Saturday, January 11, 2020

I'll Just Do Them By Hand

I'll be the first to admit I don't have much talent for spatial visualization. I park my car using audible data from the curb. I routinely look at something bigger than my head and think "I can eat that." Also? Your dishwasher doesn't make any sense to me. I don't care who you are.

There's a section on the IQ tests where they show you a shape in two dimensions and you have to figure out what it would look like folded up. I can't do that. I can't tell if it will be a box, a swan, or a dreidel. If it weren't for the verbal comprehension part of the test I would've been institutionalized. I used to try to cut out shapes to sew my own stuffed animals and they all came out sad and flat. It was like I had a nice store-bought collection of animals and a separate roadkill set.

But your dishwasher doesn't make sense. There can't be that many dishwashers on the market. No two are alike, except that there's no figuring them out. I know what to do with my own, now. I'm sure it didn't make sense at first either, but after a while, you figure out what goes where from experience. If you load the plates here, there's no place for the bowls. If you stick the big bowl there, the little shallow one won't fit along the side. It's very personal.

Our friends KC and Scott are major food people. When they remodeled their kitchen, they went ahead and put in two dishwashers. That never occurs to most people. They were not about to hand-wash the cooking pots, or stack dirty dishes waiting for the first batch to get clean, and that was that. Regular people design their kitchens so that they're standard and ready to sell to someone else. The four of us are not regular people. (Dave's countertop is six inches higher than standard, and we have two refrigerators. One for the beer. If the next people want something different, they'll have to nuke it and start over.)

They should make dishwashers with cut-outs like those old hand-tool pegboards. I am paralyzed by the sight of foreign dishwasher pegs. They look like a shishkebab assembly line. I see the basket for the utensils, but are my friends handle-up or handle-down people? Do they spear the glasses or slip them between the peg rows? What are the rules? 

Once you decide on, say, where a plate goes, you can keep on stacking them in there in parallel. But they might be on the diagonal and you'll end up with unused corner space. If the proprietor of the kitchen happens to come by while you're puzzling, he'll invariably hover and tsk and twist his hands, and finally say "Usually what I do is..."

That's the key right there. It doesn't matter how you put the dishes in. They're just going to get rearranged after you leave.

49 comments:

  1. "...a box, a swan, or a dreidel." You made my day! Laughing out loud before 7:30. I can never judge what will fit in my car, or in a box -- I always way underestimate. And while I don't personally feel challenged in the dishwasher area, my sister-in-law will remove everything I've loaded and redo at family gatherings, shaking her head. Gave up long ago.

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    1. You could be accused of being crazy like a fox.

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    2. I am of the opinion that only the proprietor should ever attempt to load a dishwasher.
      Cop Car

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  2. I've never had a dishwasher, as I've always been part of a very small family, and don't see the need for one. It seems like, with just two people, dishwashing by machine may be a procedure which falls back upon itself: You remove cabinet space to put in a dishwasher. You only want to wash dishes if you have a full load. So you need to have more dishes and pots and pans to use while you have the dirty ones awaiting a full load. So you buy more accoutrements, but wait! You have no cabinets to put them in because you removed them to put in a dishwasher. D'oh!

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    1. It's true. I think of a dishwasher as a place to store dirty dishes.

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    2. My late aunt stored her wax paper, foil, etc in her dishwasher.
      Cop Car

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  3. Dishwashers mmmm naw, we chose extra storage space in the design versus using the dishwasher and just wash by hand. Usually quicker and things get put away where they belong that same day. We just redid our kitchen and designed it for us, not the next people. They can live with what we wanted or change it, at that point we won't care either. Been reading your blog for a while and finally got the comment thing on my end squared away. Looking forward to future posts. :-)

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    1. I've known people who live with their kitchens the way they came, even though they don't really like it. THEN, when they are looking to move, they re-do the kitchen to perfection. WHY didn't they just do this when they were living there? Of course, once other people move in, they probably don't find the newly remodeled kitchen optimal for themselves, either. But they live with it. And so it goes....

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    2. Nice to hear from you, Hshawjr! And you're right, mimimanderly, people don't fix up their houses until they're ready to move on. When we moved in we thought: Whew. Glad we don't have to do that again!

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  4. Husband always puts the large soup bowls on the top instead of the bottom. There they take up ALL the space that could be used by glasses, mugs, large utensils,and small dishes. I have performed many a wordless play right in front of his eyes, taking the large bowls and demonstrating how neatly they fit in the back and sides of the lower rack. He watches. I say nothing. Next day it's back to the large bowls on top, and me removing them to the bottom. I think, well, there's worse habits; this is kind of funny, after all. "Husband Loads Dishwasher Wrong" must be a chapter in every marriage manual written since 1950. But I feel sad. There has to be more to marriage than this.

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    1. hahahahahahahahaha

      Every now and then someone else loads my dishwasher and I set about changing it and then think: Huh. That IS better there.

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    2. My husband loads the dishwasher "wrong," but long ago, I decided I didn't care. Good system.

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    3. My husband just throws stuff into the dishwasher in whatever order comes to hand; thus, he has a plate blocking water's access to a small bowl, etc. He's accustomed to my rearranging his art work.
      Cop car

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    4. Is it at ALL helpful? Ganging up the dishes, at least?

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    5. It gets the dirty dishes out of sight; so, yes, it is helpful.
      Cop Car

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  5. I leave spatial decisions to my husband - I am crap at that. No matter how many times I measure nothing ever fits. As for dishwashers - I have no use for them so when I re-did my small kitchen last year I had the dishwasher removed - I never used it and that space was nicely used for a trash bin drawer. I also installed flat door maple cabinets - if someone wants those godawful white Shaker style kitchen cabinets - they can have at it. My home, my style, I've gotta live here.

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    1. That is right. I happen to love cherry shaker-style cabinets but you get schmutz in the corners. Dave had his cabinets (HIS KITCHEN) designed flat-front for easy cleaning. Although neither of us ever cleans them.

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    2. EXACTLY - schmutz in the corners!! I keep telling people that and they won't believe me - been there done that but it was just a bathroom vanity which gone now - kitchens should be easy to clean, do people have no good sense at all? (That was a rhetorical question...)

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  6. Mine is nearly 20 years old, closing the door and getting it to 'lock' can be difficult, and when it runs it sounds like an Apollo launch in the kitchen and front room. I does seem to get dishes clean and doesn't leak, so I figure it'll see me out easily.

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    1. Amazing how many decisions, now, are made according to whether they'll "see me out easily."

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  7. Been a while since I had a dishwasher so I just get creative with the dish rack. Since it's only me it isn't too much of a challenge.

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    1. Totally makes sense. If it was only me it's possible I'd just throw food on the counter and slurp it off. One sponge and done.

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    2. Larry did, but not Tater. If it isn't Iams Adult Cat Kibble In The Orange Bag, she thinks we're poisoning her. She won't touch treats. Wet food. Tuna. Chicken. Nothing.

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  8. We have a dishwasher. A mostly neglected dishwasher.
    Personal arrangements are just that. I still (years later) fume when I remember himself's sister rearranging our kitchen cupboards to suit herself when she was staying with us...
    And yes, while my direction sense is good, my spatial visualization is sadly lacking. Which strikes me as odd - they ought to be linked (but aren't).

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    1. I'm pretty good with directions too. Hmm. I can visualize a map in my head...but I can't fold it up!

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  9. About ten years ago, our not-built-in dishwasher hadn't been used for months. I put an ad on Craigs List and gave it away. We just hand wash now and for me it's pretty meditative and relaxing. I'd rather spend dishwasher money on something else....

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    1. Hmm. Wonder if you'd gone to the trouble if it was built-in? Extra layer of bother...

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  10. I hand washed for decades - always claimed I enjoyed it, although now I can't remember why - but when I started having back, hip and foot pain from standing in one spot for too long we decided to get a dishwasher. I only wish we'd done it sooner. I LURVE that white enameled boxy appliance so freakin' much. It has reduced my pain significantly.

    But you're right - there's definitely a learning curve to loading the thing, even with the illustrated instructions, and every single one seems different inside.

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    1. Came with!

      You could check the all-knowing all-powerful internet for your brand and model and see if you too could get the commandments :)

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    2. Some of us understand the word "instructions" without actually grasping why we should waste time reading such stuff - lol.
      Cop Car

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  11. Nope! Never had one and do not want want.Sure, I could go down to the Big Box and buy a fancy-dancy, state of the art one for not a hellova lot of money. And then it would cost probably in the region of $5,000 to remodel the kitchen and I'd still wash up by hand. (Actually, I rarely wash up-The Man does that.) Also, cockroaches LOVE dishwashers.

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    1. You've got A Man. You could send him down to the river with a rock and your laundry and you'd be just fine.

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  12. You nailed it. There's no specific 'right way' to stacking a dishwasher so that everything fits. They can show you a fully stacked dishwasher in the showroom and it will look like a great buy, until you have it installed and realise your own dishes are different sizes and shapes to the displayed ones and you just can't get them all in.

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    1. My relatively new bowls do not fit anywhere. The set was cheap and it will break soon enough, and the next time I'm going to pay attention to the shape of the bowls.

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  13. I have a sister-in-law who actually fills her kitchen sink with water and detergent and washes the dishes BEFORE SHE PUTS THEM IN THE DISHWASHER! Nothing we say can change her.

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    1. When I was young, I had a boyfriend who would do that. I asked him why he would wash the dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. He said it was because it sanitized them. (Don't they immediately get "unsanitized" once you grab them in your unsanitary hands and put them back on the shelf?) I just shook my head in disbelief. It's like cleaning the house before the maid comes.

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    2. As long as it's someone else doing it, I see no reason to quibble.

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  14. We are probably the only 2-person household that runs the dishwasher every single day. Maybe that's because James is always experimenting with new recipes and making 'real dinners' every night? OR perhaps because we throw everything but the cast iron pans into the thing? And we use every option, too -- like 'pot scrubber', 'hi-temp wash', 'sani-rinse' -- which means that every 5 years we run a dishwasher into the ground....It's an expensive habit, this business of being hooked on a dishwasher...

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    1. Sorry, I didn't read anything after "new recipes and making real dinners!"

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  15. “Separate roadkill set.” The best line in the essay!

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  16. When we built our house, the counters were put in high, so I could see what I was doing & not stoop over...and I had The Man put in a tiled, but not drained (another mistake), dish drainer pit, which holds an actual dishwasher rack inside, so we can look out our row of windows to the west unobstructed by piles of draining dishes/pots/etc. Works like a charm, and nothing falls over. Not sure why every house doesn't have one !

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  18. I was 'taught' by a Health Department test administrator that utensils were to be put in the racks handle up. I questioned the spoons 'spooning' if they went in handle up. (Spoons spoon. It's a thing) I was told that it was done that way because when unloading the utensils, touching the bowl or tines was unsanitary, and handling by the handles (I'm seeing a pattern here) was the rule.

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