Monday, June 14, 2010

Ironed pajamas in a pay-someone-to-do-it country

I wrote once about how Syria is very much a "do-it-yourself" country. If that's an accurate description of Syria, then Egypt is the "pay-someone-to-do-it" country. Since living here, I've paid people to drive me around town (taxis, of course), deliver food to my door, deliver groceries to my door, and wash my clothes, and then deliver them to my door.

The food and grocery delivery really are something. There's this magical thing called Otlob.com here where you go online, click through dozens and dozens of restaurants, make your selections, and place your order. It shows up at your door within 45 minutes. MAGIC, I tell you. It makes so much sense that I can't believe America hasn't jumped on board yet. Why should delivery be limited only to pizza? Here in Cairo, there are motorcycles with logo-ed cargo boxes strapped on the back zipping in and out of traffic all day.

Speaking of food coming to my door, you can also get groceries delivered (for free). Sometimes we go to the actual store and pick out our purchases and then have it delivered (up five flights of stairs, mwahahahahahaha). Other times, we just call them and ask them to bring a few things up. Again, MAGIC.



Now, about that laundry. We don't have a washer (let alone a dryer) (unless you count the hot, dusty air that is constantly blasting through Cairo) here in our apartment. It's really not that big of a deal since we didn't have one in Ithaca, either. The difference is that in Cairo, they don't have laundromats.

I am totally on board with doing laundry in the bathtub, but when we moved into this place after three weeks straight of traveling, we had a big pile of really dirty clothes already waiting to be washed. So I decided to pay someone to wash them just this once so I could begin my bathtub laundry routine with a clean slate. I handed over the clothes early on a Thursday afternoon and asked if he could return them later that night because we needed a few of the items to wear to church on Friday. He said it would be difficult, but that he'd have them back at 8.30 or 9pm, God willing.

Well, that time came and went and no clothes. Magdalena was upset that the "guy" had taken her favorite blankies away, apparently forever - she kept going to the door and whining, "blankies. guy! buh-bye. wash" over and over again. We put the girls to bed and figured we'd see our clothes again someday, hopefully Saturday.

Fast forward to 11.52 at night. We were in bed, juuuuust about to go to sleep when the doorbell rang. Yep, it was the laundry guy, delivering the entire batch of freshly cleaned clothes. We sifted through the stacks of nicely folded shirts and pants to find Magdalena's blankies. They smelled like laundry soap, cigarette smoke, and they were ever so slightly damp, testifying of the rush the laundry guy had been in to get them to us. I snuck them in her crib and she snuggled right up to them.

It's too bad our thriftiness keeps us from having our clothes professionally laundered more often, because dude did a great job. Everything (EVERYTHING) had been carefully pressed and folded, even our pajamas. I put mine on and I don't think I've ever felt so good wearing regular old pajamas.

And I never will again since it's bathtub wash + air dry on laundry rack from here on out. Sigh.

15 comments:

Sherwood family said...

Bridget, please PLEASE just come over here and do your laundry - 6 days a week the washer and dryer are empty. So make good use of your tax dollars!

Sherwood family said...

Although I can't give you pajama-ironing service....

Bridget said...

The pajama-ironing service is a deal breaker, sorry.

Seriously, it's ok. But if I get desperate, I'll let you know.

Liz Johnson said...

WOW. Are you sure this guy isn't worth his weight in gold?

I had to hand-wash my clothes for a summer (in the ranchos). It took FOREVER. May the force be with you.

Bridget said...

Liz, he even got out some old stains that had been on some of the girls' clothes for a long time. I KNOW.

Crys said...

Bridget,

You are a professors wife now...not a students wife. Stop being so cheap :) Ok this is a serious question now...how much does it cost to get pj's pressed?

AmandaStretch said...

Want. At least the Otlob site, since I was amazed by that when I was there! I have my own washer and dryer, but I could get used to someone else doing it. Living on the East Coast, I can have many other things besides pizza delivered, but it's all on one site thing that I wish we had!

Amber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amber said...

When I lived in South Africa with a host family, they had a maid who did all of the laundry, among other things. (That isn't as posh as it sounds - pretty much everyone who was middle class or higher had a maid.) My host family didn't have a washer or dryer, the maid did all the washing by hand, hung it to dry and then pressed everything. My white shirts have never been so white, and my jeans have never been so ironed! I tried to doing my clothes by hand in the bathtub when we all lived in apartments for the second half of the program. T-shirts and underwear came out fine but jeans were kind of a disaster. I ended up giving in and taking it all to a laundry service every few weeks.

Bridget said...

See, I get to thinking about the ironed pajamas and jeans and no stains and it almost seems worth it. Then I realize I'd rather do that work myself and use the money for something else. Like otlob.com, for example.

I make Jeremy wring out the jeans because I am not capable of doing it.

The Harker's said...

Doing laundry in the bathtub? You have just gone up an entire new level of amazement to me. The food delivery sounds great though. Especially the groceries.

Jeremy Palmer said...

I have 2 years of experience washing clothes in bath tubs so I am prepared for this summer. When I lived in Russia on the mish I never had a washing machine.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Bathtub laundry makes you appreciate washing machines so much more.

I hope you gave that laundry-man a nice tip.

There was a time when my mom took the important laundry (Dad's dress shirts) to this little hole-in-the-wall place I only knew as "the Chinese laundry." The shirts came back pressed, then folded around a piece of cardboard. That was a bonus for me as mom gave me the cardboard for drawing and cutting projects.

Anonymous said...

The best for me was the washer woman in the Xiyuan (student housing at Nanjing University). She would wash the laundry for one price and dry it for another. Well, biking all my laundry to the laundry mat to do it myself was such a hassle since I hadn't mastered the tote everything on my head while riding a bike thing, yet. So, I decided to have her wash it, but I would hang it to dry myself in my dorm room. So, every week when I picked up my laundry from her it was still completely wet, but...folded ever so carefully...as if ready to put into a drawer. It still makes me smile. Sarah

Bridget said...

Sarah, that is hilarious. You have good stories!

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