Friday, October 05, 2007

Washing the Dishes

This is an embarrassment to admit -- but we are not good around here at washing our dishes. Once we were but that time has passed. I know that dirty dishes piled up in the kitchen bring vermin and bugs and nasty smells so I buy paper plates (awful for the environment) and we throw them away after one using. Both the dogs and the humans eat all their proper meals on paper. We drink our soda straight from the can. As the glasses slowly broke one by one we didn't replace them and our cabinet now holds a grand total of two plastic glasses and once glass that used to hold a candle. We own a weird variety of Schnauzer coffee mugs out of which we drink our hot tea. We have a set of eight bowls we use for cereal. We now even buy our soups in the cans out of which one can drink. We only own one set of pots and pans which we wash as we need a clean one.

Our house is very tiny. We have two postage stamp bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room and a Pullman-style kitchen. Two people cannot work in it at the same time. In it we have a small full size refrigerator that is 25 years old and an electric stove we bought from an apartment sale in 1983 and a good microwave oven. The stove has four burners, an oven in which the door does not shut properly, and a broiler that does not work. We have a garbage disposal because we are not neat enough or clean enough to live without one.

We have had two dishwashers in the 35 years we have owned this house. The first an apartment sized Kenmore was purchased from Sears in 1975. We took out the row of drawers in the kitchen to install it. That one lasted 14 years. We found in the 1980's that was very difficult to find the half-sized dishwashers and they are now sold at twice the cost of a regular sized one. We bought the second one from the huge mega-store in Omaha and had it trucked into our city -- and it lasted three years. Then Hubby got sick to death of pouring money into it to keep it running and we were without a dishwasher for the last eight years.

I was miserable. My method of cleaning had always been to gather up the decorative shelves of glassware and run them through the delicate cycle on the dishwasher. I'd stored the sterling and the hand blown glass away. My bad back made standing at the sink for more than five minutes agony. Hubby, however, was adamant. We simply didn't need a dishwasher. He would wash all the dishes and once they air dried, my job was to put them away.

In principle this sounded find. But when one washes dishes only once every two weeks, the reality sucks. So from 1999 until yesterday we lived without a dishwasher. Yesterday I came home to find a new apartment sized GE dishwasher sitting in our kitchen. Across from it sat the new Frigidaire 30 inch electric stove.

I am in heaven. Hubby got the dishwasher leveled and raised a bit today. Then he sent me to the store for dishwasher powder and spot remover. We had to take the spice rack down because the new stove is a bit more narrow than the old one so I also needed to get wall cleaner. What had fallen under and behind the stove was disgusting but we didn't own a broom. I got one of those, too.

I am cleaning the kitchen in spells and spurts, simply because it's such a huge job. I've got the walls sprayed, the floors swept, and I've run two loads already in the dishwasher. This is heaven. You never realize what a joy it can be to clean when you have given up on it for the last ten years or so.

What caused Hubby to change his mind? When we were talking about the new windows Hubby installed last month, I mentioned that I didn't look at the house anymore. I didn't really see it -- and in point of fact, I couldn't actually tell him how many windows we had in the living room. I casually threw out that once I couldn't wash the collectible glassware in the dishwasher I had just given up. I didn't have the energy to hand wash everything and since I couldn't maintain the things I loved, I just shut myself off from the housekeeping. If I didn't see it, I could ignore it. I hadn't thought much about the remark, but I had noticed that for just a second the inscrutable man suddenly looked startled.

So now we have a lovely dishwasher. And since he really likes to cook and bake and broil, we also have a lovely new stove. I'm seeing the kitchen in a whole new light!

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