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Irish washer woman, I am not.  I am positively lousy at performing the task.  I have three loads—whites, mid-tones, and darks, and it doesn’t matter what it is—towels, jeans, sheets, whatever…just so I don’t have to do any more than is absolutely necessary.

Here’s my routine.  It’s quite exciting!  I gather all the darks and put them into a pile in my hallway that measures about 36”h by 42”in diameter, start the washing machine on “cold/cold”  unless the towels smell musty, which is almost always, and why I have resorted to buying only light-colored ones.  Then I just start stuffing dirty clothes down into the drum (yes, I have an ancient top loader) until it is filled to the brim and surely nothing will actually get clean.  It just seems like a waste to me not to use all that space, what with the water deficit we always seem to be in here in Florida.

Let me back up a minute…my laundry area is actually a closet with bi-fold doors, and is barely deep enough to fit a standard washer and dryer, so my dream of having a front loader that can wash 16 pairs of jeans (in my case 32 pairs) will have to wait for another residence.  It could be worse, though, I could be doing laundry out in the garage like many of the homeowners in my neighborhood.

Anyhoo, with the washer sufficiently packed, I drop the lid and quickly run away.  It isn’t long before I hear the agitator clicking like it’s having a bit of a time switching gears, and then comes the spinning.  I have a self-balancing machine, but I suspect that once fancy upgrade has long since retired, because pretty much every load sends my washer stumbling drunkenly around in the closet on the spin cycle.  More often than not I have to open the lid, pull 5000 lbs. of wet clothes out, reposition them in to what I think is a balanced donut around the agitator and then drop the lid and run away again.  Sometimes I do this a couple of times.  Sometimes I just take half the load out (like I should have originally) and leave it oozing water on the tile floor in the hallway.  It really torques me when I am forced by that damn machine into doing two loads of darks in the same day!

Then (if I don’t forget) it’s time to put the load in the “original” electric clothes dryer.  I think it probably works fine, but since my loads of laundry are twice the size of what is recommended, I tend to believe its heating element is getting a little lazy.  After I have gone to such great lengths to ration water by doing a huge load rather than a couple smaller ones, I run most of my clothes through two drying cycles.  Poor Greg, his 36w 36l jeans are now 32wby 28l and he’s not thrilled.  Then, after one load has spent 8 hours drying, they then sit forgotten and forlorn in the dryer until they are good and wrinkled.  On any given day you could check my dryer and find half our wardrobe in a twisted up ball.  This makes folding a daunting and dreaded task, which also explains why there is always a load waiting for me in the dryer.  I can’t seem to bring myself to do twice as many smaller loads.  Somehow it doesn’t seem any easier, although I am told that it is.

Consequently we iron EVERYTHING!  Again, this is not to imply that we are these fussy prima donnas that can get off a 5 hour flight looking like we never sat down.  It’s not even to imply that we are clean and pressed.  In fact we are probably sort of dirty…but the ironing helps pretend that I am a laundry artisan.  I have taken to NOT drying Greg’s jeans anymore, as his clothing bill was beginning to outspend the power bill from running my dryer constantly.  I know I should probably change, but it’s hard not to fill the drum to the top when there is always so much laundry waiting to be washed—or at least waiting for the “illusion” of being washed…

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