One of the things about being an intellectual is that you can underestimate the importance of the mundane. Or so it seemed when I was growing up. My mother was very into Culture, with a capital C, and sought to bring me up as an intellectual, which is what good Jewish mothers on the Upper West Side did, even after they moved to the east side. As a result of this, I was not taught housekeeping skills. It was assumed that although I would be a struggling Artiste, living in a garret in Greenwich Village, I would somehow also be able to afford a maid.
My sense of efficiency was offended that my mother didn’t know simple things like “use cold water to get out blood stains but hot water for greasy stains” but she could quote the entire New York Times Book Review section verbatim. In fact my cousins and I often thought that if we ever really needed to get something through to my mother, it would be best to take out an ad in the NYT Book Review section. Even an ad there had more credence than an article in Good Housekeeping to The Mother.
As the ultimate act of rebellion, I read most of the women’s magazines that were sold at the check-out counter of Gristedes while I was growing up and in college. However, I have not been keeping up with modern advances in homemaking. So I was pretty much adrift when my washing machine started to sound like a Saturn V taking off from Cape Canaveral.
Luckily I have a friend who operates a housekeeper service so I asked her what type of washing machine I should buy. Apparently people with advanced degrees in something other than culture have been working on the problem of washing clothes, and have come up with some nifty ideas.
My friend immediately, and without a moment’s hesitation, said “get a front loader.” Apparently, so she told me, top loading washing machines basically wash things by soaking them in water and beating them with a rock, which, while a tried and true technique, is a bit long of tooth. And in case your washing machine doesn’t have any rocks in it, the “agitator,” as that vertical thing with fins in the middle of my old washing machine is called, is the thing that beats the dirt out of your clothes.
However the newest front loaders wash your clothes without “agitating” or pummeling them at all.
Since this sounded logical, and after reading tons of reviews online, I bought my Sears does everything but sing you to sleep at night front loading washing machine. I opted for the Sears both because it got good reviews and somehow I thought the idea of buying something at such an American institution as Sears would offend my mother’s artistic spirit. I am still the rebel of my youth.
And thus starteth my love affair. One of the first things I did was notice my new toy had a “stain treat” cycle. I immediately tossed in the top I had worn, and gotten a stain on, at dinner the night before. The stain came out. Then I took some tops that had been relegated to being worn at the gym and, carefully following the instructions, found I could get out even old stains. Love was washing over me.
I know this is really inappropriate to say amongst all of the intelligent posts on Pajamas, but damn, my whites are whiter and my brights are brighter.
So why am I even telling you about this? Because since I’ve been a child I’ve been in the business of bringing practical information to the intelligentsia. And I have found that many people are afraid of buying front loading washing machines because there is always an article of clothing that gets forgotten and needs to be tossed into the washer after it’s started. So here’s the super secret information I’m super-serial about imparting: you can open modern front loading washing machines mid-cycle without creating a flood.
I don’t quite understand this, but when I wash things, in my wonderful new washer, I can’t see the water in the washing machine. I know this is a bit unbelievable. I can hear the water going in; I can hear it sloshing around; but when you look into the washer while the wash cycle is on… you don’t see water. I don’t understand how we landed a rover on mars, and I don’t understand how my washing machine gets stuff so clean without having water up to at least the mid-line of the front porthole. But I know that when I find that sock that didn’t make it to the washer, I can push “pause” on the machine, and listen for the click and open the door and toss in the sock.
Is science wonderful or what!?