It all started with a "pin" on Pinterest. This one to be exact. STOP! Before you go running to the bedroom to gather up all your yellowing pillows, read on. You'll thank me later.
So, I carefully read the instructions, gathered all the cleaning products, and selected two yellowish pillows from the guest room. Before putting the pillows into the drum of the washing machine, I did exactly as the instructions said and checked the tags to make sure the pillows were machine washable. Yep. Good to go!
I figured that it wouldn't hurt to also wash my white cotton shower curtain at the same time, so I put that in the washer first. Then I stuffed, crammed and patted the pillows into place making sure the weight was as evenly distributed as possible. I closed the lid on the washing machine, selected "bulky" and turned the sucker on. I retreated back into the house with visions of sparkling white fluffy pillows on all the beds. Surely, I would soon be basking in my housekeeping prowess.
(My washer and dryer are in the garage. This will be good to know.)
As I went about my business I kept listening for the first sounds of the load being out of balance. Things proceeded as expected. Fill, agitate, drain, spin, fill, agitate, drain, spin. Eventually I heard the familiar winding down of the last spin cycle followed by the loud click of the dial. Time to dry! However there was one small, but easily rectified, problem. I didn't have any tennis balls to throw in the dryer to fluff the pillows. There are at least 48 baseballs around the house, but I've seen what a baseball can do to the top of a car or a windshield. Probably a bad idea. So, what was going to be a quick pillow washing project has now required a trip to the store. Fine. I needed milk anyway.
Before dashing out the door, I peeked in the washing machine being careful to shield my eyes from the glaring sparkling whiteness of the pillows.
Holy. Mother. Of. God.
What had I washed? What in the hell happened?
A chicken exploded. All over the inside of my washing machine.
I started scooping out feathers. What else could I do?
But the feathers were drying out faster than I could scoop. Who knew that geese could dry out so quickly? I gathered up a clump of wet feathers, put them in the dish pan, gathered another wad, put them in the dish pan. All this activity was causing air movement, and air movement was drying the feathers faster than I could gather them. Wet feathers are somewhat easy to scoop. Dry feathers not so much. I got a trash bag.
After what seemed to be several pillows worth of feathers, I found the culprit. What really pissed me off is that the pillow ticking, albeit torn to shreds, was still freaking yellow! I tossed it in the trash with extra special hatred. Damn you, Pinterest. Damn! You!
I retrieved the one intact pillow and the shower curtain that could now double as a feather boa and took them outside for a gentle shake. I was a little concerned that my neighbors might call the zoning police on me for keeping chickens and/or plucking chickens within the city limits. Some things just can't be helped. I prayed for a strong breeze and went to the store for a couple tennis balls determined to achieve at least a partial victory. As I pulled out of the driveway I could see a cloud of feathers eddying about in my wake.
In just under a quarter hour, I arrived back home. With tennis balls in hand, I tossed the pillow and feather boa/shower curtain in the dryer. After a few minutes of listening to the clunking of the tennis balls, I checked the progress. Besides feathers, do you know what else they put in pillows? Down. Shitloads of down.
Do you know what happens to wet down when it gets loose in a nice warm dryer? It expands. Do you know what happens when you open the dryer door to check on the pillows? The down swirls out of the dryer in an enormous tornadic POOF, and I proceed to say unladylike words.
I gathered up as much down as possible. By the way, the shit's microscopic. I moved slowly as I gently placed each handful of poof in the trash bag trying to keep the swirling and repoofing to a minimum. I turned the dryer back on for a few minutes, opened it, de-downed the filter, turned it back on, de-downed, etc. This process took about an hour. Finally, it got to the point where the dryer filter was staying relatively clean so I turned my attention back to plucking the inside of the washing machine.
Idea! Shop vac! Genius!
Ah the shop vac. I made sure the hose was plugged into the proper intake hole rather than the blowing part. (It's worth mentioning that the two holes really should be labeled better.) I turned it on and started plucking the washing machine. Not bad! Around and around the drum I went. Feathers had embedded themselves in the wholes of the drum and I was going to be darn sure that I got every one of them. I was about to turn off the vacuum but saw a few stray feathers on the garage floor. I sucked them up and saw a couple more. I sucked those up and then saw a few more on top of the dryer. They were EVERYWHERE and multiplying! Cripes! Where are they coming from? I got what I thought was the last feather and turned around to shut off the vacuum.
The shop vac was farting a continuous stream of fluffy, white feathers out of the exhaust hole. I shit you not. Really? That's when I remembered that the last time I used the shop vac was to suck up a bunch of water and had to remove the filter because it was nasty. No filter = my garage now looks like a snow globe, but except for a pretty Christmas scene or exotic location, my snow globe is an ugly two-car garage filled with piles of crap. And feathers.
Temper tantrum engage. I ripped open the dryer door, grabbed the semi-dry intact pillow, went outside and chucked it into the yard as far as one can chuck a semi-dry feather pillow, which is surprisingly much further than one would expect.
So, screw you, Pinterest! I don't care if I don't have sparkling white fluffy pillows on all my beds, and no one out there in your picture perfect virtual world of trendy fashions, hair styles, gourmet meals, interior design, sunsets and fail-safe DIY projects is going to make me feel bad about it.