Friday, January 23, 2009

The Great Laundry Clean-Up

Last Saturday, after the kids were in bed, Vern and I were doing something a lot of fairly well-established married couples do on a Saturday night. He was paying bills, I was cleaning the house. . . although, like most cleaning, I can't remember what it was now that it's over. (It all has this mystical aura to me. Somehow, because I can't remember each and every step, it seems impossible both before and after the fact, while as I'm in the midst of it, it's all a blur. ;o)

Then my eyes fell upon something I had picked up earlier that day at Home Despots: a bag containing two 4" 90-degree vent elbows for the dryer.

Earlier this week, the children and I went to Ikea. We had a ton o' fun, and sadly have no photo record. I took quite a number of shots with my nifty new-to-me Palm Treo, but as it is very new to me, instead of saving each one, I managed to discard them right after I took them. Sigh. We have our memories.

Oh, but back to Ikea. While there, I bought a changing table on sale. (Hooray for Winter Madness!) On Friday I assembled it (straightforward and enjoyable as far as RTA furniture goes), and tried to install it in the laundry room where the old changing table had been. Being within 1/4" of the same size as the old one, I figured I only needed to move the dryer a teensy, tiny bit in order to squeeze the changing table in past the door molding. Well, I guess I moved it a little more than a teensy, tiny bit, because I managed to put enough stress on the flexible 90 between the dryer and the floor that it popped all three of it's seams.

In case you're wondering, this is what a flexible 90 looks like:

The one I destroyed was very close to that.

So, on Saturday I bopped on down to Home Depot with MissE, picked up a couple of replacements (if you've ever worked with rigid vent pipe, you understand why), and then had to set them aside to jump back into the fray of everyday living.

Fast-forward a few hours to post-bedtime peace, and we've surfaced from the flash-back. I'm looking at the bag with the 90's in it, and thinking to myself: "If I don't want to be buried alive in laundry, I need to get this thing fixed."

About 30 minutes later, Vern comes downstairs and is thwarted in his efforts to gain the kitchen:

Upon closer inspection, this is what he sees:

Except I've just popped my head up from behind the washer, where I'm hunkered down, gently coaxing various pieces of venting together in such a way to allow me to switch the relative position of the washer and dryer.

You see, we have a rather disturbing pattern when we move. The truck arrives at the new place (after much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth for the preceeding week or six), it's unloaded in as careful a manner as possible, and no matter how hard I try (I've had eight shots at it now), most everything is almost, but not quite, entirely in the wrong spot. (My apologies to Douglas Adams.) The dresser is on the wrong wall. The washer and dryer are backward (we didn't have the vent pieces to put them where they should have been, and for some unknown reason, having the dryer hooked up Right. Now. seemed more important than calling up one of the multitudinous helpful familiy members who helped us unload the truck and say: "Hey, you know how you offered to help if we needed anything? Well, would you mind picking up a couple of pieces of vent pipe at the Home Despots and dropping them by sometime soon?" Add to that the fact that I didn't realize I could switch the darn things without taking one of them out of the room entirely, and I was stuck.

(This is turning into quite the rambling essay, isn't it? I hope you're all feeling patient, because I'm not done yet . . . feel free to just skip this one, if you're getting bored.)

Where was I? Oh yes, Vern was peering into the laundry.

I smiled, waved some greasy fingertips at him, and tried to offer an explanation that would ease the slightly-worried-that-my-wife-might-be-up-in-the-night look off of his face. It sort of worked. At least he didn't make me stop. (He does like the hallways to be rather un-blockaded, so I can see why my explanation might not have had anything to do with it.) He helped me ease the dryer back into position, carefully and breathlessly attaching the vent to the exhaust on the back of the machine. (No slip-ups, and no bent edges. Hooray!!!)

I walked the washer back into position, and felt much as I would imagine Atlas himself does as he turns the world on its axis. Rotating a several-hundred-pound washer on one of it's feet is something every housewife should do once in her life. Nearly as empowering as childbirth.

I snuggled the changing table back between the washer and wall, and nearly dissolved in ecstatic relief. Not only did I not have my appliances fighting with each other (now the washer door opens away from the dryer!), but I have actual drawers (did you see em'? did you see 'em? real, live drawers!) for the baby's clothes. It's so much nicer than them living in a pile on top of the dryer. I've found that drawers lend themselves to cleanly-clad munchkins.

And so, when I venture into the hallway that offers itself as a laundry room (I'm grateful to have it, btw), I'm no longer greeted by teetering mounds of clean laundry on the dryer, piles of miscellany on the washer, full hampers of dirty laundry threatening to take over the narrow space in front of the door to the garage, and mounds of other household laundry waiting its turn on the floor.

I'm greeted by this:

A clean slate. :o)

Next time, tune in for the Great Laundry Spiff-Up, where this intrepid housewife decorates where no one has decorated before . . . (suggestions welcome!)