There are just some appliances that I think were invented someplace akin to Heaven. The dishwasher is one of them.
It manages the tasks of rinsing, washing, rinsing again, and drying with nary a worry from yours truly. Given that I have fond memories of actually hand-washing entire tables of dishes at my Grandmother's house*, I know the flip-side can be a pain.
Sadly, a couple of months ago, I made a trip back through time to the land of Palmolive and rubber gloves because I realized that a) the dishwasher was making a noise that resembled a gravel truck schlepping it up Hillcrest at 45mph b) the dishes weren't getting as clean as they used to and c) the friggin' soap dispenser had stopped clicking shut, rendering it useless.
The soap dispenser itself caused me to consider the location of the White Pages and the letter "C", under which was a phone number, at the ready, for a local marriage counselor.
For some reason, unbeknownst to me, Mike decided that I must have forgotten how to properly use a soap dispenser unit or done something horribly wrong to the plastic contraption. He fixed the dang pin hinge over and over and over again, only to have it break within .4 seconds of his handiwork being complete.
Finally, he gave up. And I put the White Pages away.
We discussed buying a new dishwasher. Considering the last 18 months had been nothing but "How much?", "WHAT?", and "When?" in regards to our budget and remodeling, neither of us was jumping on that bandwagon very quickly.
All that meant I had to employ new methods of using the dishwasher.
For about five weeks I used the "cycle" method: exactly thirteen minutes in, rinse cycle one finished and I could open the door, add soap, and allow the dishwasher to go through the rest of its iterations.
This worked beautifully until the day I forgot if I had added soap and had to start the entire cycle over again because I was too freaked out to unload a potentially dirty load of dishes into their proper cabinets and drawers.
Given there was another load of dishes behind this one, I was, shall we say, "miffed"?
So, I decided to see what other methods of manipulation I could employ.
One of the absolutely knuckle-cracking aggravations of this dishwasher is the lack of choice. Literally, I can use "delicate", "power scrub", "regular", or "rinse only". That's it.
Now, I remember when the "dishwashers of the future" employed a turning knob that made hair-raising, creaky sounds as they moved. Miles away, dogs bayed at the noise. But at least the knob allowed choice: 15 minutes? 33 minutes? 1 hour?
This dishwasher? Not a chance of choice.
Armed with little at my dishwashing disposal, I decided to experiment with the "rinse only" option. I theorized "Do a darn good job of sink rinsing, run the dishes through several dishwasher rinses, punctuated by one soapy rinse, and that should do the trick." Off I went.
It didn't take long until I discovered that the trifecta of dishwashing was a singular button I had previously ignored.
The rinse cycle was a mere 9 minutes long. It employed hot water. My method of madness made for one well-cleaned load of dishes.
Just as with the first method, though, I've run into issues. It was virtually impossible to remember where I was in the process if I was even remotely interrupted. If I happened to have an attack of ADD, I'd have to start from scratch.
All this led to the inevitable "It's time to replace the dishwasher" conversation again.
The big hurdle this time? The Great State of Texas.
Turns out, after 12/19, there is a bats-chance-in-Hell that we MIGHT, POSSIBLY, get a $160 rebate IF we turn in paperwork, it makes it through the mail system in a timely manner, and gets to Austin before everyone else tries the same thing and the program ends, without notice, because the "quota" has been met.
But, you know what? We're still cheap, if we're nothing else. So, for the next several weeks, I'll be doing a scalding hot rinse cycle in the sink and three rinse cycles, the middle with soap, in the dishwasher.
If you happen to be in my kitchen during this period of time and wonder if the sound of that truck barreling toward you is anything to get worried about?
Just remind yourself that there are still people in this world who would rather allow convenience appliances to inconvenience them, all in the name of potentially saving a few bucks.
*The fond part came from spending time with my Grandmother, not actually doing the dishes.