My relationship with dishwashing has always been tenuous. Dishwashers were for the privileged class, like central air conditioning and individually wrapped string cheese.
I hated hand washing dishes, but there were six of us , and only so many turns before it was mine again. I hated the feeling of noodles and overcooked carrots sliding past my fingers in the murky water, like lampreys hungry for a bite.
Much like the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who constantly spritzed wounds with Windex, my mother believed in the curative power of washing dishes. The demented love child of C. Everett Koop and Madge, the Palmolive spokeswoman, "Soak it in Dishwater," was her prescription for every ailment and complaint. Depressed? Freezing? Suffering from the common cold? Washing dishes could cure it.
We didn't own our own dishwasher until I was 15, and I never did develop a passion for it. Mostly because it seemed to complicate everything. You had to turn the bowls JUST right or the water jets would commit suicide or something. And don't even THINK of using Dawn when the Cascade had run out unless you are planning to hold a Foam Rave IN the kitchen.
I think the kid in Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead had the right idea.
"The Dishes are Done, Man."
I never developed an attachment to any dishwashing method. Sometimes I had a dishwasher in a rental, sometimes I didn't. Since my vintage Pyrex collection, non-stick Caphalon and a host of other antique dishes couldn't go in the dishwasher I didn't really care much. There was a dishwasher in the house we bought, but when it started smoking on the eve of my 10 year high school reunion I decided it was time to open up some room in our kitchen by getting rid of not only the dead appliance but also the free-standing cabinet.
Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em
And then the long-standing national nightmare began.
After three kids I decided that yes, maybe I DID want a dishwasher. Maybe I was REALLY STUPID to think I didn't need a dishwasher. My husband was so baffled by the sheer volume of dishes it took to cook a single meal for our growing family that simply confronting the kitchen mess called for some serious white knighting on his part. Especially since I had a tendency to just toss the sponge in the sink and then stack dirty dishes on top of it so every time he wanted to wash a dish he had to put on a fedora and do an Indiana Jones style excavation.
This little sponge caddy might have saved my marriage.
We were drowning in greasy sippy cups. Something had to be done.
I found a used KitchenAid on Craigslist. This was before my husband instituted an iron-clad policy of NEVER, ever buying used appliances. EVER. NEVEREVERNEVER. I didn't have a cabinet but who cares. I needed something to wash my dishes, not look pretty. My kitchen is terminally ugly no matter what.
"Don't you...need a cabinet?" My mom asked hesitantly, like she always did when faced with one of my hair-brained schemes. "Why?" She didn't have an answer so I just shrugged, bought, and installed my new dishwasher.
And I opened it.
And, it fell over.
Turns out you DO need a cabinet.
To keep your dishwasher upright.
We figured out that if you opened it just right and only pulled the racks out so far it wouldn't fall over. This required a level of precision I am not normally known for, and frequently I'd get the dishwasher half full or empty and get cocky and SIS BOOM BAH CRASH.
Having such an idiosyncratic system meant that ONLY Hugh or I could go near the dishwasher. Ever. No one could help us load or unload it, even with the birth of our last baby. Well-meaning people would tell us that we should teach our kids to load it.
"Um. We can't."
"Because. It will try to kill them."
Not many people have murderous appliances. Except for that woman who was shot by her stove we might have the only one.
I wanted a new cabinet but like all home-improvement projects in our life it took a back seat to almost everything else. Finally dishwasher decided to start rebelling against our abuse and stopped working all that well. We finally hauled it outside and then spent the next year back to handwashing. I realize it's no big deal for some people but I love to cook and I love to cook a lot and I really hate to clean so there were always, always dishes stacked up. All the time. So much so that I felt it was dangerous to send have my kids help...I'd have to do the dishes just so they could do the dishes and by the time I did the dishes I forgot to teach them to do the dishes.
This was like, every single day.
So after a year of dishwasherlessness (is that a word? Spell check says...no) we decided to spend our tax money on a dishwasher and just to be EXTRA glamorous a cabinet to go with it. They don't just SELL free-standing dishwasher cabinets though. I mean, they do at IKEA but I am like, 6 hours from IKEA. So yeah. Turns out you can build one out of two twelve inch cabinets and a 40" slab of countertop.
Exactly like the kind I gave away.
You guys need to thank me for being so stupid.
Otherwise I'd have 50% less things to write about.
I wanted to clean this off before I snapped a picture, but this blog is all about transparency.
Plus if I had you wouldn't know that I bought a ton of cornflakes for $1.24 a box.
Saving money LIKE A BOSS.