Posts Tagged ‘dryer’

Making Assumptions

September 21, 2011

I found a sock in the laundry room.

It was a woman’s sock, ankle high with a black and white argyle pattern. I found it wet and clinging to the inside of the washer when I started to load my clothes in.

Naturally I removed it. Then I contemplated what to do next.

Two of the dryers were engaged. Was it possible that this lone sock belonged in one of them—that its mate was tumbling dry alone?

Yes, I thought it was possible.

Should I open one of the dryer doors and toss in the sock? That would be easy to do. The sock’s owner would be none the wiser. In fact, putting the stray sock in the dryer might be a good deed. Unless…

…Unless I picked the wrong dryer.

It was possible that the sock belonged to the person whose clothes were in the dryer. It might even be likely. But it wasn’t certain.

If my assumption turned out to be incorrect, I would have made things worse not better.

I placed the wet sock on the folding table in the laundry room, finished loading my clothes into the washer, started the wash cycle and left.

When I returned to fetch my clothes from the washer, all the dryers were empty and the argyle sock was gone.

Did the person who picked up the sock also empty the dryers?

It’s possible. It might even be likely. But I’m not prepared to make that assumption.

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Unbalanced

September 9, 2011

This morning I used all of the dryers in my laundry room. That troubles me.

There was a reason for my profligate drying: I’d washed sheets, towels and blankets, and they required a good long tumble to dry.

Normally I would have tried to pile them into a single dryer. I’m not the sort of person who believes items that must be washed separately also must be dried separately. I’ll toss my blue dishtowels into the dryer with my white socks and sheets. No harm done.

Yet, I’ve learned from past experience that piling more than one wash-load of sheets, towels and blankets (plus socks and underwear) into a single dryer is imprudent. Overloading the dryer causes it to become unbalanced. The dryer won’t work when it’s unbalanced.

So I used all of the dryers—there are only three, but still—and I created another sort of imbalance: I took more than my share.

The laundry room has always been a test of one’s sense of entitlement. People who arrive dragging behind them six weeks’ worth of fetid apparel and accoutrements, then expect everyone to step aside while they commandeer all of the washers and dryers, don’t make many friends in the laundry room.

The machines are for everyone’s use. We share them and sometimes we use them concurrently. It’s up to us to make sure that we don’t use more than we really need; that we save some space for others so everyone has a fair share.

Unless there’s balance, things won’t run smoothly.

Washing and Reading

July 27, 2011

I’ve been thinking about the time we save by washing our clothes in washing machines versus hand-washing, scrubbing on a washboard or beating them against a rock (I guess).

Hans Rosling says that when his mother bought her first washing machine she used the time she would have spent washing clothes by hand to read to him, and to read books for her own pleasure as well. Imagine! Time to savor a novel or to learn something new.

One neighbor of mine, whom I’ll call Poppy, studied for her law school exams in the laundry room. The washers and dryers created a pleasing hum that drowned out distractions and allowed her to concentrate on her reading. Down in the basement she would be left alone, and the bright lights of the laundry room kept her awake and focused.

How many people wash and read these days?

Cover Spy occasionally catches people in the act of washing and reading, like the 20-something guy reading Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot in a Brooklyn laundromat a week or so ago.

It’s a gift, isn’t it? All that free time. We should use it wisely.

Preemptive Laundry

July 12, 2011

I met up with Punch in the laundry room. He told me he hadn’t done the wash in a long time and it was piling up. That’s unusual for Punch, who’s diligent about the wash, but sometimes life intercedes and laundry doesn’t have the priority it should. This I know from personal experience.

It’s been a busy time here and things have fallen by the wayside, including this blog. That’s not to say I haven’t been keeping up with the whites and the colors and the delicates. I have; but I haven’t had time to reflect on what it all means. The globe keeps spinning, and so does the dryer. That is what I know.

Punch and I were doing preemptive laundry, clearing out the stragglers from the bottom of the hamper. We weren’t catching up; we were moving ahead, anticipating the future and preparing for it.

There will be more dirty clothes. Punch and I are ready for them.

Laundry Day #12

April 8, 2011

Inventory:

Shirts: 15
Pants: 4
Pajamas: 2
Socks: 36
Underwear: 6
Tablecloths: 2
Napkins: 5
Dishtowels: 8

Temperature: Warm

Cost: $4.75

What have we learned?

There is so much laundry hanging in the bathroom to dry it has created its own microclimate. Outdoors it’s cold and damp. In the living room the air is dry. In the bathroom, hot and humid.

Today’s wash was darks: jeans and T-shirts with a separate load for tablecloths, cloth napkins and dishtowels that are now tumbling around in the dryer with the socks and underwear, creating yet another microclimate.

The calendar might insist that it’s spring, but laundry tells another story entirely.

Matchless

March 7, 2011

I lost a sock.

In the catalog of life’s disappointments this registers somewhere above breaking the point off a favorite pencil and far below stepping in gum. Yet, I am disappointed.

I liked the socks formerly known as a pair: brown and white striped body reaching just above the ankle and a solid brown heel and toe for accents. Although I’d owned them for years—possibly as many as ten—they were in good condition, their elastic still stretchy, their soles free of holes. I own many pairs of socks (probably more than I should, really) but I wore these frequently. Now they’re gone.

Well, not they exactly, but he…it…one. I couldn’t even say which, for socks are interchangeable in that way. First left, then right—the ultimate in apolitical. Socks don’t mind which feet they cover—not like shoes, which will tell you right off if you’ve put them on in a way they simply do not wish to be worn.

It would have been possible for a neighbor, upon finding my stray sock in the washer or dryer (for I do believe the sock disappeared in the laundry room) to tack it to the bulletin board beside the other matchless socks. I might have seen it there and taken it back. (It would be highly unlikely, but incredibly exciting, if my sock ended up here.)

But no one found my sock, or if someone did, he or she probably tossed it in the trash. I’m certain no one would have mistaken my sock for her own.

There will be other socks, but none quite like this one.

Same Laundry, Different Place

September 2, 2010

Ever since the flood in my apartment at the end of May I have been displaced. Life and laundry have not been running as smoothly as I would like.

I should say at this point that my flood, which was caused by a water main break, is nowhere near as severe or devastating as a natural flood and its aftermath. Going through the ordeal of negotiating with insurance adjusters on this comparatively small and simple job, I can only imagine what it must be like for those affected by true disaster. The insurance industry is shameful, corrupt and disgracefully indifferent to its customers and its purpose. As we approach hurricane season, I’ll be viewing the news reports with a different perspective. This article by Bob Calandra for AARP Bulletin reflects much of what is wrong with homeowner’s insurance today.

Three months into the process of repair and restoration we are painfully far from completion. Still, the laundry must be done. And I consider it the one constant in my activities during this upheaval.

The laundry room in my temporary residence is not like the one at home. The washers are smaller and more expensive. The dryers, too, cost more and do not work as efficiently. But more important to me is the personality of the facility: It is clean and comfortable enough, but it is not a friendly place. No one speaks or even makes eye contact. The sense of community found in almost every laundry room I have visited is lacking here.

Laundry still helps to soothe me and make me feel whole and “normal,” but with each wash I do I realize how much the laundry room or the local launderette provides a sense of belonging—a sense of home.

Punch is Punctual

April 14, 2010

Punch is on an organization kick, putting his finances and his life in order. He does his laundry like clockwork.

Punch won’t be the person who leaves his clothes in the dryer for thirty minutes after the cycle is complete. When Punch is in the laundry room with you, you’d best be punctual too.

Punctuality is an overlooked courtesy in a society in which “a flight is counted as on time if it operated less than fifteen minutes after the scheduled time” (says the U.S. Department of Transportation) and “a train is considered on time if it reaches its final destination within five minutes and fifty-nine seconds of its scheduled arrival time” (says the Long Island Rail Road). Boston’s MBTA sets its standard at four minutes and fifty-nine seconds, which only diminishes its on-time performance. Punch must find domestic travel an endless source of frustration.

I’d recommend Punch for U.S. Secretary of Transportation, or at least chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York. The trains would run on time and no one would put their feet on the seats. Punch wouldn’t permit it.

About ten minutes before my dryer cycle was going to finish, the phone rang. For a moment I considered letting the call go to voice mail. The dryers all were full and I knew Punch had his sheets in the washer. Instead, I answered the phone, talked for fifteen minutes, then hung up and bolted to the laundry room. By the time I got there, my laundry had been removed from the dryer and piled into one of the two laundry carts. Punch’s pink sheets were tumbling around in its place.

Punch sometimes has difficulty forgiving the failings of others. I hope he made an exception in my case.

Hanging Out

March 14, 2010

Project Laundry List is pursuing an interesting crusade: attempting to convince people—Americans in particular—to line dry their clothes instead of using tumble-dryers. You’d think this wouldn’t be a difficult task, but you’d be wrong.

Americans love their creature comforts—Hummers, cathedral ceilings, electric can openers—most of which (not so coincidentally) are energy hogs. Tumble-dryers are no exception: The Department of Energy estimates that they account for 6 percent of household energy usage in the United States. That seems extreme, and avoidable, which is part of Project Laundry List’s reason for being.

Making the campaign an uphill battle is that fact that line-drying laundry is actually—and bizarrely—against the law in many communities in the United States. This is somewhat akin to prohibiting people from riding bikes and walking, and forcing them to drive SUVs instead.

To someone, somewhere, this makes sense. Not to me. I’m in favor of hanging out.

Laundry Day #2

February 23, 2010

Inventory:

Sheets: 2
Pillowcases: 2
Underwear: 11
Pants: 6
Shirts: 14
Socks: 47

Temperature: Warm/Hot

Cost: $6.25

What have we learned?

Laundry is a word problem.

The price of one wash in a normal washer is $1.75. The price of one wash in the triple-loader, which theoretically—but not actually—holds three times the amount of a single washer, is $3. The price of 30 minutes in the dryer is $1.50. If we washed and dried all of the items listed above, which combination of washers and dryers did we use?

Do the math.