Tracy Lee Curtis

Here’s the dirt on dishwasher loading …

Ever tried to load somebody else’s dishwasher? I was at a friend’s house for dinner and wanted to be helpful by cleaning the kitchen, starting with the dishes. I reach for the dirty plates …
Ever tried to load somebody else’s dishwasher? I was at a friend’s house for dinner and wanted to be helpful by cleaning the kitchen, starting with the dishes. I reach for the dirty plates …

Ever tried to load somebody else’s dishwasher? I was at a friend’s house for dinner and wanted to be helpful by cleaning the kitchen, starting with the dishes. I reach for the dirty plates …

“I got it,” she states firmly. With a hint of cheerfulness. But with a little panic behind the cheerfulness.

She seems a little jumpy. I reach again and this time she raises her arm, as if blocking me from the plate. Please don’t tell me you’re one of those weird dishwasher people – the kind who have to load their own dishwasher. Or worse, if somebody else does load it, they have to unload and reload the already loaded load.

You know the type. They think they know best – the better way to load dishes for maximum placement and cleaning. And when not done their way, they’ll take everything out of there, lay it out on the counter and then put it all back – like they’re reorganizing a closet.

They load their dishes like they’re sorting mail. The big plates get separated from the small plates, the bowls isolated in a designated corner. Glasses assigned to a certain row, the silverware sorted into specific slots, all handles pointed up for easy unloading.

And for what? Just to shut the door and have water and soap blasted around in every direction? It’s not like the water comes straight down like rain. Who’s to say that jamming it all in there in some cockamamie way isn’t better? Mix it up!

My brother-in-law is a reloader. And the only reason I try to load his dishes is because he doesn’t rinse before he loads. I’ve seen him put plates in there with so much food on them you’d swear he was about to bake something – like he mistook the dishwasher for the oven and is trying to reheat those last three bites of lasagna. Nonrinsers are even worse than reloaders.

I’m guessing my girlfriend’s easily a rinser, and more than likely an unloader/reloader – especially if nice wine glasses are involved. I bet they get laid on their side, not even touching each other. Why so much stress in dishwasher loading? Don’t we have enough on our plate?

So here we are. In a standoff of sorts, in front of her fancy Frigidaire, both insisting on loading the dishes, only one of us really wanting – needing – to do it. OK, time to come clean …

“So spill it – do you have to load your own dishwasher?” I ask. “And if I loaded it for you, would you unload and reload?”

Turns out she’s a rinser. But not a reloader. Whew. But she has the loading precision of the Postmaster General. Not only does she have clean dishes, but surely is current on all her bills.

Wonder if she can organize my closet?

Curtis: tracy@tracyleecurtis.com. Tracy's new book “Trophy Mom” is available at Park Road Books.

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