I honestly would do the laundry more often if it wasn’t so needlessly confusing. It’s never as simple as throwing the clothes in the wash, turning it on, and coming back in an hour. No. You have to actually separate the clothing into three separate piles: darks, whites, and colors. Okay, okay. I’m sure there are many urban legends about the hapless husband who tosses the colors in with the whites and ends up transforming his wife’s favorite dress into a rainbow mutation but, seriously, how likely is that? It’s not like my t-shirts were hand painted. Still, best not to tempt fate and so the clothing is separated into three separate piles. Sort of. What about cream items? Do they go in with the whites or the colors? Where is the dividing line that separates cream-okay-to-go-in-with-the-whites and cream-not-okay-to-go-in-with-the-whites? Is there some rule of thumb that will let me know how creamy is too creamy? And what about the white outfits with the color or black trim? Do they go in with the whites, the colors, or the darks? Let’s face it. Whatever decision I make will be the wrong one, so I set creamies and hybrids aside, along with the pile of whites that may or may not necessitate bleach in their washing process (I’ve heard rumors, but nothing solid), and leave them for Fondy as I concentrate on the darks and colors.

I can’t imagine what kind of problem mixing darks and colors could cause (and will admit to even having tested conventional wisdom by tossing my green Doctor Doom t-shirt in with my dark socks to no obvious ill result), but I nevertheless do stick to the game plan and keep them separate. I start with the darks, cramming them into the washer and then somewhere, in the back of my mind, I seem to recall Fondy advising against this. She may well have cautioned me against packing the washing machine so full I have trouble closing the lid, or it may have just been a fleeting memory from some long-forgotten dream but, just to be on the safe side, I empty the washer of half its contents and decide to run two loads. I then add the blue syrupy gunk. Again, I’m not sure what I’m doing here but my improvised rule of thumb is “trace a trail twice around the clock”. I figure that should be enough to clean the load yet not too much that it would overwhelm me in a sea of pulsating foam like one of those far-less-savvy 1950’s sitcom dads.

Now, all that’s left to be done is twist, pop, and punch the various dials on the washer console that slightly resembles something out of mission control. Let’s see.

Dial on the very left (above the words “Infinite Water Level” which I find cheerfully optimistic) gives me the choice between Mini, Small (seriously, they’re too completely different things), Medium, Large, Super, and Reset. I choose and twist, aligning the arrow with Large.

The next dial to the right gives me the choice between: ATC cold/cold, ATC warm/cold, ATC warm/warm, and hot/cold. Hmmm. This one’s trickier. Well, reverting back to the logic I used during my high school multiple choice exams, I decide that the answer should include ATC since it is in 3 out of my 4 choices. They last choice is never the right one and my high school self tells me to choose Warm/Cold, but I am older and wiser and for no good reason, I turn the dial to ATC cold/cold.

The third dial gives me a whole host of choices: Handwash, Delicate, Sweaters, Perm./Press, Cotton/Colors, and Regular/Whites. Well, I’m not washing this by hand, I’m getting the machine to do it, so I can discount Handwash. And they’re darks so I can discount Regular/Whites. And I don’t wear much silk or chiffon, so I can exclude Delicate. And, really, do I have to commit a whole separate wash to sweaters? I think not. I exclude that choice as well, leaving me with Perm./Press and Cotton/Colors. Well, as anyone will tell you, while white is an absence of all color, black is a merging of all colors (including, yes, teal). So I turn the knob to Cotton/Colors, wondering whether I don’t have it backwards and black is the absence of all colors while white is the merging…only to be distracted by the writing I failed to notice directly beneath my various choices, from Ex. Gentle/Slow beneath Handwash to Normal/Fast beneath Regular/Whites. Ah, the hell with it. I’ve already cast my lot with Cotton/Colors. Medium/Fast it is.

Okay, almost done. Moving eastward, I come upon two buttons. The first, beneath the words Extended Spin, give me a choice between On or Off. Hell, I work on Stargate. Make it spin! On. The next button, beneath the words Extra Rinse, also give me a choice between On or Off. Sure, why not? Extra Rinse it is. On.

Which brings me to the biggest dial of all, a huge silver knob surrounded by a dizzying variety of choices: Soak Only (On or Off), Extra Rinse (which, I must point out, already has its own separate selection dial, but I digress – On or Off), Spin, Rinse (Can you actually choose Extra Rinse without getting Rinse?), Hand wash (Again!), Light, Normal, Heavy, Prewash, Presoak, Quick Wash (On or Off), Extra Rinse (They are really pushing the Extra Rinse option! WTF? On or Off), Spin (!), Rinse (Aw, come on!), Light, Normal, Heavy, Extra Heavy, Prewash, and Presoak. Just above these various choices are the seemingly random interspersed words “REGULAR” “Cotton” and “PERMANENT PRESS”. I choose Heavy – the second Heavy under the words “REGULAR” and wait. Nothing happens. I twist the dial to another selection and wait. Nothing happens. It takes me fifteen minutes to realize this dial requires me to not only twist it, but pull it as well. I pull and the machine rattles to life.

Too late I notice the final two buttons on the very right of the huge silver knob: Chime (Hi, Off, and Lo – which was set on Hi from the last wash) and Finger Faucet which is thankfully set to Off. Seriously, at this point, I don’t even want to know. The washer is humming along, the spin-thing is sloshing around, and something, perhaps the change I forgot to take out of my back pocket, is rattling around quite nicely.

Tomorrow’s blog entry: Mastering the dryer.

Just kidding of course. Tomorrow is the day I believe I’ll be getting those test results back and while I’d like to be upbeat, given the way my visit went on Tuesday I’m more than a little anxious. Seriously, at this point if some above-average cholesterol readings are the worst of it, I’ll be thrilled.

Oh, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know I cleaned out the refrigerator today. Another JM rule of thumb when it comes to refrigerated take-home: “If you can’t cast your mind far back enough to remember when you ate it the first time, turf it.”

Also, to all those of you asking, I spoke to both Joe and Jason yesterday. They and their families are doing fine and their houses escaped the wrath of the fires. Many many others were not so fortunate.

Today’s pics: Mission Control in my basement, today’s breakfast: all the goodness of low-fat yogurt, protein powder, flaxseed, all-natural peanut butter, steelcut Irish oatmeal, banana, and strawberries in a shake form!

Today’s video: Still none.

Today’s mailbag: Checking…Hmmm. Nope. None today either. Sorry.

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