Friday, November 07, 2008

The Trouble With Doing Laundry In An Apartment

I need to start washing laundry before I've exhausted all other underwear options. For example, this week I've worn pantyhose, bathing suit bottoms, and leggings in lieu of proper undergarments. Now, it's not so much that the alternatives to underwear don't provide the same basic service...they all keep my shit contained. It's just...well, I feel like I should just go ahead to do the laundry already. We've got two people in this household. TWO! That's an extremely reasonable number, capable of wearing only so many clothes in a day.

But the laundry room! It's on a different floor! And what if someone else decided to do laundry 5 minutes ago? They will beat me to the laundry rooms, and they will take all the washing machines, and I will have dragged all our dirty laundry upstairs for no reason. So I'll either have to sit guard and stake out my claim on the washing machines, or risk someone else walking in and taking the machines just as the first person clears them out, in which case I'll have dragged all our dirty laundry upstairs for a second time, all for naught. I could run upstairs quickly and scout out the current status of the washing machines, and if they're vacant, I could run back downstairs, grab the clothes, drag them upstairs and snag the machines. Except, what if someone arrives in the meantime, and steals the washing machines out from under my nose? Well, then I'm right back at square one.

Then we have the issue of quarters. Do I have quarters? Yes, I have quarters. Do I have ENOUGH quarters? Well, to determine that, I'll first have to sort the laundry so that it's in piles approximately the size of the inside of the washing machines (machines of varying sizes, I might add), taking color and fabric into consideration, then determine how many total loads I will need to wash. What if I have some whites, but not enough for a full load? Do I forgo the bleach this time and simply combine the few whites with other pale, non-bleeding colors? Or do I wait to do whites until next time (who knows when that will be)? Can I live another day without the whites?!

So let's say I get all of the loads laid out in piles on the floor. Now it's time to count the quarters. It's $1.50 to wash and $1.25 to dry for 60 minutes, $1.50 for 72 minutes. I've got enough quarters for all of the loads to wash, but not to dry, so I will have to get in my car and drive to the car wash and deposit cash into the change maker in exchange for quarters. But all I have is a $20. So I'll be carrying back 5lbs of coins in my pajama bottom pockets (that's all I wear at home, and yes, I frequently walk around in public looking like I expect to fall fast asleep at any moment), and they're likely to drop around my ankles as I'm walking back from my car into the apartment. But, whatever. So I flash a few folks. So I'll have too many quarters for this time, but not enough for next time. I'll just do this dance again in 6 weeks.

Okay, I've got all the quarters. Now I have to determine which loads will dry in 60 minutes, and which loads will dry in 72 minutes. Well, this one has jeans, so perhaps it will need more dry time. But if I combine all the jeans together in one load, they will be too heavy for the machines, and get all wrinkled up together in the dryer. So I'll split them up between this load of towels and this load of t-shirts. The addition of the jeans changes the drying dynamic of the towel and t-shirt loads, however. So I must reconsider my original dry time estimations.

Now, assuming I figure all of this stuff out, and I get my clothes up to the laundry room, and the washing machines are free, and I have enough quarters, and everything is going off without a hitch. Well, now I've got to remember to set a timer for 25 minutes when I get back to our apartment, because I'm likely to lose track of time and forget to go throw the clothes from the washers into the dryers. When I finally realize it's been an hour and a half, I'll have to put on my pants and race upstairs to the laundry room, where I'll either find an irate Russian lady* who has been waiting an hour for the inconsiderate asshole to return and quit hogging the washing machines, OR I'll find all of my clothes laying in wet heaps on the floor beside the washing machines, because the irate Russian lady decided to take matters into her own hands (they're good at that, the Russians) and remove the inconsiderate asshole's clothing from her way.

Same problem applies to the dryers, but those drying times are invariably about 3 minutes apart because I started one and then began filling the next, so that by the time I return to my apartment, I don't know HOW long I should set the timer for, if I even remember to do it at all.

Don't even get me started on the lint traps.

Once I've successfully wrangled all of the clean, considerably fluffier clothing back to our apartment, then I have to race the onset of the wrinkling. Then there's the folding and the hanging and the putting away of the clothing. The process of washing laundry in an apartment takes HOURS AND HOURS of my Sunday, and cuts considerably into my pant-less drinking time. Naturally, I wait to wash laundry until we're running out of clean clothes. Which probably makes the task just that much more difficult, since then I'm dragging two heavy bags of dirty clothes, carrying one basket, and kicking the detergent up the stairs.

All of that said, I'm sure you'll understand how I came to be wearing a brassiere on my ass today.

*We have an unusually high ratio of Russians to non-Russians in our apartment building, presumably because we're right next door to the Russion Baptist Church. I swear I'm not making that up.