Steve Jaeger can’t get his children to near their mythic dishwasher.
I have an amazing kitchen at home. I have a sink with running water and right next to it I have this remarkable machine that will wash dishes! All you need to do is scrape food off the plates, put them inside, dump in a little soap, and the machine does the rest. I myself have been acquainted with these machines for years. In fact, when I was about five I generously decorated my mother’s brand new dishwasher with Christmas seals that I affixed with model glue, she was incredibly pleased. My children on the other hand are in such fear of this machine that they won’t go anywhere near it.
Occasionally they have no problem getting a dirty dish or glass as far as the sink but that’s as far as it goes. The dishwashing machine is a thing of complete terror to them. It’s like something out of an old Tarzan movie—my kids are the fierce pigmy warriors and the dishwasher is the thing that the King of the Jungle hoists over his head to send them screaming back into the bush. The Great Thundering Water of the Gods, oooga booga!! Cascading sheeting action! Noise like great drums in sky! Spotless Glasses!
As reliably as the sun rises I will walk into the kitchen when I arrive home from work and there is at least one dish and more often a stack sitting in or next to the sink, a titanic six inches from the dishwasher. I will ask the question, “whose dishes are these?” and get the usual wall of silence. I start with the youngest, I drag him, still tethered to the Xbox and ask if they are his. Blank stare, “Well what’s up with this? Whose are they?” He looks at the dishes like they are something he’s never seen before in his life. He looks at me as if I am speaking to him in a language he’s never heard, his head tilts and his eyes narrow as if in deep concentration. Finally he says, “Dunno”
Next I try his sister who in the throes of being 16 takes just about everything I say the wrong way. “NO THEY ARE NOT MINE!!! I HAVEN’T EATEN IN THE LAST THREE DAYS!!! HOW COULD THEY BE MINE??? WHY IS EVERYTHING ALWAYS MY FAULT?” I tell her I’m not blaming her for anything, I’m simply asking her if she might have forgotten to put her dirty dishes in the machine. “NO!! I ALREADY TOLD YOU! WHY DON’T YOU ASK THEM FOR A CHANGE??” I say that I’ve already asked her little brother and I certainly will ask her big brother but I don’t expect him to own up to anything either. He’ll just tell me that he always puts his stuff in the machine, it’s the other two who don’t.
Even on the rare occasions when they do open up the door to the unknown and scary place that washes dishes without hands they will only put in their own plate. The gods of the kitchen utensils might rain fire down upon them if they ever put someone else’s plate or fork in the dish machine. It is simply NOT done. “I thought I asked you to put those dishes in the dishwasher?” “THOSE AREN’T MINE!!! WHY DON’T YOU EVER ASK ANYONE ELSE AROUND HERE TO DO ANY WORK?!” I am led to believe that we have a daily parade of complete strangers who enter our home, use or dishes and leave them for someone else to clean. They are the same people who break plates and glasses and then vanish without a trace.
There I times that I swear that there are so many dishes piled in the sink that there’s no room for water. I must admit there was a time in my life when I was not so conscientious about a clean kitchen. When I was in school, I shared an apartment with a couple of other guys and we had no dishwasher. The dishes would pile up in the sink until a) we would run out of dishes or b) the stench from the sink got so bad we had no choice but to wash them. We though had no magical machine that washed the dishes for us and besides, we were in college and were stoned all the time.
So more often then not I am the one to pry open the jaws of the great monster and put the plates inside. I gingerly insert the small detergent packet into the super secret soap compartment that only I know about and I turn the dial to the coded place that will start the amazing and terrifying machine. In about an hour’s time the beast will be still and the thundering gods will have eaten all the food and grime and licked out plates clean. I could go into an entirely new post about getting the dishes put away but I have to go and clean the kitchen.
—Photo PV KS/Flickr