Share this story...
Latest News

My life as a pioneer woman, or one week without a dishwasher

Twelve years ago when we brought it home, it was a thing of beauty.

Sleek black finish, little extras like baskets and clips and a four-hour delay button; top of the line for sure. It was a brand spanking new Kenmore dishwasher to replace the one that was falling apart in the kitchen.

More than a decade later, it’s still going strong. At least it was until a week ago when my husband pulled out the bottom rack too quickly, not noticing the tall skillet resting in the very back, and knocked the upper water spray arm off the base of the upper rack. All the pieces were lying in the kitchen floor, but something looked broken and it was doubtful we could just put things back together!

There we were, dishwasherless, and too busy to go buy a new one right then. So we did something we hadn’t done, well, maybe ever: did the dishes by hand.

He washed (after all, it was hit fault) and I dried. And we talked. And it wasn’t that bad. So the next day, I tried to stay ahead of the game and discovered that if I soaked the dishes for a little bit before washing them, they practically washed themselves. It was very easy. I had even invited friends for dinner over the weekend and got through it swimmingly.

We did finally go price some new dishwashers. They’re pretty expensive and I brought up the idea of seeing if we could just fix the old one, something my husband wasn’t too keen on.

What did we do? Nothing yet! It’s been a week and we’re still doing the dishes by hand. After I realized how easy it is to actually do them by hand I began to think, “What if we just didn’t replace or fix the dishwasher?”

As I stood at the sink, my hands in the skin-renewing soap filled water, I pondered, “Could we do it? Doesn’t everyone in the world have a dishwasher these days? Would people think we were weird?”

I remembered when I was little, standing at the sink doing the dishes with my mom or dad and how much fun I thought it was. I couldn’t wait to help out. Of course I was really little, standing on a kitchen chair to reach the sink and I broke a lot of glasses, but it was a nice memory and I tried to picture my two kids helping out with the dishes and wondered if it could be a memory for them. My husband and I had stood doing the dishes together the night it broke and we talked about a lot of different things.

Could the breaking of the dishwasher be a good thing? For everyone?

If we all took a few extra minutes as families to do the dishes by hand, touch the things that we’ve bought to share our meals, clean and care for them so years later we remember the pan that we always made the (insert favorite dish here) in, maybe we would open up to each other and problems would be solved.

We’d have new family heirlooms! Put down the remote control and grab a towel for world peace! I smiled as I thought, “Maybe, just maybe, I’m on to something here. Do we dare try it?” Then I remembered that my kids are 18 and 15 and the Tom Sawyer trick would no longer work to get them to plunge into the sudsy water with me. Plus, weren’t we almost too busy to even go buy a new dishwasher.? Do I really need to add another chore to my life?

After the weekend dinner party, when the kitchen was virtually spotless, the work week began again and the pileup began again as well. At the moment, virtually everything in the kitchen is sitting there waiting to be washed because no one seems to know what to do. I ran to the store yesterday to buy the replacement piece and this morning I woke up thinking that all we have to do was put the part in and I can just throw those dishes in the dishwasher and that will be that! I was pretty excited about it actually! So much for nostalgia, huh?

But of course, there is that little issue of getting the part installed in the dishwasher. It’s just a snap-on thing, but I think the basket has to come out to do it and I wonder how long it will be before it gets fixed! In the meantime, I hope I don’t run out of extra moisturizing dish soap!

What do you think? Could you, or do you, live without a dishwasher?