A Beautiful Dishwashing Love Affair

Making sure it fits. 
When our house was built 102 years ago, a dishwasher was a person. The 1950's renovation which our kitchen still wears found itself in the same era of human dishwashers. The same person who did the renovation owned the house for the next 50 years, and with a wife and seven children, he never saw a reason to upgrade to a non-human model of dishwasher. When we purchased the home, it was my husband who encouraged the upgrade, but I said I was perfectly happy to wash by hand. Until one day, I wasn't.

I had two sisters get engaged this year. Within a week of each other. And their weddings are this year, within 2 weeks of each other. Approximately 5 months from today. More about that later, but shortly after the second engagement I was standing at the sink, washing dishes for over an hour, and contemplating the months ahead. I eyed the cupboard space to the left of the sink, suddenly curious about its exact dimensions. Somehow my home renovation/garden tending/homebrewing/multiple family deaths/full time job/chicken tending/dedication to making good home cooked meals, etc. life, was not enough to make me think I needed a time saving dishwasher. It was helping my sisters with their weddings that made me stop and say, "I don't have time for this!" I looked at my husband. "I think it's time to get a dishwasher," I said. He smiled quietly, (impressed, I think, that I had lasted as long as I had), and said simply, "Find it. I'll install it."

He encouraged me to buy new, as Craigslist appliances have no guarantees, and many of them are priced nearly as high as a new dishwasher. But if you've been reading along at all, you know I have a complete love affair and infatuation for reusing old, broken and abandoned things, and reusing what other people throw out. I did look at at brand new Amana but my main hesitation was, few stores had floor models readily available for purchase. We were approaching a holiday weekend and thus a perfect time for an install. I wanted something we could purchase without driving to the burbs which might as well be Texas, for how close/accessible they feel. So I called up The Chicago Habitat for Humanity ReStore and asked if they had any dishwashers, preferably white, to match my 1950's decor. "Hold on, let me check," said the voice at the end of the line. A few minutes later I got the answer I wanted. "Yes, we have about a dozen of them. Average price is $30." All appliances purchased there also have a 7 day full refund return policy if they don't work. Done. We went a few days later, loaded up that 2011 Whirlpool and headed home.

The tools needed to install a dishwasher. Basically all of them.
This picture taken today. I like it so much.
So, you may or may not know that it takes A LOT of work to install a dishwasher in a house that has never had a dishwasher. Like a lot. But the cupboard was a perfect fit - like it was made for it. Our home is in a constant state of being torn apart and put back together, and this project was no exception. I had saved days worth of dirty dishes (so we could be certain it worked, of course) and it was 2 AM before I was loading them into the dishwasher. But that quiet hum of hot water splashing over our dirty dishes was a sweet song indeed. I resolved I was not going to go to bed until my kitchen was completely put back together, so we could wake up the next morning and make coffee with our shiny new dishwasher. It was 3 AM but by George we did it, and fell into happy, exhausted sleep.

I was a camp counselor in Alaska for two weeks and slept on a plywood bunk in a sleeping bag in a cabin with no electricity or running water. I stayed with friends in Anchorage my last night before flying back to Chicago, and I slept in a queen bed. A real mattress in a giant queen bed with clean sheets and fluffy pillows. That feeling, of sinking into that bed after weeks without - that's what suddenly having a dishwasher feels like. We're a month in and I still randomly say to my husband, "Hey Lover, I have a dishwasher." And it's the best.

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