The dishwasher games start when you shop for the newest member of your kitchen family. Pulling a hangnail is more fun than this. So many world-changing questions like, what’s the decibel rating? Is it quiet enough that you can still hear the TV? Does it have a towel bar? How many place settings does it hold? And, at least, fifteen more similar questions. Less thought goes into deciding to have children.
Once you have your dishwasher, you get to start the long, occasionally rewarding, process of figuring out how it works. What do all the cycles do? Which detergent works best? Why won’t my dishes dry? Oh, wait, there’s a sticker that says it needs Jet Dry for optimal drying. That’s strange. My last dishwasher didn’t need Jet Dry.
Over time, you fall into a comfortable, if not passionate, groove. You learn to ignore the buttons you never learned to use. You get over your angst at Whirlpool for forcing you to buy Jet Dry. You figure out just how many utensils you can stuff into the caddy without peanut butter getting baked onto a knife because you were lazy and didn’t prewash.
You start to look forward to the morning ritual of loading the dishwasher because it allows you to ignore your kids and forces your husband to deal with I don’t want that for breakfast! and He licked his finger and stuck it in my milk! moments.
Then your husband decides he’s going to help. Momentarily stunned, you try to hide your anxiety as you watch him load the dishes wrong. You smile and feign gratitude. The first time, you let it roll off your back. Be like a duck. The second time, you try suggesting the dishes go in largest to smallest, left to right. You get a piercing WTF stare in response.
So you wallow a little and wonder if being anal about loading the dishwasher is part of a bigger neurosis. You decide that, nah, your husband is just lazy, and you arm yourself with all sorts of reputable internet sources, like Martha Stewart.
He still gives you that stare. You think about pushing it, but something in his eyes tells you to stop. You decide that some help is better than no help. Even if there is a right way to load the dishwasher.