Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Experiments in Dishes

Guys (and gals), it's happened. The unthinkable. The how-am-I-going-to-get-through-the-week disaster. When I told my daughter (she's almost 5), she said, "OH NO! Mom. That's NO good!"

Yup. Our dishwasher broke.

[Oh, yes. God bless us and our first world problems of earth-shattering proportions. Oh, the agony. Oh, the drama.]

But seriously. Who's gonna do the dishes? Cuz you know I got other stuff going on... work... trim my nails... laundry... facebook... work (did I mention work?)... spending two hours every night begging my children to PLEASE JUST GO TO SLEEP...

When it broke, I immediately jumped in my mind to replacement. Call the appliance store! How soon can they get a delivery here? What color should we get? Do they have a model that also cleans the mess under the table? Do we have enough paper plates to make it through this ordeal?!

Sure, our dishwasher is old. And loud. And not very pretty. But I reminded myself that I probably really truly should look into fixing it. Maybe get another year out of it (or a few?). Clean it up. Make the best of it. And maybe save a few hundred bucks in the process.

Without a doubt, it's nice to have new things. Somehow, it just feels good. Fewer worries. Better efficiency. But also it's a status thing. Like, "Hey, look at me - I can just run out and drop a pretty penny on this luxury appliance at random, just because, even when I don't need to. I have money, and stuff. Pretty stuff. I have arrived."

If I really had my way, I'd have a dishwasher (sure - a nice, new one), and just enough dishes to fit in it. So I could take them out when we need to eat, and put them right back in to get washed. "Unloading the Dishwasher" would be a chore of the past!

Not too long ago, we did try an experiment with our dishes. There's a facet of the tiny house community that goes for the one person, one dish lifestyle. One cup, one bowl, one plate, one fork. It's simple, and small. It sounds like a perfect structure for tiny house living.

John (that's my husband) and I decided to give it a go. There are four of us, so we kept four of each item in the cabinet, boxed up the rest and put it in the basement during our one week trial period.

At first, it was great! The clutter in our kitchen almost disappeared immediately. There were no dirty dishes overflowing the sink, the cabinets were neat and tidy and everything had some space around it. Minimalism in action!

And then it was lunch time. But, because we only had four plates, and we used those four plates for breakfast, we now had nothing to eat off of. Now you might not know this, but when a 4 year old and a 2 year old want to eat, they don't fully understand the meaning of the word "wait" or  "I can't right now" or "just give me one more minute..." My kids are good eaters. And they were not about to let the lack of a plate keep them from the agonizing, "MOMMY! is lunch ready YET?!" <repeat> cry.

So we stopped making lunch to do the dishes.

And, by day 2, we decided that we would rather deal with a little clutter and a few more plates to throw in the dishwasher (back in the good ol' days when it was working!) so we could have a little bit more time and attention to give to our kids.

And though I'm sure there are lots of podcasts, blogposts, twitter feeds and facebook messages dedicated to the energy and bodywork and enlightenment and deep connection with your own food source and other positive soul-cleansing you can attain from taking the time to hand-wash each and every one of your own dishes, truly NO ONE in this house was going to miss scrubbing plates, bowls and cups three or four times a day.

The box came up from the basement, and the dirty dishes now pile up. Experiment complete.
The two reasons why I need a dishwasher

As for our dishwasher, I am swallowing my pride. Last night I pulled out the racks, gathered up some tools, looked up some repair videos, ordered a part, and after two hours of work, $12.99 and waiting for the FedEx truck to show up, it should be back in business.

I did allow myself one miniature luxury: paying extra for 2-day shipping!

Because sometimes a mom just needs a break.