Saturday, November 26, 2016


Gird your loins for herein lay a sad tale of mold, mildew, and discarded clothing.

Sometimes living here in Paris has felt like we live in a third world country.  The plumbing can be dodgy.  Plaster falls apart.  Paint peels.  Crotte de chien (dog poop) rests peacefully on the sidewalk and remains untended for days at a time.  People stand in the middle of the sidewalk (adjacent to the crotte) quietly smoking their lungs out and sharing clouds of nicotine when anyone who is brave enough to walk by.  Clothes seem to rot without any encouragement.  Mildew abounds and fungus spreads unchecked.  We've often wondered why we moved here.

During our trip to visit family back in the States we rediscovered the joys and happiness of clear and clean plumbing.  Walls are straight, true, and remain upright.  Paint faithfully does what paint should do.  Dogs are more normally picked up after.  People on the sidewalks don't hinder progress.  Lungs are less often subjected to the hazards of smoking.  Clothes are usually clean and dry.  By these measures America has a lot going for it.

When we were in Lisbon Jude asked if I'd please throw away some knit shirts that had mildewed.  Our clothes drying arrangement is the typical European hang-dry on racks bodge-up.  We have two of them (racks that is, we already have plenty of bodge-ups).  Using this approach we can do two or three loads of laundry in the early morning and have some of the things dry by bedtime.  But this happens only if we turn up the heat in the apartment and put the racks near the heat sources.  By accident clothes sometimes get put away not fully dry.  Hence the mildew problem.  I can't tell you how many articles of otherwise good clothing we've tossed out.

Heaven must have clothes dryers.  Surely.

On a fait un peu de recherche.  C'est a dire, we used Google to see if there might be a suitable alternative to drying clothes en plein aire.

*tappity*tippity*tap*tap*tap* went the keyboard, and... what's this?  Huh.  We can live in Crotte Paradise and Clean Clothing Heaven at the same time?  How is this possible?  No.  Say it isn't so.  We've lived for over four years without one of these and now we learn we needn't have suffered?

Salvation comes in many forms.  In our case it is a condenser dryer.  We don't need to run a big tube through an ancient crumbling plaster wall to have dry clothes.  I know.  It's shocking.  But we're here to tell you that it's true.  It turns out that self-contained dryer units are much more common than I ever thought.  We went down to Darty to confirm what Google suggested.

Et voila!  C'est vrai.  Voici notre nouveau meilleur ami.

All it took was a valid credit card and a day or two wait for the kind garcons (qui ├ętait vraiment costaud) to make the delivery and we are now the proud owners of a condenser clothing dryer.  We simply plugged it into a wall outlet and away we went.

No longer are our days spent managing laundry.  We can now get up in the morning and have our laundry duties done by noon.    We can process as many loads of laundry as we need in a day.  Into the wash machine go the clothes.  Over to the dryer when the spin is finished.  Ding goes the dryer when the clothes are ready to fold and put away.  Repeat until done.  Completely done.

Bonus:  Our afternoons are now free to explore the city in scent-free never again to be donated to the homeless garments.

We feel as if we've just left one of the lower level's of Dante's Hell and have passed through St. Pierre's Pearly Gates to enter Heaven.

It's strange how suddenly little things like smokers and crotte and plumbing feel rather less important.  Afterall, isn't there room for these people and these things in heaven, too?

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