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Dirty Laundry...

Updated on January 11, 2012

Dirty Laundry...

So I spent the better part of my day doing laundry. A task I had blithely described as the easiest of the many confronting me as a newly minted househusband.

But I messed up. Not in the putting a red T-shirt in with whites kind of messing up, but in the how did these strange marks appear on everything, manner. This is a real life science experiment, people!

First I noticed grayish stuff in patches, particularly on darker clothes. Turns out the agitator was not agitating, the wash was simply marinating, not getting clean.

Cool, man stuff to deal with.

Go online, order the part, agitator cogs - sounds like a communist underground group - which will arrive in ten-ish days. Not so great, but I'm not a fan of paying twenty bucks to get a three dollar part in three days. Due to the wonders of the Internet I can track my package. The excitement builds. Then I get a cheerful email, my part is in stock. Yeah, so? The online order form, said that already. Two days later I get the next happy missive, my part has been shipped from Louisiana. Wait, it took two days to get the message from the Internet to the shipping guy?

Painfully slowly, the package made it's way to Indiana, why I'm not sure. Technically this was being done by UPS, but I strongly suspect that the little package was given to JimBob, who drove it in his Camero to his cousin Larry, who was on his way up north to visit his aunt Betsy (she'd not been feeling so good since the fall,) you get the picture I'm sure.

The emails stop. I check the link. "On route to Aliso Viejo," it teased. Then, ten and-a-bit days after the original emergency, the part arrives. And not a moment too soon, I can tell you. Have you ever done several loads where you manually do the agitating? Not fun. Your arm aches and you get really bad prune-fingers.

I love the next bit as it involves tools. I remove the old bits, put in new ones, clean the machine and remove all the stuff that collects behind, and underneath it, and presto, off we go. Laundry Nirvana.

Now it had been pointed out to me that strange little brown marks were appearing on She-who-is-adored's clothing. This will not do. I mean I take pride in my work, and no wife of mine is going to go off to work looking anything less than laundarily pristine.

Out come the potions. I know that bleach is nasty wicked stuff that turns everything you don't want white, white. And not in a nice way, all blotchy and spotty if you are not careful. So I go into full lab safety mode when using the stuff. But my problem of the day involved a beautiful fall sweater. (The word brown, light or dark, does not exist in the female lexicon.) The once beautifully caramel, sweater, has black shadows on it. A close inspection sees this as primarily fluff from black cords, but there is a hint of dye.

I remove as much fluff as possible, pre-treat and wash in the newly agitating machine with Woolite. Result! The original caramel color is restored, along with a red shirt that had become similarly afflicted. Feeling confident, and having ironed the backlog of shirts etc, I wait for the dryer and notice markings on the side of the liquid detergent. Aha, I've been feeding it too much of the cleaning elixir, it has not rinsed out, thus my grey marks that began the experiment.

So now I think I have this thing licked. I collect the whites from upstairs and start the load. In my overconfident state I do not (it has to be a man thing, right?) read the labels of the said whites, I just place them in the washing machine with about half as much of the detergent as before.

Mistake. One of the items was wool, a sweater with tiny writing on a tiny label tucked inside it's, mocking, turtle neck. The label clearly states, "professional dry clean only - low moisture press." In my hands is a brick of wool. It is an ex-sweater. It has met it's untimely end at my hands.

And I feel like crap. This looks like a one-all draw in the sweaters versus me department. She, will not be happy. I'm now earning a "D" in the domestic duties stakes. I am not used to a failing grade.

So like countless people before me, I go out and buy something nice for dinner - She is partial to a nice bit of salmon - to lessen the blow.

Dear Hub Reader

If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:



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    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      Thanks for reading - you would certainly understand my 'Lemon County' hubs as well.

      I have to say that housework is an incredible motivator for writing. I'd pretty much chose anything over vacuuming - so I am geting more writing done!


    • smallperson profile image

      smallperson 7 years ago from Seabrook,Texas

      loved it, I need a house husband with a sense of humor. Please keep writing, you made my day. My husband gave up a long time ago trying to please me with house work.I was raised in California when your area was Orange trees with out Disney.