Sturm und drang. So throw me a donut.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Washers and Dryers and Bears, Oh My!

My brand new washer and dryer were just delivered and installed by two very nice gentlemen from Sears. Here’s a plug for Sears (this is NOT a sponsored post…although I’m totally open to YOU, SEARS, helping out a loyal customer!): I got a fantastic deal and my machines delivered inside of three days.  They run like a dream, too.

Good thing the men installing the machines were thin...

Aren’t they lovely? All wedged into the "laundry area" that is really nothing more than a closet?  I think I’ll call them – oh, I don’t know, what in the heck do you call a washer and dryer? Thelma and Louise? Bob and Midge? Kitty and Red? Maybe Kitty and Red. I’ll see how they like it. My son is grateful for the new washer and dryer because now he doesn’t have to schlep the laundry to and from the laundry room in our apartment complex. There are only four washers and four dryers in that laundry room, so it is a challenge to get more than one load of wash done in a reasonable amount of time.
The dryer was the most photogenic.
Where we used to live, there were 25 washers and 25 dryers, plus a massive commercial dryer that was big enough for five loads of laundry, or two or three toddlers; if toddlers were allowed in the commercial dryer. They’re not. I read the sign above the dryer: Children NOT ALLOWED to play in dryer.

When it comes to using a public laundry room, the rules of communal living can go right out the window. Most people do what is necessary to get along with fellow neighbors, but every so often someone shows up and turns a morning doing laundry into a blood sport. And then the apartment manager hangs up signs in the laundry room spelling out exactly how we are all supposed to behave. This laundry etiquette poster, heavily edited over the year to reflect current complaints, graced the wall of the laundry room of my former abode. I think the rules were overly optimistic.

Rule number one: Do not use all the machines at once.

This was the result of one really cranky man who got ticked off at the mom who had 20 loads of laundry stuffed into plastic bags and a toddler trying to “help” by dragging his snotty nose all over the fronts of the washing machines. I was using the other five washing machines, only because I had seen the mom loading up her van to drive her laundry across the street to the laundry room, so I sprinted back into my apartment, screamed at my kids to GET OUT OF BED and rushed the rest of our dirty clothes out the back door to the laundry room just in the nick of time. You snooze, you lose, buster!

Rule number two: Beware of bleach.

Why? Is a bottle of bleach lurking behind the washers, waiting to leap out and mug me for my quarters? Maybe someone spilled bleach, didn’t clean it up, and another person got it on his or her clothes. Or maybe, after closing down a local bar late one night, one of the younger, single students decided to do laundry and mistook an orphaned bottle of bleach for detergent, ruining a washer full of clothes. It could happen. One Sunday morning, at 5 a.m., I rolled my bin of dirty clothes over to the laundry room and found some dude passed out on the folding table, clutching a box of dryer sheets. I opened the windows over his head so that the noxious fumes emanating from his body would not spontaneously combust should I accidentally throw a spark as I took my static-charged clothes out of the dryer.

Rule number three: Keep children out of, and off of, the machines.

Yes, I’d hate to come back to get my towels out of the wash and discover a shredded toddler in there. That would be much worse than the shredded facial tissue I usually find stuck to my towels.

Rule number four: Don’t ogle the underwear. Maintain a respectful distance from people who are folding underwear.

Since I am basically antisocial and try to do my laundry when no one is around, I never experienced this problem. I have no idea what constitutes a respectful distance. Five feet? Fifteen feet? Stand in the parking lot? And what happens to underwear oglers? Maybe the bleach is on duty and takes care of them. There’s one reason why I don’t want people looking at my underwear: Old lady underwear. I’m ashamed, but I get twice the yardage for half the price of fancier underwear.

Rule number five: Don’t remove other people’s laundry.

I will break this rule if the laundry inhabits a washing machine for so long that the stench leaking out from under the lid indicates that a healthy crop of mold is ready for harvest. I will bag up the accidental science experiment and throw it into the dumpster. And then douse the inside of the washer with that orphaned bottle of bleach. You’re welcome.

Rule number six and seven: Don’t let friends use the facilities AND empty the dryer lint traps after each use.

I don’t have any friends, so this one is easy. But I regularly peel thick sheets of rainbow-colored lint off the lint traps and think of Slater Barron, aka The Lint Lady. Barron is an internationally known lint artist who recreates great works of art entirely out of dryer lint. If ever there was an artistic pursuit suitable to living in an apartment complex, this is it. I wonder if Barron would agree to do my laundry in return for harvesting sheets of lint out of the dryer traps? Barron isn’t my friend, so I wouldn’t be breaking any rules.

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