Do you think of laundry as an irksome chore? Maybe meeting our Hohhot washing machine, the Green Midget, will change your mind.
Here is the Green Midget in situ, with Dan's leg for scale. It can hold approximately three short-sleeve tee shirts or an equivalent weight in other clothing.
Here is how to run a load of laundry using the Midget.
First, remove the shower head from its hose, and connect that hose to the washing machine hose. Prevent leaks by gripping the join tightly, ideally using a rubber glove. Stand there looking cute until the machine is full.
Next, turn the Midget's timer dial. It will automatically oscillate for up to 15 minutes, in a weak sort of way. Instead of the whole drum going back-forth-back-forth, there's a flanged piece on the bottom that groans backbackbackback for about 5 seconds, pause, then forthforthforthforth for another 5 seconds.
Now you unhook the drain hose and aim it at the drain in the floor. Don't forget to remove the floor drain insert first, or water will back up all over the bathroom floor. And don't forget to put the drain insert back when you're done, or the scent of sewage will begin to waft in.
Wring by hand, refill with rinse water, oscillate, drain, wring again.
Finally, hang everything on the drying rack. It will dry in a day or less, thanks to the arid climate.
Phew. You can bet we sniff-test everything now before putting it with the dirty laundry.
At first we complained a lot about the Green Midget. There were murmurs that we might as well be washing everything by hand. But one day it broke down, and in the next few days we were able to confirm that washing by hand is in fact harder. Fortunately we were able to replace a part and get the Midget's motor going again.
Hauling a few baskets down to the basement of the apartment building once a week and walking away while the laundry does itself sounds pretty good right now though.
Disclaimer: the Green Midget is not representative of the average Hohhot washing machine. Most of our friends' machines are bigger and, if not fully automatic, at least have the ability to spin out water. On the other hand, we also know a number of people who do all their laundry by hand.