Washing in a winter wonderland | Ann Oxrieder


I’m chalking up the entire mess in the kitchen last week to the fact that we never lived in a home with a dishwasher until 2008. It’s not that I wouldn’t have made the same mistake if I had spent my whole life with a dishwasher. It’s just that I’d have learned my lesson by the time I was 14, rather than having to wait until 65.

Here’s what happened. I poured the wrong soapy liquid into the detergent dispenser. I realized my error before I was through pouring, but couldn’t figure out how to remove the soap without sucking it out through a straw. And at 10:30 p.m. I wasn’t feeling especially creative.

“I wonder what will happen,” I said to my husband after making my confession.

“Probably not much,” he answered.

Half an hour later we were upstairs, and I had already settled in bed with a good book. My husband went downstairs to search for something and soon I heard my name. I went down when I heard him say, “There’s water all over the kitchen floor.”

When I got there I was reminded that he is a master of the understatement. The water on the floor came from cascading sheets of liquid soap bubbles flowing out of one side of the dishwasher. We weren’t certain what would happen if we opened the dishwasher mid-cycle, but we could see what would happen if we didn’t. The image created by this act changed immediately from soapy waterfall to winter wonderland, like someone had vigorously shaken a snow globe. In the lower rack, the bowls set against the outer rim and plates closer in created a ski jump diorama. When we pulled the rack out of the dishwasher, icebergs emerged behind it.

The winter image reverted back to a bathtub scene when I started grabbing clumps of soap, which required submerging my hands in hot water.

We pulled out and rinsed the plates and bowls before deciding on next steps. We couldn’t remove all the soap, especially the layer stuck to the bottom of the upper rack that held the cups, so we proceeded to run the washing cycle one more time.

At midnight, we gave up on waiting for the wash to finish and went to bed. The next day I found a new home for the detergent that goes in the pump behind the sink.


Ann Oxrieder has lived in Bellevue for 35 years. She retired after 25 years as an administrator in the Bellevue School District and now blogs about retirement at http://stillalife.wordpress.com/.

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