Sunday, October 11, 2009

I’m in love with Boris

Boris (sometimes I go all gooey and just call him 'Borry') is strong, sturdy, almost completely silent and reliable. He’s also sleek, efficient and very, very good at what he does, which involves occasionally rattling the ornaments but always making me very happy.

So, is it possible to fall in with an appliance?

(Figuratively wagging my finger at you, dear reader): No no, no, I don't mean that appliance used mostly nocturnally by the lonely and lustful - but a dishwasher!

When Love Chunks and I moved into our cosy Flemington abode this year, it turned out that the four year old kitchen held a fourteen year old dishwasher. Apart from being cream in colour instead of the suspect poo-brown of the very first dishwasher I’d ever touched, it had proved to be just as deadly and cast my mind back to 1988.....

I was single, sharing a townhouse in Hackney with two of my best mates from uni and still convinced that a shaggy spiral perm paired with a size XL hot pink t-shirt, white swatch watch and baggy cartoonish shorts were the epitome of style and sophistication. 1927 were going to rule the charts for years to come!

Me in 1988, still not yet smart enough to take the taco shells out of their plastic and holding the classic red 'Australian Women's Weekly Cook Book' from which I learned absolutely nothing.

The dishwasher was a chocolate vinyl-covered monster with bright orange knobs in homage to the era that fashion, common sense and interior design forgot (no, not even 1998) - the late seventies. However, for us it was only a few years old and certainly seemed a much fun-ner way of getting our plates clean than one of us doing it. Besides, we were diligent university students. We were much more focussed on drinking, finding money for drinking and learning to cook (usually in that order), and these pursuits left little energy or will for doing anything as sensible as filling the sink up with palmolive and finding the green scourer thingy.

Therefore, the poo-brown box’s first operation for us three girls was an important one: what luxury to have a dishwasher and how remote those arguments with my brothers about whose turn it was to do the dishes seemed. Jo, as the sexy-but-sensible geology major, read the instructions etched on the inside of the door and Fiona, the scatter-brained-but-creative writer flung in some dishwashing powder. I made all three of us my Tuesday night dinner specialty - toasted tinned spaghetti sandwiches with additional slices of cheese, washed down with an intriguing cocktail of WestCoast Cooler, Midori and diet coke. Heady days my friends, heady days.

Our laboured chewing of charcoaled squares of mostly inedible filling served only as a coincidental background percussion to the sounds of fury emanating from the kitchen. The windows rattled in sympathy as the machine seemingly sprayed, shook and blasted its way through the 'regular wash' cycle. "Jeez, I thought that they were supposed to be gentle on your dishes," I remarked, giving up on my sandwich and venturing into the kitchen for a look.

There were some foam and bubbles oozing out of the bottom but what did I know - that also happened when Mum put on a load of washing and the drain in the laundry floor vomited the froth back up. Tentatively, I placed my hands on the counter directly above the machine, noting that the volume had now moved beyond eleven. The formica felt hot, but hey, what did I know - dishes had to be cleaned in hot water didn't they?

My head was starting to throb from the noise, so I grabbed three bottles of cider and backed out of the room into our living area. No respite there, seeing as it was all open plan. "HEY JO," I mimed, "CAN YOU CHECK IT? IS IT WORKING OK?" She bravely skulled her bottle and did a rather good impression of a muscle-man swinging his arms in determination. Good old Jo would know what to do.

All of a sudden, the noise stopped. "Thank Packets of Panadol for that," Fi sighed. "At least now we'll be able to put on the telly and...."

She spoke too soon. Our few seconds of peace was merely the eye of the sudsy storm. It was decided that we three needed to escape the din and instead walk around the corner to the pub for a while. Several hours later we came home, full of spirits that produced a lot of good cheer. Had the dishwasher finally finished? Was the kitchen still intact? Yes it was.

Jo carefully opened the poo brown door of the dishwasher. Sediment from the detergent was still smeared down the walls and all over the glasses giving them a Christmas-in-July look. The crockery on the other hand resembled a basket of shattered easter eggs that sat mournfully in a puddle under the sprayer. "Stupid bloody thing," I muttered, giving the door a kick. Ooops - this last movement caused the three jam jars we used as drinking glasses to topple over and crack. "Er sorry Jo, I'll get you another couple...."

It was enough to put me off dishwashers for the next eighteen years until we bought our very first one in Adelaide. Dear sweet stainless steel box, I hope your new owners appreciate your skills and the added twist you’d incorporate, just to keep me on my toes. The Salvador Dali-inspired condition of the Tupperware lids even when placed on the top shelf; the wine glass with a perfect coriander leaf burned into the side despite not having used that herb for the past week and the angry rattle of pipes that caused Milly to start and fart in surprise as you hissed through the final drying stages.

Three years later, in 2009, I looked at brand-spanking new Borry's instruction manual – thicker than an IKEA catalogue - and left it where it was on the counter, figuring that a few well-placed button selections would see me right. After a busy day of eating (for Borry boy, you understand) our first load was ready. Love Chunks popped in a fudge-sized speckly blue block and I shut the door. We agreed to select the 'economy cycle' with the mysterious option of ‘hygiene’ (we like to live on the edge) and went to bed.

The morning dawned warm, balmy and bright with hope. Beautiful Borry's door was opened to reveal a gleaming top and bottom drawer full of clean, streak-free and intact dishes. Perfect plates, gorgeous glasses, nifty knives and terrific tupperware.

Blinking back tears - either from emotion or from sticking my head too far inside and bashing it against the stainless steel roof - I closed the door, leaving all of the magnificent dishware inside. I quickly looked to my left to make sure that Love Chunks and Sapphire weren't about to enter the room, and I gave Borry’s door a kiss of gratitude.

Reality then set in - I really needed a coffee, the dog was nudging my legs for breakfast and Sapphire needed her lunchbox cleaned and packed for school. What a bugger - I'd have to unpack the dishwasher.


Helen said...

Is that Milly enjoying the nice warm plates? Of al the weird creature comforts I get in the middle of nowhere, there is a vomit-brown coloured dishwasher form the 70s. Thanks for warning me off trying it ever!

Kath Lockett said...

No it's not Milly, Helen, but the lovely beagle 'Holly' who is owned by my friend Jill. That picture was taken in January, but before we got Borry I was thinking about using her services for a while!

Deep Kick Girl said...

Congratulations! I hope you and Barry have many happy years together.

Our own machine, an ASKO from the land of ABBA, has given us two years of generally good service until last week when it didn't fully drain. We had a go at fiddling with the drain bits but couldn't get anywhere. After booking in a service call we couldn't believe our luck when the repair guy didn't charge us, even though the machine is almost 2 months out of warranty.

It was a reality check though, suddenly having to wash up after enjoying the services for a dishwasher for the past 7 years. How easily we become spoiled!

franzy said...

Not to blow my own, but I'm yet to see a dishwasher that requires less plate scraping, pot rinsing and time invested in making plates suitable for eating on than I do by just filling up the sink and doing the dishes with my hands.

My best mate's mum said it best: "Goodbye one argument over who does the dishes, hello two arguments over who stacks the washer and then over who puts the dishes away".

I am, however, willing to be proved wrong (not to mention used to it).

River said...

When the kids were younger and living at home, I used to dream of having a dishwasher, then we moved to Adelaide and the first house we lived inhad one. It was a little noisy, but did a great job, until one day the water filter installed somwewhere outside broke down and filthy water full of grey fluffy bits spewed all over the inside of the dishwasher AND the washing machine. We'd seen the filter attached to the inlet pipe on the back wall, but had no idea that there was a filter liner inside it that had to be changed every so often. (No need for such things in the eastern states with their sparkling clean water supply). So we changed it and ran the dishwasher several times trying to get the muck off the dishes, finally gave up and scrubbed them by hand. The t-shirts in the washing machine were just thrown out since they'd got the worst of the back flow. We moved to our own house soon after that and I haven't had a dishwasher since, which is okay because I actually prefer doing them by hand.

the projectivist said...

with just the three of us, there's really no need for a dishwasher. i was always running out of glasses or teaspoons and would have to grab them back out of the 'waiting-to-be-full' dishwasher that in the end i gave up and just started washing everything by hand.

eleanor bloom said...

well, thankfully i was able to concentrate after recovering from my mirth encouraged by the thought of a vibrator named Boris, and could then recall my own early dishwasher memories.
would have been in my 2nd share house, circa 1990. i was 17 and not too bright; this was my first dishwasher (it was also brown and ostentatiously noisy). i thought dishwashers worked like microwaves: they stopped when you opened the door. Turns out i was wrong... and wet... and, after my initial shock, laughing my ass off.

Miles McClagan said...

We had a Dishwasher in our house growing up

He was called Dad!

Doesn't work without a Maurie Fields delivery...

Benjamin Solah said...

I've gotten so lazy at packing and unpacking the dishwasher. Nothing seems easy enough for me, it seems :P

But I love it though.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Nice hair - not too disimilar from mine in the 80's :-)

Can't say that I've ever fallen in love with an appliance, though I would be upset if my dishwasher popped it's clogs - I HATE washing up.



Kath Lockett said...

ASKO from ABBA sounds like a perfect combination, Deep Kick Girl. Does it rinse to the rhythm of 'take a chance on me'?

Franzy you're partially right but the stacking is 'as you go' and the unpacking occurs when I'm having my first coffee of the day, making Sapphire's school lunch and dodging Milly's leg-licks, so I don't even notice it.

River and Projectivitist, you two are - like Franzy - much more skilled and noble than I - trust me, you'll get an idea as to my lack of domesticity and utter laziness in a post to come later on today or tomorrow :)

Eleanor, your experiences and mine are eerily similar - have to ask though - were you sober at the time?

Oh Miles, that was indeed a DAD JOKE....

Benjamin clearly you're saving your energies for protest marches instead of flinging the water out of the edges of your tupperware lids?

Plasman - I love the phrase 'popped its clogs' and hey if you 'liked' (don't worry, I get sarcasm and horror, even in print) my hair then, you need to stay tuned for a recent photo that might - just might - make you wish that your clogs, um, might, er, 'pop'.....

Jilly said...

I like Franzy's comment on now there are 2 arguments - one who stacks and one who unpacks. This is true, and we also don't like how the other one stacks either so there is always adjustments to be made. It also annoys me how the kids complain about unpacking - I mean we stood for hours on end drying and they have to do a 5 minute (max) unpacking job! Kath - wasn't Borry a name for something you drop off in the toilet (back in the old MB days I think I recall my brothers saying "just going to drop off a borry")?? xxx