Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Measure It? Why Would I Do That?

Laundry hanging on the line. It is one of the best things about doing laundry in the summertime. Who doesn’t like sheets that have been dried out on the line in the wind and the sunshine. Don’t tell me that you don’t like it. You know that you do.

At Old Old Chez Knit (that would be two houses ago) I had a laundry line. I had a MAJOR, 5 line laundry line that stretched 30+ feet from the house to the garage. I could hang out a lot of laundry on that baby. Of course, we had babies at that time. And five of us sleeping in beds that had sheets that needed to be washed. Small children who play outside in the mud a great deal make for a vast amount of laundry.

A laundry line was needed.

Then we moved to OCK and despite the fact that I actually lived in the woods where there were loads of trees and often times you can string a clothes line between trees……there just weren’t the right configuration of trees. PLUS, where I might have been able to string a line was directly across the back yard, otherwise known as the minefield of doggie doolies. Have a clothes line give way in that area and you are going to be washing everything again. Also there was the whole having to “tip toe through the poop piles” in order to hang out the wash. There was the ever present threat of stepping in something as I walked through the yard. My compromise was to hang the sheets on the deck railing. It wasn’t great but I made do. Nothing like having to weight your sheets down with big cans of tomatoes so that they don’t blow off into the woods.

Complain, complain.

And then we moved to Chez Knit, where again there was not a particularly great set up to think about a laundry line. The first summer we lived here was short, we moved in August and I was just trying to keep my head above water after having, in the space of 8 weeks, sold our house, bought a house, had a wedding, moved HHBL’s office and then moved to a new house. All the laundry went into the dryer.

Last year….well last year was the year where we finally got patio furniture and I made do with carefully stretching the sheets over the table and chairs and several folding racks. King size sheets are…..king sized. It was not a great system but you make do.

This year I swore to myself that I would figure out a clothes line. So what if none of my other neighbors hang clothes out on the line. Heck, most of them don’t even come out onto their patios in nice weather. I had been thinking about it and thinking about it and today I executed!

I knew that the only way this would work is if I just got a retractable clothes line that had just one line. Oh how I wish I could have one of those 5 line beauties. But I am a realist, sometimes, and I knew that it would only be one line. The question was 20ft or 40ft.

Of course I didn’t measure before I went to Home Depot! What do you take me for? Someone who thinks the problem through? I knew, right off the bat that the 40ft line was going to be too long. I got out my 10ft tape measure that always lives in my purse and right there in the Home Depot aisle I measured out 10 feet, mentally doubled is and decided that the 20ft line would work beautifully between the two pine trees that I had to work with. It will fit perfectly.

Famous last words.

First I had to cut back a few dead branches off of the two aforementioned pine trees. Nothing major, just a bit of trimming here and there.

Then I had to screw the retractable line to the bigger pine tree. Not a problem with the help of my trusty cordless drill.

Then I had to screw the hook into the other tree so that when I stretched the line out the other end could hook to the other tree. Easy peasy.

I stretched out the laundry line and I advanced toward the receiving tree and I…….

Got almost all the way there. My forward motion stopped abruptly about four feet from the tree. I tugged a bit but no go. I looked back expecting that the line was caught on something…..

And that was when I realized that my on the fly calculations about how far apart the trees where might have been just slightly off.


I stood there for a bit, scratching my head in a most Laurel & Hardy like way. No matter how hard I pulled that line wasn’t going to stretch any further. But I am NOT going to be deterred! I raised my fist in defiance and said,

As God is my witness, I will this day have a retractable clothes line! Dangit, I am going have to MacGyver this thing.

So down to the basement I went to root around in my work area. Wire? No. An extension made of old clothes line? I don’t think so. Duct tape? Oh how I wish.


2015-08-04 16.16.49

2015-08-04 14.29.52

I am currently reading The Martian by Andy Weir. I feel like I can MacGyver just about anything at the moment.


  1. Mark Watney would be proud! I love my 3-line clothesline (even though the 8-year-old that moved in next to us asked why I needed to display my underwear in the back yard) and I loved The Martian. Your bungee cords are great! Next, growing potatoes...

  2. Great solution! I probably would have gone back to the store for another rope...and kept the short piece in the garage for another day. At least you didn't have to plant another tree. :)

  3. You are so very clever, Missy! Maybe you should run for president!


Thank you SOOO much for commenting. We bloggers, of which I am such a minnow in such a big pond, live for our comments.