Thursday, July 26, 2012

Laundry Aboard

No nap until the dryer finishes
Today is laundry day. We've been putting it off for a while, holding the chore at bay while we explore Providence and entertain friends. A sniff reveals that we've been delinquent in attending to those dank sacks of tee shirts et al and they are beginning to announce a protest movement.

At home, this isn't so much of an event because Anita runs a continuous laundry service, keeping the washer and dryer running on a treadmill, poor things. She and I do contend for one key surface: the kitchen cart's butcher block. It's where I chop or she folds, depending on who gets there first. Usually we manage to interleave our schedules but sometimes I notice her standing beside me draped in a towel and a long-suffering expression. That's my signal to take those onions elsewhere so she can get on with it. Dinner may be important but laundry is sacred. Having been my own laundress before I met her, I can certainly understand that.

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full in
Northport, NY
On board we have several favorite laundry ports, places where it's relatively easy to tote the bags back and forth, friends who offer the convenience of their house, or a laundromat that meets Anita's exacting criteria. Well, actually, that last hasn't happened yet but one or two might have come close to meeting her standards. Who else takes a spray bottle of cleaner and a rag to wipe down the folding table in a laundromat? When we're someone's guests, using their appliances, the spray bottle does not appear, of course.

Dapple and Eeyore ready for the next trip
Occasionally we treat ourselves to the luxury of a rental car. There's nothing like four wheels to make beating upwind to the washer-dryer less of an effort.

However, most of the time we're on two wheels each. Dapple and Eeyore (both sired by Dahon and able to fold like contortionistsare the perfect cruisers' burros. They never object to being burdened with provisions, parts, or over-ripe bags of trash or laundry, in addition to their humans. For weeks at a time they stable in the quarter berth and consume only a bit of oil, grease and compressed air. At a marina they get a change of scenery, gazing out of their bikeport on the foredeck, tethered to the rail. It's hard to find a carbon-based crew member so patient or willing. 
Four squirts feels inadequate

In contrast to our bikes, laundromats gorge themselves, demanding a steady diet of detergent and quarters. Recently they have developed an enormous appetite for coins even as their soap consumption has, in theory, markedly diminished. 

Jennifer off Phoenix, whom we met at Tidewater in Baltimore, gifted us with the ultimate use-only-four-squirts-a-load brand of soap. We follow the instructions, but really it is a giant leap of faith to believe that all that boat filth will be defeated by just a tiny amount of detergent. When I was a kid they made me swallow spoons of cod liver oil that were giant-sized in comparison. Usually, for good measure, I sneak in a couple of extra squirts when Anita is distracted by having to shovel loads of quarters into the maw of the beast. [Editor's Note: Okay, that explains why the bottle is almost empty. I've been doing the same thing when he's not looking!]

After piddling away at the current laundry chore, interspersed with eating out, riding the bus to sight-see and taking long naps, we're down to the last couple of loads. This is the marina with the lights on a timer. The one where Anita did aerobics, waving her leg to activate the lights as she folded. The difference this year is that we noticed a small slider on the bottom of the light switch that selects between Auto and On. Well, duh. Now the room stays bright, almost as bright as our clothes, what with all those extra squirts sneaking into the washer. We're probably using the equivalent of a gallon of soap per load.

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