••• Thursday, June 12, 2008

Marital Dishchord 

On the second day of my summer vacation, I got up. Then I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore.- Cheech and Chong
Which is about twice as much as I've accomplished this week.

Anyway. Just before Memorial Day weekend, College Polyp emptied the dishwasher. I know. But before y'all's eyes fill with the mother's milk of pride and glee, I need to disclose that he did so only on direct orders from the Queen.

What the Queen did not order was for him to have trouble pulling the bottom rack out and respond by yanking it hard, thereby snapping off the phallic-esque hoser thangy, right at the base. It was rendered useless. ::The dishwasher. I might give the boy alotta crap, but I also grant him some grace for not being fully cured.::

We didn't bother to find out if it could be fixed, considering that it was already an old, ugly beast and seemingly on it's last cycle. ::The dishwasher, not me.:: It also had a terrible design that disallowed the most pedestrian of dirty dish arrangements. You could do plates and bowls but no pans. Or plates and serving dishes but no bowls. Glass and goblet height requirements were nothing but absurd. And when the machine was running,it sounded like airplanes landing in a construction zone.

In some ways, The Polyp did us a favor. It was just the timing that sucked,in that we're still kind of reeling from the recent period of pervasive unemployment. And in addition to taxing our bank account, this little boo-boo also put some stressors on the marriage.

No doubt you have personal knowledge of marriages comprised of people from two distinctly different cultures, or religions, or university fanbase affiliations.

Through this Crisis of Appliance, my marriage faced a Crisis of Faith Froth. For it brought to light the fact that the two of us come from very different belief systems in our worship of the Hand Washed Dish.

I come from the more traditional (read: Normal) Church of the Blessed Sink of Bountiful Bubbles. He, on the other hand, comes from a worship base that is a bit more primitive in nature and whose ideology stems from the now extinct sect Holy Waters of Melmac Whack on the Rock., which eventually evolved into the current House of the Sacred Spout of Bam-Bam the Redeemer.

Translation: I rinse the dishes, sort them and line them up in order of need of exposure to the cleanest, hottest water. i.e.Glasses first, pans last. I rinse the dishes as I wash, then set them on the counter (preferably in a drainer) to drip a bit, then towel dry and put them.

Bam-Bam the Redeemer merely piles the dishes in a dry sink, and one dish at a time, squirts the piece with soap, swishes, rinses, dries and puts IT away. That's right, one piece at a time. Just squirt, swish, rinse, dry. Piecemeal.

How It Came to Light

I'll wash, I said.
No, I'll wash, says he. I'm faster.

I hate to dry, but I figured he was right about the speed thing. When it comes to household chores, he is very fast. And clean. Usually.

So I leave the kitchen for a few minutes, to give him a chance to get the glasses lined up and the water drawn. But before I get out of the room he's yelling "Where you goin? You're dryin!"

I turn around and see that he is drying a plate. A plate he allegedly had washed and rinsed in the time frame of three seconds it took me turn walk away. I note the absence of suds in the sink. Or water, for that matter.

"What are YOU doing?" I asked.
"Where's the water? Where're the suds?"

"That's not how you wash dishes." he said, with the tone of non-reality-based finality.

"We had chicken for dinner. There's raw chicken on some of those plates! And the silverware! They need sudsy hot water!"

"No. I use soap. My way's better. Faster. I don't like dishes on the counter."

At the involuntary image of just one mis-washed plate with a speck of raw chicken ca-ca curing in the cupboard, in 80 degree weather, I suddenly felt a bit ill.

So I slid in beside him, in front of the sink, sunk the plug and began ordering up the glasses. "I'll do it. You dry." I then politely asked for the srubber brush. He refused.

Next thing you know, I'm back in Junior High fighting with my sister over who gets to wash and who gets to dry, complete with dish brush wrasslin', hip checks and a careful foot placement to insure against being knocked over by a rough bump.

Accompanying the physical tussles were pre-pubescent verbal spews like "Give it to me!" "No! I'm gonna!" "What's wrong with youuuuu?!?" "Stop it!" "Get out of here!" "I'm telling!"

Eventually, my higher adult once again showed up, with this suds stopper: "Did you learn to wash dishes like that from your mother?"

Aha. Silence.
Uh, no. He had a dishwasher growing up.

When calmer heads and sudsier hands could prevail, I found out that he only started attending the church Bam-Bam's Spoutas a bachelor and living his own. Back when he only used one plate at a time. Back when he had no dependents who relied on his better sanitary judgment and completely trusting of his ability to protect them from all evils of the world, including the scourge of chicken ca ca.

So I filled the sink, lined up the glasses and started giving my testimony. By the time the last plate was safely put away, I had complete spiritual conversion on my water-pickled hands.

For the record, the polyp did volunteer to wash and dry an entire day's worth of dishes, out of guilt for the initial damage done. Before my husband's revelation of past dirty dish deeds from his bachelor days, I would've been thrilled with the offer. After further consideration of my husband's recent confession and the fact that nine months out of the year my son lives on his own, as a bachelor-in-training, I said "Thanks, but I don't sink so."

P.S. The new dishwasher was installed yesterday. I might eke a story out of it.

P.P.S. The tampons survived 7 days before being detected. He laughed. And expressed worry that someone had seen them back there. Next to the toilet paper. Heh.

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