Back in November, I learned that our summer-sun-drenched-terrace is not so sun-drenched in the winter. In fact, about the time the clocks change in the fall, our terrace is reduced to just an hour or so per day of sun—and usually that hour has passed by the time I wake up.
And so it was that Michael and I decided that, in the winter, we’d just hang our laundry over a drying rack in the back of our living room to dry.
Up until this point, the sun dried our clothes in a half-hour. But the drying rack in the living room? Even though it stood near one of our radiators, it could take weeks for a pair of jeans to dry.
Maybe just days.
But for Americans used to dryers?
It felt like weeks.
It wasn’t until a couple weeks into this that I remembered we had heated drying racks in our bathrooms.
“We have what?” Michael asked.
“Heated drying racks,” I repeated.
“In our bathrooms?”
“Yeah. What did you think those radiator looking things on the wall were?”
“Radiators on the wall.” Okay. Good point.
I first learned about the miracle of heated bathroom drying racks back in Venice, Italy, in January, 2000. I abandoned thoughts of ever finding my hostel in the maze that is Venice and instead, after much mental anguish, splurged on a hotel room. (I think it was $50 per night. Which, back then, could have covered me for five nights in a hostel. Thus, the mental anguish.)
In that solitary room with my very own bathroom, I was amazed to pull the towels off their odd looking rack to find they were warm. I felt the white rods and pulled back like a kid touching a hot stove. What was this thing? How was it legal to have something so hot just sitting there for anyone to burn themselves on?!
Twenty-one years later, I led my darling husband into one of our bathrooms.
I pushed the buttons until they both turned red. I figured that was a good sign warmth would soon come from the bars. Then I draped his Calvin Klein underwear over the rods.
By the time we remembered to check on them, they were dry. Or dry by my standards. “Are they just hot or are they actually dry?” Michael asked when I handed them over.
I rolled my eyes as he hung them, once again, from the drying rack.
With thanks like that, I decided to dry my own clothes on the heated racks next. Jeans, socks, shirts, underwear. Over the course of the evening I’d rotate things from the living room rack to the bathroom racks and then into my closet.
By the time we went to bed, my laundry was finished. Trying to be a good wife, I draped Michael’s jeans and a couple sweaters over the racks.
“Are you sure we can leave those things on overnight?” he asked.
“Yeah. I read about them. They don’t use much energy and you can leave them on all night.”
“So why don’t we drape clothes over the radiators, too?”
“We can’t do that! That could start a fire!” I said.
“Wait a minute. We can leave those things on in the bathroom but we can’t put clothes over the radiators?”
“Absolutely not,” I said.
“How do you know?”
“Because I read that, too,” I told him. I saw his look. I knew that look. The one that said something wasn’t true until he read it on the internet.
So he looked it up. I was right.
For some reason, Michael never took to the drying racks. Until a couple weeks ago. It was 80 degrees outside. And I came home to find Michael’s clothes draped over the bathroom drying rack.
“Seriously? You don’t use them all winter, and now when it’s 80 degrees outside and we want to keep the house cool, you turn on the heated drying racks?”
“Well, my clothes weren’t drying,” he told me.
“It’s 80 degrees outside! Use the damn clothesline!”
“Oh! The clotheslines! I forgot we had those!”
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