dishwashers. who needs 'em?

I can’t possibly write anything deep right now, because I’m on PINS and NEEDLES. Someone I know just may be having a baby sometime really, really soon. And I’m pretty sure they don’t want it announced HERE on the INTERNET before they get the chance to tell people, so forget I said anything.

EDIT (7:10am): Meet Mia Noelle (and her mommy Stephanie)! Born at 2:21am on 2/03/10. 7lb 15oz, 19in. I can’t wait to meet you Mia! Aunt Marla looooooves you!

Let’s talk about dishwashers. Do you have one? Do you like it? Has it made your life easier?

I used to love my dishwasher. Until it quit working on July 28, 2008. On August 6 (2008), I wrote this on my blog, “This zoo thing is so much fun. I’ve even decided to wash dishes by hand for awhile longer, because I’d rather go see a zoo than replace our dishwasher.”

Does 524 days (and counting) constitute “awhile longer?”

Here’s what I wrote on October 15, 2008, “My fingers are all wrinkly from doing dishes. Ugh. I hate that feeling. I know, I should wear gloves. But I don’t like that either. I’ll just wait for a new dishwasher.

December 17, 2008? “No motivation. Mad that I don’t have a dishwasher. Ticked that I have to go to Livi’s Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Los Posados program at 7:00. Irritated that I thought I had a whole box of pasta and didn’t.” It goes on and on and on. I’ll spare you.

Skipping ahead to November 10, 2009, “Today I grumbled while I washed dishes for the second time in five hours. Because no one should have to go without a dishwasher for 1 year, 3 months, 2 weeks and a day.” This was tongue-in-cheek, and I said something really profound after it. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

I’ll tell you what. It’s actually not the end of the world not having a dishwasher. In fact, I’ll bet there are a handful of things that are even worse. I’ll even bet that some of you haven’t had a dishwasher in YEARS. Or maybe one or two of you have NEVER HAD ONE.

Maybe in some countries they barely have enough to thinly line their hungry bellies, let alone have a dish to wash.

And I know one thing. Little Miss Fill-Her-Plate-Too-Full-and-Multi-Task-to-Her-Own-Detriment (me) has benefited greatly from having to stand in one place and wash one dish at a time.

Changing the World One Stupid Plastic Tumbler At a Time. (I don’t really use the word “tumbler,” but isn’t it fun?)

And I’ve learned some other things too. That getting what I want right when I want it isn’t always the best thing for my spiritual growth. (It mostly NEVER is, unfortunately.)

Dish-washing time is also good for talking to God. I’ve brought lots of your names up to Him over a sink full of suds.

So, tell me: what’s the longest you’ve gone without a dishwasher? And what great life lessons have you learned while standing at the kitchen sink?

50 thoughts on “dishwashers. who needs 'em?

  1. Kimberly

    The dishwasher in my new house doesn’t work and I’m fresh out of extra money, so its the old fashioned way for me too. Oh and those brand new nieces are the best 🙂

  2. Ashley

    I’ve NEVER had a dishwasher… growing up my parents used to joke that they had 3 dishwashers – me, my brother, and my sister. I don’t enjoy doing dishes, but I feel a lot better when they aren’t sitting on the counter!

  3. Carrie

    Your niece is adorable!!! Also, I have been married for 7 years, and have never had a dishwasher. 🙂 I don’t usually mind, but there are those days…. 🙂

  4. amber

    Holy Moly…folks turn out for dishwasher talk, don’t they??? Jeepers.

    Anywho…I have a dishwasher and it runs religiously once a day. Unless of course I forget to run it. And then I stand at the sink and say bad words in my head because it means I have to wash “tumblers” by hand. 😉

    I didn’t have a dishwasher when we were first married, but I didn’t mind. I was still playing house and thought that it was uber romantic to wash the 4 dishes we had dirtied up eating our microwave frozen dinners.

    Ain’t nothin’ romantic about 3,456 sippy cups with nasty stoppers because they were hiding under the couch for 34 days. Ain’t nothin’ at all.

  5. Jessica Peters

    oh my goodness! she’s gorgeous! I love her!

    dishwashers? Most of my life i haven’t had one. I once had maggots on some dishes. I should probably always have one from now on.

  6. Joslyn

    I’ve never not had a dishwasher. Growing up my parents had one, when I got married and we lived in military housing we got one too.

    Now my husband’s mom and grandma never had one and still don’t. When we got married hubs didn’t know how to load one, I still remember the first time he tried to do it he actually stacked all the plates up in a pile..I was very confused as to why someone wouldn’t know how load a dishwasher and he was very confused as to why I would assume that he would know how to do it!

    We learned a lot about each other that first few months of marriage 🙂

  7. Marla Taviano

    Heather! I know about your old house since I lived smack dab across the street from you! I used to plot and plan about how I could get a dishwasher in that kitchen! 🙂

    I love being back in touch with you too!!

  8. Heather Harmon

    Marla, our wonderful happy home is old and there is no where to fit a dishwasher! So we do all the dishes by hand! It’s not pretty at holiday time, the whole family is here and that equals A LOT of dishes! It usually takes about six different sinks of soapy water but we get them done;)) I’ve actually thought about writing a book about the things I think about WHILE I’m doing dishes! I used to get frustrated but now I just know it’s a chore that must be done and dig in!;) No use complaining;)) Kaidy and I actually have had some great conversations over a sink full of dishes! I’m so thankful for my life, There could be worse things going on than a sink full of dishes;)) Your blog posts make me smile! Thanks. I’m so glad we’re able to be back in touch;))

  9. sarah g

    i have gone 34 years, 4 months, and 12 days without a dishwasher. my husband of almost 13 years has offered to but me one, but i have politely declined. a few reasons why…i am ocd and want my dishes cleaned and put away right away…there is something relaxing about cleaning dishes while gazing over the back five acres of our property…it is my time to pray for friends…if i used a dishwasher, i would probably run out of dishes before they got clean…it seems like a lot of extra work to load and unload all of those dishes….

    ok so enough about that, baby mia is adorable! congratulations!

  10. Suzi

    First off congratulations-what a sweet picture!!

    I went about 7/8 months without a dishwasher when my hubby and I were first married!

    I’ll never forget cutting my finger on a chipped corelle wear lid that was hidden underneath the suds of Dawn dish soap! We were Newlyweds at that time and had no money-so my hubby (who was in Chiropractic school) decided to glue my gaping wound closed. Being the submissive new bride that I was-I let him! It did work, but I have the scar to prove it! I was so mad at him!

    After that incident I decided it was high time I saved my hard earned money and buy us (me) a portable dishwasher!

    And so I did a few months later.

    So what did I learn?
    That dishwashers save fingers and marriages!

  11. mary

    Oh about half my married life.Which would be around 18 years. And I am fine without one. But I love having one too. Mostly cuz it gets the dishes cleaner most the time.

  12. Christine

    When I was a freshman in high school my parents’ dishwasher died and my dad’s favorite saying after that was “do you wanna go to college or do you want a dishwasher?!” They finally got a new one at the end of my senior year. When they knew I’d be 3000 miles away and unable to do the dishes for them. I still hate doing dishes. I load everything I possibly can in mine, save for the sharp knives, and try to hand wash as little as possible.

    That experience didn’t leave me bitter or anything. Not at all 😉

  13. Denise

    I went a year. when Drew and I moved in with his parents in Buffalo we didn’t have one. I got used to washing the dishes…it really didn’t bother me because out the window I could watch birds and squirrels and the occasional deer out the window.

    I think that living in an apt, now that I couldn’t handle it without a dishwasher. It’s one thing to have a nice house, plenty of space, but when your apartment is cluttered and has seen the toddler tornado, it’s kind of nice to go do the dishes quickly. Esp. since it’s a tiny kitchen.

    What I have learned that’s profound – how about don’t leave spoiled milk in your son’s sippy cup….just sayin’

  14. whimzie

    Look at that precious baby looking at her sweet mama!! Congratulations to you all!

    I don’t think our first house in Hawaii had a dishwasher. I don’t mind washing dishes that much. I like that you get immediate results from your efforts and I like the warm, sudsy water. Dishwashers do make life easier though. I’ll remember that the next time I complain about unloading ours.

  15. Christine

    i went 11 years without one. had one for 4 months and am currently without, although just temporary. here are my thoughts:
    at first i was annoyed because i grew up with a dishwasher – hubby did not, therefore he did not see the need. annoyed because there was one in my kitchen, it just didn’t work. but then i learned to enjoy that time – we did dishes together and i believe sex does begin in the kitchen. then i had kids and the only place in my house where i could see nothing else was my kitchen sink. so i did dishes alone, twice a day and loved every moment. even when hubby would offer, i’d do them. that time alone was my prayer time and sanity. nothing but me, suds, and a kithchen window. then the kids were old enough to play alone after dinner….hubby returned beside me and that is where we connected after his day at work and mine at home. it was such a sweet time..this fall i was given my parents dishwasher and i was thrilled to use it. to teach my kids to load it, well kind of, i am a bit of a control freak about dishwashwers. now we moved and have NO kitchen, but one in is in the plan.
    so all in all…i think the slowing down of washing dishes is an amazing opportunity to discover yourself again. to enjoy God’s love for you and to get yourself centered again on him. to pray for the those who dirtied the dishes and to be present in the moment….

  16. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    First of all – CONGRATS ALL AROUND. Beauty and celebration.

    Secondly – “And I know one thing. Little Miss Fill-Her-Plate-Too-Full-and-Multi-Task-to-Her-Own-Detriment (me) has benefited greatly from having to stand in one place and wash one dish at a time.” Yes, yes, yes.

    We’ve had a dishwasher less years than we haven’t had a dishwasher since we’ve been married. I actually kind of not having one now because I HATE unloading dishwashers. I can get my little dish drainer unloaded in under two minutes and I love that.

    But yeah. It’s great praying and reflecting time. Also great “on the phone” time, too, because sometimes I just cannot help but to multitask.

  17. Omom

    When you said ” I’ve brought many of your names up over a sink full of suds” My eyes instantly got full of tears. I felt that, Thank you.
    I grew up WITHOUT a dishwasher.
    I had one for 2 years while living in apartments on my own.
    The first 11 years of our marriage were spent WITHOUT a dishwasher.
    We have one now, but I have been known to wash by hand, I guess it’s just part of who I am.

  18. Bethy

    Welcome baby Mia! We love you!!!

    We had a dishwasher when I was younger, but I don’t remember when it stopped working. As far as married life–we went without one for 4 1/2 years. Then we moved into a house that already had one! Wow! It is amazing! I still wash my pots and pans by hand, though.

    I wrote in my journal that my husband came on to me while I was washing dishes in our apartment one Friday evening and 9 months later we had baby Isabelle!

  19. Elizabeth

    I’ve read through the comments and now I realize that I’m a little bit spoiled. The only time we’ve been without a dishwasher was in our first duplex when we were early married. There were only two of us so it wasn’t too bad, but when I was big and pregnant and couldn’t reach into the sink b/c my belly stuck out too far I was pretty miserable. I remember crying about it, actually. If my dishwasher broke now I would lose my mind. I run it everyday and still have plenty of dishes to handwash. There I go feeling sorry for myself again:)

    Mia is gorgeous!! I bet you are the funnest aunt!

  20. Angela

    I had one for all 11 years that I lived on my own, but I barely used it. I always ran out of dishes before it was full. Now that I’m married, we don’t have one, and wouldn’t have room in our kitchen for one anyway. But I’m amazed at how two people produce way more dishes than one. The number of dishes didn’t double, it grew way out of proportion to the number of people. How does that happen?

  21. Emily Kay

    We’ve “had” one since we got married, but neither the one in the apartment nor the one in the house really works. So I’ve been handwashing/drying for 2 years and 11 months.

  22. deanna f.

    I’ve had a dishwasher all of my married life (except for the 8 months we rented while waiting on our house), and they are GLAM…. until they stop working!
    My current dishwasher played out on us about 4 months ago. But so far I haven’t minded washing the dishes (EXCEPT FOR THANKSGIVING DAY, I so didn’t want to do the dishes that day!) because it reminds me of when I was younger and living with my parents. Doing the dishes was always my chore. Plus, now, I use washing dishes as my excuse for alone time. When my child or husband wants something I just say “Can’t….I’m washing the dishes.” and leave it at that! 🙂

  23. Sarah Montanye

    Congrats to your sister! What a beautiful picture! I was dishwasherless for about 3 years. I would sometimes use my time in the suds singing praise songs. I do love that we have a dishwasher though (even if it is a used cheapy one off craigslist)

  24. Kay

    Ok. I was all set to click over here and post about dishwashers and dishes and gloves and messed up fingernails and……and then I saw that picture of a precious baby girl meeting her mommy. To beautiful and inspiring to rant and rave about all the time I spend with my hands in the sink now. In fact, that beautiful photo of your sister and her new baby just reminds me why it’s worth it to get my hands wet a dozen times each day. Puts it all in perspective huh?

    Blessings to your family as you celebrate this lovely miracle!

  25. Sara

    I really have nothing to add to this other than I’m actually in complete awe that someone would NOT have a dishwasher….

    I have one…and I’m mean mean mean to it! I abuse the livin’ daylights out of it as often as I can!

    Now watch…it will go out with that last confession.

  26. Ali

    Mia!!! Beautiful, Marla. Simply beautiful. Praise God for another precious miracle.

    And I’m spoiled. Rotten. I have only been without a dishwasher for two years in college. It was disgusting. I lived with three other girls, and we were all self-absorbed and grossly lazy. Dishes never got washed. No wonder we had mice.

  27. Gaylene

    Congratulations Auntie! Adorable!

    I really don’t know the longest I’ve gone without a dishwasher- have had one on and off most of my married life, 31+ years thus far.

    One stretch I went without was when we were living in Belgium for three years. If I washed dishes, we would not have enough hot water for everyone’s baths, so did a lot of alternating and when I washed clothes…….

    Our current dishwasher went on the fritz right before Christmas, so by hand was the method. I enjoyed it oddly enough and now kind of grumble as using the repaired dishwasher. Go figure!

    In Him,

  28. Christy

    I have a hard enough time getting the dishes clean WITH a dishwasher. Not that the dishwasher doesn’t get them clean, I just procrastinate the emptying and filling of it. When we didn’t have a dishwasher, for the first few years of marriage, I felt like I was always doing dishes or there were a PILE of them around the sink. I’m thankful for my dishwasher (and if it broke, I’d be looking for a cheap one on Craigslist ASAP). But, in reality, I’d really rather just have a live-in maid. Who wants to do dishes after making a meal and relaxing with the family? Let the maid do it.

  29. Kelli

    Congratulations Aunt Marla!!!

    I have never been without a dishwasher but for a year during our dating years, Chris did not have one.

    He was really great at using EVERY clean dish until they were gone. And when I was feeling REALLY nice and they were piled HIGH, I would scrub those suckers to pieces. I honestly didn’t enjoy it, but it was definitely not the end of the world.

    I wonder if we would use less dishes if I had to wash them all? I wonder if I am wasteful with my dish usage?

  30. Tiffani

    well, growing up (I lived w/ my grandparents) they HAD a dishwasher but refused to use it because it was “expensive” to run it “used more water” and “no sense in it for the ‘few’ dishes in the sink”. Well, as the designated dishwasher there I begged to differ!

    But, I learned a great lesson there: “It’s always better to use the dishwasher” (HA! Just kidding).

    Our first year of marriage I didn’t have dishwasher, either.

    I do have one now and I do love having it BUT I still have lots of “handwashing” to do with certain dishes and I always remember that there may be a ton of dishes in front of me but that means I was well-provided for and I have precious people around me to raise, love, share life with!

    That darlin’ baby is too cute! Congrats to Mom and Aunt Marla!!

  31. Rachel

    Ummm…I don’t have a dishwasher. When I used to work at the radio station, my co-workers were annoyed with me cuz I always had to have someone show me how to use it again!

    I don’t mind doing them by hand…then again there are only three of us, so it’s not like there’s a mountain of dishes to do each day.

  32. Jennifer

    I was dishwasher-less during the two years I was in Namibia. I didn’t have enough dirty dishes to rationalize using one anyway, though, so it was all good. They were a real luxury there, so most people went without.

    And congratulations, Aunt Marla! What a sweet baby girl!

  33. Deidre

    Oh, how precious is that baby???

    Dishwasher … I guess I’m the superficial one because I would not make it without mine. I stood at my parent’s sink washing dishes for the millionth time in 1988 and swore I would make it one day. To be blessed with a dishwasher. And I am …. my dishwasher completes me.

  34. Laura

    My husband bought me a dishwasher for Mother’s Day 2 (3?) years ago. So I was dishwasherless for 5-6ish years of marriage. I survived, but am much happier now. 🙂 We have a dry well (which means we run out of water twice a week and we have to drive to the fire dept to get a load of h20 in the pickup truck tank) so the dishwasher doubles as a dirty dishes hider when the water is out. *sigh* I know it could be so much worse!! My mom has been married for 40 years this may and JUST LAST SUMMER got a dishwasher. I don’t think she even uses it!

  35. Amber Payne

    My parents have a dishwasher, so I was rather accustomed to having one — that is, until I got married almost 3 months ago. My husband and I actually HAVE a dishwasher, we just don’t see a reason to use it with just the two of us. Do I get tired of doing dishes? Yes, but my husband’s secondary love language is “acts of service” so he’s always happy to come home to a clean kitchen.

  36. Meghan

    Our dishwasher died. I learned to enjoy washing dishes during the day because the kitchen always stayed clean and the dishes were always put away. After dinner I learned to LOVE the dishwasher because my husband always pulled up beside me to dry and put away. It was our daily date! We got some extra money for Christmas and bought a cheepie on sale and installed it ourselves. So I went about 6 months without one. I now miss our little dates.

  37. katie n

    our kitchen does not have a built in dishwasher. when we moved in, a portable one came with the house. about a year later, it started leaking water out the bottom every time i ran it. i quickly got tired of placing towels all around the edges of it to sop up the water (yes, i did that for a couple weeks!) so i told david to take it to the dump. i would just handwash and the portable thing wouldn’t be in my way any longer. so, that’s what we did. had to pay to leave it there! about 2 years after that, david complained that the dishes just weren’t getting that clean with me hand-washing them, so i told him we just needed to buy another portable dishwasher. late one night i found one on ebay, went to david, who was sleeping and asked if it was ok if i bid on it. he said “yes”. the next morning i told him that we’d have to drive to illinois that saturday to get our new dishwasher and he about fell over. he has no recollection of the conversation. so, anyways, we’ve had that one ever since. probably for about 5 years. it works like a charm! and i got it for about $100. 🙂

  38. Cheryl Pickett

    I’ll go along the same line as Val (though the number is a smidge higher :-). I’ve never had one in my adult home, parents don’t have one either, honestly wouldn’t know how to do anything but maybe load one.

    Once in a while, after bigger family dinners washing gets to be a bit much, but normally there’s just the two of us so it isn’t too bad. Also, it is at least a different task than sitting in front of the computer so occasionally, I see dish washing as a little break. Break time probably coming up tonight 🙂

  39. Valerie

    Hmmmmmm….. 25 years 1 month, that’s right I’ve gone most of my life without one considering I’m 27 years and 2.5 months :p My wonderful MIL bought us one for Christmas a couple years back to make my life a little easier since I was working and attending college full time. Sadly a couple days ago my beloved dishwasher stopped draining after a wash….. and the repair company is overbooked this week so unless someone cancels before then we have an appointment on next Wednesday.

    Sometimes I find dishes by hand to be somewhat relaxing…granted I was only doing my nonstick pans. I did find some dish soap that is wonderful…. Dawn’s Skin Renewal w/ Olay in the Pomegranate scent. Smells good, washes good, makes hands soft and is around $2 for a big thing of it. 🙂

  40. janelle taviano

    It was washing dishes by hand, on Amherst Rd., that God literally spoke to me….to just “LOVE ROCK…and HE would change HIM.” I took it very seriously and comitted my life to it…and GOD stayed true to His word to me.

  41. Krista

    I’ve been without a dishwasher for nearly three years, I guess, now that I think about it… i always joke that I have 10 dishwashers at the end of my arms. The thing I like to do when there are lots of dishes, tho, is to put on an audiobook while I stand still and scrub… has a free one every month. Hence more multitasking!

  42. Nicole

    Hi Marla! I have been on your blog a few times and was really sad when I found out that you were probably sitting right next to Melanie when I introduced myself at the SMT in Houston! So, hello! Love your blog!!

    Ok, dishwasher story! My husband hates the dishwasher (he totally doesn’t care if I use it) but he is convinced it does NOT do a good job. I do have a dishwasher and use it quite a bit ( with 5 kiddos the sink fills up fast). However, lately I have been hand washing more than usual because it gives me time with my 2 oldest kids who are helping me dry. We’ve had some fun talks and times doing dishes together…I have actually enjoyed it and yes, my dishes are extra sparkly! I guess you can say…um, a family that washes dishes together, stays together?? 😉

  43. Lacey

    So…apparently I always come to your blog late at night when I should be sleeping, right after you have posted. I’m not a stalker, I promise! 🙂

    I guess the longest I have gone without a dishwasher was for the year I was in China. Washing those dishes consisted of boiling water on a stove to put the dishes in and wash them. Funny thing is…”all” the things I didn’t have and “all” the extra things I had to do over there didn’t seem bad at all. Yet now, back in the states in my comfy home, on my comfy couch (not wooden bench), in my heated and cooled house things seem hard and I am much less content and don’t rely on HIM as I should. I long for those simple days.

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