There are reasons for coin laundromats. They are for people who live in small houses, or apartments, or who do not wish the expense of owning two large energy and water guzzling appliances. I have a washer and I have a dryer, and I do laundry often enough for my family and I to be wearing clean clothes on most days. And yet, it doesn't take long for the laundry to flood, overflowing its various hampers and creating a vaguely-mold-and-urine-smelling ocean that encompasses the upstairs hallway, the bedrooms, and the washroom. The ocean even has fish, of the silver variety. It stands as a symbol of our slovenliness for all to see.
So every so often we cheat. We splurge on coin laundry and wash all our clothes at once. I did this a few days ago, packed the ocean into six garbage bags and drove my overstuffed car to the laundromat next to that free toppings pizza place, and Produce Planet.
It was after nine, and the humid strip mall location had only one customer (fortuitously already using the dryer) and no staff. Three of the washers were out of order; I filled the rest with my ocean. I felt a little guilty when a woman (who legitimately needed the coin laundry) came in and had to wait, but she only had one load and only had to wait five minutes. Besides, chatting about her six-month-old baby was the highlight of my experience. That, and of course reading Love of Her Lives on my ereader.
After about an hour the humidity had become stifling and my throat was parched. There's a vending machine in the laundromat, which I assumed was a trick to get you to spend coins on non-laundry, thus having to break yet another twenty in the change machine. Eventually I gave in. I ordered a water, then an ice tea, then a flavoured water. All three were sold out though, so I had to endure my thirst, as the ocean churned around me.
When I left I checked all the machines for forgotten clothes, flummoxed that I had somehow compressed my laundry haul to five bags instead of six. No matter, I was happy to get out of there.
Fast forward to today. The kids had their last day of soccer in the morning and I could find one pink soccer sock and that was it. On a normal day we would have dug through the ocean, but the ocean was gone. Everything was clean and sorted and in drawers. Where were the soccer uniforms? While the rest of us ate breakfast, my husband went back to the laundromat. I had low expectations, having seen a sign on the wall of the establishment proclaiming "WE EMPTY THE MACHINES EVERY NIGHT". In retrospect, I think they meant that they empty out the money, leaving the almost-a-week-old laundry to mold in the washer where I miraculously left three loads worth. I say miraculously because I checked, double checked, and triple checked. Turns out, not only did the washer contain the soccer uniforms, but also a whole bunch of clothes that I would have eventually missed, likely when it was too late. In a month or two I would think to myself, where is my favourite pair of jeans? What ever happened to my bathing suit top? But they would have been gone forever if not for soccer.
And that is the story of how the soccer uniforms saved the laundry!