The Clothesline

I feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I just spent the last half an hour with wooden clothespins hanging from my mouth and 50 pounds of wet laundry at my feet. For the first time in my life I have hung my laundry from a clothesline to dry.

Over the years I’ve spent countless hours and quarters at the laundry mat. More than once I’ve forgotten about the load I started in the small two machine laundry rooms in apartments I’ve lived in. And more than once I’ve had to put more quarters in those machines because my stuff didn’t get dry the first time through.

When we bought our house nearly six years ago, JQ and I were so excited to be able to do laundry in our own house. It didn’t matter if we didn’t have quarters. It was okay if the load of towels sat in the dryer overnight. The washer and dryer was ours. In our own home. We didn’t have to share it with anybody else if we didn’t want to.

It was wonderful.

This week in a cruel twist of fate our dryer broke. Part of the plastic edging that forms a seal around the drum popped away from the edge awhile back. Every time I put a load of laundry in the dryer I would struggle to pop that piece back in place only to find it popped back away from the edge by the time the load was finished. Sometimes I would find a washcloth dangling in front of the opening, wedged in between the drum and the popped out plastic edge.

Earlier this week the entire plastic edge fell out. It was broken in a few spots and would not go back in place. The light bulb in the dryer broke off with it.

When I tried to dry a load of towels last night the dryer stopped in the middle of the cycle three separate times. Each time there was the corner of a towel caught between the drum and the outside wall of the dryer casing. After the third time I took all of the damp towels and hung them from an old tattered clothesline that has been hanging in our basement since long before we bought the house.

This afternoon JQ hung a new shiny white clothesline in our backyard. One by one I hung the freshly laundered clothes from that new line. Even though it stretched at least ten feet across the lawn it wasn’t long enough to hang the entire load up. So I took down the towels from the basement line and hung more clothes on that one.

I still had wet clothes in the basket so in a last ditch effort I tossed underwear, socks and some tee shirts into the dryer in hopes that they might get dry without anything getting caught between the drum and the outside casing. Nothing got caught. Instead the dryer just completely stopped working. Now I have two clotheslines full of damp laundry hanging to dry and a bunch of undies and stuff sitting damp in a non-functional dryer.

Unlike Laura Ingalls Wilder I also have a credit card. I’m going to need it to buy a new dryer because hanging all that laundry on the line is going to suck come wintertime.

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