Reub's journey

05 April 2010

I read the manual

Loading the silverware basket, page 12.

We hosted a crowd of people here about two weeks ago and -unsurprisingly- a major appliance had a breakdown. We have a history of appliances that dislike holidays, celebrations, and gatherings of people for any reason at all; in the past there have been plumbing problems, a dead hot water heater, furnace issues, and only last summer, an oven that died just in time for our house-sitter to deal with it. This time it was the dishwasher, which wasn't so bad. The house guests were happy to pitch in, and when they left we washed the dishes too, just like we always did until 12 years ago when we bought this house complete with a dishwasher.

The best thing about dishwashers is that they provide a perfect hiding place for dirty dishes; they're kind of like an extra storage place that way. So we were glad when the thing started to work perfectly two days after the guests left; but we couldn't really trust it anymore. Who knew when it would suddenly flood the kitchen again? And those loud grinding noises it made: those had to go. So John left on a 2 week trip to Ethiopia, and in his absence I have replaced the old Kenmore with a new Bosch. In the process I have learned a few things that I must share with him when he gets back:

1. There are two thingies in the door of the dishwasher and they aren't both for soap (as we have thought for 12 years). This whole time we were supposed to be adding a "rinse agent" in one of them. The soap we've wasted could sink a battleship according to the friendly, whistling installation guy. I was afraid to admit that I had never heard of a "rinse agent."

2. The dishwasher wants us to heat the water first, by running the nearby faucet. Hmmm, sounds like we might as well wash the dishes while we're at it.

3. The friendly installation guy made me promise to read the manual, so I did, and the first words on page one were:

Misuse of the dishwasher can result in serious injury or death. Do not use the dishwasher in any way not covered in this manual or for any purpose other than those explained in the following pages.

Really? This got my attention, and I have tried hard with my active imagination to figure out how our new dishwasher might kill us. Or even injure us. We can't fit into it, and it can't move around, so how's it going to get us? It's a bothersome thought. Surely somebody is exaggerating.

4. My Bosch comes with a "Large Object Trap." This sounds quite useful and I think it's a waste to have it so inaccessible; how's it supposed to trap any large objects when it's buried down there at the bottom of the dishwasher? It should have the reign of the house so that all large dangerous objects are immediately caught.

5. There are two mystifying pages devoted to "Loading the Silverware Basket." Who is going to follow these diagrams? They must be kidding. They are as complicated as my computer's hard drive. When John sets the table he can never remember which side gets the fork; how will he ever keep this straight?

When John gets back from Africa he will be loaded with stories of his adventures. I am going to have to make him wait. There is just so much important and complex information regarding our new appliance: he is going to have to hear about this first, don't you think? If he is ignorant of these things he might just be putting us at risk of serious injury, or even death.


  1. Laughing...laughing. This is an expensive should be easier to use, not more complicated. We have an expensive dishwasher...can't remember the brand but we bought it because it is so quiet and our kitchen is not separate from our living area.

  2. This is so hilarious. I just got a new electric tea kettle. Read the whole instruction manual which really cracked me up. One of my favorite instructions was "Do not use while drowsy or sleeping."

    My, my.

    As for your appliances going on the fritz when company comes, well, I would attribute that to a house spirit that needs some attention. Are you game to sit quietly in the house and ask why it has such an aversion to company? Write down whatever comes into your mind, even if it seems completely weird.

    Sometimes a house needs reassurance, or some kind of offering, or a particular room needs to be reserved. Of course you can't close the door to your kitchen or living room, but you could negotiate.

    I know. I am so so so off the beaten path. Psychic or psychotic? Who knows?

  3. Reya, it might just be worth a try. I would like to think there is a house spirit here, but I hope it isn't a completely unreasonable one. I am willing to negotiate with the house if it will just say what the problem is.

  4. I think loading the silverware wrong is probably the killer.

  5. The scary thing is I am sure there is someone out there who will actually follow the utensil diagram for loading. Pitty the poor spouse of that person putting a utensil in the wrong spot! Oh dear.


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