Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pray for Me and My Laundry

I’m not a fan of doing laundry... this is no secret, but here in the Philippines laundry has taken on a completely different form. And it’s ugly. Did anyone know that there are washing machines that aren’t automatic? As in, a manual washing machine? Meaning you have to stand there a switch the machine from cycle to cycle by hand. In an evolutionary sense, this is one step above a bucket and a washboard.

Let me give you a little lesson, we’ll call it... Manual Washing Machine 101: This is going to get old really fast.

Step 1- Plug in the washing machine.

In the Philippines they unplug everything, partly to do with saving energy because electricity is so expensive, and partly because the system is faulty and it’s possible to burn your house down.

Step 2- Make sure the water is on.

My oh, so wonderful laundry room is located outside. Well...there are walls, but I’m pretty sure I could stick my hand through them if I wanted, and there is a ceiling... but it reminds me of a ceiling you would see in a green house, and it leaks... so no laundry while its raining....and since it rains sometime during the day everyday, you have to time it just right. So to turn the water on, you have to go outside and turn the knob to let the water flow through the pipe to the washer.

Step 3- Turn the water faucet on located on top of washer, and let fill to desired level.

This is where that whole automatic thing comes into play. In most houses, this water knob is located at the back of the washer and you never see it. Your wondrous water is always on, and when you press a button it comes out and then stops a certain level.... here is the Philippines I am not so lucky. I have to stand there and watch the washer fill with water. Now, this might not be so horrible if the water didn’t come out as a slow trickle.

Step 4- Add Soap.

This may sound simple enough... but no. I went to the store, I found Tide! I get really excited to find anything American. So, Tide... sweet victory right? No. The Tide here is the super hero version of the one in the States. The first load of laundry I did resulted in an overflow of bubbles... it took me half an hour just to rinse all the bubbles out of the dang washing machine.

Step 5- Turn knob to the “Wash Cycle” setting.

This is the only thing automatic about this machine, it swirls the water around... WhooHoo!

Step 6- Make sure washer is connected to drainage pipe, then drain water.

The first part of this is really important. I know from experience...imagine that. The tube from the washer, that is supposed to lead to the pipe, to drain the water, had been disconnected. So on try number one.... the whole laundry room flooded. My day just kept getting better and better as you can see. But, not a big deal really, it seeped under my make shift walls and out the driveway, so it could have been worse.

Step 7- Remove clothes from washer and place in the “Spinner.”

The spinner can fit about 4 of Lee’s shirts.... 5 if I really shove them in there. But I had no idea what it was, I thought it was a dryer.... I was mistaken. It was at this point where I went inside to get Chat to help me. Chat is is a glorious angel, a gift from God... also known as the housekeeper. Twice a week when she walks through the

door, the clouds part, the sun shines and all it right with the world. I love her.

Anyway, she came outside, mainly to laugh at me. She showed me how it worked, and then asked, “How old

are you?” Which I found to be offensive.... its not that I don’t know how to wash clothes, I have done plenty of

laundry... I am just not used to washing my clothes in a machine that just stepped out of 1902. And who ever heard of a spinner anyway. (I said the same thing to Lee when he got home from work. He said they have spinners at the gym. But how the heck should know about that, it’s not like I ever go there either.)

Step 8- While clothes are “spinning,” re-fill machine with water. Turn water off at desired level.

So, I know that one of these days I’m going to forget, and leave the water on too long and it will run over and flood the laundry room. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Step 9 - Put clothes in water to rinse

Step 10 - Drain...again.

Step 11 - Put clothes back in spinner...again.

Step 12 - Hang on the line to dry

Ha... its a 12 step program.

In case I didn’t mention it before... there is no dryer. That’s right... In fact when I first looked at the house there were two machines side by side... so naturally I assumed, a washer and a dryer. This is not the case. I have my 1902 washer/spinner... and a slightly newer, automatic washer... that doesn’t drain. I found this out the hard way. I opened it up.... shoved my brand new towels in, and then realized I couldn’t get it to work. So I pulled the towels out to find they had turned a nice shade of brown, and smelled of mildew. Since the washer doesn’t drain, whoever did laundry in there last... and who knows how long ago that was, left a nice puddle of nasty water. Lovely.

As far as the line drying goes... its not that bad. Well, depending on which way the wind is blowing. I took all my clothes out and hung them to dry... just as a huge black cloud rolled over my house and started to pour. I’ve never seen rain like this. There are no signs at all, the sky just opens up and spits at you. And it hurts! Luckily, it wasn’t windy... so my clothes stayed semi dry in the car port.

I bet you we are the only house in the neighborhood with Polo shirts and True Religions hanging

on the line. :)