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We Thought You'd Never Ask: the draining task of dishwashing

You've arrived just in time for the latest installment of We Thought You'd Never Ask, the sarcasm-laced series in which my husband and I debate various burning questions sent in by readers like YOU! If you have an issue or need some advice, leave your question in the comments or send me an email at hollowtreeventures {at} gmail {dot} com. And now, time for the show!

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Into every marriage, some dirty dishes must fall. Cups languish on the sink’s edge with ¼ inch of milk in the bottom, lasagna is baked into an impenetrable crust on the Corningware, and questions abound about how to handle it. Who's supposed to load the dishwasher? Who’s supposed to BE the dishwasher? And why, whyyyyyy can't anyone seem to do it correctly?!? Jean from MamaSchmama, Rebecca (a.k.a. Frugie) of Frugalista Blog, and reader Kylie want to know - and so do I, because it’s a hot topic at our house, too. I’m even going to let my husband start us off! This oughtta be goooood.

Gerry: Big mistake, Baby. Never let me go first.

Most people think the dishes are the domain of whoever DID NOT COOK. Balderdash. The dishes should be done by whoever's more nit-picky about how they’re done. In our case that’s me. The nice thing is that my beautiful, talented, and hilarious wife is also perfectly capable of dish-doing. However, I don’t want her spending her valuable time or soiling her dainty self with manual labor of any sort. She needs to conserve her energy and her baby-soft hands for pampering her man… later.

Robyn: Dammit, I hate it when you use compliments and thinly-veiled innuendo to distract me from my argument.

I agree that the pickier one should do dishes, in whatever manner they so choose since they’re doing the work, provided the other party isn’t just pretending to be inept to avoid it (not that I do that with laundry or anything). That’s why I try not to rearrange the dishwasher once you’ve loaded it, even when I’m, like, 99.5% sure I could probably fit another cup in the top rack.

I love that you’re so willing to admit to your nit-pickiness about how the dishes get done, but it makes it all the more perplexing to me that you insist on using a germ-laden, disgusto-soaked sponge to wipe the dishes (and the counter, and the sink, and the high chair tray, and I’m gagging a little bit right now). Remind me again - why do we have that nasty thing rotting on the edge of the sink?

Gerry: Thanks… ? I feel the same way about how you put the dishes in there (Cool! It’s different EVERY TIME!) because my method for shoe-horning an extra bowl in there is scientific and exact. I know all its dirty secrets (pun!) - I’ll bet you don’t even know which section of the silverware tray has a hole in the bottom, so that one must put the utensil in upside down to prevent it from slipping through and jamming up the works.

As for the sponge, what would you suggest we use instead? Perhaps if you didn’t just set it in a little petri dish of its own dirty sponge water it wouldn’t skeeve you out so, My Love.

Bottom line - if you feel as though you load the dishwasher better, then you’ve got yourself a job. If you want your partner to do it like you… tough crap. You either to have to bite the bullet and do it yourself, or somehow persevere in the face of the knowledge that you could have spent ten minutes rearranging and actually gotten those two bowls in. You know, the ones you could have washed by hand (with a nasty sponge) in about 1 minute.

Robyn: Look, people can use whatever filthy thing they want to swab the dishes off before they get (HOPEFULLY) sterilized in the dishwasher - like I said, whoever’s doing the work gets to choose their own favorite (disgusting) method. I’m just concerned for the plaguiness of your hands, is all. Suit yourself! Also, FYI, I do know where that spot is in the silverware tray - I find it every time I try to slam the machine shut and end up bending one of our knives in half instead.

On the other end of the washing spectrum, what’s the deal with drying dishes? Letting stuff drip dry is fine, but what about that stubborn Tupperware that seems to stay soggy long after everything else is ready to be put away? Do you let it sit for as long as it takes, relent and towel it off, or (as Kylie has encountered) unload it onto the counter with the dirty dishes and let someone else figure it out? (As Kylie pointed out, “Hint: that last option is definitely wrong.”)

Gerry: In a perfect world we’d never have another piece of Tupperware in the dishwasher, as we would be living on a secluded beach and cooking all of our food over an open fire in stoneware that we crafted with our own grimy little mitts. Since apparently we don’t live in a perfect world, just suck it up and use a towel, preferably not the one you just used to mop up the spilled water from the cat bowl.

So there you have it - hopefully we completely solved your dishwashing woes, or at least gave you something to laugh at while you put off doing them for a little while longer. Be sure to join us next time when we’ll address a question sent in by Kelley of Kelley’s Break Room: If a man and woman are watching the same TV at the same time, who gets to control the remote? Oh, good! I’m sure there won’t be any disagreement there.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


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