Friday, October 12, 2012

Dishwasher success!

Now, using a dishwasher wouldn't normally seem like such a hard thing to do, right? They were invented to be a convenience to your do something that you would normally have to do manually. So you wouldn't have to dirty yourself and could put something somewhere and it would magically just clean itself.

Somehow this practice has never really become part of my routine.

Despite my obsession with washing machines and dryers (read earlier entries on my tears of sadness over no longer having an American dryer), dishwashers are something I never really got into using. In America or otherwise. I just like doing my own dishes.

First off, I never really generate enough dishes to call for a dishwasher. I'm a single person, living in a tiny apartment. I don't cook much at home anymore, since my big meal is subsidized lunch at work (where someone else very awesomely takes care of my dishes by taking them away on a motorized conveyor belt). And I don't actually eat much anymore (this is my own fault). So, not many dishes.

It is perfectly true to say and admit that I don't wash my dishes everytime as soon as I use them. I am a lazy bum in that regard. Sometimes dishes will sit for a day or two in my tiny sink before I get to them. But invariably I will get to them sooner rather than later, if anything because there's no space in my tiny apartment to keep things stacked. I need to use that sink for other things. So, dishes get washed.

However, there are certain occasions where stuff just needs to get done and I just don't have the time.

And this is where the dishwasher finally comes in.

About 6 months after living in my apartment, I was faced with one such event.

I had my girlfriends over at my place before we were going out one night, and we generated enough dirty glasses for me to not want to hand wash them all. Seems perfectly reasonable. I didn't want to try and figure out the machine right then and there, so I left the cups and glasses in the sink to soak overnight, and left them to deal with until the following morrow.

Next morning I put them into the dishwasher (something I've finally learned how to do after years of observation in other people's houses...I kid you not, this took me awhile to figure out...something about the strategy of placement). Luckily this time wasn't that difficult though - though my dishwasher isn't that large, there weren't THAT many dishes, so, well, it wasn't that full.

I put the little soap tablet into the dish on the door, and proceeded to try to close it.

Stupid thing wouldn't shut.

Now, I had found out, from my San Diego townhouse, that sometimes dishwashers have this design flaw that they won't allow you to close the soap door until it's been switched to the official "done" position. So I pushed the door up a little ways and made sure it was in the correct place. Still no luck.

Some amount of sailor mouth was definitely starting to creep in.

Nope, that little door definitely not closing. I started trying to force it close. Pray it closed. Magic it closed with my powers of concentration.


About 15 minutes later I was just playing with it and it magically decided to shut on its own. No explanation. Apparently just takes a stupid amount of finesse. Nothing special about it, just finicky. I hate dishwashers.

So, closed the entire thing up and looked at the options on the switchboard:

Thankfully not in Finnish. In pictures. And fairly clear. Yes, I want to wash my dishes, not pots this time. #3 please.

Ah but wait! This is Finland. Nothing is complete without needing to turn on the water. Which is on the faucet of the kitchen sink (naturally...).

Remembering this (essential bit), I turned the handle to the opposite direction of where it was currently sitting, since the owner of the apartment was the last one to have tested the dishwasher (like I said I hadn't used it since I moved in), and he said the dishwasher had worked fine. Everyone and their mother had warned me that you always leave the water in the "off" position because otherwise your apartment floods or monsters come or other some such terrible thing happened.

(This is the little handle in the way it had been sitting all along. I turned it so it was parallel with the faucet...which makes sense in normal water flow control handles).

I then closed the door to the dishwasher, turned it to #3, turned on the machine, and left to watch a movie in the other room.

I couldn't hear the machine going, but I just assumed it was the quietest dishwasher ever. My washing machine is pretty quiet, maybe it's one of those ultra low-sound ones because they (correctly) assume that you live in a tiny apartment and don't want to disturb your neighbors with your sounds of living.

But I began to get a little suspicious. About two hours later the dishes still weren't done. And the knob kept getting stuck in various places of the cycle. If I turned the knob a little, it would continue, but generally speaking it wouldn't go on its own. And I know the owner had told me that it had worked just fine.

Eventually the thing was done.

I opened the door.


the dishes were still dirty.

Apparently no water had gone through.

Not only had my machine done absolutely nothing, it had released my little soap tablet, which rolled down the door of the closed dishwasher, and gracefully stuck to one of my dishes.


And now I had to handwash the entire thing because everything had been steamed on.

Grumbling about how this was clearly not more convenient in my life, I handwashed the entire thing and called it a day.

It wasn't until several weeks later, faced with the same situation, that I decided to try my luck with the dishwasher again. This time I was suspicious. Even though my landlord had kept the water control handle perpendicular to the faucet, I had my doubts. Maybe the water engineer for this particular sink was a douche and installed it against the normal code.

So I tried my chances again.

And thankfully, came out with an entirely clean load of dishes! Dish cleaning success!

If I had had to actually handwash these dishes again, I would have called it quits on the dishwasher. Thank god this worked out.

I can now potentially move to the next level of living lazy.

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