The dishwasher stage of life

I am scared of getting married, having kids and raising a family. It just stems from the fear of having added responsibility of keeping people alive and thriving. It terrifies me to think of the chaos my life will have in the next few years. Now why must I have it, because somewhere inside, I want to have it as well. I want to have a loving, caring support system that of course includes a couple of dogs too. The other thing that scares me is having to change a lot of my habits. It is a part of the chaos that unnerves me, where I will have to change my sleeping-waking up timings, shower schedule, food habits, even the way I do the dishes.

When I moved to USA, I saw the dishwasher for the first time in my life. We were not sure what to do with it. My roommate tried to use it and we ended up with a kitchen floor with soapy suds upto the ankles. Thankfully, I escaped the cleaning activities by being in the school library at that time. Anyways, she did not follow the instructions, and so it was her mess to clean, so I felt only a little bit guilty. Having never used or even seen it before in India, it still remained very mysterious and cumbersome to me.

I always found the dishwasher to be a strange piece of appliance. You were supposed to scrape off the leftovers, rinse, and again put everything in the dishwasher to clean. If I was doing half the work already, what will the dishwasher do?? I have trouble liking appliances that seem like doing only half the job. Plus, thanks to the soapy mess experience, I always felt that it was more trouble than worth it. Not to mention, the added electricity bill, for the poor student who had to count every dollar going out of her pocket, made it even worse. So how did we use the dishwasher? We used to wash and store the dishes, cooking pots and pans inside and used it as a drying rack. We did that when I lived with the girls, and continued doing the same when I lived with Abhi and the xBF, until the day we discovered a gross green pool building inside the dishwasher. The one that we had in this apartment, had a bad drain. Us and our other roommates would load it without even attempting to let the excess water run off the dishes and pans. So the dripping water was collecting at the base and there was mildew all over on the floor. That day we somehow managed to run the dishwasher correctly and cleaned it, and we were extra careful about wiping off excess water first, and regularly cleaning the appliance.

We moved to another apartment in San Diego and that place did not have one. We finally bought a drying rack and mat and that was where our dishes went. Then in both my previous places in OC, we were using a drying mat to dry everything and then I would wipe off and keep everything back in the shelves before bedtime. My first roommate in OC, Laurel, would often use her dishwasher. Whereas my Vietnamese landlady in the previous place, used it just like I did in San Diego. From what I had gathered from my Asian friends and Reddit over the years, was that Asians do not tend to use it, considering electricity and all that, or for whatever reasons. Most Asians, and I am including Indians, use it as a drying rack or for storage. Abhi and Nish use theirs to store lunch boxes and Tupperware. I am doing the same thing in my current apartment. My lower rack also hold all plastic bags that I use for lining trash cans and recycle bin. I am sure you all know by now that I am quite a miser and a cheapskate, so the electricity bill is still a major point. These habits have resulted in a weird thought process where I happen to think that Dishwasher is practically unusable!

I hung out with Pop this weekend when my parents went to Seaworld, San Diego. I did not go because I have seen it 3 years back and now I am not into the whole animals-shows-training thing anymore. Pop and Bandar and her Hubby hosted us over the weekend, and what a wonderful time I had! We had some amazing Mexican food for lunch, went to the beach, tried to play Paddleball and managed to hit everyone around us with our rogue ball. They have a lovely house that has a backyard with a grill. We had yummy Paneer tikka and a bunch of other yummy things during the course of our stay with them. Pop, a huge thanks for being such awesome hosts!

Life goes through many stages. Each more chaotic than the other. A simple thing like being able to use dishwashers means to me that a person has settled well into life and its chaos. I saw Pop doing that. I saw her scraping stuff off, rinsing the dishes and loading the dishwasher after every meal. I saw how the dishwasher runs, and gives super clean, warm dishes back. I noticed how well it fit in her scheme of things and lifestyle. It was just… Right. Bandar was playing around, or eating or going off to sleep and a being a super-cute goofball. Pop and H are usually handling work and Bandar and life. It is like juggling pins and trying not to drop them, but those pins give the most satisfying feeling. It could be anything with regards to work, friends, family and home. A practically unusable piece of appliance, fit in so perfectly in their lifestyle. Of course, she had to use it, considering the amount of dishes that were being used. But even if I had a pile, I have avoided using it, only because I am used to a certain way and I hate changing it.

I think such is life. You suddenly find beauty in chaos. You make peace with things that scared you earlier. You manage to plunge into the unknown with the hope that you will make it. Maybe one day, I will also stop looking at it with suspicion and the dishwasher will fit into my life. I look forward to the dishwasher stage of my life. And to the Yacht and a Greek villa stage too.

*If you made it till here, congratulations on having read a strange post about an appliance. I was thinking about all this while in the shower and it just made sense to me.*

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46 thoughts on “The dishwasher stage of life

    • Exactly why I found it so weirdly fascinating! I have never seen someone use it without me commenting something on the lines of why to use it? Lol
      I feel so weird but it just fit in for you! I clearly am in a strange mood.

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  1. I’m glad that someone out there can resonate with me regarding the dishwasher. It’s been 5 years since I moved to the US and still use it as a storage space. I doubt if I’ll use it any time in the future though :-p
    Good to know that you guys had a wonderful time πŸ™‚

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  2. Really? i cannot do without my dishwasher. And with the new ones you don’t have to rinse – put them in as is and they come out super clean…

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    • Waah! I have few things to wash as of now. So I don’t see a need to run the dishwasher and obviously the bills are always on my mind since I pay them alone. Even with roomies earlier, we were stingy thanks to student budgeting.
      But I do look forward to days when i will have an in-home washer n dryer again and a usable dishwasher. πŸ˜€

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  3. I never used dishwasher when living with roommates. We used it just the way you do-as drying rack.
    And then K and I moved in together but I still didn’t start using dishwasher right away because it was just the two of us to gather enough dishes to run it would take days together. And I didn’t like my dishes sitting unwashed in the kitchen for that long.
    Things changed when family visited us from India. Now there were a dozen people in house and we had to do dishes after every single meal. That’s when it came in handy. I would load the dishwasher after each and every meal and let it run. Some days it ran a couple of times some days it ran a handful, depending on how much cooking and eating was done. Much more convinient to have had that during those months. Now since it’s just the two of us again we hardly use it but we do end up turning it on at least once a week especially in winter.

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    • It is a very useful appliance no doubt! Specially with big groups. My friends just use disposable plates left over from a camping trip. Otherwise all of us help washing up.
      Even now I am not using the dishwasher with parents around. But if friends come over to stay, I will roll up my sleeves and turn the damn thing on. πŸ˜€

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  4. It’s interesting pb how you’ve used a household appliance as a metaphor for so many big changes in life.. I can relate to the desire for big changes, while fearing their impact at the same time.. i think life will always be a mixed bag of good and bad and change will bring some new and exciting things into life.. P.S. I’ve never lived in an apartment with a dishwasher πŸ™‚

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    • I feel weird that I wrote an entire post on a dishwasher. But I started thinking about Pop’s kitchen soap dispenser because mom loved it, and I kept on thinking more and the dishwasher was for some reason, the most fascinating object being used in her household. Change scares me and excites me at the same time. But I am also stubborn about changing my ways. So my thoughts veered towards how I will have to change even my dishwashing habits.
      Really?? I thought it’s very common. But I don’t know. In Orange County here, they give most apartments without refrigerators. :-/

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  5. You wrote so well about the changes in life, weaving the facts around a dishwasher. Very well written! We are all so conditioned to be and do things a certain way. We just don’t want to change, even if the change is for our own good. When time comes, I am sure you’ll manage the handling and using of a dishwasher very well! πŸ˜‰

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  6. I have never used a dishwasher in my life and the many years I lived overseas we somehow always landed in homes with no room to fit a dishwasher in thee kitchen.

    So technically, I am in your boat.
    Besides, I can’t agree more on not being a fan of the machines that require us to do the major job ourselves before putting them to action.
    I loved this post for the way you co-related the years gone by with your association with the dishwasher πŸ˜€

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  7. We don’t have dishwashers here and my husband always wishes that there was a dishwasher because he is not used to living without one. I also feel that it would be good to have a dishwasher provided somebody teaches me to use it. My family in US uses the dishwasher.

    I am scared that having kids will disrupt my life but marriage didn’t change me life the way people led me to believe because in my case everything was the same as I was when I was dating. So don’t worry about that πŸ˜‰

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    • You were dating him Na earlier. That’s why I am all flustered about the situation. But I also think I am generally a nice person and nice things must happen to nice people. ☺️ So hopefully things fall into place.

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  8. Ah, dishwasher. I am a bit like you here. I HATE having to thoroughly rinse the dishes before putting them in. Lathering and washing myself seemed easier if i had to rinse properly anyway.

    But more than that, what troubled me was that each cycle of the washer (in our apartment atleast) took almost 90 minutes. I hardly planned things that well and often found myself in situations where I needed some pots and pans from the sink. Washing myself was easier than waiting for the full cycle to finish. I admire people who always do the dishes before needing them the next time.

    Having said that, I have to admit I did use the dishwasher a lot too. It is quite a saving grace in the US.

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    • I have a rickety old dishwasher here which I feel will never give me squeaky clean dishes. So I am holding off on ever using this one. But if I move to my own home, definitely getting a good one like Pop. Have you seen her home pictures? I was in awe! It’s gorgeous and definitely in the dream home category. They have kept it so nicely and tastefully done up.

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  9. Never had a dishwasher ever in all the apartments I lived in Austin. We only had ovens, and those we would use for storage. This really was a good read and was done so well. The first paragraph of your post is something I mirror ditto and then I tell myself not to worry cos there is little chance of it happening πŸ˜€ though I hope you get to it soon and Anuroop or just life happening in a good way sends someone your way pronto πŸ™‚

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  10. Well I think you will be ready for the next phase in your own sweet time.
    The transition from dishwasher-as-a-storage to dishwasher-as-an-appliance will happen eventually and I think you will be fine.

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      • The last weekend was insanely windy (Polar Vertex). The minimum dropped to -19 and it was -26 with wind chill factor. It is still cold though and I can’t wait to welcome spring :).. No snow this week and hopefully it will behave. When are you on this side? You can email me at awasthi.shilpi(at)gmail.com and keep me posted πŸ™‚

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        • I am planning to come down over the Memorial Day weekend. Tentative dates being 29th to 1st. I will stay in Jersey city more likely and have booked something temporarily. It’s all so expensive! When everything is finalized, will let you know.

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  11. Oh, this made me laugh! I had my kitchen renovated a couple of years ago, and my mother was absolutely horrified that I refused to have a dishwasher installed. Personally, I think washing dishes by hand results in cleaner dishes! And I’d rather have the extra cupboard space. And appliances always break down or leak or whatever. Very happy to not have one in my house. πŸ™‚

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  12. Haha, such post on dishwashers and changes in life – such correlation πŸ™‚
    For most part of my life, I used it as drying rack just like you did. Sometimes, when I have guests over, I prefer there was a dish washer – but my current place does not have it. Instead, I got rid of many of the dishes and that forces me to use few. I still miss it, just as a drying rack – that is such a space saver!

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    • I have few dishes only. So that’s not bad. And I anyways like the look of a clean kitchen so I finish washing everything up after meals. But I can see how useful it could be rather than using disposable plates for gatherings and such.

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  13. This is such a nice post! I remember trying to use the dishwasher a month after we had moved in, obviously we put the regular washing soap, and obviously the entire kitchen was flooded πŸ™‚ But, the kitchen floor was the cleanest it had ever been!
    We used to have cooking turns, and whoever cooked also had to wash the dishes, so obviously nothing ever made it to serving bowls πŸ˜€

    P.S : Same pinch on the dishwasher being a storage πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you! Yes, the floor did turn out squeaky clean that day. πŸ˜› Good, cuz she definitely did kamchori on her chore days. Lol!
      Arre, I have eaten straight from pans man! Maggi, soups, fried rice. Why waste dishes?? Hehehe

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  14. Umm… I have never even seen one in my life.. that’s the things about being an indian and staying in india! we have kaam wali bais, or like right now, I do my own dishes.. I have never hand a lot many people coming over, so I don’t know what would I do in that case!
    But what an intriguing post! I wanted to know, if you’ve actually started using yours, or you are just ready enough to live with someone who wants to use it too πŸ˜›
    WEll, am sure you’ll let us know when you do that πŸ˜‰

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    • Yeah. We had an aaji who used to do dishes in Kothrud wala home. We always had to redo many. But we let her be cuz she was old n liked coming to our home.
      I haven’t started using mine yet. Hehe. Tupperware is still inside.

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  15. Whatcha talking ’bout Willis? — “My lower rack also hold all plastic bags….” ???? Oh..
    πŸ˜€ ok, sexist, delete as required… πŸ˜€

    Well, I am just getting back at you for dissing me for not posting enough… πŸ˜€ I am a semi-invalid and so posting rarely is what I already was doing.. except something sad happened and I just could not go back to my blog….. and ok, Bha Po πŸ˜€

    Forgive me the occasional rabid, sexist, irreverent comment.. but don’t bloody get married, dishwasher or not… just don’t… not even if your aayi baba threaten to self-immolate or go into spontaneous-combustion altogether.. the horror is not just the dish-washer.. trust me.. just don’t do it…
    For months after I got married I was sensitive about my wife touching my PC, (Nah, not for the fear of looking at all my girlfriends’ emails or my porn history – hey, never mind that), clearing up the room, sharing the room with me even…. and this was someone I had known for eight years prior!!
    So, no, you will go mad – when your husband lets out a loud fart, saying it is ok, gas aahe.. or, when your husband thinks it is ok to use your comb/hairbrush… gah!!! or, when your husband thinks nothing of roaming around in his undies.. arey, atha zaala kai? CC tv la bandha kara… or, when he decides to talk to your friend from the college days.. achcha, achcha, you were her classmate? That is nothing.. I am her husband now.. and once upon a time, I used to be the kushthi champion in Pune.. (applies equally well to both the male and the female of the species)
    Sigh, never mind… all this trouble is not worth it.. πŸ˜€

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    • Hahaha! I wasn’t dissing you for being absent! I was expressing how I start reading some blogs obsessively and then the posts reduce due to further studies/marriage/babies/life or whatever and I feel so lost when I don’t get to read their awesome writing anymore. And it isn’t just you, it’s so many people!
      Arre but I want to get married! And i have had boyfriends before and male roommates and I am aware of everything! Plus there is a good chance that I am the messy one and errrm, gassy one! Bah!

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      • Hing kha πŸ˜€
        Nah, just in a lighter vein… get married by all means.. torment some other soul that your blog readers πŸ˜€ That will be punishment enough….
        In my case, sadly, it is because of a few sad incidents and a death in the family (so to speak) that put me off blogging. Every time I go to my blog I have to see that tail that made up the title.. and it sort of disturbs me.. But I promise.. some day I shall recover and be a regular blogger, maybe soon enough πŸ™‚

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