No single task makes me feel more like the Greek Sisyphus – working all day to roll my boulder up the hill, only to have it roll back down, forcing me to start over each day – than loading and unloading the dishwasher.
The cycle is never-ending.
I usually run the dishwasher overnight, full to its absolute brim (with the occasional dish or two left in the sink that I just couldn’t manage to engineer to fit). Greeting me each morning is that scorching red light: “Sanitized”.
I dry off the plastic ware, unload the dishes, and put them away, my goal always being to do that before I start dirtying more dishes to take their place (i.e. making breakfast).
I run the dishwasher every.single.day., occasionally twice a day if I do a lot of cooking. From time to time I’ll switch things up on myself, just for fun.
How about if I run the dishwasher during naptime? I’ll unload it before supper, and then that horrid red light won’t greet me in the morning? What a great idea!!!
But I usually don’t get the dishes unloaded before dinner. It’s usually after the girls go to bed that I face the drying-unloading-putting away, followed by the big stack of dirty dishes from supper waiting on me in the sink. Suddenly that didn’t seem like such a good idea after all…
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no tricks. This is most certainly my fate for eternity.
Over the last week or so, I’ve noticed a definitive lightening of my load – my dishwasher load, that is.
I can trace this beautiful gift of the dish gods to two factors.
1) The girls have started drinking all but their evening milk (which they have upstairs) from plain cups with disposable drinking straws. Each cup consists of only two pieces – the cup and the lid. There aren’t five itty bitty parts that must be contained in a special little basket that consumes 1/3 of my top dishwasher rack.
2) I’ve stopped heating all but the girls’ evening milk. I know…I know…they’re almost seven years old and I probably should have stopped this a long time ago…but I just never want to mess with a good thing. The girls seem to love ice cold milk, though, and I sure love not having all those extra cups I used to warm their milk in the microwave.
…I am still running the dishwasher every day…loading, unloading, putting away...but it’s much less of an engineering feat to make everything fit.
I dare say there’s sometimes additional room in the dishwasher, such that I could make it a day and a quarter before I ran it…
...but then I wouldn’t be greeted by freshly sanitized dishes every.single.morning…
…and on some level I guess I like having a “clean start” to the day.