For some, it’s a rolling Tuscan hill lined with grapevines. For others, it’s an illuminated fresco on a church wall. As for me, it’s a clothesline.
Everyone leaves Italy with an indelible sensory image (and 10 extra pounds). I associate the country with clotheslines; they’re strung between buildings and across balconies laden with geranium-filled terracotta pots. I simply adore them, despite not so fond memories of trying to fold stiff towels as a kid. Due to a recent change in employment, I could not schedule a family vacation this summer. Determined to make the most of this imposed staycation, I decided to incorporate some of the routines I’ve observed on past trips to Europe into my day.
I originally thought I’d hang an elaborate system on the back of our house. Versaline, an Australian company, offered one with 4 removable lines. But the $165 price tag was steep and my husband balked at violating the integrity of our vinyl siding. My friend Christina, who’s had a simple clothesline hung on her deck for years, suggested I purchase two brackets from the hardware store, mount them on a section of my wooden fence and lace a length of clothesline between the holes. I picked up 100 clothespins at the hardware store and Christina whipped up a pin bag using a past-its-prime dishtowel and a plastic hanger. I was in business.
By changing up my routine, I was hoping to inject a bit of La Bella Vita into my day. It worked. The clothesline added some giddyup to a very dull chore. I get excited if the weather forecasts a perfect laundry day – low humidity, light breeze – and I’m experimenting with different detergents and softeners to see which provides the best feel and smell. It’s worth hanging a line just to dry your sheets. When you get into bed, you feel like you’re sleeping on a sun-dappled lawn, without the bugs and dirt and stuff. And the exercise is great – goodbye teacher arms.