Monday, November 11, 2013

I've Changed My Routine/Now I'm Clean

It's not that I hate the dishwasher, exactly; it's just that the position of "Thing which does nothing but sit around the house and not work" in this house is already filled by the cats.

 When we first got the dishwasher, it was replacing the dishwasher which had come with the house, a house which had been owned by people with deep ties to the shoddy appliance industry. If it was an improvement of the 20th century, we had the crappiest version of it, always with some name that almost sounded familiar: Amenna; Kenmoore; Mootag. The stove celebrated one Christmas Eve by propelling the oven door halfway across the kitchen into my abdomen. Luckily, I think the thing was made of pressed cardboard covered in asbestos, so it didn't hurt as much as it might have. The dishwasher, in cycle, made noises like it was washing Augean stables;. There was so much chugging, groaning, lamenting went on that we arranged to run when we were out of the house because it frightened the then-baby. And yet, for all that noise, the dishwasher had only two speeds; anemic sneeze and throat-clearing. It wasn't that the dishes got washed so much as the food particles got a spa day.

 Being as money was going elsewhere, we made do. We washed the dishes ahead of time, which always struck me as enabling that thing. We ran rinse cycles in between loads, the clear any particles which might have accidently been shook loose from a dish. We treated the washer like it was half invalid, half dish storage unit. It's fair to say our expectations were very realistic. When it died and we were obligated to buy another washer, a great cheer was heard as we piled into the car and headed to Sears.

 New dishwasher was solidly middle: middle-range price; middling degree of extra cycles; it's even sort of a middling beige. As we were filling out the delivery paperwork, I patted it and whispered "We're fond of you. Now let me never think of you again." And the first few months, it appeared my pathetic little dreams were to be realized. I would open the dishwasher and LO! Dishes which were clean and there was a great joy among the people, mostly this people.

 A few months later, I started to notice something. Yes, the dishes and glasses were cleaned of their particles, but it seemed that new particles were being left in their place. Honestly, I'm not that obsessive that I know what particles go where; there was a bit of sand/coffee ground/microsludge on everything and I haven't served sand/coffee ground/microsludge in years. I showed it to Consort. He informed me that I wasn't rinsing the dishes sufficiently. I briefly hated him for always taking the appliance's side and sullenly washed the dishes. The ghost slurry went away. Consort didn't gloat.

A month later, even though I was still pre-washing, the ghost slurry was back.

I did gloat.

Consort did that thing where he brings the tools from the garage and made a great deal of noise and swore and there were little washing machine partlets all over the kitchen and the ghost sludge went away again.

 And then it came back.







 "It's the drain-trap!"



 "No, it's the crimped intake pipe!"



 "How did you not notice there was a spoon caught in the drain trap?"



 There's always a reason, there's always a fix; there used to be hope. Now there is only the cynicism one feels when a friend is heading to her fifteenth trip to rehab, swearing that this time, it's definitely going to stick! Sure, honey. Let me just keep the vanilla extract and the Sterno at my house, okay? For the moment, we can't replace it. Frankly, I'm not sure I even want to. Before we went to Sears, we read Consumer Reports; we got reviews raving about this exact dishwasher. Maybe it's not that the previous owner bought every crappy appliance on the market so much as living in this house causes appliances to give up hope. We're prison, they're here for life, and the only joy they can find is to screw with our heads and carefully apply ghost sludge. Fine, I say. FINE.

Now, if you will excuse me, the dishwasher ran last night; I have a lot of dishes to do.


Anonymous Deb Moran said...

Is there no warranty on it? We get the ghost particles too... though rinsing usually takes care of it for us. Of course, now, the dishwasher won't wash at all. No water comes out. Or, if it does, it's a sickly, dribbling, wheezing sort of non-spray. The repair man is coming on Wednesday. I'm hoping he doesn't pronounce it dead.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous NancySongbird said...

I have, for the most part, given up running mine at all. One rack got rusty because the plastic coating wore off... the silverware basket developed an unfortuate series of holes that allows utensils to slip through and get stuck and cause all sorts of problems... daughter is commuting to college and only eats a few weekday meals here now. Life happens. So at the moment, it's mostly a glorified dish drainer, which it seems happy enough to do. I guess it figures it's much easier than actually washing the dishes itself. ;-)

8:49 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've had sandy crud issue with all of my dishwashers, from the cheapest to the very high end (Bosch, Maytag and GE Profile). Google taught me to run it once in awhile with only white vinegar instead of detergent. It cleans out all the sprayers and eliminates the crud, until the next time!

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps you guys could call a REAL repairman. Just saying.....

11:04 AM  
Blogger Shinny said...

We got a new dish washer about 2 years ago and it still doesn't get my dishes clean. Though I have noticed it works the "best" when I use my home made dish soap in it. I just don't see the point though of all that wasted space for something that is basically rinsing my already half washed dishes. Then I have friends who put pots, pans and everything in their dish washers with no rinsing at all and they come out crystal clear and like new. Maybe it is my water or something. Glad I am not the only one with this problem.

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Beavis and Butthead laugh)You said "dishwasher."

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

I was happy to discover that I am not the only one to have this problem. However, I found a remedy. I purchased lemme shine at Walmart where the dishwasher detergent is. I ran used it in my empty dishwasher in order to clean it. After that you run it with your dishwasher detergent I use electro sol tablets and jet dry and every thing looks brand new. Glasses are shiny and no sandy crud anywhere

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Terry Mitchell said...

I have been reading your blog for a few weeks, someday I would like to go back and read all of the other posts but I see you have been writing for YEARS and YEARS so that may take some time...

I do not read that many blogs and I found you through browsing through this site for interesting people, I find you funny and insightful and a favorite of mine for sure!

How many cats do you have exactly?

Oh and please forgive me for stepping out of lurk mode, I was just in the mood to interact I guess and forgive me if I post on entries from a long ass time ago (if and when I get to doing that)

As a writer myself, Quinn is one of my favorite names too!

1:25 AM  
Blogger Write is Never Wrong said...

It's not just me (says me in a singsong voice)!!! It's not just me!!

The average lifespan of a dishwasher in this house is 2 years. BRAND NEW dishwashers. And since my house is old, the installing of a new dishwasher is not easy and is barely possible.

I use the dishwasher to store my cookbooks, the many water bottles that seem to clutter the countertop and in some cases to hid candy that I want for myself. I refuse to pay $75 for a "repair man" to come tell me it's cheaper to buy one (did that last time). I refuse keep perpetuating the myth that appliances are well built and last forever because they don't. It's a ploy to keep the appliance companies in business. Make them crappy and they will buy again.

1:16 PM  

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