Sunday, December 12, 2010

dirty no more

Just over a year ago, I confessed a dirty little secret in coming clean

I had succumbed to one of Mexico's luxuries: a laundress.

It was pure joy to drop off my clothes and have them returned clean, folded, soft, and smelling as if they had been spending the afternoon in an Alpine meadow.

When I returned to Melaque last month, I took a large load of terminally-smelly clothes to her.  And she did her usual great job.

But getting back into the cycle of living in Mexico means learning to deal with life's vagaries.  For me, a big one is laundry.  I hate it.  Rather than do it, I will suffer the discomforts of shopping.  As a result, I now have enough clothing here to go for almost a full month before I need to finally give in to washing.

That is where I found myself this week.  I was not at critical mass.  But I was approaching it.

For some reason, I decided to use the washing machine at the duplex for the first time.  Maybe I just needed to prove to myself that I still know how to do laundry.  Not likely.  I had been laundering my clothes in Oregon with no problem.  More on why that is a silly comparison later.)

And it was easy.  The washing, that is.  I simply put in the clothes.  Poured in the detergent.  And translated the Spanish instructions. 

All went well.

Then came the hanging out to dry portion.  I had a system at the old beach house of putting similar types of ropa together on the lines.  And there was plenty of room to do that.

Laundry hung, I went off to allow the sun to do its thing.

I gave myself a few minutes before I left for dinner that evening to fold up my freshly-dried clothes.  But, they weren't.  Dry.  The collars of shirts.  Waistbands of underwear.  All of the socks.  Vaguely damp.  Certainly not dry.  And certainly not ready to be folded and put away where they would be the perfect medium for another experiment in mold growing.

I had forgotten an important lesson here on the coast.  We live in the tropics.  Even though the day is hot and the clothes were almost in full sun, the humidity is high enough here that unless clothes are hung out to dry first thing in the morning, they are not going to dry in one day.

In Oregon, I had a huge dryer.  And no possibility of drying clothes outdoors in December when the humidity is even higher there than it is here -- and falling from the sky in large drops.

So, I left them out overnight.  By noon, they were almost dry.  To the extent that I had no more patience to worry about the future possibility of mildew.  Good enough was going to be as good as it got.

The lesson was a good one.  It taught me all of the arguments I learned last year. Turning my clothes over to the laundress is not really a luxury.  It is a pleasure.

One that I will avail myself of in a week or two.


Calypso said...

13 pesos a kilo here for a great laundry service - there?

Jackie said...

I love taking my clothes to a laundry on Isla. I drop the off at 8AM and pick them up in a nice package at 4PM.

jennifer rose said...

I'm gonna let you in on a deeply held secret: clothing can be taken to the laundry in batches, so you don't have to wait until all of it is dirty.

Nita said...

Away for a few days, I'm just now catching up on your other posts on the Mayans. Your description of the "serpent" crawling down the pyramid is the best description I have read.

Paty said...

You say, "Turning my clothes over to the laundress is not really a luxury. It is a pleasure." No, no, Steve, it is a necessity in your case. LOL

Anonymous said...

While your dirty laundry could have been an interesting story, you failed to detail the dirtiness -- its smell, feel, look. For example, you could have described the dead mouse, curled up in the pit of your soiled tee shirt, its little face scrunched up tight from the ferocious toxic stink. But, no, you left out the most interesting part of the story. You're a tease.


Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- I am not certain of the price. She weighs the clothes and hands me a piece of paper with the ransom amount on it. I return, pay the pier, and am on my way.

Jackie -- Same routine here. But just as in Salem, I usually forget to return for a few days.

Jennifer -- How many single men have you known? The thought of laundry does not even enter my head until I have no underwear for the day.

Nita -- Glad you enjoyed it. It was a fun piece to write. Welcome back.

Paty -- No. There is always the option of buying still more clothes.

ANM -- Some details need to be sent only through private post. Watch your mailbox. Of course, it may simply be my dirty laundry.

Felipe said...

Clothes that take forever to dry on the line. Just one more reason why living in coastal sweat is a bad idea. Mexican beaches: Great for vacations, less so for living.

I hang my clothes on the line, and they are dry in about two hours. No sweat, so to speak.

I really don't get beach-dwellers.

Steve Cotton said...

Felipe -- The beach, It is all about that big body of water out there. That I see once or twice a week.