Thursday, January 26, 2012

I feel empowered every time I hang my laundry on the line

It all started with a massive electric bill. I was freaking out about our last electric bill, and sat down to assess where I could cut some corners. I started unplugging things, and turning things off, and harrassing the kids (possible subject matter: "Do you really need to be listening to that music? Think of the electricity that stereo is using!" and "No. More. Nightlights.")

I'll admit it freely, I went a little overboard. After Sami got the bathroom lights turned out on him while he was in the shower and had to find his way out of the bathroom by feeling his way along the wall, and that one time I unplugged the refrigerator for a few hours and then forgot about it until all of our frozen food had defrosted, I knew I had to find a strategy that would save us money without A. all of our food going bad, or B. my husband almost breaking his toe in the dark. I had to get really proactive. I had to do some manual labor. I had to unplug some appliances for EVER. Or at least, for long periods of time. Since the dishwasher is simply not an option (I have my priorities) and the refrigerator seemed less a luxury than a necessity, I zeroed in on the laundry.

And so, in what is rapidly devolving into some sort of sick display of domesticity, I have stopped using our clothes dryer and begun hanging our laundry out to dry on the line.

There will be two different responses to this piece of information.

Some of you will want to know if my electricity has been cut off, because why else would I be pinning my underwear up to flap in the breeze for all to see. You are thinking to yourself over the hum of your Rumba and the swishing of your dishwasher: "Dude, if your dryer doesn't work you should drive to the damn laundromat. Who wants crunchy air dried underwear?" I feel ya. Or maybe I'm just feeling the underwear, which is admittedly very crunchy when dried on the line.

Some of you will wonder what took me so long, and did I think that globel warming was just some sort of MYTH? Did I think electricity just grew on TREES? Damn ugly lazy American. Hanging your clothes to dry isn't news - it's the way 90% of the people on the planet dry their clothes. And then you will shake your head in pity slash disgust, and go polish your new wind turbine or feed your worms or sew some more reusable, earth-friendly unbleached organic cotton maxipads or something.

I can see both sides of this story, and all I can say is this:

First of all, you over there on the right? You are absolutely correct - line-dried laundry is all scratchy and hard - and I need to figure out the solution to that right quick because towels that have been dried on the line are NO BUENO. I like my bathtowels soft and fluffy. Along the same lines, crunchy jeans and underwear are an issue for me too. My delicate skin, much like my delicate sensibilities, can be easiily chafed. A few years ago (hell, a few weeks ago) crunchy laundry would even be a deal-breaker. But today, when I was hanging my clothes on the line I found myself humming like Donna fucking REED between a mouthful of clothes pins. Note to self: Tomorrow, wear an apron to hang the laundry. One with pockets for the clothes pins.

And you folks over there on the left. The ones with your vegetable gardens and Priuses and your buckets of baking soda that you use for everything from laundry detergent to toothpaste? I bought a 5 pound bag of baking soda. I am all over this shit. Teach me your ways. Do they have solar powered cars yet? Or does anyone perchance have a bio-diesel car for sale that I can power with used fryer oil? And could you spare some worms?

It's like a drug, this domesticity thing. I can't get enough of it. Last week after I hung the laundry to dry, I went and washed MY WALLS. I have never washed walls in my life. It was strangely fulfilling. I needed more. So, after I hung the clothes today I went back inside and washed the dishes, and then swept and vacuumed. And when I looked at the clock it was 10am.

People, not so long ago 10am was the time I opened one eye, rolled over, and decided whether I had to pee badly enough to get out of bed, or if I should just hold it and keep sleeping. But these days, all I can think about is that the hours from 9-11am are the hours of direct sunlight on my deck. Those are PRIME LAUNDRY DRYING HOURS PEOPLE.

So tomorrow I'll be up bright and early, doing the laundry and then maybe, oh I don't know, maybe I'll beat some rugs and hunt for free-range eggs in my neighborhood and if I have time perhaps I can set up a water catchment system.

Because you would not believe the size of my water bill.


Cuppycake said...

Just use buttloads of fabric softener!

Amber, theAmberShow said...

Fabric softener. You need it.

You can use white vinegar instead of conventional stuff if you don't mind the smell. Way cheaper.

You can also finish drying towels and underwear in the dryer so they fluff out, and they only have to be in there for 10 minutes or so.