Sunday, April 1, 2012

Delaying the Inevitable

As long as I keep writing I can put off emptying the dishwasher. The dishwasher thing is a repetitive task and I failed to repeat it yesterday which is why it seems to be a bit more urgent this morning. But I was confronted with priorities yesterday. Wrapping stuff in bubble wrap and packing them into  boxes seemed to be of such a high priority that I sort of assumed that the dishwasher thing would just go away. It didn't.

Now there are silly people out there that would throw their hands up in exasperation and say, "Just do it! Then it will be finished!" They obviously don't understand how things work around here. If I just did it, my wife would just fill it up again and wash some more. Then I would be back where I started.

I tried to slyly circumvent this whole issue by buying paper plates. I figured if we would switch to paper plates the repetitive pace would slow down to a reasonable crawl. Now I see that to make this plan successful I would need to get paper glasses and paper pots and paper pans too.

It is not that I particularly dread emptying the dishwasher. It is just mind numbing. I tried once to rearranging things in the cabinets so I could put dishwasher stuff in a different place. Something new. That didn't go over too well. Then I set up challenges for myself. If I emptied the top part of the dishwasher then I earned the right to do something that I wanted to do. Like read. Or watch a DVR'd TV program. Then after that I would empty the bottom part of the dishwasher which would earn me the right to do some other favored activity. This was all okay except it seemed to just drag the whole process out.

I do admit that filling the thing is a more complicated process. And you tend to get your hands dirty too. I feel pretty inept at dishwasher filling. When I try to take on this exercise I spend a lot of time arranging and re-arranging trying to fit stuff in. Then I will invariably call Marilyn over and ask, "Did I do okay?" Marilyn would nod that I did, but I noticed that when I walked away she would reach down and re-arrange things some more and put more stuff in.

I grew up hand washing dishes. Although this is a longer, and I would argue a more thorough process, it is full of intermediate rewards. And you had the opportunity to talk to yourself and the dishes. When I would hand scrub dishes and came upon a particularly troublesome stain, I would then recite the 'Out damned spot!' soliloquy, or at least the part that said, "Out damned spot!" -- and attack it with vigor.

When you hand wash you tend to pay more attention to details. I would hold a glass up to the window and notice that it was a little foggy. "Aha", I would mutter, "you thought you would slip right by me. I'll show you." Or if you came across a really messy pot I would consider it a challenge. "Ahh. You think you have me whipped. Well, the forces to good and truth and justice will conquer you. Take this! And this! And this!" You see, you don't have the opportunity to entertain yourself with a dishwasher.

Yes I know. The dishes still had to be pulled out of the drying rack and put up. But you had the opportunity to view you handiwork as you did so. It can be a proud moment.

Sometimes technology takes the fun out of living. There was a time when I received a letter through the mail I would smile and sit comfortably and lean back to read and enjoy the handwritten prose. Now I get emails. It's not the same. A long time ago I would be walking to my barracks after standing watch at 2:00 a.m. -- a long stroll to be rewarded with blessed sleep. During this dark walk I would recall a song and sing softly to myself and it was fulfilling and warm. I learned to look forward to those early morning walks -- singing to myself and breathing deep and feeling good. I didn't have ear buds and little machines full of music to circumvent my memory. I just sometimes seems that technology does not allow one to enjoy yourself by yourself.

The last two weeks have been busy preparing for our rapidly approaching move. A lot of new and sometimes frustrating activities. But somehow daily routine must continue. One doesn't replace the other.  I haven't even had time to visit here, write and read stuff. There is too much. But the routine must continue.

And I'm running out of words. I keep trying to put it off. I can't think of anything else to say to delay Emptying the Dishwasher.


  1. Dear Professor Jerry,

    Actually I enjoy emptying the dishwasher as well as filling it. Does this make me weird?

    (seeking an answer)

    ...Bruce (Catalyst)

    1. I'll take this one, Jerry. You're busy. Yes, Bruce. This makes you weird.

  2. I get it Jerry. I do. I detest emptying the dishwasher. Filling it (properly, which, of course means re-arranging whatever Hubby has put in there) doesn't repel me nearly as much as emptying it.

  3. Ah yes, I go through bouts like that too where I just hate technology - but mostly I just hate doing dishes...or ...well... cleaning in general.

    The best quote I've ever heard about this subject was from "The Incredibles" when Mr. Incredible said at the beginning "I feel like the maid ya know? Like "I just clean up this place can't we keep it clean for like ten minutes??"

    Ah but no matter how mad I get or how long I try to put it off, there it sits...just waiting for me. *sigh* I wish there was some sort of automatic floor sweeper and mopper - now THAT would be awesome!! Anywhoo, I enjoyed this read as always, so thanks for stopping by to entertain me while you delayed the inevitable. ;)

  4. What I can relate to here is the idea of emptying the top part of the dishwasher, then doing something fun, then emptying the bottom part. This is something I do a lot, and am glad to know I'm not the only one. The other day, I had many just-cleaned-and-dried socks lying on the bed. Taking all the bachelor socks and finding their 'pairs' doesn't seem like much of a task - but I'd pair 8, then do something else, then pair 8 more. (The dilemma at the end of this task is to decide what to do with the remaining 'bachelors'. Are they destined to be bachelors forever; if so discard them. Might they find their partner again someday; if so, keep them in case their soul mate is found in some other drawer or under the sofa).

  5. I agree that sometimes it seems technology does not allow one to enjoy yourself by yourself! Go empty the dishwasher. Pronto!

  6. I think this might be your best (and truest) post yet. Sometimes technology does take the fun out of living. I gently sing "My Funny Valentine" as I'm walking down the hall at school to my classroom, and sometimes I can even fool myself into thinking I sound almost as good as Frankie. I don't need no iPod. And I get funny looks from the kids, which is even better.

    That's exactly what I looked forward to in my walks about the desert in the cool of the evening: "singing to myself and breathing deep and feeling good." Well said, sir.

    Thank goodness...I thought I was the only one who yelled "Have at you, sirrah!" at my dirty pots and pans.

  7. Ha! When Todd tries to load the dishwasher, I have to rearrange too! I just can't help myself. So now, he sets the dishes in the sink and leaves the dishwasher loading and unloading to me. But I don't mind--he does all the vacuuming! :)

  8. I like, very much, the idea of paper pots and paper pans. I can see them bursting into flame on the stovetop and you smiling and saying, "At least they won't need washing". You can simply sweep the ashes out the door into the garden.

    " I didn't have ear buds and little machines full of music to circumvent my memory." <--- This is my favourite sentence you have ever written. I might steal it while you're emptying the dishwasher.

  9. Moving is very stressful, and particularly so when you are married to a "hoarder". My wife doesn't buy crap from garage sales, but every bit of paper that comes into the house seems to have value to her.

    As a consequence, when we have had occasion to move, we have moved boxes of paper crap as well. But on this last move I refused to move boxes of useless paper, leaving the boxes stacked in the garage of the old house for sale. She would sit in the garage for hours sorting through the stuff sheet-by-sheet. But finally the house was sold and the remaining boxes had to be ported.

    I have no doubt that when we die, our kids will have a field day throwing reams of paper into the recycling bin.

  10. Hey Jerry!
    I can totally relate to this post! Add to all those things the fact that I'm A.D.D. and I can REALLY relate. I don't mind emptying the dishwasher, or loading it, or a bunch of there things, but there are those distractions around...

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