Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I've Got To Be Clean

Next to two steep-and-narrow stairflights, the worst thing about our new apartment has been the total lack of laundry services. There's no hook-up here, in what was surely an attic of some sort when first designed; we had the kind folks at Plant and Property come take a look at it in our first few weeks, but they would have had to tear up the walls to get us a hook-up,

Originally, this wasn't going to be a problem at all. The school laundry is close by; for the past few years we've been sending them a full carload of clothes every three months or when we had literally nothing left to wear, whichever came first. I did my own dress shirts in the dorm faculty-only washer and dryer, as the school had an odd tendency to iron down the collars all the way to the first button, making tie-wearing awkward, but we sent out the rest of it, from socks to sweaters, at 35 cents a pound, and considered ourselves lucky.

Then, two weeks after the move, they raised the price to 85 cents a pound, and suddenly we couldn't afford clean clothes.

Pam on the first floor offered us use of her washer-dryer in the basement, and for a while it seemed awkward but slightly acceptable. Twice since we moved in July I've gone down the stairs, out the door, around the building, down into the basement, and into the dust-bunny infested storage room where Pam apparently hasn't done laundry in over a year.

But this solution was nowhere near ideal, what with the dust and the tight squeeze into the basement, and the clothes were piling up again, so when Darcie saw an ad on our school network for a small used sink-and-tub washer and dryer set, we decided to spring for it.

Tonight we finally got it all hooked up -- washer snug between tub and second bathroom sink, where it can live permanently; dryer in the attic space behind the next-door-over -- and tried it out. After a few false starts where we thought the thing was broken, we realized it was just overfull.

With four towels.

And nothing else.

The new washer takes two pairs of jeans but won't spin three; three pairs of khaki slacks but not the button-down shirt; five tee shirts and socks but not the boxer shorts that were worn with 'em. It's not just that it's tiny; the thing really only swirls the water around using jets of water, not that plastic rotating-thingie you get in full-size washers, so if it's too heavy to swish around with the jets, the clothing just sits there.

Too, the guy we bought it from wasn't kidding when he recommended an extra rinse cycle "if you like your clothes really clean." The thing fills, then runs the same soapy water through a couple of times for the wash cycle; drains and fills for a rinse, but only does so twice before spinning. On the last drain under regular circumstances, suds still form in the tub as the water comes through the yellow hose out the washer's back; the clothes color -- blue for blue, red-brown for colors, grey for whites -- still reflects the water color.

Gonna have to run the entire cycle twice, I figure. Almost an hour, then, to wash one day's worth of clothes.

And it's still gonna be so much better than all those stairs, all that dust, and the outside run in winter through snow carrying the contents of a full floor.

* * *

Oh yeah. Tonight's radio show playlist, solo again, follows.

Bob Dorough -- Too Much Coffee Man
Barenaked Ladies -- Alternative Girlfriend
Ani Difranco -- Little Plastic Castle
De La Soul -- The Magic Number
Manu Chao -- Me Gustas Tu
Trout Fishing In America -- Happy That You're Here
Eddie From Ohio -- Let's Get Mesolithic
John Hiatt -- Crossing Muddy Waters
Willie Nelson -- The Most Unoriginal Sin
Erin McKeown -- Slung-lo
Lizzie West -- Sometime
Dixie Chicks -- Ready To Run
Phish -- My Sweet One
Bela Fleck -- Sunset Road
Timbuk 3 -- The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
Girlyman -- Fall Stories
Paul Simon -- Born At The Right Time
Stevie Ray Vaughn -- Chitlins Con Carne
String Cheese Incident -- Joyful Sound
Patty Larkin -- Different World
Johnny Cash -- Hurt
Norah Jones -- Nightingale
Keller Williams -- Best Feeling
Not Earthshaking -- One False Move

posted by boyhowdy | 12:55 AM |

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