empty the dishwasher

Why I Empty the Dishwasher While the Coffee is Brewing

empty the dishwasherThe chore.

It is a chore to empty the dishwasher. That’s what I think, anyhow. So I’ve come up with a plan.

The thing with emptying the dishwasher is the rewards system. Yes, I reward myself by doing things I don’t like to do first.

I learned this from my mother who insisted I eat the entire over-easy egg, even though I only liked the yolk. If you knew my mother, you know I had to eat it all.

“Eat the part you don’t like first, then you get to eat the best last,” she said. “The whole time you’re eating what you don’t like, you’re looking forward to eating what you like best.”

Not to mention, of course, that there were starving children in other countries who would love to have a few nibbles of the whites of an egg or even that edge of a bread crust I tried to hide.  That was another reason to eat the entire egg. Good food was not to be wasted, even if one’s eyes were bigger than her stomach.

“Next time, don’t let your eyes get so big,” she said. Well, she didn’t use those words, but the essence was there. I carried that lesson into adulthood and use it today.

I have this thing about dishwashers. You’d think I’d be grateful that I have one (I am). One would think that putting dishes into a machine, adding soap and pushing a button would make me happy (it does). I do like that part. It’s just emptying the machine that leaves me bored. Did I mention that I do not like to empty the dishwasher?

The reward

I learned to wait until someone phoned me, then empty it while I was on the phone. I still do that, sometimes.

The other morning my youngest called; during our conversation, he interrupted me. “What in the world are you doing, Mama?” he asked.

“Emptying the dishwasher,” I replied.

“I wondered. You sure are making a lot of noise,” he said.

I suppose I was (making a lot of noise), but the dishwasher got emptied without duress, and that’s important. I do not like to start my day with duress.

Most mornings, I slip downstairs and head to the coffee pot, clanking around with the water in the pot and the tablespoon, measuring coffee. Then I hit the “on” button and head to empty the dishwasher. The goal is to get the dishwasher emptied before the coffee is done. It’s a game, and I almost always win. Then I get to have my coffee in peace and quiet.

In our early marriage days, there was an older lady who called me frequently. I listened while she talked, and talked, and talked, sometimes for more than an hour. I learned to dust my entire house and clean the bathrooms while I listened (Thank you Dave, for that extra long phone cord that could get drug through the entire house.) until I got a crick in my neck.

Little things make big things easier

It’s those little things that help me find the sun behind the clouds, the lily under the leaves, or the melody in the rain. It works for me, and I’m sure, if you try it, you’ll find that it works for you, too.

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  1. I didn’t realize that I didn’t like to empty the dishwasher. But I always do exactly what you do. Try to empty it while my coffee is brewing or while I am talking on the phone-clanking away!!!! (I’ve been criticized for all the noise). But honestly, I do not like to empty it either. Fun blog post!

  2. This is a concept I’m trying to instill in my children: get “this” done knowing you get to do “that” after makes it much more motivating! I find I do it alot…so why not teach them it too?! Privileges come with responsibility.

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