Just a Little Further

Doing Laundry…Again

I haven’t complained about doing laundry for awhile. I’ll admit that David does the lion’s share of the boat work, but when it comes to the mundane, everyday stuff, I’m your girl. Cooking, cleaning and laundry are inescapable facts of life … on a boat or on land. I don’t mind cooking; cleaning isn’t all that hard compared to a house. But laundry … laundry torments me. It’s the bane of my existence. It’s never-ever done. I just did several large loads before we left last week and the laundry’s piled up again. David’s projects generate extra work clothes … the filthy variety. It’s cold and we’ve been wearing heavier clothes like jeans and t-necks and fleeces in layers instead of t-shirts and shorts. Add to that towels and linens and there’s never a dearth of laundry to be washed. We’re either the cleanest or the dirtiest cruisers I know.

carrying laundry

Our dirty laundry collection point is out of sight behind a hooked-open door in the aft cabin. There’s a hand’s-width gap to stuff clothes behind the door which land on the aft sink which we never use. When I can ‘t see behind the door any longer, it probably means it’s time to do the laundry. I use an old dive bag to haul laundry up to the laundry room here. For some reason, laundry rooms at yacht clubs are usually stuck away in some obscure spot … probably because most of the members do laundry at home and cruisers like us, are the most common washer/dryer users. It doesn’t make sense to use primo real estate for washers and dryers.  Luckily, it’s off-season and there aren’t many cruisers left here. I usually have the laundry room to myself … oh, joy! It does beat walking all the way up there to find that the two washers are occupied and someone else is waiting in line.

laundry sign

The walk to the laundry room is 367 long strides away from the boat … multiplied by three roundtrips before I’m done. The  narrow, little room is tucked between the marina manager’s office and Action Yachting Chandlery … in the boatyard … behind the crane. The floor is tiled and stained with laundry soap and past overflow from the washers. The walls are whitewashed brick. There’s always dust and lint and laundry powder on the floor, the tops of the machines and the table. The lint baskets in the dryers are invariably full. I empty the baskets before I throw in a load; empty them when I unload and still they’re always full. More than 50% of the time, someone’s washed a tissue with their load and the remnants are scattered in the washer, dryer, lint basket and all over the floor. Having raised a family, however, tissues are nothing compared to crayons, Legos and worms.

lovely laundry room

The washers and dryers work with odd-shaped tokens purchased for R10 (that’s about US$0.88 per load) at the marina office. That is quite the bargain anywhere in the world. The laundry room is open 24×7, but it’s kind of spooky up there at night … all those lost socks get together then. The washers are not in sync.  When I start both washers at the same time, one always takes 15-20 minutes longer to complete its cycles than the other, though the washers are identical. Evidently, the water fills one washer faster than the other. The washers actually do a good job and the dryers … well, they dry … really well … in one cycle.

laundry tokens

As usual, the laundry room contains a book swap which occupies most of the table designated for folding. I’m always looking for something to read when the laundry isn’t quite done. The swap library here is quite eclectic. There are several novels and guidebooks in German; one novel in Cyrillic; a guide to New Zealand weeds; a March 1998 issue of Cruising World and a 2004 issue of Sailing South Africa. Quite the appealing lot. Take your pick.

swap library

Though it’s a time-consuming venture, I’d still prefer to do the laundry myself. In Durban, there were no DIY laundromats close by. You brought the dirty laundry to the office, it was sent out and returned in a day or so … poorly folded and usually wrinkled … all for R80-120 ($7-10).  Of course, soon I’ll be doing the laundry by hand again – as long as we catch enough rainwater – which still beats pounding it on rocks in the river.

Gentry, our niece and loyal webmeister, gets a kick out of laundry posts, so she’ll be happy to see this one. Reading and writing about laundry sure beats actually having to do it.

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