Friday, March 9, 2018

The Bliss in Simple Tasks

Valerie at A Mixed Bag wrote a recent blog post 'retiring' her dishwasher and said the transition back to hand washing was an easy one. That got me thinking about how much I enjoy washing dishes. Not ALL the time:  Xmas dishes after preparing a dinner for 8-16 people was always something I passed on to those who didn't help prepare!  

As the eldest daughter in a family of 7, I was the dishwasher. When we got our first dishwasher in the late 60's, I was pretty excited!  Now I only had to do the pots and pans.

When I was married with 3 small children, we were gifted a hand-me-down dishwasher. I was a stay-at-home Mom in those days, and I cooked and baked a lot; so it was really convenient. But our sole water supply was a dug well had to be closely monitored in the summer. So, it didn't last long. This was one of the first chores I passed to my children -- an easy and fun task for most kids (at least until the teen years).

Sometimes when I was out with friends and they'd talk about issues with their dishwashers, I would say that I had 3 dishwashers ..... but neither of them worked particularly well. Hahaha!

In everything that my Mom taught me, she had a particular 'method' -- "There's a right way, Sandra!" she would say over and over again. (As I did with mine.) My Mom's chores were always  organized and methodical. And it was important that things look 'nice'. (Did you know there's a right and wrong way to hang clothes? No! Well, just ask me!) 

My Mom's dishwashing method was as follows:

  • Hot, soapy water in the right hand sink; clean hot water in the left for rinsing.
  • "Start with the least dirty things", she'd say. So, glasses first.
  • Cutlery goes into the water to 'soak' while you wash the next category of dirty dishes -- cups and mugs.
  • Plates and bowls next.
  • And then your pots and pans and larger, dirtiest utensils such as spatulas, soup ladles, etc.
  • And when it came to putting the dishes into the dish drainer, things had to be lined up according to size. Larger plates always went to the back, salad plates next and dessert plates or saucers next. Etc. Etc. Etc. 
  • Cutlery had to be stacked so that the surfaces that touched your mouth were up top; that way, the water and any residual soap drains to the handles. 

I've been washing dishes for 50+ years. And in the past couple of years, I've noticed how much I enjoy the mindless act of dishwashing. I find there's a kind-of peace that comes from it. I'll turn on Stingray Music to the spa channel. Prep my dish pan of hot soapy water (only one sink in my kitchen) and let the fun begin! 

I use all my senses. Someone gave me scent-free dish soap and I added a little Tea Tree oil:  I like that scent and it doesn't irritate my scent allergy. I like the feel of the hot sudsy water on my hands, especially if they're aching that day. I like lining up my dishes ---  'the right way' so my Mom would be proud.💖 And I like the 'construction' challenge of trying to fit everything on my dish drainer so that it all fits, drains adequately and the air can get to it all. I LOVE that air drying is safer than dish towel drying! (Angelic choirs singing!) And I myself sometimes sing while washing up. 

I love that I can stop to dance round the kitchen if I feel so inclined (and I usually do). I like that pots and such can soak while I wipe down surfaces. I love that nothing cleans your fingernails like a good dishwashing session! (Ewwww!) And I love putting on my hemp hand cream afterwards -- how thick and luxurious it is and how it feels like my thirsty hands are sucking up every bit of moisturization. And voila! Look at what I've accomplished! A lovely clean kitchen with a beautiful, organized rack (or tower) of dishes. Ahhhh! Time for more dancing!

See, I'm not a complicated woman! It doesn't take that much to make me happy: just come visit, eat, drink ..... and let me wash up afterwards. 


Sandi said...

You can come to my house and wash the dishes! :)

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

It is often the simple things in life that make us happy! For me it's folding clothes warm from the dryer!

Kay G. said...

We also hand wash our dishes. Of course, my husband is better at it, so I let him do them as MUCH as possible! LOL! Listen, I am a big NUT about what I wash my dishes with...I adore the Fairy Liquid in England but I can't get that here. I love the DAWN liquid, the ONLY the one that is white in color, the Tropical Shea Butter scent. The scent DOES NOT BOTHER ME! You know, I have the same problem with chemicals as you do, so I love it when I find something that doesn't affect my breathing. P.S. I have only found this Dawn at ONE store and my sweet husband gets me 2 or 3 at a time, I am afraid they will stop making it! :-)

Jeanie said...

I wash dishes by hand at the lake, dishwasher at home. Rick and I have dishwasher discussions -- he's not a scraper (he has a different dishwasher than I do) and I am a scraper/rinser. Not big on scents but OK with mints or citrus. Too floral and I sneeze to bits!

Valerie said...

Oh my, this is SO like the way I wash dishes. even down to the Hemp hand treatment. Yes, I have tubes of the stuff in most rooms simply because my stepdaughter buys it for Christmas and birthdays. Little does she know that it lasts for ages.
Thanks for the mention, by the way.

Susan said...

In England we never rinsed the dishes. My Canadian son in law is horrified. Does the residual soap cause harm?


simple pleasures mean alot it's true.

troutbirder said...

I dried dishes for my mom in the days before dishwashers. Now in my retirement years I am forbidden to load the dishwasher or empty it on the theory that I never put things in correctly no take them out put in the cupboards correctly. So it goes...:)