It started by making a strange grinding sound and ended by filling with water before turning itself off. Since we bought this house four years ago the dishwasher is one of the few appliances we haven’t replaced.
But it was clear something was wrong that I wasn’t going to be able to fix with a Phillips screwdriver. That’s the litmus test when it comes to home repairs; can it be repaired with a screwdriver, electrical tape or hammer. I’ve built dozens of computers from scratch, but I can’t find the wall stud if my life depended on it. The last home repair I attempted had me breaking off a pipe between two walls on a Sunday.
I have no idea what’s wrong with our dishwasher. The door doesn’t close tightly, but it does make strange sounds while filling with water. Yet, I could live with these minor drawbacks if it would just clean the dang dishes.
“Hey Lincoln, will you grab a screwdriver from the toolbox?”
After bailing a couple gallons of water from the basin with a kid’s sippy cup, I’m ready to remove that one part that looks like a helicopter blade shooting water upwards. It’s the only moving part I can find so I figure it must be the culprit. One very long screw removed the blade along with a handful of other parts. Of course, I don’t really pay attention to where they came from or how they were assembled.
They kids have now assembled around the dishwasher for their first lesson on how not perform a dishwasher repair. I’ve got a blade in one hand and various parts in the other. My shirt is soaked and my face is dripping with sweat.
“Dad, are you fixing it or making it worse?”
I’m going to act like I didn’t hear that. I feel that, as the man of the house, I have to make a repair attempt even if my odds for success are less than 2%.
That was a couple of days ago, and our dishwasher remains silent. Tonight Kim made a great dinner with spaghetti sauce made from tomatoes we canned along with squash grown from our garden. The parmesan breadsticks were so tasty I downed two of them right out of the oven.
When we finished dinner the kids ran off to play Nintendo. Normally, I’d run off to the computer or ESPN. But tonight I stayed back and dried dishes while Kim washed. I was reminded of a large family who grew up down the street from us whose father, when asked why he didn’t own a dishwasher replied, “I have nine dishwashers” referring to his nine children.
Kim didn’t complain about having to clean all the pots and pans by hand. But Kim never complains about anything. She handed me dishes one at a time while I dried them off. Occasionally I had to ask where a certain utensil or container should be stored. Next time I need the basting brush, I know exactly where to find it.
While we worked, Kim told me about her day taking a group of pre-school kids to the pumpkin patch. She explained how Luca arrived home from school in such a good mood that it rubbed off on her brothers and sisters. I realize her day was a lot more stressful than mine was.
In about 30 minutes the kitchen looked spotless. Every dish, pot and pan was clean and put away. The dishwasher is still broken.
But my relationship with Kim is a little stronger.