Built To Last… A Year or Two

I’m going to drive this car into the ground.
You hear people say that. But what you don’t hear people say is, I’m going to get the last rinse cycle out of this dishwasher if it’s the last thing I do. We don’t plan out our relationships with major appliances that long. We buy ‘em. We use ‘em. What other future is there to ponder?

I’m going to load this dishwasher into the floor.

I’m going to toast this toaster into the counter.

I’m going to eat this refrigerator into the basement.

But the frugal among us cherish such resolves. We don’t replace things simply because they are out of date. No, we replace them when they are not functioning at even one percent of their potential and are an indictment against the style choices of an earlier age. In the book of the wise and penny smart, a major appliance should last a minimum of 20 years.

This is why I detest my dishwasher. It does not hold this truth to be self-evident: that all dishwashers were created to wash dishes. For 20 years.

A year ago we had an intervention for our dishwasher, it had lost its sense of purpose in life (as a mere toddler of three years old) and was not doing its job of cleaning dishes, the very thing it was built do to. The manufacturer’s repair man came out (shudder) and thoroughly scrubbed out our dishwasher and replaced its hoses, all gunked with soap. We paid the price of a new dishwasher for this service. In exchange we were given specific instructions for our high-efficiency dishwasher:

Use only most expensive powder dish detergent  

Always use high-temp setting

Run tap water for several minutes to get it scalding hot before starting dishwasher 

Keep water heater at 130 degrees to enable dishwasher to dissolve tricky soap

Stroke dishwasher. Compliment it often, call it shiny and pretty. Rinse all nasty dishes just short of washing them by hand yourself, before loading them into the penthouse fancy interior. 

Okay, I made up that last one, but I’m bitter. It recently had another identity crisis. My husband wanted to replace it, but when I began to hyperventilate while frantically waving the purchase and repair receipts, he and a friend took it apart bit by bit to find NOTHING AT ALL WRONG WITH IT. 

Stubborn, I resolved to die under a crushing pile of dirty kitchenware before replacing the damn thing. I began to punch a top-secret combo of buttons before running each load, tilting its door at a 35 degree angle while pouring in most expensive soap, whispering sweet nothings through gritted teeth before setting its cycle, and performing special clean plate rain dances as it filled with 130 degree pre-calibrated water. All this followed by embarrassing supplication on my knees.

Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. 

And as I see it, there is only one course of action left. I must leave it by the curb with a fifty-dollar bill, some homemade chocolate-chip cookies and this note attached: 

Please take our dishwasher. Late model, energy-efficient piece of c–p will only run with constant coaxing, flattery, caressing, coercion, one hundred dollar an ounce special soaps, or an Act of God. Delivery negotiable.

About the Author:

Hillary is a mother and writer seeking balance, something she finds only in a good beer. She threatens to sell her kids to the zoo at least three times a day, goes the extra mile by talking to trees after embracing them, and really wants to run away with the circus. In 9th grade she was voted most likely to succeed, but so far she only excels at being weird. Find Hillary at her personal blog No Pens, Pencils, Knives or Scissors! or stalk her (pleease) on Facebook.

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  1. LizC says:

    I actually laughed myself to tears reading this, because this is the exact same experience I am having with my ‘high efficiency’ (read low performance) dishwasher. What is even more embarrassing for me, is that I was supposed to buy an exact replica of the high performance, low price dishwasher that had lasted for five or so years (still not very long, but at least it got the dishes CLEAN), but changed my mind when a floor model of the high efficiency dishwasher was not much more expensive. I have lived to rue that day!

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