Moms Columns & Blogs

Hung out to dry

So my washing machine broke down. Followed quickly by me. Because, take my vacuum, take my dishwasher, take my kidney, just please don't take my washing machine.

Wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have a huge load to do - the kind the kids are jumping into like it's a pile of leaves. And everything in there is some critical garment somebody has to have right now - baseball pants, a tae kwon do uniform, some dragon pajamas with wings and Mommy's only pair of loose-fitting jeans.

I try to decide if this is something I can impose on the neighbors. I mean, I've been there for them. They borrow cream, ladders and my Vanity Fair. Surely, I can do a spin cycle at their place, right?

Well ... doing your laundry at somebody else's house is like having your hair done at the post office. It's awkward. Starting with the walk of shame up the sidewalk, carrying a giant basket of wadded-up clothes. Talk about airing your dirty laundry. I don't know what's more disturbing to the neighbors - the fact that I have so many filthy clothes or that I'm taking them out for a walk.

My neighbor quickly opens the door, hustles me inside and points me toward the laundry room. I think we both want to avoid the uncomfortable chitchat while I hold a basket of clothes between us like we're in some 1970s Tide commercial.

Slipping into her laundry room, I'm immediately confronted with what I'm sure is an exact replica of a space shuttle. What is this thing? And where are the launch codes, because my Maytag top loader is no match for this fancy Frigidaire stacked unit. And how am I supposed to get my clothes in the washer with the dryer sitting on top of it?

I call NASA and the laundry takes off. You can't actually fly this thing, but I bet you $100 you can heat a Lean Cuisine in it somehow. More weirdness ensues as I have to keep coming back to the house to check on my stuff. When you borrow a cup of sugar, you're in and out. But when you're doing laundry, you practically need your own key.

Fluff-and-fold isn't nearly as fun without Oprah. In fact, I think the laundry room is the only room I don't fold clothes in. Thankfully, my friend wanders in and we chat about fabric softener. Then I soak her nails in Palmolive and get out of there as fast as I can.

I just have to keep their clothes clean. The kids don't like having to change into their bathing suits when they get home from school, but they're perfect for playing in and I can hose them off after dinner. Only eight more days until the new washer arrives.

And I can get out of this ridiculous tankini.