Friday, March 4, 2011


When was the last time your grandmother hung her laundry out to dry?  I guess a better question is…when was the last time you hung YOUR load of laundry outside to dry?  Or better yet…when was the last time you hung your clothes outside in the DARK?  I can tell you this was me just last night. “Why?” you ask.  “Why would you hang your clothes out to dry when you have a perfectly good clothes dryer?”  Ahhh…there’s the Million Dollar Question!

I couldn’t believe it…it was dark, and there I was standing outside in our backyard in the dim glow of a lone light bulb (Aussies call them “globes”) glowing from inside the laundry room and a laundry basket full of wet clothes by my side.  As I stretched out to grab each item, along with two clothes pins to put them neatly on the line, (I can’t believe I actually have a use for clothes pins again!) I couldn’t help but wonder what unseen critter was hanging out in the grass, in the dark of night, to have me for dinner…er…um…“tea” (another Aussie term)!  You know that “little kid” feeling, when you get the creepy-crawlies suspecting every bug…every spider…every SNAKE to jump out of the dark and eat you alive?  All that would be left of me when someone eventually became concerned of my whereabouts were my flip flops (they still call them “thongs” here), my clothes and my half-empty basket of wet laundry! Gives me the creeps just thinking about it!

Another perfectly good question is why was I hanging the laundry out at night?  Why not wait until morning?  Well….you know that wonderful smell that permeates your laundry room when you open the washer after allowing your clothes a few days to sit there waiting to be dried?  You know…the sour smell that reminds you of something pleasant like baby vomit?  Well, back home in Oregon, I could “accidentally” leave my clothes in the washer for 2 days…3 days tops (no I never did that…just pretending for dramatic effect! =)  and still be able to throw the clothes in the dryer with no problem.  A dryer sheet to help mask any possible odor issues and the laundry was good to go!  Well, here in Australia things are quite different.  It tends to be a bit warmer here than in Oregon, (go figure!) so the sour smell of rotting clothes begins at a fairly rapid pace…much like the speed that ice cream cones melt in your hands!  So, hanging laundry out at night is a regular practice here; just don’t get me started about the creepy-crawlies that get all over your clothing in the dark!  I just have to shove those thoughts out of my brain and think of something happier, like a root canal!

Yes, Australians LOVE their clothes lines! In fact, almost every home in Australia has one in their backyards that is regularly used! One clothesline is celebrated above all the others; the “Hills Hoists” is a height-adjustable rotary clothes line, invented in Adelaide by Lance Hill in 1945.  So proud of this invention that it was ceremoniously included in the opening ceremony of the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney!

Fortunately, they still use another old invention called a laundry trolley, which is a cart on wheels that lifts your laundry basket to about hip level so you don’t have to crouch and bend to get your clothing from the laundry basket on the ground.

So here I am, living in this wonderful Land of Oz and just where is my clothes dryer?  You’ll never guess…go ahead…take a guess… like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, it’s somewhere over the rainbow! Actually, it’s somewhere over my washer…hanging on the wall in the laundry room!  I kid you not! This square object, covered in dust since it isn’t used regularly, is hanging on the wall like a piece of art!
...Perhaps I should remove it from my wall and put it up for auction at Christie’s!