I was speaking with my English friend (who is very lovely, by the way - she has even brought me real English Twinings straight from the Motherland, yes, you're jealous. I know.) about laundry. She remarked about how her washing machine is quite a bit smaller back at home and that she was a little surprized because in the U.S. we're all about dryer use while back in the U.K., they just hang it up on the line (in the warm months) or throw it over the radiator (in the cold months). Now I don't have a radiator so I won't be able to try that (unless I throw it on my car...but then I'm guessing that whole idea of having clean laundry would be slightly out the window), but I was very interested in her description of her clothesline.
My grandma used to have a line that reminded me of a telephone wire, basically. It was a T-shape with three lines across to the other T-shape. My mother has one line that goes from tree to tree. I was used to all of these two dimensional planes for clotheslines and I didn't realize that there was a whole world of fabulousness out there in the realm of clotheslines. So my friend tells me about this thing that she calls a "whirly" (because, she explained, you can whirl it around). I ran home and looked up "whirly" on Google images. Wow, what weird things it came up with. Mostly lollipops, a cat toy and a weird lady sitting on a stick. Well none of THOSE things are clotheslines.
I searched and searched and finally found out that our very boring word for it is not even close to the whimsical word "whirly". No. You want to know what the dreadful American English word for "whirly" is? "Umbrella style clothesline". Reeeeeeeeeally. Wow, that certainly sounds fun. Not!
|I knew you were curious!
Here it is, the famous whirly!
(Or...umbrella style clothesline.)
So, I thought, you know, I think I'd LIKE to hang my clothes up on something fun like that! I could actually look forward to doing that! She told me that it dries much quicker than in your dryer, especially in the heat of the summer. She was right. It takes 20-30 minutes. Not to mention I feel retro-fresh-crunchy-domestic whilst pinning my clothes on the line. And even though you can save plenty of money by not running your dryer, I am actually doing it just for the simple fact that I enjoy it. My hubby would like to save a few bucks, that I know. Although he did think I was a bit different for doing so and happened to mention I was the only person in the world that he knew that did such things (to which I responded, "Well, duh, you married me, you should have known this already."). And my almost-(T-minus-12-days)brother-in-law saw the contraption and suggested to my son that perhaps I was calling in aliens. I am not easily disturbed or distracted from such prattle so I forge happily on with my whirly anyway. Hmph!
The darling whirly comes down in between each use, should you wish to do so. I bring it down and put it in the garage when I'm not using it, mostly because I can imagine some small tots clambering upon it with reckless abandon and glee. (Read: finding some way to tangle themselves in it and break it in two seconds.)
Now, two things. If you want to get one, you can get it cheapest at Home Depot. They sell them online if you don't have a Home Depot near you. Online I found them for around $55, at Home Depot I got it for around $40. The second thing is that she warned me about the towels. If you hang them up straightaway on the line, they'll be a bit crunchy. And not like Crunchy Betty. Like actually crunchy. To resolve this, she pops them in the dryer for a few minutes at the beginning and then puts them on the line with much greater success. I was just crunching it up because I didn't care that much (but did receive a complaint from the husband department this morning..."Um, honey, yeah, you know uh...are you doing something wrong or something with the towels on the line - uh, they're sanding my skin off..." Wuss!). So I will henceforth do the pre-dryer treatment, per implied request.
You know you can make your own laundry detergent, don't you? I use it on my whites. Check it out, it works like a charm and does not include piles of chemicals to irritate your small one's skins (or your own). You don't have to jump in to both of these things both feet, but you could...I mean...it's kind of fun.
Crunchy Betty's Laundry Detergent
You can also give your whites a superboost by using this "bluing" stuff.
Mrs. Stewart's Bluing
Make sure you read the instructions, though. (Mainly - mix it with cold water first before adding it to your laundry. Unless you want all blue clothes, I mean. But maybe you're into that, I don't know.)
But at any rate, I'm here to tell you that it's kind of fun. I mean, laundry is a necessary evil of life, you might as well experiment and have a good time with it. But for now, I'm off - I've got a beautiful pot of English afternoon waiting for me and some smashingly fabulous clean clothes to sniff. All thanks to you, Andrea!