Tuesday, 10 June 2008

BALLS...to the laundry!

Unless you're a truly inspirational domestic goddess who loves to lather up your smalls and hang out your nylons, washing duties will be one of those household chores that can really get you down and put a dampener on your weekend!

I've never claimed to be a proper housewife, not even in my days of being at home 24/7, because with full credit to all those who can strut their stuff with a duster and more technical gadgetry than you can shake a stick at, I just couldn't pass muster.

Something happened when I left the workplace, gave birth and arrived home with a small baby. I don't know what it was, but something in my brain was suddenly switched off and after almost seven years, has failed to kick back in.

Before the vultures in pursuit of the female inability to multi-task all swoop down and pull at the the bare bones of false evidence, I need to make one thing clear...

It's not that I can't do two things at once....I can. Just watch me in action cooking up a fine Sunday roast with one hand, whilst surfing the Internet with the other.

It's just that I no longer have the capacity or indeed the inclination to keep on top of the housework!

And doing the laundry falls right into this category!

Yes it's time to come clean, so to speak, and admit that I have been known to abandon my family's laundry in the washing machine for days on end!

When I'm not distracted by writing, sometimes I just merely forget about the laundry amidst the other tasks of playing residential restaurant manager or personal shopper. Other times, I just can't hack the production-line of taking the dry laundry off the clothes dryer, sorting out the whites and then balancing the fall-out from the over-crammed under-sink cupboard just to measure the laundry detergent, knowing fully well that I am kicking off a new cycle of washing that I can't properly manage at the other end.

On a really bad day, Mr A looks at me in despair, announcing that he is "low on pants".

I just look at the gray skies, and smile back, announcing "That's all very well, but I'm low on A rated energy".

(Which is true, because our washer\dryer is truly pants and I always feel blessed if it's sunny)

Anyway, if you're still sticking with my tale of woe, then bless you, you've made my day, but surely you must be wondering where this is all going!

Well the answer is... BALLS!

And at last ...I've got some!

Yes, I've now got enough balls to tell Mr A where to stick his pants as well as those of the Junior Posse.

And the other day I gave him a demonstration, telling him that all pants can be just stuffed in the washing machine with all the other laggards of the washing backlog, with nothing else to do than press the on-switch! It's that simple!

Now if that doesn't sound like a stunt in female emancipation with grounds for divorce, then I don't know what is....however, I feel that I should offer some reassurance.

Because after several years of lack of faith plus the desire for fresh-scented laundry, I decided to ditch my doubts, get over myself and strive for a life less-hassled.

Yes Ladies and Gentlemen...I got myself some ecoballs!

Yes balls that can just hang about in the washing machine for 1000 washes, without the need for detergent! The only thing I must remember is to count to 1000 and leave them out to dry when the washing machine's not in use.

Here they are...resembling three lovely spaceships.

Why I need to use three at a time, I don't know. However, I won't ask too many questions as it's such bliss that I no longer have to juggle the boxes and bottles, let alone remember to buy them [except for tackling the odd tough stain that is].

But all this must surely leave you wondering...how on earth a woman as disorganised as this keeps on top of her recycling? Now that's the same question I ask myself everyday. However, managing my rubbish is so easy compared to my laundry.

All we need now is a magical solution that can dry, iron and put away....sigh...perhaps we need a housewife... and an efficient one at that!



Mrs Green said...

"low on pants" :D Just make sure he doesn't go out any buy himself some disposable ones!

I'm looking forward to seeing how these work out for you. Do you have hard or soft water over yonder?

Well done for making the switch Mrs A - keeping chemicals from our green and pleasant land if one of my 'things'.

Mrs G x


LOL Mrs G - I recall on one occasion, things had got so bad, he had gone out to buy some more. Not disposable though you'll be pleased to know, but does anyone really need 24 pants (I suppose if you live with me you do) ;-D

We've had the ecoballs for about three weeks and we even took them on holiday...you can't get more portable than that. Probably the hardest thing has been getting used to the lack of scent. But it's just another habit to change.

We've got hard water up here so I don't know if it will make a difference, will let you know ;-D x

Sue said...

Dh has a little joke about making pants last longer! I'm not sure if he has ever tried it mind! I am not sure if I should share it with you LOL!
Okay, when we pack to get ready for holiday I always list 8 pairs of pants, one per day, and one spare. DH always jokes saying, so what you really mean is four. Well the first time he said this I didn't have a clue what he was talking about, and now it has become the thing that he says everytime we pack to go away.
Day one, pair one; Day two, pair one turned inside out; Day three, pair two, day four, pair two turned inside out....you get the idea!

Back to balls. I used the lakeland plastic ball, only one required with this pack. I am not sure if it worked! Things that looked clean came out looking the same, things with marks on came out with marks on! At first I was really proud of my ball, told myself that it was working, and that i couldn't expect it to get the marks out, so I should use the 'stick' provided. The clothes didn't smell good, in fact they still had a stale smell about them. Now was it me being fussy, or did they really not work?
I'm not sure, I decided to continue using it with half the recommended amount of soap powder, a kind of middle ground, this was a great improvement. Then the ball came apart, the little balls were mixed in with the washing, and today some of the little balls appear out of thin air (they went everywhere!), and we occasionally find one in a pocket. Since then I have continued to use half the recommended amount of wash powder, and it seems to work fine.
One thing I will say is the stain stick that came with the ball is fantastic, it smelled of lemon, I have used it to remove so many stains, I wonder what is in it!


Sue - thanks for that big chuckler. I love your DH's method, maybe I should pass on the words of wisdom to Mr A...and even set up another blog...The PANTS Diet (great synonym, different conotations) ;-D

I hope my balls fair better. They look pretty much sealed in by a little screw. But I know what you mean when it comes to stains, I have to go back to the washing powder...

talking of which...within minutes of bunging up the blog post this morning Mr A came down with a wizard costume (not his, I should add) announcing one of the cats had piddled on it. I looked in the dressing up box and the cat had in fact piddled on everything...

Oh bum! There was no way I was going to rely on the balls for that.

I'd love to see the look on my neighbours' faces later when they see the wizard costume, cat suit, knight's outfit, Doctors coat, hats, masks and funny shoes all dangling on the washing line.

They will probably know what they've always suspected...that Almost Mrs Average has finally gone potty ;-D

Karin said...

What is it with husband's pants? I think my hubby had quite a number at one stage but he hasn't replaced them all as they wore out and we're back to getting dangerously close to him running out of pants at times.

I think part of the problem is that I ask him to tell me when he's getting low (i.e. 2 or 3 pairs left) and he waits till he is putting on the last clean pair.

I'm afraid I have no faith in ecoballs, but maybe that's me being overly sceptical. I use an environmentally friendly liquid, using less than some of them say. As they tend to smell a bit like sour milk I add lavendar oil to the wash, which you could do when using ecoballs. BioD seems to smell better than Ecover, but I have now discovered Sonett, available from Green Fibres, and that has lavendar already added. Of course the problem with any washing liquid is the plastic bottle, which even if it is recycled, is not ideal.

Another alternative I have wondered about trying is soap nuts. Has anyone given them a go?


Hi Karin - how lovely to hear from you. LOL, I love the way we're all talking about our husbands' pants. What a lovely example of "airing your dirty laundry in public"! I love it. I know what you mean about the ecoballs. For me it was definitely a leap of faith...it all seemed too green for me if that makes sense. Then one day I was very tempted by the one-off expenditure and am now crossing my fingers that it's going to work. I really love the idea of adding lavender oil. What a great top tip, I think I am going to have to use that one. Anyway, keep dropping by...pants today, who knows what's tomorrow...and I can always do with the back-up ;-D

Karin said...

I read your blog most days, Mrs A, and occasionally alert my local ethical matters group about a post I think might be of particular interest.

gemma_anslow said...

AMA - How are you getting on with your eco-balls?
I must have got mine about the same time as you! I find them great for things like bath towels and bedlinen that don't get very dirty. Colours also seem to be OK but I do find them a bit wanting when it comes to whites - certainly can't cope with my hubby's muddy, grass-stained cricket trousers (even with the stain removed provided), though they do shift the red dye from the ball.
I find that cotton and cotton mixes (esp. bedlinen,t-shirts) come out nice and soft, despite our really hard water in this part of Essex - I am using a Magno Ball (instead of the incredibly expensive Calgon tabs! should pay for itself in a matter of months) -- does make a bit of a racket though!

Karin - love the idea of lavender fragranced laundry - might give that a try. As for soap nuts - I saw them on Lakeland's website a while ago and toyed with the idea. I've only heard good things about them, so it'd be worth giving them a try - You can get a sample here


Hi Karin - thank you so much for visiting regularly, sharing your thoughts as well as sharing the content with ours. That's great to hear and please keep joining in the discussions. It's great to have your contribution ;-D

Hi Gemma - great to hear from you. The Eco-balls are doing great so far. Most of our laundry doesn't have many marks despite having two young boys. However in emergencies, for example when one of our cats had another accident on my freshly done laundry today, I had to use powder and conditioner. I wasn't going to leave that to the ecoballs either. Serves me right for leaving the windows open and the door just slightly ajar in the bedroom. Breeze came through, slammed door and poor cat was shut in (bless).

That's a great point about the softness of the clothes. We're in a hard water area too, just over the border in Suffolk and yes, the clothes are still pretty soft.

I'm now getting used to the extra noise that the eco-balls make in themselves. In a house of our size, it's hard to get away from them.

Thank you so much for the extra knowledge. Hopefully other readers will find this useful too. ;-D

Baba said...

Well girls I have to make a comment about the garments you are all referring to...pants. THEY AREN'T PANTS - they're underpants / boxers / knickers - whatever! Pants are trousers!!!! Have you ever heard the expression "all fur coat and no pants"?!?! NO!!
So, now we're all clear about that...I can relax again and go think about using the balls.....

Just a thought AMA - wot about getting the cats to wear recyclable nappies.....


Oh no Baba, you've been Americanised! British pants are pants, "an undergarment with two holes covering the body from waist or hips to the thighs".

Pants will always be pants even if they're Y-Fronts, boxers or knickers. The only exception is the thong, as it doesn't quite fit the definition.

The US can have as many pants as they like, whether they are trousers or pants. Hmm, if their trousers are called pants, what do Americans call their pants....briefs perhaps? That'll be confusing in the legal profession? And as for Jockey Shorts...

Oh dear, I've got myself all confused. If there's anyone looking in from the US...hhheeellllp! ;-D

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. A,
I know this is a late post, but I only found this blog a few weeks ago, and have been reading like mad to catch up. In the US, we call it underwear. Boxers, briefs, panties (women's pants), thongs, bras, etc. are all underwear. The hoity-toity folks call it undergarments, which I guess can account for slips and camisoles as well... Anyway, I love the blog and can't wait to read about all of your adventures!


Hi Kristen - LOL thanks for the rundown. That's a brilliant explanation. I absolutely love the subtle differences in our shared language.

Thanks so much for your lovely comments and I hope to see you back soon :-D

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