Sunday, January 13, 2008

Reliance on appliance

Steve at WhitesCreek Journal has a busted dishwasher. The way he's written the post, I've just totally spoilered it, but I think it'll be alright.

He thinks the modern human cannot live without the dishwasher. Millions of Britons would disagree.

But they are, of course, in the wrong.


My in-laws are kind of anti-appliance. Well, they're anti-convenience. I've joked with the Vol-in-Law that there's the easy way, the hard way and then there's his dad's especially difficult way. Seriously, that man goes way out of his way to make his own life hard*.

But anyway, they don't have a microwave, a dishwasher or a dryer. They don't even have a hairdryer.

My father-in-law told me once that by the time you've unloaded and re-loaded the dishwasher you've spent just as much time as hand washing the dishes.

I asked him if he'd ever had a dishwasher. No. Well, then, I've lived with dishwashers and lived without them and I guarantee it takes less time than washing up by hand.


The Vol-in-Law doesn't have his parents ideological opposition to labor saving devices, but he doesn't have an American's experience of them either. So it took me a while to convince him that we needed a dishwasher. Once we had one, he agreed that a dishwasher was a higher priority than a washing machine. When our dishwasher went bust last year, we wasted no time getting a new one. We probably should have spent a little more time, because the new one isn't nearly as good as the old one.

And as for dryers.... I don't really know why but he resisted that one for years. Years I tell you. Which was kinda dumb because he was the one who did the laundry. And like millions of Brits we had laundry hanging off radiators and drying racks in our living room and in our kitchen and goodness knows where all.

But once he had the dryer, he felt that his life was transformed. Transformed, I tell you, and we don't even have a good set up. We don't have room in our tiny house for a dryer, so we have it in the shed. But still what took him all day now takes him mere hours. And sometimes a lot less, because with the dryer I'm sometimes willing to do a load or two myself.

But now our dryer has had an accident. A stroller and extension ladder precariously stacked on top of the dryer fell off the other day, striking the door and causing it to be - and this is a technical term - wonky. So now it cuts out, unless you prop something against the door. (I'm thinking of rigging it with a bit of bungee cord). Until we figured it out, the dryer was suffering from a mysterious ailment. I was panicking about the dryer situation.

But the ViL, his view was starker. "Our whole way of life depends on a working dryer."

*Although my husband has given them the URL for my blog, I think my inlaws don't read it. Though I would be so curious I wouldn't be able to help myself. You know, to see if there were any posts like this one here, for example.


Anonymous said...

This Brit agrees with you about the importance of dishwashers - we had one way before getting a clothes washer (you can take your clothes to the launderette, but who'll take your dirty dishes??). However, having a had a tumble dryer for 20 or so years we are just contemplating getting rid of it - line drying is so much fresher (even in North London) and electric dryers are hideously ungreen, unlike dishwashers which are arguably less environmentally damaging than manual dish washing (or so I've been told).

Vol Abroad said...

we had one way before getting a clothes washer, (you can take your clothes to the launderette, but who'll take your dirty dishes??)

Yeah, we hooked up our dishwasher first in our house on the exact same line of thinking.

And if my husband wants to line dry, I'll support him in that decision. I just won't be doing much of it.