Yesterday I spoke of two events that pretty much made my week. I discussed the new grocery store in detail, but just as important to my joy and excitement this week was my first visit to the laundromat.
Since I arrived, laundry has been my most frustrating chore. We do not have a washer and dryer in our apartment, but there are three coin-op washers and two coin-op dryers downstairs in a little laundry room. Despite the fact that the washers are marked $1.00 and the dryers are marked $1.50, they are both $2 each, something I had to be taught by Michelle, the girl who lives below us.
The washers seemed to work reasonably well, although they're a little on the small side. The dryers, however, need at least three cycles to fully dry a load of clothes. At $2 per cycle, I decided to buy some clothes-drying racks. I've hang-dried my clothes before, and although it takes a little extra work, it's really not that big of a deal.
Shortly after the hurricane, I went downstairs to do some laundry. I put my clothes and detergent in, put eight quarters in the slide, and pushed the slide in. The machine started, and I wandered away. An hour later, I went to take my clothes out of the washer, but the machine still said "in use". I opened the lid, and realized that nothing had happened. The washer wasn't filling with water.
After playing with the valves in the pump room, to no avail, I knocked on the landlord's door. The landlord told me, "Since the cistern water is supposed to be a back-up water source, and the washer uses so much water, we only use city water in the washer. The city water isn't on right now, so the washer isn't working." At this point, I was not fully informed about the water situation, so I asked when the city water might be back on.
"Oh, who knows, another day or two," was the reply. "I'll let you know when you can do some washing."
As you know from my post about our water, the city water hasn't been on since the hurricane. Still, I think the landlord recognized that the washer should still be usable, so he turned on the cistern water to the washing machine.
Except, it's only on sometimes. And the only consistent way I've discovered to find out if it's on, is to put my clothes, detergent, and $2 in the machine and wait to see if water comes out. It's like laundry roulette. Will my clothes be washed now? Or will the water not be turned on for another 24 hours?
After two weeks of dealing with this, I'd had enough, and I told HB that this week, I was going to the laundromat. So on Wednesday, I put all my laundry and detergent in the car, and headed down the mountain. When I arrived at the laundromat, I put my clothes, detergent, and quarters ($1.50 per wash) in the machines, and all four machines immediately began filling with water.
This alone would have been enough to convert me, but then I tried the dryers. A mere 50 cents buys 10 minutes of dryer time, which is enough to fully dry three towels. A large load of laundry only took 20 minutes. For the same amount of money I was spending weekly to merely wash my clothes in the fickle washers in my building, I could wash and machine dry all of my laundry at the laundromat. And it only took two hours, start to finish!
Although I don't know that he'd admit it, I think HB is just as excited by the laundromat as I am. I think he was getting sick of crunchy, hang-dried underwear and socks.