A cat by any other name

Dishpan hands



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Meow to me

My fingers are wrinkled from washing dishes, but I don't mind. It's a chore I actually like. This house we live in has a dishwasher, but it's rarely used because it has this tendency to leave odd streaks on the dishes and I only end up having to wash them again. So we simply use it as a dish drying rack. At least it serves some sort of purpose, although not what was originally intended.

We'll have a dishwasher in the new house - a brand new one that will, no doubt, be whisper-quiet and actually clean dishes instead of turn them varying shades of speckled. But I don't think that it will get much use. Oh, a functional dishwasher is always nice when I've made dinner for a crowd and there's dishes piled high from the entertaining. But there is something rather soothing about washing dishes by hand. I stand at the sink, soaping up pots and pans and plates and cups and it's one of those mindless tasks that I can just do without thought. My brain is free to wander aimlessly.

I prefer to wash dishes in silence. There's a radio in the kitchen and every once in a long while I might turn it on. But usually I prefer silence. Then it's just the sound of the water running when I rinse, or the soft squish of soap bubbles under the sponge, or the clink of dishes as I arrange them in the dishwasher.

We used to tease my mom about her methods with the dishwasher. She would nag us if we put the dishes into the sink instead of the dishwasher, but then as soon as we started to fill it, sooner or later, she'd be there, rearranging, putting everything where she thought it should go for maximum washing efficiency. Imagine my chagrin when I found myself doing the same thing to Richard as I watched him wash dishes one time. He started to put them into the dishwasher and I couldn't help beginning to rearrange them. I've gotten into the habit of having them 'just so' as well, even if the thing is only used as a drying rack. Funny how the little things pass down from mother to daughter.

It's not a problem anymore though, because I'm the one that washes the dishes. A casual conversation led to the discovery that he hates washing dishes, and I hate vacuuming (a poor trait in a woman who has seven shedding furballs, but nevertheless...). Our eyes met. The light bulb went on. I don't think we shook on the deal, but it would have been appropriate. Let him wrestle with the vacuum cleaner. I'll deal with the dishes and the kitchen counters. We're still working out the rest of the chores, but at least these have been dealt with in mutual agreement - at least until we move into the new house and the amount of floor to clean increases. Then I think the decision will have to be renegotiated. But for now, it works. I get my quiet random thoughts wrapped in delicate bubbles of liquid detergent. He gets the fun of trying to avoid sucking random cat toys into the vacuum hose.

Somehow I can't help thinking I got the better end of the bargain.