Twelve hours or more I am out of the house these days; long days at work and an extensive commute. I arrive home tired, have to shop, cook, iron and so on, deal with rats and leaking roofs and the tax office, and – this week – my son forgetting to turn up to one of his exams, which necessitates more paperwork and cost than you would imagine. I try to squeeze in time to write another chapter of the book, already behind schedule, but luckily with an understanding publisher.
So, when, lately, the dishwasher has merely been spreading dirt around and covering everything with a thin film of grease, it has sometimes seemed like the last straw. Each time I use it I hope that miraculously it will have fixed itself. I open it up. The steam escapes and reveals knives still covered in peanut butter, pots encrusted with baked on food, and everything cloudy with grease. I try a different programme. I buy dishwasher cleaner. I wait for it to finish its cycle before going to bed (we had a fire in an appliance once, since which time, on the advice of the fire brigade, I never leave anything running when out or asleep). Should I buy a new dishwasher, or just give up (as my son suggests) and use it as a drying rack for when I wash everything by hand? As I have been doing with all the stuff that the dishwasher has toyed with. The previous owners installed a too-small sink and nowhere for drying, and doing the washing up is even more of a chore than it needs to be. I resolved to try one more thing: instead of the vastly cheaper dishwasher tablets I have been buying from Lidl, I’d swallow my pride and buy expensive ones. I have long been annoyed by the patent nonsense spouted by the marketing department of Finish, with their different coloured layers and their stupid Powerballs that might fool your average shopper but would not fool me! I had only two of the cheap Lidl ones left from a box of (yes) 51, and if necessary they could jolly well go in the bin.
Last night I had a small dinner party, even though I was dead tired. There was a lot of washing up of course, and I left it for morning. My eldest daughter had arrived home for a visit at about midnight. She is famously the least observant of the children. If we ever want to know where anything is kept or has been moved to, we ask my son. His older sister never knows where anything is, and leaves a trail of stuff behind her like Pigpen (though I should stress that she is not dirty). This morning when I emerged from my bedroom, she said ‘I was going to run the dishwasher but I couldn’t find the tablets.’ ‘They are under the sink’, I said, sighing. ‘In a box. Next to the dishwasher’. ‘Oh’, she said. ‘I could only see the ones for removing limescale.’
Well, obviously, I feel like a complete ninny. And have to revise my opinion about who is unobservant around here. But I am pleased that I don’t have to buy a new dishwasher. Hurrah!