Friday, July 19, 2013
The answer: “21 days, 19 hours and 7 minutes.”
The question: “How long was I without a dishwasher?”
Now, if you’re lounging at the beach or luxuriating on a cruise, that amount of time stretches your enjoyment. But days still pass all too quickly. However, if you’re a woman who has hardly ever been without a dishwasher for more than 50 years, that same span is counted slow-second-by-slow-second. Especially if dishwashing isn’t one of your favorite domestic opportunities – and – if the machine broke down just before you’re having 14 for dinner.
I’d done a lot of cooking that morning and loaded the dishwasher about midday, so I could empty it before the party and have it ready and waiting to wash 14 more of everything. I put in detergent and it started. Trouble is, that’s all it did. When I saw the flashing green start light come on I went about my other pre-party preparations. I didn’t notice until much too late that the green light was still flashing, but nothing else had happened. Fortunately it was my daughter’s birthday and I’m blessed with relatives who step right up and pitch right in. We spent the evening blowing out candles, exchanging gifts and washing two huge loads of dishes. We left them all to dry on counters in pyramids of plates.
I remember my mom’s first dishwasher – after me. It was portable, on wheels and you rolled it over to the sink and attached it to the faucet with a black hose. It had a glass top and I blush to tell you how often the Lynch siblings lingered around that appliance, fascinated to follow the cycle. After it was completed the lid was lifted and the dishes air dried automatically – eventually. In the days when I hand washed the dishes mother insisted I hand dry them and put them immediately away. I protested – unsuccessfully-- that a dish drainer, which we possessed – was aptly named. Apparently draining them dry in that modern dishwasher was completely acceptable and I was informed, “much more sanitary.”
During the few times when we moved into military quarters without a dishwasher, I delighted in air drying. Much more sanitary, I told myself gleefully. With this latest debacle I not only air dried them, but when our small drainer was full I recreated those plate pyramids. I couldn’t believe how many dishes two people could use. I also couldn’t believe how long it took to get that dishwasher fixed.
First the repair man came, diagnosed the problem and said a part had to be ordered, but would be in “shortly” A couple of more days passed and he called and said the part was on back order but again, would be here “shortly.” After a few more days he returned with the part, which didn’t fix the problem and he left to do some more research. “Shortly” thereafter Jim called the office and requested – none too charmingly – that they send another repair man. He came, said it was a different problem and another part would have to be ordered. Fortunately, we had worked with this fellow before and he had our confidence. The correct part came in, was correctly installed and all is copacetic once more.
My pyramids – like their name sakes, are now a thing of the past – at least for the moment.
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