The other day I discovered something so horrifying I believe it may have just challenged my belief in…well I don’t know what it challenged because frankly nothing can challenge my core belief which is that a good purse and a fabulous haircut can get you anywhere in life, but let’s just say what I discovered was really, really bad. And by really, really bad I mean earth shattering; my world will never be the same kind of bad. Worse than the time in high school I dyed my hair orange and got that weird poodle perm, at the same time. Yes, it was that bad.
You see last weekend, after a night out with friends, I got up the next morning and opened the dishwasher. As I opened the door, my son announced that he and he alone had loaded the dishwasher the night before. And that is how I opened the dishwasher and discovered that my son, my angel, my only child, has somehow inherited his father’s complete and utter inability to load a dishwasher properly.
I know. It’s almost too horrifying to put into words, isn’t it?
Look, how will Junior get through life? Is he doomed to wash dishes by hand forever? Because I have to tell you, his skills in that area aren’t the best either. Will he be forced into an arranged marriage with a professional dishwasher loader? It’s just too awful to consider. Of all the habits he could have gotten from Harry, why oh why did it have to be this one? Why couldn’t he have inherited Harry’s inability to leave the toilet seat down?
Of course, poor Harry has an excuse—for the dishwasher thing at least. Oh, I know. All men have excuses as to why they can’t do some sort of domestic chore. And all men blame it on their mothers, but in Harry’s case it is true. His mother never used the dishwasher. Ever. Not even on holidays. Every dish in her house has to be washed by hand. Seriously.
Harry’s mom has a perfectly good, gleaming dishwasher in its own comfy little cabinet next to the sink and it has never been used. I don’t even think the door has ever been opened. For all my mother-in-law knows the dishwasher could have a stash of diamonds and pearls in there—or maybe even a leprechaun or two enjoying a cozy little house courtesy of her unused appliance. And unfortunately, that is why my poor husband is unskilled in the art of loading the dishwasher.
Of course, I have tried over the years to teach Harry to load the dishwasher properly. We have spoken at length about proper knife placement—speaking of which, why is it that men always put the knives in blade-up? Are they trying to kill the women in their lives? Or is it some sort of macho thing? Anyway, knives aside, I have really tried to teach Harry about loading the dishwasher to no avail. The man is simply incapable of doing it.
And I’ll be honest with you. Until the very moment last weekend when I realized that Junior couldn’t load a dang dishwasher either, I really though that Harry was faking it. Look, he’s a smart guy. He’s a logical engineer who takes sandwich making to a whole new–and rather strange–level. But in all the years we’ve been together he has been unable to remember that plastic bowls are top-level only items in the dishwasher and has insisted on melting them in the bottom level. So I figured it was Harry’s way of telling me he wasn’t going to load the dishwasher. Either that or he has deep-rooted anger toward Tupperware.
But finding that Junior can’t load a dishwasher either has just challenged everything I believed in. I’m telling you it was shocking to open the dishwasher and discover that the knives were facing up, my entire stock of blue plastic lids were misshaped, melted and flopping about on the lower level and the plates were just stacked willy-nilly instead of in respectful little lines according to size.
And I can’t tell you how painful this is to admit, but nothing had been rinsed. They had eaten breakfast for dinner. Please. You know what that means. The egg yolks had been permanently seared onto the plates during the drying cycle.
But that’s OK. Because I’m not my mother-in-law. Starting this evening, my son and husband are enrolled in a home-schooling course I like to call “Getting the Dang Dishes Clean.” Of course, it’s a public service I’m doing—not to mention that it gets me out of doing dishes.
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