Saturday, January 30, 2010

Washing Machine, Washing Machine

NOTE: This is a back-logged story, one that I wrote while I was still training, but I wanted to post it because I wanted to cheer my dad up. I promised myself that while writing this blog I would keep it funny and light, no touchy feely stuff, but I had no idea something bad would happen to my family so soon in my service. I am going say the emotional stuff in a few sentences then get back to the humor, because that is how my entire family does it.

My Uncle Danny passed away last week from liver cancer. It happened quickly, we only found out he was sick right before Christmas. Hearing of his death, I was and am still crushed. If I had one word to describe him, it would be big. He was a big guy with an even bigger personality and a big capacity for love. He loved everyone tremendously, and as his niece, I definitely could feel that and appreciate it! My favorite memories will be him answering Trivial Pursuit questions correctly every time, then getting persuaded out of his answers by his teammates (Jess and my father!) only to find out he was right, then laugh really hard about it rather than getting annoyed that he was talked out of his answer. I am going to miss him a lot.

I wrote this about 2 ½ months ago when I did my laundry for the first time:

My father can be often heard repeating the same rhyme over and over, it falling on the deaf ears of his jaded daughters: The washing machine, the washing machine The greatest invention I’ve ever seen.
Clothes go in dirty and they come out clean. The washing machine, the washing machine!

I say jaded because we have heard that rhyme so many times, it fails to interest us anymore, until just recently for me, when I did my laundry here for the very first time. Being the daughter of the greatest parents ever, I never learned how to cook, because my mother is the best cook and I can’t top it. My father, he’s the laundry guy. He’s self-proclaimed “Mr. 99%”, saying he does 99% of the work in the household. I am not going to touch that, but he is Mr. 99% stain remover. Jessica used to really challenge him when we were growing up (actually, to this day). I used to give him gum in the pockets and grass stains, but Messy Jessie used to go for the gusto with ketchup, chocolate ice cream, white-out, pen ink, grease, and my dad got ‘em all. To this day I don’t think that spaghetti sauce stains, although I have been told it most certainly does. Jess used to spill lasagna, rigatoni and the perpetual perpetrator, meatball subs, all down the front of her shirt and I have never seen one of these stains stay put.

My whole point of view has changed here. I do my laundry by hand, with the help of a small motorized tub that agitates clothes in water you have to pour from the faucet into the tub after heating the water up. This machine can’t handle sweatshirts or jeans (the bulk of my wardrobe) and probably holds about ¼ of my normal loads from home (although to be fair, I have portion control issues with the washing machine too, all my loads need 2 cycles to dry). After the clothes are agitated, they are scrubbed by my own two hands, then rinsed in a tub of water and wrung out. Jeans, sweatshirts, underwear and anything that is stained is washed by hand in the outside shower room. This, ladies and gents, is a long process, and messy, I get SOAKED. Sevinj always laughs when I do the laundry because I return to the house wet from head to toe.

After all this, I wring the clothes out again and line-dry. The wringing is the worst part. I have very small hands and weak arms. Wringing out anything bigger than a pair of socks poses an issue for me. My sweatshirt takes about a week to line dry because I can’t squeeze the water out properly, it’s too heavy and bulky. When I wring it, I have to basically hug it as hard as I can, hence me looking like I just had a fight with the shower head when I go back into the house. My arms and hands are exhausted after the 2-hour process. The worst part is that my clothes aren’t even ready to use by the end of it, because they need a few days to line-dry. It can’t be like college when I waited to that last pair of holey stretched-out bright neon underwear to bring my laundry home to my dad to do what he does better than the rest. Here I have to plan at least 2-days in advance or else I am going commando (and it‘s getting cold in the classroom, you don‘t want to sit on those seats without a barrier for your derriere)! Lucky for me I brought 20 pairs of underwear!

Anyways, today I found out that this labor-intensive process doesn’t even get all the stains out!! My cute white skirts has pen and mud stains on it that the miracle that is the Tide Pen can’t even get out. A word on the Tide Pen; if applied quickly to the stain, it will even get out pomegranate juice, which is deadly to clothes. Anywho, I am thinking about dying the white skirt, any suggestions on a color that may last longer than a few weeks in this country?

I was lucky in my youth, having laundry done for me by a god-sent-guru, even through my college years. Living only an hour away during that time I always brought the laundry home and never learned the art of stain-fighting. Now am forced into dyeing my light-colored clothing. My father still holds the stain-fighting heavy-weight title, but I would like to see him try to fight these stains without the “greatest invention he’s ever seen”.


  1. Hi Amy---Everything sounds great there- your blogs are very interesting. We are doing as well as can be expected considering Uncle Dan's passing-he is sorely missed-but not in pain anymore- i like the blog on washing the clothes that must be hard and then trying to drythem--ugh--I was confused on the wedding blog that they call it a "Toy" different- keep the blogs coming I am enjoying reading them. Love & miss you Aunt Mary

  2. Dad says, "See, now they appreciate what a great invention the washing machine is! I remember having to do laundry with just a wringer washer." I'm still laughing!

  3. Stay awway from the red sauce! You'll never get it out.

    I have yet to do one load of laundry in a laundromat so far. I've been doing it at home.

    Dye it.... blue. You knew I would say that. It's best and won't show dirt. If not blue, some sort of darker color or dying it becomes a moo point :-)

  4. Hey Cuz... u should know that your blogs crack me up. Between reading your mom's writings and yours I have realized you Kings are not well people! BE SAFE. LOVE YA!

  5. You have a motorized tub to soak your clothes and you're still complaining?! Back in my day (yesterday), Peace Corps volunteers in Nicaragua were forced to use concrete winks and washboards to wash their clothes, and if you wanted to motorize the clothes you had soaking in water, you were using your hands to move the clothes around. You sissy.
    That being said, our clothes dry much faster since we're a bit closer to the equator and would die if we wore anything as heavy as a sweatshirt. Keep wringing out the clothes, you'll come back to the states after 2 years with forearms like Popeye :)