Sunday, May 23, 2010

Durable Goods

Washing dishes, or dish washing, was created shortly after primitive man invented utensils.  Up to that point man foraged for berries, hunted for meat, or threw a line in the water to catch fish.  He didn't need dishes, he had hands.  Primitive man, once he discovered fire, created BBQ's and rotisserie's.  My personal belief is that the desire to come up with fire to cook was due to someones dislike of sushi and tartar. 

Dishes were a pretty neat invention, plates, cups, forks, and spoons.  Pretty soon we had pots, pans, Cutco and Ginsu knives, and George Foreman grills.  Later, God invented Ron Popeil and life got really exciting.  "Set it and forget it" became the rallying cry.  It was pretty expensive to throw those items out so the natural course was for someone to invent dish washing.  More than likely it was a parent that grounded a child and needed something to occupy them.  No video games yet.

It used to be, and still is for some societies, that in order to wash your clothes you would beat them against a rock down at the river or lake.  Somehow, despite the fact that banging clothes randomly against a rock reduced the durability of the material, the clothes got cleaned.

That didn't translate over very well to washing dishes.  Banging dishes against rocks had an immediate result; you needed to replace dishes more frequently.  Besides, Corelle hadn't been invented yet. 

We have been living as primitive man in our house.  While I've been out hunting and foraging, figuratively, my wife has been thrust into working in conditions similar to pioneers.

Our dishwasher died a couple of weeks ago, the one we plug in.  Since then we've been forced to wash our dishes by hand.  It's been a real bummer, especially for my wife.  But all is not lost, I finally found the time to buy and install a new dishwasher today.

I fondly remember my first dishwasher.  Her name was Mom.  I remember her assistant's, my sisters.  I just don't remember washing dishes until I turned 18.  We were one of those traditional families where the girls did the work in the house and the boys did work outside.  Looking back it felt more like slavery.

The first mechanical dishwasher we owned was one of those models where you rolled it from one side of the kitchen to the sink, hooked up a hose to the faucet, plugged it into the wall, turned it on and walked away.  Make the wrong connection on the faucet and there was water everywhere.  We eventually moved up to built-in pot scrubbing models, complete with a miniature garbage disposal; just shove the dishes in, add detergent and walk away.  It even took on the drying of dishes.

Yet still, I am required to rinse my dishes.  Right after I scrub the food bugger's off.  I still haven't come to terms with the idea that I have to wash my dishes before I wash my dishes.

When I lived in England I never knew anyone with a dishwasher.  And washing dishes was a different process than here on this side of the "pond".  You washed your dishes, set them out to dry, completely skipping the rinse process.  That is until you needed the dish.  You rinsed the dish just before using it.  Hmm, nothing wrong with that.

I paid a lot more for the new dishwasher than I wanted to.  I'm so cheap that anything more $100 to me is an extravagance.  The process for buying a durable good, something that is supposed to last more than 10 years, is intense.  You get on the Internet and read reviews, pick up magazines, go online to Consumer Reports and check out the ratings.

In the end you walk into the big-box-hardware store, avoid the really cheap and really expensive dishwashers and find something in the middle.  By the time you make your purchase the entire decision has come down to what matches your kitchen and how much is in your checking account.  All those hours of research for nothing.  And yet it works.  Just like my ex-stepdads process for buying a car.  If he liked the dashboard he'd buy the car.

Installing is fairly straightforward.  Remove the old by disconnecting the water line, the drain, and unplug it, and unscrew it from the counter.  As they say in car manuals, installation of the new dishwasher is the reverse of removal.

Not really.  A dishwasher is connected to water and a drain and that means at least one trip to the hardware store.  I got lucky, found the part that I needed in the first bin I looked at, it fit when I got home, did my reverse of removal installation, and we're christening it tonight.  My wife loaded the first dish.  It was a Kodak moment.

The best part is that now we can turn off the BBQ, start using our pots and pans again, and live off of something other than Hot Pockets and microwave popcorn. 

We should be good for another 10 years.  Which is good, I can't do dishpan hands.