, three bags onto my shoulders and slogged across the street to the bus stop. Up three flights of stairs to my friend’s apartment where we rested for nearly 30 minutes, then packed up again. Down the stairs and up the street to collect my additional child and his baggage. To the train station, down the stairs, through the turnstiles, to the platform, onto the train. Transfer. Wait and wait and wait and wait. (We had to wait a long time for train number 2 today.) Squeeze onto the train, weave through the passengers to get out at our stop, up the stairs, through the turnstiles, up more stairs, and head home.

The numbers: Four trains, two buses, 26 streets crossed, 19 flights of stairs, four bags, two children, one mom, five hours.

The picture is us going to do the laundry early last year . . . the only things that have changed (aside from our apartment) are the size of the kids and the length of my hair.

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5 Comments

  1. I am exhausted just reading this one! I think we should all pitch in and get you a yearly membership to Fresh Direct!

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    Oh, but it’s fun! Sometimes. When I’m in a good mood. And not too tired. 🙂

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  2. It’s funny that you should post this picture because I was just thinking about it this week! We are moving from our little house to an apartment next week. I will be saying goodbye to having a washer and dryer in my house, which was great. I thought of this picture and told myself that many a mom has done the laundry with two kids and I can too.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    It is an adventure, but a fun one. I don’t love taking both kids to the laundromat, but I don’t mind it, either. It’s fun to have them help out by putting the clothes and the quarters in, and I always enjoy the (nice) comments from fellow launderers about how cute my kids are. 🙂 Good luck with the move and I hope you enjoy your laundry trips!

    [Reply]

  3. I don’t even know how you manage to do this! I swear I just wouldn’t do it, I would rebel! 🙂
    way to go!

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    Well, there are ways out. You could drive. But then you have to find parking. And you have to re-park your car twice a week or get ticketed. No fun. You could also call a car service. But that costs a lot of money. We’ve only used a car service a few times since we’ve been here.

    Honestly, though, doing this kind of stuff is one of the things that makes living here kind of exciting. I end the day feeling like I did something kind of amazing, and the City didn’t get me down. Or the City gave me the chance to do something hard and to succeed. It’s not always that way, of course, but often I feel really empowered by our lifestyle. Odd as it may seem.

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  4. You’re right. This is a great workout and definitely the greatest benefit of NOT having a car here in the city. Of course, I do it with just one child…you make 2 look far too easy (I’m not fooled).
    Love this post. 🙂

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    It gets easier as they get older, believe me. It also helps that your capacity always expands to accommodate the tasks at hand.

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  5. I am impressed you bring both boys to the laundromat. I usually go Saturday mornings (with a car– shame shame) by myself and savor the relative peace and quiet to read and think. But you are right, the times I’ve brought my toddler have been an absolute hoot for her and the other launderers!

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    We do have a good time at the laundromat, especially now that Squish likes to help with the quarters and tries to move the clothes from the machine to the basket or basket to machine or whatever. It tries my patience, but it is one thing that I can look at with some perspective and know that it will be a fond memory in a couple of decades.

    [Reply]

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