Today is laundry day, and doing laundry is always an adventure in Deutschland, especially with an ornery toddler. Since I also washed clothes during Munich Part I. I knew what to expect. Just like last time, I am using the coin operated laundry in the basement of our building. The coins don’t go anywhere near the machine. They go into the electrical meter on the side of the wall. Instead of turning on the washing machine, the coins turn on the electric to the washing machine. I also have to turn on the water.
During Munich Part I, we had laundry time down to a science. The laundry room was in a neighboring building, and we had to sign up for our slot. I knew that if I signed up for six hours, I could get seven loads done. Two fifty-cent pieces bought me exactly one hour of electricity, but no cycle is exactly one hour, it‘s either less or more. Since there is no hot water line to the washer, water heats up in the machine, so the hotter the water, the longer the cycle. Since I don’t want to waste any of the electricity I’m paying for to turn on the water, add soap in, toss in the laundry or set the cycle, I wait to turn on the electricity until everything is ready to go.
After the first load, the following loads were a mad rush in effort to make the most of the bought electricity. Since there was still time left on the meter, and there is no way I would waste those precious cents on a stopped washing machine. Five minutes before my load was done, I’d run downstairs, hold my finger on the “open door” button and when the tumbler creeped to a stop, pop open the door, dump out the wet laundry into a basket (which was already strategically placed in front of the machine), toss in the dirty clothes, add the soap, close the door, push start, and add money to the electrical meter, so that I wouldn’t run out of electricity mid-load. After I spent my time leisurely putting the wet clothes into the dryer, or onto drying lines, before starting the mad cycle all over again in fourty-three minutes and twenty-nine seconds.
Our previous laundry room had a dryer and two very large rooms complete with lines to air dry your clothes. We didn’t realize what a luxury this was, until we moved into our current apartment. Being the very ecologically conscious people that Germans are, very few households actually use dryers. Our new laundry room doesn’t have a dryer, the two drying rooms are so small, I could fill them both with half of our laundry. Our new apartment has a washing machine hook-up, so our next big purchase is going to be a washing machine, after we recover from the purchase of the stroller. And, we have a large attic space with skylights, so we’re installing our own drying lines, cutting down on the madness.
However, until then, we have make do with what we have. The rush isn’t so mad anymore, as there is really no way to rush anything with a toddler. And since there is no sign-in sheet at this laundry room, I won’t be receiving any nasty grams if the laundry goes a little bit past sign-up time, or if I forget to clean out the lint tray and turn the water off. As for the lack of a dryer, my family will get used to the crunchy towels and stiff jeans.