Laundry, Tisvildeleje 1993 marker and watercolor on paper 6 x 8 inches 

I love laundry.  At least I love it in an abstract way.  If things are a bit overwhelming, I always have laundry to take my mind off things, to help me feel like I am doing something.  Yeah, I know it is a pain in the ass and it never stops.  And, it’s amazing how quickly it builds up.  But for me, it gives me some sort of pleasure, some sort of sense of accomplishment to keep it under control.  I just love making order out of chaos in general, but that’s probably pretty heavy.  Let’s just say, I find it very gratifying to finish the laundry - to have it all folded neatly, or hanging on hangers - to know everything is clean - that there is no dirty laundry lurking in any closet.

When I used to have machines in my own place - which was always until three years ago, I used to do a load or two everyday.  When my kids were little, we moved to this house and inherited the W/D.  When my youngest son was eight, in fact on his eighth birthday, he had a terrible emergency appendectomy and was in the hospital for four days.  One of the two times my husband ever did laundry, I asked him from the hospital to wash my new white tee shirt and bring it to me.  He did.  It had rust stains on it!  I don’t know how he did that but somewhere on one of the machines was some rust, and he found it.  (The second time he ever did laundry, he got bleach spots all over his new pants!)

Our next machines were an Amana all in one unit - full sized.  It was great - I loved it.  But, we moved to an apartment and so I had to get used to new machines.  Our next place had a European all-in-one W/D - that is one tub that washes and then dries.  That was the biggest pain in the ass - and - it only would fit one sheet at a time and took 3 or 4 hours, after which time everything would be permanently wrinkled.  How do Europeans do laundry?  We ended up getting some other machines.  After a few years I got my favorite dryer ever!  It was fabulous - it didn’t require one of those big air hose things hooked up to the outside.  It had a drawer that collected all the water and you just had to empty it.  I miss that machine.  We moved again and now - much to my distress, our apartment doesn’t have a washer or dryer.  Getting them is some sort of major do involving the co-op board.  

For a long time after we moved in I mourned the loss of my own machines.  No more could I  put a load in whenever I needed a distraction.  No more cold I have the feeling that I kept on top of the laundry always.  I had to get used to having it pile up in laundry bags and baskets and then lug it all down to the basement to do.  The worst part was the constantly saving quarters.  You would think for all the maintenance we pay they could have installed a change machine.

Anyway, we got new machines, four brand new washers and three brand new dryers.  And, they work on a smart card - no more quarters.

Today I had my second best laundry experience - or maybe third, I just remember the time when I was little and my mother let me practice ironing while she was doing the laundry.  I was ironing underpants and she was singing along with Frank Sinatra (wow - I do have a good memory of my mother after all) - but the experience still only ranks as #3 best).  Today, #2 best, I had an absolute shit-load of laundry.  I had two huge bags - one too heavy to even lift.  I hauled it all down to the basement trying to tell myself not to worry that it is like how you always find a parking spot at the mall if you don’t worry about it - only it was if I don’t worry then some or all of the machines won’t be already in use.  I hate that.  You get all psyched up to do laundry and then you have to wait.

Well today, I went down and I could tell when the elevator doors opened that all the machines were empty.  Yea.  I got to do four loads simultaneously and then two more while the first stuff was drying.  It was like clockwork.  There was so much clean laundry, I had to make three trips back upstairs with it.

My best all time laundry experience was in Tisvildeleje, Denmark.  We were staying in an absolutely fabulous little house on that backed onto a national forest and was a short walk from the beach.  The washing machine was in a cute little building across from the kitchen window.  There was no dryer - but it didn’t matter - they had a clothesline.  Hanging stuff up and letting it blow in the fresh air just really pleased me.  Well, It was kind of cold there actually, for June, and damp.  So after about 24 hours, I kind of had to think of Plan B.  That is when I rigged up a clothesline inside the little house and dried the laundry by the old wood burning stove.  I found the whole experience to be so pleasurable, I did a little painting of it: Laundry, Tisvildeleje.

Here another little watercolor I did in Tisvildelege:

Hyacinths, Tisvildeleje 1993 marker and watercolor on paper 6 x 8 inches

originally published: August 27, 2009

© Trixie Pitts 2009