The Dirty Laundry: Married Conflict #48
Recently, Husband and I did laundry together. Like, at a laundromat. This is remarkable because Husband and I have this wonderful system worked out at home where Husband washes and dries the clothes and I fold them. Because our washer and dryer live in the basement, and the basement looks like this:
And here's a close-up of the leaky pipe and rotting stair.
And the only light switch is all the way at the other end of the basement. So approximately twice a year (which is how often our basement floods) you step in gross nasty water because you can’t see it because it’s dark because you were trying to get to the light switch.
And there are also spiders and lead paint I’m pretty sure. That’s why Husband washes the laundry and I fold the laundry. Because I’m still scared of the dark and think the washer is going to eat me every time I go down there.
Husband is very brave.
But every few months I take all the clothes (and the sheets and towels and everything launderable) down to a laundromat with real machines and wash all the laundry because the ancient appliances in the basement do not always leave our clothes smelling lovely and downy fresh. And can't actually do a cycle using all hot water.
I think that they are far past the please-put-me-in-a-home-for-retirement stage in the home-appliance lifecycle.
The laundromat costs money, but I think it's money well spent. But all the same, I usually do it by myself, because it only takes one person and Husband does not like watching money being spent unless it is strictly necessary.
But last week, the basement people moved out and their electricity was subsequently cut, which meant two things:
1. No power to the washer and dryer.
2. No more internet in our apartment.
So Husband and I went to a laundromat with free internet. It had been several months since a laundromat washing, so I brought everything: 1 huge furry purple blanket, 1 large fuzzy dark-blue blanket, 1 set of dark brown sheets/pillowcases, 1 load of gross dish/cleaning rags, 1 load of bath towels, 1 load of dark clothes, and 1 load of white clothes.
This was a mistake.
I didn't realize it at the time, but my brain has a very precise way of doing laundry.
Here is a diagram, if it helps, of my rules applied to the laundry we had at the time.
So then Husband asked me to "do the math" and figure out if we had enough laundry to use a 4-load, 6-load, or 8-load washer while he carried all the clothes in.
And my brain immediately decided that we absolutely, obviously, had to wash 7 separate loads and therefore couldn't use the giant washers (see above magical laws).
And when Husband came back in, I told him it would cost us $14-16 (factoring in hot water usage) to do all 7 loads of laundry (which is math, right?).
He sort of sighed and asked why we couldn't just use a 6-loader for everything but the whites because that would save us approximately $6. And I just sort of looked at him like this.
Because he was breaking the rules. And I slowly realized that this is how Husband's brain does laundry.
But at the time I did not realize what my own brain was doing, so I kept trying to protest that we use the smaller washers and Husband was getting very annoyed because all I could say in my defense were things like
And the whole time, I couldn’t think to articulate my thoughts because I was haunted by the sight of our bath towels from our wedding registry that used to be a lovely sage-green but now look like this
because Husband washed them with our yellow-gold sheets while I was in Russia for 2 months. (Which Husband now claims is impossible and therefore not what happened. But we didn't own bleach at the time, which he's saying is the most probable culprit, so I'm sticking with my story.)
I did not actually bring the funny-colored towels up at the Laundromat because (a) I was just excited he’d washed the sheets or towels at all while I was gone and (b) I don’t particularly care about those towels; I mostly find it a funny story.
But now, with the information that Husband’s laundry mixing could not be trusted, my brain was imagining what was going to happen if we broke all of my laundry rules, and the outcome was kind of like this:
And then I started trying to do math and calculate the probability of laundry bleeding colors and germs all over itself and figure out how much I am willing to pay to avoid the risk of that happening, and I realized two things.
Fact 1. It is worth it to me to pay an extra $2 or $7 to not have to sit and think about probabilities and risk factors and if my mixed set of laundry is going to vomit on or poison its machine-mates.
Fact 2: It is not worth it to Husband because he has already thought about it and decided that the risk is minimal and we should just wash the stupid clothes.
Sometimes I wish I could make decisions as quickly as Husband.
But I can’t, so I ended up in a semi-dazed and confused state, during which we compromised because we didn’t have enough laundry to use a 6-load machine anyway.
By the time I analyzed all the risks, my laundry senses were twitching, but the machines had already been started, and I decided that there are more important things in life than caring too much about laundry or having normal, one-colored, disease-free blankets.
We folded the laundry at their folding tables (which Husband thought was ridiculous but obliged me with anyway because he can compromise), and we discovered that nothing got discolored and only time will tell if the cleaning rag nasties got transferred to our bath towels.
But the moral of the story is that we both survived, more or less unscarred.
But I think that Husband is not invited to do laundry with me anymore.