Can you learn from a kitchen appliance? I imagine most people would laugh at this question. After all it is just an appliance.
That is of course unless it’s my possessed dishwasher, then you can learn an awful lot.
I realized this last year when it occurred to me that it had been a year since the dishwasher and I met and my lessons began. Now with the dishwasher and I coming up on our second anniversary it seemed like a fitting time to re-visit this essay. Especially when I think of how much my very silly, very possessed dishwasher really has brought into my life!
This post was originally published September 18, 2011 under the name, Lessons I learned From My Dishwasher.
I can’t believe it, but it’s been almost a year since I went to take a rare nap one afternoon and woke up to a mini disaster.
I’ve always had a hard time sleeping, even as a child. As a mother to three children, all who have some challenges, it’s almost impossible. My girlfriends kept telling me that once all three kids were in school full time, I should get some sleep. It seems easy and logical, but how?
Experience has taught me when I let my guard down for a minute, that is the time the nurse calls me to pick up a sick child, or one of our parents is having a medical emergency or I oversleep and miss the bus dropping off one of the kids.
But a year ago, a miracle occurred and I managed to fall asleep–for almost an hour.
As I went to the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee before the kids got home, I heard what I thought was water running. As I entered the kitchen, I was greeted by a flood of almost biblical proportions coming from my eight year-old dishwasher.
The water wouldn’t stop. Just when I thought I had it cleaned up, the dishwasher would start up again. Water was seeping into the basement. I was running up and down the stairs. It was a mess.
Frantically I called my dad and asked him to bring towels because I had used my large supply up. Finally it occurred to me to turn off the water. My dad, who is so proficient at fixing nearly everything that my husband calls him “Yoda” declared the dishwasher officially dead. Joe and I bought a new one the next day.
My brand new and not inexpensive dishwasher started acting up the night it was installed. It worked perfectly when the men set it up, but about three hours it’s true demonic personality took over. It would beep and hum and light up like a Christmas tree. This would occur at all hours of the day and night. There was no pattern to when it would work or just beep and blink.
The repairman came once, twice, three times. The dishwasher worked perfectly each time he left. Then once his truck pulled out of our driveway, all hell would break loose.
After the fourth time and a new part it finally settled down. It sometimes still acts up but I now know how to calm the savage beast.
As I was thinking about my soon to be one-year anniversary with my possessed appliance, I realized that as well as being a great name for my blog, this silly dishwasher has taught me some very important lessons.
First lesson: Do not overload the machine.
This seems pretty obvious, but somehow it’s a lesson I never seem to learn with both myself and my dishwasher. It’s just so easy too overload myself, without thinking. The problem is, just like the dishwasher, when I stuff too much in at one time, there is always something that gets neglected. Most of the time it’s me.
This can be verified by any doctor or dentist that I make an appointment with and then cancel because something has come up.
Second lesson: The dishwasher needed to be on level ground so that it could work properly.
This was not discovered till our second repair appointment. Apparently our kitchen floor is not level. This meant the dishwasher was not balanced properly.
I too need to be on level ground to be there for my family.This is easier said than done. Balance has never been my forte in life.
This was confirmed one Saturday a few years ago. It was an extremely crazy time in our lives. Our daughter, Lizzy, who has a undiagnosed brain disorder, was having symptoms that was setting off all kinds of scary bells to some of the top specialists in Manhattan. I was getting calls at odd hours of the day and night scaring the life out of me. Some life threatening conditions were being thrown around. We were terrified.
I was also dealing with every other kind of crisis one could deal with at the same time. Parents being sick, the other children’s issues rearing their head and the middle of the holiday season.
My husband was out getting my mini-van repaired because I sheered off my passenger side mirror when I hit a repair truck while I was running from picking up Peter at pre-school, only to find out that Lizzy had to be picked up at her school because she was throwing up. Thankfully my mirror was the only thing damaged that day. Joe called to let me know what was going on with the van.
I’m pretty calm and pride myself on not really loosing it too often with my kids. I accomplish some of this by having spent the equivalent of a small house on therapy. The time I spend talking to someone who is paid to listen really helps keep me balanced. Of course with everything going on I barely had a chance to breathe not to mention keeping something like a therapy appointment.
That Saturday I was snapping at the kids in a way I just hadn’t before. I overheard Tom pick up the phone and say to his father:”Quick dad get home. Mom has flipped.”
This leads nicely to my third lesson from the dishwasher: If something is wrong, make noise.
Unfortunately my family does not have the power to read my mind, as much as I would like them to. If I need help I need to tell someone. Letting my husband know wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Unless there’s a flood in my kitchen or some other crisis, I really hate asking for help. Being a bit of a control freak I find it easier to do the job myself rather than explain how to do it.
I’m working on this. I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that I’m not the only human in the world who can make dinner or brush Lizzy’s hair.
I love being a mother. It truly is something I adore doing and I feel as if I’m really good at it. I adore my children and my husband. But, I’m a human as much as I would like to believe I’m not. I need to do a much better job of caring for myself.
Who would of have thought that one possessed dishwasher could teach me so much?
As always, thank you for supporting me and my crazed appliance! Don’t forget to check out the new issue of Bonbon Break
coming out Monday, October 1. Let me know what you think and what your favorite article is!
Lisa Gradess Weinstein says
Hi Kathy – I think as women, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect wife, mother, etc, it’s ok to delegate, to have some time just for us! So glad that crazed appliance has taught you some valuable life lessons! xo Lisa
It is amazing where our lesson come from 🙂
nitty gritty mommy says
what great analogies!
I wish my stove gave me some lessons. Funny! xo
I remember reading this post and laughing and smiling as always. Is it weird I think of you whenever I load and empty the dishwasher?! 🙂
I learned a valuable lesson a few months ago…that sometimes if you don’t clean your dishwasher out, it will stink to the high heavens…I couldn’t figure out where the stench was coming from. Hahahaha!
Happy October, Kathy!
Amy @mommetime says
whoa… I wasn’t expecting to have an ohmygoodness I really needed this kind of moment… reading this… wow… I can relate so very much to what you’ve shared. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it has helped me by reading this… I really needed it! Thank you.
Hahah, great post! Sometimes we find the best teachers in the strangest places. 🙂
Janett at GE Dishwasher Parts says
Wow, this was so witty and clever! Funny how a dishwasher taught you such profound lessons 😛
Becky Jane says
Remembering not to overload is one I’ve got to get through my daughters head…or, maybe I’ll just let experience teach her…lol
Enjoyed this as much as the first time!