Friday, January 9, 2009

A soggy lump of laundry

Where did the breeze go? I have been doing laundry since Tuesday. The towels I put on the line on Tuesday afternoon were almost dry by evening. I left them up overnight. And it rained overnight Tuesday. So the towels spent most of Wednesday on the line to dry again. I just got them down Wednesday afternoon and a new load up on the line when the rain poured down. The sheets and thick white towel got an unexpected rinse in rain water.

After that rain stopped I put another load on the line to join what was already there. That laundry stayed up all night too, and the next morning I took down what I could to make way for even more laundry (don't even ask me how many loads I've done in the last few days - NO idea).

So Thursday night all the lines were full again, and everything that had been there all day was still damp. Just hanging there like a limp row of fabric, not moving, not drying, not dancing in the wind. And it was humid. So the laundry was taking its sweet time to dry.

At 4 am this morning the breeze picked up. As I lay in bed listening, I imagined I heard rain (palm trees are sneaky - they rustle and make it sound like it's raining when it's just wind). Not wanting to risk my almost-dry clothes getting another soaking, I got up and took down all the laundry. Most of it is dry enough, I think.

This morning the breeze is back, and it's sunny. And I can wash the sheets on the downstairs bed. How I love the smell of my laundry after it's washed in the wonderful scented Mexican detergent and softener and hung on the line. It's so great to bury my face in the pillows and inhale the sweet smell of sun and sea.

I have a washer that does nothing unless I tell it so. It starts off with me turning the knob to close the drain to the tub. Then I open the tap to fill the tub. If I'm smart, at the same time I open the floor drain and stick the drainage tube in the hole. If I'm not smart, I do that later, after the tub has overflowed and I have water on the floor.

The next step is putting in the detergent, and then the load of laundry. I turn off the water, and turn the knob that is like a timer and that starts the agitator for the set amount of time. My timer no longer means anything as the arrows are not lined up with the minutes, so I just turn it as far as it can go and that means 15 minutes of wash time.

Once the wash time is done, I turn the knob to drain the tub (noting the drainage tube is in the hole on the floor). Once the tub is drained I pour in fabric softener and again turn the knob to close the drain to the tub. I turn on the water to fill the tub, and once the tub is full I turn on the timer to set the rinse to 15 minutes.

Once the rinse is done, I turn the knob to drain the tub. I move the laundry to the spinner tub right beside the wash tub, carefully trying to balance the load so it will spin and not make a horrible pounding noise and move the machine across the floor. I turn the knob to drain the spin tub, and push down on the spinner lid to make the contact to start the spinning. Putting the pressure on the lid is a new step as something is broken and without that little bit of pressure the spinner doesn't start (but once it starts, it keeps going without me pushing on it - I don't get it but it's not worth repairing).

If I have another load of laundry, I start filling the washing side and repeat as above. Once the spin is done, I put the laundry in the basket and carry it outside and hang it up with wooden clothes pins I brought from Canada (Mexican wooden clothes pins are horrible, they fall apart during the first use). I have three clothes lines that I've designed; cords of rope tied to a clip that is inserted into a hook eye at each side of the terrace. The clip allows me to easily take down the lines if I don't need them, but I normally just leave them all up as usually I do enough laundry to fill all three lines (and I'm lazy).

I have a weird fascination with the clothes lines of neighbors. They use pieces of branches and stick them in the ground here and there to build a make-shift support for their clothes line. They don't use clothes pins, they have some kind of clothes line that is a double cord and they just use their fingers and pinch the clothes between the cords. Somehow the clothes stay on the line even in the strongest winds. When the clothes are dry the neighbors just move along the line pulling off the clothes with a yank. I thought that technique looked interesting and more efficient, but I tried buying that kind of cord and could not get my fingers to open the cord and get the laundry in quickly enough to make it worth my time. So I gave up on that idea and just use the regular cord and clothes pins.

But I'm going to buy a dryer. Not to dry the laundry (unless it's an emergency). I need something to remove lint. I'm hoping a few minutes in the dryer after hanging on the line will only take out the lint, not the sweet smell I love. I plan to continue hanging my laundry on the line - there is something very gratifying about that chore, and I am not giving it up.


IslaZina said...

yeah, but then there is the whole issue of dryer sheets. Which I have, but still no drier!

Islagringo said...

I'm exhausting just reading about your laundry ritual! I know what you mean about pinching open those lines though. B does all the laundry around here and my job is to hang it. (which I secretly love doing!) I use pins too but have to replace them fairly often because they put rust on the clothes.

Sue said...

Zina - I hope not to use the sheets, I want to keep the smell of the fresh air (and the detergent and the fabric softener). Mmmmm...

Wayne - that is why I bring wooden pegs from Canada - they don't seem to rust and they don't fall apart the first time I put them on the line. And I love hanging clothes too! I should just be a domestic homebody and cook and clean and make anything else I do just a hobby. Then I would have time to knit those hats and things!