What do you do when your dishwasher breaks down?

dishwasher story

I remember this guy from high school. He was a senior, I was a sophomore. He was the class clown who got detention, I was the shy girl who got good grades. We never talked, but I couldn't help but hear everything he said. He was loud, rude, and inappropriate, much like his idol, Andrew Dice Clay.

He once asked no one in particular, "What do you do when your dishwasher breaks down? . . . You hit her."

He probably told this joke in every one of his classes, and probably only once during the middle of our shared math class, but in my distorted memory of high school, he told this joke every single day. I was offended by him, but also mildly amused by his boldness. I'll bet he told a lot of nasty, misogynist jokes, but I have a feeling that had a girl paid any attention to him, he would have been more of a puppy than a pit bull.

My dishwasher has been breaking down for the past few years. First the control panel went out, then the latch broke. It only ran on one cycle, but since the control panel didn't light up, I have no idea which cycle actually worked. My husband would say it was the "make dishes dirty" cycle. It's true, sometimes items came out of the dishwasher dirtier than they went in, and I had to hand wash many a plate and fork to remove the air-dried crud. But never once did I complain - my derelict dishwasher didn't seem to bother me.

The dishwasher, however, drove my husband crazy. He never hit it, but he ultimately decided to replace it. Over a period of months, he researched makes and models, read countless reviews, searched for sales, and one Friday night after work, he came home with a new dishwasher. It was up and running by Saturday afternoon.

The highlight of our new dishwasher (besides the fact that it doesn't need an air gap, so now the extra hole in my sink contains a soap pump instead of an air gap overflow) is that my husband loves it. He loads it, runs it, and even empties it. He doesn't know where half of the stuff goes, so I still have to put some dishes away, but I'm not complaining. Waking up to hear the dishwasher mid cycle is music to my ears.

Are you familiar with the homunculus?


image source:web

The size of the body parts represent the number of sensory nerve endings they contain. The lips and palms are huge because they contain many more sensory nerve endings than, say, the arms or legs. I was telling my husband the other day that if the homonculus represented our memories, the lips would be high school. For such a short period of time in the grand scheme of things, high school memories tend to be overblown and out of proportion.

What I didn't tell my husband is this: when I load or unload my dishwasher, instead of singing him praises, which he fully deserves, I unintentionally think about that Clay copy-cat creep from high school, which ultimately means I think about him almost every single day. Ewww. He wasn't charming or good looking, but he made a long lasting impression me. I wonder how many dishwashers he's installed, or loaded, or unloaded. Or hit. I'll bet he has no idea that the quiet girl who used to sit near him in math class still remembers that joke he told over twenty years ago; and just wrote about it.

Funny, fickle things, our memories. Stranger yet is our need to share them. I think Blood, Bones & Butter is getting to me. I'm feeling strangly compelled to tell kitchen stories wrapped up in childhood memories, peppered with admissions.


  1. I love it! Hilarious! And I love the quote, personally. Can't wait to tell my hubby...

  2. I love this scattered, memory-laden post! Sorry you have to think about the nasty kid. Don't you hate when your brain conjures up irritating people. When our dishwasher has broken down, we have purchased a new one, pronto. Loving our Asko which has **three layers!!** to load up!

  3. Great story! I also want to know what kind of dishwasher you ended up with after all the research?

  4. Its a Maytag, model #MDB7759AWS. I seriously had nothing to do with picking it out, but my husband was insistent about the stainless steel tub. It certainly fits a lot of dishes!

  5. It is funny how our memories work...
    Great post Molly.

  6. Beautiful. I, too, wonder endlessly about the effects others have had on me, and what unforeseen memories I unintentionally help create. I've been wanting to read that book for a while, thanks for the push.

    It's comforting to hear that your husband still doesn't know where some things go in the kitchen. My hubby is the same way!

    Love the photograph!

  7. Excellent story! Wonder if you will ever see they guy at a reunion? Your husband sounds sweet. Thanks for telling the story, now that same joke and your story will stick in my head while doing dishes.

  8. my apartment doesn't come with dishwasher and there is not a lot of space to put it in, so I have to hand wash everything and I suck at it!

    I'm happy your husband and you got a new one!

  9. oh.
    we just finally had our dishwasher repaired. we tried to do it ourselves but, in the end we called someone else. we hand washed the dishes for about 10 days. that brought back tons of memories for me as I never grew up with a dishwasher. I was always the washer and my sister dried and put away. my youngest sister insisted her equal share was the "rinser"

  10. Dishwashers! We are this very moment looking to replace ours. It's gotten so bad that our oldest did hit it in frustration. Or at least he slammed it. So now the door is broken, and it hangs to the floor like a broken arm. Just try pulling a lower rack out onto a sloping door! The rack rolls down like a roller coaster! I've learned that the toaster does a pretty good job of propping the door up for loading and unloading.

    Clearly, we are in beyond-desperate need of a new one.

    My favorite homunculus is Twigleg in the book Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke. That character charmed all of us, especially in the audio version narrated by Brendan Fraser. And no, I've never been charmed by a homunculus before. (I have been charmed by high school oafs. But only temporarily.)

    Happy Friday, friend!

  11. Great post, Molly. Ah, high school. Sometimes I wish I could have skipped the whole experience. At the same time, it's a kind of rite of passage to adulthood. I bamboozled (?) myself as far away as I could get from high school and yet, there are times when I can't stop thinking about it.

  12. ech. there's one in every class.
    this story made me smile, think of jerks I went to HS with, and be thankful for my dishwasher. IN that exact order.


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email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
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