My daughter is starting her 2nd year of college 190 miles away from home. Some of you may remember that Doe is disabled – she has Cerebral Palsy and walks with crutches, or uses a wheelchair or motorized scooter. In addition to the walking problem, she also has some fine motor problems.
Last year was her first time away from home and, overall, she did quite well taking care of herself. However, one ongoing problem she had was with doing laundry. The nearest laundry room on campus is in the dorm building next to hers, down in the basement. No matter how hard she tried (and we tried several different things), we never found a really workable solution to her getting more than one load of laundry at a time to the laundry room. She finally settled on putting one load at a time into her backpack and carrying it across to the laundry room. She’d get that load started, then go get the second load and bring it across.
Also, there is no good place in the laundry room for her to fold her clean clothes. There is a counter, but it is rather high for her to use comfortably (she is only 4’9") and because she has to use one arm for a crutch, it only leaves her only one hand to fold. She really needs to sit on the floor or a bed to fold laundry – neither of these are a possibility in this laundry room, obviously. So, she’d end up stuffing her first load in her backpack, unfolded, carry it back to her room and dump it out, then back to the laundry room to grab the second load. Given this treatment, her clothes were always badly wrinkled.
Finally, there was the question of her sheets. There is just no way she can put sheets on a bed properly. Again, she tried several different methods, but it’s just beyond her physically. In the end, she just skipped changing her sheets – the only time they got changed was when I, or someone else in the family, came to visit her. Once she went 6 weeks without changing them. Gross, but there was no help for it.
So, this year she had a brainstorm – she would ask around and find a fellow student who was willing to serve as her laundress (for pay, of course). She thought she would pay $20 (providing her own laundry detergent and softener) for someone to strip and remake her bed, and wash and fold her clothes and sheets each week. This would mean that Doe had clean sheets each week, and her clothes would be neater and better maintained. And the other girl would get an extra $80 a month for adding just a little extra effort to work she’s doing for herself anyway.
My mom and I went up there to visit her today and she asked us what we thought of this plan. We did her laundry while we were there, and seeing what she’s up against, we both felt that her plan was a great idea. However, when I mentioned it to my husband on the phone, he seemed to dislike the idea – we had a bad connection, but he seemed to think it was tacky or weird or something…
So how about it, Dopers? Is this a strange idea, or perfectly reasonable? Would you have considered doing something like this when you were in college yourself? I’m especially interested in the opinions of current college students.