Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 398

Hanging it all out to dry

So, let’s talk dirty laundry, or rather clean laundry.

In the UK I had a lovely little garden to go with my lovely little house and at the end of the lovely little garden there was a lovely little hole in the ground, in which, when weather permitted, I stuck my rotary washing line to dry my clothes.

Ah, the scent of freshly dried linen in the sunshine – you just can’t beat it! (Although my British friend told me a charming tale of how her village had a little writ instructing those who neighboured the church not to hang their washing out to dry on a Sunday – oh, sweet and funny England! Her friend even grew a hedge round her washing line to obscure it from view!)

This is not my actual washing line. I did not tend to take pictures of it, funnily enough.

This is not my actual washing line. I did not tend to take pictures of it, funnily enough.

Now, where I live in Howard County it is against all Housing Association rules to hang out your laundry/washing to dry.

Sometimes I find this a little sad. There is something very therapeutic and satisfying about standing out and pegging up your linens and smalls and then forty-five minutes later getting them in, folding them and popping them in your wicker basket as if one was a washer woman in the early 20th century.

But here it’s all about the tumble drier. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my tumble drier and it is so convenient and easy and makes the clothes and towels all soft and bouncy (rotary-dried towels are as hard as nails), but there are regulations here about hanging ANYTHING out to dry, which is kind of sad because it is totally environmentally friendly. I do understand that it doesn’t always look attractive, and it might be associated with areas that don’t look aesthetically pleasing when it is all hung up, but, by gawd, the electricity bills, impact on the environment and wot not must be astronomical. Just sayin’!

Laundry in NYC hanging out to dry....

Laundry in NYC hanging out to dry….

Admittedly, when I think of some washing lines, I conjure up images of Coronation Street….

But, it just is an interesting thing about living where I live in the USA – you certainly don’t air your laundry for all to see – literally or metaphorically 😉 Lifestyle changes as an expat – they stick with you, they surely do. Although I have been informed today that the rules might have changed in some way in Howard County…… so I will test this….prepare to to see my undies out to dry next week Columbia, MD!

Queen Vic

From Coronation Street, to Eastenders. Well, not quite. But on to Vicki, who lives in Washington DC, and writes a blog about ‘one woman’s journey to live like a Queen.’ How does this work in the USA? Read her interview and find out!

Name: Vicki, age 32 1/2
Occupation: 2nd grade teacher by day, self-proclaimed photographer and wino (separate things) by night
Location: Washington, DC

Tell me a bit about growing up in the USA and what your childhood was like.
Oh gosh, I’m not sure I can answer that succinctly. I’d like to think that growing up in these here United States of America might be like growing up in any other developed country. My parents both worked, my sister was (and still is) 8 years older than me, we had a sweet pet cat which I was obsessed over (rest in peace, Muffin), I did ballet from age 4 until 18, as well as Girl Scouts and piano lessons for that length of time. We lived far from family, but visited them for Christmas. We went to church on the weekends. We never ate something sweet for breakfast before eating something healthy. Oh, and we always took our vitamins; my mom was a bit of a health fanatic.



You live in DC and are a teacher – how did American kids differ today from your childhood? What pressures do you think exist for the American kid?
American kids these days? That’s a can of worms right there! My blissful childhood required homework before play, chores to warrant an allowance, and that I always show respect to any adult. I think kids in present day America can also display those qualities, but I think if we’re going to start pointing fingers: technology is to blame. Kids these days can fast forward through commercials! Enough said.

If you were to do a sales pitch about your lifestyle as an American in Washington, how would you sell it?
I just answered this for a friend who asked on Facebook, “Where should I move?” I made the best decision to follow my now-husband to DC almost ten years ago. This city has everything: culture, history, nightlife, parks, rivers, hiking, universities, concert venues, museums, four seasons of weather (usually without too much snow), quality renowned restaurants, cheap yet delicious fast food, small name businesses, large-scale government, and quality people, too! The demographics are diverse and the possibilities endless. I don’t see ourselves anywhere else and we plan to stay for a while!



And if you were writing an honesty column for other American gals, mothers and wives in DC, what would you say about your lifestyle?
DC is expensive. The cost of living here is not pocket change. You can get by on a comfortable income to debt ratio, however you have to be smart about it. Don’t waste your money on clothes (I should listen to myself!) and shop smart! Stay in some nights and live it up large on other evenings. You don’t need to deprive yourself to live large, but you do need to use your head.

You say on your blog that Crowning Victoria is all ‘one woman’s journey to live life like a queen’. Are you on the path to achieving this? And do you love the Queen and the royal family as much as other Americans seem to?
Every day is a step towards my throne! You only have one life, so I see it my duty to enjoy every moment as much as I can. And I could care less about the royal family (sorry). I just don’t get the hype?

Complete this sentence: Washington is…the center of it’s own tiny universe: the core of something bigger and the heart of my little world.

At Obama's inauguration

At Obama’s inauguration

If you could tell your high school self three bits of advice about being a wife in DC, what would they be?
1. “Slow down, you move too fast; you’ve got to make this moment last” -Simon and Garfunkel would agree 😉
2. Aim big, but don’t be disappointed when things don’t work out.
3. Eat the cake. You’ll be sad if you don’t.

Complete this sentence: Being an American is ……embarrassing at times, but mostly rewarding.

P.S. Why don’t we import Jaffa Cakes and can you help me with that?

Thanks Victoria!

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8 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 398

  1. Sleepless of UK says:

    The.phrase “hanging out” comes from chatting to neighbours whilst putting the washing out to dry

  2. I love fresh, air-dried laundry. I live in Columbia and hang out clothes out to dry in the warmer months. I use hooks on our deck and a clothes line that I take in during the winter. Since I don’t have a permanent structure, I’m within the village covenants in Columbia and are good to go.

  3. Kate Evans says:

    Just think of all the electricity that would be saved if they changed the law – start a petition Claire

  4. Mindy Helms says:

    I have a laundry line in my small laundry room inside my house. Couldn’t live without it. Not everything should be put in the dryer, especially the “ladies dainties” . Although, I will say, it does make clothing much softer. Yes, it is expensive to dry things this way, but the dryer serves well as the cheaters way to get our of ironing some things when you don’t have to have the crisp pressed look. I hate ironing! 🙂

  5. Great topic choice–I hang my washing out every day–inside or out (mainly out here of course). I rarely use the tumble dryer and would be offended if I was made to hiding my airing washing. I agree, start a petition!
    Good interview too BTW :-).

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