Instead of a shrill blast of the alarm I was awakened this morning by "hack, cough, hack, choke" and other disgusting cat noises. Gabriel's early morning present to us was a honking big hairball right on the middle of the comforter.
Comforter won't fit in the washing machine. Ponder other alternatives. Wash it in the bathtub? Nope, to heavy to handle when wet. Hang it over the fence and spray it clean with the hose? Nope, that won't get the stain out. Fill a garbage can with water and create a giant laundry pot? Nope, don't have an oar to stir it with.
Leave it for the clean house fairies. Yes! That's the ticket.
Return home from work to find the clean house fairies are on strike. Comforter is still disgusting. Stuff it in car and head to the new neighborhood Laundromat and wash n' fold.
Right inside the door is a glassed in office. Diploma on wall from the University of Houston, lucky Bamboo on the desk, Buddha and alter with oranges & incense on a small shelf. Given the name on the diploma it's a safe assumption the owner is Vietnamese.
Find the attendant who is Hispanic and speaks no English. A quick look around shows that much of the clientele is in the same boat. Attendant finds the manager whose English isn't much better. They insist the comforter isn't washable. I find the tag, which is bi-lingual. They still look perplexed, so I in my best bad Spanish read it to them. Ah, the light dawns, it can be washed. Now on to the price. "Quense dolares", I mentally count from uno to quense in my head and agree. We discuss when I can pick it up - "dos horas".
I always thought I use my college Spanish for exciting trips to Spain,to laze on the beach in Cancun and to travel the Andes not to for a mundane trip to the Laundromat.
I nod, smile and leave. And wonder, just how do the owner and manager manage to communicate?
Just another day in Houston, the International City.