Friday, September 23, 2011

A Tale of Two Dishwashers

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.... That is, it was 6:15 on Friday morning. Best, in that it was Friday. Worst, in that it was an ungodly early hour and the sun had not yet shown up. I hadn't slept much, thanks in large part to my husband having only that night taken up the habit of snoring. (At least he wasn't sleep-walking.)

My employeress had told me the day before that I should get over to the apartment any time from 7:00 to 7:30. Like any normal human being with a functioning brain, I chose the later of those two options and timed my morning to arrive right before 7:30. On the bus on the way over, I got a frantic call from my employeress, asking where I was and why I wasn't there yet. I jabbered for a moment, trying to figure out how to answer without 1)sounding snotty or 2)apologizing for going along with her plan. I passed her in the hall on my was up to the apartment, looking completely frazzled and harried. When I got inside, I was treated to a scolding from Granny, the only intelligible words of which were "seven," "seven-thirty," and "LATE." I shrugged and smiled what I hope was a winning smile. This is my new go-to answer when I have no idea what's going on or no idea why I'm being scolded.

Speaking of being scolded.... I should mention that I have a big, nasty, problematic fault that is coming into direct conflict with Granny. My fault is this: I HATE being told how to do something with which I'm already well-acquainted. In this case, the issue is dishes. As part of the "light housekeeping" I'm asked to engage in, I'm supposed to clean up the dishes after meals and snacks. I know how to do dishes. My mother made sure of it, even if I did pass that task off on my brothers as soon as humanly possible.

Thus, it really, really, really irks me when I start to clean up Granny's kitchen mess and she stands behind me, looking over my shoulder and giving directions. (I may not understand a single word, but I understand the intent.) Occasionally, she will grab the scrubber and pot from my hands and give a demonstration. I'm never quite sure what the point is, as I clean dishes exactly the same was she does: apply soap, scrub, rinse. The best part of all of this is that I'm supposed to wash all the dishes...before I put them in the dishwasher. If she finds a dish in the (dirty) dishwasher that still appears to have been used, she will pull it out and wave it at me. Finally today I seem to have reached a point where she trusts me to clean everything properly and no longer inspects the dishwasher every time I leave the kitchen.

Contrast this with my home life: We got a new dishwasher a couple weeks ago and Evan has been testing it by seeing how much gunk we can leave on the dishes and still have them come out clean. So far, it seems to have dealt well with everything.

(I'm struggling to find a way to work in a play on Sydney Carton's last line, but my creativity has failed me. Oh well, here it is in all its beauty, sans sense or context: "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.")


Susan said...

What IS it with washing dishes twice?? I had a dishwasherless friend who'd do the same thing -- she would "rinse" the dishes (with soap and scrubbing and running water) and then put on the To-Wash stack to deal with later.

And I know lots of people who wash dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Nathan suggested that there's something about the heat and forceful water that is sterilizing, and that some people mentally need that, but they don't want dirty dishes sitting around waiting until the dishwasher is fully loaded.

Okay then ...

(With people using dishwashers this way, anybody want to tell me again about how the dishwasher is more eco-friendly than hand-washing?)

Elephantschild said...

I rinse dishes if I'm going to leave them sit overnight to wash in the morning. Or if there is HUGE globs of food on them.

But no way would I bother if I had a dishwasher! That's the POINT of the dishwasher, you don't have to WASH the dishes.

See, you're so lucky to have my mom as your MIL and not Granny. :-) You'd have all the misery and none of the pay!