So, to give you a little more insight into what goes on here, I am providing a detailed look at some mundane things. Today, its the laundry.
Let’s start by saying that in general, I don’t do my own laundry. Sudakker takes care of it all, and I enjoy that immensely. No more do I have to search for clean clothes for the kids in the morning because I have failed to catch up on my laundry for the last week…now he comes each day like clockwork and throws a load in. All that we have to do is make sure the laundry is piled up by the door of each room. (If it was piled or thrown anywhere, he would still find it and do it, but I have been insisting that the kids at least put it in the same place each morning before he arrives.)
However, the method of doing laundry is much different here. The industrial-sized washers and dryers in each house that we are used to are gone. Instead, we have a small ringer washer and a clothesline. The washer is currently placed outside on the balcony on floor 3 right outside the master bedroom.
The first time I tried to do laundry myself, there was definitely a learning curve. First, the washer had to be turned on. So, I press the button…and nothing happens. Turns out that the electricity to that outlet is off, and the outlet first has to be switched on in order to get going. Ok, I figured that out. Next, choose the water level and add the detergent. Ok, got that. Finally, start it up. Nothing happens. Ok, ponder for a moment….then realize that the water has to be turned on also. So, I follow the hose to turn on the water. It comes out as nothing more than a trickle. As it trickles out, I think, “this is not right”. Luckily, I knew of one more switch that must need to be on…the water pump for the house, located, conveniently, in the master bedroom! (the switch, not the pump). So, I go inside, turn that on and come back out. Yes, the washer is filling. Unfortunately, as much water as is going into the washer is also coming out of the hose attachment. The thing leaks like a seive. A huge puddle is forming on the roof. A bucket is conveniently located under the faucet to catch the water, but it quickly fills. I get smart and take this bucket and dump it into the machine, thereby hastening the filling of the machine and lessening the waste of water. I have to be proud of my little accomplishments, they are all I have.
The machine stops filling and begins its cycle, sounding somewhat like a breadmaker turning the dough…a little “rrrrr, rrrr, rrrr” noise. The ringer moves slowly back and forth, barely jostling the clothing. No wonder nothing ever seems all that clean here. Of course, as soon as it stops filling, the leaky hose starts spraying the excess water about 6 feet into the air, I hop through the puddles to quickly turn the water back off.
Now, in my effort to conserve water, I realize that I might as well just bring a book and a chair and sit by the washer, as I will need to turn the water back on again for the rinse cycle. After all is done, I turn the water back off, the pump back off, the electricity to outlet back off. (I could leave it on, but GFI outlets are non-existant here and its just best to keep them off.)
Now for the drying. Scott has conveniently strung ropes across the balcony for this. However, Sudakker didn’t seem to ever get the idea that that’s what they were for, and has been hanging all of the wash over the stairway railings for the past few months. I hung the clothing where it belonged, embarrassed, of course, to have my underwear hanging out there too, but fairly sure that no one would be able to see it unless they stood on the neighboring roof and looked down. Seeing as I’m the only person who appears to hang out on my roof with any regularity, I figured that I’d be ok.
Now, I think that you should know a bit about the drainage. You see, the area that the washer drains into is a recessed area off the balcony. Many of the homes actually have grass planted up there and use it like a little yard, which I do plan to do at some point. All of the water drains out onto this recessed area, and goes out a little hole, down a pipe and right to….wait for it….the sidewalk below! Yes, Ender very much enjoys hanging out below and playing in the water from the washer. At the end of the sidewalk, there is a drain of some sort, so it doesn’t just sit there forever, but it does amaze me that it just ends up there.
When the recessed area is full of water from the washer, Scott tells me that Sudakker cleans it up. Lying out on the balcony is a little broom-like thing that Sudakker uses to whisk away the water into the hole….Scott was happy to demonstrate!
Ok, so that’s the story of the laundry. While I don’t mind doing it, I do appreciate having someone else do it for me. I still will always do some washing at least once a week (I don’t let Sudakker wash my undergarmets-it just feels wrong!). I must say, though, I really do miss the soft, warm towels. Everything kind of feels like sandpaper now.