Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Maybe there is an ancient Chinese secret to laundry

Darren’s laundry entry made me think about my obsession with laundry.

I don’t like doing laundry. I don’t like the concept of laundry. I however do like the process of laundry and the laundry facilities. Just when you thought my OCD was only a minor trait.

I love the process so much that I have recently purchased a three sorter laundry cart with wheels. This thing is behemoth. I can’t hide this sucker behind a chair or in a closet. It’s the SUV of laundry carts and boy do I love it.

Now instead of sorting before we wash, we instinctively drop our dirty laundry in the appropriate sorter. By the end of the week, the sorter is full and we can just dump the colors, the whites and jeans in the washing machine quickly.

To add to my laundry happiness, our building just signed a new contract with a laundry vendor that seems to be responsive. We have 2 giant triple loaders, 5 regular washers and 6 giant dryers. The company also installed two oscillating fans, cleaned the sink, added a fresh tiled floor, a coat of paint and 4 new carts to our laundry room.

At this point I turn from Pantrygirl, mildly amusing laundry enthusiast to Pantrygirl, second cousin to Raymond Babbitt. Contrary to what you say Lrudlrick, I'm not the only person that talks to herself.

Firstly, I have to keep all the doors closed. When I enter the laundry room and see the dryer doors swung open and swaying freely, I have to close every one of them before I can start putting my clothes in the washers. If the carts are strewn about, I have to line them in a row to the left of the dryers. To me, that’s their home and they should go home when they finish their job.

I also like to use sequential machines but I think everyone does.

Lastly and perhaps the most disturbing part of my laundry routine is my need to make signs. I like to label things. I like making lists. So when the building sent out a notice to ask everyone to keep track of the breakage rate of the new machines, I did what I do best; I made up signs.

Yes, I’m the freak that makes the pretty signs in your apartment building. I’m the one that makes the printed sign with double stick removable adhesive on the front door that says, “Please close the door.”

I made laminated signs with the laundry vendor’s phone number to call for service and reimbursement of lost money. I also made a spreadsheet with instructions to list the washer or dryer number that broke down and to call the company for a refund and request a repair. I printed it out on cardstock so it was sturdy, pinned it onto the bulletin board next to the lending library in our laundry room and attached a pen tied to a string onto the board.

I even considered making removable ‘Out of Order’ index cards so residents can tack them onto the machine to warn others. I nixed the idea because even I thought that was a bit extreme. Watch I do this next month.

Now we can monitor the machines and request replacements as stated in our contract.

Every week when I came down to do my wash, I would take delight in seeing my list be put to use. Yes, I know I have a problem.

I’ve noticed that my compulsion is steering towards the left behinds. Left behinds are those errant socks, mostly kid socks, that get left in our laundry room. I am so tempted to take them and tack them artistically on our bulletin board. The only thing holding me back is my fear of touching someone else’s clothes, clean or dirty.

So that’s my idiosyncratic tendencies when it comes to laundry. I’m not a laundry Nazi but I do take delight in organizing a laundry room. My brother will probably tell me it’s a dormant gene from some distant relative who may have owned a laundry. I don’t yell at people to avoid slamming doors. In fact I don’t speak to anyone when I’m doing my laundry. I just turn up my iPod and do my wash. I don’t even think my building knows I’m the one that makes up all the signs. I’m just the woman with the two dogs,the 4” inch pumps and the giant laundry sorter.

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