Kitchen Sync

1 Dec

I tried to save energy and water.

Honestly, I gave it my all.  But I’m through with that philosophy — at least when it comes to the dishwasher.

For years, I ran the dishwasher only when it was completely full.  I had high standards.  My standards were not as high as say, the super-competitive guys loading the dishwasher in the film Rachel Getting Married, but there were principles involved.  Principles!!

My high standards didn’t pay off. Some water and energy may have been saved, but our kitchen was a freaking disaster.  Every day.

The timing was always wrong.  The additional hours it would sometimes take to get those few extra dishes to fill the machine would knock our entire kitchen out of sync.

The dishwasher would invariably need to be run when it was time for a load of laundry or someone’s shower.  This may not sound like a big problem, but we live in a rented house with questionable plumbing and a crookedly installed dinosaur of a dishwasher.  If we run large quantities of water through the pipes all at once, the dishwasher can’t drain properly, and it leaves a puddle of dirty dishwater on the floor.

It took me a while to figure out why this didn’t happen every time I ran the dishwasher.  Someone even came out to “fix” the leak.  He took one look at the geriatric machine and said, “Aw, come on!”

He did his best; he studied it and changed a seal, but the periodic leaks continued, and I realized it was the plumbing.  If I time the cycle well, it won’t leak.

So, besides waiting for fullness, I had to wait to run the dishwasher until after the shower, or the laundry.  We would run out of clean spoons, cups, bowls and other crucial items.  The used dishes would pile up in the sink, on the counters, and even on the stove (!) before I could get the machine run and emptied.

Sometimes, if the boys couldn’t find an open space for their dishes on the counter, there would be plates ever-so-precariously balanced on the tops of glassware — eek!

Plus, it looked like I never cleaned the kitchen at all.  There used to be five of us in the house, and though we’re down to just four now, we’ve got growing boys, and that means constant eating and constant accumulation of dishes.

Maybe someday I’ll have one of those cool new dishwashers with separate small “drawers” that you can run individually for small loads, or even just a newer, more efficient machine.  Renters can’t be choosers; they can only be practical.

I decided to trade my standard of a full dishwasher for the standard of a clean kitchen.

Now I run the dishwasher once a day. I run it when the time is right, even if it is only mostly full.

Such a simple change, but what an effect.  The sink is empty, the counters are clear, I have space to cook, and there are dishes in the cupboards when we need them. 

I would have given up my high standards sooner, if I had known it would be this much easier.

13 Responses to “Kitchen Sync”

  1. Mental Climax December 2, 2010 at 3:44 am #

    I’m glad to hear that it still worked fine.

    Have a nice day over there.

  2. jeffstroud December 2, 2010 at 5:29 am #

    This is funny is a way, it is sad the power we give something. I am glad you have figured it all out and can now have a clean kitchen and dishes.
    Our dishwasher is on a timer, so usually the dishes are washed while we sleep, because we do live in an old house, and we can’t shower and wash clothes at the same time, oh we can but the pressure changes and the tempt of the water shifts back and forth. Yipes!

    • acleansurface December 2, 2010 at 10:41 am #

      Yes, Jeff, we do give some things too much power, that is a good way of putting it.

  3. Diane Ludeking December 2, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    The title is perfect!! Great post!

  4. Ken December 2, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    Isn’t it funny how impossible standards can make life, well, impossible?

    • acleansurface December 2, 2010 at 10:46 am #

      Yes, Ken — I once read about how the pressures we feel are a result of our own desires, and I saw the truth in it. Sometimes I forget…

  5. Teri December 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    The first time I had a guest over and had the dishwasher, washing machine, and two showers going at once, we had raw sewage back up into our house. (It too is a rental.) Gotta love outdated plumbing! (But hey, at least you tried.)


    • acleansurface December 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

      Wow, Teri, a lot of embarrassing stuff happens to you! I just read your post about the things to bring while traveling. =)

  6. Emily January 23, 2011 at 5:07 am #

    Fantastic title!
    The lesson here is:
    Never set yourself high standards.

    Especially with dishwashers. Happy blogging!

  7. knowwhentoshutup February 25, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    I remember living in a small apartment years ago with a number of roommates. If someone got mad at you, they often retaliated by flushing while you were in the shower, since it rerouted all of the cold water to the toilet, and leaving only scalding hot (ok, let’s be more realistic, mildly warm) water shooting down at you.

    Glad you figured out a way to make it work. Now, I am dreaming of the day that I can have a dishwasher, other than me, that is. 🙂

    • acleansurface February 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

      Ah, the ever popular toilet flushing trick! I think most households have that trouble.
      After we relocate, there will be six of us in the house, and I think without a dishwasher, I would spend half the day on dishes, so it is a relief that we will still have a machine.

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