Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Tale of Laborious Laundry ( is a real word now okay?)

So I was going to start this post with, "Now, usually I try not to complain..." but seriously who am I kidding? I'm a complainer. You know it, I know it, I apologize for it. But can I just try to justify one of my complaints?

Let's talk about laundry. Honestly, laundry has never really bothered me. Except when I had to use the coin laundry. I really hated that. But for me, sort, throw it in the wash, come back later and switch. No biggie. Didn't even really mind putting it away. Of course, I was only doing my laundry, which I'm sure makes a big difference. Having a whole family to put things away for, find missing pieces, figuring out who's is who's, etc is probably where most of the despising of the laundry comes into play.

However, these days, I'm doing laundry pioneer style. Or at least that is what I tell myself. Lucky for me, I do have running water and well, that makes quite the difference.

This past week, I thought I would chronicle my laundry story for you to see.

Hey there. I am not really awake yet and it's a little cold because it's cloudy (and early). Luckily my Ipod keeps me company. Shall we start?

Step 1: Sort

Step 2: Scrub husband's work clothes. Because they get crazy dirty. (and truthfully I'd probably need to do this even using a modern day machine)

Step 3: Put clothes in tank. This tank only spins water. So in goes clothes with laundry detergent, spin.

Step 4: I didn't really get a step of this part, but there is a basin with 2 sinks (see step 2: scrubbing husband's clothes). These are filled with clean water. I remove clothes from tank, wring out water, put in clean water. Take out of clean water, wring again, put in clean water again. This is done to remove the soap. Here is me in front of the sink..caught off guard by my MIL. Don't worry, I do laundry outside in my pj's.

Step 5: After clothes are soap free, they go into a basin filled with water and fabric softner, where they soak for a little bit.

Step 6: This is my favorite. After the clothes soak, we use the washing machine to spin the water out of the clothes. Did you catch that? YES, we have a washing machine. In fact, we have a NICE washing machine. It is so pretty. So new looking. Because they don't use it. See for yourself:

Do you find yourself asking WHY?!?! For the love of pretty nails, moisturized skin, and extra time...WHY?!? Me too, my friends, me too.

My MIL and SIL say that the washing machines wear the clothes out too fast. I wouldn't know. I have had a friend say they are right, it wore her clothes out that she had had forever really fast. However, the majority of people here do use washing machines and they seem to feel it works just fine and their clothes are washed with no more wearing than normal. Any thoughts out there my Brazilian and Americans in Brazil friends?

Step 7: Hang clothes to dry. (I forgot to take a picture because I had to take a shower, eat, and run to work immeadiately after I hung them up)

This whole process takes me normally give or take 5 hours. A week's worth of clothes for myself and Sidnei including towels and sheets. This does not include the retrieving, the folding, or the ironing after all is said and done.

Honestly, it really is exhausting. My back and shoulders hurt because wet clothes are HEAVY. My hands hurt because of over exposure to water, the soap, and the wringing of clothes. I loathe the day I have to do laundry.

For this reason, I will love my washing machine. I will love him for all the work he will do and all the work I won't have to. I will love him because he will save me time and let me have pretty hands and manicures again. And don't feel sorry for me, this is a complaining post, but not a pity one. I have learned a LOT about clothes. Particularly about removing stains. Shout has got nothing on me as far as stain removal goes. So next time you are doing laundry, give your washing machine a little pat on the back (or wherever), we don't even realize just how much work they do!


Ben Ellis said...

I have done laundry in a river in Africa, would you like to hear how that works? I too do a good complan 8-). My love for my washing machine knows no bounds that in fact it took a major decision to replace the old one even when it was past doing a good job!

Jim said...

I love the logic employed by some against modern conveniences. No - the machine does not wear your cloths out faster - heck it even has a "delicate" setting.

You know what wears your clothes out? Wringing them. Twisting them to get the water out. Or how about taking a scrub brush to the fabric? WAY more wearing than some jostling in the machine. Not to mention scrubbing them against a washboard. Figure the physics.

We took our housekeeper OFF clothes duty when she refused to use the machine and kept twisting my shirts into mishapen messes.

My advice - wait for you MIL to go out for the day, then put stuff into the machine!! At least wash yours and Sidnei's clothes in the machine. Give yourself a break!

Now - what I wouldn't do for a clothes dryer!

Danielle said...

I second Jim's comment!! Not using the machine doesn't make any sense, especially for sturdy things like jeans, sweaters, blankets, towels, etc. I've always heard that it's the dryers that do the most damage, certainly not the washing machine. I think this kind of argument is something people invent when they can't afford washing machines and want to feel superior to those who can.

If she has some arguments against the water bill or something, offer to pay a few reais more each month. But that's really the only reasonable, rational argument she could have.

If the rest of the family wants to wash their clothes by hand, let themdo it!! How'd you get on family laundry duty when you have a job? Your and Sidnei's clothes are yours to "wear out faster", right?


Mrs. Carioca said...

Wow, that's crazy. I'm really confused as to why they don't use the washing machine. I don't know how you have the time to do that. But it makes me feel better about my old machines that sometimes rip my clothes and sometimes don't dry them!

Dari said...

Holy shit Steph, screw what the crazy Brazilians say. You know how they have lots of silly "old wives tales". Use the washing machine. They can do that ridiculous process with their clothes but if you choose to do yours differently, it shouldn't be of concern to them. AHH!! I can't believe you have a washing machine and do that, you are much nicer than me ha ha :)

Fiona said...

Ahhh Stephanie, this is quite the experience. The logic is insane. Are you forbidden from using the machine?

I love your blog posts. they are funny!

I hope you get a chance to visit Danielle one day. You can tell your husband she is not a psycho (but of course this is another blogger talking so he may not take my word for it).

Ray Adkins said...

Dear Stephanie,

I totally agree with Jim's and Danielle's comments here.
The Washing Machine won't damage your clothes, just pay attention and separate delicate clothes and use the delicate cicle for those.
The Dryer is the biggest evil when it comes to destroying clothes fast, just air dry the delicate clothes in a hanger.

Jim said...

OK grrl - you have a chorus of support. Make Sidnei read this.

Don't make me come up there and slap you! (Or Sidnei, or your MIL, or your SIL!!)

Rachel said...

OMG and I thought my MIL could be difficult sometimes! Dryers wear out your clothes, not the washers! I would never use a dryer down here anyway. First trip back home with Brazilian clothes and they are now worn my my 3 yr old niece.

I tell you what, you guys come and visit and compare your clothes to mine. I swear, I´ve been wearing mostly the same stuff for like 4 years and they aren´t bad at all. Wait, that sounded kind of sad after I wrote it... ;)

AndreaLeigh said...

Girl... I have no words. WOW. I am super duper thankful for my machine now!

Just... wow. Go you!

I tell you what, if I had to do all that, the amount of clothes I wore sure would be cut down drastically.

Stephanie said...

Ben- I tend to have the "my horse is bigger" issue too. But here's my question do you STILL do laundry in a river in Africa? At least once a week?

Dear Friends,
You all make me smile. Jim, my thoughts EXACTLY about the whole wearing clothes thing out. All the wringing and such CAN'T be good. But here is why I dont use the machine: First, I was told it was NOT used for washing. Now no one said specifically absolutely not, but they weren't exactly offering it up either.

And Jim, I wish my MIL left the house. It is a VERY rare occasion that she leaves and someone is ALWAYS here. I have thought about using the machine when no one is here, but I would just feel guilty and if I were caught then I'd feel REALLY bad. So I wait. (although my SIL and MIL are leaving for the beach tomorrow and I am SUPER tempted...) Anyway soon enough I will wash clothes like a normal person and I will be HAPPY!

Danielle, you know, I think we use WAY more water doing clothes this way. However, honestly? I am the youngest by far and American. Therefore my knowledge is limited. I have tried reason and logic. Neither work.

Seriously love you guys. You make me laugh.

Oh, and I realize this my family. Most Brazilians use their machine and have no issues with it.

Oh, and Sidnei also thinks it's ridiculous and he helps out when he can (which is suprisingly not very often...hahahahahaha)but im sure he's just ready for me to have my own washer so i stop waiting until he runs out of work clothes to actually wash clothes. I have been told we are buying it next week. I'm not holding my breath.

Jim said...

Buy it. BUY it. BUY IT!

Open a PayPal account and I will make a donation!

Listen up: buy the biggest machine available (here in Brazil that is still a tiny machine). Don't get one of those 8 Kg rinky dink machines or you will be putting clothes into it every day. And it still takes two hours even with a machine.

The larger machine will let you wash your bed cover and other big stuff. Your MIL will look on with envy.

Oh, and in the mean time, don't forget to moisturize your hands!

Fun post. =;-)

Stephanie said...

You read my mind. I have had my eye on the GE 15.1 Kg King Capacity! Love in the form of an appliance!

Eve said...

Oh my goodness... I happen to be doing laundry today as well. Let's just say, it's not much of a chore.

I sometimes wonder if the harsh chemicals of the detergents do wear the clothes through faster, but the machine itself?... I doubt it. I don't know about your washing machines there, but if they are similar to the ones here, all they do is spin clothes back and forth in water. I can't imagine what would be damaging about that.

I'm sorry for your poor nails and hands. Someday you will have your own machine again and you can use it to your hearts content! ;)

Amanda said...

Oh girl so sorry you have to use that thing. Im so glad to have my washer, hanging is no big deal if I get my washer.

rach said...

seriously that SUCKS. I do not know if i love james enough to scrub his underwear by hand. I have heard the things that he does while wearing underwear (i.e. farts) and as close as I want to handle them is the quick toss into the washer.

but you know what? I love you so much you can come and visit me any old time and do as much laundry as you want! Ive got a full basket staring me down waiting for some TLC! and my washer is still on the outs with me. maybe it just needs someone who doesn't cuss it out and knows how much its appreciated.

The Planner said...

I can soooo understand what you are going through. I HATED washing clothes in Peru by the same method you are using - it even managed to reduce me to tears on various occasions. I truly think I might have lasted longer in Peru had I had a modern washing machine. (I should clarify here that my in-laws DID have a washing machine - that they NEVER used - circa 1970 that wasn't hooked up to running water and came equipped with a ringer - it was about as useful as the one that you have there.) I'll be praying that you get your washing machine very soon!

Whitney said...

1) You are gorgeous, even when you just wake up and you are doing laundry in your PJ's. That's not easy to pull off.
2) I'm not going to complain about doing laundry at the laundromat around the corner anymore. It takes me about an hour and a half to do it all, including folding and putting away. So I'll shut up now. (But I am looking forward to the day when I will have a washer, dryer, dishwasher, and garbage disposal. I miss those.

TCMbook said...

Wow! What a rude awakening! I have been watching my husband relatives all week washing clothes the same way, I am sure I will be looking forward to it myself shortly!

markuza said...

I've been meaning to say something about that step 6 for some time, most of it has already been said here. The one thing I'd like to add is that my Brazilian washing machine is indeed the most violent, destructive washing machine I've ever encountered. Mostly the damage it does is limited to yanking out drawstrings in sungas, shorts, and sweatpants. And I wouldn't trade it for hand washing in a million years.