A couple of weeks ago after dinner, while Betsy and I chatted in front of the fire, Jim came around the corner into the living room and announced that the dishwasher was dead. The announcement was followed by an extensive period of mourning characterized by drowning our sorrows in the sink. It used to be, many years before any of our children came along, that doing dishes in the sink was what you did. At that long ago time it was considered very bad form to a. use paper plates and cups except in the field among the cow pads on a picnic blanket, and no less a breach to hold dirty dishes under the faucet like the barista in an Italian coffee bar. Thus it fell to me to demonstrate the age old method for assuring germ free dishes without the machine.
One rule had to be broken before we even got started. In the dear old days beyond recall dishes were usually done by somebody over eight and under twenty-one. We did happen to have somebody here who fitted that description, but it turned out that dishes weren’t her thing. “I don’t want to,” she said, and that was that.
But finally we got down to cases, changed the pathways for clearing, scraping, immersion in soapy wager, immersion in very hot rinse water, wiping and putting away. In demonstrating how all this was handled I made such a name for myself that the consensus was that I should keep right on with the job until we got a new appliance. I tell this commonplace, even banal, story in case anyone might wonder what I’ve been doing with myself lately.
There was proven need for a new machine and Jim wasted no time looking for a buy. He discovered his bargain at Drogen’s, a venerable local institution over on the South Side near the Mall. This buy satisfied the requirements we demanded, but did not stop there. We learned that in order to get the refund we needed to buy at least two more appliances that were also eco-friendly. “What the heck,” I said. “Let’s go for it.”
And tomorrow is the day. That means there is more to this story. You may not wonder about where to put these machine when they arrive, but the old ones must be removed by Jim and put in the garage, to wait for the recycle wagon to come and take them them to some dump somewhere where some nameless person will sign a form giving us the rebate we so richly deserve by now. If that isn’t problem enough, Jim had to build a new set of basement stairs on Monday so that guys, including Jim, who are moving the machines will not fall through. Then a platform needs to be constructed in the basement to hold the new, eco-friendly washer and dryer that we didn’t even know we needed two weeks ago. We’ll see how all this works out. I’m glad our cleaning helper won’t be subjected to the noisy hurly-burly that is surely going happen today.
Meantime, I’m a little bit sad. I had expected to find myself in an aesthetic fog this morning gung ho for delivering some delicate poetry about the Fire and Ice spectacle, the gift our community has given itself that lit up down town for students (and regular citizens, too) last night. Sometimes you are just forced to sit up and face the music.