It's been a long and rocky road, but the laundry situation around our place has finally been resolved.
I went 18 years without a washer and dryer in my home, partially because my late wife was allergic to laundry detergent, but more recently because I found out that they don't make a machine that folds laundry.
For years I went to coin-operated laundries, took a book and spent hours reading while leaning over a washer or dryer. When I became very slightly more affluent, and got tired of standing up, I discovered "drop-wash,'' as in you drop it off and they wash it.
Even that was sometimes a trial and so, during my recent single years, I got in the habit of buying new clothes instead of washing the old ones. Given my standard choice of clothing, jeans, shorts and garish Hawaiian shirts, it wasn't that expensive, although dirty-clothes storage became a problem after a while.
Actually, my laundry situation was going a long way toward solving my housekeeping situation. A house where a growing number of rooms are being filled by bags of laundry is one that requires successively smaller amounts of vacuuming and sweeping, although the room deodorizer costs can get out of hand.
Then I went to Plan B, using the laundry place for storage. I would gather up five or six bags and three or four baskets of dirty clothes at a time, take them to the laundry and then leave them there right up to the 30-day limit at which they threaten to sell your clothes.
I never went over the limit, although I was, at times, tempted to do so just so I could go to the sale and hear somebody say, "What have we to offer here for this beautiful shirt where the shark is putting Tabasco sauce on the surfer before eating him? And who is interested in a pair of jeans where the leg length is shorter than the waistline, you, sir? Waddle on up here.''
I actually had one friend suggest to me that I donate my dirty clothes to a thrift shop, wait for them to wash them and hang them on the rack and then buy them back at low prices.
"But what if someone else buys my clothes before I do?'' I asked.
"Yeah,'' my friend said sarcastically, "that's going to happen.''
My fiancee, having recently raised children, was appalled that I didn't have a washer and dryer.
"I can't afford the plumbing and wiring for the hookups,'' I explained.
"You already have hookups,'' she said.
"I do? Where?'' I asked. "Right there behind those two bags of dirty laundry and the ironing board with cobwebs on it,'' she said.
Slowly the home laundry began to take shape. I brought my fiancee's washer and dryer from the home she is vacating in Hudson, but the dryer didn't work.
"Maybe you can fix it,'' she said, but when I picked up the hammer and saw to begin work, she quietly took them away from me and suggested I go visit a bookstore.
Tools, like laundry, aren't my strong suit. My sole contribution, it would turn out, would be to buy a dryer and then, once again, to go visit a bookstore while she worked with the washer and the leaking faucets that hadn't been turned on for at least 15 years.
I returned to hear the hum of a running washer for the first time ever in my house.
"Did you do that?'' I asked my fiancee, who comes from a family of plumbers and knows her way around a faucet.
"Not exactly,'' she said, "I just went over and explained the situation to the neighbors, and they came right over and fixed it. They said something about the neighborhood being safer if you don't handle tools and something about you once working on a VCR with a kitchen knife and a rock.''
And so now I no longer have a dirty clothes storage problem. It has now been replaced by a clean clothes storage problem, somewhat complicated by my unwillingness to get rid of bell-bottom jeans and T-shirts with pictures and statements on them that make it so they can never be worn outside the house.
But, with the help of my kind neighbors, we are coping.
Hmmmmm. I wonder what they would do if I threatened to dig my own swimming pool?
Glidewell, Jan. "Laundry difficulties come out in the wash." St. Petersburg Times [St. Petersburg, FL] 15 May 2001: 1. Popular Magazines. Web. 29 Oct. 2009.
Gale Document Number:CJ74586289
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