We are starting fresh. A clean slate — the hamper, that is.

Today was laundry day.

After a late breakfast of cream cheese-smothered toast and a TV rerun, G and I went to a coin laundry station nearby, soiled clothes-stuffed duffel bags in tow. The bags numbered to four with clothes separated according to wash-type (eg whites, coloreds, knitted, etc.). G, the self-confessed laundry person (given the choice between washing or pressing clothes) had everything expertly sorted out. Yes, I admit, she does my laundry back in Japan. And save for a couple of white shirts turning pink, she has mastered the art of doing laundry. The washing machine back in our Japan apartment concurs. And if it were her slave, she would do her bidding without any feelings of remorse, discontent, displeasure, or even abuse.

Here in NY, the laundry expert in G endures. Too much of an expert in fact that she volunteers to do her sister's heap of laundry too! And so instead of washing one, we ended up washing four bags full of dirty clothes. No complains, though. We didn't have anything else to do anyway but to kill time in front of TV today.

At the coin laundry, the smell of detergent and softener blanket the air. There are five areas in the elongated space: (1) Rows of washing machines and (2) dryers, (3) two-layered boards for folding, (4) a laundry counter, where one can buy detergents, softeners, and other laundry paraphernalia. One can also store his washed clothes ready for pick-up later; (4) a waiting area where a row of seats and newspaper and magazines are located. TVs are also installed to kill boredom. And if you get hungry or thirsty, (5) vending machines are on standby. The coin laundry is an excellent social place as well to befriend neighbors and strangers who, like G, share passtime passion doing laundry. How many sitcoms can one think of with coin laundry as backdrops? Friends for one with Ross and Rachel flirting around in between wash and rinse and around clothes carts and baskets.

At $2.50 per wash and a dollar per spin-dry load, we ended up spending 20 bucks to finish the entire laundry (did I mention we had two extra bags of towels and more whites?). I had to haul six bags back to the house and man! they were a heavy lot to carry.

After folding a heapful of clothes (that took hours to finish!) and neatly putting them in order and on the newly-washed-clothes basket, a sense of accomplishment commenced. It felt good to dirty my hands and carry the laundry load (literally, too!) that I had to give more respect and credit to G and her laundry fixation.

Now that the hamper's clean and empty, we're starting a virtually clean slate stay in NY.