Getting our laundry done this past week has been comical. Well, not so comical at the time but now that we have it (mostly) done, it’s OK to laugh…
It started on Tuesday, the day after the most recent holiday. I took our laundry to the lady in town who does laundry (notice the singular of “lady”). She told me that she was not open to the public that day. OK. Maybe manana.
Wednesday morning I dropped by with even more laundry and she said that the water was off and to come back manana. Later that day I decided to drop by again just to see if maybe I could leave my stuff and she could work on it when the water comes back. No, that’s not OK, she said. She said she is now missing some kind of tube. Or maybe something else. At this point I was tired and my Spanish was suffering. OK, I got it. No laundry today.
Meanwhile I’m texting other gringas I know to find out who else does laundry and we are driving around asking locals where there is a laundry. We find a self serve laundromat with about 3 washers and 3 dryers and 7 people lounging on the porch. So we headed home. At this point I decided to try and use the machines in the shed, which the landlord had told us were very old and may or may not actually work.
So we get back to the house and by now it’s dark. But Daniel and I head out to the shed with a flashlight and some 409 and paper towels. We find the machines and clean them up a bit and decide to give it a try. We throw in some clothes and get it going. It says it will be done in 65 minutes according to the digital readout.
I check back in about an hour and there is water all over the shed floor. The washing machine says it has 38 minutes left. Notice the fuzzy math? I try to move the cycle along because it appears to be rinsing the clothes to death. I come back in 20 minutes and it’s got 26 minutes left. More fuzzy math. I attempt to move it along again.
20 minutes later and it has 13 minutes left. OK, we are getting somewhere. 20 minutes later and it’s done. Yay! Time to move it all to the dryer. I try to ignore the black burn marks in there and put it all in. Back at the house I am now starting to imagine all kinds of scenarios involving burning the shed down and the fire spreading to the neighboring cow pasture. And then I’m wondering how I would call the fire department. And how to even tell them where we live, given that there are no addresses here. OK, anyway, I push through the anxiety and let the clothes dry for awhile. I go back and check 30 minutes later and… cold. They were tumbling but the dryer had no heat so nothing was dry.
At this point it’s late and I want to go to bed and I’m tired of conquering all my fears of strange animals attacking me on the way to the shed so I pull all the clothes out of the dryer and hang them out to dry on the patio. Off to bed.
The next morning they were… not dry. The ones I hung in the house were more dry than the ones outside. Dan reminds me they need heat to dry so I hang them on the barbed wire fence that we share with the cows. It was sunny and they seemed to be drying pretty quickly as we were getting ready to leave the house.
About mid morning we left for Chitre to get uniforms for the girls and on the way we stopped with the rest of our laundry to check in on Ms. Laundry Lady. Nope, not today she said. But she said to come tomorrow and she’d have it done by the afternoon. That was the most I had gotten out of her this whole time so I took it as a sacred blood oath.
When we got back from a full day of shopping in Chitre I checked the status of the clothes on the cow fence and they were… not dry. Evidently it rained a little bit. I decided to leave them there in hopes that the morning sun would finish the drying and then I’d bring them in.
Last night I wake up to the sound of…. rain. Lots of rain. So the clothes hanging outside went through yet another (natural) rinse cycle. So this morning I took all the wet clothes from the cow fence and added them to the piles in the car and off I went to Ms. Laundry Lady. This was the first time I have driven in Pedasi and the first time I’ve driven the car we purchased in David. I was THAT motivated to get our laundry to Ms. Laundry Lady.
I pull up and there’s a sign on the door (in English and Spanish, lest one wanted to claim ignorance) that the laundromat is closed for today. Oooh K. But I see them in there working and I thought maybe she was closed to everyone EXCEPT ME. Because she and I had a sacred blood oath!!! And surely she knew the short gringa would be coming for the 4th day in a row to drop off her laundry. SURELY!!!!!!!! So I marched in with a big ‘ole I-aint-going-no-where smile and said in my best upbeat voice “Buenas Dias!”. I inquired about my laundry and she reluctantly said she’d do my laundry today. I could tell that she wanted to say no but she couldn’t look me in the eye and deny me YET AGAIN! Nevermind the sacred blood oath. And so I left all my stuff (it was a pretty big pile because all the towels were there too) and agreed to come back at 4pm today.
I celebrated this small victory by going to the local bakery owned by a Canadian woman and purchased some cinnamon buns for the fam.
I went back at 4:30pm and she said they were still drying and to come back at 6pm. Zoe and I went back at 6pm and two loads were still drying but she said they were almost done. So we wasted a few minutes at the “Chino” (7-11 type mini market) and then went back. She said the jeans were still wet so we agreed that I would take all the laundry that was done and come back tomorrow for the last load.
Whew! All that for laundry! I have now lectured the kids that unless they spill something, sweat profusely or bleed, they are not to put clothes in the dirty laundry pile. In a few weeks we’ll be moving in to our new long term rental and we have a nice big laundry room with new appliances.
I think I might open up a laundromat!