Dealing with your dirty laundry


Like you, I have secrets, things that no one else knows, except me (oh, and the NSA, the National Security Agency aka No Secrets Allowed). And like you, I have dirty laundry.


My dirty little laundry secret is that I have opened up my home to an agitator.


Up until last week, I had no idea that Uncle Sam wanted to wipe them all out. Agitators have been part of American life for as long as I remember. Every home used to harbor one. But since 2004, they’ve been banned, or at least highly discouraged, by the people who have one of the highest piles of dirty laundry in the world.


I know agitators are an endangered species because we had to buy a new washing machine.


It's time I got a new washing machine.

It’s time I got a new washing machine.


Open up a new top loading or a front loading washer and see for yourself. Outside of the inside of a Speed Queen you won’t find many agitators. Just big empty tubs that spin. Oddly, the same thing could be said of many of our lawmakers, but that’s beside the point or at least in close proximity.



We bought the Speed Queen after reading reviews, talking to appliance sales clerks, and looking inside our wallets. We’ll use more water than our neighbors with the new high-efficiency washer, but we’ll do fewer loads because it’s just the two of us. I promise.


Have you seen this agitator? Let your government know now!

Have you seen this agitator? Let your government know now!


I’m all for high-efficiency, reducing carbon footprints and muddy footprints, and cleaning up my laundry and my act. I just wish the people who are going after agitators would do the same.



Wanted poster of the agitator courtesy of  © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons


I’ve been mistaken before


Have you ever read the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat? Written in 1985 by neurologist Oliver Sacks, it describes some of the unusual brain disorders Dr. Sacks observed in his clinical practice.

Like many of you, at night I like to read myself a bedtime story before I go to sleep, and one night a few years ago, this was my chosen storybook. Right before I fell asleep, I read the chapter “The Dog Beneath the Skin,” a description of a medical student who takes a large amount of drugs and wakes up with a dog-like sense of smell. For a limited time, he can distinguish people just by smell and is overwhelmed by the multitude of odors around him.

Later that night, I woke up from a deep sleep because of my sheets. They had that fresh, crisp smell laundry has when you hang it outside on a clothesline. After burying my face in the delicious scent of the pillowcase, I fell back asleep. When I woke up, the smell was gone.

We didn’t have a dryer then, so I hung our clothes out to dry on the balcony. But I had laundered the sheets earlier in the week. They had a mid-week smell, nothing more.

I’ve never been able to figure out what happened. Was it the power of suggestion, a dream, or was my brain running some tests on my olfactory nerve and accidently woke me up?

Why did I think of Sacks’ book this morning? Winter showed up yesterday with lots of snow, and my husband just woke up and mistook me for the weather: gray and gloomy.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for the Weather