Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Laundry Forcast: Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Rain

Most people think laundry is boring. It’s a dull, benign chore, where the greatest excitement is finding some loose change in jeans’ pockets or having all the socks still match when you pull it from the dryer.

Well, let me dispel such thoughts from your head and introduce you to the thrilling and exhilarating adventure of Ukarumpa laundry (not to be confused with village laundry, which is a whole different and even more stimulating experience)!

Look, it's a sunny morning! But...will it stay that way?
Step 1: Commune with your inner meteorologist. Will it rain today or not? Will your laundry have a chance to dry or will you be madly sprinting out of the house, flinging clothes off the line as rain drops start to spatter your face? To discover this fact, step outside and look at the mountain across the valley. Is it cloudy, especially so you can’t see the peak? Then it might rain. Is it sunny such that you can see the peak? Then it also might rain.

Now that you have established this crucial fact, you can move to Step 2.

Step 2: Squeeze your hand into a pancake and flick the switch hidden behind the refrigerator to turn on the pump that fills the header tank on top of the house. Without a full water tank, you will have no water pressure and thus no clean laundry. Once you hear it start to overflow like Niagara Falls onto the roof, then turn it off. (Some people use river water for their laundry, but we’ve found it stains clothes a grayish yellow even faster than the rainwater; since lack of rain hasn’t been an issue recently, we’ll stick with that for this example.)

Step 3: Haul your laundry out onto the porch and unlock the laundry room. As you shift the various loads into the laundry room, you may need to fling yourself after the dog, who wants to eat the cat that lives in the laundry room (remember them?).

See the red light? Watch the red light.
Step 4: Load your laundry, place the appropriate detergent inside…and flick on the outlet. Now wait. Do you see a green light on the power guard? If so, bravo! You can hit ‘START.’ If the light is red, then it means the power is not strong enough. Switch off the outlet and come back in 10 min and try again.

Step 5: Try the power again. Red light? Wait another 10 minutes. Repeat Step 5 until successful (it might take two days).

Step 6: Once you have a green light and your laundry is happily sloshing away, you can return to your other work in the house. The house may shake and groan like a 7.0 earthquake, but never fear! It’s just your friendly washer and the fact your house is built on stilts.

Step 7: Realize that you haven’t heard the washer going for a while and go check on it. The power light is red, and it probably has been red for the last half hour. Congratulations—the power has fluctuated! Switch it off and wait 10 min. Once it’s green, start again. Repeat about 6 more times over the next three hours (for a 50 min cycle).

Step 8: Once the cycle is complete, then stand outside, look at the mountain, and repeat Step 1. Will it rain or not? Should you put your laundry to hang on the covered veranda (where it takes twice as long to dry…but won’t get soaked by a downpour) or on the regular, sun-washed clothesline?

Just wait...the rain will come. You'll see.
Step 9: Haul your laundry out to the clothesline and attempt to pin it up in a way that takes advantage of the wind…and yet still hides all those intimates from roadside view.

Step 10: This step depends on your decision in Step 8. If you put it on the outside clothesline and if it is after 10 am, then, that little pitter-patter of rain drops on the house’s tin roof is like the starting pistol for the Ukarumpa Laundry Dash! How fast can you tear outside and hurl all your semi-dry laundry into the basket and then fling it into the house before the deluge begins? If, however, you decided to put your laundry on the covered veranda clothesline, then you will spend your entire day watching the brilliant sunshine and puffy white clouds floating gently by in a spectacularly blue sky… (Occasionally you can thwart the rain and put your laundry out on the sunny clothesline—your best chance at this is if your friend puts her laundry on her covered clothesline FIRST so the rain is tricked and doesn’t realize you are sneakily doing laundry as well...).

Step 11: Repeat from the beginning for load #2…

And that, my friends, is the Ukarumpa laundry experience—guaranteed to add excitement to your day in all sorts of ways!

Do you have any household chores that seem to have more than their share of excitement?