Monday, March 03, 2008

The Laundry Wars

My building. An old building. A four story walk-up which houses singletons, pairs, and families, has only 2 washing machines, and 2 driers. Yes. You read that right. Just two of each. It seems inane. Crazy even. A month or two ago the laundry room was closed for most of a week for renovations. I was in high hopes that this meant more machines. Alas, it just meant painting the floor a gaudy mustard colour. Not even new machines! And the ones we have a less than stellar.

Anyway, last Thursday, a day I worked from 1:30 until 9:00 - the late shift, I headed down to the laundry room at 9:00 a.m., blithely hoping that I was ahead of the seniors' rush, and too late for the pre-work rush. Unfortunately, I failed to account for the at-home parent rush. Blast! Both machines were in use - and they were just starting, as my neighbour, an at-home dad was still filling one. There was another full basket already stationed on a table, presumably awaiting a machine. I put my bag on another table, laying claim to the line. I checked the clock, and made it back to the laundry room just after the first load had finished.

But alas! Foiled again! The basket ahead of me was loading a machine, and looking for all the world like she was going to go for the other as well.

I decided to try something a little brazen, I started to fill the second machine, pretending not to have noticed her still overflowing basket, until it was too late. "Oh!" I said. "I hope you weren't needing both machines!" and beat a hasty retreat, having shoved my ludicrous $1.50 into the machine at top speed.

Again, I timed it. I made it back to the laundry room seconds before my load would finish. But again she had beat me! Her first load was now in the only previously free drier, and her second in the new machine - she had clearly moved her clothes over before the spin cycle had finished. By this point I knew there'd be no time for a second load of mine to finish, so I emptied my load out of the washer, and onto a table, and departed.

Twenty some-odd minutes later, I was waiting as the dad from the first loads unloaded and folded his wash at a snail's pace.

By 12:30 I had to give up on my load finishing its drying cycle, and resolve to spread the still damp clothes around the apartment so I could get to work.

Yes folks. 3.5 hours. 1 incomplete load of laundry. Lot's of handwashing of work clothes later that evening.

This morning, my day off, I tried again. Both machines in use. I gave up and went off to do some other work. At 5:00p.m. I headed back down, and bliss! Both machines were empty! So, about half a week later, the clothes are getting done. Clean sheets will be in my future, and my bathroom no longer smells like slightly sour towel.

I don't really need more space than I have. I like my building. But man do I covet a washing machine. With a too small laundry room that closes at 9:00 p.m. and opens at 8:00 a.m. and very very slow machines it is difficult to be sure laundry will ever be able to get done when you need it.


ru said...

let me hereby extend an invitation to come up to dudley towers to do some laundry. we open at 8am, close at 10pm (though they don't lock the door, so if you go late, just don't have a party while you're down there), and we have ... let me see ... i think nine washers and eight dryers. one of the nine washers is a giant HE front-loader big enough to wash a comforter in.

$1.50 to wash/$1.25 for 50 minutes drying, $0.25 for each additional 7 minutes.

Deranged Squirrel said...

Now I want to come to Dudley Towers to do laundry. I know my slow dryer does not compare to having to wage a laundry war once a week, but it nearly sends me over the edge that towels take 3 hours to dry. Not to mention the wasted electricity. I often end up air drying stuff.