by hand. Most of the time.
It all started last year in September when we went camping in Italy. We used to be a weird sort of camper, we sleep in a tent, on the floor, we don’t take any gear but mats, sleeping bags, a mat for sitting on, two plastic glasses for wine, and a Swiss army knife.
Other than that we acted mostly like the locals, going out for every meal, and eating cheese, bread, and wine in between. But last September was different, because of my husband’s food sensitivities, and because of our lack of funds we did take a propane stove, a pot, some plates, and mugs, and silverware. And all of a sudden we had dirty dishes to wash.
Now with the minimal equipment of the years before you can get by with rinsing everything under water, and that’s mostly it but last year we also took a dishtowel, and detergent and such. And I waited for the moment when I felt miserable about doing housework while on vacation but that moment never came.
And then we went home again, and everything was back to normal until the dishwasher didn’t work anymore. And on that day we unloaded it again, and we ran hot water in the sink, and did the dishes by hand. And since the dishwasher still wasn’t working we did it again the next day.
In the beginning we were quite diligent about it. We did the dishes after every single meal. And it didn’t really feel like a chore because it was my husband and me talking, and doing dishes together. Like a very social time. A conversation that happened to have soapy glasses and plates in it.
And we were a bit low on money, and we found that we didn’t really minded the dishes, and so we’ve been doing them by hand every day since then.
Of course it isn’t always fun but on the other hand we had been washing quite a few things by hand before that time anyway. Like the hand-thrown mugs that we use for our morning tea and coffee. We only have one of those each, and they are not dishwasher safe so those had to be washed anyway. And we don’t own enough pots to put them in the dishwasher because the dishwasher only ran about every other day, and we need those pots every single day, sometimes twice so those had to be washed by hand as well. And the big knives, the ones you need every time you cook, those couldn’t be put in the dishwasher as well.
So what if we just added three plates, and three glasses, and three sets of silverware to the things that needed to be washed by hand? No big deal.
Well, there are days when we don’t really feel like washing up, and then we have piles of dirty dishes and pots cluttering the kitchen. That’s not nice. And there are times when we don’t have much time, and then we feel awful every time we look at the kitchen.
But still, most days one of us just gets to work, filling the sink with nicely smelling bubbles, and we scrub and we wash, and it’s not a big deal. In fact, I find that when I’m not too much in a hurry I really enjoy doing the dishes. It’s a small task, it’s easy, I don’t have to think, it’s not complicated, it doesn’t take more than twenty minutes at the most (and that’s the beauty of doing it often, at least once a day), and afterwards the kitchen is tidy, and everything is clean, and I have done something good for my family.
And we don’t need nearly as many plates and glasses and knives. Before we were always out of small plates, and knives, and small spoons. So much so that we went out and bought some more. And those still weren’t really enough. Now that we wash everything by hand we always have as many clean plates and knives and spoons as we possibly need. Luxury.
Also it smells much better than the stuff that goes into the dishwasher, no idea why. And the glasses don’t turn blind, and everything gets cleaner. Weirdly enough.
So we’re thinking about getting a new kitchen. One of my many aunts has decided to do good, and to give us a bit of money for that. And my husband and I stood there thinking, and all of a sudden he asks me, “So, do you want to get a new dishwasher then?”
“No.” I said. “I like it better when we do the dishes by hand.” And he said it’s the same for him, even if it’s a little more work.
I only feel silly about this when talking to other people. And yes, I remember that we were the couple who said that the dishwasher had saved out marriage. But it seemed that we changed, and now we don’t mind doing the dishes, and we’d very much like to throw the old one out, the one that is still cluttering our kitchen, and put a nice little storage space in there, something we really need.
What about you, do you mind doing the dishes?