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The Pants April 2, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Last Friday, our friends Tim and Valerie stopped by for a visit. Tim and Valerie are Northbrook friends. We saw them the same week every summer for years. We chalked up a lot of good times. (Tim took that photo of us crossing the river—the one I posted a while back.) We had never visited outside of Northbrook before and hadn’t seen each other since our last day in the lodge’s parking lot in 2008.

They are building a house and were in Vermont to purchase slate counter tops. Parts West is in the Slate Valley, so we arranged a visit.

On the way here, Tim stopped to fill his car with diesel. The automatic shut off did not. His pants and shoes were splashed with the stuff.

Valerie said he cursed for miles. The oh-so-helpful station attendant had said to him, “You weren’t paying attention.”

So he reeked of diesel when he got here. It turned out he and my Tim wear the same pant size, so Tim loaned him some jeans. (OK, two Tims may get confusing, so let’s call visiting Tim Tim B.)

I, not giving it any kind of thought—obviously!—offered to wash Tim B’s diesel-soaked jeans.

Reader, in my defense, I hadn’t ever washed anything gas soaked before, and I was all excited about seeing my friends, and I didn’t think this through in the slightest. Nor did anyone else. So when I pulled those jeans out of the washing machine, not only did they still smell like diesel, but so did the washer.

This is not good.

But we decided to not dwell on it. We hung Tim B’s jeans in the bathroom, which soon also reeked of diesel. When the jeans were dry enough (middle of the night), I stuffed them into a plastic bag.

Valerie was mortified. I was worried but was oddly Zen about it. I got online to look for advice. Some of it was conflicting, but I went with this: Scrub the washer down with Pine-Sol. Let it air for awhile. Run a load of old towels in a hot soapy cycle. Repeat if necessary.

It was probably OK after the first run through, but I went for twice. And it was fine. Whew.

Meanwhile, Tim B had borrowed Tim’s new jeans for the ride home and planned to mail them back to us. He sent word that he had, but it took me til Wednesday to read the message closely enough: He had our old mailing address and had sent the package to Box 84 in the town a half hour away. (I think the fact that I am constantly editing/proofing professionally makes me a very sloppy e-mail reader. It’s amazing what I miss. Embarrassing, really.)

In a panic, I sent him word that no, that was wrong, he’ll probably get the package back . . . Then I thought to call my former post office. Getting a post office phone number is hard these days—one has to use an actual local phone book, because the Internet only leads to an 800 number, and the 800 number people will never give out a local post office number. At least, this has been my experience, so I didn’t even bother to try this time. Luckily, I found a local phone book and the number.

“Hi—a package was just mailed to me there, but I don’t have a box there anymore,” I started.

“Box 84?” said the voice. Unbelievable.


“It came in this morning. We were going to forward it.” (This surprised me, as forwarding service technically ended last October.)

She looked, but couldn’t find it.

“It’s got to be here. The mail to be forwarded hasn’t gone out.”

I said I would come by Thursday to pick it up, and she said she’d have it.

But that night, Tim came home and said, “I got my jeans in the mail today—at work! But it was weird, because it said Box 84 on them . . . ”

So Dhyan, a postal worker whose husband used to work where Tim does, clearly just sent the package to Tim’s place of employment with the rest of the business mail.

This shouldn’t have surprised me, and yet I am awed.

I called the post office the next day to make sure everyone knew we had the package.

And now Tim B has the right address.

And in his own continuing saga, Tim B writes:

Now here is the next turn in the story of my pants. Valerie had soaked my pants in Pine-Sol overnight and then washed them in the machine. Today, she placed them over the upstairs railing to dry. When I came home, I thought that we had a problem with the oil furnace. No, it was the remaining diesel smell of my drying pants.


1. Craig (Maito Sewa Yoleme) - April 2, 2010

If he burns the pants because they’re beyond redemption, will they go up in a huge ball of flame, or will they burn forever, like a mound of old tires?

2. Dona - April 2, 2010

I think I would have given up on the diesel soaked jeans before the first wash. It’s hard to get that smell out of things. I know from experience.

3. Eulalia Benejam Cobb (Lali) - April 2, 2010

Oh, these Vermont post offices! I love them.

After all that washing, Tim B’s jeans must have that oh-so-desirable soft, worn look.

4. Mali - April 3, 2010

Isn’t there a movie about travelling pants?

5. Helen - April 8, 2010

Maybe the pants should be the centerpiece at next year’s Sugartown ritual.

6. indigo bunting - April 10, 2010

Helen, you are a genius.

7. damyantig - April 20, 2010

The Saga of the Diesel-Soaked Pants…I enjoyed that.
Wonder WTF have I been doing, not turning up at your blog as I used to? …*knocks herself on the head*

8. indigo bunting - April 21, 2010

Damyanti, I am constantly behind in my blog reading, it seems, although not as far behind as I am in my blog writing.

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