Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A sink full of suds is amazingly therapeutic

I hate my dishwasher.  I hate the noise, the mess of the detergent, the way your glasses never quite sparkle despite adding the magic liquid that is supposed to take care of that.  But most of all I hate emptying it.  As a teenager I had many, many arguments discussions with my brother, each of us claiming it was the other's turn to do the deed.  When I got married, then had children, I was hopeful that this task could be sloughed off on taken over by someone else.  Alas, that was not to be.  Apparently no one likes doing it.  Well, except for my grown son, who cheerfully unloads the dishwasher by putting everything in whatever place strikes his fancy...drinking glasses in the Tupperware cupboard, plates balanced precariously on top of stacks of bowls, silverware in one huge pile in the knife drawer.  I am all for creativity in the kitchen, but opening a cupboard and finding a baking dish filled with coffee cups where I expected to find plates is little...surprising. So it should come as no shock that I actually like doing dishes (in much smaller & more manageable batches) by hand.  It's the type of activity that involves you, but not wholly.  It requires a minimum of concentration, occupying your hands while your brain is free to wander, to think, to dream, to sing.

We didn't have a dishwasher until I was a sophomore in high school.  Prior to that time it was mostly my job to clean up after dinner. If there were a lot of dishes or pots and pans, my mom would wash and my dad would dry, but most of the time it was left to me. We had this long, narrow kitchen with pocket doors at each end and a sink under a window looking out to the side yard.  I would shut both doors (for the awesome acoustical value!) and sing rock and roll at the top of my lungs, somehow imagining that the doors enclosed not only me but my voice.  One evening I had just finished belting out Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit, and was moving into Linda Rondstadt's Different Drum, when my mom yelled thru the door to "for heaven's sake stop singing and finish the dishes, we can't hear the TV"!

The first house I lived in after relocating to Missoula had a huge kitchen with yards of counter space, a work peninsula and an attached breakfast room with a slider to the deck. Best of all it had a nice big window over the sink with a view of the kids playing in the backyard during the day and a sky bright with stars at night. It was while gazing out that window that I stared, slack jawed, as two of my daughter's friends sidled gingerly across the retaining wall at the top of the yard, inching along, arms outstretched and backs against the neighbor's fence, while my dog stood below them barking like crazy. My daughter told me later that the two boys were certain that one misstep meant certain death by Springer Spaniel.  I was at the sink when that same dog worked to pull the blanket out of her dog house on the deck, dragged it to the furthest part of the yard, then trotted happily back to her now empty dog house and crawled inside. Evening was just falling and I was wrist deep in suds the day I looked out the window and stared into the beady little eyes of the biggest skunk in the history of skunks, eating from my dog's dish. I yanked my hands out of the water and flipped off the outside lights, apparently thinking the skunk would recognize the "no candy here" message as any good Trick or Treater does and just lumber off home. He didn't. He leisurely finished up, smacked his lips and waddled around the yard, while I hid behind the blinds on the sliding glass door, peering at him in shivering horror, hoping he didn't decide to crawl into the dog house, and if he did, wondering how quickly I could pack up the family and move.

Since that time I have had big kitchens, tiny kitchens and everything in between. I have a lovely window over the sink now, and while I don't belt out top 40 hits much any more, every once in awhile I crank up the music and let George Straight or the Beach Boys or Bruno Mars do the belting for me.  Over the years my kitchen sink has seen me argue different sides of political issues, write a resignation for a job I loathed, tell people off and compose scathing product reviews, all while scrubbing whatever was burned into the bottoms of pans. Over a sink full of suds and silverware, I design jewelry, make grocery lists, plan Christmas gifts and plot out mystery stories. Oh yes, and I write blogs.

4 comments:

  1. You are a brave woman :) I am not sure I would have admitted it but I am with you on this - I so love washing dishes. Now that we are empty nesters, I use that as the excuse saying it doesn't pay to run the dishwasher for just the 2 of us. There is something very comforting about just being able to have a few minutes to do something mindless so my mind can focus on other thoughts. Glad to be here today from Thurs. Favorite Things :)

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    1. Thanks for reaffirming my love of dishwashing! Those 'mindless' minutes are priceless!

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  2. I have never had a dishwasher except in the condos I've stayed at on the beach! I am about to buy one for my current kitchen so I can sell my house (I guess people have to have one!) Growing up, no dishwasher. Married with kids, no dishwasher. Single again, kids all grown up and married, no dishwasher. I've had people come into my kitchen and look aghast - "You don't have a dishwasher???" I thought I was the only one who actually likes to wash them by hand! : ) Karen

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    1. You are right about the salability of a dishwasher in a house, people now expect what used to be a luxury item. When my dad installed ours back in the 60's, we lost valuable cabinet space! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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