Thursday, August 22, 2013

small task, big reward

Yesterday, I did everything that was on my list.

I am clearly getting better at writing lists.

Lately I have also been able to cross off a few things from the bigger task list; the list of things that linger and loom but because they are not tied to a season or weather, can be postponed.

Sometimes they can be postponed for years.

Here's an example: replacing the door seal on the dishwasher.


Don't I sound...effective?

Less so when I tell you I postponed this little job for so long I honestly can't give you an accurate estimate of when the door seal started coming partway off every time I opened the dishwasher door to unload clean dishes.

The dishwasher is used about twice weekly, so poking a little saggy swag of rubber back into its track is not a big deal compared to the prospect of an expensive Service Call.

Gradually the swag got swaggier, though, until eventually I had to poke the entire strip back into place along both sides and the top of the door. Every time. But being of a frugal mindset, I reminded myself that spending one minute poking a rubber door seal into its track after every load of dishes is still WAY better than washing those dishes by hand.

Opinions will differ on this, I know.

My feelings about washing dishes hark back to growing up in a family of 7; a family in which 2 people washed all the dishes.

As an adult, a dishwasher was just about the only appliance I wanted, and I wanted one for years and years and years. About 7 years ago I finally decided I could afford one. I'm not much of a shopper or "consumer," but when I visited the local appliance store (there really is a genuine local appliance store in the next town) to choose a dishwasher, well, what a glorious day that was! The manager gave me a lot of advice, and at one point referred to certain things I would "still want to wash by hand" because of their size or some other factor. I let him finish, then told him, "From this moment on, nothing that I can fit in this dishwasher will ever be washed by hand again. Lobster pot? Turkey platter? Pickle crocks? Dishwasher!!!"

Ah, memories.

Where was I? Oh yes, the door seal. I finally tried to put a value on what it would be worth to me, to not have to keep poking that piece of rubber back into place. The answer I came up with: fifty dollars. If a new door seal would cost more than $50., I would keep poking until the rubber itself was completely shot and could be poked no more.

I called the appliance store and asked how much the part would be.

The same manager looked it up. It was $48.50.

"Are you going to install it yourself?" he asked, because he knows me.

"Why, yes," I said. And I did. There were q-tips involved, and a big flashlight. Also rubbing alcohol and a razor blade and a tube of silicon.

And then the dishwasher was closed. In an excess of caution I waited three days to cure the silicon completely before doing a trial load of dishes.

No leakage!

And the door seal stayed firmly in place!

The End.
Wasn't that a lovely story?

But here's the reason I appreciate my dishwasher so much. It can do magic.

These pie plates were recently excavated from a cupboard at my parents' house. The last time I saw them was about a hundred years ago, back when I was one of the two dishwashers. They hadn't been used in the last decade or two, but I was still a bit disturbed to see their condition.

So as soon as the newly-installed door seal had cured, these four pie plates went into the bottom rack. I gave them lots of room; in fact, it reminded me of the appliance store manager telling me about washing some things by hand because they would take up so much room in the dishwasher. Ha! Take all the room you need, Pie Plates. You have been waiting a long time to be reclaimed and rejuvenated.

Your wait is over.

I love my dishwasher. I really, really do.