Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Dishwasher

When we moved to Chicago, I was a fresh-faced, glowing new bride. I had just graduated college, gotten married, and moved to the middle of the country to a big, shiny city. We were living 27 stories up in a high rise that overlooked the lake and the city. I was on top of the world.

Quickly picking up my new roles as “adult” and “wife,” I went to work, I cleaned house, and together Chris and I learned to cook.

About 6 weeks in to our new little life, I noticed the dishwasher was not working quite right.

I put things in, and either they didn’t come out entirely clean, or sometimes they would come out with dishwasher detergent still on them.

Was the detergent door releasing too late?
Was there not enough water?
Was there any water at all?

I emailed our land lady, and since she didn’t live in the same state, she asked us to find a repairman and have him come in, and she’d repay us for any work that he did. No problem!

I researched all over for just the right repairman. Good reviews, professional-looking website, handy at multiple home-repair tasks. I called, explained, booked. He was scheduled to come over the next Friday; I would even work from home to meet him and show him what the problem was.

We spent the rest of the week doing dishes by hand. No fun.

Finally, Friday rolled around. Hooray for fixing the dishwasher!

Mr. Repairman came in, a mid-30’s man with a bald head who looked remarkably like Mr. Clean. He was very nice, and I explained the issues.

“We put dishes in, run the cycle, and at the end, either there’s soap lying in there still as if there’s not enough water, or sometimes there’s even detergent lying on the dishes themselves!”

He put four glasses in the dishwasher, facing up, to test the dishwasher to see if there was any water getting up to the top rack and moving around the whole unit.

Of course, it worked just fine.

He asked me to give him a specific example of when it wasn’t working.

“Well, sometimes for example, we’ll open up the dishwasher, and there’s detergent sitting right there on top of a bowl in the bottom rack.”

“How big is the bowl?”

“Pretty big, like a mixing bowl.”

Now, what I haven’t yet mentioned is that this was a “special” dishwasher. Made for little spaces, this was an extra-small, super narrow dishwasher. The inside was maybe 18 inches wide. And that’s being generous.

He then proceeded to explain to me that if I put a big bowl the size of my dishwasher in the bottom rack, the water will just get trapped inside the bowl and never make it up to the top rack, or even get the detergent wet.

I sheepishly paid him the “diagnostic fee” of $60, and showed him out – with the diagnosis being my own stupidity. Then I emailed the land lady to let her know that the dishwasher *magically* started working again.

That’s right.

I paid the dishwasher repairman $60 to teach me how to load a dishwasher.


  1. OH MAN! Don't you hate it when things like that happen? Hope you have a good weekend.

  2. lol! If it makes you feel better I would have never guessed that the problem was the mixing bowl either!

  3. that's nothing...I once had a repairman come over after not being able to get the oven to heat up only for him to just take the knob off and put it on right side up. I felt like the biggest nerd ever!

  4. oh man!!! that stinks!! i hate it when stuff like that happens! i would have never guessed that would have been the problem, good to know! :)

  5. 2 things. 1, I like this new storytime thing :). 2, I remember when this happened...and it's still awesome. Shameful high five

  6. Fun story.
    In college I had a shameful dishwasher experience involving dish-washing liquid (the kind you use when you hand-wash dishes), a dishwasher, and a kitchen full of bubbles.

  7. Oh no! You poor thing! Its nice that you can laugh about it now though!

  8. What a great story. Unfortunately, I think most of us have one that would make us look just as silly. I'm so glad you got it figured out.

  9. LOL ... sounds like something I would do!

  10. Funny. The repairman had to explain to me that it was the underwire of my bra that had gotten caught up in the hose of my washing machine. I had no clue what it was!

  11. oops....
    don't feel bad.
    for you it was loading a small dishwasher, for others it is something else just as obvious to you and I.

  12. Aw you don't like doing dishes by hand? I have a sick habit of rinsing the dishes right after using them until I can properly clean them by hand immediately after dinner.

    At least no one was around for the diagnostic results I guess... thanks for sharing even though you could've skipped right on over it. Your genuine nature is missed in the world.

  13. Could you please come teach my husband how to load out full size dishwasher? He doesn't get that if you put a giant pan on the bottom, the water doesn't get to the top. Maybe if someone else told him...