Friday, April 12, 2013

On My Plan to Gain Independence and End the Wash, Rinse and Dry Cycle of Misery

Can hand washing dishes change your life? Grant a new perspective? Give you a healthier, more luminous complexion? Buffer arms? More patience and forbearance? Make you a better housekeeper? A better person? A brilliant thinker?!

I believe so. I'm out to prove it, and I'm my own guinea pig - me and my kids.

Down with the dishwasher! I say. Overthrow the tyranny of major appliances! is my battle cry.

Does this mean I'm hunched over a fire pit in the backyard, slow roasting meals on flames and baking in the coals? No, no. Does it mean I'm keeping my super-salted meat and other perishables in a cellar 10 feet under? Nah. Washing my clothes in the bathtub, scrubbing them with stones from the landscaping? No way in Arizona (which is close enough)! I'm just done with my nemesis, that evil manipulator of my time and a chronic liar: the Dishwasher.

The beauty of my plan is that I don't have to replace it. I just wave my hand, say a few affirming words and Voila! In its place I now have a very fancy, ultra-expensive, built-into-the-counter drying rack. Ever heard of such a thing? Well, neither had I; though, I tell you, it's quite handy.

Yeah, yeah, some would say, Well, what about the germs? Those nasty, nasty germs? How do you intend to sanitize your dishes without a high temp/sani-rinse/heated dry cycle? My reply would be, just when did our standards get so high? Are we that civilized? Are public pools and Porta-potties still in existence or what? As for germs, I am a firm believer that what you don't know can't kill least not immediately.

I'm on my fourth day of hand washing. It's humid work, but my complexion is dewy. Yes, it's tedious, menial labor, but I have so much time for quiet contemplation that in a few more years I'll be a great philosopher (was that your secret, Aristotle?). And it's bringing back memories of my childhood, good memories, like my brother hiding silverware behind the lip of the counter, so he wouldn't have to wash it.

As for the housekeeping part, my kitchen is cleaner than it has ever been since the dawn of children in this household. No more metal water bottles standing at attention for days by the sink, begging to be noticed and washed by a generous hand. No more piles of dishes, pleading for their turn in that next run of the dishwasher, if I can be bothered to unload and reload. No more funny smells coming from beneath that never ending but changeable tower of oddly-shaped utensils, lids and plastic in the left of the sink, because I just never seem to reach the end of it or the salmonella slime that is surely there below.

Oh, how many wasted years have I believed the lie that I can't properly wash my own dishes! That I must wait on the "dishwasher"? Now ALL my dishes get washed - every day - by my own two hands! My sink is so sparkly and stainless that I could churn homemade ice cream in the garbage disposal, and how often can one say that? (Would one want to say that? you ask. To which I reply, Yes! Come on over. I'll whip some up!) And since the sink is so often filled with hot soapy water, I wipe down my counters, stovetop and faucet alot more often, too.

Okay, I'll be honest. The rest of our home is suffering some neglect, hanging in the balance of disorder and probable collapse in the next few weeks, if not days, because of the dish labor. But if civilization does collapse in the rest of this house, I am cheered to know that thanks to my valiant and constant efforts, we can all retreat to the spotless, albeit tiny, kitchen with purified water (hey, the food's already here!), a crank radio and bug repellent and wait for someone to rescue us.

Today my son asked when we were going to get a new dishwasher, to which I replied with fervor, "Never! We're never getting a new dishwasher. I am the new dishwasher - mwah-ha-ha!"

And to which my husband responded, "When Mama breaks."

But I am a new woman, freed from the urge to delegate to a machine. And I have been inspired by my eldest daughter Ana to keep up the brave fight, for the most wonderful thing happened as she helped me wash dishes on the first day of my resolution/revolution. I gave an eloquent speech about how her saintly Aunt Vinca has gone without a dishwasher for nigh on twenty years - that if my big sis could do it it, I darn well could, too. As I droned on my precious girl did her chore cheerfully, and my heart expanded with pride when, reaching into the soapy water for some new thing to clean, she exclaimed enthusiastically, "It's like a treasure hunt; you never know what you're gonna find!"

Ah, a fresh perspective. A new era! Freedom! Unless.....


......Mama breaks.


  1. Great post! Good luck with the dishes. (Camille)

    1. I need all the luck I can get ;-) and determination, but so far, so good (knock on wood).

  2. Nate used to hide silverware? That little creep; I'll have to take him to task over that one.
    Brilliant post - now one of my favorites. (and God bless sweet Ana)

    1. Did I write that out loud? Oops. What I should have said is that we kids strongly suspected that the forks and spoons began to breed every time you dipped them in water, and that Nate only hid the illegitimate heirs to the silverware legacy.

      And God bless Ana. May she keep me strong.

  3. Thanks for making me laugh with your words...I needed a break from number :) I have to tell you though, I wash the dishes by hand every weekend and have not seen any of the great things you have...maybe I just need to be more aware (Ignacia).

    1. Ignacia, welcome my friend - welcome, welcome! I am thrilled that I made you laugh.

      P.S. You always look lovely, so handwashing dishes must suit you :-) I am convinced we would all be healthier if we did more honest labor...and now I really hope I don't eat my words and go crawling back to the dishwasher....


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