It’s been a while since I’ve written an inspirational blog post for you, so I thought I’d take a stab at it tonight. I don’t know how inspirational it’ll be, but maybe it’ll be informative. Maybe both; who knows? Anyway, with the hum of the washing machine in the next room, here goes.
It’s the hum of the washing machine that has inspired me to write (see? inspiration already) today’s post. This is how we do Laundry At Our House.
Two people live in this house – me, and my 24-year-old daughter. As it happens, we both have clothing, and we both like that clothing to be reasonably clean. So like most Americans, we have a washer and a dryer. And I’m thankful for those appliances. I’ve had times in my life when I didn’t have those things and had to find other ways to wash clothes, and it’s no fun, let me tell ya. And I’ve visited Africa a few times and attempted to wash my clothes by hand, and I’m just plain no good at it and ended up paying someone else to do it, figuring I was helping the local economy and getting clean, non-soapy-residue clothing in the process.
But here, we have the machines. Two machines in fact, both about 20 years old. That’s about 367 years old in human years. I’m sure one or both of them is going to go to be with the Lord at any moment, and that pains me. Not out of sentiment, but because spending money pains me. But at this moment, as I’m writing this, the washing machine is humming away in it’s little alcove off of my kitchen, and I’m trusting that it’ll not only last through at least one more cycle, but that the shirts, pants, socks and underwear in it will survive the perilous journey and come out the other side bright and shiny, ready to be worn again. Man, that was poetic considering the subject matter.
My daughter and I each like to do our own laundry separately. Oh sure, we might ask each other, in a polite but half-hearted way, “Do you need any darks washed,” but we secretly hope the answer is no. Because I don’t like my stuff mixed with anyone else’s stuff (especially Courtney’s, since she steals t-shirts and socks).
I have a routine. It may not be the best routine, and I’m sure some of my Martha Stewart-influenced readers may cringe from this description, but it’s mine. I get my dirty clothes out of my laundry hamper, and sort it into piles on my bedroom floor. For some reason, maybe because my house is rather small, I’ve never bothered to get a “laundry basket,” one of those plastic Rubbermaid conveyances used for transporting dirty clothing to the washing machine. Seems like a waste of money – I can put lots of clothing in my outstretched arms, and in most cases, most of that laundry actually makes it to the washing machine. For the occasional dropped sock or dropped whatever, I’ve developed the art of squatting down, arms still filled with clothing, and picking up the dropped item. Then I squat again a few more times, picking up other items that are being dropped from all the squatting and retrieving, until finally I have everything in my arms. Then I make my way to the washing machine, clear the debris from the top of it, and shove/stuff everything in. Add the detergent, shut the lid, say a quick prayer (remembering all the noises the machine made last time), and walk away hoping for the best.
The next step is optional – I may or may not retrace my steps, picking up other garments I’ve dropped and putting them into the machine. Or, I may pick them up and just put them back in the hamper. It was more fun when we had Mabel the Cocker Spaniel, because she took care of picking up dropped clothing and deciding where it needed to go, creating quite an entertaining mysterious search process for us. But, now that’s my job.
By the way, California is known as Earthquake Country. I point that out, because about 15 minutes later I’ll be convinced we’re experiencing “The Big One,” but it’s all been cool so far – it’s just the spin cycle. I hope when the actual “big one” hits, it doesn’t happen when my washer is spinning, or I won’t take the “big one” seriously, since my washer has managed to develop a convincing “big one” impression.
(Wait – did you feel that? Never mind… I think we’re just in the spin cycle now).
Then comes the drying process – yet another machine which may or may not last much longer. The clothes go in, along with some sort of rectangular sheet of thin fabric, coated with some chemical to prevent static cling. Because static cling sucks, and it’s my right as an American to not have to put up with it. And I have to say, I’m kind of partial to the little Snuggle Bear on the box.
The drying process is usually uneventful, so uneventful I often forget about it and go to bed. But if I’m up and ambitious, I’ll take out the clothing and fold it in the living room, and put up with the biting criticism of the Lovely Miss Courtney, a former Gap employee who folds shirts like no one’s business. She makes it my business, however, and is quick to point out what a folding dork I am. But somehow I manage to get through the humiliation, and those shirts, socks, underwear and t-shirts somehow make it back to my bedroom, ready to begin the wearing/tossing/washing process once again.
That’s it then. As far as I know, no one has been repulsed by the smell of my dirty clothing (not since I was a kid anyway). My machines, even though they were from the Fred Flintstone era, are still doing their job and providing wonderful earthquake entertainment along the way.