Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dryer Woes

I do the laundry at my house. I figure, since I sort it all, load it into baskets, haul it downstairs, wash it, dry it, fold it, haul it back upstairs, and put it all away, the other inmates can be responsible for emptying their own pockets and putting the discarded clothing in the hamper. This seems reasonable to me, even generous. And for the most part, the other inmates hold up their end of the bargain. Dirty clothes usually end up somewhere in the general vicinity of some receptacle intended to hold them until laundry day. As a rule, money, pens, and small animals have been removed from the pockets. (The fact that I have a strict rule that I keep any money I find in the laundry may have something to do with this.) But once in a while...once in a while I find things in the dryer that just don't belong there.

The Crayola Incident is burned into the collective memory of my family. It was directly responsible for The Great Crayon Ban of 2001. And there was that time my sister was visiting and I found a whole lot of shredded coconut and raisins in the dryer. I will never forget the expression on her face when she said: "That looks like the trail mix I had in my pocket...but what happened to the burrito?!" Indeed, my Maytag appears to have digested half a breakfast burrito in its entirety, leaving no evidence behind. (I never did get a straight answer about what half of a breakfast burrito was doing in her pocket in the first place.) I won't even discuss The Diaper Years and their attendant laundry surprises, because I have been largely successful in blocking them out of my mind and prefer to keep it that way. There are the inevitable pocket knives and magnifying glasses and other people's socks--which would be weird if I didn't always have other people's kids at my house. Boys seem to be universally opposed to keeping their socks on their feet. I have pulled innumerable empty tubes of Neutrogena lip balm out of the dryer, their waxy contents having been evenly distributed over every square inch of fabric. And my husband doesn't wear clothes speckled creatively with large black ink splotches as a fashion statement.

I can usually identify the source of unusual laundry markings at first glance. Today was another story. I did five loads of laundry without incident. But when I went to pull the sixth out of the dryer, I was greeted by an unexpectedly minty odor. As I opened the dryer door, I felt that sinking feeling at the sight of gooey dark smears coating the inside of the dryer and large oily blotches on the freshly dried clothes. Initially I diagnosed a double-whammy lip balm-and-ink pen disaster. But on closer inspection, I am convinced that Someone (and I'm not pointing fingers, even though there was an awful lot of sticky lint in Younger Son's pants pocket) left a pack of sugarless gum in a pocket, which melted, coating the laundry and the interior of the dryer, and then became encrusted in dryer lint. It's sticky, smeary, and fuzzy, all at once. As I write, an undoubtedly toxic combination of household chemicals is marinating in the dryer, melting off the fragrant gum-and-lint tapenade (I hope).

But as I was kneeling on the tile floor, upper body in the dryer, inhaling an unhealthy volume of 409 fumes, I began to wonder: what's the weirdest thing you've ever found in the wash?

16 comments:

Tammy said...

The washer had just finished and I opened it to move the load of towels, and there was a wee wet mouse sitting on the towels! I kid you not!

sophanne said...

we chew a lot of stop smoking Nicorette gum in these parts. (we've been doing so for the last 5 years- now they need "quit Nicorette" drugs) Neatly wrapped in foil, they don't coat the machines- they just morph from squares to gumballs.

USB thumb drives are a big hit in the washer- as are drivers licenses and credit cards (when I was a very young looking party sort of girl)

Perhaps we show our age by the changes of what makes it through the washer.

A wee mouse? That is crazy.

Mommyleek said...

If we're going for the gross factor, a decapitated tree frog. Yes, both parts.

But if we're just going for odd, somehow the dog's stainless steel food bowl ended up in there recently, along with it's contents. I suspect a certain 3-year-old had something to do with it.

knottykitty said...

Wow---I feel really fortunate now with the occasional coating of the washer load with a pocketful of my husband's kleenex. However, my DH did relate to me a story about his mother and an unfortunate ferret inside a pant leg.....EEEEEeeewww.

throwslikeagirl74 said...

Ours are just sad. And expensive. I have washed 3 bluetooth ear pieces. The worst was the day I found my engagement ring in the dryer, which sounds like a good thing, but it was missing the wedding band portion. I had been packing meat and put it in my pocket. Didn't want it to get packed in the meat. Sigh. It's been 3 or 4 years now. Still can't find it.

janet said...

Only five baby mice. They look a lot like dryer lint after the final rinse and spin, so when I went to take the clothes from the washer I actually picked ONE up and then I screamed my baby girl head off, did an OMG that's yucky dance and fled the scene of the crime. After I calmed down I realized that babies come with mommies and I was totally freaked out again. Dear Ol' Dad rescued me from that fun. The worst thing that I have to get out of my dryer is usually just the dry clothes, but I always have the dewrinkle setting to fall back on, which means that I could go days without removing and folding.

melissaknits said...

OK, the weirdest thing, and I never had anyone claim it as their own so I adopted it, was an intact skeleton of a rodent, I assume mouse, in the dryer. Completely intact, and nothing but bone remaining. No clue, don't ask, just believe. I still have it in a baggie in my dresser drawer. I am waiting for the day one of them claims it, so I can return it.

Life's a Stitch said...

Can't remember anything in particular, but I an so with you. I'm just waiting to be blamed for a drowned IPod. I have a friend who sadly accidentally dried her cat.

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

Well, I washed and dried my all time fave DISCONTINUED Clinique lipstick (Mauve Crystal) and it was my last tube and am still pretty cheesed off about that...

Angelika said...

I keep all the loose change too:), but it doesn't make much of an income. The worst I had was menthos, melted in the dryer, legos, a mini flash light or the usual ink pen that sometimes survives the washer and the dryer, but don't dare to open it, because it'll make a mess afterwards.

Olga said...

Ok, NOTHING I have found even compares to the others comments-thank goodness! Man, you people have wild laundry lives...

Kim said...

You have got some wacky & wild mojo for objects in your dryer. Wow! My husband is anal retentive about clearing out his pockets and my son doesn't use pockets much, which is strange in an 8 year old. So the weirdest thing I've found in the dryer is a small pretty rock or a tiny action figure. What was a burrito doing in your sister's pocket?

Sharon said...

My first pair of handknitted tube socks, made in Nature Spun Sport Orange You Glad. No, I wasn't glad, and that was the last time I let my husband near the washing machine.

Patty said...

Not really weird but a pain in the arse to get off the inside of the dryer: a red grease pencil (the kind used for making contruction markings) a là my husband. Sigh. All. Over. The. Inside. And practically impossible to get off. I used 'Goo Gone' by the way...

FairyGodKnitter said...

Weirdest was a bat that I thought was a sock, most recent was one of the boy's headlamp thingys that I would have loved to have borrowed for extra knitting light.

julesb said...

My Mum found a live bullet my younger brother had put in his pocket at clay pigeon shooting one weekend. Thank goodness the bullet never went off or I think I would have been one brother short!

Meal worms for my daughters Chinese water dragons came out with the dryer lint one day. I was totally grossed out by that one.