Fitzroy Archives - My Beautiful Laundrette

Forever Missed and Forever Loved

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So I know this might be a bit of an different post for our laundry blog but for those of you who have or have ever had a loved family pet, then hopefully you can appreciate why I felt compelled to share the story of my amazing dog and best friend Caesar.

It was a beautiful QLD Autumn day in 2000 when I, together with my three siblings and mum turned up at the property excited at the prospect of getting our first family puppy… Like a school ground at recess, there was a mischievous troop of energetic pups bouncing around their mother, some fighting for top dog, others just trying to work out what the lawn mower was….

IMG_2156My youngest sister found in her arms a cute little fella with paws three times bigger than you would expect for a 6 week old.  The owner brought out one of his brothers saying that this was the dog we were earmarked to have but he was held for a family who had called the day before and was now no longer available. This news didn’t bother my sister at all as it was love at first sight between her and the big pawed, floppy eared pup, so we ended up taking that little guy home with us. Little did we know at the time that the ‘family’ who had called earlier and allocated the previous puppy, was actually us and we were never originally going to get our little guy but the universe intervened and thus, as fate had always intended, Caesar became part of our family.

I remember the first day at home in our front yard, he was so clever finding the garden bed to ‘conduct his daily business’ right off the bat.  Making sure he spent about 3min in each of our laps before jumping up and enthusiastically going to the next person, round and round in circles for over an hour.  This was to be one of the most amazing things about our Caesar, the fact that he loved us all so equally and unconditionally with so much awe in his eyes that it seemed we were always a family.

Part dog, part prancing deer and part little boy Caesar bound through his puppy years giving us so much joy… ridiculously smart and equally empathetic.  At one point we counted over 50 specific ‘tricks’ he knew and many not even being taught but worked out himself!  A gentle giant who grew to 45kg but still never actually fitting into those lion-like paws… our lion, fierce protector yet such a gentle giant. Protector, companion, playmate, always keen for a tug of war or a chase of the tennis ball always waiting with bated breath for one of his two favourite sentences;

“Caesar…. you wanna TREAT?” or  “Caesar…. you wanna go for a WALK?”

Each would spring him into frenzy, either randomly performing tricks or smashing apart the garage to find his collar and lead to bring it to your hands, just to make sure you followed through on your promise!

The years went by for all of us, through school/university and work, boyfriends/girlfriends, marriage, moving house and for three siblings even moving out of home, yet no matter how long we were away for he would always greet us with such love, affection and longing.  It didnt matter if it was half a day excitedly waiting at the gate for 3:15pm on the dot when the kids came home from school or being several months between visits from living interstate…

We have always been a very close family, with the marvels of modern technology, being away for long periods is not so bad with constant texts, calls and Facetime but for Caesar the longing for seeing my little buddy built every single week till I just really missed my puppy and needed to come home to see him. That’s exactly what he had become… Home…. the solid centre of our family, the one we loved consistently as with all families (especially crazy Greek ones) we would fight, argue or down right piss each other off but with Caesar, it was nothing but love and adoration.

Over the past few years, with each visit it was clear that our little puppy had somewhere along the line become an older dog…. Chasing tennis balls as fast as a bullet around the park became carefully throwing a soft ball in the back yard; vigorously digging holes at the beach large enough for me to sit in became slow walks along the beach in the cool of the afternoon; the intense workout that was tug-of-war became pats and scratches as his gums would start to bleed with too much force… my strong mate who could once pull me, a grown 30+ year old man over 80kg, was now over 70 ‘dog years’ himself.  The dreaded reality of his mortality hit me like a freight train…

Last week I got the call that I had feared for the past year or so and with the simple phrase “Caesar is not doing very well, you should think about coming home” I knew my world would soon never be the same.  We all made it to our family home in time to spend some really great last few days together, all sharing our happy stories of how he’d touched each of our lives… our little man, wrought with arthritis, so lethargic to even move from his bed, still managed a wag of the tail, shake of a hand and lick on the cheek, so happy to see each of us home.  In reality, he was hanging on for all of us to get there, as he would never leave us without making sure we were all ok, as he always had done through some of the toughest trials in each of our lives.

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Together as a family we carefully took him to the vet, and Caesar, surrounded by those who loved him and who he had loved his whole life…  content, comfortable, calm we all tearfully said our goodbyes. Despite being so tired, he managed to lift his head once more and kiss each of us as if to say I’m ok, I love you too and I am ready to go… and with that, after nearly 16 years of being the centre of our world, the greatest dog, companion, guardian and friend any family could ever wish for, was gone…

This act of love, in letting him go, was perhaps the hardest thing I have ever had to do besides seeing him in so much pain his last few days.  It has been a week now and the emptiness still feels like it could never be filled… but slowly I’ve started to remember all the amazing memories of a life that has brought so much joy to my world.

What is it about pets that give us so much in our lives that we would openly risk these feelings knowing that we will outlive them many times over?  Is it that they give us affection and love no matter what we say or do?  Is it that, unlike with lovers, friends or family we know that their love will be unconditional, never judging, never wavering?

I don’t have the answers to these questions but for me what I can say is that my life is all the richer for Caesar having been such as special part of it and even though I may outlive him for another 50 years (one can hope) I will never forget my little buddy and if I was able to actually say something to him that he would truly understand, it would be nothing more than THANK YOU, thank you for giving us joy and unwavering love, thank you for protecting our family and thank you for choosing us to spend your life with.  Until I see you again one day my gentle giant; run, jump, bark play and EAT for you deserve it!

Caesar3

In the meantime, I will look out for you in my dreams……

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Love Machine

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Have you ever been washing at the Laundromat, in line at Woollies or sitting on the Number 11 tram  down Brunswick Street and caught the eye of perhaps the most gorgeous person you have ever seen?  Who is this angel and how can I tell them I am in love with them without looking like a complete lunatic?  Sorry, there is no way to do this without vibing a little ‘fatal attraction’ but cool those lust engines and take a deep breath because it does and has happened!  Many times in fact…..

Over the years at the laundry there have been some heroic Don Juan like courting triumphs and abysmal “Do you wash your pants in Windex? Because I can see myself in them” Austin Powers catastrophes. One thing I can tell you though, is that the most unexpected conversations and pairings actually blossom from the most simple of chats. Perhaps it’s something about the atmosphere (exciting as a twin directional agitation can be) I think sometimes people are just keen for some nice friendly conversation whilst chilling and passing the time watching their underwear spin in circles.

I quietly witnessed an unexpected example of this a few months ago. It was a Thursday evening, about half a dozen people washing away. A very pretty girl, let’s call her “Ygritte” was busy using one of the Top Loader machines, sitting on the table, playing with her phone.   In walks young “Jon” takes one look at Ygritte’s fiery almost red hair (a.k.a Swartzkopf home kit) and almost drops his load, of washing, to the ground. So, about 15 free washing machines in the Laundrette and Jon decides the one next to Ygritte is the one that’s gonna do the job for him (nice and subtle Jon). By this point Jon is thinking all the normal thoughts that young men think of when seeing a very attractive woman; fun dates, laughing over ice-cream, champagne picnics in the park…

pinocchio

Ygritte has clearly picked up on Jon noticing her and is not quite sure what to make of it… I mean he is a fairly attractive guy and all, but totally not her type so she continues to scroll her Tinder profile before loading her washed clothes into the dryers with a couple of $1 coins. Things are not looking good for Jon as he realises that the love of his life might forever leave his sight in 24 minutes. The dilemma; go a very clever line or just say hi? Being just a little smarter-than-the-average bear, Jon gives Ygritte his cheekiest smile and says “hey, how are ya!” to which the reply was “I’m good, how are you?”….. long story short, 40 minutes later, chatting about music, tattoos, why Jon can’t get the stains out of his shirts and “my friend who ate at Smith & Daughters and loved it!” Jon saw that Ygritte was about ready to go and musters up the courage to blurt out a “Soo, can I get your digits and take you out sometime?” Yes… he really did use the words digits Slap headbut the force was strong with young Jon because Ygritte was unexpectedly swooned and she gave him what I hoped at the time was her actual number….. Since then I have seen Jon and Ygritte in the laundry washing their clothes together about 3-4 times, love was a blossoming and well on their way to warm cuddles by the fire, which was a good thing cause winter was coming.

This is not an isolated story and with so many singles; old, young, gay, straight & other, the opportunities are there to just come down for some washing and maybe say hello. Who knows you might make a friend, get a date or just walk away with a smile having had a great chat with a stranger….. just remember to respect those that are not keen on being disturbed who normally plug in headphones or are buried into a good book or someone making well sure their wedding/engagement ring is showing.

engaged

Happy washing!

My Beautiful Laundrette, Fitzroy

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SO YOU’RE USING A LAUNDROMAT TODAY

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Maybe you’re a regular or Fitzroy local, maybe you’re a traveller visiting our beautiful city or maybe your washing machine decided to kick the bucket at home and leaving you a nice soapy mess to clean up in the process… Either way, love it or hate it, today you’re using a Laundromat!

So what is the Laundrette Code?

Before I owned a coin laundry the only time I had ever used one was travelling overseas and let’s just say that the experience was…… mixed. It’s an interesting experience letting others see your holey under jocks and my partner’s lingerie and working out instructions in another language was also fun.  So far as the laundry itself, well I learned what I needed to do to make the experience as pleasant as possible for our customers. The rest is kinda up to you to make the entire experience a good one.

I thought I’d share a few tips on how to survive the experience and hopefully leave with not only clean, fresh smelling clothes but a smile and desire to actually come back again.

How social are you?

Sometimes you have no option as to when you need to use a coin laundry but given the choice what day/time you go can seriously alter your experience. For the social butterflies among us you will love weekends, especially afternoons as that is when everyone who is anyone is doing their washing.  Most evenings after 6pm can get a bit full but if you want space and quiet to perhaps read the paper or a good book, I would suggest during business hours or Wednesday or Friday night.  We are a pretty big laundry and rarely have no machines available but some laundries are tight for space meaning you can wait for quite a while to get a machine in the busy times.

Missing any socks?

missing sockI’ve often joked that if I got a $1 for every odd sock I collected out of my machines I could retire within a year! It amazes me how many items, especially socks, are left behind in the laundry.  The biggest reason for this is that people do not properly check the washing machines after it finishes by spinning it a few times around.  Socks/underwear often stick to the inside at the front, hidden from view.  Carefully check the entire inside or your socks might make it into my future retirement fund as soon as I can find someone to buy odd socks for $1 each!  Anyone…..?  50c even….?

How do you wash?

BYO detergent or buy from the vending machine? Do I use Hot, Warm or Cold water? What temperature do I dry my stuff on and for how long? What is Prewash and gentle cycle mean?  All really good and valid questions and the answer to each really depends on what you are washing and how dirty/stained they are. This is a pretty big topic that I am working on getting lots of great information about on our website over the coming months but as a general rule, below are a few tips to think about when next using the laundry:

Do not overfill the machines. A good wash and rinse will only happen if there is a little room for the items to move around. Aim for about ¾ full and you should be fine.

  • Detergent is important but make sure you use the right amount. You can tell this by the suds through the window. A few bubbles with a bit of froth is excellent but if your washing looks like it’s getting drunk in a new year’s foam party you’ve got yourself way too much and it’s probably not going to rinse well. Helpful tip, add some fabric softener to neutralise the detergent until the mix is just right.
  • Water temperature:  Cotton or Linen HOT, Clothing WARM, First time wash, Woolens or delicates, COLD. Whilst there are exceptions these general rules will keep you out of trouble.
  • PREWASH is an extra little first wash and should only be used for particularly stained or dirty items. Remember that in many machines you need to add extra detergent after the prewash cycle is finished or you will have none in the main Wash cycle.
  • DRYING – Commercial dryers are HOT, much hotter than what you have at home so be careful. Clothing and cotton linen is safer on Warm, delicates and high quality linen on Cooler setting. Towels are ok on HOT. Probably best to avoid using the dryer for Woolens, nylon or those kinky leathers used on Saturday night ;-)

Don’t be afraid to say hello

The Laundromat does not need to be a boring experience, sure you can chill and listen to some great music, read or grab a coffee next door, but my experience has shown me that you might just experience a really unexpected and great conversation by just saying hello. Check out my earlier blog on just this topic Blog Link

 

stealing3Safety first

Our laundry is pretty safe, well lit with 8 security cameras and live feed, but when quiet and unattended one must always be watchful. Although rare some people do see the laundry as ‘free clothing giveaway sale’ and of an evening there are sometimes some over eager partygoers who can’t handle their booze.  Don’t be afraid to call the emergency number to report either a hazard or problem in the laundry, stay inside where it is well lit in view of cameras and if in trouble call the police who are close by.

 

It is Everyone’s Laundry

Remember, the Laundromat is for everyone and although we all come from different walks of life, inside the laundry we are all just washing clothes. You deserve courtesy and respect as does everyone there.  The Fitzroy locals are by and large wonderful people who are generally always happy for chat, very helpful to novice users and good company to chill with whilst waiting for washing to finish.  Enjoy your washing experience and should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or via our website.

Wishing you all happy washing!

My Beautiful Laundrette

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Chilling Out at the Laundry!

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So a slightly less intense blog entry today for MBL in order to share some goings on about current and upcoming improvements in the laundry. It’s true that one of the tough things about doing laundry in summer here in Melbourne is the heat.  Whether you are cooped up at home or visiting your local Laundromat, the stark reality is that it’s gonna be HOT!  We have six fans and two air conditioners but still sometimes the mercury creeps up well above an already blistering Melbourne summer day peak, especially when we top 35+ with many dryers firing up all at once.  For years not much was done about this but after my first summer in the laundrette last year we knew things were going to have to change.

Our plan was to implement a few things to try and make the experience over summer a little bit more comfortable for our customers starting with a really good cleanout of the dryer vents & fans as well as a full internal clean of our aircon units with an added anti-bacterial treatment. This has given us almost double the power and efficiency! (Pics below)

Removing the build up of lint in the dryer vents.  This holds far less heat now

Removing the build up of lint in the dryer vents. This holds far less heat now

Amed doing a great job totally cleaning out the aircon systems

Amed doing a great job totally cleaning out the aircon systems

The next step was to rethink how the air flows in and out of the laundry, so over the coming weeks we will be investing into an extraction fan and intake system to try and get rid of as much heat as possible allowing the aircons to better do their job…  It won’t be perfect but a HUGE improvement on what we have had in the past and we hope you feel far more comfortable coming in over these next few hot months.

We hope you all have a fantastic Spring and Summer and we will definitely continue to post interesting updates and observations in our blog, not only about what is going on within the laundry but all the great stuff that wonderful Fitzroy has to offer over this great time to be outdoors.  

Happy washing guys!

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Finding Your Groove at the Laundry

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Have you ever had a moment when you were caught out singing in your car or bopping along to a great song in your car or at the supermarket?

Last week, a woman came into the laundrette to do her washing, a regular customer, very quiet and always keeping to herself. One of the great things about our laundry is the crazy, random selection of music from all eras and genres which people love. Anyway, Pharrell’s  ‘Happy’ comes on and this normally reserved, middle aged, lovely lady starts to dance…… now I’m not talking about the little step tap shuffle you catch burley Aussie blokes doing whilst drinking beer at the bar when they think their mates aren’t watching. I’m talking hip boppin’, leg kicking, ballet spinning jive! No care in the world with people both inside and outside the laundry looking on. This lady was just enjoying the music, washing some clothes in a Fitzroy Laundromat in the middle of the day.Dance

I thought to myself…. I love this song and I love to dance, but I don’t think I would so easily do what she is doing. But why I pondered? I mean, I would do it in a club or at a party on the weekend but why not here and now? In fact, I catch people dancing and singing in our laundrette all the time but many stop as soon as someone else comes in. Would you dance if you heard your favourite song, not caring who sees you?

I thought, at what point in life do we lose our child like view of the world where having fun is just doing what you actually want to do because you are inspired to do so no matter what anyone else thinks?  When did we lose our Groove? Since taking over this business I have met so many people like this amazing lady who challenge this false belief that doing something as simple as dancing to a song in public is not the ‘proper’ thing to do.   Maybe it’s living and running a business in Fitzroy that exposes me to so many people who live life in a more liberal way. Being in this great suburb in such a wonderful city has really made me think that maybe I have learned something about enjoying the small moments in life that we so often let slip by because we think way too much about what others may think. Before I moved here from interstate many years ago I would likely be one to judge, laugh or feel embarrassed but now I celebrate those brave people who enjoy life whenever the moment compels them.

So next time you are out shopping, driving in your car or even washing your clothes in a laundry and the moment inspires you to sing or dance, yell or laugh out loud, ask yourself, why not? Just maybe, we might find our groove again.

Happy washing guys!

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My Beautiful Fitzroy

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So I had a crazy idea to start a blog for our laundrette, My Beautiful Laundrette to be exact. How interesting can a laundry and doing washing be right? Love it or hate it, it’s a basic necessity of life, unless of course you live in a nudist colony. If you told me a couple years ago that I would own and operate a commercial laundrette I would have laughed like a school girl at you, I mean how ridiculous would it be to quit the corporate high-flyer life and do something so crazy! Well… turns out, pretty crazy as that is exactly what I did. The funny thing is, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made, besides challenging my now beautiful fiancé to a high stakes game of pool nine years ago (that’s a story for another day ;-)

I now meet the most interesting and amazing people every day. People I would likely never had the neither opportunity nor reason to talk with before. It’s funny, you think a suit job lets you meet so many people, which is true but, they are all kind of the same. Same expensive clothes and same stilted conversations, many of the people underneath the tailored suit or dress are hidden behind a vale of professionalism, fear or ego. Leaving this life has lifted a veil that has opened up a brighter state of being, I actually now know what it like to be a local living in a community and not just a local who has a house in a community. Everyone I meet is truly different; professionals, tradies, artists, students, business owners, retirees, migrants and even homeless. All have a unique personality and great story to tell, if you just slow down and take the time to listen to it. The funny thing about owning such an iconic and visited place in middle of such a melting pot is that, no matter whom you are, one day or every day you will end up visiting our laundry. Outside people just pass each other by, seldom ever wondering who the other is but inside people are often compelled to do such a simple thing which the outside world seems to have forgotten how to do… the simple act of saying “hello”. One simple yet powerful word has led to witnessing some of the deepest, funniest and weirdest conversations I have ever heard! People walk in just looking to do some laundry and they walk out often having experienced something they would never have just outside the doors, a brief yet wonderfully unexpected connection to another human being, oh and really clean fresh smelling laundry ;-)

We come from all walks of life but inside My Beautiful Laundrette, in my beautiful Fitzroy we are all just ordinary people, washing some clothes, saying hello.

 

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New Blog Page

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Welcome to the new My Beautiful Laundrette BLOG page!  Look out for future posts, hints and tips, stories, local reviews, customer feedback and some funnies.  Please contact us should you wish us to answer any laundry related questions also.

Cheers.  MBL Team

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