Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Washing machine queen

As I stood waist deep in a mountain of laundry this weekend I was reminded of the days before I had mastered the household appliance.

The first house my husband and I ever shared was small to say the least and was built of concrete and cinder block and had about as much charm as an average jail cell which is why I refer to it as CB 2788 (cell block for you non-delinquents). So the day we were moving in I wanted to show my husband how domestic I was so he would see what good care I was going to take of our little family. I decided I was going to do the laundry.

He had already left to get another load packed to bring in the morning and I stayed behind to unpack some items and clean up a little before leaving for the evening. Now a seasoned laundry veteran would have automatically known not to throw in a load of laundry late in the evening before leaving the house. A seasoned laundry veteran would know that you don't leave clothes wet in a washer because a seasoned laundry veteran would know that the clothes would not smell fresh and clean but would instead smell more like sweaty feet.

It is probably becoming clear that I had never done a load of laundry in my life and the only time I ever turned on a dryer was to throw in shirts to remove wrinkles because the only time I had ever ironed was in the fifth grade when my friend and I ironed each other's hair straight. Of course that didn't work out so well either because neither one of us took into consideration that if you lay your hair flat across the ironing board and leave your curved head in an upright position you are going to get a nice crease right across the back of your head.

However, I was much older and wiser now, and was in full housewife mode when I picked up a pile of dirty clothes and shoved them in the washer. I was extremely pleased with myself when I left a couple of hours later and the clothes were still swishing away as I locked up the house for the night.

The next morning I returned with my husband in tow, anxious for him to see the progress I had made on decorating our little corner of the world. Since the house was so small you could clearly hear any kind of noise from inside as soon as you walked in the door. He had a funny look on his face as he walked toward the kitchen/dining/office/laundry room.

Someone has been here, he informed me, and they are washing clothes. To which I happily responded, oh no that's me, I am washing clothes.

I could see the confusion growing on his face as he stared at me. Now I was glowing with pride, I guess you thought I didn't know how to do laundry. See I told you I could.

He then went on to say he didn't understand, we had just gotten there, how in the world could I be washing clothes. I remember hearing the water swishing in the washing machine as I sat there, still grinning from ear to ear.

I put the clothes on last night after you left, so I could dry them today. How is this confusing?

Now I could see the panic in his face widen as he ran toward the washing machine.

Oh my God, you mean this load of laundry has been washing since yesterday?


I really wasn't getting the reaction I had hoped for. He was frantically reaching into the washer pulling out wet clothes and throwing them into a laundry basket. By now the washer was slowing coming out of the spin cycle loudly protesting. I knew something was wrong when I noticed my nearly new red pajama pants were now light pink.

I was sitting there trying to figure out who those pink jeans he was holding belonged to when he asked how long did I think it took to wash a load of clothes? He was now laughing hysterically, you know really holding his amusement back in order to spare my feelings.

I don't know, a couple of hours maybe. This washer is old it probably just takes longer. I wasn't going to sit here and time the thing.

It was painfully clear to me now that it does not take that long to wash a load of clothes AND that you must sort laundry before washing unless your husband likes pink pants and undershirts. He went on to show me his laundry sorting skills and to explain to me that obviously the washer was not working correctly. Of course I was humiliated at how inept I was when it came to conquering the domestic world but I was determined to not let him know.

It's not my fault you got us a broken washing machine.

The only other time I was ever even close to that embarassed was a couple of months later when a female co-worker of mine mentioned that my clothes always smelled so good and asked what kind of detergent I used.

I am not sure, the kind with the little bear on the bottle.

She smiled, no that is your fabric softener. What detergent are you using?


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