Week-end with my dorm girl

It’s a big responsibility to be the mother of a boarding school kid. Last year we had a taste of this, but it didn’t include trips home every weekend. My oldest daughter just started boarding school, and she comes home every week — we’re really happy to see each other, but this has completely restructured my weekends. One could say, they’ve completely disappeared, but I’m quite committed to creating a liveable weekend system. Now we’re in the learning phase.


My original thoughts were around how much time we would spend together, but on the very first weekend this failed. Preparing adequate amounts of food took over the steering (in her case, gluten free) and clean clothes had to be produced, no matter what else happened.

At our place the washing machine usually runs on the weekdays, but with a kid boarding away, you suddenly have to start washing on weekends, for them that’s the only time. The kid comes home on Friday, and right after the hello, how are you and kiss a demand for the laundry is made. Usually I sort the clothes into four piles: black, white, red and light. Then I store these in individual massive drawers in the laundry room, to see which has the most and in it goes into the wash. With such a big population, it’s not hard to fill a 7 kg washing machine! Yes, 7 kg! Because when my 13 year old machine broke, I had two wishes for the new one: that it be 7kg, and that it be from Miele. When my husband found out how much that cost, my plan almost collapsed, but I saw that all of my other friends switched their irreparable machines every 3-5 years, and I simply didn’t want that. After spending more than a few afternoons with the repairman when our own machine was on its last legs, I asked him for his own opinion as well, but he couldn’t advise anything good. I started listing a bunch of German brands but he just hemmed and hawed. When I asked about Miele, he said that we wouldn’t be seeing each other anymore if that’s what I chose. Then my husband also lightened up a bit and I erased the repairman’s number from my phone.


As I said, it washes four colors and huge loads. So I try to get two done immediately on Friday so that the clothes have time to dry. I add a couple of other clothes to the first load so that the mashine will be full and choose a middle-length program, although the basic Miele machine even makes these pieces completely clean. (So clean that it even fades out the weaker quality graphic tees). At these times it’s just important not to forget to hang the clothes out to dry, because the machine is so quiet I don’t even hear it when it stops. By morning, the second program is over too and if the clothes aren’t too dirty then I use the 20 minute rapid program. This is the family favorite, because they can put their one pair of dirty jeans in, the ones that they only realize are dirty at night but can’t imagine the next day without! For now this is the only program they are familiar with, but I’m confident that these smart kids will soon have a closer relationship with this particular domestic tool.

After all of this, one just has to hope that the clothes dry in time as I prepare next week’s bread and pastry portions in the kitchen.

Then a quick pack and we’re off to the train station. Today turned out to be quite an adventure. The morning program delayed lunch and we had to leave in a rush. The jacket got left at home, but she convinced my Husband to turn back. Because of the Budapest Maraton they barely made the train, but in the end they did it. Success!

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