Sunday, May 13, 2007

My To Do List

Here are the "jobs" I want to accomplish today.
1. Burn the paper trash.
2. Wash a load of darks.
3. Wash dishes.
4. Clean the bathrooms.
5. Create a "Syllabus Search" exercise for my two classes tomorrow.
If I have more time, I'd like to
6. Vacuum the living room and bathroom.
7. Sweep the kitchen.
8. Mop the kitchen and sections of the great room.

Now this looks like an innocuous little list, but let me tell you what some of those jobs involve. 2. Washing the load of dark clothes means that I pour the five five-gallon buckets full of rinse water into the washing machine before adding the detergent and clothes. In addition, it means draining bucket by bucket of wash water from the washing machine when it's finished with the wash cycle, and carrying those buckets to the bathroom to pour into the larger bucket. Then when that water is drained, it means pouring 12 to 16 gallons of water from gallon jugs, two by two, into the washing machine for the rinse cycle. Then draining that water, bucket by bucket, and pouring it into the five five-gallon buckets to save for the next load of clothes. Then the rest of the process (drying and folding) is the normal process.

3. Wash dishes means I pour 2 to 3 gallons of water into a stock pot from the gallon jugs and heat it up on the stove. Then I pour that water into the sink tubs, make suds, and hand wash the dishes, letting them drain in the dishwasher. The leftover dishwashing water gets used for flushing the toilet.

So I guess I'd better get started.


Carol Anne said...

Interesting thought ... in your case, technology might actually be increasing the amount of work you do.

Instead of hauling all of those buckets of water into and out of the automatic washing machine, might it be less work to wash everything by hand?

For that matter, how necessary is washing everything so often? Before technology made laundry so easy, everybody wore things multiple times between washings -- that was the case even in the 1960s when I was growing up. Sure, underwear needed to be changed every day, but a shirt could be worn twice, and pants at least three times between washings.

And nowadays, with modern antipersperants, things don't get dirty so fast, either.

When housekeeping technology first arose, the promise was that women would have more free time. Instead, women ended up spending the same amount of time on housework, just doing more work.

Snowcuts said...

Hmmm, I guess I'm not all that typical. I never washed my clothes as often as you imply people do -- even when I had water! I'd wear my school clothes 2-3 times, letting them air out between wearings, and switching off so people wouldn't "think I was poor." (That's one thing my mom drilled into me -- "don't wear the same clothes two days in a row, or people will think you are poor." Never mind that we were poor and got our clothes out of boxes the church gave us.)

Underwear and socks we'd wear only once before tossing them in the hamper. (I was amazed when a friend said she sometimes wore her socks more than once.)

As for homewear, we'd wear that until it was filthy before washing. Like when I'm on breaks, at home, I wear the same pair of shorts and shirt for about a week, getting flour, dust, food and mud on them.

The only thing that's changed since our well got slow is the frequency of washing sheets. Now I wash them about once a month.

As for handwashing -- when our well went dry, we bought some washboards so I could do as you suggested. I remembered when I was tiny, this big old tub on four legs in which you'd handwash the clothes using a washboard, and attached to the edge of the tub was a wringer -- two rolling pins that squeezed the water out. Well, we didn't have such a handy tub, so I was washing in buckets on the floor and then in the sink, and wringing out by hand, which was rough considering my arthritis. And because I was doing the wash part wrong (using my knuckles against the washboard) my knuckles got blisters which broke and bled! And the number of buckets of water that I had to use was slightly less than for the washing machine, maybe five gallons. Either way, I'm hauling buckets of water around. The washing machine is quicker, doing a load of clothes in 30 minutes, and easier on my hands.

I've even thought about getting a water-conserving front loader. But with that, the water would have to come directly from our well. I wouldn't be able to pour water into it like I can our top loader. So our extra large top loading washing machine is actually the best thing we can have for our situation.