Ma fan

It’s pronounced MAH-fahn, and it’s a Chinese word that means frustratingly complicated.  I think it’s a very useful word.  Thankfully, most things in my life are not ma fan, but a few are, and one of those is the never-ending challenge of vacation rental home laundry; or, more specifically, the drying and transportation thereof.

We have these two vacation rental homes, and they are a great blessing – to us, to our guests, and to the several people who are employed in cleaning them.  However, they both sleep something like 14 to 16 folks, and when that many people stay in a house, they use a lot of sheets and a lot of towels.  Furthermore, because these are upscale homes, the towels and cloths are plush (read “thick”) which means they take a long time to dry, and that’s where the problem arises.

It takes about four to six man-hours to clean a house, but with a couple of cleaners (and/or when there’s a quick turn, meaning that one set of guests leaves at 10 AM and another set comes in the same day at 4 PM) the cleaning work is generally finished before the laundry is – especially in one of the houses that has a rather slow dryer.  Now, honestly, hasn’t EVERYONE who does laundry noticed that washers always get their part of the job done in less time than dryers?  Why doesn’t someone DO something about this?

In the case of these homes, what happens is that the cleaner either has to sit around for a couple extra hours and wait for the laundry to get dry, OR they have to take the laundry home damp, dry it, and then (and this is the ma fan part) somehow get it to the person who will next be cleaning that house, so she can return it when no guests are present.  Thankfully, in the summer the homes are full of guests virtually all the time, which is good for business, but bad for laundry replacement.  Both houses are located about 20 minutes away from us and from all the people who clean them, and it’s not a good feeling to suddenly realize that the load of nicely folded towels sitting in our dining room must suddenly be transported to someone else somewhere else, or else!

This morning, we played musical laundry with three households, and I think we got it all taken care of, but according to Walnut Shade Mom, here’s what ultimately needs to happen:

A house that sleeps 14 should have one enormous washer and two industrial strength dryers.  That way, ALL the laundry could be completed while the cleaners are on site, and no one would have to be drying, folding, and driving stuff from Point A to Point B.  I haven’t yet figured out where one would put the extra dryer, though. . .  Maybe that’s why no one has done it yet!

Meanwhile, at least we have a great word to describe the process.

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