Sunday, April 10, 2011

My winter laundry woes

I suppose I haven’t had the chance yet to tell you about my laundry-related frustrations this winter? No? Well, allow me to do so now.

This winter, I felt for the first time the sly cruelty of nature when it comes to laundry. It usually goes like this: I wake up in the morning to a merry ray of sunshine and a clear blue sky with some puffy white clouds, which convinces me that today, after weeks of rain, it’s finally going to be a good day for hanging the laundry outside.

I hurry to load the washing machine, and when it finishes working I dash outside with my laundry basket and clothespins, and start hanging up the washing. As I do so, I look up with a worried expression: the puffy white clouds which looked so harmless from my bedroom window have become a threatening mass of grey, and it seems as though it’s going to rain… well… sometime in the day, hopefully not right now, I optimistically tell myself as I boldly try to ignore the darkening sky.

As I peg up the last pair of socks, I feel the first droplets of rain on my face.

Moving as quickly as possible, I throw all the washing pell-mell back into the basket, and run back inside. I open up the drying rack in the children’s room (where it barely fits, but I don’t like putting it in the living room), and hang the washing there.

After fifteen minutes of rain which would have made Noah hurry and prepare the Arc for setting off, the sky clears again, and now I’m facing a dilemma: should I take the washing back outside, and risk it will start raining again – or perhaps I shouldn’t bother and just leave it inside, where it will be days until it’s finally dry, compared with just a few hours outside?

I decide to play the daredevil. Huffing and puffing, I pick up the full drying rack (because surely, you can’t expect me to take all the washing back off again, and replace it on the clothesline!) and carry it outside. A couple of socks fall in the process, and I resolve to go back after them later (by the way, we’ve broken the record over the number of lost socks this winter). I place the laundry rack in the back yard, and tell myself that if the sunshine lasts even for two or three hours, the effort will have been worth it.

As I’m about to turn back and go inside, it starts raining once more.

Sure, it has not been so every day, because after all, Israel has plenty of sunny days even in winter, and there were also days which were so decidedly rainy from dawn till dusk that it was obvious hanging the laundry outside isn’t an option. But the aforementioned scenario occurred enough times throughout the winter to make me feel I’m wasting way too much time and effort on what is supposed to be a pleasant and simple chore (hang up in the morning, take off, fold and put away in the afternoon).

When it was just the two of us, a rainy week would simply mean no laundry, and nothing would happen – we have a large enough supply of clean socks and towels, after all. But with two little ones, I do enough loads per week to make me absolutely drown in laundry if I forego washing for a week or two. Especially now before Pesach, when so much extra washing must be done: blankets, bags, bed, and armchair and sofa covers. All this makes me wish I had a dryer, for the first time in my life, just for those rainy days - even though I have absolutely nowhere to put it, and even though it would probably stand unused throughout most of the year.

Oh well. It’s already April, so I know it will all be over very soon – the rain will be gone, and throughout all summer, every day will be a good day for laundry, with a lot (even too much) sunshine, and all my washing will be dry in a flash.

Then I can go back, read this, and smile. 


Beka said...

Shalom Mrs. Anna. What a terrible situation. I can sympathize with your situation even though my family, we hang our laundry over racks on the staircase. We have almost four racks per person. DO you have a staircase you can fix a rack over? It must be a busy time with 2 under 2. I hear you can hang laundry on bed-posts, shower curtain posts (is that what u call them?), and over backs of chairs. Is Israel very humid, or dry? Where I live the humidity is...really really humid. And the heat is hot. Hot all year round and no winter, though we do get rainy seasons. May G-d bless you AND your family this Pesach may it be special and even more meaningful than ever before. Shalom, Beka.

Beth M. said...

I've been having the same frustration lately, even though I do have a dryer. I didn't have a clothesline until recently, and I'm very excited about using it and saving on our electrical bill, but the weather has been less than cooperative. I was going to hang diapers out today but then it was cloudy and threatening rain all morning. It's finally cleared up now so I'm about to hang them out, and hope the hours left before the sun goes down will be enough to dry everything!

Lady Anne said...

Oh dear! I know all of the verses to this song, and many of the steps to the dance! Do I, don't I? Up, down? Usually, if the weather is on-and-off rainy, I just hang things where I can indoors and then put them outside tomorrow, because it is so humid the clothes wouldn't dry anyway. My sheets always go on the line, even if I have to fold them up and put them in the freezer (!) until I get a decent day to put them out on the line. And yes, I once thawed out some sheets, thinking they were a package of filo.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, I just leave the stuff on the line to be rained on. It has to be things that don't hang close to the ground to mud doesn't spatter back up onto the clothes. They are already wet, a little more water won't hurt, and they will dry. This method works really well with linen clothing. There are practically no wrinkles when they do dry out.

Sammy said...

This is a very nice piece of writing.

Anonymous said...

Buy a cheap fan-a table fan, or a pedestal fan or a standing fan and keep it on near the clothes rack for a while on the rainy days, the clothes will dry much faster.

Kittee said...

Sadly my community doesn't allow clothes lines! I have to use a dryer.

Melanie said...

I'm so, so glad I'm not the only one having this problem!

Up until now I lived in a dry climate. I couldn't hang my clothes outside (stupid bylaws!) but they would dry quick enough inside because the air was so devoid of moisture.

This winter I've been able to hang my clothes outside... but I moved to a wet climate where days like you've described seem to happen every time I try to do laundry! And the clothes take several days to dry inside because the air is so damp.

Anonymous said...

You need something like this:

You can hang it over the bath, out of reach of children.

Anonymous said...

Too true, Anna! And, as one of your commenters has said, one runs out of room to hang the laundry indoors! I have been fortunate enough to hang out two loads of laundry so far this year. And the first one probably wasn't a very good idea: there really IS such a thing as too windy when it comes to line-drying our laundry. I nearly lost a couple things!

thinking of you-

Nea said...

That's just like the summer here in the shoutest Finland on the coast :) Really annoying!

tales_from_the_crib said...

At least you've got rain. It hasn't rained since Mid-March and my vegetable garden is stunted and dying. Look for the blessings! At least my laundry is dry!

Anonymous said...

Can you put an extra pole like the one you have to hang the shower curtain inside your tub area up high? I put one there , even temporarily to hang things on hangers or over to dry. Plus use the actual shower rod too to hang things. Also I put the clothes drying rack inside the tub at times. Of course if the little ones need to get a bath the rack being there in there that would not do! :) Some people even hang a pole between the hall walls for temporary drying space. I have outside lines but as you said it does rain! Sarah