Friday, December 12, 2008

An ode to a practical domestic appliance

Got a dishwasher some time ago, and now I can't believe, understand, or comprehend, that we, a family including a kid, survived for over two years without one. It's a, or possibly the, thing that has greatly improved the quality of our lives lately. Our financial situation has improved, we've gotten a better car, we live in an apartment with a sauna now, the wife has finally graduated. Several things have gotten better lately. But there's nothing I like better than not washing the dishes every f***ing night. I just load the machine, humming to the chorus of "Whatever" by Oasis to myself (you know, "I'm freeeee-ee..."), turn it on and the rest takes care of itself. I only have to scrub the kitchen surfaces, vacuum a little bit, clean up the toilet, do the laundry, water the flowers, gather up the toys and whatnot from the floors, take out the trash, newspapers, cartons and such, wipe off some dust, arrange the bookshelfs in an alphabetical order, straighten out the strings at the ends of the carpets, line up every object in the household neatly in straight angles, and then I can have a sweet, peaceful 15 minutes of free time before going to bed.

Seriously, before the dishwasher came, the dishes really had to be washed every night. I don't understand it either. There's only three of us, but every night every single container in the household had somehow gotten dirty and piled in the sink. And there are several sets of dishes in the household. You know, I like washing the dishes just as much as I like vacuuming, it's a satisfying chore where you really get to see the results of your work, but I don't want to do it every single night. It had just gotten ridiculous. Both me and my wife were really stressed about washing the dishes. There really isn't much romance left when you've woken up early, worked for 8-10 hours, gotten home via the kindergarten, prepared dinner, then spent a couple of hours with a two year old tornado and finally gotten him to sleep. Usually, we just managed to lie down on the sofa in front of the TV like two grouchy, bickering logs, the other with a largish branch protruding from the middle section in a 90 degree angle.

Neither of us can relax in a messed up household. If there's a mess of any significance, I have a strong urge to tidy it up, and the wife has a strong urge to make me tidy it up. I guess that she has to be the smarter one.

But yeah, have I already mentioned that I love the dishwasher? Wait, I'll just have to go and give it a kiss... Although our household now consumes more electricity than before, I'm willing to pay for it. If it needed to be fed 20 € bills in order to function, I'd do it. I don't know whether it's less ecological to wash the dishes by machine than by hand or not. According to my very vague understanding, the machine might even consume less water than myself (even if you count beer as water) when doing the dishes. I did choose an AAA machine, intentionally. But if there are any green besserwissers willing to challenge me on the matter, feel welcome to do so, in the boxing ring. I think I can beat most of you up, if I have to. You're usually miserably puny, aren't you?

And finally, I'd like to include a non-ode to a non-practical domestic appliance which also lately came into my possession, or a negative review about the appliance, if you will. Because I can't believe the magazine Tieteen kuvalehti managed to swindle me again. I mean, some months ago they sent me an offer for two magazines and a gift for a measly sum (like 6 € or so). The gift was a wireless audio transmitter/receiver that you can use to hook up your computer and stereo wirelessly. Like a nerd sucker I fell for it. It took for about three months for the gift to appear in the mail, during which I'd already received and paid for several full-priced copies of the magazine, because of course I forgot to cancel the subscription of the magazine at the earliest opportunity. And the appliance ate batteries like crazy and was therefore unusable. It took some fiddling and adjusting to make it work, and then it only worked for about a couple of hours before the batteries ran out. I got fed up, went to the nearest hypermarket, got a lengthy enough RCA cable (for about 10 €) and used that to hook up the computer and the stereo. And that setup works perfectly, without any fiddling. And now I have a useless, overpriced piece of battery-eating, environment-destroying plastic and wiring sitting in my closet. I guess I should just mail it back to Tieteen kuvalehti.

Might I mention that the first time the same magazine swindled me was with a similar offer, except the gadget was a "wireless weather station". It also required batteries, which usually cease to work outside the apartment in the temperatures of the Finnish winter, and apparently had some other issues too, because it just refused to work after a couple of weeks, despite changing the batteries.

I don't even like the magazine that much. Flicking through an issue might provide enough entertainment for a lengthy session on the toilet seat, but for a session of slouching on the couch, I'd rather read a Me Naiset instead. Don't ask why, I can't figure it out myself. Something to do with emotions and stuff, of which, as a man, I don't know nothing about.