07:04:23 am on
Sunday 21 Jul 2024

Wishy Washy
Jennifer Flaten

I do a lot of laundry, not because I like it, I do not. In fact, I loathe laundry, mainly because the washing room is located in the bowels of the building. To make matters worse, the washer and dryer lurk in an old workroom lit by one single bulb that even fresh out of the box looks dim.

Though I prefer to stay away from that room, it not likely, as society requires clothing. San Francisco doesn’t have a public nudity law. Many people, mostly men, wander around, shopping or going to restaurants, nude.

Wisconsin is cold, for too many months, and clothes are necessary. Thus, I must provide clean clothes for the family. This means I have to go into the laundry room.

Nor am I particularly good at the laundry. I don’t believe in sorting by color, just on general principals. My goal is to shove all the clothes into the machine, start it and get the heck out of there.

For me, permanent press is the only setting. Don’t even ask about ironing, unless you want to express the wool setting up close and personal. Moreover, there’s nowhere to put my muffins as I stuff the washer or dryer.

Even though the wash machine and I have a daily date, it wasn’t enough. Apparently jealous of all the attention the vacuum was getting, the washer decided to stage a protest. As there was the Arab spring, there seems a summer washer, at my home.

The washer started malfunctioning. Actually, I am surprised the machine lasted this long, this family has a history of abusing its appliances. The wash machine is no exception.

No one is capable of emptying his or her pockets, and, yes, even I who knows better, before sending the laundry down the chute. I find all sorts of interesting things in the wash machine coins, which I confiscate for my retirement fund; toys, girly stuff, such as lip-gloss or hair ribbons, and once I found several ski masks and few small tools. Seeing, as it was summer, I had to question whether I have children or a band of miniature burglars.

To get my attention the wash machine employed a variety of tricks. It overflowed, dripped from locations unknown and failed to spin the clothes. Thus far, I’ve managed to ignore all its pathetic pleas for attention. Yesterday, I couldn’t ignore the drain sink, which was overflowing with water from the wash machine.

I took one look at the murky water and decided there is no way I am putting my arm in there. I am willing to do many icky things for this family, but sticking my arm into a tub of cold, dirty water where who knows what is lurking? No.

I’ve seen the movie and I know how it ends. Right now, I have a large neon “victim” sign flashing over my head. If I stick my arm in there, I will end up sucked into some other dimension or at the very least wet and squishy.

Still, I have to fix it. I employed that great all-purpose tool, a broom handle. The broom handle not only guides the broom but it is good for unclogging things, poking things and squishing things. After poking the broom around the sink, I finally fished out a waterlogged sock and with a slurp; the drain was working once again.

I make a mental note to buy the washing machine some flowers and then beat a hasty retreat out of the laundry room.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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