Tuesday, June 6, 2017

And Piles to Go Before I Sleep

Write what you know, they say, which is what I’m doing as I wedge this post in between today’s fourth and 45th load of laundry.

Life may be short but laundry is eternal when you have two teens involved in things such as high school sports and taking a bazillion Snapchat photos of themselves, the latter of which requires changing outfits like spastic cable remotes change channels. Which reminds me of an old joke:

Q: Why don’t men do laundry?
A: Because the washer and dryer don’t operate on remote control! 

Ha! Outdated gender role stereotyping!

Sorry, Neanderthals. Today’s manufacturers make washer and dryers equipped with Wi-Fi. But not so you can pre-treat stains while watching WWE “Smackdown” highlights because that would actually be awesome. These modern marvels connect to smartphone apps that will let you know anywhere at just a glance:
  • How much time is left in the rinse cycle; 
  • Whether you need to add time to the dryer setting, and; 
  • The interest on the loan you’ll have to take out to pay for fixing this over-engineered feature no one really needs. 
Even the simplest functions of modern washing machines require the approval of a MIT-programmed on-board computer. For example, some time back during a rare off-day from keeping the colorfast from the bleeders, I walked into a lake that used to be our laundry room. The internet diagnosed this as a water inlet valve leak. Not the inevitable result of mechanical wear and tear of something repeatedly opening and closing but from a short in the computer sensor that told the doohickey to open and close the valves.

I showed it who was boss, though. For two solid weeks, I turned on — BY HAND — the water lines values to the machine whenever washing had to be done, and then twisted them off at day’s end. Then I tended to my blisters, sold a spare kidney and had it repaired.

Fun laundry fact: The first washing machine resembling today’s versions was invented in 1874 by merchant William Blackstone. He created it for his wife as a birthday present. Upon receipt, Mrs. Blackstone created the Reno divorce. Per the court record: “William, all I wanted was for one blessed day of the year that you scrub the inside of your own soiled britches!”

Scientific advances in the laundering sciences abound. On a slew of recent college campus tours around Connecticut with my daughter, I learned that several institutions of higher learning have gotten even higher — tuition, wise — in part because they’ve spent your checks on tricking out the dorm laundry rooms. With a finger tap on the mobile device of his or her choice, your little bank-account drainer can see if any washers are available for use before they load up their baskets and head home for free cleaning and folding.

I actually find comfort and accomplishment in laundry. You start with a pile of the smelly, dirty items people have discarded; sort according to material, color and country of origin (you’ll know why if you’ve ever mixed Mexican and Chinese takeout); apply soap, water and the proper curse words; and the result is a pile of spring-scented, gleamingly clean items that your family will go out its way to walk around for the next week because the only thing worse than doing laundry is putting laundry away.

Oh, how I know.

-- A version of this post was first ignored by the readers of The (Stamford) Advocate.

Photo credit: IvanClow via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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