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Tuesday, April 20, 2010


My friend Penny just wrote a blog entry with dishwashing in it. I cannot resist! I have to write about dishwashing! Please forgive the exclamation points. I like washing dishes; I always have.

We always had an electric dishwasher, as long as I can remember. The first one I remember seemed huge. I had to climb up on a chair to see inside it. Its top opened up something like a top-loading clothes washer, and it was on wheels. It had hoses that hooked up to the kitchen faucet. My mother taught all us kids to load it in turn as we grew big enough. My sister and I shared a night for doing dishes. One of us cleared the table and stacked the dishes next to the sink while the other stood on a chair and rinsed and loaded them in the washer. We also had to wash all the counters and stove, and end by sweeping the floor. Naturally we argued over who was doing more, or who was getting an unfair deal by something the other one did.

Fast forward to college days. My sister and I lived together most years, sharing an apartment with other young women. I had discovered somewhere in life that it was fun to play in the bubbly water for washing the pots and pans that hadn't fit into the dishwasher, and that by making a circle of the forefinger and thumb, I could blow remarkably big soap bubbles and watch them drift toward the kitchen window. At college nobody had dishwashers. I found that dishwashing was remarkably therapeutic for all the ills of the college day--too many papers due at once, course material I couldn't understand, roommates who objected to anyone making any noise at all in the morning when I had awoken feeling happy and ready to share, roommates who had all sorts of other rules than the ones I had grown up with, young men who simply would not take totally obvious hints.

I found out that some of the young men sharing apartments across the way didn't like doing dishes at all. I liked doing them, so Sunday afternoons I was often found in one or another boys' apartment, doing all their dishes with them all gathered around talking to me. Now that was therapeutic . . .

The Thanksgiving that I met my husband, we ended up doing dishes together. We started a conversation while doing dishes that we haven't quite finished yet. We will never be finished. We still do dishes every time we use the good china, which we find lots and lots of occasions to use. The dishwasher machine is efficient but boring, so even though it's supposed to handle good china, we wash it by hand. I always claim the washing role. He can rinse and wipe. I like the bubbles.

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