Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's a Wash

One of the best names of a blog I have ever heard is "There's More To Life Than Laundry" (I'm not a regular reader, but do love the title). Feels like a mantra I should repeat to myself at least several times a day. This week, in particular.
It started last week when I plowed through even more loads than normal. I try to stay on top of things by doing at least a load a day, though I do get backlogged on the putting clothes away front, so sometimes a load sits where it shouldn't for longer than it should (the washer, the dryer, the baskets that litter my family room).
There were maternity clothes to be sorted through and washed, new clothes for the kids to celebrate spring, plus the clothes that came out of suitcases from the little trip the kids and I took to visit family.
When it finally seemed like I was about to see the floor of my laundry room again, it happened. A load of darks came out looking funky. At first, I thought I was just dealing with an missed stain on J's shirt, some yellow splotches that looked a lot like the fertilizer he had sprayed all over himself in the yard.
Then I noticed yellow splotches on everything. A black maternity shirt borrowed from my cousin. O's new dinosaur t-shirt. Two pairs of jeans. New black leggings. N's new hot pink shirt. And on and on.
J. first got the blame. "That fertilizer is all over everything!! And it's already been through the dryer, so who knows if it's going to come out!!"
I sprayed everything with Shout and threw it back in the washer. As I was going about the rest of the morning, I thought there were some strange sounds coming from the washing machine, but tried to ignore it. Later, I checked the clothes and the stains, realized they were still there, and grew even more annoyed with J. My annoyance kept me from paying too much attention to the fact that the clothes were not only stained, but also sopping wet. I sprayed on more Shout, rubbed the yellow spots with a toothbrush, and threw them all back the washer for another try.
Then, as I was frantically scooping little ponies and plastic animals up off the carpet in a desperate attempt to get my house cleaned up a little before we left for the weekend, I found some incriminating evidence. Next to the laundry basket where I had last folded clothes was the wrapper to a yellow crayon. Yes. A yellow crayon. Before you go blaming the kids, I must admit it was my very own fault. I picked up a broken yellow crayon, stuck it in my pocket until I was near a trash can, and promptly forgot all about it. So yes. Sorry for the fertilizer blaming, J. And did I mention that these clothes had already been through the dryer??
We've had this problem before. Only not at my own house. O's "misplacement" of a green crayon nearly ruined my mother-in-law's dryer. Thank goodness for magic erasers.
Figured this was as good a time as any to check on the clothes again. That's when I noticed, really noticed, the ridiculous churning sound coming from the washing machine. Open the lid, and there was absolutely no movement coming from the agitator. So yes. Now I not only have a load of ruined clothes, but also a broken washing machine. And aI have no interest in putting the clothes back in the dryer to make the stains worse. So, I did what you all would have done. Closed the lid and left them there for the weekend.
Come Monday, I did some googling, and arranged for an appt. to have the washer checked out, and also found a last ditch solution for the crayon clothes. Here's the recipe:

2 caps laundry detergent
1 cup Oxiclean
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup borax
1 cup Shout

I mixed this all together in a big rubbermaid tote, added hot water, then stuck the whole thing with the clothes to soak in my garage. I fully expected them to sit there for a week while we waited for a new washing machine to arrive once the repairman announced our old machine dead.
Then I started to twiddle my thumbs, because what else do you do when you've returned from out of town and you can't wash all the stuff in your suitcases??
I am amazed to tell you that this story actually has a happy ending. The washer was fixed relatively easily, needing some sort of coupler or something. And lo and behold, the weird concoction actually took the melted crayon out of EVERYTHING.
So, save yourself the google search and jot this little remedy down right now. Because chances are, you'll soon be the one whose husband finds you with your fanny hanging out of the dryer as you try to scrape wax off the drum.
What laundry mishaps have you survived??


Heather said...

What a nightmare! so glad it had a happy ending!

Laundry is the bain of my existence. I'm singing praises that my older two can actually put their own clothes away, which does help immensely.

I have washed my husband's cell phone. Twice. Didn't break the washer, but did damage the phones. I never check pockets...

Stacia said...

Oh, man, yellow crayon ... Thank goodness for Google, huh?? I washed a black pen once. That wasn't pretty (and still isn't on a few items). I also washed a diaper once. That was fun!

mep said...

It's a laundry miracle! I was feeling so bummed out for you and this happy ending really made my day!

Also, I HATE laundry. Just can't keep up. My mom is in town helping me now and one of the many bonuses of her presence is that she is a laundry machine!

Alexandra said...

Ugh. I hate laundry. Hate it.

Thanks for stopping by at MEP's. It is so nice to meet you.

And I agree with what you said about blogging. I'd like everyone to do a post on why they blog, and what it does for them.

It is such a positive experience, and the media is making us feel as if we are neglecting our children to do this. But, if it makes us mentally happy, and makes us happier, why should we not be able to do this hobby for ourselves????

Thank you for your comment. And adorable blog, by the way...

Molly said...

for the record I've done that with a red crayon. Worse was the stick of chewed gum that made it all the way to the dryer and pretty much ruined the dryer. I gave up on laundry years ago.