Romance and the dishwasher

May 27, 2020


Romance and the Dishwasher -

My husband and I are enjoying our extra “together” time during this stay-at-home marathon. We’re the model couple for romance and fun. Sitting together while reading, watching movies and sharing candlelight dinners is all wonderful. Once we finish the romantic meal and the extinguished candles send a snaking stream of smoke to the ceiling, the real sparks begin to fly — because that’s when someone has to load the dishwasher.  

Romance and the Dishwasher -

Relationships can endure illnesses, cross country moves, busy-body in-laws and job changes. But what eventually drives us to the point of murder is the loud chewing, humming, nose sniffing, crunching ice and in our case, reloading the dishwasher.

My darling doesn’t understand that provoking me while I’m surrounded with sharp utensils isn’t in his best interest. 

Katie Clooney, who lives on the South Shore of Massachusetts and writes the blog, “The Preppy Empty Nester,” posted photos of her husband rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher about 43 times a day during his COVID-19 sheltering time. It was probably his way to find comfort and order during a world-wide crisis. She was amazed by his attention to the job and nicknamed him, “Captain Reorganizer,” but what she didn’t know is that I have lived with General Dishwasher Bossy Pants for 26 years. Our husbands are Cascade twins. 

Romance and the Dishwasher -

My husband steers clear of the kitchen 99% of the time, yet when it’s time to load the dishwasher, shows up as if he owns the place and not only wants to load the dishes, but also has to rearrange any I’ve already loaded and tell me what I’ve done wrong.

I strategically place the items in a particular order for optimum cleaning potential. I can get 500 pounds of china and silverware spotlessly clean with the push of a button. The way my Bob loads them looks like the brochure for Whirlpool yet is so tightly arranged you couldn’t fit a piece of paper between the plates, much less a jet stream of water. 

Romance and the Dishwasher -

It wouldn’t be so bad if he loaded the dishwasher and went on his way.  I’d actually be glad to hand over the task, but it’s the running commentary that pushes me over the edge of sanity until I whack the colander against my head. 

“A spatula on top of the forks?” “These dishes will never get clean.” And the standard question of, “Who loaded the dishwasher like this?” —well, let me think for a moment.  It’s just the two of us, you jackalope, so do you think Elvis stopped by this afternoon to give me a hand in the kitchen?

Romance and the Dishwasher -

We launch into the age-old debate of “silverware up” or “silverware down.” 

“I read an article that says . . “ 

“Well, the article I read is more recent and says forks should go . . .” 

“Well, I read that 20 Americans were killed last year falling on knives pointing up.” 

“But they were really clean knives.”

It looks as if a stay-at-home summer is ahead with more quality time spent with my darling. Although I’ve written many times in the past about using only real dishes and never ever in a million years using paper plates, it may be time to reconsider. Weighing my options between “paper” or some form of “murder.” Hmmm. I’ll let you know what I decide by the end of the summer. 

This story first appeared on and will be in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.

  • haha, I say just put him in charge of the kitchen!

  • Ellen Shook says:

    I am the Dishwasher Police in our house. Ray loads everything helter-skelter and things invariably get broken. Or he puts in things which I have told him 50 million times do NOT go in the dishwasher. I rearrange it at least 4 or 5 times in a day. At least he unloads it every morning. I do find sets of silverware mixed up, etc., but I have learned to pick my battles. I think these COVID times are going to make or break many marriages. I have read a few articles lately about how domestic violence is on the rise, and while I do not condone it in the least, I think I can see how it could happen.

    • Yes, times are tough and testy. We’re blessed that Bob’s job was considered “essential” and he went to the office most days even though things slowed down quite a bit. “Don’t you need to go and just check the mail?” It helps to have space.

  • I laughed so hard at Elvis maybe being in the kitchen that I woke up my napping dachshunds! Hilarious and so true. I’m the one who will rearrange the dishwasher if anyone else but me loads it. RH knows better to try. He has come up with some nifty rearranging of kitchen cupboard items during his extra time and after explaining why they were the way I had them, I change them back. I think he’s learning.

    Fabulous story, as usual!

  • Savan Wilson says:

    Brilliantly written as usual. A real age old problem with will resonate with your blog and newspaper readers. This is a keeper. I’m sending to my sister whose husband is a great kitchen husband who can’t get her to put the lids on jars or close the pantry or cabinet doors. She knows better than to load the dishwasher! They have been married for about 55 years but these last 3 months are getting to both of them I think….

  • I am pretty sure my husband does not know we even own a dishwasher or any other major appliance. He thinks the Good Fairy comes in overnight and poof! everything is clean! My Achilles heel is the fridge. I will admit I might be a littttle anal retentive so I like things arranged a certain way. When my mother was alive, she thought it was hilarious to move things around in there when she visited. Then she and my sister would laugh hysterically when I went to get something. Gosh, I miss those days and my Mama.

    • No one like your Mom to know how to poke at you! Now that you mention it, I always like the items in the refrigerator to face front, like in a store. It makes it easier to see what everything is and only requires a twist of your hand. However . . . I don’t go behind anyone else in my house and tell them they’ve placed the mustard in there backwards and make a federal issue out of it. If you’re going to be quirky, the silent quirky type is best. Thanks Roxanne. You always make me laugh.

  • Karyn Tunks says:

    This has been a sticking point in our marriage FOR YEARS. Then I head a sermon, something about how sometimes when people are really, really aggravating us, they actually think they are helping, or some such nonsense, and I decided then and there to let it go. Now, I just walk away biting my tongue. Any chance you’ll weigh in on hubbies commenting on how many water glasses a wife goes through in one day because HE puts every empty tumbler in the dishwasher as soon as it leaves my…I mean the wife’s hand! Humor aside, we’re pretty lucky this is all we have to complain about. (:

    • But when the dishes don’t get clean because they are arranged like little soldiers, it’s making more work for me. Your pastor needs to rethink this and come empty a too tight dishwasher at my house sometime. Food gunk galore.

    • “…or some such nonsense.”

      Truer words were never spoken!!!

      I am divorced (not because of any dishwasher issues though), but my 22 year old son is rapidly becoming the “Dishwasher Nazi” at my house. I am going to have to nip that in the bud really quickly!!

  • How often do I hear the twinkling of the dishes and silverware when I am occupied in a different part of the house? It seems that with my 50+ years of homemaking experience that my hubby just can’t accept the way I load the dishwasher. He always has to tweak it just a little. Always! Drives me crazy. Wish he was so concerned about the state of things in his office or the shed that he claims as his.

    • Misery loves company, so you’ve made me very happy. Hang in there, and we’ll think of each other as they keep busy rearranging everything.

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