Thanksgiving Advent, Day Seventeen: Dishwashers etc.

I lived for about five years in places without a dishwasher. (Well, longer than that — but the four years in college don’t count, since all I had to do was dump my tray at the appropriate spot in the dining hall.)

I am so very, very thankful to have one again.

Dishes fall into that deeply annoying category of “didn’t I just do this chore?” No sooner have you cleaned them up than, oh look, there’s another dirty plate. Laundry is the same way, and words cannot express how glad I am that I’ve never had to do that by hand. The one time I ever tried was with a pair of trousers when I was at a field station in the middle of the rainforest in Costa Rica; I got about a minute in, very feebly, before a pair of hands appeared in my field of vision and took the soap and trousers away. I watched the very nice Costa Rican lady do what my fourteen-year-old self could not, and marveled as if she were turning water in to wine. Combine that with my reading about what it used to take to do laundry in the pre-washing-machine past . . . yeah. There are entire months of my life that have been saved by me not having to do laundry by hand.

Dishwashers. Laundry machines. Vacuum cleaners. Hell, showers — even bathing used to be a bigger undertaking, back when you had to heat the water and fill the tub and so on. Be thankful, people. Be very, very thankful.

0 Responses to “Thanksgiving Advent, Day Seventeen: Dishwashers etc.”

  1. kurayami_hime

    This. A thousand times this.

    Now pardon me while I go hand wash my plate from lunch. ::tears::

    • Marie Brennan

      Among other things, lack of a dishwasher makes one even more likely to opt for foods that don’t involve plates (like microwavable stuff, or eating out).

      • kurayami_hime

        Let’s, um, pretend that lunch wasn’t a big ol’ plate of microwavable fried rice then, shall we? I do take steps to avoid scurvy though. The three dollar oranges I ate this week, for example. It was only going to be one orange, but the fruit vendor who waylaid me said it would be lonely. Thus, I ended up with two for 500 yen.

        • Marie Brennan

          Wow. I see what you and mean about fruit being expensive over there.

          • kurayami_hime

            The oranges did come with stickers saying they were “specially selected.” But, yeah, most of my vitamin C comes from green tea, dried fruit, or vitamins.

        • dsmoen

          I hope those were fabulous oranges!

          One of the coolest benefits of my job is that we get free organic fruit deliveries at the office There’s always a bowl that includes apples, pears, and oranges free for the taking. Sometimes we also get persimmons, pomagranates, kiwi, nectarines, apricots, peaches, and stuff, but usually those are only 1-2 each per week. Bananas are always the first thing to go, so I’m lucky if I ever get any.

  2. diatryma

    Buttercup 2.0, the house I live in with my friends, has a small dishwasher. We were looking forward to it. It broke before we moved in– it doesn’t drain properly.

    So instead it’s a drying rack. It’s actually really handy having a place to put all the dishes that doesn’t take up counter space and sometimes has a heated dry setting. We’d rather have a dishwasher that washes, but we’ll take this as well.

    As for laundry… I’m probably going to buy more socks and underwear and keep an eye out for more jeans because then I can go another two weeks or so between gigantic laundry weekends. And ours are in the same house, free!

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah, it’s at least nice to keep the drying dishes out of the way. When I didn’t have a dishwasher, I generally didn’t have a lot of counter space, either — funny how those often go hand-in-hand. But it’s even nicer to have a dishwasher.

  3. aishabintjamil

    These conveniences do definitely change the way we do things. I grew up in a household without a washer/dryer or a dishwasher. The dishwasher wasn’t a big deal – we weren’t a huge family, and except for special occasions my grandmother’s favorite cooking too was a can opener. She’d spent most of her life running a retail business, first with my grandfather, and then by herself after he passed away in 1950. She grabbed something at the local diner a lot until she sold the business and retired.

    The laundry thing was painful. It meant that we approached clothes with an older perspective – you looked at it and determined if it *needed* to be washed, instead of just tossing it in the hamper without a thought. To this day I generate about half the laundry that my spouse does because of those habits. Of course now that’s good for water conservation too.

    Lighting is another one. We had a freak snowstorm at the end of Oct. in the northeast, and for lots of us it involved multiple days without power. We’re pretty well equipped for that, although heat was an issue, but doing things by oil lamp really limits what you want to try to do in the evenings.

    • Marie Brennan

      The laundry thing reminds me of being on archaeological digs. You rapidly learn there to distinguish between “dirt” and “filth” — the former is just the cost of doing business, and nothing to get too upset about. It isn’t until your clothes get filthy that they become a problem.

  4. mrissa

    Yes. Dishwasher and washing machine and vacuum cleaner. Also, while we’re at it, fridge and freezer–I eat a lot more fresh food than your average American, but I do not have the energy to shop every day for it, so being able to have a gallon of milk and some cucumbers in the fridge is so good.

  5. aliettedb

    I remember when I came back from India after 6 weeks (4 weeks without running water, 2 weeks of sort-of-running cold water with no pressure in the pipes). I went straight into the bathroom, and stood under the warm shower for 15 minutes. It was glorious.

    • Marie Brennan

      I always felt weird, coming back to “civilization” after working on a dig. We had showers and such, but there’s nothing like a bit of roughing it (or more than a bit) to make you appreciate the daily luxuries.

  6. ellen_fremedon

    I’m living with a dishwasher now, for the first time in my life. I’ve stopped even trying to use it to wash my dishes. It’s marginally useful for storing dishes, so I can make room in the sink to wash one sinkful and room on the counter to dry them, but not as useful as a proper double sink would be.

    People who have lived with dishwashers all their lives tell me that a larger, faster, and more powerful dishwasher would actually clean my dishes, instead of sequestering all the hot water for three times the amount of time it would take to wash them in the sink and spraying them with a thin layer of detergent residue over the food. This might be true, but I’m in no hurry to find out; a dishwasher is not a high priority for the next apartment. (No double sink, however, is going to be an absolute deal-breaker from now on.)

  7. dsmoen

    We have a dishwasher but we rarely use it.

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